Monday, April 30, 2012

The long awaited Lily-Ann is now here + Stacking the Shelves update!

Hello Everyone!

I haven’t been around for the last couple of days because Lily-Ann was born Friday night at 8:20 east! After 13 hours of labor, my little angel was born :)

She has dark chestnut hair, but I’m suspecting they might lighten with time because even though she has a lot of hair, she has barely any eyebrow to speak of hehe. Her eyes are obviously blue, but there’s a green/grey tint to them, I can’t wait to see how they turn out in a couple of months! She is 20inches tall and a mere 6 pounds, so not much baby fat to speak of lol.

Here are a couple of pictures!

DSC01878Lily-AnnIMG_20120428_033228IMG_20120428_041319IMG_20120430_131727

The time at the hospital was actually really hard. Harder than I expected. I only got about 3 hours of sleep over a 3 days spawn so I’m utterly exhausted, though extremely happy. My online presence will be sparse unfortunately, but I’m sure you’ll all understand =)

------------------

Regarding the response to the new Stacking the Shelves feature, I’m super excited by your entousiasm! I wasn’t expecting so much love!

I can’t visit everyone’s post this week, obviously, but Stéphanie and Jenn are visiting you, giving some love back, and I want you know to know that I read every comment :)

I will set a Mr.Linky for the coming post and I can’t wait to visit you all!

I will write an actual launching post for Saturday with guidelines (not rules) and appropriate credits. I might even show you a glimpse of my precious little doll!

tynsig

Random Act of Kindness: May Edition

The girls at Book Soulmates started a very cool project. The concept is to post a wish list and someone might just send a gift to you! Of course, you might wanna be nice to and offer someone something from their wish list as well!

Random Act of Kindness

Here are the details, from their website.

Rules:

• Sign up each month you'd like to participate in.

• Show off your participation! Grab one of the buttons available :)

• Create a wishlist and post it in the Google Doc located in each R.A.K post for the month.

{Post on your blog, Amazon, where ever as long as there's a link to it.}

• If you choose to do a R.A.K for someone, check out their wishlist and contact that blogger for their address.

• At the end of the month, SHOW US YOUR R.A.K!

Make a post saying 'Thank You' to whoever granted one of your wishes and share it with us :)

OPEN TO EVERYONE!

Let's keep our International bloggers in mind and in our hearts.

Remember, there's always the Book Depository and they offer FREEshipping!

I haven’t received any RAKs this month, in fact I haven’t received a RAK book since January even though I offered books every month, so I’m hoping this month will be better ^^

--------------

Personally, I offered:

Chosen (The Seeker Saga, #1)

to Alicia

----

Here’s my wish list for this month ^^

If you wish to offer me something, just email me at TyngaUF(a)gmail.com and I will give you my mailing addy

  • Lover Reborn by JR Ward
  • City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
  • Prized - Caragh M. O'Brien
  • Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
  • Beautiful Chaos – Kami & Margaret (pb pls)
  • Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate
  • Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon (MM please ^^)
  • Wraith by Phaedra Weldon
  • The Rift Walker -  Clay & Susan Griffith

I really hope you join the fun! I think it’s a great way to meet new bloggers as well as give a bit of joy in this world!

tynsig

Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

Book Stats:
Reading level: Adult
Genre: Paranormal romance
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Ace
Release date: May 1, 2012

Series: Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire #12

Source: Review copy from Penguin

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

It's vampire politics as usual around the town of Bon Temps, but never before have they hit so close to Sookie's heart...

Growing up with telepathic abilities, Sookie Stackhouse realized early on there were things she'd rather not know. And now that she's an adult, she also realizes that some things she knows about, she'd rather not see—like Eric Northman feeding off another woman. A younger one.

There's a thing or two she'd like to say about that, but she has to keep quiet—Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), is in town. It's the worst possible time for a human body to show up in Eric's front yard—especially the body of the woman whose blood he just drank.

Now, it's up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl's fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who's set out to make Sookie's world come crashing down.

I was SO excited when DEADLOCKED arrived in the mail on Tuesday that I devoured it that evening! The Sookie Stackhouse series was one of my first forays into urban fantasy/paranormal romance and I've always enjoyed the stories (though I did find the last book, DEAD IN THE FAMILY, a little less satisfying). Needless to say, I was desperate to know what was going to happen to Sookie this time around and, overall, I was happy with how DEADLOCKED turned out.

With the series soon coming to a close, I was particularly excited to see what Charlaine Harris had in store for us with DEADLOCKED, the penultimate novel. There were a lot of loose strings left at the end of DEAD IN THE FAMILY and I was curious to see where the authors would take us, knowing that everything needs to be wrapped up soon. I wasn't sure what to expect since there are so many story lines in the series but I was quite pleased with the focus and plot of DEADLOCKED. DEAD RECKONING, the previous book, focussed primarily on Sookie's fairy roots, and we get a bit more of that this time around but the main mystery revolves around a dead body found on Eric's lawn. Naturally, this adds more strain to Sookie and Eric's already-stressed relationship, forcing Sookie to take a good, hard look at where she is in her life. There are also some wonderful moments with Tara, Jason, Pam, and Sam. Plus, the cover copy hints that Sookie has an enemy she'd never suspect and it's true! It makes a lot of sense when you find out who this enemy is but I never guessed that it would be him/her. (I'm deliberately being vague to keep this post spoiler-free for you.) We also get to learn more about the Cluviel Dor and see how having it impacts Sookie's life. It ends up revealing a lot about the people around her, which was great from the reader's point of view, though perhaps no so wonderful for Sookie.

