RhiReading News

Dear readers,

Hi Rhireaders! Check out the latest events in the sidebar! Thanks for visiting, be sure and follow me on social media for MORE awesome content.

Did you drop by to request a review or tour stop? Due to high demand and a very busy schedule, I am currently CLOSED for unsolicited review requests. Thank you for thinking of me though!

I do have promotional openings for October 2017 through February 2018 open so please reach out. Just please drop me an email with a polite request and if I'm interested I will reply.

-- Rhi


• H A P P Y • H A L L O W E E N •

Just wanted to send out wishes for a very happy Halloween to all who visit. This is pretty much my favorite day of the year. Perhaps that's some of where I got my roots as a fan of the paranormal? Personally, I blame Sesame Street. The Count was always my favorite character on the show for some reason. It wasn't until I was older I put it together that he was a vampire and I'd liked them since I was too little to understand the concept. Cemeteries are easier to explain... there's one behind my grandma's house that I used to take walks in with her all the time. It was never a scary place for me, just a place to go visit stones with names on them and leave flowers for strangers. Each little element of what makes a good paranormal story somehow seems to have happy childhood memories behind it for me. It's no wonder that I always loved the excitement of spending an autumn night out crunching through the leaves with my mom, my brother and my friends in search of sweet treats while I pretended to be an angel, a ballerina, a witch, and even Cleopatra.

I've done my best to pass these traditions onto my own child. We've carved our pumpkin and put our decorations up. We've got candy just in case we actually get any Trick or Treaters but now it's time for my family to get ready to do some of the traditional Trickin' and Treatin' ourselves! Have a wicked Hallow's Eve!
-- Rhi


Review: The Wild Sight by Loucinda McGary

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The Wild Sight: An Irish tale of deadly deeds and forbidden love by Loucinda McGary
Paranormal Suspense, Contemporary Romance, Ghosts
Mass Market Paperback (SOURCEBOOKS CASABLANCA, 336 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 1402213948
Sensual romantic suspense set in Ireland featuring a hero with psychic powers.
Cursed with the Irish clairvoyance known as "The Sight," Donovan O'Shea fled to America to escape his "gift." Fifteen years later, his father's illness has forced him to return to the family homestead where years earlier, Donovan's mother disappeared into the fens and was never seen again. Now the same fens are offering up secrets, both ancient and recent, and restoring a terrible legacy that just may drive him mad. And if this were not trouble enough, a beautiful woman walks into his life, claiming to be his half-sister.
Rylie Powell never knew her real father. Her mother would only say he was a charming Irishman who seduced her, married her, and then abandoned her and his baby daughter. But after her mother's death, Rylie finds tantalizing clues about her father that send her off to Northern Ireland and an archeological site on Dermot O'Shea's property, the man listed on her birth certificate as her father.
Did Dermot O'Shea father both Donovan and Rylie?
What is Donovan's connection to the Celtic High King Niall of the Nine Hostages?
And what secrets do the fens hold that invites murder?
Author Site:

Where's my passport? (4 stars)

Rylie is a young woman in search of her identity. After her mother died of cancer six months previous, she decided to try and find the man who had deserted them both when she was just a baby. What very few clues she has about him—her birth certificate and some photos—lead her to Ireland in search of Dermot O'Shea. Dermot, meanwhile, has had a stroke and can no longer handle his own affairs. Though he left years ago to live in America, Donovan O'Shea has come back to help his sister settle his father's business affairs. This involves selling off a piece of property that has been a source of trouble since his childhood. The fens bring upon The Sight, a legendary form of clairvoyance commonly found in women but noted as a Druidic quality as well.

When Rylie comes bursting into Donovan's world looking for her father he's certain that they can't be siblings. Primarily because his father loved his mother but also because he's intensely attracted to the stubborn Californian. As they try to unravel the mystery of her birth father another mystery falls right into their laps. A body has been found out in the fens. It's an old murder come back to haunt the O'Shea family and as Donovan and Rylie unravel the mystery of her father's real identity, Donovan's own lineage comes into question. Twists, turns and murder most foul lead the might-be-siblings on a dangerous adventure through the history of the fens and Ireland's legacy of violence.

Wow. What a book. I was a little skeptical at first. I've seen a few too many cheesy 'American girl in Ireland' stories. But McGary obviously did her research, knew the customs and histories, that put together a story so real it felt exotic. Being an Irish-American I was quite easily lured into the mythology of The Sight and even just the descriptions of the country itself. I felt a bit like a lost tourist with an overly knowledge-able local as a guide.

I hate to say it but I often see the twists before they come and that's always frustrating. With The Wild Sight I was plenty surprised. If you love a good plot twist this has them so seamlessly woven in you won't know them until they hit you upside the head. The dialog could have been an issue but McGary did well in keeping things as clear and concise as possible while still keeping the Irish feel. My only real beef with the book is spoilerific so sorry, I can't share! While I wasn't fully happy with how the story tied up (a few loose ends annoyed me) romance fans will enjoy the HEA factor. If you're looking for loads of paranormal elements this one might not be up your alley, a bit of ghosty goodness and Donovan's clairvoyance were the sum of it. All in all a pretty entertaining read, perfect for one of those late nights when you can't sleep because you'll keep thinking "okay one more chapter then I'm going to sleep" and next thing you know you'll be done!


News: Various Authors

Don't ask me why I felt this was so absolutely newsworthy I had to blog about it...

As I was going through cleaning out some of my links and looking for books to add to my wishlist I popped by Michelle Bardsley's site. Having done a spotlight on her Broken Heart, Oklahoma series this month I was thrilled to see she has two new titles in the series listed! #5 is called Over My Dead Body and #6 is called Come Hell or High Water. She has #5's cover up on her site if you go take a peek!

I also noted that Kelley McCullough, author of the Rivirn series, has listed a new book too. SpellCrash is due out in 2010. If you're not familiar with the series I do highly recommend it. It mixes Greek mythology with modern technology and is just too unique for words.

Gena Showalter had some news regarding her Lords of the Underworld series books noted on her blog... The Darkest Whisper's release date has been moved to September 2009.

Kim Harrison has the cover for White Witch, Black Curse up. I'm loving the green color but I think Rachel's boots look like liquid latex. Rachel Vincent's Prey also has a cover up on her site, I love the leopard print pattern the artist works into the clothing on each cover. I know I've noted them to the gals over at Amazon.com's PNR forum too but the covers for the next two Demonica books from Larissa Ione... wow... lookin' good.

Susan Krinard has a note up on her site regarding the third book in her Fane series, Lord of Legends. She says it should be out in 2009. I still haven't read the first two but they go on and off my wishlist enough I should just buy them already!

Jennifer Ashley (aka Allyson James) had two great newsie tidbits... she's taking part in a Paranormal Christmas anthology from Berkley (due next October) ANNND she's got a new paranormal series coming out in 2010!

Caitlynn Kittredge has her third book in the Nocturne City's info up now. Second Skin has a spooky cover and will be hitting shelves in March 2009.

