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? I am currently OPEN for review requests for review requests. I have promotional openings for August through November open so please reach out. Just please drop me an email with a polite request and if I'm interested I will reply.

-- Rhi


10.31.2010

Happy Halloween! [UPDATED @ 2PM -- FREE MP3s!]


Just wanted to quickly send my wishes for a spooky and safe holiday for all!

I also want to thank everyone who has come over to take part in the blogiversary giveaway. I plan to announce the winner this coming weekend but will be sure and send them an email sometime Monday (Tuesday at the latest). I hope to continue to bring you a blog you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing for it.

With November starting it is time to say good-bye to Meljean Brook Month and hello to Gena Showalter's books. Time to catch up on The Lords of the Underworld and try something of hers I haven't yet enjoyed. I haven't taken the time to pop her an email asking for a short interview but I was thinking I might beg her for a brief one (I was thinking 5 ?'s about her non-writing funtime). What do you guys think?

Anywho, I shall be taking the baby for her first trick or treat tonight. At the last minute the hubby and I decided to dress up since it's her first. The budget was tight but I managed to throw together a devil costume—I think Demon Angel's Lilith was whispering in the back of my head when I was choosing between the witch and the devil ones—while the baby is dressed as an Ewok! Cutest Ewok. Ever. :D

After the candy begging march the plan is to relax with some beer and cupcakes to watch AMC's The Walking Dead premiere! If you haven't heard about it yet I suggest popping over to see what you think. They even have an awesome section of zombie costuming (make-up) tips and such. I found zombie bride and groom tees at Spencer Gifts for hubby and myself after we'd already bought our other costumes or I might have been tempted to do the zombie make-up and just wear those tees. Maybe next year. ;) But anyways, here is the trailer for you to check out...



Now those are some scary zombies! Love it!

And now I am off to make some buttercream icing and decorate cupcakes. May your Halloween be sweet! -- Rhi

P.S. -- I stumbled on this earlier but got busy with the cupcakes and hadn't yet had time to update this post...


Amazon.com has The 99 Darkest Pieces of Classical Music MP3 download available for $1.99 today. BUUUUUT if you run over to dealnews.com and grab the Free $3 MP3 credit you can get it for free!!! Can't beat that eh? Just make sure you get it bought TODAY because the credit expires tonight. It's a LOT of classical music and a perfect collection for Halloween. I've been enjoying it while the baby has her nap. :D Enjoy!

10.30.2010

Guest Blog: Author Meljean Brook

When I decided I wanted to focus on authors for each month of my third year blogging I knew who was going to be my first author of the month without a hesitant moment. For ages now I've eyeballed Meljean Brook's Guardians series. I even bought the first four titles only to let them sit for months and months. But as those of you who regularly read my blog know... I can be a bit slow, as in, I actually read very slowly. I blame the dyslexia and children (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it). :P Which is frustrating but worked out well for us both with The Iron Duke being new this month. I got to start two series at once and compare and contrast them to my heart's desire.

The Iron Duke is the first book in The Iron Seas series but there was a terrific novella in the anthology Burning Up which I reviewed last month. If you're new to steampunk I think it's a good taste without being too overbearing and if you enjoy the novella well... you won't want to waste any time picking up The Iron Duke.

(As a funny aside here let me note that I received a postcard to remind me about the book's release in the mail but was folding laundry at the time and set it in the basket of clean clothes. In typical busy mom fashion I left the room to do something only to come back and find that the baby had eaten all four corners of said postcard. Apparently the wee lady thought Rhys was quite yummy! ;D )

Earlier this year I did a month of steampunk and zombies reading that really sold me on both as growing genres. Fortunately zombies in steampunk are popping up enough to really satisfy my craving for both. (Not to totally sidetrack here but is anyone else planning on checking out AMC's The Walking Dead premiere episode tomorrow night?) The zombies of The Iron Seas are just as damned scary as my favorites in 28 Days Later.

Meanwhile, steampunk and romance are so well suited to one another it was only a matter of time before we started seeing a great crop of them landing on shelves. From everything I'm reading it looks like 2011 is going to be chalk full of them. I shall keep you posted as I find more but look at the steampunk tag here on RhiReading to find some that have already been released.

Does the sudden interest in steampunk romances mean I'm giving up my paranormals? Heck no! But it did get me wondering what challenges a writer like Meljean would have in going from one to the other so I asked her to drop by with a guest post sharing what challenges she might have had. I do hope you'll enjoy it!

And thank you so very much Meljean for gracing my humble blog with your presence! -- Rhi



On Getting Superheroes Out of Their Tights

As anyone who follows my blog probably knows, I’m a huge fan of comic-book superheroes. I love them – their over-the-top origin stories, the cackling and costumed villains, the struggle of living dual lives and fighting evil.

I’ve long held that opinion that many paranormal romances aren’t rooted in horror, but that comic-book-superhero sensibility. The heroes might have fangs, but they have more in common with Batman than with Dracula – they are dark and brooding, rich and sexy. They often form brotherhoods or teams, and fight some other (evil) brotherhood or team, even though each one has a distinct personality or uniform or super-power. The only real difference is ... romance heroes don’t wear tights.

(And thank goodness, right? As much as I love the campy, 1960s Batman series, Adam West in gray tights doesn’t exactly fuel many of my fantasies. Leather, however? Rowr.)

