My Bookish Ways

Giveaway Winners: Acquainted With the Night and Shadowlander!

I’ve got 2 giveaway winners to announce today for Acquainted With the Night by Piper Maitland and Shadowlander (ebook) by Theresa Meyers!

Congrats to Na!

Congrats to Kait!

*All winners were chosen using and have been notified. Thanks to everyone that entered!

Review: Rebirth (Aftertime #2) by Sophie Littlefield

Rebirth (Aftertime #2) by Sophie Littlefield
Source: NetGalley
Aftertime Series
Amazon| Barnes and Noble

The end of the world was just the beginning

Civilization has fallen, leaving California an unforgiving, decimated place. But Cass Dollar beat terrible odds to get her missing daughter back—she and Ruthie will be happy.

Yet with the first winter, Cass is reminded that happiness is fleeting in Aftertime. Ruthie retreats into silence.
Flesh—eating Beaters still dominate the landscape. And Smoke, Cass’s lover and strength, departs on a quest for vengeance, one that may end him even if he returns.

The survivalist community Cass has planted roots in is breaking apart, too. Its leader, Dor, implores Cass to help him recover his own lost daughter, taken by the totalitarian Rebuilders. And soon Cass finds herself thrust into the dark heart of an organization promising humanity’s rebirth—at all costs.

Bound to two men blazing divergent paths across a savage land, Cass must overcome the darkness in her wounded heart, or lose those she loves forever.

After rescuing her 3 year old daughter Ruthie, from a twisted convent, Cass Dollar has settled in at The Box, a survivor settlement, with her lover Smoke. Life is still tough, and Beaters still roam the perimeter, but a semblance of normalcy has come back into their lives, and her bond with Smoke, she thinks, gets stronger all the time. Ruthie is still damaged from her ordeal, and will not speak, but she sometimes cries out in the night, and Cass is hopeful that no permanent damage has been done. When Smoke abruptly sets out on a mission of vengeance, without plans to tell Cass, she finds herself seeking the one person that might be able to help, the enigmatic Dor, leader of The Box. His daughter, Sammi, has also been kidnapped by The Rebuilders¸a group that has no problem killing and pillaging to meet their goals. Dor reluctantly agrees to let Cassie and Ruthie come along, and it’s in this journey that the heart of Rebirth lies.

The title of the book can refer to many things. It can illustrate the earth’s efforts to heal itself after massive devastation, or it can also symbolize Cass’ journey to sobriety and the strong and loving mother that she’s become. It can also highlight Cass’ love of the little garden that she’s cultivated in the box, and her loving and patient coaxing of life from the ravaged ground. Any way you look at it, Rebirth is an unflinching look into the lives of Cass and Dor, two people thrown together in an untenable situation, and pushed to their limits and beyond. Plenty happens in Rebirth, but above all, it is a character study of a damaged woman, and her intense love for her little girl. The author’s narrative is unflinching, honest, and brutal, and yes, there are zombies, but it’s the horrible things that humans do to each other that will have you wincing. Rebirth is not for the faint of heart, and is not a light read, but you’ll be hard pressed to find much better writing in the genre, because it’s excellent, on so many levels. I have no idea how Ms. Littlefield does it, because she mines some very, very dark places of the human heart. However, there’s always a glimmer of light at the end, even in the darkest moments, and that’s what I love about this superb series. I thought she brought the awesome in Aftertime, but Rebirth blew me away. I’ll follow Cass and Ruthie anywhere, and if you haven’t discovered this series yet, pick up Aftertime and see why it’s so, so good, on both a literary scale and in the genre as well. Not to be missed!
Read my review of Aftertime

New Releases: Week of Nov. 22nd, 2011

Check out the new releases this week!  Most release Nov 22nd.  Also, Kindle Steals and Deals is back, so be sure to check those out too! Enjoy!