Reading DEADLOCKED really showed me how much Sookie has grown since DEAD UNTIL DARK, the first book. Everything was so new to her then and now she's survived failed relationships, wars, and countless attempts on her life. There have also been some happy moments but the events that have shaped Sookie's outlook at this point are mostly the sad/scary ones. I love how much wiser Sookie is now, even though some of her troubles remain. It's really nice to see how much her relationships have changed over the series, with some becoming more meaningful and others changing in different ways. I find her relationships with her exes the most interesting because they demonstrate maturity from all parties.

DEADLOCKED comes out tomorrow so make sure you get your copy ASAP. It's an excellent entry in the series and Sookie fans will not be disappointed. DEADLOCKED has all of the things we love about this world -- Southern manners, tongue-in-cheek humour, strong characters -- and some exciting new developments. I can't wait to see how Charlaine Harris finishes up Sookie's saga next year!

P.S. I'm pretty sure that most everyone knows about Sookie Stackhouse, thanks to the popularity of Charlaine Harris' novels and the True Blood TV series. If you've only watched the show, though, you should know that the books are quite different in terms of tone and characters. (Jessica, for example, is not in the books and Lafayette isn't Tara's cousin.) The Sookie books have a much different tone and scope since they're narrated from Sookie's perspective. If you haven't tried this series, I'd suggest you begin with DEAD UNTIL DARK because Charlaine Harris has created a big world with a huge cast of characters and you might get lost if you jump in now.

Read an excerpt

Jenn

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Shaedes of Gray by Amanda Bonilla

9780451235299_ShaedesofGra_CV.indd

Shaedes of Gray by Amanda Bonilla

Book Stats:

Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Mass Market Paperback: 316 pages 
Publisher: Signet Eclipse (Penguin Group)
Release date: December 6, 2011

Series: Shaede Assassin #1

Reviewed by: Stéphanie

Source: Personal Shelf

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

In the shadows of the night, Darian has lived alone for almost a century. Made and abandoned by her former love, Darian is the last of her kind – an immortal Shaede who can slip into darkness as easily as breathing. With no one else to rely on, she has taught herself how to survive, using her unique skills to become a deadly assassin.

When Darian's next mark turns out to be Xander Peck, King of the Shaede Nation, her whole worldview is thrown into question. Darian begins to wonder if she's taken on more than her conscience will allow. But a good assassin never leaves a job unfinished...

This is the kind of urban fantasy that I love to read. It contained everything an urban fantasy should have: lots of action, a kick ass heroine, romance, a horde of supernatural beings and loads of drama! It’s exactly what I was in the mood for, and Amanda Bonilla delivered it perfectly.

In this first book of the series, we are introduced to the world of Shaedes through Darian’s eyes, who, for a century, thought she was the only Shaede in existence. She even thought she was the only supernatural being in existence. Boy, was she wrong! Shaedes are an original concept, beings that look like humans (if not more attractive) and can shift into shadows during nighttime as a mean of transportation or a tricky way to avoid a blow during a fight. They are, however, confined to their physical body during the day. They are also more or less immortal with fast healing abilities and strong physical and battle skills.

Darian’s life takes a turn when she is hired to assassinate Xander Peck. Knowing nothing about other Shaedes, she didn’t realize she had been hired to kill the King of Shaedes himself. With time and coaxing, Darian finally learns a little bit more about Shaedes. Almost all of them are born as Shaedes, and not made as Darian was. They are also sworn enemies of the Lyhtans, ugly creatures who can become invisible during the day but are confined to their ugly physical body during nighttime. And of course, we learn that there is something special about Darian, something that makes her so unique that prophecies have mentioned her in passing.

I must admit that Darian is very self-sufficient, teaching herself the ways of the world. But she does come off as a bit naïve and irrational. She is constantly trying to be a tough girl and not show any emotions. After learning she escaped a human life of beatings from her abusive husband by becoming a Shaede, to just be abandoned by her “maker,” we realize why she avoids human contact and simply observes instead of taking part in the world. Emotionally, she has been broken for almost a century, and I was glad to finally see her admit her love for someone. I’m not going to say who and spoil anything, but let’s just say I’m a big fan of the match. Actually, Darian has a few love interests in this book, which keeps things interesting. I’m usually not a big fan of love interests who meet before the beginning of the book, like in Shaedes of Gray. I find it hard to comprehend the existing chemistry between two characters when we know so little about their relationship and history. To me, it’s almost like butting into a conversation, right in the middle, and not knowing what other people are talking about. It doesn’t make a big difference in this case however, since I was able to look passed this pet peeve of mine and still enjoy the flirting and the romance.

