My Bookish Ways

Fated (Alex Verus #1) by Benedict Jacka

Fated (Alex Verus #1) by Benedict Jacka
Ace/Feb. 2012
Urban Fantasy
Alex Verus series
Kind thanks to Ace for providing a review copy

Alex Verus is part of a world hidden in plain sight, running a magic shop in London. And while Alex’s own powers aren’t as showy as some mages, he does have the advantage of foreseeing the possible future—allowing him to pull off operations that have a million-to-one-chance of success.

But when Alex is approached by multiple factions to crack open a relic from a long-ago mage war, he knows that whatever’s inside must be beyond powerful. And thanks to his abilities, Alex can predict that by taking the job, his odds of survival are about to go from slim to none…

There’s a blurb on the front of Fated by Jim Butcher, and I’ll admit, it went a ways toward me reading the book. Don’t get me wrong, the book sounded great, but Benedict Jacka is a new author, so it definitely helped. That said, Fated is a bit like the Dresden Files, but really only in the fact that Alex Verus is a wizard, or mage, and Alex’s voice is is a similar mix of easygoing and tightly coiled power. Alex is a diviner, able to see the many possible outcomes and paths of a situation. Usually. He’s not all-powerful, but he’s pretty darn powerful, and he’s done his best not to cross paths with the Council, running a magic shop in Camden Town, in London. Staying under the radar has done well for him, but when various mages (Light and Dark), come to him seeking his services, he finds himself back under the very thumb that he escaped years ago.

The author packs quite a bit of storytelling into just under 300 pages, and does it very effectively. I liked Alex immediately, and found his power fascinating. There’s some mild tension between Alex and his friend Luna, who’s carrying a very powerful curse, and she’ll turn out to be a valuable ally in the battle to come. And there will be battle. There’s a powerful artifact that more than a few powerful mages want to get their hands on, and they’ll use any manner of coercion, arm twisting, and just plain nastiness to get Alex to snag it for them. The main group of Dark mages that Alex deals with are really just plain mean, and I found myself wishing that Alex could just kick ‘em in the mouth. Multiple times. With feeling. It doesn’t help that Alex is carrying around a little baggage of his own, having been at the mercy of a Dark mage himself when he was younger. Yeah, the Dark mages like to keep slaves, er, helpers, and they’re extremely cruel about it. Can you say torture chambers? So, you can understand why Alex isn’t too keen on “helping” any of these guys out. On the charming side, we’re also introduced to some really neat creatures, and the world that the author has created is definitely one I’ll want to visit again. Fated is a strong start to what looks to be a magical series!

Purchase Fated: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
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Interview (& Giveaway): Shawntelle Madison, author of Coveted!

I’m thrilled to have Shawntelle Madison on the blog today as part of her Coveted tour! She was kind enough to answer a few of my questions we’ve also got a copy of Coveted up for grabs, so be sure to check out the details at the bottom of the post!

Please welcome Shawntelle to the blog!

Shawntelle, you’re a web developer and have held a variety of jobs (I’ll grill you on those soon). What made you decide to take the plunge and write Coveted?
I already had a literary agent at the time, and a book on submission, so this story idea had been running through my head for a while. I could’ve sat on my hands and waited but Natalya started talking to me so I went ahead and got to work. It was a fun ride!

How did you celebrate when you found out Coveted had sold? Was there cake? Happy dancing? Squeeing? Any combination thereof?
When Coveted sold I remember my family going out to eat to celebrate. We had a great time at one of my favorite restaurants. I think I had a very delicious slice of cheesecake that night. I’m diehard chocolate cheesecake fan.

During the phone call with Jim my literary agent, I was so cool and excited about it. It was when I called my crit partner—the first one I told afterward—that I broke down in shock. I finally realized that I’d sold a book. Little ’o me.

Can you tell us a little bit about Coveted?
Coveted is about Natalya Stravinsky, a werewolf with a holiday trinket hoarding obsession whose life changes when her ex-boyfriend returns to town to save the South Toms River pack. Even though Thorn left five years ago, they still have strong feelings for each other.

How long did it take you to write Coveted?
This story came out pretty fast. I track my word count and according to my records this book took about five months to write.