And that about sums up all the really good stuff I could find in my bookmarked author sites. Everyone seems to be updating their sites and getting news up on their blogs so don't hestitate to go visit the author's sites for yourselves!
-- Rhi

Review: Wolfsbane and Mistletoe (anthology)

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Wolfsbane and Mistletoe edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner
Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Werewolves, Anthology
Hardcover (ACE HARDCOVER, 352 pages, $24.95)
ISBN# 0441016332
New York Times bestselling authors Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Keri Arthur, and Carrie Vaughn—along with eleven other masters of the genre—offer all-new stories on werewolves and the holidays, a fresh variation on the concept that worked so well with birthdays and vampires in Many Bloody Returns.The holidays can bring out the beast in anyone. They are particularly hard for lycanthropes. Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner have harvested the scariest, funniest and saddest werewolf tales by an outstanding pack of authors, best read by the light of a full moon with a silver bullet close at hand.Whether wolfing down a holiday feast (use your imagination) or craving some hair of the dog on New Year’s morning, the werewolves in these frighteningly original stories will surprise, delight, amuse, and scare the pants off readers who love a little wolfsbane with their mistletoe.
***Complete author list: Charlaine Harris, Toni L.P. Kelner, Patricia Briggs, Carrie Vaughn, Donna Andrews, Dana Cameron, Karen Chance, Alan Gordon, Simon Green, JA Konrath, Nancy Pickard, Dana Stabenow, Rob Thurman, & Kat Richardson***
Author Site:

Happy Hair Raising Howl-idays! (5 stars)

A collection of Christmas tales with werewolves as central characters? Count me in. I'm a self-proclaimed Halloween freak. I look forward to it all year. But there's just something appealing about the idea of werewolves and Christmas stirred together. What's next from the clever editors though? They've done vampires and birthdays and now werewolves and Christmas... maybe witches and Valentine's or ghosts and graduations? Whatever Harris and Kelner come up with let's hope they can find authors with contributions as good as most of these turned out to be!

But let me break each short story down for you individually:

[GIFT WRAP] by Charlaine Harris, A Sookie Stackhouse tie-in this short story must take place pretty deep into the series. On the outs with her brother and just having met her great-grandfather she's spending her holiday alone until a hunky injured werewolf pops up on her property. Though rather short and a little anticlimatic it has a cute twist very suitable to Christmas surprises. (I'd also like to note that if you've not read the series and are currently watching True Blood it is a bit spoilery). 4/5 stars

[THE HAIRE OF THE BEAST] by Donna Andrews, When a brother's Christmas wish to become a werewolf gets his sister to translate a magical werewolf spell things get a little hairy. This one surprised me. I didn't really like it at first but I couldn't help but appreciate the hilarious ending. 4/5 stars

[LUCY, AT CHRISTMAS TIME] by Simon R. Green, A Nightside tale of love lost. Most likely the shortest in the book and actually one of my favorites. Highly romantic but tragic. 5/5 stars

[THE NIGHT THINGS CHANGED] by Dana Cameron, Claudia and Gerry are Fangborn, a vampire sister and a werewolf brother. It's their job to protect the world from bad guys but what if one of them turns out to be a fellow Fangborn? This story was okay but didn't really feel like a Christmas tale. It felt like it belonged in a full length novel. 3/5 stars

[THE WEREWOLF BEFORE CHRISTMAS] by Kat Richardson, Matt's been a bad little werewolf and eaten a certain red-nosed member of Santa's team. Where will Santa find a new guide for his sleigh on such short notice? This story has every great element I could have asked for and was the PERFECT story for this anthology. I LOVED it! 5/5 stars

[FRESH MEAT] by Alan Gordan, Sam Lehrmann trains guard dogs but this Christmas Eve he may need some guarding himself. This one will definitely appeal to dog lovers! It was an enjoyable short story that could have happened any time of year but was better for being set at the holiday. 4/5 stars

[IL EST NÉ] by Carrie Vaughn, A Kitty Norville story set before Kitty Takes a Holiday. Spending her Christmas at a Waffle House, Kitty meets a newly turned werewolf with no pack of his own and no idea how to control what he has become. This one really dissappointed me as a Kitty fan. It felt kind of forced and no one questioned she and David's odd behavior considering there was a murderer on the loose. 3/5 stars

[THE PERFECT GIFT] by Dana Stabenow, A family of murderers are brought to justice and a Christmas Eve born man fulfills a prophecy. This story had nothing to do with Christmas and was an overall dissappointment. 1/5 stars

[CHRISTMAS PAST] by Keri Arthur, A Christmas-time murder investigation brings exes back together. Just the sort of story the PNR fans are looking for, hunky hero, sassy heroine, sexual tension and a happy ending. 3/5 stars

[SA] by J. A. Konrath, Robert Weston Smith has been having... tummy trouble. Could his bowel troubles be explained by lycanthropy? And what does the Salvation Army have to do with it all? I don't think I've laughed so hard reading a werewolf story... ever! This definitely isn't for everyone, bring a very irreverent sense of humor and enjoy. 5/5 stars

[THE STAR OF DAVID] by Patricia Briggs, Can a father and daughter divided by his werewolf mistakes be brought together to save a young man's life and for a Christmas celebration? Is it so terrible of me to say that I liked this one better than Cry Wolf? I also loved the fact that Stella and her father were noted as not being caucasian which we just don't see often enough in urban fantasy! 4/5 stars

[YOU'D BETTER NOT PYOUT] by Nancy Pickard, Another Santa Claus tale with a wicked paranormal twist. Pretty funny and entertaining but hard to love after Richardson's better contribution. 3/5 stars

[ROGUE ELEMENTS] by Karen Chance, Set in the same realm as her Cassie Palmer and Dorina Basarab series, this holiday story centers around the Silver Circle and the werewolf clans. There wasn't a Christmas element to this one either really which was, yet again, problematic for me. I normally very much like Chance's work but this one didn't win me. 2/5 stars

[MILK AND COOKIES] by Rob Thurman, A story somewhat akin to the classic holiday film A Christmas Story. A big brother had to not only protect his sister from the school bully, but give her the perfect Christmas too. So cleverly crafted and subtle it was delicious, like my grandma's traditional "Snowball" cookies (Russian Tea Cakes) I devoured this one with childish delight. 5/5 stars

[KEEPING WATCH OVER HIS FLOCK] by Tony L. P. Kelner, Bringing Christmas back to its Christian roots this is a tale of a young werewolf and the family that has adopted him. When he breaks the rules and goes running in the woods he proves that perhaps the wolf is the most noble animal of all. This was absolutely touching and next to the melancholy offering from Simon R. Green it ended up being my favorite. 5/5 stars

Overall there were a few duds as far as my taste goes. When I bought the anthology I expected strong Christmas themes in them and was admittedly not happy to find that some were set around the holiday and didn't have a lot to do with it. But to anyone looking for a great holiday gift for a werewolf fan this IS perfect. And as an aside... there wasn't really any sex that I recall so it would be an appropriate read for even some teens. Now someone tell the editors I want a volume two for next Christmas!!!


Interview: Cheryl Brooks, author of The Cat Star Chronicles

As you all know by now, when I find a new series of books I LOVE I have to tell everyone about them! Sometimes that can be a little tricky because I have fairly... well... random taste. I wish I could say 'diverse' but a few of you out there would give me a hard time since I primarily read PNR & UF.

When Slave, the first book in the Cat Star Chronicles, popped up on Amazon.com as a coverless book with no product description save for the series title and the book's name I was intrigued. I added it to my wishlist and kept checking the listing for the scoop. When I finally got my hands on it I read it in two nights which is very quick for me! I blushed through some of the graphic descriptions and giggled at the crazy predicaments and when I finished the book all I wanted was MORE!

But I know this is not the series for everyone. You have to appreciate the series for all of it's elements because in my humble opinion it is brilliantly crafted in a way that you get a wide mix of themes. As a huge fan of Star Wars I couldn't help but see a little Han Solo in Jacinth and being the owner of two spoiled kitties I have really enjoyed the feline qualities of Cat and Leo. Don't tell my mother but I like a little light hentai once in a while and the unique erotic elements of this series reminded me so much of some hentai that I could almost picture Slave as a manga.

Anyway... all that to say that I think everyone should give this series a try, it has a little something for everyone... the romance fan, the sci-fi fan, the shapeshifter/anthro fan, the erotica fan.

Now... I happened to be really fortunate and despite my utter lack of experience—let alone any finesse—was given the opportunity to interview the author of this terrific new series- Cheryl Brooks. She was both wonderfully gracious to me by giving me her time and she tolerated me having a totally star-struck fangasm. Ms. Brooks you are a saint, please keep writing wonderful books for me to read!