Besides the originality of the Shaedes and the other supernatural beings, I also really enjoyed the setting of this story. Set in Seattle as we know it, humans are unaware of the happenings of the supernatural world. Seattle just seems like the perfect place because of Darian’s affinity to shadows and the grey world. I also really enjoyed the idea of a Supernatural Summit, assembling ambassadors from every species. I just wished we could have learnt a bit more about this summit and its different species.

Overall, this was a great start to a series. Besides a few scenes that seemed to slow down the flow of the story and the exaggerated amount of kidnappings, I think the writing was perfect. The world building and the mythology was well organized and defined within the story itself. I’m really looking forward to learning what will become of Darian. Amanda Bonilla could have left us with a bigger cliffhanger but I’m glad she didn’t. She didn’t disappoint. (Once you read the final line of the book, you’ll understand what I mean by this.) The next book, Blood Before Sunrise, will be release on July 3rd, 2012.

Read an excerpt

0stephsig

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Stacking The Shelves

STSmall

Welcome to the very first Stacking The Shelves post!

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!

In the light of the recent drama around the blogosphere I decided to leave In My Mailbox behind in favor of this new feature, and you can find out a bit more about it in my vlog, as well as the books I got this week, and my (hopefully) last belly update!

Bought:

Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong [Amazon | Book Depository]
Firelight by Kristen Callihan [Amazon | Book Depository]

For Review:

Infamous by Sherrilyn Kenyon [Amazon | Book Depository]

Mentioned:

Cindy’s Love of Books
Books Under 5$

---------------------

Jennifer’s Books:

Jenn StS - 2012 April 28

Bought:

Blood Red Road by Moira Young [Amazon | Book Depository]

Review:

Deadly Descendant by Jenna Black [Amazon | Book Depository]
Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris [Amazon | Book Depository]
Hellbound by Berinn Rae [Amazon | Book Depository]
A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink [Amazon | Book Depository]

--------------------

Stéphanie’s Books:

StS - 2012 April 28

Bought:

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong [Amazon | Book Depository]
Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr [Amazon | Book Depository]
The First Days by Rhiannon Frater (ebook) [Amazon | Book Depository]

For review:

Bear Meets Girl by Shelly Laurenston [Amazon | Book Depository]
Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier (NetGalley) [Amazon | Book Depository]

tynsig

Friday, April 27, 2012

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Book Stats:
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Genre: High Fantasy
Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: Dial
Release date: May 1, 2012

Series: Graceling Realm #3

Source: ARC provided by Penguin Canada

Reviewed by: Tynga

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything baBitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)d ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle—disguised and alone—to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

Eight years after the terrible events taking place at the end of Graceling, little Bitterblue is now eighteen of age and Queen of Monsea. Ruling after her psychotic father is a very hard task for someone such a young age and since age ten, when she acceded to the throne, Bitterblue has been surrounded but her father’s old advisers. Bitterblue’s father had a terrible Grace, he could fog one’s mind making them do – and think- whatever he wanted. The consequences of his actions left tangible injuries to Monsea’s people and Bitterblue is doing her best to help her kingdom recover. Nothing prepared our young heroine to face what she uncovers on a nightly trip in town though. Her kingdom isn’t has healthy has she thought it was, and it appears people have been keeping things from her, lying to her.

I’ve been waiting for Bitterblue’s release for almost three years now, and let me tell you, I was one excited reader when this ARC showed up at my door! Graceling & Fire are amongst my favorite books ever, and Bitterblue lived up to my expectations, even though it’s very different from its companions. Don’t worry the world is the same and the characters we love are present, the major difference is the spirit and atmosphere of this book. See both Katsa and Fire were strong heroine with incredible physical abilities, and while Bitterblue has her own strengths, they are not of the athletic kind and due to her past, she is very vulnerable emotionally. 

Bitterblue was a very endearing character. At the beginning of the book she genuinely thinks her Kingdom is on the way to healing from her father’s plague and holds to heart the well being of her subjects. The latter never changes, but when she decided to sneak into town, one night, to learn more about the city, she was shocked to discover things aren’t as reported by her advisers and she launches on a mission to uncover the truth, for the sake of her folks. Her intentions were always pure, but her methods questionable. She is very innocent in her desire for a better world, but will find herself sneaking around, lying and deceiving her friends in the process. Witnessing her heart-breaking failures really engrossed me into the story, hoping I could make sense of what’s really going on and help her through it. Thankfully the lovely Bitterblue was surrounded by friends such as Po, Katsa, Giddon, Raffin and many new ones, but even though they are working really hard, sickening themselves in the process, the truth is buried much deeper than Bitterblue thought.

I was extremely happy to see all those familiar faces when I read the book. I loved Graceling’s characters and having them along for the ride was amazing, even if they only held a secondary role. Giddon won my heart over the course of this adventure, and I could totally imagine him with Bitterblue in the future, even considering their age difference. I don’t want to ruin anything, but you might be interested in knowing that you’ll get to see glimpses of Dell & Pikkia (both Kingdoms from Fire)! I thought it was really exciting, and I’m hoping maybe the next book (if there is one?) will take us back there! Sapphire, a young thief Bitterblue befriends, proved to be a rather interesting character. He was enticing and frustrating all at once. Hot and Cold with Bitterblue and always surprising, I found myself wanting to shake some sense into him in more than one occasion. A bit of a love story develops between the two of them, but don’t hold your breath for romance, as it’s barely there.

