My Bookish Ways

Interview: Michael Dempsey, author of Necropolis

Please welcome Michael Dempsey to the blog! Michael is the author of the brand new sci-fi noir, Necropolis (it’s the awesome, review to come) and is also a screenwriter and a playwright! Luckily, I managed to convince him to answer a few of my questions, and he graciously obliged. Also, be sure to check out the awesome Necropolis trailer at the end of the post!

Michael, you’re an old hand at writing, having penned screenplays for network television, most notably Cybill, and you’re an accomplished stage actor and director. What made you decide to take the plunge into writing a novel?
I moved back home to Ohio a few years ago to be closer to my parents, who were experiencing some health issues at the time. You really need to be in New York or Los Angeles, if you’re seriously about a television or film writing career. But it’s possible to be a novelist anywhere. So that was one reason to write a novel. The other reason was simply that I wanted to tackle the challenges of the form. I got involved in theatre in college, first in acting and directing and then writing plays. Which led me eventually to film and television writing. But my first stabs at writing when I was kid were short stories, so it was a bit like coming full circle. You could say I came home in several ways…

Can you tell us about your brand new novel, Necropolis?
NECROPOLIS is a sci fi noir crime novel set in a dystopian future. Our protagonist, Paul Donner, is a Brooklyn police detective with a drinking problem and a marriage on the rocks. In the opening pages, he and his wife are shot to death in a “random” hold-up. Fifty years later, Donner is back—revived courtesy of the Shift, a process whereby inanimate DNA is re-activated. This new “reborn” underclass is not only alive again, they’re growing younger, destined for a second childhood. The freakish side-effect of a retroviral attack on New York, The Shift has turned the world upside down. Beneath the protective geodesic Blister, clocks run backwards, technology is hidden behind a noir façade, and you can see Elvis at Radio City Music Hall every night. In this unfamiliar retro-futuristic world of maglev Studebakers and plasma Tommy guns, Donner must search for those responsible for the destruction of his life. His quest for retribution, aided by Maggie, his holographic Girl Friday, leads him to the heart of the mystery surrounding the Shift’s origins up against those who would use it to control a terrified nation

What made you decide on speculative fiction/tech noir as your genre for your first book?
As a child, I idolized Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, and the other sci fi gods of that generation. And I was a big fan of “pulp fiction,” like the Doc Savage and Tarzan novels. Finally, I was a huge lover of crime fiction—the grittier and nastier, the better. The noir films of the 1940s and 1950s had a kind of loneliness, darkness and desperation that was really evocative. It was a look at the underbelly of society—while these perfect happy smiling families were filling up at Sunoco and getting their daily milk deliveries and going to good jobs in brand-new skyscrapers, there were also con men and grifters and people on the fringes fighting for every table scrap. So I guess I just decided to see how I could blend all these elements together in an exciting and believable way.

If someone were just starting to read in the genre, what books would you recommend (in addition to yours, of course)?
Don’t laugh, but I really don’t know! I’m only half-serious. Although I’d seen and loved movies like Blade Runner and Dark City and Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow, I didn’t fully comprehend that there already was an evolved and well-explored subgenre that integrated both the noir and retro sensibility with science fiction—alternately called dieselpunk, tech noir, or sci fi noir. So when artist Erik Gist, who did the fabulous cover for my book, said he dug my novel and dieselpunk in general, I was like, “Dieselpunk? Huh?” And I blush in shame to admit that I promptly Googled it.

I guess I’d say read Gibson, read Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan, read Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man. Read the cyberpunk masters like Gibson, Rudy Rucker and John Shirley. As far as cinema, there are a lot of explicit homages to noir in films like The Thirteenth Floor and Godard’s Alphaville.

While it’s modus operandi is scientific and not supernatural, Necropolis has many similarities to the urban fantasy genre, so if you like Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series or Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, you’ll probably like Necropolis.

