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


8.31.2011

Review: Dark Magic by Rebecca York

Dark Magic by Rebecca York
Erotica, Fantasy Romance, Dragons
Ebook $2.99 (Novella, CARINA PRESS)
Audiobook $4.95

Marrying her father's barbaric enemy for political gain is not the future that Princess Devon imagines for herself. She prefers escaping into the world of magic and legend described in books—books that suggest just how a princess could take the safety of a kingdom into her own hands.
When Devon awakens one night to find the mysterious Galladar in her chamber, the lines between myth and reality begin to blur. Before he disappears into the night, the two share an intimate encounter that leaves her determined to follow her heart.
Devon leaves the castle on a quest to find the mythical dragon who can free her kingdom forever and release her from her father's plan. She's prepared to do whatever it takes to make her future her own. However, when she finds Galladar again, will she be forced to choose between her kingdom and her happiness?

Author Site: RebeccaYork.com

Paint-by-Numbers Plot, Squick-Inducing Romance (2 stars)

Princess Devon's daddy is not much of a king... or so the story tells us. He keeps his daughter locked up to preserve her virginity for some future marriage brokering. She's so innocent and pure but she's well educated. A shrinking violet who's not afraid to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her people. Only she is afraid and she's just strengthened by the mysterious man who keeps magically entering her room for some no-penetration pleasuring.

Yeeeeah... I picked this one up because I've been wanting to sample some dragon romances and the novella length seemed like it'd allow for a nice bite. Instead the readers gets saddled with a TSTL heroine who bounces between brave, educated noblewoman and panicked virgin who's dying to shed the chastity belt (not literally, thank goodness). When the hero keeps magically appearing in her room she does the idiotic thing and instead of screaming or getting the guards she lets him sample her goods. But no penetration... she has to stay a virgin to save her kingdom. Dad's at war with a barbarian horde and plans to trade her off to their leader to save their people.

Instead of doing anything smart Devon decides to dress up as a boy and run away in search of some legendary dragon she was able to learn about in her secretive studies of magic. But there are rape-hungry barbarians outside of the keep and the mysterious magic guy doesn't want her to find the dragon. This story is about as original as white bread. I kept hoping I'd be surprised but it was mostly nausea inducing not-intercourse sex tempered with a TSTL heroine's fumblings and a boring hero shrouded in mysteriousness because without that he'd be pointless.

It's unusal I dislike a story and feel like I need to rant about the things I found problematic but this is the first story I wanted to throw across the room in ages. If you like TSTL virgin heroines that scream 'special snowflake' and lots of erotic scenes with lots mentions of fluids pick this one up. Otherwise I'd suggest a pass and pick up The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance and read York's short "The Sacrifice" which is very similar in storyline to this one but far better in execution.



Other Reviews:
Scooper Speaks

Notes: ARC received from NetGalley.


Check this book out if you liked:

8.30.2011

Slightly Absent...


Howdy dear readers!

I hate this time of year. It's always a bit chaotic. I love my kid heading back to school but it usually means things get more hectic before they become more smooth.

Just wanted to leave a note letting y'all know I'm not trying to be absent but it's kind of happening anyway. Tomorrow is the first day of school but my kid's sick with Strep and the stepkidlet is starting middle school. Things are just a little crazy right now. But our company has finally left and I'm slowly catching up on all the laundry and cleaning out all the junk a house full of kids managed to shove under and into every bit of furniture. I keep finding dirty socks and plastic wrappers from juice boxes in the strangest places. lol

Meanwhile my reading is suffering a bit. I'm on my last Entangled Publishing title for the event but definitely am not reaching my goal for the Steamy Romance Reading Challenge. If I'm lucky I'll have reached 5/10 by the 5th. Somehow my blog has become more and more YA-centric over the years.

Anywho, I was planning a big event for October but thanks to some unforeseen mega-drama events IRL I wasn't able to get the form sent out to the parties I hoped to invite at a reasonable time. I'm bummed but I think the planning process helped me decide whether I can do it or not. I'll be revamping the general idea for another time when RL won't conflict as heavily.

I've got a lot of reviews to write up for both RhiReading and the secondary blog I've been attempting to rework. While my Entangled event stuff will still be getting posted I may not make any other posts for the next week or so. I'm just too bogged down with RL and it has to be my first priority. ;) -- Rhi

8.29.2011

Guestpost: Author Lisa Kessler

Walking on the Dark Side…


Hi everyone –

Thanks so much to Rhianna for letting me hijack her blog today! ☺


As the calendar nears September, I can already feel Fall creeping into the air. The leaves on my trees are just starting to turn colors, and the nights are beginning to steal time from the day, shadows and darkness encroaching on the sunshine.

Soon the evenings will carry a chill through the air, and wind will twist dried husks of leaves, scraping them across the driveway as summer fades away into my favorite time of year.

October.

I have always loved Halloween. I love the idea that there is more to the world than what we see, and on Halloween, we make that real by dressing up on costumes and masks. Pumpkins flicker, and the scent of flowers in the air is replaced by earthy, spicy scents of candles and pies.

I am a sucker for tales that make my hair stand up and send chills running down my spine, with characters that are so twisted I end up leaving the lights on after I reach the end. I love that adrenaline rush toward the end to see if everyone makes it out alive.

When I first started getting my fiction published, it was horror short stories. I enjoyed writing about all sorts of supernatural beings, but immortals fascinated me the most.

As I wrote Night Walker, I envisioned a dark paranormal romance with an immortal hero, but I thought it would be a cool twist to have a villain that didn’t have any supernatural powers, just a twisted mind and a hunger to achieve his own selfish goals. For me, a good villain really drives a story and makes the heroes earn that happy ending.