Urban Fantasy/Paranormal/Fantasy/Sci-fi/Horror:
Immortal Rider (Lords of Deliverance) by Larissa Ione
Autumn: Disintegration by David Moody
Hearts of Smoke and Steam (Society of Steam, Book Two) by Andrew Mayer
Lightspeed: Year One by Stephen King, Orson Scott Card, and more
New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird by Neil Gaiman, Cherie Priest, and more
No Rest for the Witches: A Dark Mission Novella by Karina Cooper
Saints Astray by Jacqueline Carey
Somewhere Beneath Those Waves by Sarah Monette
Micro: A Novel by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston
Once Bitten by Stephen Leather
Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations) Michael J. Sullivan

Explosive Eighteen: A Stephanie Plum Novel (Stephanie Plum Novels) by Janet Evanovich
Stirred (Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels Mysteries) by J.A. Konrath and Blake Crouch
Miss Dimple Rallies to the Cause: A Mystery by Mignon F. Ballard
Swift Edge: A Mystery by Laura DiSilverio
Eddie the Kid: A Tale of Eddie Perlmutter (ebook) by Steven M. Forman
Physical Education (Murder 101 Mystery) by Maggie Barbieri
Dead Man’s Grip (Detective Superintendent Roy Grace) by Peter James
Dead Last (Thorn Mysteries) by James W. Hall
Broken Music: A Mystery by Marjorie Eccles
Masters of Mystery: The Strange Friendship of Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini (non-fiction)by Christopher Sandford

Kindle Steals and Deals!
Urban Fantasy/Fantasy/Paranormal/Horror/Sci-fi/Steampunk:
The Hunter (The Legend Chronicles) by Theresa Meyers: $4.61
Silver Shark (Kinsmen Series) by Ilona Andrews: $2.99
Goddess With a Blade by Lauren Dane: $3.82
Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between (Rhiannon’s Law) by J.A. Saare: $4.99
The Renfield Syndrome by J.A. Saare: $4.39
Under Attack (Underworld Detective Agency) by Hannah Jayne: $5.38
Under Wraps (The Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles) by Hannah Jayne: $4.49
Dying Bites: The Bloodhound Files by D.D. Barant: $2.99
Blood Bound (Unbound Novel) by Rachel Vincent: $5.59
Stray (The Shifters) by Rachel Vincent: $5.40 (The entire series is the same price!)
Dark Kiss Of The Reaper by Kristen Painter: $3.99
Miss Bramble and the Leviathan by Kristen Painter: $2.66
The Evil that Befell Sampson (Tale from the Archives) by Pip Ballantine: $.99
Collision Course by Zoe Archer: $3.03
The Blades of the Rose Bundle: Warrior, Scoundrel, Rebel, & Stranger by Zoe Archer: $8.84
Gena Showalter’s Atlantis Series Bundle by Gena Showalter (5 Stories!); $8.84
Lord of the Abyss (Harlequin Nocturne) by Nalini Singh: $3.99
Once Bitten by Stephen Leather: $1.99
For I Have Sinned (A Charley Davidson Story) by Darynda Jones: $.99
Tooth And Nail by Craig DiLouie: $4.79

Young Adult:
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain: $3.99
Pirates! by Celia Rees: $1.99
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: $4.69
The Declaration by Gemma Malley: $2.99
Birthmarked (Birthmarked Trilogy) by Caragh M. O’Brian: $2.99
Unwind by Neal Shusterman: $5.99
Everfound (The Skinjacker Trilogy) by Neal Shusterman: $5.99
Everlost (The Skinjacker Trilogy) by Neal Shusterman: $4.99
Everwild (Skinjacker Trilogy) by Neal Shusterman: $5.99
Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy) by Lauren DeStefano: $5.99
Blood Red Road by Moira Young: $5.99
Possession by Elana Johnson: $5.99
Half-Blood (Covenant) by Jennifer L. Armintrout: $3.99
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder: $6.66

Interview (& Giveaway): Marianne de Pierres, author of the Parrish Plessis series, and more!

I’m so thrilled to have the awesome Marianne de Pierres on the blog today. Marianne is the author of the Parrish Plessis sci-fi series and much more! She was kind enough to answer a few of my questions, and I’m also offering a copy of Nylon Angel (Parrish Plessis #1) to one lucky winner, so be sure to check the details at the end of the post!