I don’t think that my Guardian series is any different (which isn’t surprising, given that the very, very earliest germ of the idea that it sprang from was an alternate universe Justice League fanfic I’d been writing.) I’ve got my heroes and heroines with individual powers, all forming a team – the Guardians. I’ve got the uber-bad guys (the demons and nosferatu) with a few separate factions that might be good or bad, depending on their intentions (vampires, grigori, nephilim.)

And like comic book story-telling, there is a big, overarching storyline. Oh, each book contains its own plot and romance, and I follow a new hero/heroine in the next book, but as soon as one book closes, the never-ending story* continues in the next one.

As a huge fan of comic books, there’s something very appealing about that to me. And with ten Guardian stories under my belt, it’s familiar, and comfortable.

Which is why I’m doing something completely different with the Iron Seas series.

You see, as much as I love comic books and those endless storylines, following familiar characters through adventures, with that format comes a few very real dangers: getting into a rut, and/or jumping the shark.

We’ve seen it before, haven’t we? In Spider-Man, Marvel felt that Spidey was in a rut, and so they broke up his marriage with Mary Jane (erased it from existence, actually). I can’t count how many times the X-Men have changed their team roster (sometimes to exciting effect, and sometimes losing me as a reader for years at a time.) Wonder Woman was just rebooted with a new personality and new costume. A few years ago, DC decided that its universe was ... too light? its heroes were too soft or good? ... and had a beloved character raped, which was followed by Crisis event after Crisis event, during which many fans were quitting the books or screaming, “WTF? Who are these characters, because they aren’t the heroes that we know and love!”

Some fans hold on through the bumps. Some don’t. Some new fans jump on, and wonder why everyone is so angry, because they love the new direction!

And it’s all because the creators and writers were trying to inject a little bit of excitement back into their characters’ lives – which is a laudable intention, of course. Sometimes it just goes horribly wrong.

So I was thinking of that when I began creating the Iron Seas series. I thought: I love the Guardians, but do I want to do the same thing? Do I want to risk the same dangers? Because it would have been very easy to set up another brotherhood of pirates and adventurers (somewhat like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and then spend time giving each hero or heroine his own romance – or even follow one heroine along on her adventures, in true comic-book fashion.

The second, I’m not really predisposed to, anyway – I prefer to write about a new couple in each book, so that was an easy decision. Deciding not to write the team or in a pseudo-serial format, where each chapter (book) is another step in the overarching story ... that wasn’t so easy, because I like to see something being accomplished over the course of several books, especially if they are set in an alternate world – and I think that many readers like that, too. I kept asking myself: If a series doesn’t go anywhere, if it just spins its wheels ... well, what’s the point? Are the hotties wearing leather-instead-of-tights enough?

And that question bothered me ... a LOT.

The solution ended up being ridiculously simple, of course – the problem was that my thinking itself had become stuck in a rut. I’d become so used to thinking of heroes and the stories from a single series in relation to comic books that I’d forgotten that at the core of every book and every story is the romance and the adventure ... and each one of those can stand alone, can rebuild the world with every book, and that something can (and should!) be accomplished within every book. There doesn’t have to be an overarching storyline, and stories that are just as big can be told within one book.

So that’s what I decided to do: I won’t write a series like I would comic books, but a series of adventure novels – each one set in the same world, but in a new and exciting part of that world. Problem solved.

Of course, my Iron Seas heroes are still dark and rich and broody, and look great once they take off their tights (or breeches, or goggles), so I haven’t ventured all that far from my roots.

What do you prefer? Do you prefer paranormal/romances that share a world, but whose characters and storylines stand alone or aren’t closely related? Or do you love the series where everyone is introduced at the beginning, and we get to see the long fight versus the bad guys, and watch each of the good guys fall in love along the way? Or, like me, are you a fan of both, and it just depends on what your mood is that day?

And do you like series that continue on as they start, or are you comfortable with big shake-ups over the course of the series?

--
*that said, the Guardian series will end in 2012, after I finish the big overarching storyline ... mostly so that I don’t end up jumping the shark or getting into that dreaded rut.

10.29.2010

RhiReading Feature: Weekend Reading [10/29-10/31]


Technically it's not the weekend yet... I'm trying to get this written on Thursday because my kids have dentist appointments on Friday which means I don't think I will have time to write up a post at all to start the weekend.

My kids see a pretty cool dentist. His office is totally kid friendly. Video games in the waiting room, big TV with kid flicks playing and a special vending machine for after visits. They also have two really awesome fish tanks back in the area my kids will be in to get cleanings. I won't lie though... I never get to read while we wait. Why? Because there are always a billion people crammed into the waiting room and my kids fight constantly. *sigh* Oh how I look forward to visits to MY doctors and their quiet reading friendly waiting rooms. LOL


If I did get to read though I would be working on The Iron Duke. I'm going slow on it. At first I couldn't figure out why but given some time to think I've decided part of it is that the world building takes time to unravel in my mind. Even having read the prequel in Burning Up I've felt like I was missing some stuff. I took a break from it yesterday just to work on In Enemy Hands by K.S. Augustin, a scifi romance. It's pretty good but not very action packed so I'm eager to get through it. I had anticipated a little less wangsty observational stuff and more intrigue. Augustin definitely has an awesome mind for good scifi and she knows how to write really juicy sex scenes. Sometimes I just need something good and steamy. If most of Carina Press' offerings are like this I think I'm in need of that ebook reader afterall.