I imagine balancing a job, a full writing schedule, and a family, is hard! How do you do it?
It’s very hard and tiring actually. At first I could balance it all, but now I depend heavily on tracking everything through Microsoft Outlook. As I get emails with things to do, I have to mark them or things fall through the cracks.

In your bio, it says that you’ve held a variety of jobs, including fast food clerk, programmer, and webmaster. What would you say your least fave of the bunch was?
My least favorite was my job as a fast food clerk. I was a horrible clerk. At the time, I had the memory of a goldfish. Give me a set of numbers/order of food and I often forgot. I worked at a chicken place (no need to give the name of that establishment) and went home smelling like freshly fried chicken. At first it was kinda cool. At the end of a week it got on my nerves. I wasn’t as good as the other clerks and I wished I would’ve applied at a local clothing store instead. For some reason I’m really good at folding clothes and arranging displays. :D

I read that you like cheesy horror movies. For you, what is the best of the worst?
The best of the worst is Night of the Creeps for me. It came out in the eighties. When it comes on television, I’m compelled to watch it for some reason, but it’s just so campy. I mean the deadly creatures are like these fast moving slugs/leech thingies. It is rather disturbing to see them run about and enter people—but then there are a bunch of scenes which make the horror aspects less scary. I say keep a dark tone like Halloween and you’re golden.

I see you’re also an anime fan! Who’s your favorite character?
This interview doesn’t have enough room for that answer. I’ve watched so many! I’d say right now the characters that keep coming back to me is from a series I really enjoyed. It was the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse, from the Fullmetal Alchemist series. I ate up those episodes like candy!

What’s something that makes you laugh out loud?
What gets me laughing every time is the dead parrot sketch from Monty Python. Hilarous! ( “It’s an ex-parrot!”

If you could pack your bags and travel anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go, and why?
I’d do a European tour. I’ve wanted to do that for the longest time. I’ve never left the US actually. Does seeing Canada from Detroit count?

What advice would you give to struggling writers?
Never, ever give up. Persistence and perseverance are the key. Write with passion and hunger. Cause when you aren’t hungry to get that agent or make that sale, you’ve already hung up the towel.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us (guilty pleasures, fave ice cream, anything at all)?
Favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate chip! Jelly Belly Jelly Beans are the beginning and ending of everything—except for coffee and popcorn flavor. Who thought those tasted good? I’d love to know!

Keep up with Shawntelle: Website | Twitter | Facebook

1. You MUST fill out the form below (lots of chances for extra entries!)
2. Giveaway is for 1 copy of Coveted by Shawntelle Madison to 1 winner.
3. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian addresses ONLY
4. Must include a valid email address with your entry
5. You must enter on or before 5/5/12
6. Giveaway book courtesy of Ballantine Books
7. Please see my Giveaway Policy.

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Moonshine (Zephyr Hollis #1) by Alaya Johnson

Moonshine (Zephyr Hollis #1) by Alaya Johnson
St. Martins Press/May 2010
Urban Fantasy
Zephyr Hollis Series

Zephyr Hollis is an underfed, overzealous social activist who teaches night school to the underprivileged of the Lower East Side. Strapped for cash, Zephyr agrees to help a student, the mysterious Amir, who proposes she use her charity worker cover to bring down a notorious vampire mob boss. What he doesn’t tell her is why. Soon enough she’s tutoring a child criminal with an angelic voice, dodging vampires high on a new blood-based street drug, and trying to determine the real reason behind Amir’s request—not to mention attempting to resist his dark, inhuman charm.


How did I possibly miss Moonshine? Zephyr Hollis, former vamp hunter and current crusader for social causes, teaches night classes to immigrants and the underprivileged, but by day, takes part in all manner of protests and marches. The only problem is, these endeavors are not going to make her rich, and when she’s approached by one of her students to find and help take down a vicious vampire mob boss, she takes the job. Little does she know that her handsome, charming employer will soon become more than just a job.

Moonshine takes place in ‘20s New York, in the midst of much social strife, which keeps a girl like Zephyr pretty busy. But make no mistake, Zephyr is one tough cookie. She can kick butt, too. Literally. Mostly vampire butt, and there are plenty of vamps roaming around. However, she’s all for vampire rights, just not for the ones that think turning a small boy is their idea of sport. When she finds said young boy in an alley, covered in vampire bites, she has no idea what her discovery will lead to. But she’ll soon find out.