Mentigo came alive for me and grew even darker as Night Walker progressed. In fact, He had a scene toward the end of the book that bothered me so much when I wrote it, that I had to go watch television for a couple hours afterward before I could go to bed! LOL

So while I love paranormal romance and urban fantasy, I do like it dark and if I can add a dash of adrenaline, just a hint of horror, my inner Halloween-freak is giddy. ☺

I hope you will be too! I thought I’d share a short excerpt of a Mentigo scene from Night Walker just to give you a little taste…

EXCERPT:

Blood marred the stone wall of his modest dorm room. His knuckles stung each time his fist slammed into the rough rock. Pain cloaked the bitterness and rage that festered inside him.


The monsignor had passed him over. Denied his chance at his destiny.


Again.


It would be Brother Cardina who would fly across the Atlantic Ocean to San Diego. Brother Cardina would watch over the Night Walker and witness immortality with his own eyes.


Grinding his teeth together, he struck the wall once more, imagining it was Brother Cardina’s pious face, but he held back, careful not to hit too hard. Bruised and bloodied flesh could go unnoticed within the ancient walls of the Fraternidad Del Fuego Santo, but broken bones would not help his cause.


Pain burned up his arm, calming him. He stepped back and basked in the ache.


Brother Cardina was no match for an immortal blood drinker.


He moved closer to the wall, drinking in the earthy scent of his blood. He would get his chance. Staring at the fresh crimson stain, he stuck out his tongue and allowed himself a long, slow lick. He closed his eyes and smiled, resting his cheek against the wall. For now, he would be patient.


Clenching his raw fists, he opened his eyes and stared at his pencil sketches of ravens. His chance would come.


Soon.

So with Halloween right around the corner, I thought I’d ask what kind of villains scare you? Have any stuck with you?

I know for me, The Overlook Hotel from The Shining still scares me! Yikes! And Randall Flagg from The Stand also creeps me out. Remember the law firm from the tv series Angel, Wolfram and Hart? Very evil business! LOL And from the movies, wasn’t Darth Vader the ultimate dark villain?

I’m also a huge fan of the Evil Queen in Snow White. She was a woman with a plan who wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty and take care of her evil plot herself…

So what about you? Are there certain villains that stick with you? Those characters you love to hate? Can’t wait to see who made your list…

-- Lisa



About Lisa:


Lisa Kessler is an avid reader and writer of dark fiction. Her short stories have been published in print anthologies and magazines, and her vampire story, Immortal Beloved, was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award. Lisa recently signed a 4 book deal with Entangled Publishing to release her Night Series. The first book, Night Walker, is scheduled to be released August 5th.


When she's not writing, Lisa is a professional vocalist, performing with the San Diego Opera as well as other musical theater companies in San Diego.


Lisa lives in southern California with her incredibly fun husband and two
amazing kids.

Connect with Lisa:

Lisa-Kessler.com | Blog | Twitter | Lisa's Facebook | Night Walkers Facebook | Goodreads | Entangled Publishing

Pick up a copy of Night Walker and other titles from Lisa Kessler...




8.28.2011

Review: Vampire Academy: A Graphic Novel

Vampire Academy: A Graphic Novel by Richelle Mead, adapted by Leigh Dragoon and illustrated by Emma Vieceli
Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Vampires
Paperback $12.99 (144 pages, RAZORBILL)
After two years on the run, best friends Rose and Lissa are caught and returned to St. Vladimir's Academy, a private high school for vampires and half-bloods. It's filled with intrigue, danger - and even romance. Enter their dark, fascinating world through a new series of 144-page full-color graphic novels. The entire first Vampire Academy novel has been adapted for book one by Leigh Dragoon and overseen by Richelle Mead, while the beautiful art of acclaimed British illustrator Emma Vieceli brings the story to life.
Author Site: RichelleMead.com

Great Adaptation, For Fans and Future Fans (4 stars)

You'd only have to read my review of the book this graphic novel is based on to know I love the freshness Mead brought to the teen vampire fiction genre. It's one of my favorite just-for-fun reads and a series I have turned friends and family onto multiple times. Seeing it being adapted into one of my favorite mediums instantly gave it must-have status. But could the team of Dragoon and Vieceli pull it off without treading on the toes of fandom and author alike?

As far as the story goes I think Dragoon did a great job of adapting the book into a graphic novel. My only issue there is that the final few scenes felt rushed. I had to flip back and make sure I hadn't missed a page or two. Another thing I felt did not translate well was Dimitri in general. Both visually and in dialog he fell flat. He's not my favorite character already so it would have been great to at least have him be more visually compelling.

In full color from start to finish the quality on this book is fantastic. Vieceli's style treads the line between comic and manga (much like the Twilight adaptation) but aside from Mia's creepy Lolita-styled hair and clothing I didn't feel was consistent with the book it works. I definitely found Mia distracting in this, her hair in particular felt jarring. It looked out of place in a bad way. I think if that had been toned down just a little it would have been great but it kicked my love of this adaptation down from love to like.

On the whole this is a nicely done adaptation that any die-hard fan of the Vampire Academy series should snap up. If you've not read the books and have been considering it I would certainly suggest giving this a try as it is a nice starting point. Can't wait for the release of the Frostbite (VA #2) graphic novel in spring 2012!



Other Reviews:

Notes: Purchased this via Amazon.com.



Check this book out if you liked:

8.27.2011

Trailer: Lisa Kessler's Night Walker


He gave up his soul for a second chance to love her…

Two and a half centuries ago, Calisto Terana lost everything when a zealous priest murdered the woman he loved. Now, desperate for another chance to love her, he wants redemption for the mistake that cost her life.

She’s haunted by dreams of her own death…

After catching her fiance with another woman, Kate Bradley returns to San Diego to clear her head. The last thing she needs is romance, but after meeting Calisto she’s drawn to him in ways she doesn’t understand.

They’ve waited in the shadows for centuries…

Calisto has no doubt Kate is the reincarnation of his lost love, but the Fraternidad Del Fuego Santo has a new watcher with dark ambitions of his own. As old enemies reemerge and a new threat arises, the betrayal that enslaved Calisto to the night might destroy the only woman he’s ever loved again.

8.25.2011

Review: Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay
Young Adult, Romance, Classic Retelling, Fantasy
Hardcover $17.99 (320 pages, DELACORTE)
Ebook $10.99

"These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume."
—Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
The most tragic love story in history . . .
Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.

Author Site: StaceyJay.com

Exceptional, Imaginative, Immortal (5 stars)

Traditionally I like to summarize the plot of a book in my own words at the start of a review but to do so with this one would be quite involved. I think it's fairly safe to say everyone knows the basics of Shakespeare's tragedy enough to have the basics. But what if that was only part of the story? What if it was a fabrication used to taunt the real Juliet because the truth was that Romeo murdered her in exchange for eternal life? Keep asking what-ifs and you'll wind up with a good idea of what Jay's novel does to this otherwise beloved and loathed classic. Whether you believe in star-crossed love and soul-mates or not this violent and fresh spin on the classic is a must-read.

Complex and layered there's some heavy duty fantasy world-building at work here. Juliet has been pulled onto one side of an endless eternity fighting her former true love. Sent out into the world to protect lovers from Romeo's dark influence she has lost much of her sense of self. Each time she returns to Earth she inhabits a body long enough to ensure true lovers reach the point when nothing can tear them assunder. Meanwhile her former love has been cursed with a different type of eternal life in which he recruits others into the side that seeks to feed the violent, selfish immortality he exists in. But fewer and fewer true loves have come to be as time goes on and the time for action, a chance to break from their immortality as servants may require them to work together... a choice Juliet will have to make for better or for worse.

What a great twist on the classic. I am a Romeo and Juliet fan and have been since long before the high school English class where I performed both Romeo and Juliet's roles. Even though I don't quite believe in the whole soulmates thing it's an idea that's romantic and unrealistic but sweet. When I heard that one of my favorite authors was taking the classic and not retelling it but twisting it I could hardly wait. Fortunately Jay has managed to pull off a very dark and multi-layered storyline that I think will appeal to both the lovers and the haters of the classic. Fans of R&J will love the romantic storyline and the ending which I will honestly say had me floored and so excited for the sequel, ROMEO REDEEMED, I can hardly stand it. Haters will find the idea of Romeo being a villain pretty amusing and will most likely enjoy seeing the classic sap get a good bruising.

It takes a lot to really blow me away when it comes to Young Adult fiction but JULIET IMMORTAL managed to be both shocking and fresh. She really breathed new life into a trope that is so overdone even fans of the cliche get sick of it. One thing Jay's fans will love is that even though this is dark and lacks the snark her earlier work does so brilliantly she manages to make the setting an entity of its own, something I feel she excells in. If you loved what she did for Donaldsonville, LA in DEAD ON THE DELTA you'll love Solvang, California. It's something I feel is a bit lacking in the genre with a few exceptions and for me adds a certain immersive quality that makes a story feel more real to me.

There's so much I could say regarding this story and my enjoyment of it but it's definitely one I almost feel too strongly about to be a truly fair and objective reviewer. Let me just encourage anyone who ever had to read Romeo and Juliet for school, no matter whether they liked or loathed it, to give it a read. I think this has something to offer anyone who is familiar with the story and enjoys a good bit of entertaining fiction, especially dark romances.



Other Reviews:

Notes: ARC received via Amazon Vine.

Check this book out if you liked:


8.22.2011

Stacia Kane Sale!

Hey guys! Things are kinda crazy here at Casa de Walker. Family drama as usual. But I'm trying to fill in the gaps with reading to destress... and stay away from the ice cream sandwiches and vodka. ;) I'm skipping the TV Monday post today because I simply don't have the time and the list is shrinking pretty bad. Just don't forget The Lying Game and Alphas tonight, Pretty Little Liars tomorrow and this weekend's True Blood. I missed last night's epi so I've gotta play catch-up sometime this week but I cheated and read a recap so it sounds like it was a great episode. What'd ya think?

Anywho I was doing a quick check of ereaderiq.com and saw this super bargain and had to share... the first book is 99¢ and the others are $4.99 (these are on Kindle of course but anymore I'm buying mostly Kindle format unless I can find a super deal in paperback). Now I'm off to figure out something to fix for dinner and get my gym clothes together. Did I mention yet I finally fit my pre-baby jeans? Yay! Have a great day and catch ya later in the week. -- Rhi


8.19.2011

Weekend Reading [07/19-07/21] :: Makin' it a quickie...



demotivational posters - WRONG
see more Very Demotivational


Naw, not hatin' on the Twilight. Just thought it was funny and needed something quick to throw up for my post today. I completely spaced we were having company for like 10 days and that they were showing up this week. So uhm yeah... here I am trying to get the last bits of back-to-school stuff done, reading in every free minute, and making plans for a date night with the hubs and I get the call "just letting you know we're leaving in about an hour so we'll be there..." *facepalm*

This weekend I'll be finishing up THE WHAT-IF GUY, probably this afternoon while I'm at the doctor's office with my toddler. At some point I need to get groceries because I needed to wait until my company was here to do the shopping so I know what I can feed them. I'll have to remember to mention more about it but I did have some good news this week... I met my work-out goal of getting into the pre-baby jeans! So proud of myself and soooo happy to finally have more than one pair of jeans I can wear.

I'm also working on EMBRACED BY BLOOD by Laurie London. It's kind of plodding along for me at the moment but I think I'm guilty of wanting there to be some steamy lovin' happening. Get to the sex already! ha. Never thought I'd say that.

Hope all of you have an awesome weekend. I really do love hearing what you guys are reading right now so drop me a comment and tell me about it! -- Rhi

8.18.2011

Review: Ward Against Death by Melanie Card

Ward Against Death (Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer #1) by Melanie Card
New Adult, Fantasy, Magic
Paperback $14.99 (292 pages, ENTANGLED PUBLISHING)
Ebook $7.99

Twenty-year-old Ward de'Ath expected this to be a simple job bring a nobleman s daughter back from the dead for fifteen minutes, let her family say good-bye, and launch his fledgling career as a necromancer. Goddess knows he can't be a surgeon the Quayestri already branded him a criminal for trying so bringing people back from the dead it is.
But when Ward wakes the beautiful Celia Carlyle, he gets more than he bargained for. Insistent that she's been murdered, Celia begs Ward to keep her alive and help her find justice. By the time she drags him out her bedroom window and into the sewers, Ward can't bring himself to break his damned physician's Oath and desert her.
However, nothing is as it seems including Celia. One second, she s treating Ward like sewage, the next she's kissing him. And for a nobleman s daughter, she sure has a lot of enemies. If he could just convince his heart to give up on the infuriating beauty, he might get out of this alive...
(Note: This title is more aptly a New Adult or YA cross-over than a true YA title.)

Author Site: MelanieCard.com

New Adult Fantasy Debut Has Promise (3 stars)

In spite of his familial destiny to be a necromancer, Ward de'Ath, trained as a physician. Sworn to serve the sick until they are made well his private pursuit learning surgery has earned him status as a criminal. Forbidden surgeries practiced on corpses don't make for an illustrous career in medicine. Falling back on necromancy he is called upon to wake the daughter of a nobleman for final goodbyes. But when Celia Carlyle wakes her insistence that she was murdered and his oath bind him to her in an adventure to uncover the truth.

There is far more to Celia than meets the eye and Ward soon finds himself so deeply enmeshed in the criminal underworld his past transgressions seem trivial. Getting to the bottom of Celia's murder will lead him deeper into his necromancer roots to the very heart of darkness even as the growing attraction to Celia puts him in greater danger of not only losing his life but his heart as well.

Ah, what a difficult book to review. There is a lot going on in this world. Necromancers, a criminal underworld, a guild of assassins, and more. I'll admit that the premise really did not prepare me for how confusing the world building was going to be. There's magic of a sort but it's never quite defined or explained and in a way that's good. Being dropped into the story and learning bits about the world as you go along can be satisfying. The trouble is, the pacing can be so slow and plodding with choppy drops of action splattered in which makes the world building feel non-existent in areas.

WARD AGAINST DEATH's big strength is its title character. Ward is a bit bumbling, clumsy, and strangely naive. In many ways the entire book from the world building to the disjointed pacing of the plot are a reflection of his personality. I really liked him even though much of the time I wanted to whack him upside the head for his lackings. He's book smart and brave in his own way which endeared him to me greatly. His attraction to Celia actually felt very contrived to me. There's a little too much telling and not enough showing of reasons he finds her attractive. Celia herself felt very flat and bored me with her bad-assery. Her thoughts were very repetitive and gave very little indication she was capable of love or being loved.

From start to finish WARD AGAINST DEATH has the feel of a debut novel. There were definitely a lot of things that bothered me yet on the same token there is great series potential here. If the magic system and world building get further fleshed out and the relationship between Ward and Celia is allowed to blossom naturally I really think this will win me over in the long run. I think readers who enjoyed Maria V. Snyder's Study series or the originality of Holly Black's Curse Workers might find the fresh concept and characters here enjoyable.



Other Reviews:

Notes: Received review copy via NetGalley.


Check this book out if you liked:

8.17.2011

Interview: Melanie Card, Author of WARD AGAINST DEATH [+international giveaway!]



Congratulations on your amazing debut Melanie and welcome to RhiReading!


So wow, your book, WARD AGAINST DEATH, has already hit #2 on Amazon Canada's bestseller list! That's pretty awesome. Did you do anything special to celebrate your book's birthday?


Thank you Rhianna for inviting me to be here today. I was so excited to see Ward Against Death on a list! I went to check if my family could pick it up through the .ca site and wow, there it was. For a celebration, my hubby and I got together with a few close friends. It was wonderfully low key, just my style.


WARD AGAINST DEATH is quite the complex tale. A young would-be-physician forced to fall back on his family's tradition of necromancy gets tangled up in all sorts of trouble when he is called upon to wake the lovely daughter of an aristocrat who happens to be in the kingpin of organized crime. Not to mention that the daughter, Celia, is an assassin... or that Ward is already a wanted man for grave robbery and practicing surgery! Is there anything you didn't throw at poor Ward? Hmmm, I don't remember any ninjas. ;) I think most readers want to know... where did you get all of these great ideas and what challenges did you face stitching them together (pun totally intended)?


Ninjas! What a great idea, maybe I can work a few into the next books. I love a good story complication. I get my ideas for everywhere. Someone mentions something, I read a book/newspaper, or I see something in a movie or on TV and it sparks an idea. Then I take that idea and see if it will work in the book. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t (it’s hard, but sometimes you just have to toss a brilliant idea or save it for the next book). The biggest challenge, once I’ve decided the idea will work, is making it feel significant instead of just being a random complication. I try to do this by giving it enough “book time” to develop it, which often involves some plotting before, during, and/or after the first draft to ensure it has a big enough presence. If it doesn’t there’s a risk it won’t feel important and the reader will be left thinking the plot isn’t wrapped up.


Until I became interested in WARD AGAINST DEATH I had never actually had anyone discuss or make a distinction between Young Adult, Upper YA and New Adult fiction. I was actually really pleased that someone had finally made a distinction I could use as a reviewer but for the sake of sharing with my readers could you explain to us how your book fits into the latter categories?