I haven't received an email about Meljean Brook's guest post yet so I'm not sure if it will be up over the weekend or not. But that's okay, right? We can wait until next week if needs be. :)

Okay, scratch that folks, right after I finished and scheduled this post for tomorrow I checked my email and guess who had written back to me? *grins* And it is a fantastic guestblog she has written for us to enjoy! I would have shared it on Sunday but with the holiday I imagine many of us will be busy carving pumpkins, doing last minute costume sewing or hosting a party. Better to schedule it for Saturday morning. So do please stop by again then for a really interesting discussion about The Guardians and The Iron Seas.

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming...


I did get another chapter of Demon Angel in while the baby was napping today. If there's one thing I can say about Brook's writing she makes me feel a little slow. :P And I mean that in a good way! There's so much depth to the writing and mythology I almost feel put off my game. Some of it requires me to read it twice before it sinks in. Bad for me, but it says a lot about how great her world building and dialog are.


Any special Halloween plans dear readers? I've got cupcakes and pumpkin carving planned. Fingers crossed that our weather holds out through Sunday. It's been in the 50s all week but normally we are below 20 around Halloween so it'd be nice to take the baby out for her first trick or treat and not give her frostbite. But I suppose if it's very nasty we'll only do a few houses and then go raid gramma's house for treats the baby can actually eat. Maybe grandma will have some Cheerios on hand.

Have a super awesome Halloween and get lots of reading done! Drop in with a comment and let me know what you're reading right now, please. -- Rhi

image credit: jconejo

10.28.2010

Spotlight: The Guardians by Meljean Brook

I forget where I read someone say that Meljean Brook's Guardians series is like a mix of the X-Men comics and vampire romance. The gorgeous covers certainly hinted at some winged bad-ass-ery but I wasn't too sure I'd agree with the X-Men description. I am admitting to the ultimate in dorkery here but I was part of an X-Men fan-fic type writing group for several years. With that in mind I can be a little nerdy for some superpowered heroes and heroines. Even now I am cringing that I typed that. Resisting strong urge to press backspace.

*winces and continues*

Now, I am only partially through the first book in the Guardians series, Demon Angel. I really should have started with the prequel story from the Hot Spell anthology but having had bad experiences with that I decided to wait. That and I knew I would get side tracked with the other stories in it. Not to worry, I shall devour it eventually. ;) But I am getting derailed already! What I wanted to say is that I don't think I see the X-Men comparison at all. There's definitely some angels versus demons with some blood sucking freaks just not sure about the rest.

For the sake of preparing us for Meljean's guestpost I thought I would put up a series list for The Guardians and stress that I am following her version since she thinks of series the way I do... with novellas from anthologies as ".5" versions instead of full on series entries. It wasn't until I was viewing her list over at her websit—meljeanbrook.com—that I even realized I had technically read one of the novellas that is part of The Guardians series. I'm gonna have to go see what I thought of it now. LOL She also has a Guardians Primer on her site which I found very informative and helped clear up some confusion I had.

Hope you will enjoy darlings! And don't forget to check back later this week for the guestpost and be sure to pick up The Iron Duke ASAP. Seriously. It's just F'n awesome. With a capital F. -- Rhi






Hot Spell / “Falling For Anthony” Prequel
Mass Market Paperback (BERKLEY SENSATION, 352 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0425212882

Anthony Ramsdell & Emily Ames-Beaumont
In Regency England, a desperate lady is Falling for Anthony when a childhood friend comes back from the dead to protect her brother from an unnatural evil.


Demon Angel #1
Mass Market Paperback (BERKLEY SENSATION, 432 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0425213471

Hugh Castleford & Lilith
For two thousand years, Lilith wrought vengeance upon the evil and the damned, gathering souls for her father’s armies Below and proving her fealty to her Underworld liege. Bound by a bargain with the devil and forbidden to feel pleasure, she draws upon her dark powers and serpentine grace to lead men into temptation. That is, until she faces her greatest temptation — Heaven’s own Sir Hugh Castleford…



Wild Thing / "Paradise" #1.5
Mass Market Paperback (BERKLEY SENSATION, 432 pages, $7.99)
ISBN#

Lucas Marsden & Selah
Lucas Marsden has faced nosferatu before and survived, but he doesn’t know how to defeat the demon who hunts the vampires in his community… but he knows exactly what he wants from the beautiful Guardian sent to protect them.



Demon Moon #2
Mass Market Paperback (BERKLEY SENSATION, 480 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0425215768

Colin Ames-Beaumont & Savitri Murray
Savi Murray’s insatiable curiosity had gotten her into trouble before, but she’d always escaped unscathed. Then came Colin. In the midst of Heaven, he gave her a taste of ecstasy—and of Chaos. Deadly creatures from that realm herald the return of an imprisoned nosferatu horde, and Colin and Savi’s bond is their only protection—and their only passion…



Demon Night #3
Mass Market Paperback (BERKLEY SENSATION, 448 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0425219771

Ethan “Drifter” McCabe & Charlie Newcomb
Charlie Newcomb worked hard to get her life back together. But all that is shaken when she’s set upon by three vampires desperate to transform her beauty into something evil. But to get to her, they must first get to Charlie, now under the intimate protection of Ethan McCabe. As her Guardian, Ethan is attracted to her vulnerabilities—as well as her strengths. The closer he gets, the more protecting her becomes not just his duty, but his desire. But will it be enough to save Charlie when the demon night falls?



