Friday, May 27, 2011

Because Latin is cool.....

Veritas nunquam perit.

(WAY-rih-tahs NOOM-kwahm pehr-eet)

Truth never dies.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

South of Salem (An Allegra Fairweather Mystery) by Janni Nell

The Back of the Book:
My mother thinks my job is crazy. I’m a paranormal investigator; she’s Nancy Reagan crossed with Martha Stewart. She’ s always preferred my sister, Lily, who is following in her perfect footsteps.

But this time Mom needs my special skills. She believes my stepfather is possessed. I admit he’s not his usual dapper, charming self, but sleepwalking doesn’t sound that weird. Until the sleepwalking spreads through the family and cousin Donna walks right out of her apartment window to her death. Then my sister goes missing and I have to find her and solve the mystery before Lily and her unborn child are harmed.
Normally I would have assistance, but my right hand, a hunky angel I’ve nicknamed Casper, has business of his own to take care of—business that might take him out of my life forever. The stakes are too high for me to lose, but I’ m not sure I can do it alone…
Readers looking for a kick-ass heroine who is also sarcastic, smart, tough, brave and flawed, will love Allegra.  She is a highly successful paranormal investigator and problem-solver, and has returned home at her mother's request to help her stepfather, a politician from a wealthy and prominent family with several
centuries of pompous reputation to uphold.  He has been seeing ghosts, which is pretty horrifying because he and Allegra's mother have never believed in them.  Allegra is an embarassment to her uptight and proper family, who can't even bring themselves to say the word 'paranormal', but nevertheless Allegra is there to help them when asked.  She has always felt like the black sheep of the family, and in spite of their snide remarks and lack of respect for her profession, her love and loyalty to her mother and big sister Lily keeps her ghost-hunting.
Soon after her arrival home, her step-father's blood relatives start mysteriously dropping like flies. Allegra herself is nearly killed by a bitchy ghost and a scary old crone.  Who may or may not be related somehow.  And soon Lily's unborn child is targeted, kicking Allegra's investigation into high gear.  Unable to solve the mystery on her own, Allegra soon calls in her best friend and roommate Wanda, an optimistic, wannabe witch of questionable competence but excellent research skills.  Allegra's guardian angel, Casper, a hunky 2,000 year old Germanic warrior, is not technically supposed to help her (just protect her), but he drops clues quite a bit.  And hardheaded Allegra frequently doesn't pick up on these clues, which makes her all the more likable and realistic.
Told in a chatty, first-person narrative, this is a quick read that makes the reader feel like she's hanging out with a girlfriend.  Who doesn't like a girl who has to swear a blue streak in order to clear her mind?  No meditation/kumbaya crap for our heroine!  Allegra is tough on the outside, but the woman inside is still a little girl who feels hurt, unloved and unappreciated by her mother and sister.  She and Lily fall into their childhood roles of prissy big sister and rebellious younger sister, in spite of everything going on around them.  Which is one of the reasons the characters felt so real - these are complicated relationships between Allegra, Lily and their mother.  They may love each other deep down, but they seemingly have nothing in common - just like a real family.
Allegra's relationship with Casper is also very interesting.  They are very attracted to each other, but Casper is constrained by strict guardian angel rules.  Rules that he and Allegra frequently stretch as far as they can, creating a nice sexual and romantic tension for the background.
South of Salem is the second book in the Allegra Fairweather series.  I have not read the first, but never felt lost.  This is a great stand-alone story as well.
Highly enjoyed and highly recommended!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Giveaway! Janet Evanovich's SMOKIN' SEVENTEEN Exclusive Sneak-Peek Booklet!

Check this out!  I have three booklets to give away.  Each one is an exclusive sneak-peek excerpt of the newest Stephanie Plum novel, Smokin' Seventeen, that will be published June 21, 2011.  It contains 25 pages of the yet-to-be-released novel, plus character profiles of Stephanie, Grandma Mazur, Joe, Ranger, and Lula.
The first three people to leave a comment will receive one of these:

Be sure to leave your email addy so I can contact you for your mailing address!

So what is Stephanie's latest screwball adventure about?  Here's the back of the book blurb:

"Dead bodies are showing up in shallow graves on the empty construction lot of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. No one is sure who the killer is, or why the victims have been offed, but what is clear is that Stephanie’s name is on the killer’s list.

Short on time to find evidence proving the killer’s identity, Stephanie faces further complications when her family and friends decide that it’s time for her to choose between her longtime off-again-on-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. Stephanie’s mom is encouraging Stephanie to dump them both and choose a former high school football star who’s just returned to town. Stephanie’s sidekick, Lula, is encouraging Stephanie to have a red-hot boudoir “bake-off.” And Grandma Bella, Morelli’s old-world grandmother, is encouraging Stephanie to move to a new state when she puts “the eye” on Stephanie.

With a cold-blooded killer after her, a handful of hot men, and a capture list that includes a dancing bear and a senior citizen vampire, Stephanie’s life looks like it’s about to go up in smoke."

For more cool things, be sure to check out Janet's website at for contests, previews and

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost

The Back of the Book:
An immortal war has been brewing in the darkness...and now one woman has stumbled into the shadows.
Chicago private investigator Kira Graceling should have just kept on walking. But her sense of duty refused to let her ignore the moans of pain coming from inside a warehouse just before dawn. Suddenly she finds herself in a world she's only imagined in her worst nightmares.

At the center is Mencheres, a breathtaking Master vampire who thought he'd seen it all. Then Kira appears - this fearless, beautiful....human who braved death to rescue him. Though he burns for her, keeping Kira in his world means risking her life. Yet sending her away is unthinkable.

But with danger closing in, Mencheres must choose either the woman he craves, or embracing the darkest magic to defeat an enemy bent on his eternal destruction.

This is the first Jeaniene Frost book I've read, and I will be looking for more.  Eternal Kiss of Darkness is Book Two in the Night Huntress World series, which are stand-alone spinoffs featuring characters from her popular Night Huntress Series (the sixth book in that series will be published later this year).  I have a lot of catching up to do!
This was a great book, full of strong characters, suspense, romance and danger.  When Kira tries to save a stranger being attacked, he ends up saving her instead.  But although Mencheres rescues Kira from physical death, she rescues him from a suicidal depression, as his bewilderment towards the bluntly honest Kira turns to enchantment and love.   I especially liked Kira - she is smart, brave, and sizes up situations quickly.  Not one to small-talk, Kira has no clue just how old and powerful Mencheres really is, and treats him as she would anyone else.  Mencheres has never before encountered anyone who did not want something from him because of his power, wealth or status.
Although Mencheres is intrigued by Kira, he fully intends to erase her memories of him and the attack, and send her back to her life.  But Kira happens to be that rare type of human with impenetrable mental defenses.  Unable to mesmerize her and thereby protect the secret of the vampire world, he takes her home for a week, hoping her resistance is a symptom of the blood he gave her.   As she gets to know Mencheres, her respect for him grows into attraction and affection.  Unable to forget Mencheres, Kira begins to search for him after he releases her.  But Kira soon finds more than she bargained for, and when she crosses paths with a vicious and powerful vampire, who also happens to be an ancient enemy of Mencheres, all hell breaks loose.
If you like paranormal romances with equal parts adventure and danger, then look no further than Eternal Kiss of Darkness.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Should've Been A Cowboy by Vicki Lewis Thompson

The Back of the Book:
Party organizer Tyler Connelli is on the fast track to her dream career. She’s so close she can almost taste it. But when she returns to her family and sees her one-night stand, Alex Keller, all done up in his cowboy gear, her self-control is stretched to the breaking point....
They’re worlds apart. She’s a busy career girl, and Alex is a cowboy. But while getting together might not bode well for anything longterm, it more than makes up for it in sheer hot chemistry! Problem is, this is one wrangler she might want to get tied down—and tied up—to...indefinitely!

 The Sons of Chance are the men of the Last Chance ranch, where people and animals are given one last shot.  For Alex, a former Chicago DJ recovering from a bitter betrayal and divorce, the Last Chance is his shot at a fresh start in life.  His sister married a Chance cowboy and Alex decided to settle down in the nearby town and start a new job as marketing director for the ranch.  When another Chance cowboy gets married, Alex hooks up with the bride's sister for a toe-curling night of sex in the hayloft.  For the next several months Tyler O'Connelli and their one night together are all Alex can think about.  When she returns to the ranch to visit her sister, they run into each other and the sparks fly as their sexual attraction flares to nuclear meltdown levels.  Turns out both Alex and Tyler have not been able to forget that one amazing night, and they are soon going at it like rabbits, in the barn, the truck and every other place they can.  As Tyler's sister says, they are attracted to each other like magnets.  The sexual attraction between these two is described in sexy, breathless detail, as each tries to resist the other.  But their physical attraction is masking a deepening emotional one.  Tyler plans to leave in five days to return to her cruise ship job, and has never been tempted to stay in one place.  But seeing the happy couples and family lifestyle at the Last Chance is making her reconsider her life plans.
The strengths of this novel are the detailed descriptions of the setting - I felt like I was at the ranch near the foothills of the Tetons, and I could almost smell the pine.  The lovemaking between Alex and Tyler is combustible and sexy, with enough humor and real life concerns to make it realistic.  The characters are well-drawn with depth of personality, especially Alex and Tyler.  My only complaint was the wacky behavior of Tyler.  When a new pregnancy is announced at the family dinner her first night there, she has such a crisis of "What do I really want out of life?" that she asks Alex to drive her IMMEDIATELY to an ancient meditation site.  Such behavior seemed more in line with a nervous breakdown, but the course of romance is never smooth, particularly with a looming departure deadline.
Overall this was a fun romance, with hot and steamy love-making, a beautiful setting, a fast paced plot, and strong characters I cared about. Although I have not read the previous books in the series (and I would like to now!), this book easily stands alone.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Haunting Desire by Erin Quinn (by fabulous book-blogger Lisa at

Review, interview and giveaway!

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Erin Quinn's latest release Haunting Desire from her publisher to read and review. This book is the third book in  the" Mists of Ireland" series. I read the first one thru Romcon 's Readers Crown published authors contest. I had never heard of her before i received the book in the mail and read it. Needless to say i loved it. This series combines paranormal romance with time travel and some science fiction. The first book was Haunting Desire and then came Haunting Warrior and now we have Haunting Desire. How about a a little blurb.

A woman lost in a nightmare

Shealy O’Leary thought the ancient Book of Fennore a myth until she and her father are sucked into the past—and into the cursed no-man’s land called Fennore. There Shealy learns that she has a rare power that their enemy seeks. Aided by the dangerous and compelling warrior, Tiarnan, Shealy must find her father and learn how to wield her gift to save those she loves or die in this waking nightmare...

A man desperate to regain his honor

After failing both his land and people, Tiarnan was damned to spend eternity in the black heart of Fennore. His only hope comes in the shape of a beautiful, frightened woman from the future. For she possesses a gift she is unaware of. A gift with the power to save ...or destroy them all.

A desire that drives their destiny

Together, Shealy and Tiarnan begin their perilous quest—a mission that draws them closer and closer together. And as the odds against them mount, so does their passion. The intensity of their bond electrifies the couple, their love powering Shealy’s gift and Tiarnan’s strength. But their newfound connection threatens to ruin them both—and bring to life a long ago prophecy of devastation and betrayal...

I have to say out of the 3 this one just might be my favorite. I loved Tiarnan in the last book Haunting Warrior. I couldn't wait until this book came out to get his story. I was not disappointed and Shealy,you just feel for her. Both are so tore up with guilt on the inside you just want to make it better you know? Tiarnan and his brother Liam ( love him too) get sucked into the evil book of Fenmore, trapped there forever perhaps with all the scary things inside it. Shealy's tradegy began as a kid when a car accident on the Isle of Fennmore in Ireland kills her pregnant mom and herself almost as well. Her dad moves them away to the states so surgeons can repair all the damage from the accident. Now Shealy wants to go back find answers as to why her mother's body was never found and what else happened the day of the accident. Her dad doesn't want her to go and then suddenly a portal of sorts opens up and Shealy and her dad are sucked into what turns out to be Fennmore and she finds herself with Tiarnan and Liam and her dad gone. Tiarnan and Shealy are drawn together but there are things going on she doesn't understand in this world and the possibility she may have powers to save everyone stuck in the book or destroy everyone. There are so many twists and turns in this book you can't possibly be bored. You can't guess what's going to happen next. Although Tiarnan and Shealy's fate gets decided at the end of this book you get introduced to the what and who the next book in the series will be about. I've never read another series like this one and i can't even begin to figure out how Erin does it. If you haven't guessed it yet i give Haunting Desire 5 out of 5 Modokker Book Pick Stars. For me this is one of those books I'll re read over and over.

Erin Quinn was gracious enough to allow me to ask her a 10 questions. She will also be around to answer any questions you might have for her.

Welcome Erin. First please tell us a little about your new release Haunting Desire.

Haunting Desire is a story of redemption. For Tiarnan, who readers first met in Haunting Warrior, redemption seems to be something he'll never have. He feels he's failed his family, his people and himself. Now he is just trying stay alive....until he meets Shealy O'Leary, a woman from the future who shows him that failure is only a stepping stone to having everything he ever wanted.

1. The Mists of Ireland series is a complicated series of books. There is so much interweaving of characters. I don't know how you did it but i loved the result. Where do you find inspiration for your books. ie. Where do the ideas come from.

I have always been fascinated with the paranormal and so I would have to say my inspiration came from my own interest in it. I love the idea that time is both fluid and circular. It intrigues me to think that the past is not set in stone, that life doesn't end at death, and that history doesn't just repeat itself--it lives and breathes. :)

2. What did you do before you became a writer?
The same thing I do now. Work. I've always had a full time job, which keeps me very busy. Currently I work for Intel (ba ba ba buummmm, blue men and sponsors of tomorrow)

3. The setting and idea for this series to me a non writer and semi-professional reader lol seems really complicated. How do you lay it all out so to speak and connect the dots?
It is complicated and some days I find myself tied in knots and wonder how I got there. I keep notes, of course. But honestly, by the time I finish a book I've read it so many times that alot of it just sticks in that pathetic thing I call a brain, ha ha.

4. Who have been your mentors in writing?
Mentors? Diane Dunaway who is the conference coordinator for the SDSU Writers Conference. Also Jennifer Ashley, multi-published, bestselling author. But also I have many talented friends who are writers and we keep each other going (Kathryne Kennedy, Lynn Coulter, Calista Fox). And then, of course, there are MY favorite authors who I don't know personally but whose books I love. Every time I read a wonderful book, I am inspired to try harder and write a better book.

5. What do you do while waiting for your muse to arrive when trying to write? Do you have a favorite form of procrastination?

Alas, I am never able to wait for my muse. It had better get its butt in gear and be ready when I have time. I as said, I work full time, have a family and I write--which is like having a second full time job. Research sometimes leads me astray and I'll get so involved in it that I don't make progress on the books, but I wouldn't necessarily call that procrastination. I suppose Facebook is a great distractor for me. Oh, and I do like to sleep occasionally. Darn it. LOL.

6. You write paranormal. Is this genre something that you love to write or do you think you'd like to try something else sometime in the future?
I do love the paranormal and I love being able to use my imagination and create worlds and scenarios that exist outside the lines.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Honestly, since I was a kid. I remember writing something in first grade and my teacher accused me of copying it from a book. My parents had to come and tell my teacher that I had, in fact, created the description on my own. From that moment on, I understood the power of words and acknowledged my own personal love affair with them.

8. Is there anything particularly challenging in your writing?
Time. I never have enough of it.

9.What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your writing to life?
I think every writer worries that they're not good enough. I try to keep that voice from whispering in my ear, but it does. I'm always afraid that my book will be released and readers will hate it. It takes about a week or two of readers telling me they loved it before I start to breathe normally and accept that maybe it's a good book.

10. Haunting Desire is the 3rd book in "The Mists of Ireland series". How many books are going to be in this series and what's up next for you?
Next up is Haunting Embrace, which is the last book in this series and ties it all up (I hope). I just finished it and it's now with my publisher being reviewed. After that I'm going to something entirely new and I'm really excited about it. Not ready to detail it, but I'm loving the story.

Thanks Erin. It's been a pleasure having you on my blog today.

If anyone has questions for Erin feel free to post them in comments (at Lisa's blog, not mine!!) and she will be around to answer them. Erin has also giving away a (print or Kindle) copy of either Haunting Beauty or Haunting Warrior (winners choice) the first 2 books in the "Mist of Ireland" series. To enter answer the following question for Erin and please follow Lisa's blog. Giveaway ends Friday May 6th. Open internationally.

Have you ever had a paranormal experience? (ghosts, ufos, time travel (ha ha)? If so, go to Lisa's blog and tell her about it. If not, what do you like about reading paranormal books?" REMEMBER TO LEAVE A EMAIL ADDRESS SO YOU CAN BE REACHED IF YOU WIN! leave it like this Name AT yahoo dot com. Thanks

You can find Erin on Facebook Erin Quinn
Twitter Erin Quinn
or her website

Monday, May 2, 2011

Made For Each Other (a Young Adult Graphic Novel) by Paul Storrie (Book #2 in the My Boyfriend Is A Monster Series)

From Paul Storrie's Website:
"The My Boyfriend is a Monster line is a series of stand alone (interconnected only by the premise) graphic novels that are accessible to pretty much anyone, though they're aimed at tween girls most of all. As mentioned above, they're Action/Horror/Romance/Comedies. What's that mean? Well, think of Twilight by way of Shaun of the Dead. Yes, there's a bit of poking fun at the tropes of tween paranormal romance, but in an affectionate way.
Made for Each Other is Book 2 in the line (although, as mentioned above, the books stand alone storywise). It's a 124 pages of gorgeous black & white artwork on glossy paper. "

The Description:
Tom Stone stepped into Seward High and into Maria McBride's life like a bolt of lightning. He's the perfect guy for Maria—nice, smart, and well-built. There's just one problem: his family. Tom's father is the town's new funeral director, and business is booming. The bodies are piling up thick and fast in Persephone Falls, Alaska, so Dr. Stone keeps Tom up late at night working in the funeral home. And it's clear that Dr. Stone and his creepy assistant, Graves, don't want Maria around. Maria knows Tom was made for her. She's determined to find out what Dr. Stone has against her. When Tom refuses to stand up to his father, Maria begins to stitch together the clues...and finds out that the Stones are into recycling in ways she never could have imagined.

Review (Spoiler Alert!  I found it impossible to review this without giving away quite a bit of the plot): 
The story starts just after a car crash killed three popular cheerleaders, all named Erica (a sly nod to the movie "Heathers", and a great comment on the cookie-cutter nature of high school popularity).  This should appeal to the underdog mentality of most teens and tweens.  Basically, Made For Each Other is a fun and modern update on Mary Shelley's legendary Frankenstein.  In this graphic novel, Dr. Frankenstein's creation has escaped to Alaska, and resurfaces as a funeral home director.  His newly created son, Tom, has started school as a sophomore and soon meets up with the pretty Maria.  Maria, in her own way, is as much an outcast as Tom.  Her parents were killed in a car crash, she lives with her blind aunt, and is a member of the much maligned string quartet at her school.  So of course Tom and Maria embark on the path of young love, and she soon discovers Tom's secrets.  Both blossom as their relationship grows, but soon people start dying.  Clues to Tom's family and origins, combined with a dark sense of humor, and an increasing body count, create a fun read that highlights smart teenagers dealing with the horrors of high school.  All the elements of a great teen romance!

The writing was smart, the action moved along at a brisk pace, the main characters were strong and capable, adult interaction was minimal, and the illustrations were fantastic.  Two thumbs up!