I really enjoyed following Zephyr around ‘20s New York as she navigates her way through vampire family secrets, her own growing attraction to the handsome Amir , who’s definitely more than human(even I had a crush), not to mention the pressure of her own family (who’s interests are most definitely NOT in the vampires’ corner.) Add to the mix Zephyr’s charming diva of a roommate Aileen, an intrepid girl reporter hot on the trail of the ultimate scoop, and the charm and atmosphere of the roaring ‘20s, and you’ve got a charmer of a book. I loved Moonshine from start to finish, and can’t wait to crack open Wicked City!

Purchase Moonshine: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
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Giveaway: Lies & Omens (Shadow Inquiries #4) by Lyn Benedict

Hi gang! How ’bout a giveaway? I’ve got a brand spankin’ new copy of Lies & Omens by Lyn Benedict, courtesy of Ace Books up for grabs, so check out the book and the deets below, and good luck!

About Lies & Omens:
Sylvie Lightner is a P.I. specializing in the unusual—in a world where magic is real, and Hell is just around the corner.

After escaping secret government cells and destroying a Miami landmark, Sylvie’s trying to lay low—something that gets easier when a magical force starts taking out her enemies. But these magical attacks are a risk to bystanders, and Sylvie can’t let that slide.

When the war between the government and the magical world threatens the three people closest to her—her assistant, her sister, and her lover—Sylvie has no choice but to get involved with hidden powers bent on shaping the world to their liking. Now, with death and disaster on the horizon, even if Sylvie wins, things will never be the same…

1. You MUST fill out the form below (lots of chances for extra entries!)
2. Giveaway is for 1 copy of Lies & Omens by Lyn Benedict to 1 winner.
3. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian addresses ONLY
4. Must include a valid email address with your entry
5. You must enter on or before 5/3/12
6. Giveaway book courtesy of Ace Books
7. Please see my Giveaway Policy.

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Interview (& Giveaway): Chuck Wendig, author of Blackbirds!

I am beyond thrilled to have the awesome Chuck Wendig on the blog today. Chuck was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about his brand new release, Blackbirds (feel free to check out my review), and I’m giving away a copy, so check out the details at the bottom of the post!

Please welcome Chuck to the blog!

Chuck, in your words, you’ve written a “metric boatload” of writing related ebooks (not to mention Shotgun Gravy) and you’re the author of Double Dead, plus the upcoming Blackbirds and Mockingbird. What made you finally take the plunge and write the crass, terrifying, and utterly wonderful Double Dead? Did you happy dance when you found out you sold it?
I did not actually sell it in the traditional sense. Abaddon liked my other work and said, “Hey, pitch us something for one of our established book lines.” So, I thought, I’ll pitch them a zombie story for their zombie-themed novel line, TOMES OF THE DEAD. Except for some reason by brain kept thinking about vampires? I was like, “Bad brain! Bad!” and I swatted myself with a newspaper.

But then, suddenly, I got a little vampire chocolate in my zombie peanut butter, and the pitch for DOUBLE DEAD was born. They wanted a chapter-by-chapter outline, so I write one up – and boom, they said “Sure, okay.” They must’ve been drunk or something that day.

I hear it was their fastest selling title of 2011. Enough to earn an e-book sequel – BAD BLOOD.

I’m so excited for the Blackbirds release! Can you tell us a little about it?
I can tell you all about it. Miriam Black knows how you’re going to die. All she needs to do is touch you and she can see the time and manner of your demise, though not the place. She believes she discovers a grim truth about this—nothing she can do will thwart the deaths. And so she lives as kind of a vulture, waiting for people to die and, in effect, looting their corpses.

That’s her at the start of BLACKBIRDS. She soon meets a truck driver whose “death vision” seems connected to Miriam in some way she cannot understand—is she somehow going to be responsible for his death? It renews her quest to see if fate can be overturned, if the reaper’s blade can be turned away. Fate versus free will, with some troubled romance and freaky horror thrown in for good measure!

What are a few of your favorite writers and/or books?
I’ll read anything by the following authors: Robert McCammon, Joe Lansdale, Bradley Denton, Christopher Moore.