Because of Bitterblue’s nature, this novel wasn’t as action filled as the previous ones, but just as interesting. All the action is behind the curtains with power plays of treason and mystery. Everybody lies, and the trick is to discover what’s the extend of their lies, whom can you really trust and who might stab you in the back around the next corner. The extend of the lies surrounding our young hero is mind-boggling and even thought I had suspicions toward some characters, I never guessed the extend of the betrayal until Bitterblue finally, pain-stalkingly, did. Kristin Cashore really brought the readers into a fog-filled world, representative of the damage Leck, the late King, did. Trying to figure out the truth was highly addicting and I truly enjoyed trying to guess which characters were trustworthy and which ones weren’t.

I found the conclusion most satisfy with all the culprits being uncovered, hope for a better future for Bitterblue, her friends and her Kingdom, and cleverly planted hints of what might be coming next. I don’t know if Kristin is currently working on another sequel, but I really hope so. This chapter was pleasingly closed, but there are a lot of openings for new stories to come. I have a few options in mind, but won’t reveal them as it would be slightly spoiler-ish :)

Bitterblue was marvelous, thrilling and highly mysterious. Each page was a delight and even though the book is fairly long with its 500+ pages, I navigated the story at high speed, curious of what would happen next, and couldn’t help but want more by the time I was done. Kristin Cashore has the fantastic talent to create captivating worlds, with stunning characters and my only wish is that we could get more of her writing because I can’t be sated! 

Read an excerpt

tynsig

Cover Love!

Here’s another round up of recently revealed covers ^^

Endgame (Sirantha Jax, #6)
Endgame by Ann Aguirre
Sirantha Jax #6
Release date: August 28th, 2012
Widow’s Web (Elemental Assassin, #7)
Widow’s Web by Jennifer Estep
Elemental Assassin #7
Release date: August 21st, 2012
Death's Rival (Jane Yellowrock, #5)
Death’s Rival by Faith Hunter
Jane Yellowrock #5
Release date: October 2nd, 2012
Undead to the World
Undead to the World by D D Barant
Bloodhound Files #6
Release date: November 27th, 2012
Jill Kismet: The Complete Series
Jill Kismet: The complete series by Lilith Saintcrow
Release date:  ??
Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1)
Falling Kingdom by Morgan Rhodes (Michelle Rowen)
Falling Kingdoms #1
Release date: December 11th, 2012

Scent of Magic (Healer, #2)

Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder
Healer #2
Release date: 2013

Fury's Kiss (Dorina Basarab, #3)
Fury’s Kiss by Karen Chance
Dorina Basarab #3
Release date: October 2nd, 2012

 

 

 

My favorite cover is definitely the one for the Jill Kismet omnibus, to bad I already own all the books excpet the last one. It looks much better than the original ones! I'm also really looking forward to Falling Kingdoms, it looks great!

What about you?

tynsig

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wicked Road to Hell by Juliana Stone

Wicked Road to HellWicked Road to Hell by Juliana Stone

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Mass Market paperback: 377 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release date: April 24th 2012

Series: League of Guardians #1

Source: Edelweiss

Reviewed by: Christine

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

With the legions of the underworld gathering and chaos close at hand, Sorcerer Declan O’Hara’s deadly skills will be tested. But nothing will sway him from his duty, not even her…

Rescued from eternal darkness, vampire Ana DeLacrux owes her life to a mysterious stranger who asks for only one thing—her absolute allegiance. She serves this master without question until Declan, the one man who can make her forget her vow, returns. His magic is stronger, darker…more compelling than ever. His blood awakens a hunger she must resist, or risk deadly consequences.

As Ana and Declan join forces, the streets of New Orleans become a dangerous place for both humans and the otherworld. And the most dangerous place of all is a road Declan’s traveled before…the wicked road to hell.

Wicked Road to Hell, first book in Juliana Stone’s brand new League of Guardian series is a spin off of her Jaguar Warrior series. Even though I haven’t read a book in that series before, I had no problems jumping into the book.

Any background story you might need is provided without a huge info dump which was very welcome. Still, Juliana Stone manages to create an atmospheric and intriguing world that was a pleasure to delve into. I’m a total sucker for New Orleans and reading about the city in Wicked Road to Hell made me want to jump on a plane and go there, despite magical shenanigans and all. I think that’s one of the best compliments you can make to an author as reader. The description of hell is equally vivid, striking and memorable. It’s easy to imagine the horrors and the cruelty of this place and I found myself engrossed in the quest and really hoped for Declan and Ana to escape that horrid place.

Ana and Declan are two equal characters, which is always a pleasant surprise. Not only is Ana a match in terms of strength, she’s also just as strong headed as Declan himself and doesn’t allow him to patronize her. While Declan tries to a few times to keep her from doing something because it's allegedly the best for her, Ana doesn't give up easily. She isn't afraid to speak her mind and tells him on multiple occasions that he's not the boss of her. In a genre where the heroines swoon almost to often over some domineering, patronizing male, that's an attitude you have to admire.