First Blood / “Thicker Than Blood” #3.5
Mass Market Paperback (BERKLEY SENSATION, 336 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0425224007

Jack Harrington & Annie Gallagher
Annie, the only survivor of an attack that wiped out every other vampire in her city, needs help finding an orphaned human girl before a demon does. But help comes from the last man she expected to see again…



Demon Bound #4
Mass Market Paperback (BERKLEY, 336 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0425224538

Jake Hawkins & Alice Grey
Alice Grey is known as the Black Widow—a woman trapped in a web spun by the demon Teqon. Jake Hawkins is a novice Guardian whose gift of teleportation could be invaluable to Alice in determining her next move. But can they survive when fear and secrets threaten not just their lives and souls, but the fate of the universe?



Demon Forged #5
Mass Market Paperback (BERKLEY, 432 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0425230414

Irena & Alejandro
Four centuries ago, Irena and Alejandro would have succumbed to the need smoldering between them — if a demon and a monstrous bargain hadn’t shattered the possibility of love. Torn apart by shame, Irena avoided Alejandro for centuries — until a vampire’s call for help throws her into his arms again…



Must Love Hellhounds / "Blind Spot" #5.5
Mass Market Paperback (BERKLEY, 320 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0425236331

Maggie Winters & Geoffrey Blake
The job was simple: find her boss’s niece, bring her home safely, and hand out a whole lot of pain to whoever had abducted her. But Maggie hadn’t counted on her boss’s nephew, the hellhound who loved to make her life difficult, or her own past rearing its complicated and ugly head.



Demon Blood #6
Mass Market Paperback (BERKLEY, 448 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0425235475

Deacon & Rosalia
Long before she was transformed into a Guardian and trained to fight demons, Rosalia knew darkness all too well. Raised by a demon, Rosalia learned to guard her heart — and her soul — until she found a man worthy of her love. Once, she thought that man would be the powerful vampire, Deacon…


Demon Marked #7 is due out in late summer 2011 with a novella to follow later in the year.

10.26.2010

Review: Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler


Hunger (The Riders #1) by Jackie Morse Kessler
Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Mythology, Teen Issues
Trade Paperback (GRAPHIA, 180 pages, $8.99)
ISBN# 0547341245
"Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world."
Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?
Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home—her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power—and the courage to fight her own inner demons?
A wildly original approach to the issue of eating disorders, Hunger is about the struggle to find balance in a world of extremes, and uses fantastic tropes to explore a difficult topic that touches the lives of many teens.

Author Site:

Strong look at eating disorders, weak storyline (4 stars)

When Lisabeth Lewis' suicide attempt is interupted by a deliveryman bequething her with the scales of Famine her world will forever change. Carefully calculated eating and exercising have ruled her life to the point the only voice that matters to her is the Thin voice. A voice of ridicule from somewhere deep inside, the Thin voice whispers calorie counts and tells Lisa she has no self control. But as Famine, Lisa must find the balance, a way to bring Famine's power into the world without losing all of herself in the process. That is, if the Red Rider—War—doesn't kill her first.

Many other reviewers have said it and I want to echo it—Kessler does an excellent job portraying characters with eating disorders. There is a profound realism to both Lisa's anorexia and her friend Tammy's bulemia. I know because I am a recovered anorexic. My one issue with the portrayal is that it only focuses on the eating disorders as weight issues. There is a whole other group of folks with eating disorders who use it as a form of self-harm (think cutting minus the blood and scars), a way to control something in their life. Eating disorders are heavily prevalent in today's society and I was very pleased to see Kessler wanted to deal with them and other teen issues through fictional means.

Aside from the vivid look at eating disorders, Lisa's actual story is pretty weak. It ended so soon and without much adventure I was a little disappointed. But there is potential for stronger entries as we meet the other Riders in upcoming books. I was more intrigued by Pestilence than any of the others so I hope we get to see his (or her) story after War's tale, Rage, which comes out in spring 2011.

Overall, I didn't love Hunger but I enjoyed it enough to want to read more Riders books. It also pleased me to see that a portion of proceeds from each book will go to an issue specific charity fitting to each book.

Other Reviews:



Notes: I received this an ebook review copy through NetGalley.

10.25.2010

November Pain & December Plans


Been feeling kind of icky for the past few days. The weather can't make up its mind and with the mornings being around freezing and the afternoons sunny and warm I'm getting that wonky draggyness. Granted I totally burned myself out while my mom was visiting but I didn't think I'd be this bad.

Worst of it all is my gallbladder. My what? Yeah, I started having "stomach" pain last October right after I had the baby and by February I was bedridden with no clue what was causing it. I thought maybe I had an ulcer or something so I finally went to see a doctor only to find out I need my gallbladder removed. Apparently this is common in women who are or have recently been pregnant. But since I was doing that whole breastfeeding thing I wanted to wait and have the surgery after the baby is weaned. But lately it hurts so bad I've been living on ibuprofen and apple juice.