My editor explained the distinctions really well on Entangled Publishing's blog. Ward Against Death is a New Adult. Both the hero and heroine are twenty years old, they’re out of school (if there was a regular school system in my world) and are just starting to establish themselves as independent adults. Ward has moved away from home and is working on becoming a recognized necromancer, while Celia (who’s still living at home) is starting to become an up and coming star in her field. They’re both in that in-between teen and adult stage where they may still have the teen uncertainly about who they are, but now are in the adult world, making decisions without the safety net of family.


The next novel in the CHRONICLES OF A RELUCTANT NECROMANCER series is slated for release this December and you're hard at work on the third installment. Do you have a rough idea of how many books we can expect in the series and any hints at what adventures are in store for Ward and Celia?

I’m aiming for a four book series, and Ward and Celia will delve deeper into the dark side of necromancy.


As an actress in local productions I'm sure you can appreciate the frequently asked question about a dream cast for WARD AGAINST DEATH if it were being made into a film but I'd rather ask something different. If you were faced with the hypothetical film situation which artists or specific songs would be on your dream soundtrack?


Wow, that’s a tough question. I have some pretty eclectic tastes in music from Mozart to Billy Talent and tend to enjoy where is on, on whatever station so happens to be playing (my writing playlist has Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles and Johnny Cash’s Nine Inch Nails cover of Hurt). I do know I’d love for Two Steps From Hell to do the trailer. From what I can tell, their music is written for commercial purposes like movies trailers and is strong and dynamic and evokes emotions.


One of the stories I was thinking of using when suggesting WARD AGAINST DEATH to other readers is Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study. That she actually did a quote for your book just completely solidifies my recommendation. :) When you're not working on your own fiction what do you like to read?


I love Maria’s books and I was so thrilled when she’d agreed to read my book for a cover quote. I also love Guy Gavriel Kay and Patricia McKillip for their prose, and Barbara Hambly and Michelle Sagara for their stories.


Before we close this little QandA is there anything special or interesting you'd like to share with readers that an interviewer hasn't asked you yet?


I’ve been asked a lot of interesting questions so I’ll share a unusual fact: I have a four foot long stuffed crocodile puppet in my living room. Croc. He’s been in two theatrical productions so far and I anticipate a long and successful career for him.


Thanks so much for answering my crazy queries and best wishes for the continued success of WARD AGAINST DEATH!

Thanks Rhianna. It was great chatting with you.

Connect with Melanie: Facebook / Twitter @melaniecard / Goodreads / MelanieCard.com




Now for the giveaway! Let's keep it simple eh?

Melanie's awesome publicist Danielle has hooked me up with one e-book copy of WARD AGAINST DEATH that I can give away to one of my readers.

To enter I want you to pop over to Entangled Publishing's website and check out their offerings then leave a comment telling me which book (or books) they've published (or that's coming soon) that you'd most like to read.

You do NOT have to be a follower, though I would love you to be, but please make sure you include your contact email in your comment. Entries without an email address I can contact you at will be excluded from the giveaway.

This giveaway only runs 24 hours from the time this post goes up but is open internationally!

8.15.2011

It's Monday, Get Your TV On! [Paranormal, Scifi and Bookish TV Shows]



Monday: Alphas on Syfy and The Lying Game on ABC Family
Tuesday: Pretty Little Liars and The Nine Lives of Chloe King on ABC Family
Sunday: True Blood on HBO




The Lying Game
Season 1, Episode 1
"Pilot"
In the series premiere of this drama, identical twins Emma and Sutton (Alexandra Chando) meet for the first time, and foster kid Emma agrees to temporarily assume Sutton's privileged life while Sutton researches their biological mother. However, when Sutton doesn't return, Emma must decide whether to continue the charade.(synopsis via TVguide.com)



Alphas
Season 1, Episode 6
"Bill & Gary's Excellent Adventure"
Gary and Bill take an outside case, which puts their powers to the test.(synopsis via TVguide.com)



Pretty Little Liars
Season 2, Episode 10
"Touched by an 'A'-ngel"
Aria feels torn about how to view Jason when Spencer and Emily paint him in a negative light. Meanwhile, Hanna makes an effort to get along with her future stepsister; and mounting pressure from "A" drives Emily close to the edge. (synopsis via TVguide.com)



The Nine Lives of Chloe King
Season 1, Episode 10
"Beautiful Day"
Chloe makes secret plans to meet with her dad. Meanwhile, Brian reunites with his grandmother, who he thought was dead; and Alek is devastated when he overhears Chloe admit to her mom that she's in love with Brian. (synopsis via TVguide.com)

True Blood
Season 4, Episode 9
"Run"
A Festival of Tolerance in Shreveport finds Marnie plotting another strike against the vampires, much to Tara and Holly's dismay. Meanwhile, a recuperating Sookie mulls a world where Bill and Eric can coexist; contrasting agendas create friction between Bill and Nan Flanagan; Hoyt asks Jason for a favor; Marcus recruits an ally to deal with Sam; and Jesus tends to Lafayette's spiritual well-being. (synopsis via TVguide.com)


P.S. Check out MTV's new show Death Valley... premieres August 29th.

Celebrate Georgette Heyer's Birthday with $1.99 Kindle Deals from Sourcebooks Casablanca!

This is not a complete listing of all the available Heyer titles priced at $1.99 but it's a decent grouping. If you're a Nook (or other ereader) user I'd bet the same deal will be going elsewhere so leave a comment if you happened to find them in your favorite ereader format.

Heyer is probably best known for her Regencies which were very well researched but she also wrote mysteries. The two I've read and reviewed are Cousin Kate and Regency Buck. As you all probably remember I'm not a Regency fan but Heyer's authenticity and research made her historical fiction exceptional. If you enjoy Austen you have to try Heyer. ;) Celebrate what would have been her 109th birthday (August 16th) by picking up one of these today. -- Rhi













8.12.2011

First Once Upon a Time Poster Revealed!


So it's been a while since I had time to dig up some newsie goodness regarding upcoming TV shows and to be honest this was a bit of a fluke. But I had to drop in and share. Yes, I am still trying to digest every bit of stuff I had interest in that came out of SDCC. I haven't even had time to properly grill my buddy who went... seriously I drilled every drop of info about the new Underworld flick and it took up over half an hour.

Anywho... Once Upon a Time finally has a premiere date! October 23rd people... mark your calendar. Thank goodness it's on the BEST night of the week for me to actually sit down and catch a TV show. How are we liking the first poster eh? Oh how I adore Rumplestiltskin. I had the amazing Edward Gorey illustrated version as a child and it was one of my favorite fairytales. They'll be sharing new ones on OUAT's Facebook page over the new week so be sure and check 'em out. Y'all will have to tell me which one is your favorite and I'll use it as the linkage for the sidebar. -- Rhi

Weekend Reading [08/12-08/14] :: Monster High Collecting, Smexy Reading & Randomness




What a long week eh? I'm so glad the weekend is here.

I've been having some great fun with the tot this week reading review copies of boardbooks and stuff intended for her age on my iPad. It's so awesome having one of my kids think reading is fun. ;) Bah on my tweens!

With the start of school just a couple of weeks off now I've had school on the brain. This is the first year school shopping has been a chore and not fun. Our soon-to-be sixth grader suddenly hates new clothes and has no interest in helping pick up his supplies. *head/desk*

Earlier this week the hubs stumbled on the latest wave of Monster High dolls while picking up wasp killer at Target. Dude! They're so cute. They're class themed so Lagoona Blue's is Mad Science, Frankie Stein's is Home Ick and Ghoulia Yelps' is Physical Deaducation. How cute eh?

I was still looking for the Dead Tired line we couldn't find while we were out of town and didn't even know they had these and a special Target exclusive Gloom Beach five-pack (the only place you can get the beach Ghoulia). Needless to say my charge card is feeling the crunch. Ha! Guess what though? I totally spaced asking my friend who went to Comic Con to buy me the Comic Con exclusive Ghoulia. *doh* Now people are selling it for about $50 versus the $20 you'd pay at CC.

Are any of you readers also collecting the Monster High stuff?

I'm honestly not sure how to go about it but I was thinking of contacting Mattel to see if they might send me info on their Monster High doll lines before they come out so someone out there will have some accurate info for collectors. I have yet to find a proper site for adult collectors and honestly that's frustrating. Not that I mind the ones where the majority of the fans are the targeted audience I'm just finding that they don't often have accurate information. I'd like to see a collectors site (or at least some kind of resource-even a blog) where adults are keeping them packaged and have lists of what items have been released, store exclusives, and that kind of thing. Heck, I think I may end up starting a MH collecting blog just for myself so I can keep track of what I have. Would anyone be interested if I reviewed the books or invited the author over for some QandA?

And now for the bookishness... what are you guys reading? It's so rare anyone comments I never know if anyone is actually reading these posts and I mostly know what others are reading thanks to Goodreads. lol I just finished the amazing JULIET IMMORTAL last night and can't wait for its sequel ROMEO REDEEMED. I've got to hound Stacey about it as soon as the craziness of release week slows down. Speaking of the lovely Ms. Jay... if you haven't picked up her adult debut DEAD ON THE DELTA yet... do it! If you love Urban Fantasy this is awesomesauce. I just pre-ordered its sequel, BLOOD ON THE BAYOU, this morning 'cause even though I know I can get an ARC I want the real thing. ;)

Now that I've finished JI I'm going to get burning on Lisa Kessler's NIGHT WALKER. If you like Laurie London's Sweet Bloods and J.R. Ward's BDB series this has a touch of each and I'm really enjoying it.

Hope you all get lots of reading and relaxation this weekend. I've got a few rental flicks to watch (yay SUPER finally came out!) and TB dinner night with the inlaws so hopefully it will be a chill one. -- Rhi


99¢ Kindle Deals! Pride and Prejudice and Zombies + MORE!

Just in time for the weekend! If you've got them on your wishlist now is the time to buy! -- Rhi


8.10.2011

Review: The Marked Son by Shea Berkley

The Marked Son (Keepers of Life #1) by Shea Berkley
Young Adult, Fantasy Romance, Modern Fantasy
Paperback $17.99 (334 pages, ENTANGLED PUBLISHING)
Ebook $7.99

Seventeen-year-old Dylan Kennedy always knew something was different about him, but until his mother abandoned him in the middle of Oregon with grandparents he’s never met, he had no idea what.
When Dylan sees a girl in white in the woods behind his grandparents’ farm, he knows he’s seen her before…in his dreams. He’s felt her fear. Heard her insistence that only he can save her world from an evil lord who uses magic and fear to feed his greed for power.
Unable to shake the unearthly pull to Kera, Dylan takes her hand. Either he’s completely insane or he’s about to have the adventure of his life, because where they’re going is full of creatures he’s only read about in horror stories. Worse, the human blood in his veins has Dylan marked for death…
Author Site:
SheaBerkley.com

An Exciting Romantic Modern Fantasy for Teens (5 stars)

For years Dylan Kennedy has been the victim of his mother's romantic whims. Never finding 'The One' she has dragged him from place to place never allowing him to grow roots, stay long enough to really make friends. When she once more up-ends his life hauling him to Oregon his life changes even further. This is no simple change of scenery as she chases love. She brings him to her parents' sheep farm, to meet the grandparents he's never met, who don't even know he exists. Even still his grandparents make him welcome when—like a fierce summer storm blazing through—his mother abandons him there.

Ever different but not sure why Dylan's chance encounter with a mysterious ghostly figure in the woods begins an adventure to find his destiny. For Kera, the girl in white, and Dylan share much more than just their dreams. She will lead him to a world where the very thing that made him different in his world could be it's salvation if the one thing tying him to his own doesn't get him killed first.

Ahhh, it's like peeling back the layers of an onion. I'm sorry but my attempt at a description kind of tore at it. There's a lot going on in THE MARKED SON. Action and romance, magic and shapeshifting, sword-fights and tree surfing. Tree surfing you say? Yes, tree surfing. It's a very imaginative and yet modern take on fantasy. Berkley calls them Firsts, but it would be fair to say they are a somewhat fae-like race. Their world is in turmoil of the highest sort and Dylan falls right into the middle of it.

Kera, his paramour, is a young woman of a great many secrets and their pull to one another is almost animal. One might say they are a drug to one another and incapable of giving each other up once they meet. It was the one thing that actually didn't really work for me in the storyline. I just couldn't quite buy it and part of that might have been the result of the unusual storytelling style Berkley uses. Chapters alternate between Dylan's first person accounts and third-person parts about Kera. In a way it worked to endear Dylan to me and at the same time it made me feel alienated from Kera. I liked the concept more than the execution and some readers might find the switching back and forth between perspectives bothersome.

Surprisingly the secondary characters were what made me love the story. Bodog and Lucinda, creatures from Kera's realm, in particular charmed me. I also became very fond of Dylan's grandparents. Without the great cast of background characters aiding Dylan and Kera along the way the story might have made me want to punch the two love-birds for their constant obsessing over each other. Fortunately there's plenty of fighting and escapes and magic to give it a strong sense of adventure and action.

On the whole I think this is a great modern fantasy with a strong romantic thread but enough action to entertain both male and female readers. There are a few emotional moments and if you can get past the moments of lead characters goo-goo eyeing I think it'd even be a great read for many adults who enjoy non-epic fantasy. I would definitely recommend this one to fans of The Iron Fey series or Aprilynne Pike's Wings.
Notes: Review Copy via NetGalley.



Other Reviews:


Check this book out if you liked:

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"THE BLUSHING BOUNDER" by Meljean Brook
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"KITTEN-TIGER & THE MONK" by Carolyn Crane
A Disillusionists Novella - Sophia Sidway, Midcity’s most dangerous memory revisionist, seeks out the mysterious Monk in the wasteland beneath the Tangle turnpike, hoping for redemption…but it turns out that the Monk is not all that pious, and the turnpike is no turnpike at all. (20K words)

I'm not gonna complain that I paid the full $2.99 for it last week... instead you guys should hurry over to Amazon and snatch this up while it's soooo cheap! I think it goes back to regular price on Monday but don't quote me on that. The reviews have been amazing and I can't wait to find the time to nibble on it too. -- Rhi 

8.09.2011

Interview: Shea Berkley, Author of The Marked Son [+ INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY!]

Meet Author Shea Berkley

Hi Shea, congratulations on your new series from Entangled Publishing and welcome to RhiReading!

Hey Rhi, thank you for having me here. I’m very excited to talk to you about THE MARKED SON.

To introduce you to my readers could you please tell us a little bit about your career thus far as a writer?

I’ve been writing forever, but only seriously for about ten years. Breaking into this business hasn’t been the easiest thing to do. I’ve had great support—my agent Laurie McLean—and she’s kept me on track, pushing me to write what I love but with more focus. She tirelessly shops my work around and I’ve been fortunate to have caught the attention of two publishers, Entangled Publishing and Variance Publishing. I feel very blessed.

The Marked Son, the first book in The Keepers of Life series, is a contemporary young adult fantasy I'd dare say falls into a vein somewhat like the fan-favorite The Iron King. Your previous works have been historical and epic fantasy. What inspired the switch to a modern setting?

I love epic fantasy, so I naturally swing that way when I start thinking about a fantasy book, but I also write adult contemporary fiction, so I decided to try a modern setting, and Dylan poured onto the page and swept me along into this amazing story. I’m terrible at describing my stories, (I get tongue-tied and my brain flashes on too many details) so every time I tried to explain it to my agent, I ended up saying, “Trust me, you’re gonna love it.” Thank God she did.

I'm not quite finished with The Marked Son at the writing of this interview so correct me if I'm wrong... Kera and the people of Teag are not called fae but there are very fae-like qualities to them. Being harmed by iron, able to control nature, pixie-like creatures and dwarves. They're not quite the frightening sidhe popular in Urban Fantasy but neither are they the cutesey fairies popularized by Disney either. That said, do you think it's fair to compare the series to say Aprilynne Pike's Wings books or Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey?

(giggle, snort) Those are two series I’ve yet to read (though as soon as I’m done with mine I’ll definitely pick them up). I try to stay away from books that are too similar to what I write. The Firsts in my book lean more toward the traditional Fae, though I’ve taken the liberty of making them my own. They’re called Firsts because they were created before humans and consider humans inferior.

The night I sat down to start reading The Marked Son I fell asleep reading. Not because it was boring but because it was so engaging from the first page that I couldn't put it down. Alternating chapters between first and third person perspectives, Dylan's and Kera's respectively, is unusual but I think it really works to establish that this is primarily his story, while she plays a significant role. What made you decide to try this uncommon narrative style?

It’s always a risk when you have two strong narrative voices in a book. A lot of people won’t like the story because I switch back and forth between the two. Sadly, it just annoys them. I took the risk because I wanted to separate Dylan and Kera in a dramatic way, but I also wanted to make sure it’s clear this is really Dylan’s story, though hers is just as compelling and linked in a way that they can’t be separated. She impacts his world when she appears, but he completely changes her world once he enters her realm.

I have to admit that I cried when Dylan's mother abandoned him with his grandparents. I can't say how strongly this will resonate with other readers but Dylan says, "I love her, but I don't count. I can't remember a time when I did." That's some powerful stuff. When you wrote The Marked Son did you intend to make Addy, Dylan's mother, a villain or simply one to pity?

Addy. She’s one messed up mama, but she gets everything rolling. I don’t necessarily want the readers to hate her, but I know some will. I pity her. She’s still very much a child, so selfish. She’s not strong. She’s made a lot of mistakes, and she’s running after a memory that is so powerful, it’s warped how she views life. The way the Firsts impact humans is like an addiction, and when it no longer exists, the withdrawals last a lifetime.

Previously titled Shattered, The Marked Son, was a 2010 Golden Heart® Finalist. For my readers who aren't familiar with the contest it's intended to 'promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding romance manuscripts'. Of course, this means there's a strong romantic thread within the storyline. With two books following it can readers expect a HEA for Dylan and Kera by the end of the series? (If you feel like the answer would spoil the entire storyline for the series would you instead tell us a little bit about how your manuscript went from contest to finding a publisher).

I’m in the midst of writing the next story and because I’m not a plotter, I have only a very basic sense of what’s going to happen, so I really can’t say until I get to the end. I will tell you this, I’m not much of a romance writer, not because I don’t like the genre, but because my storytelling doesn’t tend to swing that way. Don’t know why. For me, it’s not about everyone living happily-ever-after so much as what ends up happening is the right course for the story and the characters, and it brings on a sense of reader satisfaction.

If it were up to me, no one would ever have any problems and life would be all rainbows and lollipops, but that’s boring to read, so I make trouble for my characters and pray they’re smart enough to get out of it. But if not, then they or someone else pays the cost, which can lead to a whole new set of problems…and adventures.

In recent years the popularity of Young Adult fiction amongst an adult audience seems to have sky-rocketed. As an adult who reads a large amount of 'teen fiction' I tend to review and suggest YA novels to adult readers. What about your novels do you think will most appeal to the teen audience? Are there any parts of writing books intended for teens that you think are more challenging?

Living with a mob of teens, they have no problem telling me exactly what they want to read. Adventure. Love. Betrayal. Heartache. Redemption. But with that said, I have no idea what teens will connect with and what they won’t. The great thing about teens is they are just as diverse in opinions and personalities as adults. What one will love another will think is totally lame. Frankly, I’m just hoping nobody eggs my house after reading my book.

I didn’t write any part of the book specifically for teens. I just wrote a story I wanted to read and what I hoped my kids would enjoy. As adults, writing for teens can be challenging because you have to resist the urge to lecture. Story is first… just like in adult books. A good book is about the unfolding story, not about any perceived lesson you want to impart. That’s not to say there won’t be a lesson at the end of the book, but it’s not the main focus. The characters are the main focus. You know you’ve done a poor job when you find yourself explaining just what the lesson or moral or theme you wanted the reader to take away from the book when you’re near the end.

A favorite question with readers seems to be the classic 'if you were picking your dream cast for the movie version of your book...' but I've decided I'm going to be asking authors a slightly different one so you get to be my guinea pig. ;) If The Marked Son was being turned into a film what songs or musicians would be in your dream soundtrack?

(hee-hee-hee) I’m not one who listens to music while I write, but when I think of Dylan, I think he’d listen to Linkin’ Park, Disturbed, Red, Eminem and Flyleaf. When I think of Kera I think of Marie Digby, Adelle, Christina Perri, Mumford and Sons, and Florence & the Machine.


Personally, I’m a big fan of movie soundtracks, and I love instrumental ones. Some of my favorite movie soundtracks are Gladiator, Star Trek (okay Chris Pine might have something to do with my love of this), Tomb Raider (first one), Pride and Prejudice (Keira Knightley one), Sherlock Holmes… Okay I could go on and on so I’m gonna stop here.

The Keepers of Life series already has three books scheduled for release and you have five children! How do you balance the full-time job that is being Mom with the other full-time job that is writing novels?

I ignore them. (grin)


Seriously, I write on and off from 8:00-3:00. That’s when the little imps start rolling in from school and what not. Family is really important to me. It’s my belief that if I’m an amazing writer but a so-so mother, then I’m a failure. My kids are the most precious gifts ever given to me and it takes all my concentration not to mess them up.

You're very open about your struggles with dyslexia and have cited romance novels as a motivating factor in keeping at the fight. What are some of your favorite romances (or romance authors)?

This list could get really long, but I’ll behave and keep it to my top five (which will kill me to do) and I’ll list them in no particular order since I’m just thinking out loud:


Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Jude Deveraux
Sarah Addison Allen
Jane Austen
Darynda Jones

When you're not writing or reading what are some of your other interests?

I have attention problems, so anything that keeps me moving is awesome. My number one activity is kickboxing. I have amazing instructors who are very patient men.


In the lets-keep-it-mellow category of entertaining me, I love movies and reading and playing board games.

Now before we write another novel with our interview here is there anything special that you haven't had a chance to share in recent interviews you'd like to get out there to your readers?

Believe it or not, I’m not an extrovert by nature. Over the years I’ve forced myself to step up to people and start talking. Plus, I have a fairly strong “play” mentality. I realized early on I needed to find others who will play along with me otherwise I’ll just sit there doing nothing, and that’s horribly boring.

Thank you so much for answering my crazy questions and I wish you the very best with this new series!



Connect with Shea Berkley...





Buy The Marked Son and check out other Young Adult titles from Entangled...

 



Now about that giveaway...

Shea's awesome publicist Danielle has hooked me up with one e-book copy of The Marked Son that I can give away to one of my readers.

I'm going to keep this one pretty simple.

To enter I want you to pop over to Entangled Publishing's website and check out their offerings then leave a comment telling me which book (or books) they've published (or that's coming soon) that you'd most like to read.

You do NOT have to be a follower, though I would love you to be, but please make sure you include your contact email in your comment. Entries without an email address I can contact you at will be excluded from the giveaway.

This giveaway only runs 24 hours from the time this post goes up but is open internationally!

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