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


Interview: Author Beth Fantaskey (+get JGtDotDS FREE on Kindle!)

Hi Beth, welcome to RhiReading. Congratulations on your new release, Jessica Rules the Dark Side!

One of the things I love about your books is that you're not afraid to take risks in the telling that might pose challenges for you and possibly for the reader. JRtDS has a lot of interesting challenges that I've been wanting to ask you about.

As a sequel Jessica and Lucius are now married and facing their roles as royalty together. Was it difficult deciding what boundaries needed to be put in place for them as a couple since this is a Young Adult novel?

I expected it to be a pretty big challenge – especially since so many readers asked to know what happened on Jess and Lucius’s wedding night.  (I wrote the story of their wedding for my website, and it ends with Lucius closing their bedroom door after the ceremony.) Ultimately, though, as I wrote that scene and others in which Jess and Lucius are alone together, it didn’t seem that difficult to express their passion without being graphic.  I focused on the emotions passing between them, rather than a lot of physical description, and I think it came out pretty intense, without being inappropriate for younger readers. 

In JRtDS the chapters alternate between the perspectives of Jessica, Lucius, Mindy, and Raniero. Were any of the characters hard to switch into or especially easy?

The characters are all so real to me that it was very easy to switch between their voices.  At a certain point in the story, it became more like “channeling” than writing. 

Romanian is an important language throughout the storytelling of JRtDS. Did you learn the language as Jess did or through some other means?

Actually, I don’t know any Romanian.  I would use translation websites to try to express what I wanted the characters to say, and my publisher was nice enough to hire a Romanian translator to polish it up. 

How totally cool? It sounded so authentic to me. I'm so impressed!
With Lucius locked away during most of the story Jessica has to sink or swim on her own. But thanks to modern crime solving techniques and help from her friends she steps up to the challenge. Did you intend to make a statement about being strong as individuals for a stronger marriage or was that just my observation run amok?

That’s not just your imagination.  I did want to make a point about how Jess, always a strong,  independent girl, suddenly finds herself in an incredibly scary, overwhelming place – and naturally starts to rely upon her husband, who was trained since birth to rule the world she’s just entered.  For awhile, neither one of them realizes that Lucius’s strength is becoming like a crutch to Jess – which actually makes neither one of them happy.  Relationship becomes much stronger again when Jess regains her power.  

You did something clever between these books, allowing readers to help you decide on the details of Lucius and Jessica's wedding. I actually chose not to read it because I knew there was a sequel in the works and didn't want to be spoiled but after reading JRtDS I realized that perhaps I should have. The wedding chapters are currently down so where can I and other interested readers find them?

I temporarily removed the wedding chapters so I could edit them and rewrite certain parts.  (I wrote the wedding quickly, posting new chapters every other day, so they needed some editing.)  Anyway, my web designer is working hard to get them back on my website as soon as possible, and I understand that my publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, plans to release them in some form, too, either for e-readers or on their website. I would say check my website, bethfantaskey.com, after January 1.  And I’ll post on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr as soon as they’re available.  (bethfantaskey.com, facebook.com/beth.fantaskey, twitter.com/bethfantaskey, bethfantaskey.tumblr.com)

I'm sure that after reading JRtDS fans will want to know what you have planned next? Another Jessica book? Will Mindy and Raniero have further adventures? Something completely new?

Right now I’m working on a new story with new characters, but I would like to at least do another short web-based story about Jess, Lucius, Mindy and Raniero, as a second “thank you”to everybody who’s supported the books. I purposely left some loose ends at the end of Jessica Rules so I could do another interactive reader event.  I’m very grateful to readers who ask for more of the story, and like to have a way to express that.  ☺

Thank you so much again for being here Beth and answering my questions. Watching your authoring career over the past several years has been lots of fun and I look forward to seeing what this new project is when the time comes!

Dear readers, you can currently get Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side for FREE on Kindle or for $8.99 in paperback. Beth's other novel, Jekel loves Hyde is also available in multiple formats.


Weekend Reading [12/23-12/25] :: Merry Christmas from RhiReading

I am utterly exhausted. The hubs' surgery went well but the wait at the hospital was a real pain. Apparently I am invisible so I waited for 2 hours and finally started thinking something was wrong. When I asked if he'd been brought back they took me back where he'd been waiting for me for an hour. He was upset and I was moreso. Now he's in agonizing pain from the gas. Having been there with this same surgery—from the same surgeon no less—back in February I know how much pain he's in and hate not being able to make it go away. :(

On top of all the surgery stuff it was our eldest's 13th birthday yesterday. She showed up for our weekend with her with brown hair (she naturally has gorgeous blonde hair anyone else would pay top $ for in a salon), a lowcut top, and enough eye makeup to make me cringe. It's starting. That teenager hell I imagined when she was first born. I just hope she has enough sense to be a leader and not a follower now that she's got this much peer pressure to be like everyone else.

Tot had an accident at grandma's yesterday afternoon. We'd been doing some last minute shopping (birthday cards!) and dropped by her house. The tot decided to pull on her stocking and the heavy stocking holder on the mantle fell and hit her face. Poor kid now has a scratch from the corner of her nose down toward her jaw. *facepalm* I had literally been telling her to settle down at home earlier in the day since she was jumping by the TV stand and I was thinking she'd bonk her head. I wanted her to be bruise free for Christmas since she has a gorgeous dress to wear. Doh!