Any typos or terrible interview questions are completely my fault. I was a virgin interviewer and trying really hard not to ask all of the spoilerific things that came to mind. Please enjoy! -- Rhi
• • •

Interview with Cheryl Brooks
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author of The Cat Star Chronicles

The Cat Star Chronicles blend elements of science fiction, fantasy and romance with a strong thread of erotica. That could have been a very risky combination to put together. Can you tell us a bit about the birth of this series?
I can't say that I started right off writing this kind of novel. It was a growth process. I began a long time ago with some fairly typical romance novels that weren't quite so erotic, but did have a touch of fantasy. Then I didn't write anything for several years, but got started up again in 2004. Since then, I've written about twenty or so, and worked on writing the erotic aspect—and losing any inhibitions I might have had! I was writing the sort of book I wanted to read, but they weren't science fiction. Then I got the idea for Slave from reading another novel about a female slave and thought it would be so much better if the slave was a guy!
What challenges have you met trying to find the balance between the adventure of a space opera, the spice of erotica and the timeless happily-ever-after of traditional romance?
Perhaps the biggest challenge in writing this sort of novel was that most of my friends are not science fiction fans. My best friend didn't read Slave until it was in print, but had read just about everything else! The rest of my hospital “critique group” had read it and liked it, but until Suzie took it to the Florida Keys with her and lay on the beach to read it—and liked it!—I wasn't sure how it would go! I have to have that erotic element or I feel like something is missing in a love story, but it's hard to avoid being to technical in a love scene when you're trying to describe what's happening in graphic detail. I have to remember to include the mental aspects and not focus so much on the physical. As far as the happily-ever-after goes, without that, it's not really a romance, and without the romance, what's the point?

With roots in fantasy, sci-fi and romance, what are some of your favorite stories (books, films, etc.) that fall into these genres?
I love Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Star Wars, and one of my favorite TV shows of all time was Farscape. If you've seen Farscape, you might notice elements of John Crichton in Jacinth, the heroine in Slave. She's a combination of him and Han Solo, with a little touch of Captain Jack Sparrow thrown in—along with a healthy dose of me.
Slave was Jacinth and Cat's story. It explored the roles men and women play both in their relationships with one another and within society. You haven't revealed a lot about Zetithian culture in the series yet, can you tell us a little bit more about them?
The Zetithian culture was disrupted by the war that ultimately destroyed their world. It was a peaceful society, and I see it as being more agrarian than industrial, with the men of the series being soldiers by necessity rather than choice. More of this will come out in subsequent books.
Your latest book, Warrior, hit the shelves on October 1st. What makes Tisana and Leo's story different from the story of Jacinth and Cat?
First of all, if you're expecting another romp across the galaxy, you won't find that in Warrior. It is set on one world and has more of a medieval feel to it. That's the nice thing about science fiction: different planets can have very divergent cultures, and yet there can still be space travel and contact with alien species. Another big difference is the contrast between Jacinth and Tisana. Jack is a woman living a more masculine role, but Tisana is more feminine. Though she is still a strong character, Tisana doesn't share Jacinth's fascination with ancient swear words!
When you're not busy writing, you're a critical care nurse. How did your experience in the medical field help frame Tisana's healing abilities?
Well, obviously the CPR sequence in Warrior comes directly from that line of work, but the herbal medicine comes from my own interest in a more natural form of healing. I grow herbs and dabble a bit in medicinal teas, etc.
I'm sure many of your readers know you're an animal lover. The Zetithians have distinctly feline physical attributes that separate them from Humans. What made you choose cats as your inspiration for the race?
I liked the idea of a man who could purr, and the other feline characteristics naturally followed. However, it's no secret that the eyebrows and ears came directly from the Vulcans of Star Trek—I fell for Mr. Spock a VERY long time ago!
One of the great draws to your series is the strong storytelling through the first person narrative. In what ways are you like your heroines and how do you differ?
It's interesting that you should find the first person narrative a draw, because many have disliked it for that very reason! Some of my favorite novels were written in first person, but apparently, it's a romance genre no-no! Many readers want to know what goes on inside the man's head, which is certainly NOT the way we normally experience the world! Men have a completely different thought process than women, and anytime I think I know what my husband is thinking, I'm wrong! I am very much like my heroines in terms of their insecurities, and in some of their strengths, but Jacinth is much more gutsy than I am. Tisana is more like me, I think. Beginning with Lover, my books will be written in third person. I'm finding that I have a little more freedom since the entire story doesn't have to be seen through one pair of eyes, but it's a very different style.
Creating the perfect hero seems like it would be an easy task since we women tend to know what we like in a man. What's your secret to building great chemistry in a coupling?
That's harder than it sounds because when you're writing for a larger audience, you have to take into consideration that all women do not like the same kind of man. I don't care for the macho alpha male type, I like mine with a gentler spirit and a good sense of humor. My Zetithians are strong, capable men, but they are not arrogant or belligerent, which are traits that a good many romance heroes seem to have. I wanted my men to be more likable just as they were; not someone who had to be changed before you could fall in love with them. If I have any secret, it's that my Zetithians are as lovable as my cat!
With many paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels being optioned by film and television studios your fans want to know... what actors (alive or deceased) would you love to see in the roles of your characters?
I think I'd have to go with unknowns, because if there are any out there who could play these roles, I haven't seen them yet. I'm not sure my books could ever be made into films because there's too much emphasis on male nudity. You can take women's clothes off completely and still be rated R, but full-frontal aroused male nudity will get you an X!
There is a certain irreverence and humor to your stories, is it important as a writer not to take yourself or your writing too seriously?
I love to laugh, and I love to make other people laugh. I don't want to read a book that brings me down; I want enjoyment out of what I read. Romantic comedies are my favorite movies, and if I can't chuckle at least occasionally while I read or watch a movie, I feel shortchanged. Some people who read Slave weren't sure I meant it to be funny, and I think the reason for that is that a lot of romance novels are so dead serious that they were sure it was a mistake! It was not! It was supposed to make you smile! I think we all take ourselves and our lives too seriously. I see enough death and dying in my other profession, and, trust me, nurses can find humor in situations that would astonish you!
Many of your love scenes and sexual situations are very erotic and quite unconventional (ie. public locations, with audiences present). Does this make writing them more difficult?
Not really, because it's still the people focusing on each other, rather than anyone else that might be nearby.
Slave and Warrior are currently on shelves and the third in the series, Rogue, comes out in March of 2009. Sourcebooks has already signed you for three more novels in this series. What can you tell us about what is to come?
Rogue is the tale of two brothers who are the pampered pets of a queen—until the piano teacher from Earth shows up! After that comes Lover, which is completely different from the others. Lynx has been a slave in a harem, and the women there have literally worn him out and turned him against women entirely! It's up to Bonnie to change that. Then comes Fugitive: Manx has never been a slave, but he's been on the run for a very long time. Drusilla is a painter who comes to the planet he's been hiding out on, and one whiff of her has him throwing caution to the wind! In Hero, a female Zetithian and Trag (the other brother in Rogue) will finally track down those responsible for the war on Zetith and bring him to justice.
When The Cat Star Chronicles conclude, will we be seeing a new series in the future?
I have a lot of contemporary romances that I'd like to see published at some point, but I have no series in mind after this one ends. I've been told that a series can go on indefinitely, but I think six books are enough!
Thank you for sharing your wit and wisdom with us, but before we close, can you offer any sage advice to aspiring writers?
Grow a really tough hide before you start submitting your work. Some people will love what you write, and you'll get an agent or a publisher, but most will reject you, and some won't be very nice about it. After you sell, what was once a solo project becomes a group effort which is something I find very hard to deal with! Once you are published, enthusiastic readers will email you, or maybe even write a nice review. Those that hate it will post it on Amazon!
My thanks to Rhianna for asking for this interview, and for such terrific questions! They really made me think!