Marianne, on your site it says your word journey began when you were only 6 years old! What were some of your favorite authors when you were growing up?
Well my two all-time favourite books from my childhood are The Secret Garden and Charlotte’s Web. My sister read them both to me and I was forever lost to the world of books and imagination.

You’re the author of the Parrish Plessis sci-fi series (one of my faves), the Sentients of Orion series, and also crime under the name Marianne Delacourt! Whew! Then there’s the graphic novels! How do you balance such a busy writing schedule with family life?
It was very hard when my children were little but now the youngest has almost finished school, I have more time. Having said that, I still work to a fairly strict schedule because every afternoon is taken up with sport and family duties. Where there’s a dream there’s a way!

Those of us in the states are missing out on the Sentients of Orion series and your Marianne Delacourt books. Are there plans to release those in the US ?
The Marianne Delacourt books are very Australian in their humour and tone and my agent and I don’t think they would pique the interest of American publishers. It would be nice to think that one day they’ll be released internationally though. The Sentients of Orion though we are taking steps to at least get e-book release in the US. Fingers crossed!

What’s on your nightstand right now?
OMG do you really want to know? OK you asked!

Body Count – PD Martin
Thunderbolts – Warren Ellis (graphic novel)
Stella Rimington – Illegal Action
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Val McDermid – Grave Tattoo
Shamini Flint – A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder
Arrabella Candelabra – A K Wrox
Jonathon Lethem – Chronic City
Nick Harkaway – The Gone Away World
Robert McKee – Story
Lauar Ann Gilman – hard Magic
Michael Dibdin – back to bologna
Beth Revis – Across The Universe
Rachel Caine – Glass Houses
Mia James – Darkness Falls

There are others but I’ll stop now … J

What are 5 sci-fi books that you would recommend if someone were just starting to read in the genre?
Here are some of my favourite SFF novels:

Marooned in Realtime by Vernor Vinge
Ash by Mary Gentle
Divine Endurance by Gwyneth Jones
Flowerdust by Gwyneth Jones
Brasyl by Ian Macdonald
Chaga by Ian Macdonald

When you’re not busy writing, how to you like to spend your downtime?
I love sport and exercise, and always have DVD sets of my favourite TV shows on the go. I can spend a lot of my time dreaming and exercising and hanging with my sons.

Your bio says you used to have some wild times to rival those of Parrish Plessis (that would be pretty wild!)
What’s one of the most daring things you’ve ever done (that you’re willing to admit to?)
Ooooh no … absolutely must remain secret for fear of repercussions! In fact, best forgotten!

What do you love the most about living in Australia, and where would you take a first time visitor?
There’s something very expansive about the Australian psyche; you can be who you want to be here. I also love the Aussie sense of humour, it’s quite anarchistic.

If I wanted to show someone what Australia is truly like, I’d take them to the Pilbara area of Western Australia; red soil, purple flora, a hostile and harsh landscape which is also astoundingly beautiful. You can die there from exposure – it’s the kind of environment that keeps people honest.

Is there any other news of upcoming projects or events that you’d like to share with us?
I have another YA series brewing in the back of my mind. It’s called Emo Traders and is about being able to trade your emotions to visit the “other” side of life. But of course that comes at a cost.
I’m quite excited to write it. I’m also partway through an original SF film script and will continue working on my comic. I love the comic writing and hope to working in that area.
Keep up with Marianne: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

**GIVEAWAY DETAILS (please read carefully)**


About Nylon Angel:
In a world where the rich live behind the safety of a giant fortress wall and everyone else can go to hell, Parrish Plessis has learnt some useful survival tactics. Like don’t cross Jamon Hondo – unless you want to be dead by the morning. But heck, what’s a girl supposed to do when the one chance she may have of escaping from his grubby, stinking paws presents itself? Anyway, it’s hard to be a saint in a city, and Parrish Plessis is sick of doing what she’s told. Tonight, she’s going to take her chance. Because she can’t face tomorrow. NYLON ANGEL is the first Parrish Plessis novel. She will be back. When you’ve met her, you’ll understand why.