What are you reading now?
I’m fortunate enough to have an ARC of McCammon’s THE PROVIDENCE RIDER, the next Matthew Corbett book. So good. Adventure! Horror! Danger! Mystery!

What’s one of your most unusual writing habits?
Gosh, I don’t know if I have unusual habits in terms of writing. I like to drink a draught of bat’s blood before I write, and I can only write wearing a dead possum pubic wig, but that’s, y’know, that’s everyone. I’m nothing unusual there.

What’s the worst thing anyone’s ever said or written about your work?
I’ve been fortunate that, for the most part, reviews of my work have been very good. But I get people at times taking exception to the profanity. I got this review at Amazon for 250 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT WRITING:
“If this author actually had anything helpful to say, it was impossible to find. The book is a conglomeration of abusive statements, excessive swearing, arrogant side-tracking and blatant lack of any sense of how to communicate ideas. Definitely not worth the 99 cents, and since I cannot get a refund, I am hoping this review will save others their hard earned money.”

Great thing about that review is that it sold books for me. Some of my readers were like, “Wow, swearing? Abuse? Arrogance? I’m in.”

The best?
Stephen Blackmoore, friend and fellow author of the wildly-good CITY OF THE LOST (and doubly good next-in-the-series, DEAD THINGS), seems to think BLACKBIRDS should win awards. Which is very kind.

Author-of-excellence and all-around nice human Lilith Saintcrow also said some very wonderful things about BLACKBIRDS.

Is it tough balancing your writing with being a brand new dad?
The first six months were very difficult. Lots of adjustment and wibbly-wobbly time management issues going on. But that’s the thing about writing – it’s tough managing any kind of Normal Life and the Writing Life. You just have to suck it up and figure it out.

You write “the scary” very well, but what’s something that truly terrifies you?
Death is very terrifying. It used to paralyze me, thoughts of death. BLACKBIRDS comes out of that, actually.

If you weren’t a writer, what would be your fantasy job?
Vigilante? Tour guide in Hawaii? Crime scene photographer? Some bizarre-o combination of the three?

Assuming you’re willing to share, what’s one of the most embarrassing things you’ve ever done or said?
Oh, man, I dunno. I try not to catalog my embarrassments – of which there have been assuredly many! – because otherwise I’d nest over them like a bird sitting on bad eggs. I will say only this: there was this thing in college about a condom? I’ll say no more than that.

If you could pack your bags and go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be?
Hawaii. It’d always be Hawaii. I feel eerily at peace there.

Is there any more news about upcoming projects or events that you’d like to share?
Just got the cover back for MOCKINGBIRD, the next in the Miriam Black sequence. I’ve got the first book in the GODS & MONSTERS series for Abaddon? I may Kickstart BAIT DOG, my Atlanta Burns novel, soon. And then I’ve always got other things hidden in the dark, seeking a rough and bloody birth…
**Update: BAIT DOG, of which I’m hugely proud to be a backer, has indeed been “Kickstarted“! Check it out
**And that’s not all, DINOCALYPSE NOW, Chuck’s pulp story of dinosaur awesomeness, was also (very) successfully “Kickstarted“: Click here for more info!

Keep up with Chuck: Website | Twitter

**Read my reviews of Blackbirds, Double Dead, and Dinocalypse Now!

1. You MUST fill out the form below (lots of chances for extra entries!)
2. Giveaway is for 1 copy of Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig to 1 winner.
3. Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY (wherever The Book Depository ships)
4. Must include a valid email address with your entry
5. You must enter on or before 5/3/12
6. Please see my Giveaway Policy.

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Dinocalypse Now by Chuck Wendig

Dinocalypse Now by Chuck Wendig
Evil Hat Productions
Pulp Adventure
Kind thanks to Evil Hat Productions for providing a review copy

When the Century Club is called in to prevent the assassination of FDR, it’s just another day on the job — but what they discover puts not just the President, but the entire world in jeopardy. With psychic dinosaurs taking over Manhattan and beyond, it’s up to Sally Slick, Jet Black, Mack Silver, and the other Centurions to save humanity — from extinction!