What’s one of your most unusual writing quirks?
My process is pretty standard and boring, I’m afraid. I write first thing in the morning almost every day, before life can intrude. I used to never be able to work on more than one project at a time, but in the past few years I’ve developed a cycle where I work on one piece, then put it in a drawer and work on another in an entirely different genre or form (play, screenplay, etc.) and cycle back to the previous one. It helps get my brain away from “inside” the story so I can come back to it fresher and with more perspective. It’s so easy to get lost inside, to get swept away by your own storytelling. Then in three months, you come back to it and say, “Holy god, that’s truly terrible!” Or sometimes, “Wow, that’s better than I thought!”

What are you reading right now?
I just finished True Detective by Max Collins, which was an awesome noir crime novel set among real events and people. I’m also re-reading Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man for the first time in twenty years. These short stories are astonishing—written in 1949 and 1950 for the most part, they prophesize “holodeck” type rooms and other technology, but also dig really deep into the philosophical, spiritual and ethical issues that may arise with future technology as we go to the stars. I’m also reading Connie Willis’s recent Hugo winner, Blackout.

What are some of your biggest literary influences?
Besides the ones previously mentioned: I was reading Philip K. Dick way before Hollywood got turned on to him (yes, I’m THAT old!)…I particularly love stories in which the rules of reality are suspect. Then writers like William Gibson and Neal Stephenson came along and showed us a whole new way science fiction could be. I still remember not being able to close my mouth through half of Snow Crash.

In terms of crime, I love the super hardcore crime novels of Richard Stark and Andrew Vachss. Raymond Chandler doesn’t get enough credit for his beautiful prose…if he hadn’t been writing mysteries he would’ve been hailed as one of the great writers of the 20th century, in my opinion. I’m also a big Don DeLillo, Tom Wolfe, Gabriel García Márquez, Michael Connolly and Stephen King fan. But I’d have to say Shakespeare is my primary influence…he did it all: tragedy, comedy, supernatural, romance…and better than anyone. And (despite the literary accolades we heap on him now) he did as a commercially successful writer who kept his audiences happy with plenty of sex and violence!

If someone were to write a book about your life, what would it be titled?
Second Chances.

When you’re not busy writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
I’m still involved heavily in theatre, so I’m usually directing or acting in a play or musical in Northeast Ohio. Right now I’m performing in one and rehearsing another. As might be guessed, I also do a ton of reading and I play the violin.

Is there any advice your would give to struggling writers?
The most critical trait of a successful writer is perseverance. Many talented people fall by the wayside and give up. Also: writing is rewriting. Don’t be satisfied with your first draft. Get input. Never fall in love with your own writing to the extent that you can’t “kill your babies” when they don’t work. It can be painful but necessary. Stay open to constructive criticism. No one is so good that they can’t grow.

Write what you love, not what you think will sell. Writing is a long process, so you better be incredibly turned on by the tale if you’re gonna make it through. Write what you yourself would love to read.

Finally: get out there and LIVE! There is no replacement for life experience. If all you do is sit in a room and write, your writing will be two-dimensional and derivative.

Do you have any news of upcoming projects or events that you’d like to share with us?
As far as novels, I’m in the middle of a supernatural story about the end of the world and also outlining a techno-thriller. Finally, I’m doing a lot of daydreaming about what would happen next in the world of Necropolis, should this book provide popular enough to engender a sequel…
Keep up with Michael: Website | Blog | Twitter
Read my review of Necropolis!
Purchase Necropolis: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Giveaway: Creative Spirit by Scott Nicholson

Happy Sunday, gang! I’ve got one ecopy of Creative Spirit by Scott Nicholson up for grabs, so check out the book details and the giveaway rules and good luck!

About Creative Spirit
When artists gather at a remote Appalachian estate for a retreat, they are unaware that their energy is feeding something unwholesome. Sculptor Mason Jackson and dying parapsychologist Anna Galloway must uncover the dark secrets of Korban Manor before their spirits are trapped forever.
——————–
CREATIVE SPIRIT
A modern Gothic thriller< After parapsychologist Anna Galloway is diagnosed with metastatic cancer, she has a recurring dream in which she sees her own ghost. The setting of her dream is the historic Korban Manor, which is now an artist’s retreat in the remote Appalachian Mountains. Drawn both by the ghost stories surrounding the manor and her own sense of destiny, Anna signs up for the retreat.