• • •

There she is guys, answering all of my really over-thought and random questions. I hope you all enjoyed getting to know more about the series and Cheryl herself. I definitely enjoyed reading her answers even if it only made me more anxious for the next book! If you would like to know more about The Cat Star Chronicles please visit Cheryl at her website, http://www.cherylbrooksonline.com/, her blog http://wickedlyromantic.blogspot.com/ or at Sourcebooks Casablanca's author blog http://casablancaauthors.blogspot.com/.

And... don't forget to pick up your copy of Warrior, the second book in The Cat Star Chronicles.

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Warrior (The Cat Star Chronicles #2) by Cheryl Brooks
Paranormal Romance, Sci-fi Romance
Mass Market Paperback (CASABLANCA PR, 321 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 1402214405
Tisana is a witch on the planet Utopia, but Utopia isn't a paradise for everyone. When her former lover brings Leo, a half-dead Zetithian slave, to Tisana for treatment, a sizzling romance ensues, culminating in a dangerous adventure. Will Tisana get to keep her lover and find a way to escape her own fate?


Review: Sea Witch by Virginia Kantra

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Sea Witch (Children of the Sea #1) by Virginia Kantra
Paranormal Romance, Selkies
Mass Market Paperback (BERKLEY, 304 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0425221997
Released: July 2008
Margred is a Selkie—a legendary being of the sea, able to shapeshift into seductive human form. And she has found a human she desires...Burned out from the big city, Caleb Hunter becomes police chief on the peaceful Maine island of World’s End. Then he meets a woman who’s everything he’s ever dreamed of…Their passion is undeniable, irresistible—and it may change the fate of humankind.
Author Site: http://virginiakantra.com/

Red sky at night, sailor's delight... (4 stars)

When Margred, a lust-driven Selkie, seeks a human's touch upon land, the last thing she anticipates is becoming trapped in her human form. Caleb Hunter is a man with a past and then some. A veteran of the war in Iraq he has returned to Maine injured both physically and emotionally. Returning to his childhood home on the Maine island of World's End life is simpler, quieter. Until Magred shows up and seduces him with her exotic beauty and mysterious manner. She promises to return to him knowing full well she will not for she is Selkie and that is not their way. When she does return, strangely drawn back to Caleb, tragedy strikes and she must lie to Caleb in order to protect him.

When another Selkie turns up dead the plot thickens and Magred can't keep her secrets any longer. There's a demon loose in World's End and he's trying to make war between the elements of land and sea, earth and water. Trapped on land Magred must do whatever is within her power to stop the demon before he does anymore damage or kills the man she has just realized she loves. But when all is said and done can she ever return to the sea?

I'm normally a vampires and shapeshifters kind of gal, but over the summer I had a real desire to find a good mermaid or other water creature series. Thanks to some nice gals around Amazon.com's paranormal romance forum I decided I wanted to give Kantra's Children of the Sea a try. Caleb was a great hero, I thought he was a little stereotypical at first but he really grew on me. His desire for a simple, happy life were believable, not cheesy. Magred was a tougher sell. I struggled to like her and found her sudden realization of love a bit forced. I think her Selkie personality would have made a great character in a non-romance story.

Kantra did a great job of setting up a simple mythos for the series and brought in the hero for her second book and the heroine for her third seamlessly. I loved the isolated Maine setting but really hope to see more of the Selkie's world later in the series. The love scenes between Caleb and Magred were tasteful and not overly graphic, leaving something to the imagination which is what I prefer most of the time. The overall plot of Sea Witch ended a little too easily in my opinion but left no annoying cliff-hangers either. All in all I think this is the start of a very promising and very original series.

Vocabulary Is Fun

When I was a kid I loved spelling. I mean, obviously I enjoyed reading and writing, but I had a real passion for words. I loved to look new ones up and learn how they were spelled, what they meant and their origins. Fortunately I never felt the need to share this odd obsession with anyone or I might have had a few less friends and taken a lot more flack.

I still enjoy learning new words or getting reacquainted with ones I haven't heard used in a very long time. I keep a pen and some form of paper (often those annoying magazine subscription cards that fall out) near my bed so I can write them down for a look-up when I am not in the middle of something intense. Once my list fills up, or at least gets big enough I start worrying I won't be able to learn them all, I sit down with my list and my buddies Merriam and Webster.

I am sure most of you readers out there won'y find this post particularly useful or interesting but I thought I would share my most recent list of words I HAD to know! - Rhi

non sequitur




Review: Because Your Vampire Said So by Michele Bardsley

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Because Your Vampire Said So (Broken Heart, Oklahoma #3) by Michele Bardsley
Paranormal Romance, Vampires
Mass Market Paperback (SIGNET ECLIPSE, 320 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 0451223861

Released: May 2008 (Reviewed: May 2008)
When you’re immortal, being a mom won’t kill you— it will only make you strongerEven though all the non-vamps in Broken Heart, Oklahoma, skipped town, Patsy Donahue has kept her hair salon up and running thanks to the werewolves prowling around. They know how important good grooming is, especially a certain rogue shapeshifter who’s as sexy as he is deadly. Now, if only she could put a leash on her wild teenage son, who’s up to his neck in danger. The stress would kill Patsy, if she wasn’t already undead. But her maternal instinct is still alive and kicking. And no one had better mess with her own flesh and blood…

Author Site: http://www.michelebardsley.net/

Broken Heart, Oklahoma, come for the PTA meetings! (4 stars)

Before I say anything more, let me stress that this book can't stand alone. If you haven't read the previous books not only will this one make very little sense but you'll be missing out on the better books in the series thus far.

Introduced to us in I'm The Vampire, That's Why, our heroine, Patsy, was brought in as a 40-year-old single mom running her own hair salon. Because Your Vampire Said So brings Patsy back in her very own story, still doing hair and trying to be a good mom to her son Wilson, despite the fact she's now undead. No-nonsense and very tell-it-like-it-is Patsy tells us her adventure with a bold voice which the author pulls off nicely. It's rare to find a first person narrative with this much slang and sass that isn't horrific.

Patsy's love life heats up when a mysterious werewolf drops into her world and saves her life. Only trouble is, he's not the guardian she was told was coming to protect her. Meanwhile, the Consortium has brought in the Ancients to Broken Heart, setting a trap for Kosche and his villains. It is through the originator of Patsy's bloodline that she learns she can talk to the dead and raise what essentially amounts to a zombie army. Not the coolest powers in Patsy's opinion but once she's learned to use them they come in handy. As it turns out, Patsy's sexy werewolf savior, Gabriel, and his motley band of parakind are outcasts seeking the woman prophesied to be their Queen and Gabriel's lover. But there's a lot more to Gabriel is no ordinary werewolf just as Patsy's no ordinary hair-dresser.

I wanted to give this book three stars. I am a slow reader but I read this in a day, it was pretty short. I expected it to be light reading but not that light. It also felt rushed and the romance between Gabriel and Patsy seemed more like a case of lust on her part and him believing in a prophesy. It was just a little forced and quick for my taste. That could have been excusable if the story itself didn't suffer from the same problem. Even still this was a fun book, a cute read and I love Bardsley's style and the world building she has done for this clever series.


Review: Don't Talk Back To Your Vampire by Michele Bardsley

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Don't Talk Back To Your Vampire (Broken Heart, Oklahoma #2) by Michele Bardsley
Paranormal Romance, Vampires
Mass Market Paperback (SIGNET ECLIPSE, 352 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 0451221702
Released: July 2007 (Reviewed: March 2008)
Being a mother is never easy-especially when you're undead. Eva LeRoy, Broken Heart, Oklahoma's librarian, got "vampified" when everyone else did: during a rogue vampire's feeding frenzy. But books still make her undead heart beat-and, strangely enough, so does Lorcan the Loner, the vampire who killed her...
Author Site:

The Lycan Whisperer Gets Lucky (5 stars)

What kind of book do you get when you mix the chick-lit sass of a soccer mom with the urban fantasy cool of a vampire clan?