Still, there’s no doubt that Declan is definitely a alpha hero: he is confident, powerful and pretty sexy. He comes with a lot of baggage due to his (unwilling) stay in hell and is literally a tortured soul. Thankfully, he lacks that superiority and arrogance some of the other alpha heroes show which made him infinitely easier to like. 

The relationship between him and Ana is very strong and powerful. I like that there's history between them. Thus, them falling in love and their decision to give their relationship a second try doesn't feel rushed, the author gives them enough  time to overcome all the problems and misunderstandings of their past.

The rest of the cast of characters are a great addition to this world: especially Cale and Samael who were enigmatic and intriguing. I'm really looking forward to read the HEA of each of the characters introduced.

Another aspect I highly enjoyed was that the actual plot and the romance were well balanced. The story doesn't feel like an excuse just so that Declan and Ana can have a lot of sex. There's an interesting greater story arc that sets the reader up nicely for upcoming books in the series. I’m also planning to read the second book because of that and not just to see who will get his happy ending next. The only thing that lessened my reading pleasure a little bit was the very quick and easy solution to a vampiric problem Ana had. It was too much coincidence and saving grace for I, situation in which I would have expected harsher consequences (sorry that I can't give more details, but I don't want to spoil anything!).

The bottom line is that Juliana Stone has written a highly enjoyable, fast paced and sensual PNR that introduces us into an engrossing world. This series is worth following!

You can read an excerpt of Wicked Road to Hell here.

Chrisig

Daring You To Read… Mind Games by Carolyn Crane

daringyou_thumb[2]

Daring You To Read is a weekly feature here on Tynga’s Reviews where we dare you to read some of our favorite older releases (at least 6 months old). All the books/series we choose to feature are titles we adored and think you should give them a shot! We think it’s a super awesome way to discover that special book who might have slipped off your radar!

You’ve already read the book? Let’s us know what you thought!
You are accepting the dare? We’d love to know!
Have a dare of your own? Leave a comment ^^

This time, I'm daring you to read Mind Games by Carolyn Crane.

If you're looking for a fresh new urban fantasy book with a very unique premise, look no further and read The Disillusionists Trilogy. In Mind Games, team of vigilantes use their assorted paranoia and phobias to take down the bad guys. Led by Packard, a highcap (a human with extraordinary brain power who can “see” the psychological structure of each person, they target criminals, infect them with their phobia and in the end make those criminals see the error of their ways and become one of the good guys.

Justine Jones, the latest members of the gang is a hypochondriac who suffers from panic attacks. Carolyn Crane writes those panic attacks with certain dark and absurd humor that just takes you by surprise.

What makes the Disillusionists Trilogy such an outstanding urban fantasy read is the unique blend of paranormal and a subtle comic book vibe. Dark humor, fascinating characters and a gripping story provide hours of pure entertainment. There is also a very sizzling love story with a lot of romantic tension between Justine and Packard and his arch foe Otto Sanchez. Carolyn Crane proves that there are excellent urban fantasy books without vamps, were, angels and ghosts!

The last book in the trilogy, Head Rush was released as eBook in December 2011.
Now I dare you to try this extraordinary series and get sucked into Midcity!

More about Mind Games:

Mind GamesJUSTINE KNOWS
SHE'S GOING TO DIE.
ANY SECOND NOW.

Justine Jones has a secret. A hardcore hypochondriac, she's convinced a blood vessel is about to burst in her brain. Then, out of the blue, a startlingly handsome man named Packard peers into Justine's soul and invites her to join his private crime-fighting team. It's a once-in-a-lifetime deal. With a little of Packard's hands-on training, Justine can weaponize her neurosis, turning it outward on Midcity's worst criminals, and finally get the freedom from fear she's always craved. End of problem.
Or is it?

In Midcity, a dashing police chief is fighting a unique breed of outlaw with more than human powers. And while Justine's first missions, including one against a nymphomaniac husband-killer, are thrilling successes, there is more to Packard than meets the eye. Soon, while battling her attraction to two very different men, Justine is plunging deeper into a world of wizardry, eroticism, and cosmic secrets. With Packard's help, Justine has freed herself from her madness - only to discover a reality more frightening than anyone's worst fears.

Tynga’s Review

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Other books in the series:

Disillusionist Trilogy

Chrisig

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Julie Kagawa on The Immortal Rules + giveaway!

Julie Kagawa Immortal Rules blog tour

Julie Kagawa is currently on a blog tour to promote THE IMMORTAL RULES, the first book of an amazing new dystopian vampire series. We're big fans of Julie's work and we're very excited to be the tenth stop on the tour!

Check out the post and then stick around to learn more about the rest of the tour and enter to win a signed copy of THE IMMORTAL RULES!

---------------------------------

Stop #10 – Welcome to the Wilderness

Julie Kagawa Immortal Rules blog tour - Wilderness

There was no road to follow, at least, not where I had come out. I did stumble upon a few leftovers of human civilization—old houses crumbling under carpets of weeds and moss, a few rusty car skeletons choked with vines—but the farther I got from the city, the wilder the forest became. I’d had no idea it was this big, that trees could just stretch on forever and ever. I met no one in my travels, human or vampire, though the woods were teeming with wildlife, most of which I had never seen before and knew their names only through stories. Fox and skunk, rabbit and squirrel, snakes, raccoons and endless herds of deer.