Review: Angel Town (Jill Kismet #6) by Lilith Saintcrow

Angel Town (Jill Kismet #6) by Lilith Saintcrow
 Orbit (Hachette/2010)
Source: Purchased
Urban Fantasy
Jill Kismet Series
Amazon| Barnes and Noble

Jill Kismet is back from the grave in this explosive conclusion to Lilith Saintcrow’s urban fantasy series.

She wakes up in her own grave. She doesn’t know who put her there, she doesn’t know where she is, and she has no friends or family.

She only knows two things: She has a job to do: cleansing the night of evil. And she knows her name.

Jill Kismet.

While I was sad that Angel Town was the last book of one of my favorite series¸ Jill Kismet was certainly ushered out in style. Not that I expected anything less. As soon as I finished Heaven’s Spite, I immediately started Angel Town because, well, at the end of Heaven’s Spite, Jill dies. I mean, Ms. Saintcrow really didn’t leave me a choice. I’m not giving anything away since it says right in the cover copy that she’s back from the dead in Angel Town, but I’m really glad I waited until it was out to read Heaven’s. So, Angel Town begins with Jill literally clawing herself out of her grave, and it is a visceral, gritty, violent scene which sets up the rest of the book perfectly, as well as providing Jill with a rebirth of sorts. She doesn’t immediately remember who she is, but a certain blue-eyed man will help her with that (as well as return her gun to her). I’ll admit, I got a kick out of Jill’s trip to WalMart for some jeans and sneakers. Seriously, Jill without her leather coat, boots, silver hair charms, and whip is like a bird without wings, but she manages to make those flimsy sneakers work for a bit, even as she has to kick some hellbreed ass. Poor Jill jumps out of the frying pan and right back into the fire, especially when she finds out her old nemesis Perry may be much more than he seems, and he’s got a diabolical plan in the works, one that could result in the destruction of the world as we know it.

Many times, this series has chewed on my heart and spit it out¸ and Jill did it again in this one. Jill seems to think there is something missing inside of her, but as she fights for the lives of all she holds dear, it’s never so obvious that Jill is the kind of person, the kind of fighter , we should all aspire to be, even if for most of us that doesn’t include a gun and a whip. Her love for Saul, the gentle werecat that won’t leave her side, is heartbreaking in its intensity, and one of my favorite urban fantasy love stories. Angel Town is pretty much non-stop on the action, and the author’s usual talent for building stomach churning menace is on full display. Jill will stop at nothing to stop Perry and she’ll see help from some expected and unexpected places. Angel Town was an amazing finale to one of the best series in urban fantasy!

Giveaway Winners: Hexed by Kevin Hearne and Mirror Maze by Michaele Jordan

Hi gang! I’ve got my winners for Hexed (audiobook) by Kevin Hearne and Mirror Maze by Michaele Jordan!

Congrats to: Magaly Guerrero

Congrats to: Patti P.

*Winners were chosen using and have been notified. Thanks to everyone that entered!

Giveaway: The Black Sun’s Daughter set (4 books) by M.L.N. Hanover!

Hi gang! Thought I’d kick off the holiday week with a giveaway! Up for grabs is all 4 books from The Black Sun’s Daughter series by M.L.N. Hanover! Visit M.L.N.’s website to learn more about the books and be sure to read the giveaway details below. Good luck!

**GIVEAWAY DETAILS (please read carefully)**

  • GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED! Thanks to everyone that entered!

Interview (& Giveaway): Barbara Ashford, author of Spellcast

If you caught my review of Spellcast, you know how much I adored it, so when its author, Barbara Ashford, agreed to answer a few of my questions, I was beyond thrilled! Also up for grabs is a copy of Spellcast to one lucky winner, so be sure to check out the giveaway details at the bottom of the post, and please welcome Barbara to the blog!

Barbara, you have extensive experience in the theatre arts, which of course would explain the subject matter of your first novel, Spellcast, and you also spent some time as a lyricist. What made you decide to take the plunge into writing a full length novel?
Well, I might as well start off with the big “reveal.” Spellcast isn’t my first novel. My first (which was never published) was set in Scotland and combined history, fantasy, and romance. I was groping for a new theatre project when I literally had a dream that led me to write it. It poured out in three months and I’ve been writing fiction ever since.