On top of it the little pumpkin princess is teething like a baby shark... just when I went to bed on Saturday night (technically Sunday morning) she woke up and refused to go back to sleep. Now it's a matter of weaning her slowly so I can have this surgery and get this damn useless organ out. Not gonna lie... I am scared shitless to go under anesthesia for all the usual reasons. The surgery itself sounds pretty simple and not very invasive compared to other stuff but damn if I'm not still scared. Am I being unreasonable? I dunno. I'm a worrier by nature so all I can do is think what if the worst happens... who will take care of my kids? Will they be okay? How long before my husband finds someone new? Oh yeah, Rhianna has some issues with this crap. :P Wish me luck getting this other stuff done so I can stop being a big chicken and have the surgery though cause I don't think I can live in this pain much longer.


Meanwhile, my reading time keeps getting cut. My three "hobbies" are reading, embroidery and World of Warcraft. Embroidery is pretty much something I only do when we rent movies and I'm up to being half distracted. But lately WoW has been calling me. Before the baby it was kind of our daily couples-time/social-"hour". In fact, this Christmas we're having our main play group stay with us for the holidays. It's been a lot of fun planning the surprise gifts for each member of our little "clan". Knowing the rough budget for each person's gift since 3 people are going in on each (my hubby and I get to count as 1 person on this lol) I can only imagine what kind of crazy gift the guys (yeah I am the token chick in our group) are getting me. I'm thinking perhaps a Kindle? We shall see. But the new expansion for WoW comes out on December 7th so I forsee that whole month being slow for me and reading again.

So with the new year fast approaching I have a couple of plans in motion. I'm going to continue the author themed months at least for a few months. I really want to use that to motivate me to try some of these authors who's books I have sitting here and haven't tried. I'll still be reading a lot of other stuff as time permits but at this rate I'll never read some of these authors. I mean, I bought the Psy/Changelings series books when there were only 4 or 5 out and now there are almost 10! Wow. I suck. :P With that in mind I'm making November Gena Showalter Month. Why Gena? Because a) she just rocks, I love her attitude and how she treats fans and b) I recently found a bunch of her backlog on the shelves at the Salvation Army plus I'm behind in reading review copies from the Vine program that are her books. Must remedy that FAST! Other authors I am considering inclue Jeaniene Frost, Nalini Singh, P.C. Cast, Carrie Vaughn and Yasmine Galenorn. Feel free to drop a comment and tell me about an author you think I should be reading!

OH and guess what? My son was reading The Hunger Games in the doc's office the other day (go flu shot season) and the nurse mentioned the controversey about it at her son's school! Apparently her kid had a problem checking out Twilight at his school (I guess he is only 7 but still...) and I am just baffled about all this. I really need to sit down and go through the school district's website and find the head of the library department to let them know how annoyed I am about this censorship crap. *sigh* What do you think dear readers? If your kid was being told they couldn't check out certain books in an elementary school library because OTHER parents had complained about them would you feel it was your duty to confront it?

Well lunch time had rolled around. I better go get the baby some vittles and attempt to get her to nap. Maybe I'll nap too even though The Iron Duke is beckoning me. :/ I hate having to choose between catching up on sleep and reading. That's it... I need to be cloned damnit! Have a fab week and please tell your friends there's only one week left to enter the giftcard giveaway. -- Rhi

P.S. -- I totally meant to write something here about NaNoWriMo because I seriously want to take part but know I don't have time this year. But Lynn Vielh has this list of Ten Things to Try When Writing Your NaNoWriMo Novel that I thought was really awesome. Had to share it.

Oh, and double P.S. -- Would any of you fellow bloggers out there be interested in doing a guest post in January? I was thinking of inviting a few other bloggers to write guest posts next year. Maybe about book blogging specifically or advice for book bloggers or how they got into it. Something in that vein. Might help get some exposure for your blog and (okay this is selfish but...) mine too. Email me (always.and.neverATgmailDOTcom) if you're interested!

image credit: african_fi

10.21.2010

Recovering. Resting. Reading. Reviewing.


Thursday already? Yeesh. Where did my week go? No wait. Where did my month go?

My mother's visit was probably one of the most chaotic periods of time I've dealt with in years. Not even having the baby while in the middle of buying the house and all that stuff last year around the same time was as crazy. Even getting her home from her visit was a story I could write half a page on without any adjectives. Now I'm just wiped. Exhausted. Tapped and drained and ready for Halloween to get here. I'm not dressing up this year (again) which is pretty depressing but my funds are low and I would much rather buy books than a costume I can wear for one night.


While mum was here we hit up a thrift shop where I found 45+ PNR titles I had either on my wishlist or was interested in. At 50¢ each I made out like a bandit. I bought the first seven Sookie Stackhouse books to send home with mom since she hadn't read them before. I stocked up on Gena Showalter, Christine Feehan, Rhyannon Byrd and Amanda Ashley titles. I also found a copy of The Handmaid's Tale... if you read my post about banned books you might remember me mentioning it. I'm gonna tuck it away to read next year during Banned Books Week. :)


The baby's first birthday went over really well. Not a single tear shed and it was a lot of fun. I can't believe she's already one! Where did the time go? I bought her one of those Monster High dolls to put up for when she's older... a collectible of sorts. And some board books of course. How can a reader mom not buy her kiddos books for their birthday? I'm just sad that my son is kind of too old for the -Ologies books this year since it's a Christmas tradition I get him one. Go figure the year he's all meh about them. Okay, so he just told me he still likes them, I misread his attitude apparently. Which means I better go order Vampireology soon so I don't have to go hunt it down at full price in a store during the holiday rush.