I did get some reading done in the waiting room at the hospital but since then I have had only a few minutes here and there. I dozed off trying to read last night. Hopefully by Monday the stress will smooth out and I'll be good to get back on reading to finish out a few more books by year's end. At more than 85 this year I'm feeling really good. I'd just like to have hit a full 100.

Been working on The Demon Lover: A Novel and Deadly Pursuit (A Blood Hunter Novel) this week. I cracked Cinder: Book One in the Lunar Chronicles but only a few pages in so far. With the kids getting all kinds of awesome loot tomorrow I'm sure I'll have slightly fewer distractions over the next week so maybe I will get all three done. We'll see. ;)

Anywho, I've got a lot to get done today and need to change this IV line of coffee. *giggle* Caffiene and cupcakes are all that's getting me through the weekend. If you celebrate Christmas may yours be very Merry and if not, I hope that whatever holiday you celebrate is joyful and if you celebrate nothing at all... well happy weekend reading to you! -- Rhi


Review: On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane [Blog Tour & Giveaways!]

I'm sharing my review today in conjunction with the On a Dark Wing Blog Tour so please check out my review. Be sure to enter my giveaway for a print copy and then head over to the tour site to visit the other blogs—9 of them have book giveaways too! Plus, on the tour hub you can enter for a chance to win a Kindle Fire! Jordan will be announcing the winners of both the book giveaways and the Kindle Fire in a live chat on January 5 at 7:00 PM EDT.  -- Rhi

On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane
Young Adult, Paranormal
Paperback $9.99 (313 pages, HARLEQUIN TEEN)
Ebook $8.99

The choices I had made led to the moment when fate took over. I would learn a lesson I wasn't prepared for. And Death would be my willing teacher.
Five years ago, Abbey Chandler cheated Death. She survived a horrific car accident, but her "lucky" break came at the expense of her mother's life and changed everything. After she crossed paths with Death—by taking the hand of an ethereal boy made of clouds and sky—she would never be normal again.
Now she's the target of Death's ravens and an innocent boy's life is on the line. When Nate Holden—Abbey's secret crush—starts to climb Alaska's Denali, the Angel of Death stalks him because of her.
And Abbey finds out the hard way that Death never forgets.

Author Site: jordandane.com

Didn't quite hit the mark this time... (3 stars)

Five years have passed since Abbey Chandler's mother died in the car accident she survived. Now her brush with Death has come back to haunt her. As Nate Holden—Abbey's crush—sets off to climb Denali, a mountain known for its many dangers, she discovers that Death is back in her life. As the Angel of Death joins Nate on his perilous trip up the mountain Abbey must come to terms with her mother's fate and the value of her own life.

Having read Dane's darker young adult novel, IN THE ARMS OF STONE ANGELS, earlier this year I think I may have been expecting too much from this novel. It's definitely not as dark as I had anticipated. ON A DARK WING jumps perspectives giving the reader glimpses of what's happening on Denali and with Abbey. Each character rings strongly and individually which is something I love about Dane's writing. These are very three-dimensional characters. That's also a little bit what killed this book for me. Abbey was great at first. Her snarkiness was infectious and her reflection about her infatuation with Nate sounded so true-to-life. Then all of the sudden at a key point in the book she switches stances with no suitable explanation why. I literally reread the page four times to see if I'd missed something. From there on out the story lost it's central thread of enjoyability.

The ending was pleasant but felt anticlimatic, almost vague. Still, the overall sentiment of appreciating life and understanding the necessity of death was interesting and good. On the whole I just think I expected something much more dark and otherworldly than this turned out to be so I wasn't satisfied while other readers looking for something softer will be delighted.

Notes: ARC received via Publisher.

Cover Reveal: Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt

Coming from Entangled Publishing in Spring 2012
Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt
 the first book in the young adult dystopian Lost Souls series.

What if you were mankind’s last chance at survival?

         Sixteen-year-old Tess lives in a compound in what was once the Western United States, now decimated after a devastating fourth World War. But long before that, life as we knew it had been irrevocably changed, as women mysteriously lost the ability to bring forth life. Faced with the extinction of the human race, the government began the Council of Creators, meant to search out alternative methods of creating life. The resulting artificial human beings, or Chosen Ones, were extraordinarily beautiful, unbelievably strong, and unabashedly deadly.

         Life is bleak, but uncomplicated for Tess as she follows the rigid rules of her dystopian society, until the day she begins work at Templeton, the training facility for newly created Chosen Ones. There, she meets James, a Chosen One whose odd love of music and reading rivals only her own. The attraction between the two is immediate in its intensity—and overwhelming in its danger.

        But there is more to the goings-on at Templeton than Tess ever knew, and as the veil is lifted from her eyes, she uncovers a dark underground movement bent not on taking down the Chosen Ones, but the Council itself. Will Tess be able to stand up to those who would oppress her, even if it means giving up the only happiness in her life?


Quick Kindle Deals!

Hey guys! Having a rough day here. Long story but short version is the hubs is having emergency surgery in the morning. Trying to keep calm and not stress considering the season is already stressful.

Anywho, laaate tonight a couple of posts are going up. One is a gorgeous cover reveal for a new series starting next year, YA dystopian anyone? ;) ;) Then the review for On a Dark Wing with my giveaway.

In the meantime here are a few awesome deals I found for Kindle today. Snap 'em up fast!






Review: The Fallen Queen by Jane Kindred

The Fallen Queen by Jane Kindred
Fantasy, Angels
Paperback $16.99 (342 pages, ENTANGLED PUBLISHING)
Ebook $4.99

Heaven can go to hell.
Until her cousin slaughtered the supernal family, Anazakia's father ruled the Heavens, governing noble Host and Fallen peasants alike. Now Anazakia is the last grand duchess of the House of Arkhangel'sk, and all she wants is to stay alive.
Hunted by Seraph assassins, Anazakia flees Heaven with two Fallen thieves--fire demon Vasily and air demon Belphagor, each with their own nefarious agenda--who hide her in the world of Man. The line between vice and virtue soon blurs, and when Belphagor is imprisoned, the unexpected passion of Vasily warms her through the Russian winter.
Heaven seems a distant dream, but when Anazakia learns the truth behind the celestial coup, she will have to return to fight for the throne--even if it means saving the man who murdered everyone she loved.

Author Site: janekindred.com

The most original fantasy you will read this year! (4 stars)

When her beloved family is slain by her cousin and dear friend, Anazakia, a grand duchess of the House of Arkhangel'sk, must flee the Heavens or face the same fate. As the last surviving member of the House of Arkhangel'sk, Anazakia's fate as the heir to Heaven's throne is thrust upon a pair of Fallen, demons with plans of ransom. Secreted away to the world of Man, Anazakia must rely on Belphagor and Vasily in the harsh Russian countryside.

Hunted by Seraphim and haunted by mysterious spirits of the seasons Anazakia can trust no one fully. But when Belphagor is imprisoned comfort is found in the arms of his fiery companion. When the truth behind the murder of her kindred comes to light Anazakia will return to Heaven to fight for what is hers and the fate of two worlds will collide in a cataclysmic battle of epic proportions.

There are no perfect words to describe THE FALLEN QUEEN. I've never read anything like it and don't believe I will again. Not because it wasn't good but because it belongs in a class all its own. Rich in fantastical celestial and angelic mythology then steeped in Russian culture I could compare it to a well aged wine. There are layers and layers of fascinating concepts and ideas peppering this story. It's romantic but not a romance. The lines of sexual orientation are crossed and blurred and reformed and extinguished making it both slightly erotic and a little ethereal. Those who are enticed by pleasure/pain will find this highly enjoyable.

Kindred's writing style is dance-like, a true ballet of fiction. Calculated steps done so passionately one could forget this is more likely to be shelved with popular fiction than literature. THE FALLEN QUEEN could easily become a classic. My only true issues were firstly frustration with Vasily's relationship with Anazakia, I felt betrayed for Belphagor, and secondly struggling to understand the subtleties of this richly Russian influenced world building. I'm also not turned on by whipping/spanking so the scenes where this took place were off-putting but that's my personal issue, not a reflection on the writing as they were all well written.

If you enjoy polyamorous romance and contemporary fantasy I would highly recommend you pick up this book. If you're an urban fantasy fan bored of the same-old, same-old this is a break from the norm but not truly urban. If you enjoy the complexity and sensuality of Ilona Andrews or Meljean Brook, THE FALLEN QUEEN should definitely be added to your wishlist. Not a completely flawless read but one that I am so glad I didn't miss.

Other Reviews:
Urban Fantasy Investigations
Reader Unboxed

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.


A Little Off-Topic: The Hunger Games Nail Polish from China Glaze

I stumbled on this... my husband had it up for some reason and so it was up when I came to use his computer. I am a closet polish freak (my other blog has lots of evidence of this) so I am hoping I can find somewhere in town to buy these when they are available. :D

---EDIT: I found this article about the polish line interesting. I also found a release date of March 1st.

I'm finding conflicting sheets with names for the colors and since I'm not familiar with China Glazes' naming system I'm going to share the sheet with the official looking stuff.

If you are a nail polish lover and HG fan I can tell you now that the dark one, Smoke and Ashes, and the Luxe and Lush one will be the first ones sold out. Make sure you snap them up fast if you can find them. I'll share more about them if I can find more. Further checking into this reveals that the colors are representative of the 12 districts, or at least that's what the rumor mill says and considering the names... it makes sense.


Review: A Clockwork Christmas (anthology)

A Clockwork Christmas by Jenny Schwartz, J.K. Coi, P.G. Forte, and Stacy Gail
Steampunk Romance, Holiday
Ebook $9.99 (CARINA PRESS)
We Wish You a Steampunk Christmas
Changed forever after tragedy, a woman must draw strength from her husband's love. A man learns that love isn't always what you expect. A thief steals the heart of a vengeful professor. And an American inventor finds love Down Under. Enjoy Victorian Christmas with a clockwork twist in these four steampunk novellas.
Anthology includes:
Crime Wave in a Corset by Stacy Gail
This Winter Heart by PG Forte
Wanted: One Scoundrel by Jenny Schwartz
Far From Broken by JK Coi

Author Sites: pgforte.com, jkcoi.com, stacygail.blogspot.com, authorjennyschwartz.com

As Steampunk Romance Good, as Holiday Romance Not (3 stars)

In the past year the world of steampunk fiction has been heating up the pages with an influx of steamy romance. It's no surprise that Carina Press called for submissions for this anthology last year but what surprised me was that while enjoyable as steampunk romances not one of these felt particularly Christmas-centric. Every single one felt as if it had been already written then quickly had some minor changes made to set it in the holiday season (which may or may not actually be the case, I do not know). Which was ultimately so disappointing for me I found it hard not to give this a lower rating.

Keeping that factor in mind each of these authors has a distinctive voice and the variety of settings and plots here is rich. If I put my hand over one eye and pretended this wasn't supposed to be a holiday anthology I'd give it four stars but it has to lose one for the lack of holiday flavor. But let's break each down individually shall we?

[CRIME WAVE IN A CORSET by Stacy Gail] A thief who must steal back a priceless gift by Christmas morning or forfeit her life. The man who lost a woman dear to his heart thanks to her. Danger and gadgetry lace this adventure and the lush chemistry between Cordelia and Roderick sparks off the page. (4 stars)

[THIS WINTER HEART by P.G. Forte] An emotionally wounded mother brings the son his father never knew existed to meet him. Rejected by her husband thanks to the nature of her existence Ophelia must convince Dario that the boy is his son. A difficult plot to wrap one's head around I simply could not get past Dario's awful behavior enough to connect with this story. Simply put, the hero is an asshole and the heroine is pathetic, hated them both though I liked Forte's style and the concept. (2 star)

[WANTED: ONE SCOUNDREL by Jenny Schwartz] An American inventor visiting Australia is propositioned by a local suffragette to represent her beliefs in the men's clubs. Esme thinks Jed a scoundrel, the sort of man with little money and morals, but he's more than meets the eye. These characters and this story really put a smile on my face. The steampunk elements were a tiny bit light but overall this was a well done romance for such a short story, I loved it. (5 stars)

[FAR FROM BROKEN by J.K. Coi] A spy must confront the damage done in the physical repairing of his ballerina bride after his enemies tortured her. A couple coming to grips with the changes both physiological and emotional when their love and lives have been run through the worst. Callie might be damaged but Jasper will learn you can't fix what isn't truly broken. Even though it was the least Christmasy, in my humble opinion, this was a really great story. (4 stars)

As a collection A CLOCKWORK CHRISTMAS was a nice sampler of authors I've been wanting to read and a great place to try on steampunk romance. As a holiday anthology it doesn't shine but is still worth picking up if you're not that into the holiday thing.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

Buy the stories individually:

It's Monday and I'm alive... really.

*yawn* Holy crap... where did last week go? I've finally shaken the cold but with the holiday season being filled with things like kids' concerts and such the week flew away from me. As much as I dread the start of a new year I'm so glad there're only a couple weeks of this one left. I'm just plain exhausted. Burning the candle at both ends is hardly healthy but there's always so much to do this time of year and I try really hard to catch up loose ends with the blog every December.

We hit 50 degrees on Saturday. It was freakishly warm. Kids were out in shorts. Usually this week of the year we're lucky if it gets above 20. Then we got a dump of perfect, pretty Christmas snow yesterday. Bet ya it'll melt before Christmas Day though. lol

I've been keeping it quiet but there's something medically wrong with my husband. The doctors still can't figure it out so we're cramming in a bunch of tests before the end of the year when our insurance changes. It's scary when the people trained to figure this stuff out can't seem to find the source of a problem. As if we didn't have enough stress with everyday life eh?

So what have you been up to? Working? Shopping madness? Reading great books? I've got a few reviews to get written and up this week with the ON A DARK WING tour stop and giveaway being Thursday. Better yet... wanna chance to win a Kindle Fire? Drop by the Tour Site and check the schedule. While you're there fill out the rafflecopter to enter! (My 12-year-old is getting a KF from us and my grandma and my dad pooling funds so I can't wait to play with it when he's at school lol).

May your week be filled with good books and minimal stress. :) -- Rhi


Winner! Gift Card Giveaway Hop

A big thanks to everyone who not only dropped by on the hop but especially to those of you who took the time to comment and tweet about it! Getting a blog noticed by the folks who would enjoy it isn't easy, especially with the amount there are out there that share much of the same qualities. I've found some of my favorite blogs and made wonderful friends thanks to Inspired Kathy's hops.

Of course there has to be a winner and here at RhiReading the lovely combo of Rafflecopter and Random.org chose anastasia! She has claimed her prize already but don't worry if you didn't win. I'm already planning some fun stuff for 2012 that will definitely include another giftcard giveaway or two.


AFK-ish this week... 'cept the giveaways!

Hey everybody! I dunno what's up with me but I caught a cold last week and can't seem to shake it. It just keeps getting worse and worse. It probably doesn't help that I don't know how to rest. What mom does? I can't even seem to get caught up with my laundry and dishes and make decent meals this weekend. :(

Naturally with my head foggy from congestion I can't think enough to write my reviews. So I think I'm going to just call in sick to the blog this week. lol I'll make sure to pop by and handle the giveaways but aside from that I really need to put my health first before this gets any worse. It's making my asthma act up which is just unusual so I'm not taking any risks. Getting me butt to bed with some tea and vitamins!

Hope to be back by Friday with some decent posts for the weekend. XO -- Rhi


Gift Card Giveaway Hop :: $10 Amazon.com Giftcard [Ends 12/13]

The holiday season is a time when we stress out thinking about the desires of others more than ourselves. But as a mom I do that every day. So sometimes it's nice to just think about what I want. Since our money was so tight this year I told my family all I wanted was to be able to have money to do a few giveaways before the end of the year. Afterall, without the support of all of you wonderful visitors I'd be here talking to the crickets and questioning my sanity.

I know you have a bazillion other places to stop on the hop so I'm making this one quick and easy... Rafflecopter to the rescue!

P.S. -- I'm giving away a second $10 Amazon.com Giftcard on my other blog, RhiAlistic!

Guestpost: Author Jane Kindred (+international giveaway!)

Humming to Pyewacket

Because it’s the holiday season, my favorite paranormal romance has been on my mind. Every year around this time, I have to watch the 1958 movie Bell, Book and Candle. The pivotal scene in the movie takes place on Christmas Eve, when urban witch Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak) uses her familiar, Pyewacket, to cast a love spell on unsuspecting Shep Henderson (Jimmy Stewart).

The movie isn’t billed as a paranormal romance (I doubt the concept existed as such in 1958). It’s a romantic comedy. But for me, it was the first story I ever encountered that made me think, “Hey, now; why aren’t there more stories with sexy witch heroines?”

It was the kind of thing my friends and I were always making up in grade school. We all wanted to imagine ourselves as women with some kind of supernatural power—whether it was witchcraft or a bionic arm—and inevitably, there would be an episode in this serial game of imagination where we “lost our powers” because of some powerful male villain. Yeah, no Jungian metaphors floating around in there at all.

But Shep Henderson wasn’t a villain. He was Gillian’s love interest, and falling in love with him was what made her lose her powers. It’s the one part of the story that doesn’t work for me, the sappy romantic ending in which Gillian is no longer the fascinating, strong woman in black pants and bare feet, but a teary-eyed, meek, almost childlike woman in a pastel yellow dress and pumps. The most telling thing to me about the ending is that her cat doesn’t like her anymore. Always listen to your cat.

From the first time I saw the movie, I wished it had a better ending. I still adore it, it’s charming and romantic, but I’d adore it more if Gillian hadn’t had to give up all her power to be loved.

Luckily, times have changed, and paranormal romance is an actual, thriving literary genre. As a general rule, paranormal and urban fantasy heroines retain their magical powers when they find love. Some even use their love and sexuality to give power to other paranormals. (Anita Blake, I’m looking at you.) And even if you hate Twilight, Bella becomes more powerful, not less, as a result of her love for Edward. (Note: if you do hate Twilight, please don’t trash it here; I have a low tolerance for attacks on other people’s work and other people’s tastes.)

Not only are there women who can be powerful and still find love in paranormal romance and urban fantasy, but these forward-thinking genres are increasingly home to male demons who find love with male demons, and female vampires who find love with female vampires, and numerous permutations in between. LGBT characters are no longer the ones who have to die tragically or provide comic relief. They’re the heroines and heroes of their own stories.

When I wrote my House of Arkhangel’sk trilogy, I hadn’t even heard of m/m romance, or paranormal romance for that matter. I had my head buried deeply in traditional epic fantasy, where such elements are not commonplace. I worried that I’d never sell my series, and that if I did, I’d be asked to take out the romance between my boys.

Fortunately, it isn’t 1958. Not only did no one ask me to tone down the romance in my unconventional series, they wanted more of it. Turns out, readers actual like smexy demon boys who like other smexy demon boys. And now my naughty demons are loose in the world, with the first book in the series, The Fallen Queen, available now, and Books Two and Three due out next year.

You probably couldn’t get much farther from Gillian Holroyd than my demons—though you could read the underground society of Greenwich Village witches and warlocks of Bell, Book and Candle as a metaphor for the LGBT community of the time—yet I still credit her with sparking my imagination and setting me in motion along the path that led me here.

I’d love to hear about the first paranormal story that hooked you on the concept and had you hunting for more. Was it a movie? A book? A comic? A cheesy 1960s TV series? Leave me a comment for a chance to win a copy of The Fallen Queen. (And remember, no trashing of sparkly vampires allowed!)

* * *

Blurb for The Fallen Queen:
Heaven can go to hell.

Until her cousin slaughtered the supernal family, Anazakia’s father ruled the Heavens, governing noble Host and Fallen peasants alike. Now Anazakia is the last grand duchess of the House of Arkhangel’sk, and all she wants is to stay alive.

Hunted by Seraph assassins, Anazakia flees Heaven with two Fallen thieves—fire demon Vasily and air demon Belphagor, each with their own nefarious agenda—who hide her in the world of Man. The line between vice and virtue soon blurs, and when Belphagor is imprisoned, the unexpected passion of Vasily warms her through the Russian winter.

Heaven seems a distant dream, but when Anazakia learns the truth behind the celestial coup, she will have to return to fight for the throne—even if it means saving the man who murdered everyone she loved.

* * *

Jane Kindred began writing romantic fantasy at the age of 12 in the wayback of a Plymouth Fury—which, as far as she recalls, never killed anyone…who didn’t have it coming. She spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed. Jane is the author of The Devil’s Garden (Carina Press/June 2011) and The Fallen Queen (Entangled Publishing/December 2011), Book One of The House of Arkhangel’sk trilogy.

You can find Jane on Twitter: @JaneKindred
on Facebook: www.facebook.com/somewherebetweenheavenandhell
or on her website: www.janekindred.com

* * *

To enter to win a print or ebook copy of The Fallen Queen please leave a comment for Jane.

The giveaway is international and provided by Jane, not me.

As this title is more on the adult side I would suggest you be 18 or older to enter but am not asking for your age, just want you to be aware before you enter.

Contest ends Monday, December 12th at noon MST. I'll use random.org to choose a random commenter and contact them that afternoon.


Congrats to Where The Best Books Are!

Just saw the news and had to stop what I was doing to say congrats to Jennifer of Where The Best Books Are! for winning the Happy Haulidays giveaway. :)

There were so many blogs who participated and so many amazing charities I'd not yet heard of that I learned about through this event. I hope this will continue to be a celebration Chronicle Books hosts for years to come.

In the meantime Chronicle has their special Happy Haulidays deal going again this year so take advantage ASAP:

As a special thank you, we're offering a promo code to all Happy Haulidays bloggers, commenters, and fans. Shop now on ChronicleBooks.com and enjoy 35% off + free ground shipping when you enter promo code HAULIDAYS at check-out. But hurry—you have to order by December 16th to save!

Review: Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook

Heart of Steel (Iron Seas #2) by Meljean Brook
Romance, Steampunk, Alternate History
Paperback $15.00 (320 pages, BERKLEY)
Ebook $9.99
Audiobook $27.97 (10 hours and 15 minutes)

As the mercenary captain of the Lady Corsair, Yasmeen has learned to keep her heart as cold as steel, her only loyalty bound to her ship and her crew. So when a man who once tried to seize her airship returns from the dead, Yasmeen will be damned if she gives him another opportunity to take control.
Treasure-hunter Archimedes Fox isn't interested in the Lady Corsair -- he wants her coldhearted captain and the valuable da Vinci sketch she stole from him. To reclaim it, Archimedes is determined to seduce the stubborn woman who once tossed him to a ravenous pack of zombies, but she's no easy conquest.
When da Vinci's sketch attracts a dangerous amount of attention, Yasmeen and Archimedes journey to Horde-occupied Morocco -- and straight into their enemy's hands. But as they fight to save themselves and a city on the brink of rebellion, the greatest peril Yasmeen faces is from the man who seeks to melt her icy heart...

Author Site: meljeanbrook.com

Everything I desire in a Romance done to perfection. (5 stars)

Archimedes Fox, legendary hero of serial novels and treasure hunter, is bound and determined to have his greatest adventure yet. He plans to fall in love. But not with just any woman. Fox wants Yasmeen, the equally legendary Captain of the Lady Corsair, the woman who has done nothing but make her heart of steel obvious. From tossing him to zombies to taking his most valuable find courting Yasmeen could be more trouble than any adventurer—legendary or not—can handle.

Getting his treasure back is a life or death matter for Fox. When circumstances alter the course of their adventure to get it back the pair must brave zombies, a mutinous crew, and Horde territories. Can the pair survive their most dangerous adventure yet? Will Yasmeen's heart find enough warmth in Archimedes to melt her cold exterior or will her past keep her from a love worth waiting a lifetime for?

I shouldn't be reviewing this book. I'm having a terrible time finding anything I didn't like about it which makes it difficult to be objective. Keeping that in mind let me just say that I know this book and series will not work for everyone. You have to suspend disbelief a considerable bit and let the pseudoscience be.

Brook has built one of the most exciting worlds I've read but there's so much of it I think it'd be easy to get Tolkien-esque in description overload. Fortunately, Brook has done an excellent job of not overly fatting this novel while still giving readers much more of the world to explore. If you've read THE IRON DUKE and wanted to know more about the Horde this book will be very satisfying.

As an adventure this book is great. As a romance it is exceptional. The groundwork for it was laid a bit in THE IRON DUKE so I honestly would not recommend this as a stand-alone though I think it's the better of the two. Yasmeen is an intriguing woman and finally getting some background on her made her even more enjoyable. Archimedes is charming and could disarm any other woman thrown at him but naturally he wants the one who doesn't want love with him or anyone. Their banter is as amusing as always but the sexual tension in this one sparks off the page to the point of nail-biting. Looking for some steamy steampunk? This is your book, hands down.

If you read THE IRON DUKE and struggled with disliking Mina and Rhys or finding their romance a little too unbelievable (I know many of you did based on reading others' reviews) I'd suggest giving this one a try. Yasmeen is no wilting flower and Archimedes is not the overbearing alpha-male type that I personally can't stand. The pair are equals in all ways which is exactly what I was looking for. This is one of my favorite romances I've ever read and the adventure only makes it more exciting. I'm scared Brook might not be able to top this one but I'm anxiously awaiting more Iron Seas novels.

Other Reviews:
Dear Author
Smexy Books
Yummy Men and Kick Ass Chicks

Notes: Review copy received via publisher.

Check this book out if you liked:


Review: I'll Be Mated for Christmas by Rebecca Royce

I'll Be Mated For Christmas by Rebecca Royce
Paranormal Romance, Werewolves, Holidays
Ebook $2.99 (short story, DECADENT PUBLISHING)
Bethany Johnson grew up one of the only humans in a pack of werewolves. She didn’t have an easy time and her self-confidence was almost non-existent. Finally, after some serious psychotherapy and the help of weight-loss surgery, she is feeling like the Bethany she has always wanted to be. But now she has to say goodbye to the werewolves in her life. Out with the old and in with the new this year…
Luke Denarius is the new Alpha of the Delta pack. He’s never met Bethany but the second he scents her he knows she is his. No way is she going off to Italy for adventure and hot sex with other men.
With the help of Madame Eve these two will find that a mating is in the works for Christmas.

Author Site: rebeccaroyce.com

A 1 Night Stand is Not Enough! (3 stars)

Left emotionally damaged by a childhood growing up one of few humans amidst a pack of werewolves, Bethany has finally found a bit of backbone. After a quick holiday visit to her half-siblings she bids them farewell, she's gotten control of her body and wants to start a new life. But when Luke, their new pack leader, catches her scent he's not about to let her get away so easily. She is destined to be his mate and her scheduled one night stand facilitated by the mysterious Madame Eve is his ticket into her life. This Christmas Bethany will realize that not all wolves are as big and bad as she's been lead to believe but is she ready to be Luke's mate?

This was my first 1 Night Stand read, one I wasn't quite sure how to approach since I know each entry is very different. But I'm glad I did. Royce managed to bring me a heart warming smile in one very short story with her wonderful hero. I won't spoil anything but if you're a more pack-oriented werewolf fan this one will please.

That said Royce did tread on my one HUGE pet peeve in a sensual scene... there was too much talking! It was a bit painful. It killed any heat I felt coming from the pages quickly. There also wasn't a lot of build up to the love making due to the short nature of the story so it did feel a little forced. What it did manage to do was sell me on Royce's writing and ability to come up with a good basic premise.

I'm not sure I would buy this one at full price because it is awfully short, I would perhaps recommend picking it up in the Madame Eve's 1 Night Stand Holiday Anthology as this really feels like it should be part of a short story collection. Overall, not without it's flaws but not unenjoyable either.

Notes: ARC provided by publisher.

Other books from Rebecca Royce:


Interview: Author Laura Kaye (+giveaways!)

Hi Laura! Thank you so much for being here today. I thought since you've been mostly getting to focus on your writing or your characters we'd shake it up a bit with holiday season topics.

Sounds great! And thanks so much for hosting me here!

In the spirit of the season this mini-view is a quick set of dozen questions!

What is...

Your must-have Christmas time treat?

Iced sugar cookies…and I have an awesome recipe for them: available in this free cookbook! Ooh, but I also love warm gingerbread with Cool Whip!

Your fondest Christmas time memory?

Oh, geez, just one? The first year my oldest daughter was old enough to get Christmas morning and appreciate the presents was truly wonderful—it’s amazing how infective a kid’s joy on Christmas can be!

The best book you've received as a gift (anytime of year)?

I’ve written two fan fiction novels in the Twilight fandom, and one ended up being a bit popular… One year for my birthday, my best friend had it bound and printed through CreateSpace and surprised me with it in book form. That was freaking awesome!

Your favorite Christmas tradition?

Decorating the Christmas tree as a family, and telling my girls all the stories associated with the ornaments.

All about your books...

Aside from her hero, what gift would you give your heroines at the holidays?


Review: North of Need by Laura Kaye

North of Need (Hearts of the Anemoi #1 by Laura Kaye
Paranormal Romance, Mythology, Holidays
Paperback $12.99 (234 pages, ENTANGLED PUBLISHING)
Ebook $4.99

While attempting to escape the agonizing memories she associates with Christmas, twenty-nine-year-old widow Megan Snow builds a snow family outside the mountain cabin she once shared with her husband--and collapses in tears against the snowman at the sight of what she'll never have.
Called to life by the power of Megan's tears, snow god Owen Winters appears unconscious on her doorstep in the midst of a raging blizzard. As she nurses him to health, Owen finds unexpected solace in her company and unimagined pleasure in the warmth of her body, and vows to win her heart for a chance at humanity.
Megan is drawn to Owen's mismatched eyes, otherworldly masculinity, and enthusiasm for the littlest things, and her heart opens enough to believe he's a Christmas miracle. But this miracle comes with an expiration--before the snow melts and the temperature rises, Megan must let go of her widow's grief and learn to trust love again, or she'll lose Owen forever.

Author Site: laurakayeauthor.com

In the Heart of Winter, Something Hot for the Holidays (5 stars)

Holed up in the winter retreat she once shared with her husband, Megan Snow can't yet bear the holidays with family and friends. Still greiving the tragic death of her husband just two years earlier she needs to celebrate in her own way. Building a snow family is hard work to take her mind off things at first but reminds her more of the life she believes is lost to her. When her tears awaken a snow god in the form of her snowman she finds herself faced with a chance at the very thing she thinks is lost.

Brought to life by Megan's tears, Owen Winters has his own painful past and a powerful reason to bring happiness back to Megan's life. But can he warm the heart frozen by grief before his chance at a life with her melts away? In a season of Christmas miracles can a snow god bring the heat of passion and the fire of love to a woman so deeply chilled by loss?

Alright, I hate admitting this but six months ago when I first heard the concept for NORTH OF NEED I laughed my butt off and rolled my eyes. "Didn't they make a movie like this back in the 90's?" I asked myself. Yeah, they did. But no, they didn't. 'Snowman comes to life' is about all they have in common. Owen becomes a man (a very good looking man!), not the creepy vision that might arrise thanks to holiday movies. So don't panic.

Now I am a slow reader in spite of my status as a reviewer so it says something when I finish a book in one evening. It was too good to put down for more than getting my kids to bed and making another cup of tea. Kaye manages to take a concept that could be very cheesy and blend it with strong emotional content, a fascinating mythology, and just enough action and physical intimacy to make the story flow perfectly. It isn't just any book that has tears sliding down my cheeks before the first chapter is finished.

Fans of Greek mythology will delight in the fresh life Kaye brings to the paranormal romance genre. Readers who love an emotional rollercoaster ride in their romance—the sting of sadness, the warmth of hope, and the bliss of a happy ending—will be richly rewarded for picking NORTH OF NEED up. Looking for something a little steamy to warm the cold winter nights? Passionate, truly sensual love scenes pepper this novel in just the right places. My only issue at all with the book was that occasionally the dialog during the love scenes was distracting but it's a personal preference for only romantic—not 'instructional'—chatter when things get hot in romances. Megan is a compassionate, struggling heroine you will ache to see happy and Owen a hero who will warm your heart with his enthusiastic, loving spirit.

Quite simply, I loved this book so much I'm gifting it for Christmas! While it sparkles as a seasonally appropriate winter wonder it isn't so Christmas-centric it wouldn't work any time of year. If you love your paranormal romance without vampires and shapeshifters or are just looking for something new add Laura Kaye and her Hearts of the Anemoi to your list of must-have authors.

Other Reviews:
Books and Things

Notes: ARC received via publisher.

Check this book out if you liked:


Guestpost: Author Rebecca Royce

Happy Saturday dear readers! Putting together huge events is something I'm still trying to figure out but as you've seen November was a month of diving into anthologies and novels with Christmasy thematic elements. It's with great pleasure I accidentally stumbled on author Rebecca Royce and realized she had a 1 Night Stand title from Decadent Publishing coming out.

In honor of I'll Be Mated For Christmas' release day which was yesterday I invited her to drop by with a guestpost. It'll make you appreciate the good guys. Then check out I'll Be Mated For Christmas! It's a short story—see below for details if you're unfamiliar with the 1 Night Stand series—but the sweet ending had me slavering for more holiday werewolf reads. Afterall, who wouldn't want a loyal, passionate werewolf at Christmas? -- Rhi

When Real Life Becomes More Like Fiction

Last night, I had a girls’ night out with some of the mom’s from my son’s nursery school class. I think that this time of year, with everything going crazy and all the present buying and running around that it’s important to take a little time to make sure we enjoy ourselves.

We had a great time. Six moms drinking wine and munching for hours. Then it was time to leave, it was almost midnight, and one of my friends has a two-month-old baby at home. Exiting the restaurant, we say our goodbyes and head to our various cars, which were parked around the building.

I got in my car and I was ready to leave when my phone rang. I’ll admit it, I thought it was my husband calling to complain that I was out too late. But it wasn’t. On the other end of the line was my friend with the two-month-old baby. She had driven with another one of our friends to the restaurant. Only when they had arrived back at their car—there was no car. Both they and another friend had been towed, for some unknown reason, why we were in the restaurant.

After some maneuvering we finally find out the cars have been towed to some unknown lot. Into my car we all get and arrive at this lot where we had been told that the cars would be released for $40 each. But the man at the lot, holding the cars, has no intention of releasing the cars for $40 each.


He wants $180 each. Cash. Or the car is not getting released. Not to mention the place was, how shall I say it, shady. Dark and not well lit these two men stood next to their tow truck blowing cigar smoke all over us. Finally, my one friend calls her husband. He says he’ll be right down but it takes some time to get to the lot so we need to go retrieve the cash since he also doesn’t have $180 in cash on him at the moment.

As I’m standing there in the dark in this horrible part of town looking at this situation (which we did taken care of, eventually, for $180 in cash for each car.) all I could think was that one—it felt really surreal that it was even happening and two—I preferred the fictional version of the night that I would write. The tow truck driver would turn out to be a hero and the lot filled with crazed were-panthers who he would protect everyone from.

But, alas, he was just another crook looking to make some money off of women with no other choice but to pay him.

If you get the chance, I hope you’ll check out I’ll Be Mated For Christmas, it has the right kind of hero. I promise.

Bethany Johnson grew up one of the only humans in a pack of werewolves. She didn’t have an easy time and her self-confidence was almost non-existent. Finally, after some serious psychotherapy and the help of weight-loss surgery, she is feeling like the Bethany she has always wanted to be. But now she has to say goodbye to the werewolves in her life. Out with the old and in with the new this year…

Luke Denarius is the new Alpha of the Delta pack. He’s never met Bethany but the second he scents her he knows she is his. No way is she going off to Italy for adventure and hot sex with other men.

With the help of Madame Eve these two will find that a mating is in the works for Christmas.

Connect with Rebecca Royce

You can find out more about how this ultra-sexy, multi-authored series works on the 1 Night Stand blog.

You can purchase I'll Be Mated for Christmas in print as part of Madame Eve's 1Night Stand Holiday Anthology or alone as an ebook.

Thanks so much for dropping by to share your story Rebecca! Gosh there are some real jerks out there. Glad Luke is a far sweeter kind of guy most deserving of Bethany.


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