Later, I wrote an epic trilogy entitled Trickster’s Game, a multi-generational saga set in the Bronze Age. It’s about the struggle of a nature-worshipping society to survive in a changing world and the struggle of one family to survive their dealings with a Trickster god. Those books – Heartwood, Bloodstone, and Foxfire – were published as Barbara Campbell.

It was my editor at DAW who suggested I write a contemporary novel that drew on my theatre background. (As I said in the acknowledgments of Spellcast: “God forbid I think of it!”) And since Spellcast was such a radical shift from what I’d written before, it came out under Barbara Ashford.

What are some of your literary influences?
As a lyricist, I was very influenced by the work of Stephen Sondheim. Don’t think any one novelist influenced me quite that way. But the stories that influenced me most were those with compelling protagonists who make difficult journeys and come through them having learned something about themselves. More than anything else, character draws me into a story.

What are five of your favorite novels?
Anne of Green Gables – Red-haired girl with big imagination. Totally identified with her as a kid.
The Lymond Chronicles – A six-part historical fiction series that captures the twisted politics of sixteenth century Europe and the dark soul of its charismatic and haunted protagonist.
A Prayer for Owen Meany – One of the few books that made we weep.
Cormac McCarthy’s The Road – Ditto. A master class in writing spare prose that is utterly evocative and all the more compelling for its restraint.
Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series – History. Romance. Time travel. Men in kilts. What’s not to love?

What is your most unusual writing quirk?
I “act out” scenes as I write them. I sit on my sofa and improvise the dialogue, speaking in the voices of the different characters. Which may sound nutty, but is more spontaneous than sitting at a computer. And as with any improvisation, the scene often moves in unexpected directions as characters react to each other.

What’s on your nightstand right now?
The Mists of Avalon. When I’m in the final stages of editing a novel, I prefer to reread a familiar book rather than plunge into a new one.

In your bio, it says you met your husband while performing with him in the stage play, Bedroom Farce. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
It’s a comedy that takes place in the bedrooms of three couples, whose evenings – and lives – are disrupted by a fourth couple who are completely oblivious to the havoc they’re wreaking. David and I played the fourth couple, self-absorbed Trevor and neurotic Susannah. We had a wonderful – and very physical – fight scene where I attacked him with a table lamp and we ended up rolling around on the floor. Since I had a crush on him, I loved rehearsing that scene!

What did you love most about stage acting? Did you ever get stage fright?
Just like Maggie in Spellcast, I loved slipping into someone else’s skin – the grown-up version of make believe. And I loved that zing of excitement that comes from performing before a live audience and knowing that if the stage manager forgets to put blanks in the gun you have to fire – or the blood pack you’re wearing under your costume starts to leak twenty minutes before you get shot – or the door flies open during the play No Exit (yes, that all happened to me) – you just have to forge ahead.

I rarely got stage fright. Actually, it was much harder to perform in cabarets because it was just ME up there, not a character.

When you’re not busy at work writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
I wish I could give you something fascinating, but basically it’s reading, going to shows, watching movies, having dinner with friends.

Quick! Name something that makes you laugh out loud?
The opening minutes of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Especially the “autonomous collective” scene.

What’s one of the most daring things you’ve ever done (that you’re willing to admit to?)
I had to appear topless on stage twice. Each time, I was facing upstage (away from the audience), but it was still daunting. You’re dealing with your vulnerability plus the emotional moment in the play plus the very practical need of shedding layers of clothing without bringing the scene to a screeching halt. In The Elephant Man, I was wearing a Victorian costume with a gazillion buttons and ribbons and laces. By contrast, the nurse’s uniform in Tribute was a breeze. The actor playing opposite me in Tribute was very sweet – and very nearsighted. He patted my hand afterward and said, “Frankly, it was all a blur. But I’m sure they’re lovely.”

Is there any advice that you would give to struggling authors?
After you’ve finished that first draft, turn on the editor side of your brain. Does each chapter change the situation for your protagonist? Are you forcing your protagonist to make tough choices that consistently raise the stakes – for her and for the world? Are the events you’ve chosen the best ones to illuminate your character’s inner journey? Are they built on a chain of cause-and-effect rather than lucky coincidences? Editing your work is as vital as creating it.
The sequel to Spellcast, Spellcrossed, is out in June of 2012. Can you give us a bit of a teaser?
The book begins a year after Spellcast concludes. Maggie is now the executive director of the newly non-profit Crossroads Theatre, and we follow her through another summer stock season that features Annie, The Secret Garden, and Into the Woods.

Here’s part of the wonderfully vague snippet I wrote for the back cover: “While Maggie yearns to give others the healing she found at the Crossroads, she recognizes that magic must take a back seat to ticket sales. But magic is hard to banish and the past has a way of coming back to haunt you. And when the tangled spells of the past turn Maggie’s life upside down, it will take more than magic to undo them…”

Is there any news of upcoming projects or events you’d like to share with us?
I have a short story coming out in March in the anthology The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity. About a faery who gives self-improvement seminars to humans. As soon as I’ve wrapped up final edits on Spellcrossed, I hope to take a very deep breath and plunge into the next book in the series. And next summer, I’ll be one of the guest lecturers at the Odyssey Writing Workshop, the six-week program I attended for writers of fantasy, science fiction and horror.
Keep up with Barbara:Website


1. Giveaway is for 1 copy of Spellcast by Barbara Ashford


Review: Heaven’s Spite (Jill Kismet #5) by Lilith Saintcrow

Heaven’s Spite (Jill Kismet #5) by Lilith Saintcrow
 Orbit (Hachette/2010)
Source: Purchased
Urban Fantasy
Jill Kismet Series
Amazon| Barnes and Noble

When a new hellbreed comes calling, playing nice isn’t an option. Jill Kismet has no choice but to seek treacherous allies – Perry, the devil she knows, and Melisande Belisa, the cunning Sorrows temptress whose true loyalties are unknown.

Kismet knows Perry and Belisa are likely playing for the same thing—her soul. It’s just too bad, because she expects to beat them at their own game. Except their game is vengeance.

Nobody plays vengeance like Kismet. But if the revenge she seeks damns her, her enemies might get her soul after all…

Heaven’s Spite opens with a bang, with Jill chasing down a trader that is set to murder his ex-wife. When Jill gets home, she finds her old nemesis, Pericles, menacing her new apprentice and offering up a “gift”. This gift turns out to be a talisman that was taken from her mentor by a Sorrows temptress named Melisande Belisa. Jill has no idea how Perry got ahold of it, but is determined to find out, and she has no trouble roughing up some Hellbreed to get her way. Meanwhile, Jill is called to the scene of a quadruple homicide, and it’s more than obvious that something otherworldly was involved. Jill isn’t quite sure what’s going on, but this case will stretch her to her limits and beyond, and possibly threaten the one person she holds dear.

I’m a HUGE fan of this series, but I waited a while before starting Heaven’s Spite. I’d heard that it has a hell of a cliffhanger ending, and that’s no lie, so I wanted to wait until the final book in the series, Angel Town, was out before starting this one. I’m really, really glad I did. I’m always eager to jump back into Santa Luz and kick some ass with Jill as she hunts down Hellbreed that aren’t behaving themselves. I’ve never been disappointed once in this series, and Heaven’s Spite is no exception. Lilith Saintcrow has created a dark, seriously gritty, and violent cityscape and more often than not, plops her heroine right down in the middle of the action. In Heaven’s Spite, Jill is torn between finding out an explosive secret about her ex-love and mentor and saving her current love, the werecat Saul. Old heartbreak comes bubbling to the surface and just when she thinks she’s out of Perry’s clutches, he sucks her back in. Jill Kismet is what dark urban fantasy is all about. She busts heads, hardly sleeps, hunts Hellbreed with a vengeance, and takes absolutely no prisoners. Underneath the blood and grit though, is a heart that will tolerate no violence against the innocent, and loves Saul with a passion. It’s this passion that carries Jill through all of the horror that she witnesses on a daily basis. I stayed up very, very late with this one and moved right on to Angel Town. If you like your urban fantasy dark and gritty, with a no holds barred heroine that’s not afraid to get dirty, you’ll love Jill Kismet. This series is a must for any urban fantasy library!

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