A really clever book, that's what. As if Evangeline (Eva) LeRoy didn't have her hands full already with her teenage daughter and running Broken Heart, Oklahoma's library, she's been vampified. Stuck on a liquid diet and with a new 'hot mama' make-over courtesy of Jess from the first book, Eva's life has certainly done a 180. Ever since she was turned critters of all kinds flock to her like she's some sort of magnet for animals. From squirrels and deer to the elusive black wolf who won't get close enough she can touch him she's discovering she has a new power, the power to communicate with and command shifters.

This new power comes in very handy with the Wraiths letting loose vampires they've tried to cure of the taint. Though lycanthrope blood worked for Lorcan, the vampire who killed the eleven vampires created in book one, it hasn't worked for these twisted hybrids. But who is behind it all and what do they want with Lorcan and Eva?

Though focused much more on the events involving the Consortium and the Wraiths, fear not my dear romance readers, there's plenty of sensual tension and chemistry between Eva and Lorcan. You'll learn more about the Ancients, werewolves and Johnny Angelo & his evil cat Lucifer this time too! I really enjoyed Eva as the single mom raising a teenaged daughter, between wondering about her daughter's vampire slayer boyfriend and trying to tell her potential suitors there's only one guy she's interested in.

This is a paranormal with real heart and while lighter, fluffier reading than the heavy-weights of the genre this series is going onto my favorites shelf with the first book of this excellent series.

Review: I'm the Vampire, That's Why by Michele Bardsley

I'm the Vampire, That's Why (Broken Heart, Oklahoma #1) by Michele Bardsley
Paranormal Romance, Vampires
Mass Market Paperback (SIGNET, 352 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 0451219376

Released: September 2006 (Reviewed: March 2008)
There's a new breed of soccer mom in town-with fangs. Does drinking blood make me a bad mother? That's the question single mom Jessica Matthews faces when she wakes from a savage attack sucking on the thigh of Patrick O'Halloran, a super-hot Irish vampire who'd generously offered his femoral artery to save her from death...only to make her one of the undead. Jessica can't rest until the beast that did this to her is caught. Meanwhile, she's having trouble committing to Patrick (in the vampire handbook, physical intimacy costs you several hundred years of being bound together) and keeping her kids in line.

Author Site: http://www.michelebardsley.net/

Putting the Paranormal in PTA (5 stars)

What kind of book do you get when you mix the chick-lit sass of a soccer mom with the urban fantasy cool of a vampire clan? A really clever book, that's what.

Jessica Matthews is like any other homemaking mom when she and ten of her fellow residents of Broken Heart, Oklahoma wake up dead. Or rather-- undead. Whoops. Jess and her friends have been accidentally noshed on by a vampire being treated for an illness spreading amongst vampire kind known as the Taint. Lucky for the PTA they couldn't catch the disease as humans and a group of parakind known as the Consortium has brought them all back to life (or unlife) as vamps. How can the PTA raise kids when they drop dead asleep every morning and don't rise until dark? And what does this mean for their sex lives?

In Jessica's case this means she has to choose between her kids and the hot Irish stud who sired her. Or does it? You're just gonna have to read the book to find out.

Although lacking in the darker undertones of a good urban fantasy, I'm the Vampire, That's Why is a sexy and witty novel filled with all the elements of good fluffy fiction. If you prefer your paranormal romances to be darker, angstier and more serious you might not enjoy this book. But if you like to mix it up now and again with a light-hearted and more comedic story this is a standout for the genre. I didn't fall in love with our hero and heroine so much as the outside players from the German werewolf guardians and the dreamy actor Johnny Angelo (you'll love the James Dean clone) to Jessica's typical kids and her small town friends.

This is a paranormal with real heart and while lighter, fluffier reading than the heavy-weights of the genre this series is going onto my favorites shelf.

Spotlight: Broken Heart, Oklahoma

I've loved vampires and werewolves since I was little. I've dressed as an angel and a witch for Halloween. I've always been drawn to cemeteries and loved pagan mythologies. I like my fiction to be gritty, dark and intense. It's one of the reasons I can't always bring myself to read romances... I don't like happily ever afters! Maybe I'm a little jaded by the world we live in but sometimes I want the bad guy to win or the hero and heroine to realize that when the passion of the adventure is over settling down in the suburbs is going to ruin the relationship. Give me angst! Give me chills! Give me tormented heroes and badass heroines! But even with all that... sometimes I need something a little light, kinda fluffy and with lots of laughs. A little dessert with my entree!

Enter Michele Bardsley's Broken Heart, Oklahoma series. (Visit Bardsley's site for information on her other series: http://www.michelebardsley.net/)

I thought the concept of a small town's PTA getting turned into vampires was just too irreverent to pass up. Sometimes vampires just take themselves too seriously. While it isn't my usual faire and I don't delve into the fluff often this has become one of my favorite paranormal romance series. It might not be for everyone, with its unconventional heroines and setting but if you're looking for a good chuckle and a quick read I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. -- Rhi

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I'm the Vampire, That's Why #1
Paperback (SIGNET, 352 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 0451219376
There's a new breed of soccer mom in town-with fangs. Does drinking blood make me a bad mother? That's the question single mom Jessica Matthews faces when she wakes from a savage attack sucking on the thigh of Patrick O'Halloran, a super-hot Irish vampire who'd generously offered his femoral artery to save her from death...only to make her one of the undead. Jessica can't rest until the beast that did this to her is caught. Meanwhile, she's having trouble committing to Patrick (in the vampire handbook, physical intimacy costs you several hundred years of being bound together) and keeping her kids in line.

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Don't Talk Back To Your Vampire #2
Paperback (SIGNET ECLIPSE, 352 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 0451221702
Being a mother is never easy-especially when you're undead. Eva LeRoy, Broken Heart, Oklahoma's librarian, got "vampified" when everyone else did: during a rogue vampire's feeding frenzy. But books still make her undead heart beat-and, strangely enough, so does Lorcan the Loner, the vampire who killed her...

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Because Your Vampire Said So #3
Paperback (SIGNET ECLIPSE, 320 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 0451223861
When you’re immortal, being a mom won’t kill you— it will only make you strongerEven though all the non-vamps in Broken Heart, Oklahoma, skipped town, Patsy Donahue has kept her hair salon up and running thanks to the werewolves prowling around. They know how important good grooming is, especially a certain rogue shapeshifter who’s as sexy as he is deadly. Now, if only she could put a leash on her wild teenage son, who’s up to his neck in danger. The stress would kill Patsy, if she wasn’t already undead. But her maternal instinct is still alive and kicking. And no one had better mess with her own flesh and blood…

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Wait Until Your Vampire Gets Home #4
Paperback (SIGNET, 320 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 0451225503
Undead fathers really do know best...To prove her journalistic chops, Libby Monroe ends up in Broken Heart, Oklahoma, chasing down bizarre rumors of strange goings-on—and finding vampires, lycanthropes, and zombies. She never expects to fall in lust with one of them, but vampire/single dad Ralph Genessa is too irresistible. Only the town is being torn in two by a war between the undead—and Libby may be the only thing that can hold Broken Heart together…


Review: Warrior by Cheryl Brooks

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Warrior (The Cat Star Chronicles #2) by Cheryl Brooks
Paranormal Romance, Sci-fi Romance
Mass Market Paperback (CASABLANCA PR, 321 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 1402214405
Tisana is a witch on the planet Utopia, but Utopia isn't a paradise for everyone. When her former lover brings Leo, a half-dead Zetithian slave, to Tisana for treatment, a sizzling romance ensues, culminating in a dangerous adventure. Will Tisana get to keep her lover and find a way to escape her own fate?
Author Site:

Almost Purr-fect Romantica (5 stars)

Like its predecessor, Warrior is not the book for every romance reader. And it is definitely not the book for most sci-fi/paranormal/fantasy readers. Warrior mixes some of the best elements of fantasy romance and sci-fi erotica. You've been warned.

Tisana is a witch, practicing her healing on the backwater planet of Utopia. The peaceful image one would expect of a world called Utopia isn't quite what you get. This is a planet where lords run what is essentially a feudal system and slavery is an acceptable practice. Tisana has never approved of slavery and when Rafe, her former lover, drops his new slave off for her to heal she isn't adverse to letting him escape so long as he has somewhere to run to.

Unfortunately, Leccarian--or rather, Leo, as she calls him--is a Zetithian. If you've read the first book in the series, Slave, you'll know why this means he has no where to go. If you haven't read Slave you could probably enjoy this book as a stand-alone but I think they should be read in order or you're missing out on a great story. But back to Leo... With no where to run to Leo stays with Tisana, healing not just from her potions and remedies but also from the pleasures they share.

When Rafe returns to fetch his slave Tisana has her own reasons for wanting to keep Leo. But Rafe needs them both! His children have been kidnapped and only Leo and Tisana can track their captors. The adventure that ensues is humorous and action-packed. But how will their journey end? Will Tisana find a way to convince Rafe to sell Leo to her?

I must admit this one didn't work as well for me as Slave did. I enjoyed it as a fantasy story but all of the mind-to-mind dialog between Tisana and her animal friends got on my nerves about halfway through the book. At one point I began to think of Disney movies like Snow White or Enchanted where the princesses talk to their animal friends all the time. I especially found the times when she spoke to the animals while engaged in sexual situations to be a little off-putting.

Leo was cute but seemed almost a sweeter version of Cat from the previous book and Tisana was kind of an air-head in comparison to the fiery Jacinth. Even still where Slave was a little too sci-fi for some readers this one might be just the right amount of fantasy to win new ones over to the series. I usually don't read the previews of the next book in the back but I have enjoyed the unique flavor of this one so much I had to see if Rogue was going to be as good and it certainly looks tantalizing. If you're looking for romantica at its finest but with a sci-fi/fantasy twist you can't go wrong with this series!


Review: Slave by Cheryl Brooks

Greetings and happy hump day readers! This week I am working on the second book in the Cat Star Chronicles, Warrior. About a year ago the first book in the series, Slave, popped up on my recommendations list on Amazon.com. I had no idea what it was about and at the time it didn't even have a cover but I wishlisted it and watched for it with much anticipation. The cover, of course, was one of those really chesty ones which normally turn my ears red but when the premise was added I knew I was going to either really love or really hate the series. I am a little bit of a slow reader at times but I burned through it in a couple of days. The book got a lot of mixed reviews, people either loved it or hated it just as I had expected. I LOVED it. Couldn't wait for Warrior to come out! I figured since I am going to be burning through it in what little spare time I have this week I'd post my review for Slave today. Enjoy! -- Rhi

Slave (The Cat Star Chronicles #1) by Cheryl Brooks
Paranormal Romance, Sci-fi Romance
Paperback (SOURCEBOOK CASABLANCA, 320 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 1402211929
Released: April 2008 (Reviewed: June 2008)
"I found him in the slave market on Orpheseus Prime, and even on such a god-forsaken planet as that one, their treatment of him seemed extreme." He may be the last of a species whose sexual talents were the envy of the galaxy.Cat is an enslaved warrior from a race with a feline gene that gives him awesome beauty, fearsome strength, and sensuality and sexual prowess unmatched by any other males in the universe. Even filthy, chained, and beaten, he gives off an aura of power and virility and his feline gene gives him a special aura.Jacinth is an intergalactic trader on a rescue mission and she needs a man she can trust with her life.She has spent years pursuing her kidnapped sister from planet to planet. Now her quest leads her to a place where all the women are slaves. "Jack" needs a slave of her own-one who can masquerade as her master.Enmeshed in a tangle of deception, lust, and love, they must elude a race of violent killers and together forge a bond stronger than any chains.
Author Site: http://www.cherylbrooksonline.com/

Romantica done Star Wars style. (5 stars)

Slave is definitely not the book for every romance reader. And it is definitely not the book for most sci-fi readers. Slave is the kind of book you get when you have a rabid Star Wars fanatic with a runaway imagination and a taste for erotica. You've been warned.

Jacinth, better known as Captain Jack, is in the market for a slave. Not just any slave will do. She needs a man, one who can clean up nice enough to pass as her master and not stab her in the back. Six years ago, Jack's sister Ranata was kidnapped and sold into slavery by Nedwuts. Naturally, Jacinth is doing everything in her power to hunt down her sister and free her. But as it turns out Ranata is currently enslaved on Statzeel, a planet where all females are slaves to the males. The only way to get close to her sister and hopefully rescue her is to put on a collar and chain herself to a man she can trust not to put her in the same boat as her sibling. When Jacinth finds Cat--as she quickly nicknames him--in the slave market, he's naked, dirty and looking mighty feral. But there's just something about him and she ends up buying him even though she immediately frees him and decides to find another way to save her little sis. Believed to be the last of his kind, Cat has nowhere else to go so he finds Jack and the two set off to find Ranata come heck or high water.

If the warning above wasn't enough, let me state again... this book can get a bit graphic. You should be very comfortable with the male anatomy and sex in general before diving into this one because much of the story centers around Cat's nether regions and the sexual behaviors of most of the planet Statzeel. It's erotica done light, with the love story of a romance and the adventure of a sci-fi novel. What really made this one stand out for me as a reader was the clever dialog and (though raunchy at times) the inventiveness of the author. Cat and Jacinth were fairly enjoyable as characters, though they felt a little unoriginal, cliched even. I don't know if it was the authors intention but I laughed a lot throughout the story as the dialog and some situations were just hysterically silly.

For a first novel this is a really good one and I very much look forward to reading more from Cheryl Brooks!


Spotlight: Southern Vampire Mysteries

In the past year or so several authors have had their book series made into a television series. This fall HBO debuted True Blood, based upon the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. The books are told from the perspective of Sookie Stackhouse, a young waitress who can hear the thoughts of people around her. Such a format does not always translate well into television so the show's creator, Alan Ball of Six Feet Under fame, has taken some creative liberties with adding scenes and situations for other characters within the series. As with any HBO show you can expect that this one has the nudity, language and violence you won't get on regular cable. You can view the show's official trailer here on YouTube.

I've been checking out the reactions of fans who have already read the books and they seem to be quite mixed. I've heard some complaints about the graphicness of the nudity and sex scenes. For some these could feel a little gratuitous. Other complaints have regarded making smaller characters from the books more important than they were previously and even how Sookie is pronounced! But love it or hate it, the show has wide appeal and has already been picked up for a second season.

I, personally, first became aware of the show through its exceptional viral marketing campaign (for more on that please read this article). When author Patricia Briggs received the first clue about the site she posted about it on her blog in hopes her fans could help her figure out the mystery. Needless to say the marketing had the desired effect. It got people curious and invested in the outcome. When the air date of September 7th rolled around I was chomping at the bit to see the first episode.

Having had the books on my wishlist for a couple of years now and never gotten down to buying them all so I could start reading I felt a bit guilty. Fortunately the show makes it easy to ease into the world Harris created and (no pun intended) be sucked in deep. The third episode hadn't even aired yet and I had ordered the first two books. I think the show is here to stay when other urban fantasy novels-turned-television-shows, like Lifetime's Bloodties and SciFi's Dresden Files, have not made it. At this time HBO is not putting the episodes on iTunes to be purchased until after the season finishes. Those looking for a legal way to watch them without subscribing to HBO may be stuck waiting until then.

In the meantime get your fan-fix by checking out some True Blood fan sites.


Or, of course, you can purchase the books and read them!