Earlier this week I finished Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler. If there are two things I really love it's Horsemen mythology and supporting eating disorder & self harm awareness. I'm just starting on my review but as a recovered anorexic (the self harming kind, not the body image issues kind) I found the attention to detail and realism very refreshing. Hopefully I will find some time over the weekend to get the entire review done.


And my last bit of randomness for the post today... Woman's Day magazine has an article with recipes for hosting an adults only Twilight themed dinner party (here). While I'm pretty neutral about Twilight I still loved the recipes and ideas and thought it was worth sharing the link. Since my 31st birthday is next month I'm a little tempted to host a Forever Young vampire themed dinner party but somehow I think my husband would find it the extreme in tackiness. Plus I don't really know anyone I could invite. Total weak sauce! *pouts* But I still might throw together a couple of the recipes anyway. The Candy Apples especially look fab. In the meantime I bought some cupcake decor and plan to make some Halloween cupcakes next week. Found the cooooolest red glittery icing gel stuff. MUST make bloody brains or vampire bites or something!

Anywho, baby is down for her nap, got a copy of Unraveled by Gena Showalter from Amazon's Vine today and I need to take advantage of the quiet to read some more of Demon Angel. Have a great evening and don't forget to tell your friends about the giveaway 'cause it ends on Halloween night! -- Rhi

image credit: luciarojas

10.12.2010

We're lucky the right to read hasn't been taken from us...



Can you fricking believe this? My son came home from school yesterday afternoon and the following conversation ensued.

SON: Mom, I need you to write a note for Miss P. (the school librarian)

ME: Why?

SON: Because I wanted to re-checkout The Hunger Games and she said I had to have a note from you saying it's okay.

ME: *eyebrow raised* Why?

SON: Because it has cannibalism.

ME: WHAT!?! NO IT DOESN'T! I'm almost finished and there is no cannibalism. *thinks* Well, Katniss briefly mentions it happening in past Games but there's no actual cannibalism. WTF?

SON: I know mom but I can't—

ME: OkiefineI'llcallherrightnow! *peeved muttering as I pick up the phone*

And so with a sigh and a bad temper I left Miss P. a message about it. I wasn't nasty or anything because I know her, she's cool and I was pretty darned sure she wasn't doing this to upset us. Since I was gonna be in the library this morning anyway I wasn't worried about us discussing it and the situation being resolved.

Sure enough, we had a good chat about it and I practically cried out of frustration. Why? Because some parent who obviously hasn't read the damned book whined about it having cannibalism in it so now Miss P. has to cover her ass by getting parent permission about it... and it isn't the only book this has happened to. Absolute horse shit. I just want to throw up both middle fingers and tell those parents that if they don't want their kids reading these books to not let them but don't ruin it for mine! Don't go whining to the schools and their librarians causing my child to be put in this situation. No one should be telling my kid what he can and can't read except me... and okay, his dad can throw in his two bits too. :P

My son hates reading. Since he found out I was reading The Hunger Games he actually was trying to read it. He even had Catching Fire to check out too. The most anger inducing part of this is that the parent or parents who have complained about this don't know what they did to my son. He doesn't enjoy reading very much so when he finds a book he takes interest in that is precious to me. Especially one like The Hunger Games. Forgive me people but I don't believe in overly softening the harsh realities of the world. My parents were very overprotective and when I went out into the world and realized how ugly it can get it was earth shattering and painful. Even if there was cannibalism in the book I would have let him read it ten-years-old or not. I am quite certain it would have lead to an interesting talk about why a person would do that and how in some cultures it is part of spiritual and funeral rituals.

I am so upset about this still that I wanted to write about it tonight. Miss P. is a wonderful librarian and I am glad she is trying to find a balance between the parents who are overly concerned and asking for permission versus just taking the books out. Even still I asked her who I can talk to higher up in the school district's hierarchy to let them know this is not okay with me. She's going to look into it and hopefully I can stand up for my son and his right to read whatever he wants to.

And on that note I shall retire for the evening to curl up with some Meljean Brook nummies and try not to stew over this too hard. I did get The Hunger Games finished and liked very much up until the somewhat 'meh' ending. Guess I better buy Catching Fire so I can find out what happens next. Good night! -- Rhi

P.S. -- Isn't it funny how this came up so soon after Banned Books Week? This fact was far from lost on me and has made me think I need to stop being concerned for just my son's library but those of the schools he will be attending for middle and high school. Maybe it's time I really make my voice heard and become the anti-Scroggins type parent. Hmmm... what do you guys think about that? A parent crusading for challenged and banned books in the school district to be returned?

10.11.2010

Review: Bespelling Jane Austen (anthology)


Bespelling Jane Austen by Mary Balogh, Colleen Gleason, Susan Krinard, & Janet Mullany
Paranormal Romance, Historical Romance
Trade Paperback (HQN, 384 pages, $14.95)
ISBN# 0373775016
But even if the whole world was against them, it would not matter. They were together—again. And this time they would remain together. Until death do them part and, of course, long after that.
What if Austen had believed in reincarnation and vampires? Join four bestselling romance authors as they channel the wit and wisdom of Jane Austen.
Almost Persuaded
In this Regency tale of Robert and Jane, New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh brings together former lovers who have seen beyond the veil of forgetfulness to their past mistakes, and are determined to be together in this life, and forever.
Northanger Castle
Caroline's obsession with Gothic novels winds up being good training for a lifetime of destroying the undead with her newfound beau, in this Regency by Colleen Gleason.
Blood and Prejudice
Set in the business world of contemporary New York City, Liz Bennett joins Mr. Darcy in his hunt for a vampire cure in New York Times bestselling author Susan Krinard's version of the classic story.
Little to Hex Her
Present-day Washington, D.C., is full of curious creatures in Janet Mullany's story, wherein Emma is a witch with a wizard boyfriend and a paranormal dating service to run.