Sculptor Mason Jackson has come to Korban Manor to make a final, all-or-nothing attempt at success before giving up his dreams. When he becomes obsessed with carving Ephram Korban’s form out of wood, he questions his motivation but is swept up in a creative frenzy unlike any he has ever known.

The manor itself has secrets, with fires that blaze constantly in the hearths, portraits of Korban in every room, and deceptive mirrors on the walls. With an October blue moon looming, both the living and the dead learn the true power of their dreams.

**GIVEAWAY DETAILS**
1. Fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
2. You must leave a comment on the post
3. Giveaway is for 1 ecopy of Creative Spirit by Scott Nicholson to 1 winner.
4. Giveaway is open Internationally
5. Please include a valid email address
6. You must enter before or on Sunday, Dec. 18th, 2011
7. I am not responsible for books lost or damaged in the mail. Please see my Giveaway Policy.
8. Giveaway book was kindly provided by the author.

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Giveaway Winners: Blood Rights, Jay Lake set, and All Men of Genius

I’ve got some giveaway winners to announce today! Congrats and thanks to everyone that entered!

Signed Blood Rights by Kristen Painter: Tonya Maxemow and Lora 1967

Green and Endurance by Jay Lake: Victoria Barton

All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen: Steve Zielinski

*All winners were chosen by Rafflecopter and have been notified. They will have 48 hours to claim their prizes. Thanks so much to everyone that entered!

Review: Planesrunner (Everness #1) by Ian McDonald

Planesrunner (Everness #1) by Ian McDonald
Publisher:
Prometheus Books (PYR/Dec. 2011)
YA/SciFi
Everness Series
5/5
Warm thanks to PYR for providing a review copy

There is not one you. There are many yous. There is not one world. There are many worlds. Ours is one of billions of parallel earths.

When Everett Singh’s scientist father is kidnapped from the streets of London, he leaves young Everett a mysterious app on his computer. Suddenly, this teenager has become the owner of the most valuable object in the multiverse-the Infundibulum-the map of all the parallel earths, and there are dark forces in the Ten Known Worlds who will stop at nothing to get it. They’ve got power, authority, and the might of ten planets-some of them more technologically advanced than our Earth-at their fingertips. He’s got wits, intelligence, and a knack for Indian cooking.

To keep the Infundibulum safe, Everett must trick his way through the Heisenberg Gate his dad helped build and go on the run in a parallel Earth. But to rescue his Dad from Charlotte Villiers and the sinister Order, this Planesrunner’s going to need friends. Friends like Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth, her adopted daughter Sen, and the crew of the airship Everness.

Can they rescue Everett’s father and get the Infundibulum to safety? The game is afoot!

REVIEW
When 14 year old Everett Singh watches his father’s kidnapping in front of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, he doesn’t quite know what to do. He’s very sure of what he saw, but the police don’t seem to believe him and his own mother is not even quite sure what to believe. See, Everett’s dad is a theoretical physicist, and it’s possible that he’s discovered something that some people will do anything to get their hands on. When Everett receives a mysterious file on his computer (which he calls Dr. Quantum), he realizes that things are about to get bad, and it will be up to him to save his dad.See, Tejendra Singh has discovered the multiverse; many, many universes running parallel to our own, different versions of Earth, or “planes” (hence the name Planesrunner.) Everett has unlocked the secret to mapping the universes (the Infundibulum), and using an invention called the Heisenberg Gate, scientists are able to travel to these alternate planes. There are 10 (E1-E10) main planes (including our Earth, the newest member) that have been deemed safe for travel, and it turns out that back and forth travel has already begun. Emmissaries from E3 are determined to capture Everett, and he knows that he must travel to their plane to get his father back.