The Envy Chronicles - Books 1-3 by Joss Ware (Reviewed by Derenda)

The Back of the Book:
The first three books in the Envy Chronicles are about the five men known as the Awakening Heroes.
Thrust into a post-apocalyptic world, these remarkable men meet up, spar and partner with the just-as-remarkable women who will win their hearts as they fight an immortal enemy determined to crush all humanity.

Beyond the NightEmbrace the Night Eternal, and Abandon the Night, are an apocalyptic series of survival, adventure and love by Joss Ware

This series focuses on the aftermath of the apocalypse. The main characters are Elliot, Simon, Quentin, Wyatt, Fence and a guide who dies before the story begins. The men, who were deep inside the caves of Sedona, AZ.,  wake up and discover they have been in a coma for over sixty years. Each man has developed a unique paranormal ability. The world they knew is gone. The new one is a very dark place. There are zombie like creatures that roam the night called Gangas, a group of strangers called Elite with glowing crystals embedded in their skin, bounty hunters, and the Resistance who have survived the "Change" and are rebuilding and fighting to survive their darken world.

Beyond the Night focuses on Dr. Elliot Drake, aka Dred. He was a physician before the Change and emerges with a unique gift of healing. The problem is that when he touches someone's body, their injury or disease is taken into his body. He must touch someone else or something else to channel the injury or disease. However, with each healing some residual affects are left upon his body. The woman whom he falls for is Jade. She's a leader of the Resistance and a Courier of vital information trying to rebuild this new dark world. While the adventure is vivid, the intimacy is down played. There are humorous aspects to the series like names of popular places the reader will recognize. NV (Envy which is actually Las Vegas), Redlow which is Red Lobster, etc. The story plays out as a select group of men, part of a secret society, after the discovery of Atlantis, decide to terminate the world of underlings. Their new world offers the rich and powerful with immortality and excessive lifestyles.  The leader of the Elite is Quentin's father, an abusive man who thought himself superior and led the world termination. The blue crystals provide the immortality, but the story does not explain the zombie like creatures known as Gangas. All that is revealed is that the creatures return to the water during the day. The story continues with Embrace the Night Eternal.

Embrace the Night Eternal focuses on the story of Simon and Sage. Simon's gift is invisibility, which comes in handy when hiding from the enemy. Given a chance to reinvent himself from his violent past as an Enforcer for a mafia family, he continues to struggle with that guilt. As a young child, Sage escaped from a polygamist colony whose main focus is to repopulate. Now a grown woman, information comes to the Resistance that important clues could be located in the very colony Sage escaped from. Posing as a married couple, Simon and Sage return to gather the priceless information, place a secret computer relay station, and get out before Sage becomes pregnant. The conflict of feelings arise when one of the Resistance leaders, Theo, falls in love with Sage. He actually asks Simon to bring her back to him safe, which Simon strives to do, as he is trying to be a man of honor now. Sage has feelings for Simon, not Theo, but Simon believes he is not worthy of love at all. The humor continues with the enthusiam of the coloniest who want Simon's sperm in any form they can get it, Sage who is ovulating which is announced throughout the colony, and the faking of intimacy due to a camera with peeping eyes, all of which resembles a skit from Scooby Doo or something. The reader is still taken along the journey of mankind's struggle of survival, rebuilding the new world, and the determination to end the Elite and Gangas. It is very well written and once again the intimacy is downplayed.  

The next book, Abandon the Night, focuses on Quentin and Zoe. Zoe has an extremely foul mouth, left to raise herself after her family is slaughtered by the Gangas. Quentin, who grew up with power, wealth, and women, yet has the scars of an abusive past with the knowledge had he once fought back against his father, all this nightmare would have never happened. Their story seems to drag on and on with a predictable ending. A boy of privilege  with a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, trying to stop the monster whose superiority complex destroyed their families and world. I enjoyed this book the least since it was most predictable. Quentin was determined to kill his father, the story of the Gangas is still unlearned, and Zoe still cusses continually which became very tiresome.

In the end, I am enjoying Ware's books. I look forward to discovering the other men's gifts, their loves, adventure, and the development of a new world. What or how would you change your world after an Apocalyptic event. If you had a chance to be a founding father, what would you do? Interesting thought, huh?