Author Site: www.marybalogh.com, www.colleengleason.com, www.susankrinard.com, www.janetmullany.com

A delight even for someone who has never read Austen. (4 stars)

I've never actually read Jane Austen's work. Isn't that the most blasphemous thing to say when opening a review of Austen-inspired short stories? Sadly, it really is the truth. I'm just not a big fan of Regencies so they just keep being pushed back on that list of "I really should read this" books I have. So please forgive me for reading and reviewing Bespelling Jane Austen with such ignorance of the source material. I couldn't help it! I may not have read Emma or Persuasion but I think I've seen enough films and know enough of the basic storyline to appreciate them from afar.

What brought this book to my interest was the paranormal twist. I adore seeing classics retold and what better tales to add an element of the freakish and supernatural to? I am very pleased to report that Bespelling Jane Austen was anything but a disappointment.

Beginning the collection Mary Balogh's ALMOST PERSUADED takes Austen's Persuasion to interesting depths. As lovers are reunited through-out time only to be torn apart over and over they begin to question the very nature of love. Reincarnation, romance and brilliant writing made this one emotional and solid. I've never read Balogh's work before but if this short is any example of what she has to offer I hope she can be tempted to dabble in the paranormal palette again. 5/5 stars

In Colleen Gleason's NORTHANGER CASTLE—a spin on Northanger Abbey—both Austen lovers and fans of the Gardella Vampire series get a taste of imagination run wild. Around every corner Caroline finds a reason to believe that vampires, evil widows and monsters are out to get her and the other young women of Bath, England. Tongue-in-cheek funny and with all the guts and gusto of the series it ties in to this was my favorite of the stories offered in this collection. If you love Gleason's work it's worth buying for this one alone. 5/5 stars

BLOOD AND PREJUDICE is the story that started it all. Probably the most retold of Austen's tales, this version of Pride and Prejudice has a contemporary Lizzy and Darcy sorting out the matter of a pharmeceutical company and oh yeah, he's a vampire. I hate saying it because I know everyone loves this story in general but I hate it and this retelling didn't help change my mind. I think fans might like it but I found the paranormal element felt a bit after-the-fact for me as a paranormal junkie. 3/5 stars

Rounding out the offerings is Janet Mullany's LITTLE TO HEX HER in which a modern Emma plays match-maker to a host of magical folks. Matches are made and curses fly as our heroine and her Knightley suitor try to ward off trouble. I'm unfamiliar with Mullany's work before this but her release just a couple of weeks before this one, Jane and the Damned, has had good reviews and features Austen as a vampire herself! Looks like that should be the next stop for readers or vice versa. This story was a little take-it-or-leave it for me. It wasn't thrilling nor awful either. 3/5 stars

As a collection I recommend this anthology to any paranormal fan looking to dabble in the Austen waters a little. It's entertaining to even a novice in the world of Jane, such as myself. But I'd also recommend it for the opposite... those Janeites who might want to sample their favorites with a preternatural or contemporary twist. Better yet, if you like both paranormal romances AND Jane Austen this is a musn't miss.

Other Reviews:

Sullivan McPig of Pearls Cast Before a McPig



Notes: I requested and received a copy to review via netGalley.

10.08.2010

Blogiversary GIVEAWAY extended! (& Weekend Reading)

Good morning dearest reading buddies! I miss getting to sleep in on Saturday mornings. Especially after staying up late reading books. ;)

This morning I'm making buckwheat pancakes and scrambled eggs for the hungry natives. Life outside the book world has been insane with my mother visiting. She came to "help" me out and meet the baby finally but I find myself scrambling around constantly to prove I don't need her. Ever do that with your parents? Sometimes I wonder what a book character with my personality would be like. Probably a very annoying alpha female type who had to control everything. No one would like me. lol I've been doing a lot more cooking from scratch and baking instead of reading. Not that I don't love impressing folks with my cookin' skills, I'd just rather be reading.

Especially with the stack of recent review copies I've accrued. Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers, Passion Play by Beth Bernobich, and YA Dystopian themed Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I've decided to add Delirium to my list for the Reading Challenge!

This weekend I am working my way through The Hunger Games. How funny is it that my son came home from school with the same book the other day not knowing I was already reading it? Now if only I could actually get him to read it! So far I am loving it. Find it hard to put it down even though I want to work on Demon Angel—my Meljean Brook choice to start—since it's the longer one. Needless to say I am seeing why people are so in love with this trilogy. Might be my Christmas gift for the MIL.

Earlier this week mum and I went out (in the nasty rainy chill) and hit up a couple of the thrift shops. I came home with a huge stack of books from my overflowing wishlist but I think I ended up with a couple of doubles. I know for sure I got a Christine Feehan Carpathians I already had. My list would be so damn long it'd be hard to roll it out everytime I go somewhere... I wonder if maybe an iPad has a way to keep track of something like that. Would probably look funny—me standing in the used book aisle at Goodwill checking my iPad—though. ;)

In other RhiReading news... I decided to extend the Blogiversary Giveaway until the end of the month. Only one of you followers has entered so far and I haven't had time add the giveaway to any lists. :( So frustrating! If you've got a blog yourself I would totally appreciate you nudging your readers this way just in case they are interested in the giveaway.

Anywho... much shopping for first birthday party supplies and stuff going on this weekend. Hope y'all have a really good one. -- Rhi

10.04.2010

Will be slow responding but I haven't died. ;)

Happy Monday reader buddies! I am so stoked October is finally here. It is—and always has been—my favorite month. Perhaps it's a Scorpio thing... we do tend to be fans of mysteriousness and what month is filled with more mystery than October?

That said, my family visit hasn't gone quite according to plan. :S I also find it very difficult to just relax and let my mum help out around the house with the cleaning and kids. I feel more compelled to play hostess than I would with most other people. Weird huh? She's also a bit of a talker. Every time I sit down and start reading she starts a conversation and I have to start over again. *head/desk* Love her though I do I may have to break out the SuperGlue by the weekend. lol Every time I try and explain that I "have work to do" or "I'm working" I then have to clarify it's book work not laundry or something. I need quiet. I need privacy. Most of all I need T-I-M-E.

So what have I been attempting to read? I started the YA Dystopian Challenge with The Hunger Games and so far I am in love. I completely get why everyone loves and is obsessed with this series. Then last night I fell asleep reading the first few pages of the third Guardian's book because I had the damned things shelved wrong! Which sucks 'cause I became really interested in the book only to catch I was reading the wrong one this morning. *doh* Seriously people... I need an assistant! Someone to help me keep everything in the right order. Ah well. At least I know I will want to get to #3 ASAP.

So I made this month my Meljean Brook month and tomorrow is the big day for The Iron Duke's release. Yay! Anyone else doing a happy dance? I got the reminder postcard in the mail and was in the middle of folding wash... someone moved it over and the baby got ahold of it. She ate all four corners of the postcard!!! *sniffle* I totally was going to put that up on my office wall. Now it's looking a bit... well... chomped. *pbbbt* Least we know my daughter has good taste. Even if I have terrible taste in jokes. :P

Anyway, I really wanted to touch base with you guys. I farked up the blogiversary post. But it's up now. I hope to just read my ass off for the next few days so hopefully I will get some time over the weekend to review and such. Watch Castle tonight, then tomorrow go buy The Iron Duke. Let me know how great it is! I won't have time for the next week at least. TTFN! -- Rhi

10.01.2010

2nd Blogiversary Celebration & Giveaway!


Why, oh why did I get into this blogging thing? Two years ago today I started this blog with only a vague idea of what a book blog was and only the most simple goal in mind; reviewing books more effectively.

I've learned a lot in these two years and I have a lot more to learn as this third year of RhiReading starts. The whole process can be such a time suck it's a wonder I find it rewarding at times. :P Even still I can't help but love what I am doing here. I wish I had more time to read and write for you readers about all things book and book related.

This week I've been super busy. Some of my family were supposed to be here Monday and thanks to a lovely vehicular mishap didn't arrive until Wednesday evening. Ouch! Unfortunately it both allowed me time to complete a form I was working on for the giveaway AND now prevents me from actually being around the blog today! Tomorrow is out too since it's a spa day AND my wedding anniversary. Yep, I get to celebrate eleven years with my favorite hero of all time. There are days I wish he'd go to hell to be sure but I am married to the perfect man for me. :)

Since Friday is usually the day I talk about my reading plans for the weekend I want you to know my intent is to start one of the two books I had picked out for the YA Dystopian Reading Challenge but I'm also supposed to be starting my first Meljean Brook book for my month celebrating her work. Since I know myself and that I likely won't have time to read for the weekend at all thanks to personal holidays and keeping visitors entertained why don't you all post here and let me know what you are reading this weekend. Then please go fill out the form and enter the giveaway!

And now about that giveaway...




RhiReading 2nd Blogiversary Giveaway

You must be a follower of RhiReading to be eligible for the giveaway.
Fill out the
form.
You must be 13 years or older.
Giveaway open to US residents only, but anyone may fill out the form.

Dear readers,

Thank you for sharing in my blogiversary celebration! I want to make my third year of blogging special but to do so I need to know a little bit more about your interests. Please fill out this form so I can make my blog better in the year to come.

To say thanks for your support I will be giving away a $25 (USD) Amazon.com giftcard to one follower who has filled out this form. The form will be closed for entries at midnight / 12AM (PST) on October 15th October 31st [extended to allow more entries] and the winner will be determined by a randomizer. The winner will be announced the following weekend on the blog and sent an email notification. If a reply is not received from the winner within three days an alternate winner may be chosen.

***BONUS: If I break 100 followers during the giveaway period I will add on an additional $5 per 100 followers to the giftcard. (ie. 100 followers = $30 total, 200 followers = $35, 300 followers = $40) up to a total of $50.




If for some reason you have any problems filling out the form please drop me an email (always.and.neverATgmailDOTcom) and I will try and get it fixed as soon as I have a spare moment. Thanks again for all of your support and please feel free to tweet, repost or whatever about this giveaway! The more the merrier. ;) Love ya guys! -- Rhi

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