There is really nothing about this book that I didn’t like. As soon as Everett jumps to E3, he heads to the library, where he does a bit of brushing up on this new, alternate London, and finds out that oil has never been used, and electricity is king. Everett calls it Electropunk. He describes E3 as what people in the 30’s imagined our time looking like, and immediately notices the smoky, chemical smell that envelopes him on the streets. After securing some funds by way of a pawnbroker, he takes to the trains, where he meets feisty, beautiful Sen Sixsmyth, who immediately tries to pilfer Dr. Quantum. Sen really means no harm and overwhelmed with loneliness, Everett confides in Sen. It’s soon after that we meet her adopted mother Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth and the crew of the airship Everness. Yep, I said airships. I’m kind of a sucker for a book with airships, and if you are too, you’ll LOVE Planesrunner. When Everett and Sen meet, the book takes off like a rocket. Don’t let the idea of multiple universes scare you. I admit, when I start thinking about stuff like countless parallel universes, my brain begins to ache just a bit, but kinda in a good way, because the thought of it is frankly awesome. In Planesrunner, Everett only explores one, but I’m hoping, and suspect, we’ll get more in the next book. Sen’s world is one of brutality, living by one’s wits, and the hustle and bustle of an alternate London that’s very different from Everett’s, but it’s also one of fierce loyalty, friendship, and swashbuckling adventure. I fell in love with the charming Sen from the get go (and I suspect Everett did too). However, as fun as hanging with the crew of the Everness is, Everett’s ultimate goal is to rescue his father, and he’ll call on his new friends to help. Hampering his efforts is Charlotte Villiers, Planepotentiary (sort of like an ambassador), and stone cold killer, and her cadre of thugs. They’re after Everett at every turn, but Captain Sixsmyth is larger than life, as is her crew, and they’ve got a few tricks up their sleeves. Will Everett rescue his father from the evil Charlotte Villiars, and keep the Infudibulum out of the wrong hands? If I told you, that would spoil all the fun of this wonderful book! You certainly don’t have to be a young adult to enjoy this book, and lovers of sci-fi, adventure, and steampunk won’t be able to put it down! Not to be missed!
Purchase Planesrunner:Amazon | Barnes and Noble
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Blogoversary Giveaway #7: The Doomsday Vault by Steven Harper

For my 5th Blogoversary giveaway I’ve got 2 copies of The Doomsday Vault (Clockwork Empire #1) by Steven Harper up for grabs! Check out the description and giveaway rules below, and good luck!

About The Doomsday Vault (Read my review!)
In a clockwork Brittania, Alice’s prospects are slim. At 21, her age and her unladylike interest in automatons have sealed her fate as an undesirable marriage prospect. But a devastating plague sends Alice off in a direction beyond the pale-towards a clandestine organization, mad inventors, life-altering secrets, and into the arms of an intrepid fiddle-playing airship pilot.

**GIVEAWAY DETAILS**
1. Fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
2. You must leave a comment with your email address
3. Giveaway is for 2 copies of The Doomsday Vault by Steven Harper to 2 winners.
4. Giveaway is open to US/Canadian addresses only
5. Please include a valid email address
6. You must enter before or on Friday, Dec. 16th, 2011
7. I am not responsible for books lost or damaged in the mail. Please see my Giveaway Policy.
8. Giveaway books were kindly provided by Penguin Books.

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Blog Tour, Guest Post, & Giveaway: Kelley York, author of Hushed!

Courtesy of Entangled Publishing, I’ve got Kelley York on the blog today! Kelley is the author of the brand new YA thriller Hushed and is here to talk a little about writing and the dreaded New Year’s Resolutions. We’ve also got an e-copy of Hushed up for grabs, so be sure to check out the giveaway details at the bottom of the post!

Please welcome Kelley to the blog!

Writing Goals for the Year
-by Kelley York

New Year’s resolutions. Fun stuff, right? Especially for writers, because undoubtedly we set these goals for ourselves to get so many books, pages, words, written through the year.

And if you’re me, you set these unrealistic goals…and fail.

Then you feel terrible. Useless, really. Down on yourself and you wonder, “Do I even have what it takes to be a real writer?!”

I have friends and acquaintances that can finish three, four books in a single year! I’ve managed one book a year. That means, in three years, they’ve written nine books and I’ve written—yep. Three. (See, I math real well.)