Please visit Once Upon A Twilight for the next stop on The Immortal Rules blog tour.

---------------------------------

Dying to see what's next? Make sure to check out the other stops on Allie's journey! Click on the icon below to go to the Harlequin page for the initial post and info on the rest of the stops:

Julie Kagawa Blood of Eden series

Harlequin is offering an amazing giveaway on their site: a Kindle Touch with a one-of-a-kind Immortal Rules skin! Click on the tour banner above or right here to enter to win if you live in the US or Canada (excluding Quebec).

For more information about Julie and her books, check out the Blood of Eden web page or her author website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

---------------------------------

Here's the scoop of THE IMMORTAL RULES:

Julie Kagawa The Immortal RulesYou will kill. The only question is when.

In the dark days since the insidious Red Lung virus decimated the human population, vampires have risen to rule the crumbling cities and suburbs. Uncontested Princes hold sway over diminished ranks of humans: their "pets." In exchange for their labor, loyalty and of course, their blood, these pets are registered, given food and shelter, permitted to survive.

Unregistered humans cling to fringes, scavenging for survival. Allison Sekemoto and her fellow Unregistereds are hunted, not only by vampires, but by rabids, the unholy result of Red Lung-infected vampires feeding on unwary humans. One night, Allie is attacked by a pack of rabids, saved by an unlikely hero...and turned vampire.

Uncomfortable in her undead skin, Allie falls in with a ragtag crew of humans seeking a cure, or cures: for Rabidism and for Vampirism. She's passing for human...for now. But the hunger is growing and will not be denied. Not for friendship—not even for love.

Read Tynga and Jenn's thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

giveaway

Harlequin is graciously offering one (1) signed hardcover copy of THE IMMORTAL RULES to a lucky reader!

To enter the giveaway, obey the Rafflecopter!

US/Canada only

Ends Tuesday, May 8, 2012


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to enter the Harlequin giveaway as well!

---------------------------------

Julie KagawaTo pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dog trainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full-time. Her third novel, The Iron Queen, became a New York Times bestseller and her debut novel, The Iron King recently won the RITA award for best young-adult fiction novel of 2010.

Julie now lives in La Grange, Kentucky, with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian shepherd who is too smart for his own good and the latest addition, a hyperactive papillon.

Jenn

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa (Double Review)

Julie Kagawa The Immortal Rules The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Book Stats:
Reading level: Young adult
Genre: Urban fantasy
Mass market paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release date: April 24, 2012

Series: Blood of Eden #1

Source: Review copy from Harlequin

Reviewed by: Tynga and Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

You will kill. The only question is when.

In the dark days since the insidious Red Lung virus decimated the human population, vampires have risen to rule the crumbling cities and suburbs. Uncontested Princes hold sway over diminished ranks of humans: their "pets." In exchange for their labor, loyalty and of course, their blood, these pets are registered, given food and shelter, permitted to survive.

Unregistered humans cling to fringes, scavenging for survival. Allison Sekemoto and her fellow Unregistereds are hunted, not only by vampires, but by rabids, the unholy result of Red Lung-infected vampires feeding on unwary humans. One night, Allie is attacked by a pack of rabids, saved by an unlikely hero...and turned vampire.

Uncomfortable in her undead skin, Allie falls in with a ragtag crew of humans seeking a cure, or cures: for Rabidism and for Vampirism. She's passing for human...for now. But the hunger is growing and will not be denied. Not for friendship—not even for love.

Tynga’s Thoughts

Set sixty odd years after a nasty virus hit humanity, killing the majority of the race and creating zombie-like monstrosity, The Immortal Rules has everything it needs to grab its readers and keep them into its claws. In this enthralling adventure, we follow the steps of Allie Sekemoto, who tries restlessly to keep herself, and the people she cares about, alive. Growing up in the Fringe, she knows how hard life is and that in this vampire and rabid infested world it’s everyone for themselves, but life has other plans for her.

Let me start by saying that I LOVED The Immortal Rules. Julie Kagawa did an amazing job writing this very unusual vampire and zombie dystopian book. The story is written from first person point of view, Allison’s, and I thought she was one amazing character. I also really like that Kagawa split the book into multiple parts, segmenting each phase of Allie’s story, marking her personal progression at the same time.

Allison Sekemoto, a determined Asian girl, was the perfect hero for this novel. She is disillusioned from the beginning, living in the Fringe of a vampire town, scavenging to find food, hiding from the preying bloodsuckers and trying not to get killed by rabids whenever she attempts a supply run outside the city walls when the times are harder. She sees life in dark shades of grey, not expecting much from life, but secretly hoping for more. She hits a turning point though when she is savagely attacked by rabids and a vampire offers to save her life, making her one of his own, or to cut her misery short, offering her a quick death. Strangely, becoming a vampire made Allison more human, because she was determined to keep her monster at bay, and I thoroughly enjoyed witnessing her determination, her desire to do the right thing and her heartbreaks when she failed. She’s not perfect, far from it, but she fights so hard to be a better person – better vampire – that you can’t help but cheer for her and feel a strong urge to comfort her (even if she’d never let you) when she's down.