Dinocalypse Now starts off with a bang as Jet Black falls from the sky during a speech given by FDR, jet pack sputtering and hissing, punctured by bite marks. Bite marks! What, you may ask, can bite into metal? Well, the title of the book is a pretty good clue. Jet Black is a Centurion, an intrepid group of crime fighters with hideouts and bases all over the world. His counterpart, Sally Slick, is on the ground, part of the gathered crowd, when she begins to notice that everyone in the crowd may not be human. They’re humanoid, but with scales and sharp teeth, not to mention mind control powers, they’re a force to be reckoned with. However, it’s eventually discovered that they weren’t sent to assassinate FDR at all, but to take out the Centurions. Thus begins a race to find the source of the dino-invasion and save all of humanity from servitude at the hand of a (rather hairy) megalomaniac bent on world domination!

Dinosaurs! Apes in kilts! Jetpacks! Dirigibles! Teleportation! It’s all here in Dinocalypse Now! I adore anything Chuck Wendig writes, and this was no exception. Sally Slick and crew are a ton of fun with larger than life personalities that leap from the page. My favorite character, though, is a kilt wearing, erudite ape named Professor Khan, who teaches at Oxford and serves as consultant to the Centurions, but always longs to join in on the adventures. He gets his wish, and the interaction between him and the crew is nothing short of charming. These globe hopping heroes will go up against multiple foes vying for control of New York City, using their wits, gadgets, and plain determination to see good win over evil. I especially enjoyed the 30s touches and pulp sensibility.  If you love a good adventure, rapid fire pacing, great characters, and of course the endless creativity of Chuck Wendig, you’ll have a blast with Dinocalypse Now!

**Please visit Kickstarter to find out more about the Dinocalypse Now trilogy! They’re no longer taking donations, but there’s all kinds of great info on when the ebooks will be available for purchase, the cover art, and just about anything else you’d like to ask.Also, be sure to check out the trailer below!
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Interview: Amanda Carlson, author of Blooded

I’m so excited to have Amanda Carlson on the blog today! Amanda is the author of the just-released novella Blooded, and her full length urban fantasy, Full Blooded, will be out in September from Orbit! Amanda was sweet enough to submit to my interrogation, er, interview, so please welcome her to the blog, and be sure to snag Blooded and pre-order your copy of Full Blooded too!

Amanda, in your bio it says that you started writing during high school, and you have the notebooks to prove it. What’s it like to look back over those now, right as your new book is getting ready to come out?
I just got them out the other day to show my kids and it was so surreal! Who knew? I’ve been on a writing journey for years, but never really had an idea of where the road would lead. I am so unbelievably happy it took me here! Writing urban fantasy is a dream come true—and a dream I had no idea was lurking in my brain until a few years ago. I feel like I’ve finally hit my stride and it’s wonderful. Beyond words, it’s wonderful!

How did you celebrate when you found out that Full Blooded would be published? Was there dancing? Cake? Squeeing?
“The Call” was fantastic!! Life changing and thrilling all at once. I think I was in a haze for most of it, wondering if it was really true or not. Then I called my husband! That’s when the craziness began. We were so excited, there was squeeing and ohmigods. It was so wonderful to be able to share it with him. He left work immediately. Then I called my parents and said, “Put Dad on the phone, I have something to tell you both.” And my mom replied, “Oh my God, you’re pregnant!” I laughed so hard I choked. My youngest is eleven. When they found out it was the book, there was relief and jubilation! They brought over food, champagne & my hubby brought home flowers and chocolates. It was a wonderful day—and one I don’t take for granted. I am so very thankful.

Can you tell us a bit about Jessica McClain and Full Blooded?
Jessica was born the only female in an all male race of wolves—but she wasn’t supposed to exist at all, and for that the wolves despise her. In BLOODED, the novella, we get a glimpse of Jessica’s world as she tries to break free from her life on Compound. In FULL BLOODED, the book starts out with a bang. Her life takes a dramatic change, one that will alter her path forever. Things aren’t automatic for Jessica and the reader gets to take the journey with her, which I love so much! She doesn’t ever take things too seriously, which makes her sarcastic and funny. I can’t wait to introduce her to the world!

What are some of your biggest literary influences?
I think each book we read and love teaches us more about the craft. The biggest thing I value in a book is voice. If the voice pops, it’s such a treat to read. Applying the things you love about your favorite books into your own writing is a big key. I’m not talking about the plot or characters or world, I’m talking about do they use adverbs, is the writing linear or does it wander, are they funny, what kind of tags do they use? I’ve learned so much about editing and voice in the last year, and it’s caused me to appreciate voice on a whole new level. Writers who capture it well are so talented.

What’s on your nightstand right now?
I’m reading the lovely Amanda Bonilla’s SHAEDES OF GRAY and Sandy William’s THE SHADOW READER. Amanda & I have recently hooked up as critique partners. I’m also joining the Magic & Mayhem blog, at So I’m getting to know the lovely authors there. I’m so excited!

Have you ever “faked” reading a book, and if so, which one?
LOL, no! In the last year I’ve had very little time to finish any book. When I take time to actually pick up a book and read, I feel like I should be writing—those new deadlines stress you out and mess with your mind. But, ultimately, if I don’t connect with a book I’m reading, I set it down. If asked, I say I haven’t finished it yet—which is the truth.

If you could read one book again for the first time, which one would it be?
It would have to be Harry Potter. I know that’s a relatively pat answer, but the hair on my arms prickle when I remember picking it up for the first time. J.K. Rowling created something, to me, that was so magical and unique—the emotion of it took me by surprise. Every single book was an absolute delight. Watching all my kids read if for the first time, including my youngest last year, brought me so much joy. If you can’t rediscover it for the first time, seeing it through your kids’ eyes was just as good.

When you do manage to find some free time, how do you like to spend it?
In a bubble bath with US Weekly! Seriously, scouting out those rare times when I’m home, but not working, or thinking about working, are rare. I’ve found the only real escape from “myself” is in the tub reading mindless magazines! The tub is the only place my laptop can’t go. If I leave the house, I love the movies or finding a great “foodie” spot with my husband. It also helps that my youngest daughter plays hockey & my oldest daughter downhill skis—going to their games/races this year was a great break.

If you could pack your bags and go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go?
I’d go to Italy. There are a number of places on my “bucket list” including Bora Bora, but if I left tomorrow, I’d take the family to Italy. I’ve always wanted to go—in fact, I’ve never been to Europe! My oldest graduates high school in two years, and experiencing Italy as a family would be divine. It seems like a magical place.

I read that you’ve been very active in writing conferences, organizing book signings, and even writing a column in a local food and wine publication! What advice would you give a struggling writer? Did your experiences with these groups teach you a lot?
KEEP GOING! Finish what you start—and if you’re stuck, find something you like better. Over the years I had a number of unfinished projects that didn’t have my heart. Find what you LOVE to write, not what you THINK you should write. There’s a huge difference. Joining classes, attending workshops, signing up for your local writing chapter is invaluable!! Do it. Make yourself accountable. I teach a workshop called “Finding Your Voice” and I cover all of the sticking points of why we don’t finish something—and then when we do, how to make it better. The key to beautiful writing is in the editing. Most of us can put a story on the page, but what you do with the words is what makes it great. If any of your readers are interested, please check my website. I believe I’m going to be in Lake Mary, FL in October.

Is there any other news of upcoming events or projects that you’d like to share with us?
I’m going to be debuting my novel FULL BLOODED at the Authors After Dark conference in New Orleans in August. I’m so excited for that! I just got back from NYC and there will be some great surprises. If you can’t make it, but you know someone who’s going, you may have a chance to pick up my book for free. Check my website for details as it gets closer.

I had a blast coming here to chat! Thank you, Kristin! Can’t wait to come back.
Keep up with Amanda: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Read my review of Blooded
Snag Blooded: Kindle | Nook
Pre-Order Full Blooded: B&N | Amazon

About Blooded:
Jessica McClain was born the only female in an all male race. The only problem is-she’s no wolf. Called a curse, a witch and the Daughter of Evil by the superstitious wolves, Jessica decides to fight for her freedom, at age nineteen, the only way she can-in the ring.

When she’s brutally attacked right after her fight, is it enough to finally earn her freedom off Compound, or will she be forced to endure the hatred even longer . . .

Review: Blooded (A Jessica McClain novella) by Amanda Carlson

Blooded (Jessica McClain novella) by Amanda Carlson
Orbit/April 11, 2012
Urban Fantasy
Jessica McClain series
Kind thanks to Orbit for providing a review copy

Jessica McClain was born the only female in an all male race. The only problem is-she’s no wolf. Called a curse, a witch and the Daughter of Evil by the superstitious wolves, Jessica decides to fight for her freedom, at age nineteen, the only way she can-in the ring.

When she’s brutally attacked right after her fight, is it enough to finally earn her freedom off Compound, or will she be forced to endure the hatred even longer . . .

Jessica McClain is the daughter of the head of her werewolf Pack, and she’s enthusiastically breaking Pack law by fighting an Alpha wolf who’s been giving her trouble. The problem is, Jessica is female (weres don’t carry the ability to create females, so she’s considered an abomination), and fighting an alpha wolf is really not a good idea, but she’s sick and tired of being picked on. Jessica knows she must fight or leave before things spin out of control. Set to go to the city and enter the police academy, she must convince her father that it’s the best thing for her, but at only 19, that’s not an easy thing to do. Blooded is a great introduction to this brand new series by debut author Amanda Carlson, and Jessica McClain is one tough human girl in a sea of supes that’s determined to hold her own. Ms. Carlson’s writing is tight and her fight scenes are stellar. If you love urban fantasy (and shifters), this is one new series you’ll want to get your hands on!

Purchase Blooded: Kindle | Nook
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Early Review: Alexander Outland: Space Pirate by GJ Koch

Alexander Outland: Space Pirate by GJ Koch
Night Shade Books/June 5th, 2012
Space Opera/Sci-Fi
Kind thanks to Night Shade Books for providing a review copy

Captain Alexander Outland of the Sixty-Nine (short for Space Vessel 3369, of course) is the best pilot in the galaxy. He’s also a pirate, a smuggler, and loved and loathed by women in umpteen solar systems. His crew of strays and misfits includes an engineer of dubious sanity, a deposed planetary governor, an annoyingly unflappable Sexbot copilot, and a slinky weapons chief who stubbornly refuses to give the captain a tumble.

Outland just wants to make a decent living skirting the law, but when an invisible space armada starts cutting into his business, he soon finds himself in hot water with the military, the mob, mad bombers, and an extended family of would-be conquerors. And that’s not counting an occasionally telepathic spy . . . .

Like any sensible scoundrel, he hates heroics. They’re risky and they don’t pay well. But to keep his ship and crew in one piece, and make time with a certain hard-to-get weapons chief, he might just have to make an exception and save the galaxy in spite of himself!

Captain Alexander Napoleon Outland can’t seem to get a break. Along with his crew, he’s out to score some magma when a pirate armada tries to shanghai his ship, the Sixty-Nine. Yes, his ship really is called the Sixty-Nine. Trust me, as you get to know Nap better, this will not surprise you one bit. Forced to land on a planet known for its military and distinct lack in the sense of humor department, Nap and crew find themselves in one sticky situation after another in their attempts to escape the planet and get back to business as usual.

Alexander Outland is told from the point of view of the Captain himself and strikes the perfect tone for a rollicking space opera from the get go. Nap is equal parts Han Solo, Jack Sparrow, and Buck Rogers, with a liberal dash of Spaceballs and Peter Venkman. He can’t resist the ladies, and usually they can’t resist him, which is why he is so puzzled that his weapons chief, Slinkie, is so resistant to his “charms”. However, in spite of his near overwhelming preoccupation with the gorgeous Slinkie, he manages to take care of his crew and inspire an odd sort of loyalty among the strange bunch. I fell in love with Nap from the beginning in spite of his overlarge libido and laughed out loud at his dry wit. There’s plenty of action here, but the real fun (for me) came from the dialogue between Nap and his eccentric crew, including the always cheerful, humanoid Audrey (the ship’s AI in a rockin’ bod). Interstellar spies, a pirate armada with a ridiculous name (trust me on this one), and a memorable (and smelly)trip through the sewer system of Herion are just part of the fun, and I was happy to ride along! Fans of space opera and sci-fi will have a great time with this one, and of course, fans of GJ Koch’s (aka Gini Koch) Kitty Martini series will find lots to love too! Will Nap and his crew escape the pirates and live to plunder another day? Will Nap ever bed the irresistible Slinkie? You’ll have to read it and find out! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Giveaway Winner: Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson

I’ve got my winner for Royal Street for Suzanne Johnson! Thanks again to everyone that entered and for making Suzanne so welcome on the blog!

Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson

Congrats to Jennifer

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