In my case, it usually isn’t a lack of motivation (key word: usually) but a lack of time. I don’t have an uninterrupted hour a day to set aside and write. I write mostly when I’m at work, on lunch and breaks. That’s if I get time to take a lunch or a break, which happens maybe two or three times a week. I find setting a daily word goal for myself is a quick way to leave me disappointed, ‘cause I might make it for two weeks, but inevitably there comes a string of days where there just isn’t time to write.

For other people, it might be a lack of motivation. Maybe you’re stuck on a plot idea, a scene, a thought you don’t know how to express…and you dwell on it and fuss and stress over it. Or maybe you can’t settle on an idea. I’ve had that problem, too! Too many ideas, and three, four different projects calling your name… What to work on?!

Sometimes, for whatever reason, when you aren’t making those goals…the fact that you’re so far behind can send us delicate writers into a downward spiral and we get so overwhelmed that the feeling in of itself prevents us from sitting our butts down and getting the words out. We already feel like we’re failing, so what’s a little more procrastination?

Which means, for 2012, I present a new writing goal for myself: enjoy writing.

That’s it. No word goal. No ‘write twenty books and sell them all for a million dollars!!’ or even ‘write every day.’ For some people, those goals might be realistic. For me, they aren’t. So I’m resolving to really get back to what made me start writing to begin with. Loving it. Loving the process. Every stage of it. First draft, edits, revisions, from start to finish.

I will not worry about rushing through a first draft, because I like taking my time in order to prevent revisions and massive edits later. I will not worry when others write more than me. I will not worry so much about agents or publishing. And I certainly won’t worry about what people will think of my story. There’s time for that later. In the beginning, I just…want to write and fall in love with a story and its characters.

I will simply write, and I will enjoy it.

Who’s with me?

Keep up with Kelley: Website | Twitter | Blog
Purchase HUSHED: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
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**GIVEAWAY DETAILS**
1. You must leave a comment with your email address (if you type it into the space in the comment form, there’s no need to put it in the body of the comment)
2. Giveaway is for 1 ecopy of Hushed by Kelley York to 1 winner
3. Giveaway is open Internationally
4. Please include a valid email address
5. You must enter on or before Friday, Dec. 17th, 2011
6. Please see my Giveaway Policy for any questions (I’ll never share your info)
7. Giveaway ebook kindly provided by Entangled Publishing.

About Hushed:
He’s saved her. He’s loved her. He’s killed for her.

Eighteen-year-old Archer couldn’t protect his best friend, Vivian, from
what happened when they were kids, so he’s never stopped trying to protect
her from everything else. It doesn’t matter that Vivian only uses him when
hopping from one toxic relationship to another – Archer is always there,
waiting to be noticed.

Then along comes Evan, the only person who’s ever cared about Archer
without a single string attached. The harder he falls for Evan, the more
Archer sees Vivian for the manipulative hot-mess she really is.

But Viv has her hooks in deep, and when she finds out about the murders
Archer’s committed and his relationship with Evan, she threatens to turn
him in if she doesn’t get what she wants…And what she wants is Evan’s
death, and for Archer to forfeit his last chance at redemption.

‘Kelley York delivers in this impressive debut. I was at the edge of my
seat waiting to see what would happen next! Bottom line, this was
unputdownable!!!’ — YA Fantasy Guide —

‘How exciting that we live in a time when gay teen protagonists can be
just as screwed up as straight ones — and their stories just as creepy!’
— Brent Hartinger, award-winning author of Geography Club and Shadow
Walkers —

About the author:
Kelley was born and raised in central California, where she still resides
with her lovely wife, daughter, and an abundance of pets. (Although she
does fantasize about moving across the globe to Ireland.) She has a
fascination with bells, adores all things furry – be them squeaky, barky
or meow-y – is a lover of video games, manga and anime, and likes to
pretend she’s a decent photographer. Her life goal is to find a real
unicorn. Or maybe a mermaid.

Within young adult, she enjoys writing and reading a variety of genres
from contemporary with a unique twist, psychological thrillers,
paranormal/urban fantasy and horror. She loves stories where character
development takes center stage.

Audiobook Giveaway: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer!

I’m so excited to be able to offer an audiobook copy of Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer, courtesy of Macmillan Audio! Cinder isn’t out yet, but you can get your hands on this now! Check out the book and giveaway details below, fill out the Rafflecopter form, and good luck!

About Cinder (Read my review!)
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Audiobook details: CD, unabridged, Macmillan Young Listeners

**GIVEAWAY DETAILS**
1. Fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
2. You must leave a comment with your email address (if you type your email address into the comment form, there’s no need to include it in the body of your comment)
3. Giveaway is for 1 audiobook (CD) copy of Cinder by Marissa Meyer to 1 winner.
4. Giveaway is open to US addresses only
5. Please include a valid email address
6. You must enter before or on Thursday, Dec. 15th, 2011
7. I am not responsible for books lost or damaged in the mail. Please see my Giveaway Policy.
8. Giveaway audiobook was kindly provided by Macmillan.

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Blog Tour and Interview: Jennifer Armentrout, author of Obsidian!

Please welcome Jennifer Armentrout to the blog today! Jennifer is the author of the brand new paranormal Obsidian, as well as the Covenant series, and was kind enough to answer a few of my questions! Also up for grabs is an ecopy of Obsidian to one lucky winner, so please see the giveaway details at the end of the post!

Jennifer, you’re the author of the Covenant Series and your brand new book Obsidian, comes out in early December. Have you always wanted to be a writer? Can you tell about your journey?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, as cliché as that sounds. I started writing when I was in middle school and probably younger. My journey is like a lot of other writers out there. It was a road paved with rejections, revise and resubmits, and a whole lot of frustration. They key thing was that writing is a passion, something I CAN’T quit doing. So I never gave up. Getting published was fairly different from others. I got two publishers before I got an agent. And I’m thrilled it worked that way. My agent rocks.

Can you tell us a bit about Obsidian?
Obsidian is very science fiction light, and a lot of people are saying it’s more character driven then plot, even though the plot is fairly fast paced and full of action. It centers around Katy, an ordinary teenage girl with an obsession for books—hey, she’s a book blogger—who moves to a small town in West Virginia. When she meets her new neighbors, she immediately senses something off about them and well, you can guess why. A lot of the characters start off one way and end another, and that’s what was so fun about writing Obsidian.

What’s one of your most unusual writing quirks?
I cannot write when someone is in the same room as me. True Story.

What are some of your biggest literary influences?
I grew up reading Ritchie Cusick, Christopher Pike, LJ Smith and RL Stine. So if I had to say I was influenced by anyone, it was them that fostered my interest in writing.

What’s on your nightstand right now?
Angelia’s Secret

When you’re not busy writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
Catching up on email, lol. Working out. Reading. Hanging out with family. Trying to garden, but I really suck at it.
If you could pack your bags and go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go, and why?
Greece. The history there is just fascinating.

Name something that makes you laugh out loud!
Tosh.O I can’t even write when he’s on the TV. I’m laughing too hard.

Is there any news of upcoming projects or events that you’d like to share with us?
There are a few projects in the pipeline that may have news about them soon. One is a YA thriller/mystery that is contemporary and a paranormal centering around gargoyles. Right now, I am working on Aiden’s novella for the Covenant Series. Poor guy.

Keep up with Jennifer: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

**GIVEAWAY DETAILS**
1. You must leave a comment with your email address (if you type it into the space in the comment form, there’s no need to put it in the body of the comment)
2. Giveaway is for 1 ecopy of Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout to 1 winner
3. Giveaway is open Internationally
4. Please include a valid email address
5. You must enter on or before Thursday, Dec. 16th, 2011
6. Please see my Giveaway Policy.
7. Giveaway book kindly provided by Entangled Publishing.

About Obsidian:
Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

About Jennifer:
Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russel Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She also writes adult romance under the name J. Rogers.

Review: The Traitor’s Daughter (Veiled Isles #1) by Paula Brandon

The Traitor’s Daughter (Veiled Isles #1) by Paula Brandon
Publisher:
Random House (Spectra/Oct. 2011)
Fantasy
Veiled Isles Series
4.5/5

On the Veiled Isles, ominous signs are apparent to those with the talent to read them. The polarity of magic is wavering at its source, heralding a vast upheaval poised to alter the very balance of nature. Blissfully unaware of the cataclysmic events to come, Jianna Belandor, the beautiful, privileged daughter of a powerful Faerlonnish overlord, has only one concern: the journey to meet her prospective husband. But revolution is stirring as her own conquered people rise up against their oppressors, and Jianna is kidnapped and held captive at a rebel stronghold, insurance against what are perceived as her father’s crimes.

The resistance movement opens Jianna’s eyes―and her heart. Despite her belief in her father’s innocence, she is fascinated by the bold and charming nomadic physician and rebel sympathizer, Falaste Rione—who offers Jianna her only sanctuary in a cold and calculating web of intrigue. As plague and chaos grip the land, Jianna is pushed to the limits of her courage and resourcefulness, while virulent enemies discover that alliance is their only hope to save the human race.

REVIEW
When I started The Traitor’s Daughter, I immediately knew that I was in for something a little bit different. The book begins with an inventor, Grix Orlazzu, that is confronted by his own creation, an automaton that decides to take on his creater’s identity. However, his creator has discovered a disruption in the Source, a mysterious underground power from which magic originates. He leaves his home, and his automaton, determined to make his way to the Wraithlands to hopefully find out what’s happening with the Source. We don’t meet Grix again until the end, and you may be wondering about just what’s going on, but I promise, it gets much clearer throughout the story. We then meet Magnifico Aureste Belandor and his beautiful 18 year old daughter Jianna, who will soon make the journey to meet her betrothed. This journey will prove to change her and her father’s lives forever.

As Jianna travels to meet her new fiancé, her party is attacked by rebel forces and she is taken to a rebel stronghold, where she meets the formidable Yvenza Belandor, and her less-than-charming sons. Yvenza tells an outrageous story that puts Jianna’s father in the role of traitor, but it may not be quite as outrageous as she thinks. To add insult to injury, Yvenza plans to make Jianna her daughter-in-law by marrying her to her oldest son, Onartino. Let’s talk about Yvenza and Onartino for a moment. If Yvenza’s claims are true, you can understand her motivations, if not her methods. Onartino on the other hand, is a true sociopath. He’s no stranger to rape and murder, and his plans for Jianna are anything but romantic. I hated Onartino with a vengeance and had to keep myself from skipping ahead to find out Jianna’s fate. Luckily, there is a light at the end (maybe) in the form of a young doctor, Falaste Rione, who arrives at the stronghouse to administer to the rebel wounded. Kind and a little charmed by Jianna, he may be her only hope for escape, but his loyalties also lie with Yvenza, so convincing him to help will take all of Jianna’s wits. With Jianna, the author did a really, really good job of painting a portrait of a girl that has been raised very sheltered and pampered, but has hidden reserves, which she discovers slowly but surely, especially while helping Falaste administer to the wounded rebels. I loved the idea of the Source, a mysterious underground font of magic that may be ready to shift, and not necessarily for the better, and the author did a wonderful job of creating an atmosphere of magic and intrigue. Oh, and did I mention there are zombies? Or rather, the constant threat of zombies, for there is a plague loose in the Veiled Isles, but there may be more to the walking dead than meets the eye, and I’m hoping we’ll find out more about this in the next book. The Traitor’s Daughter shifts back and forth from Jianna’s plight to the goings on in her father’s world, and I’ll admit, while those passages were certainly entertaining, I found myself wanting to get back to Jianna’s story. I was riveted with The Traitor’s Daughter and can’t wait for The Ruined City, the next book in the series. If you like fantasy full of intrigue, drama, and magic, with a fascinating and unique setting, you’ll love The Traitor’s Daughter!

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Giveaway Winners: Dark Future by KC Klein and One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire

I’ve got two giveaway winners to announce today! Thanks to everyone that entered!

Congrats to Lora1967!

Congrats to Lexi!

*All winners were chosen using Random.org, have been notified, and will have 48 hours to respond with their info.

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