Allie wasn’t the only great character though. Kanin, the vampire who turned Allie and taught her some basic vampire survival rules was really mysterious and I found myself immediately drawn to him, even though he is a moody bastard at times. He isn’t center stage in this novel though, and I really hope we’ll discover more about him in the second book. Zeke, a teenage boy Allie stumbles upon in her aimless roaming, turned out to be fantastic as well. He is part of a travelling crew, hoping to discover Eden, a rumored safe place without any rabids or vampires. He is strong, determined, big-hearted and really endearing. He will go through a lot in this novel, and I enjoyed watching him struggle when his beliefs were challenged.

The journey Julie Kagawa take us on was exhausting in the best ways. Allie started as a strong willed human, than became runaway monster and ended up as a body guard. The transition between her states of mind were really smooth and the pace was just perfect. The whole book happens within a couple of weeks window and the time frame Julie set was believable. Most of the book is a very linear journey, toward a mythical goal, yet none of it was boring. Kagawa really made every moment count, not wasting a single word.

I particularly loved how the author chose to focus on humanity even though her world is filled with monsters and Allie is considered a demon by many. In many ways Allie was more human than a lot of other characters she crossed path with and it’s why this book so precious. You can label other people all you want, but what should matter is their actions, not their very nature.

The conclusion, and the moments leading to it, where heart-breaking and heart-warming all at same time. I’m not going to spoil anything, so I will just say that some characters will take unexpected decisions, for better or for worst, and that not everyone will survive this first novel. I’m really excited for the second novel but I’m a bit on the fence because the way this first book ends, I find myself wondering which characters will be part of the second book.

The Immortal Rules was an harsh tale on humanity, and what it really means, in a world filled with violence and monsters. This tale of trust and betrayal showed that the most likely enemy isn’t always the one you should fear the most and that friendships can be broken in the blink of an eye. Kagawa delivers an amazing dystopian story on silver plating and I’m craving for more.

Julie Kagawa Blood of Eden series

Jenn’s Thoughts

Tynga's done an amazing job of explaining why THE IMMORTAL RULES is the beginning of what promises to be an exciting new dystopian vampire series. I'm going to keep my comments short to (try to) avoid repeating what Tynga's already said.

THE IMMORTAL RULES sucked me in once I started reading it. I started reading it one night before bed, intending to read a few chapters, and ended up finishing it in the wee hours of the morn. Julie Kagawa's created an amazing world and inhabited it with wonderful characters and they are impossible to resist. Here's why:

Allie's humanity only shows once she's become a monster. When she's living as an Unregistered in the vampire city, we see sparks of selflessness but Allie's really in it to survive, no matter what. Don't get me wrong, you'll be rooting for Unregistered Allie in no time but it's when she's transformed and is forced to adapt to her new life that she really shines. We see a new maturity and resolve that make Allie an even more interesting character. She has to face some hard truths as part of her transition from human to vampire, which is tough on Allie but great for the reader. Plus, as you get further into the story, the contrast between Allie and some of the pilgrims looking for Eden are quite striking because the author's done a wonderful job of showing the different shades of humanity and how tragedy and adversity can shape people.

Julie Kagawa's world building is outstanding in this book. The idea of impenetrable vampire cities, where humans are registered as property and are basically treated like cattle, is an interesting spin. It's vampire hoarding at the extreme but it makes a lot of sense in the context of this world. =) She's created a visceral world and I loved how gritty and real it feels just as soon as you start reading. I also love the contrast between vampires and rabids, especially since the main difference between them seems to be that the vampires retain their personalities (as long as they feed regularly) while rabids are animalistic, feral killing machines. The explanation for why rabids exist is really interesting and will definitely play a huge role in future novels, if I'm not mistaken.

I'm also terribly intrigued by Kanin and his role in shaping the society that the book is set in. He's a tough mentor for Allie and we learn a lot about him over the course of THE IMMORTAL RULES. He's in a unique position in vampire society and it will be interesting to see how that plays out over the series.

I'll close off by saying that THE IMMORTAL RULES is an outstanding novel, filled with action, tough choices, and harsh realities. It's dystopian but has some hopeful moments and you'll find yourself rooting for Allie before you know it.

Read an excerpt


tynsigJenn

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"When I'm not writing" with Ada Adams + giveaway!

Ada Adams

Today's guest post is from debut YA author Ada Adams. She's the mind behind the Angel Creek Chronicles and she's a fellow Canuck -- in fact, she's from Toronto, where I grew up, so I'm extra excited to have her on the blog. =) Ada's currently on tour promoting REVAMPED, the first book in her Angel Creek Chronicles series. I hope you all enjoy getting to know her!

And remember to stick around for the giveaway!

 
 

WINW_logo

I truly believe that a creative, busy life is a fulfilled life. Even when I’m not writing (or thinking about writing), I strive to keep my creative juices flowing and surround myself with artistic pursuits.