Please note that the following descriptions of each novel's plot could be VERY spoilerific to watchers of the show who haven't read them.

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Dead Until Dark #1
Paperback (ACE BOOKS, 292 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0441008534
Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out....Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea.

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Living Dead in Dallas #2
Paperback (ACE BOOKS, 291 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0441009239
When a vampire asks Sookie Stackhouse to use her telepathic skills to find another missing vampire, she agrees under one condition: the bloodsuckers must promise to let the humans go unharmed.

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Club Dead #3
Paperback (ACE BOOKS, 258 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0441010512
Sookie's boyfriend has been very distant-in another state, distant. Now she's off to Mississippi to mingle with the underworld at Club Dead-a little haunt where the vampire elite go to chill out. But when she finally finds Bill-caught in an act of betrayal-she's not sure whether to save him...or sharpen some stakes.

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Dead to the World #4
Paperback (ACE BOOKS, 320 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0441012183
When cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse sees a naked man on the side of the road, she doesn't just drive on by. Turns out the poor thing hasn't a clue who he is, but Sookie does. It's Eric the vampire--but now he's a kinder, gentler Eric. And a scared Eric, because whoever took his memory now wants his life.

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Dead as a Doornail #5
Paperback (ACE, 320 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0441013333
When Sookie's brother Jason's eyes start to change, she knows he's about to turn into a were-panther for the first time. But her concern becomes cold fear when a sniper sets his deadly sights on the local changeling population-and Jason's new panther brethren suspect he may be the shooter. Now, Sookie has until the next full moon to find out who's behind the attacks, unless the killer decides to find her first.

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Definitely Dead #6
Paperback (ACE, 352 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0441014917
Spiked with a frothy fusion of romance, mystery, and fantasy, this bestselling series sends the supernaturally gifted cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse to New Orleans, where she has to deal with the legacy of one of her own family and a host of potentially dangerous characters.

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All Together Dead #7
Paperback (ACE, 352 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0441015816
Betrayed by her longtime vampire love, Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse must now not only deal with a possible new man in her life-the oh-so-handsome shapeshifter Quinn-but also contend with a long-planned vampire summit. With her power base weakened by hurricane damage to New Orleans, the local vampire queen is vulnerable to those hungry for a takeover. Soon, Sookie must decide what side she'll stand with. And her choice may mean the difference between survival and all-out catastrophe.

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From Dead to Worse #8
Paperback* (ACE, 336 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0441017010
After the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina and the manmade explosion at the vampire summit, everyone—human and otherwise—is stressed, including Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse, who is trying to cope with the fact that her boyfriend Quinn has gone missing.It’s clear that things are changing—whether the weres and vamps of her corner of Louisiana like it or not. And Sookie—Friend to the Pack and blood-bonded to Eric Northman, leader of the local vampire community—is caught up in the changes.In the ensuing battles, Sookie faces danger, death, and once more, betrayal by someone she loves. And when the fur has finished flying and the cold blood finished flowing, her world will be forever altered.
*Available March 2009, Currently available in Hardback


Spotlight: Wolfsbane and Mistletoe

In honor of this week's release of this much anticipated anthology I thought I'd do a small post with some information on the authors who have contributed to the book. I don't know anything about some of them so I thought it might be nice to write about those I know and dig up some on those I don't know about yet. -- Rhi

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Wolfsbane and Mistletoe edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner
Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Werewolves, Anthology
Hardcover (ACE HARDCOVER, 352 pages, $24.95)
ISBN# 0441016332

Charlaine Harris
Harris is well known for her Southern Vampire Mysteries series, also known as the Sookie Stackhouse series. The Louisiana set series starts with Dead Until Dark and has recently been turned into a television series on HBO called True Blood.

Toni L.P. Kelner
Kelner has a diverse body of work but primarily writes mysteries. Her most recent series, "Where Are They Now?" / Five Star Mysteries, began this past January with the novel Without Mercy about an freelance reporter looking for a missing star from a '70s tv show as a killer begins picking off her former co-stars.

Patricia Briggs
Briggs has been writing fantasy for years, debuting her urban fantasy series about Mercy Thompson in 2006. Moon Called, the first book in the series, set the bar for new UF. The series has also branched out with a new series, Alpha and Omega, starting with Cry Wolf. Mercy will also be coming out in a 4-part comic series very soon!

Carrie Vaughn
Vaughn is definitely well known for her Kitty Norville series. When Kitty and the Midnight Hour came out in 2005 it was one of the first times many urban fantasy fans had seen a female werewolf have her own series. Two new Kitty books will be release in early 2009.

Donna Andrews
Andrews isn't known for fiction about werewolves, but rather mysteries with witty bird related titles in her Meg Langslow series. Starting with Murder with Peacocks each mystery somehow has birds getting involved.

Dana Cameron
Cameron writes an archaeologiacal mystery series. The Emma Fielding Mysteries starts with Site Unseen and a summary of her contribution to this anthology can be found on her website!

Karen Chance
Chance has been popping up everywhere lately whether working on her Cassie Palmer series or contributing to anthologies. In addition to the Cassie Palmer series, which starts with Touch the Dark, Chance is releasing, Midnight's Daughter, the first book in a new tie-in series on the same day as this anthology!

Alan Gordon
Gordon, a lawyer by day, is the author of the Fools' Guild Mysteries. Thirteenth Night, is the first in the seven book series which is a continuation of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

Simon R. Green
Green has written loads of sci-fi and fantasy but most interested in this anthology will probably know him for his London set Nightside series. This urban fantasy series begins with Something from the Nightside, building a twisted new world within a world.

J.A. Konrath
Konrath writes the Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels mysteries. The books in the series all have titles stolen from famous cocktails the first of which is Whiskey Sour... and Konrath is a man! He also writes under the pseudonym Jack Kilborn.

Nancy Pickard
Pickard's Jenny Cain Mysteries series begins with Generous Death. She has also written other mystery series, check her site for more info.

Dana Stabenow
Stabenow's Kate Shugak mysteries are about an Aleut woman living in Alaska. First in the series, A Cold Day for Murder, was published in 1992 and the series is still going strong!

Rob Thurman
Thurman hit the urban fantasy scene with Nightlife in 2006. The series is written from the perspective of Cal Leanros and centers around he and his brother Niko's adventures fighting the boogiemen that cause trouble in NYC.

Kat Richardson
Richardson writes the Greywalker series. Set in Seattle, PI Harper Blaine's adventures into the world of the paranormal beings with Greywalker.


Review: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance (anthology)

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The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance edited by Trisha Telep
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Vampires
Paperback (RUNNING PRESS, 512 pages, $13.95)
Released: July 2008 (reviewed: September 2008)
The biggest names in paranormal romance have created a fascinating array of 30 short stories of hot blood and inhuman passions that will leave you thirsting for more. Authors include Sherri Erwin, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Jenna Black, Jenna Maclaine, Raven Hart, Delilah Devlin, Keri Arthur, Kimberly Raye, Alexis Morgan, Lilith Saintcrow, C.T. Adams, Cathy Clamp, Susan Sizemore, Dina James, Colleen Gleason, Barbara Emrys, Savannah Russe, Shiloh Walker, Vicki Pettersson, Rebecca York, Rachel Vincent, Amanda Ashley, Karen Chance, and Nancy Holder. These ain’t your mother’s vampires!
Author Site:

"Love is a weapon in the face of evil." (4 stars)

A savory collection of vampire tales of love and lust, THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF VAMPIRE ROMANCE, is a terrific sampler for fans of both the paranormal romance and urban fantasy genres. With offerings from some of the new big names in the vampire sub I highly recommend this for other readers who are seeking a taste of new authors. Others, not looking for new authors, might enjoy the few that tie into current series. To keep things brief let me offer information on each short story...

[FADE TO BLACK] by Sherri Erwin, When a vampire obsessed professor finds out one of her students is one of the undead their tryst forces choices on her she never saw coming. --While I liked the whole professor-has-vampire-as-student concept the story felt like it came out of another book and just didn't do it for me. 2/5 stars

[ODE TO EDVARD MUNCH] by Caitlin R. Kiernan, Our narrorator is a musician passing through Central Park each night where he befriends a mysterious young female vampire, one whom he dreams of in so many ways. --I loved the narration but this story was very short and poetic, not really romantic. 3/5 stars

[FANGS FOR HIRE] by Jenna Black, Gemma is a vampire hitwoman who is good at her job and when a client hires her to kill his step-father over an inheritance she gets a lot more than she bargained for. --I didn't think I'd like this one but the step-father character pulled the story together and would have made an excellent hero for a longer book. 4/5 stars

[THE RIGHTEOUS] by Jenna Mclaine, In this historical, when a vampire who is charged with weeding out the bad seeds of his race meets a human slayer who stirs his blood will they remain foes, or could he prove to her not all his kind are evil? --This tale was too cliched and sloppy for my tastes but fans who love historical vampire stories might like it. 1/5 stars

[KNOWLEDGE OF EVIL] by Raven Hart, Vampire Nick Manos has sought out a chance to study at the University of Georgia just to meet Professor Victoria Lennox, an expert on vampires... and they are both seeking forbidden knowledge. --A fluffy little tale with very little conflict, was a fun romp but not a real stand-out from the collection. 4/5 stars

[VIPER'S BITE] by Delilah Devlin, Viper is a vampire with an interest in Mariah, but just how deeply does tha interest go? --I feel like anything I can say about this story would be spoilery but it was very romantic and I loved it. 5/5 stars

[DREAMS] by Keri Arthur, Set around characters from Arthur's Riley Jenson series. --I feel bad cause I've never read any of the series so I was completely confused by the story and hence did not like it, my guess is fans of the series will love the extra 'screentime' with these characters. 2/5 stars

[LOVE BITES] by Kimberly Raye, Another offering that ties into the author's series, Danielle Blue is a newly minted SOB (Sniper of Otherworldy Beings) and she's due to make her first kill, but is sleeping with the enemy really breaking the rules? --I've got one of her books on my shelf so I was able to note the reference (though I haven't read it yet) to it... light and fluffy take on the slayer/vampire dilemna. 3/5 stars

[WHAT'S AT STAKE] by Alexis Morgan, I got the impression this may be related to a series Morgan is working on but can't be sure... When Josalyn Sloan is called in to make sure the legal rights of her former friend/almost lover are being met embers of their old flames come leaping back to life. --The set-up for a mythos got me interested but I didn't really care for the hero & heroine, they felt too familiar, like a cookie-cutter formatted H/H. 3/5 stars
[COMING HOME] by Lilith Saintcrow, Tying into Saintcrow's Dante Valentine series, Liana Spocarelli returns to Saint City for a job. --Another series tie-in I know nothing about but written with Saintcrow's distinct voice which is sure to please her fans and interest new ones. 4/5 stars

[TO EASE THE RAGE] by C. T. Adams and Cathy Clamp, There's been a break-in at Officer Sylvia Beck's home and the last thing she expects is the man she catches fleeing the scene... since he died two years ago! --Predictable but fresh, I liked the story here a lot and plan to look into these co-authors in the future. 5/5 stars

[DANCING WITH THE STAR] by Susan Sizemore, After a vampire receives a mysterious telepathic cry for help at a car wreck she later dreams of dancing with a handsome man who turns out to be a famous face. --Another very original premise that was really enjoyable and well written, one of my favorites from this collection. 5/5 stars

[PLAY DEAD] by Dina James, Shouldn't a vampire be able to choose his own bride, not have it chosen for him by his house? --I felt like this one dropped me into the middle of a series and didn't give me enough information to really understand what was going on. 2/5 stars

[IN WHICH A MASQUERADE BALL UNMASKS AN UNDEAD] by Colleen Gleason, Readers of the Gardella Vampire Chronicles will recognize Victoria Gardella Grantworth as the lead in this short story... Victoria's attempts at a private interlude with Rockley are interupted by undead stalking about the masquerade. --I've been waiting for the final book to come out before I read the series but I've been anxious so this little peek was tantalizing but not spoilerific. 3/5 stars

[A TEMPORARY VAMPIRE] by Barbara Emrys, Set in New Orleans this is a tale of a vampire looking for a new home who meets a fascinating mime. --New Orleans is so cliched in vampire stories I expected this one to be bad and I actually really enjoyed it, it was very original and a perfectly closed short story. 5/5 stars

[OVERBITE] by Savannah Russe, When a Manhattan dentist gets sucked (no pun intended) into the vampire underworld his life is forever changed. --I think this one ended up being my favorite of the entire collection because it was smutty, silly and very original, I have had Russe's books on my wishlist forever and I think it's time to buy! 5/5 stars

[HUNTER'S CHOICE] by Shiloh Walker, Sara's brother and best friend were murdered by vampires and she wanted revenge, can a vampire show her not all of the undead are evil? --This one was okay, but how many times have we heard this story before? 3/5 stars

[REMEMBER THE BLOOD] by Vicki Pettersson, Two vampires go to great lengths to remain forever tied to one another. --Fans of Pettersson's writing will enjoy seeing this offering which has no ties to her Zodiac series but the vampire mythos presented here might not appeal to many. 4/5 stars

[THE SACRIFICE] by Rebecca York, Princess Morgan of Balacord knows of only one way to save her kingdom from the invaders who have their land under seige - she must seek out the blood drinking monster known as Garon. --Fans of fantasy and traditonal romances will probably enjoy this one greatly, I found it to be pretty good though I prefer urban vampire tales. 4/5 stars

[THE MIDDAY MANGLER MEETS HIS MATCH] by Rachel Vincent, A serial killer is murdering vampire children and when Kez's little sister is abducted by the murderer she won't let him get away without a fight. --I lied earlier... this was my favorite of the entire collection - it was so different from everything else in it with it's teen heroine and her boyfriend, the idea of a vampire dominated world and all that would entail. Fellow fans of Vincent's werecats series will recognize her voice and enjoy seeing her writing something new. 5/5 stars

[THE MUSIC OF THE NIGHT] by Amanda Ashley, A new take on the Phantom of the Opera story. --I'm surprised no one has done this one before (at least not that I've seen), I didn't really care for it but I think fans of TPOTO and more traditional romances will love it. 3/5 stars

[THE DAY OF THE DEAD] by Karen Chance, Readers of Chance's Cassie Palmer series will remember Tomas and soak up this South American adventure tale. --I like the series but never really cared for Tomas and while I liked the twist this story had I didn't really care for it as a whole. 3/5 stars

[VAMPIRE UNCHAINED] by Nancy Holder, Trapped in the tunnels under Central Park, vampire Liam Cadagon must protect his Gifted human lover from his fellow vampires. --Another one of those stories where I felt dropped into the middle of a series and not quite given enough details but the ending was pretty good. 3/5 stars

[A STAND-UP DAME] by Lilith Saintcrow, A noir-ish vampire tale. --Another favorite of mine, I normally don't care for Saintcrow's writing but this was so far from her norm it was delicious. 5/5 stars

[UNTITLED 12] by Caitlin R. Keirnan, A strange and very short narrative of being turned. --This one was too strange and grotesque for me and the female/female "romance" was kind of icky when normally a same sex romance doesn't bother me much. 1/5 stars

Overall there were some really enjoyable quick reads, some that felt too long and cliched and a few that tied into current series. What makes it worth buying is the variety. I chose it because I wanted to read some new stuff from authors I am a reader of already and some I wanted to try that I haven't yet. Several were authors I've never heard of but may look into now that I've tasted their style. If you don't like short stories this is definitely not for you as most are a lot shorter than your typical anthology offering where an author might have 60-90 pages to tell a story versus about 20-25 here.


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