The yin to my writing yang, is acting; they share a symbiotic relationship in my life. Ada Adams acting 1Both engage and feed my imagination, though writing is a more intrapersonal endeavor, while acting is quite interpersonal. The most important similarities between the two are that they require a lot of heart. By flexing my acting muscles, I truly believe that I become a better writer and vice versa. Plus, both enable me to live in imaginary worlds and interact with quirky characters, so I’m always having a blast!

Ada Adams acting 2My favorite roles are those of kick-butt heroines, where I get to utilize my martial arts background. A couple of years ago, when zombies first started rising, I had a very fun role as a lead in a zombie film. Unfortunately, I was a 100% human and didn’t get to wear any cool zombie make-up or freaky contacts. A year ago, I filmed another lead role—this time in a werewolf project. Ada Adams acting 3Once again, I was very much human (shucks!). We filmed most scenes overnight, in the middle of a deep, dark forest of a tiny little town, in the freezing cold, with two “werewolves” running around! It was very eerie, but I got to play with swords and machetes, so I wasn’t too afraid.

 

Ada Adams modelingModeling is another way that I explore different characters and interesting worlds. For me, creating unique images is all about evoking emotion and telling a story. I’m sure that comes from the writer within me. Even in a basic catalogue shoot, I like to craft a narrative behind the picture. Last year, I teamed up with two partners that I met through the industry to establish a fashion/literary magazine. With lots of hard work and networking, the magazine has grown quickly and now has global audience. Our talented contributors include photographers, designers, writers, and artists from all over the world!

I do most of the brainstorming for my stories while travelling and being in nature. I love to hike, and spend most summers at a secluded little cottage in the woods. Imagine a hundred acres of woods, a private lake, no electricity, no running water, no cell phone service…Just you and the wilderness! Sounds like the perfect recipe for a scary movie, right?

Ada Adams cottage

I also enjoy photography, although only as a relaxing hobby. Last year, I spent a lot of time exploring abandoned towns, structures, and ruins around Ontario. I hope that I can one day write about the many stories that I have collected from these places. It all keeps coming back to writing, doesn’t it?!

Ada Adams photography 2Ada Adams photography 3Ada Adams photography 1

I have a large extended family, and we’re very, very close. They are my biggest cheerleaders, and my most constrictive critics. I love to spend time with them whenever possible, whether we’re traveling together, playing silly board games, or simply having a—usually very loud and chaotic—family dinner. Of course, this includes my best friends, as well as my puppies, Caramilk and Oreo.

Ada Adams CaramilkAda Adams Oreo

I have always been drawn to working with kids. I utilize my Degrees in Psychology and Education by volunteering in various elementary school classrooms. I’m currently working in a reading recovery program and teaching students to read. It is an extremely rewarding experience to be able to make even a tiniest bit of a difference in a child’s life.

I’m also a big TV and film junkie and love discussing my favorite TV shows. I probably watch every single show currently on air (and love reminiscing about some childhood favorites like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”).

Ada Adams mad men

All in all, no matter what I do, I strive to capture and record all of the wonderful experiences and memories that my adventures bring about. After all, they can sometimes inspire great stories! I put in a 110% into any project that I undertake. Aside from being a chocoholic, I’m also definitely a workaholic, but I enjoy what I do with all my heart! As for sleep? Well, that is another story altogether! :)

---------------------------------

Thanks for visiting us as part of your tour, Ada! Your other projects sound like a lot of fun and your dogs (especially Caramilk!) are adorable. =)

For more information about Ada and her book, check out the book website or her personal page. You can also find Ada on Facebook and Twitter.

Click on the banner to learn more about Ada's blog tour.

Ada Adams Blog Tour

---------------------------------

Here's the scoop on REVAMPED:

Ada Adams ReVampedA simple mission turned deadly.

Nineteen-year-old vampire Dawn has led a sheltered life within the confines of her father’s presidential headquarters. Upon being sent on a mission to revamp four goofy misfits into guardians of a peaceful little town of Angel Creek, Dawn believes that all her dreams have finally come true. What starts off as a simple task, turns into something unexpected, changing Dawn’s life forever and leading the action-loving, thrill-seeking vampire teen on a path of mystery, danger and intrigue.

When a human girl is kidnapped by a group of rogue vamps, Dawn discovers that there is more going on in Angel Creek than meets the eye. And it all connects to Ethan, the cute newcomer who seems too perfect to be true, Sebastian, the mysterious vampire with a turbulent past, and even Dawn herself. Dawn must not only succeed in revamping the troubled recruits, but must also prevent the vampire race from being overtaken by a malevolent villain who has a strange and obsessive fascination with her. As threat escalates, romance blooms, and ghosts from her past begin to surface, Dawn is sure of only one thing: her life will never be the same.

Jenn's thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon

---------------------------------

giveaway

Ada and Bewitching Blog Tours have provided one (1) Kindle copy of REVAMPED for a lucky reader!

To enter the giveaway, obey the Rafflecopter!

Open internationally
(as long as you can read Kindle files)

Ends Monday, May 7, 2012


a Rafflecopter giveaway

---------------------------------

Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn