Saturday, August 31, 2013

Stacking The Shelves (71)

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


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This week I only got 2 books, but they were both books that I was looking so very forward to, so I'm so excited to share them with you! You can click on the covers to be redirected to their Goodreads pages.

 

origin by jennifer l. armentrout

First, I got Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I know I'm not the only one out here who has been waiting with bated breath for this one to come out after Opal's ending! I've already dived into this one, and keep picking it up every spare chance I get :)
 

 

 

 

 

 

of beast and beauty by stacy jay

 

And secondly, after Lili's awesome review of this one a couple months back, I've been dying to finally get my hands on it. I was surprised when it finally showed up at our local book shop, so I can't wait to start this one too! How cool is that cover?

 

 

 

 

 

 

That's it for me this week! But it's all about quality over quantity, right? ;)


Show us what you added to your shelves this week!






Friday, August 30, 2013

Cover reveal: Torn from the Shadows by Yolanda Sfetsos + giveaway

 I'm super excited about today's post because we are doing the exclusive cover reveal for Yolanda Sfetsos' next Sierra Fox novel, TORN FROM THE SHADOWS. I've loved this series since I discovered it and I was thrilled when Yolanda offered us the opportunity to do this reveal because I'm such a fan of her work.


Without further ado, here is the absolutely gorgeous cover for TORN FROM THE SHADOWS, Sierra's fourth outing!


Torn From The Shadows by Yolanda Sfetsos (Sierra Fox #4)

 

The cover art is by Kanaxa, who's done all of the covers so far. I love how moody it is, especially since Yolanda tells me it captures the story perfectly. I wish we didn't have to wait until next year to find out for ourselves!


<pstyle="text-align: center;">Here's the rest of the series. You can click on the covers to read my reviews:






A Patch of Darkness by Yolanda Sfetsos (Sierra Fox #1)Split at the Seams by Yolanda Sfetsos (Sierra Fox #2)On Pins and Needles by Yolanda Sfetsos (Sierra Fox #3)

And because I love this series so much, I'm going to offer up a giveaway out of my own pocket:


giveaway banner



One (1) lucky follower will win an e-copy of one of the first three Sierra Fox books.


The conditions?
(1) Be able to read e-books.
(2) Sierra Fox books are available in your country.
(3) Tell us which cover is your favourite and what you think will happen in TORN FROM THE SHADOWS.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Jennsig

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Daring You to Read. . . on Hiatus

0daringyou_thumb-25255B2-25255D_thumb-25255B2-25255DHello Guys!


Daring You To Read has been running since October 2011 and even though it's been a pleasure to present you our favorite series, we are quite honestly running out of dare ideas. For this reason, Daring You to Read is going into hiatus status for the moment and will most likely make a come back a in while :) This'll give us some time to discover new favorites to share with you!


In the mean time, we are thinking of new possible features to replace this one and we are open to suggestions! I want to keep it book related, but don't want to join any memes, we strive to stay original :) If you have any ideas of what you'd like to see on the blog, please leave a comment, it might inspire us!


Thank you!


- Team Tynga's Reviews

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Parallel by Lauren Miller

I've heard so many amazing things about Parallel, and going into reading it, I was worried that maybe I would be disappointed. But thankfully, I was 100% right to be super excited to read this book. Parallel somehow managed to grab me and never let go until the very end.

The characters were absolutely wonderful. Abby is unique, because she can remember the 'real' world - the world based on the choices only she has made. Everyone else seems to only remember the choices and consequences that were brought on by her parallel self. This tension between Abby and her parallel self was really interesting to read and explore. Her best friend Caitlin was so well-written too. It was so fascinating to see how little choices along the way could have such a huge impact on their friendship.

My favorite part about Parallel was how thoroughly thought out the science behind the parallel universes was. Caitlin is a total nerd, and so naturally, she knows exactly who to go to in order to help Abby figure out what's happening. Dr. Mann does his best to explain the ideas behind parallel universes, and what might have happened that would cause Abby to now be affected by her parallel's choices. And the crazy part was, it all made complete sense! Instead of the vague, watery science that most YA books will dish out on the subject, Parallel was rooted in true theories, and every aspect of the question was well-explored.

Initially, I wasn't crazy about either of the romances. I don't know if you can really call it a love-triangle, as the parallel universe piece makes it a bit unique. Michael and Josh are the two main interests, and they're about as different as they come. I wasn't a very big Michael fan at the start, but did eventually warm up to him. Though I will always have a soft spot for Josh no matter what!

I loved the exploration of the idea of destiny. Does Abby have a destiny? Can the parallel screw that up? Does the parallel have a different destiny? It was all so multi-layered and deep, and I loved how much it made me think about the entire concept. Overall, this was an incredible book, and you absolutely will not regret pushing it to the very top of your reading list!

 

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

When I'm not writing with Patricia Vanasse

Patricia VanasseThis week's guest is Patricia Vanasse, whose young adult novel, RESILIENT, will be out on September 2. This is her debut novel and I'm pleased to welcome her to the blog so that we can all get to know her.


On a more administrative note, this is the last "When I'm not writing" post for a couple weeks. I need to be offline a bit more for the next little while and so we're going to retire the feature for a little bit. But it's a Jay-Z type retirement and we'll be back before you know it!


 

"When I'm not writing" logo


I wake up every morning at 5:30 a.m. and I write till 8:00. That’s when my kids wake up and have to enter the real world.  They’re very active little kids and keep me busy all day. We’re lucky to live in Whidbey Island, WA, where there are many state parks with endless lush green trails and amazing views of the ocean. We’re always out and about either at the beach or parks around the island. When it’s time for a break, I read and read and read some more. I can easily read two books a week. And if I don’t, I suffer from withdrawal, which can be very painful. So, I make sure I have a book in my hands every free minute I have. I read just about everything, but I have a soft spot for YA. I love contemporary romance, paranormal, and mystery. I refuse to finish books that I’m not drawn to, and when I do love a book, I feel sad when I reach the last page.


At night after the kids are in bed it’s TV time with hubby, it’s one of my favorite ways to unwind. I’m devoted to many shows like, Grey’s anatomy, Glee, Vampire Diaries, New Girl, Chicago Fire, and many more. I’m so looking forward to The Tomorrow People, a new show coming this fall from CW. I don’t watch TV during summer though, I can’t stand reality TV, just can’t!


And then, there’s music. My daughter loves to sing and dance so we listen to music all the time. I listen to music while I write as well, it’s inspirational and helps to set the right mood for each chapter. I like alternative, soft rock, and pop. I’m not a big fan of Country, but sometimes I find some I like. And to redefine the writer’s stereotype, I’m a social person, I love to hang out with my friends and talk over coffee in the morning or wine at night.


Last but not least, I like to take care of my body and mind, and Yoga is just what I need to keep my sanity and health in check. I absolutely recommend it.


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Thanks so much for visiting us, Patricia!


For more Patricia, check out her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter!


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Here's the scoop on RESILIENT:




Resilient by Patricia VanasseLivia has never felt like she fits in. As normal as it sounds, Livia is anything but ordinary. She can feel every emotion of every single person around her, and it’s maddening. In pursuit of some psychic quiet, she moves with her family from New York City to Whidbey Island in the lush and sleepy Pacific Northwest. But when a horseback riding accident in her new home gives her a broken leg that heals in a day, she finds that another unexplainable ability has manifested, and her life isn’t about to get any easier.


Adam has no problem fitting in and making friends. In fact, he’s the top of the school, the boy everyone knows and loves. However, people only see what he allows them to. No one knows what Adam is truly capable of. After witnessing Livia’s accident, Adam sees something intriguing in her quick recovery, something that gives him hope that he’s not alone.


Adam is the only one whose emotions Livia can’t read. Afraid of not knowing what goes on behind his dark eyes, Livia decides to keep him at a distance. Yet the more she tries to ignore him, the more alluring he becomes, and while their personal quests for identity will inevitably bring them closer together, it is the confirmation of what they really are that threatens to tear them apart.


Resilient, told in alternating point of views, is a gripping story of survival and romance, in which two teenagers face the consequences of being anything but normal.


Read an excerpt


Pre-order: Amazon



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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 favourite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!


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


Jennsig

Monday, August 26, 2013

Keeping Secret by Sierra Dean

The fourth Secret McQueen novel takes us out of New York City and into Louisiana, the seat of Secret's family's domain. (Her uncle Callum presides over the territory neighbouring Lucas' domain.) It's the first time we get to see where Secret could have grown up, if her mom wasn't such a crazy lady. It makes for a really interesting experience for Secret since she seems what life as a werewolf princess might have been like -- the good and the bad. Mostly, there's bad in the neighbourhood but there are also some great moments. We get to meet an interesting new group of werewolves, including some siblings that she never knew existed. She also has a little swamp adventure as part of her getting-to-know-them phase, which is quite a hair-raising trip.


On the romance side, Secret is buying wedding dresses, choosing flowers, and all that good wedding stuff. Unfortunately, she's still conflicted. She feels a sense of duty and will marry Lucas but she's still soul-bonded with Desmond and actually loves him more. It's a really neat love triangle, which is something I don't say very often since love triangles can so often be a device rather than a really interesting plot point, but the Lucas-Secret-Desmond is one that really resonates for me.


There's also a really great line about Secret Rain and it made me nearly laugh myself out of my seat.


Holden fans won't be disappointed by KEEPING SECRET since there are also some great scenes between Holden and Secret. Their relationship is quite complicated and it seems to get more twisty with every novel. Some of the other great characters in the series also have some nice moments, like Mercedes, Sig, and Shane. I won't say too much about them since some of them are in the latter part of the novel but I will say that KEEPING SECRET is a real treat and sure to please all of the Secret McQueen fans out then. It's also another strong instalment in a stand-out urban fantasy series. People, you need to read these books!


Read an excerpt (click on the excerpt tab)


Jennsig

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway

THE RIVER OF NO RETURN is exactly the time of book I love to read as a summer read. It's not too heavy on the paranormal so that most of the story is about the character, but it still has enough mystical elements to be considered paranormal. The only thing I regret is not having read it sooner. The novel starts off a little slow, and it really doesn't pick up until about one quarter in. However, it's well worth the wait because it's an amazing story about romance and travelling through time.

The book has the timelessness of the Outlander series and it's being widely compared to A Discovery of Witches. Although the stories are quite different from one another, they share similar themes and the writing styles. THE RIVER OF NO RETURN is about a man named Nick Falcott who, as a general during a war in 1815, suddenly finds himself pushed through time to the year 2003 as he's about to die on the battlefield. He is in fact, able to manipulate time, and is taken in by the mysterious Guild of time manipulators that hides their abilities from the rest of the Normal population. After 10 years of playing by the Guild's rules, the Guild suddenly summons him and reveals secret information about their true abilities. When they ask him to travel back to 1815, he starts to wonder about the true goals of the Guild, and if he's about to become a puppet for the "bad guys". I'm not going to reveal more about the story in general because it's definitely something you want to discover on your own. In fact, I love the way Bee Ridgway took her time to reveal things, little by little.

Back in 1815, Julia mourns her grand-father who passed away without telling her some pretty important things. Like now he could manipulate time and what he meant when he said "Pretend" on his death bed. Soon enough Nick and Julia find themselves linked together and playing important roles in the flow of time, as they grow closer and closer romantically.

The end of the book is satisfying in the sense that it can be read as a stand-alone, but so much more could be written about this unique world. If the author is willing to expand on her story, there's definitely enough for a sequel. THE RIVER OF NO RETURNS will definitely please fans of historical romances that like having a mystical twist to the story. Despite its slow start, I ended up really enjoying it and I look forward to anything else Bee Ridgway writes.

stephsig_thumb-25255B1-25255D6

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sortable Review Index

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Stacking The Shelves [70]

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


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I've been blessed with a nice (virtual) stack of books over the past month. As always, I use an asterisk to note which books are electronic. I've read very few of them so far because  I'm working on my Netgalley Knockout challenge but I'm quite excited for these books. And since all of my review books are e-books, I guess they now qualify for my reading challenge. *sigh* I don't think I'm making any headway but who could resist titles like these?


There are no images this week because Wordpress and I are in a fight about formatting. I've been coding my heart out but the images are going a little nuts on me so there's nothing left for me to do but apologize for the lack of pretty this week. :)


Don't forget to add your link below!


For review: 


100 Days in Deadland by Rachel Aukes*
Twilight Hunter by Kait Ballenger*
Vengeance Borne by Amanda Bonilla*
The Mysterious Case of Mr. Strangeway by Karina Cooper*
Darkness Rises by Dianne Duvall*
Heart of Briar by Laura Anne Gilman*
The Volatile Amazon by Sandy James*
Fairies in My Fireplace by R. L. Naquin*


Bought:


Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
Darkness Unmasked by Keri Arthur
Dark Wolf by Kate Douglas*
Kiss of Venom by Jennifer Estep*
Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton
Breath of Fire by Liliana Hart*
Werewolves Be Damned by Stacey Kennedy* [review]
Luck of the Dragon by Susannah Scott*


Amazon freebie:


Justice by Jennifer Harlow*



What did you add to your shelves this week?





Jennsig

A new addition to the family!

I've bb2loinbeen hanging onto that little bit of news for weeks now and it's time to finally share with you all :) Baby #2 is now underway and due March 3rd, 2013!

I had an ultrasound yesterday (that's when those shots where taken) and everything seems perfectly fine!bb2main

The technician wrote the gender on a piece of paper for me, but I haven't peeked yet. I can't make up my mind! lol They were wrong with their prediction for Lily-Ann (told me she was a boy) and I don't want to live the same situation again :/ We'll see lol

What it means for the blog? Right now I'm extremely exhausted and I'll admit it, in a foul mood (lol) and I'm on sick leave from work. I'm not getting much reading done between caring for Lily-Ann, napping everyday and going to bed at 7:30 so I might skip some reviews (like this week) unfortunately. I'm sure you'll understand.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

Warning: Spoilers ahead if you have not read the first two books in this series.

The Dark and Hollow Places lived up to every single expectation that I could have placed upon it. This series has officially gone down in my own personal hall of fame. Aside from having the most fascinating and haunting titles of any books I've read in a very long time, every single book in this series has been completely unique, and yet set within a familiar world that has become downright terrifying.

In The Dark and Hollow Places, Annah and Abigail (who we know as Gabry) are reunited. For so long, Annah has carried the guilt of what happened the day in the Forest that she and Elias left Abigail behind. Separated as young children, Annah is now mangled and damaged, and struggles with the return of her sister who seems to have had an idyllic childhood compared to her own. I loved getting to read this story from Annah's point of view. All the same characters are present from The Dead-Tossed Waves, and unlike the jump of 20+ years between the first and second book in the series, The Dark and Hollow Places picks up almost immediately after the end of the second book.

The relationships between characters in The Dark and Hollow Places were what made it so intense. Along with all the flesh-eating zombies, of course. We still get to hear lots from Gabry and Elias, but the real star of the show was Annah and Catcher. Annah has so many insecurities borne from Elias' abandonment, her own shame at failing Gabry as a child, and the scars that a tragic accident has left her with. Catcher struggles with his own identity, living as something in between the dead and the living, and he's not sure if Annah could be infected by him. He's also not willing to take the chance.

Throw in a post-apocalyptic world that is just crawling with zombies, a police force that amounts to nothing more than sadistic bullies, and a very real fear that they may be one of the last surviving communities - and The Dark and Hollow Places will keep you turning page after page until you find out what will happen.

I wish this series wasn't over - but alas, if it must end sometime, I suppose that this was a great way to go out. Trust me, you'll never see it coming.

Read an Excerpt


helen_thumb-25255B1-25255D

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Among the Nameless Stars by Diana Peterfreund

When one of my friends found out that I obtained a copy of FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS, she insisted that I read the prequel novella before jumping into the book. When I saw that the eBook was free on iBooks, I jumped at the chance. Her claim was that Kai is infuriatingly mysterious in book one, and many aspects of his past are cleared up in the prequel. And while I can't relate to her thoughts just yet, I feel like I somehow managed to glean some really important information about him in this short novella.

I've learned that he feels betrayed by Elliot, and I've also learned the unique workings of this dystopian world. I've learned that the ability to read and write is incredibly rare, and it's something be cherished. I learned that the rich are so uncommon that they take their position in society so seriously that they would not allow true love to prosper. I've also learned that I am not the biggest fan of Elliot right now--the girl who broke Kai's heart due to class issues....who I also have to repeatedly remind myself is a girl because she happens to have the name of a guy. It makes me very curious about book one because I know that the dynamic between the two of them can lead to a lot of potential drama.

After reading the synopsis of book one, I feel like this simple background story and introduction to this world will enhance my experience with book one, and that's all I could have asked from this novella. Peterfreund's writing is beautiful, and I'm very excited to see her version of the PERSUASION re-telling set in a dystopian world come into play. It's scary, however, to think of a world where people are owned as slaves and so easily killed just to prove a point. And, I suppose, this is why I am so excited to continue on with this series.

Really, I just can't wait for more of this world. As scary as this world is, what little world-building I have seen so far has fascinated me. I mean, we began this prequel with a volcano and an area of land where you can die from lack of water, people hunting you, or catastrophic volcanic activity! There's just nowhere perfectly safe. Combine that with the easy ability to connect with Kai because of his desire to make a better life for himself at the tender age of fourteen (four years before book one takes place) and you know you've got a winner.

lilisig

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"When I'm not writing" with Jason M. Hough

Jason M HoughThis week's guest is Jason M. Hough. I'm so excited to have him here since I thought his debut, THE DARWIN ELEVATOR, was fantastic. I'm quite looking forward to the second book in the Dire Earth Cycle, THE EXODUS TOWERS, which comes out next week.


Jason's here today to share a bit of his non-writing life. Get ready for some adorableness!


 

 

"When I'm not writing" logo

Up until a few months ago, writing had just been a hobby for me. Granted, I had a book deal and things were looking promising, but I still had a day job that took up the majority of me time. My kids took up the bulk of the rest, and writing was just an activity I squeezed in everyday between dawn and breakfast.


Now, however, I’m a full time writer. With the support of my wife I’ve left the day job behind in order to focus on the launch of THE DARWIN ELEVATOR and it’s two sequels, all of which come out this summer (2013).


I’d love to say that I have an awesome hobby that fills my spare time, but honestly that hobby is still writing. I just get paid for it now, and have a lot more time to spend with my kids.


Hough-WINW1

Nathan, who will be four in November, is my best bud.  He’s recently graduated from childrens shows like Thomas the Train to cartoons that I can genuinely enjoy with him, like The Avengers or Justice League. I’m already getting excited about re-watching some of my old favorites with him, like Robotech and Mobile Suit Gundam.  In a given week we will build train tracks, play with Hot Wheels or just put on capes and run around in the back yard. I recently bought him a flashlight, and given the warm summer evenings here in San Diego, we’ve been going on a lot of after-dinner nature walks around the neighborhood.


Hough-WINW2

His little brother, Ian, will be two in October. He’s just started running, which given his bullheaded nature has been a bit terrifying. Nothing scares this kid, and hollering “STOP!” at him when he’s about to do something truly dangerous (like, say, run out into the street) seems to translate as “GO FASTER!”. He keeps me on my toes, to say the least.


Hough-WINW3

Within a few years they’ll both be in school, at least part of the time, and there is a small part of my brain that is starting to look forward to getting back into a hobby beyond writing.  Thanks to the kids I’ve got about 4 years of video games to catch up on, plus countless movies and TV shows. But I’ve always needed to create, not just consume, so in addition to writing I’ll probably get back into doing 3D modeling and animation. Or maybe I’ll start learning how to build replica movie props. Or I’ll take up gardening. Maybe cooking.


Okay, we’ll see… but for now, I write for roughly half the day and then it’s all kids all the time.


And that suits this 41-year-old child just fine.


Hough-WINW4

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Thanks so much for visiting us, Jason, and sharing these great photos of you and your kids!


For more Jason, check out his website or follow him on Facebook or Twitter!


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Here's the scoop on THE EXODUS TOWERS:




The Exodus Towers by Jason M. Hough (Dire Earth Cycle #2)The Exodus Towers features all the high-octane action and richly imagined characters of The Darwin Elevator—but the stakes have never been higher.
 
The sudden appearance of a second space elevator in Brazil only deepens the mystery about the aliens who provided it: the Builders. Scavenger crew captain Skyler Luiken and brilliant scientist Dr. Tania Sharma have formed a colony around the new Elevator’s base, utilizing mobile towers to protect humans from the Builders’ plague. But they are soon under attack from a roving band of plague-immune soldiers. Cut off from the colony, Skyler must wage a one-man war against the new threat as well as murderous subhumans and thugs from Darwin—all while trying to solve the puzzle of the Builders’ master plan . . . before it’s too late for the last vestiges of humanity.


Pre-order: Amazon | Book Depository




And here's where it all began:


The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough (Dire Earth Cycle #1)———————————


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 favourite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!


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


Jennsig

Monday, August 19, 2013

Elysian Fields blog tour: Flash fiction by Suzanne Johnson + giveaway!

Elysian Fields Tour Banner


As always, I'm thrilled to have Suzanne Johnson visit Team Tynga's Reviews. I love her work as both Suzanne Johnson and Susannah Sandlin but today she's here wearing her "Johnson" hat since the third book in her Sentinel of New Orleans series, ELYSIAN FIELDS, in on the horizon. And boy, is it good!


Suzanne's on tour to celebreate the release of ELYSIAN FIELDS and she's stopped by with some flash fiction set in the world of the series. There's also a giveaway at the end of the book so be sure to stick around.


Welcome, Suzanne!


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I Yam What I Yam


Suzanne Johnson


Note: “I Yam What I Yam” is an original short-short set in the world of the Sentinels of New Orleans series, featuring wizard DJ Jaco, her partner (and maybe more) shapeshifting enforcer Alex Warin, loup-garou enforcer Jake Warin, the undead 19th-century French pirate Jean Lafitte, Cajun merman Rene Delachaise, and a cast of many—few of them are actually human.

I watched as Jean Lafitte, once he’d gotten used to that darn newfangled pencil, draw out the geomantic lines of the Beyond as they currently stood.

Elysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson (Sentinel of New Orleans #3)A master navigator in his human life, New Orleans’  resident pirate and leader of the historical undead made it his business to know the frequently shifting shortcuts through the preternatural world. For what I suspected was a chunk of change from the Elders, he provided my bosses with weekly updated maps.

Ensconced in my strip-mall office on Tchoupitoulas Street, we’d been working for a couple of hours—well, he’d been working and I’d been trolling eBay for additions to my pattern glass collection. It wasn’t the most practical office space for a wizard sentinel, but the sign on the door read CRESCENT CITY RISK MANAGEMENT, which seemed sufficiently boring to keep stray humans from wandering inside.

My stomach rumbled loud enough for the pirate to hear from his seat at the small conference table across the room.

“We should procure a meal, Jolie.” He gave me an assessing look with a sweep of his dark blue eyes. “Most modern women are far too thin, as slim as a rapier. I have always admired your—”

“Stop.” I held up my hand, palm outward, in the universal language of shut-the-hell-up. Because if the word “hips” finished out that sentence, I’d have to hurt him. “Sure, let’s go somewhere quick, though, because the Elders are anxious to get that map.” The prete political world had grown tense, and the Elders wanted to be able to anticipate what routes other species were using to travel in the vast Beyond.

Jean placed his pencil reverently on the graph paper map he’d been using. “Tres bien. Shall we go to the porc du ciel store? I must confess, it intrigues me.”

I frowned, considering what a “pig of heaven store”  might be, finally concluding he meant the Heavenly Ham place at the other end of the strip mall. “There’s nowhere to sit in there and I don’t want to bring it back here. We’ll drive till we find something.”

We left the store, locked the door behind us, and got into my current rental car, my old Pathfinder having met with a fatal accident recently. The Elders were paying for the rental, so I was in no hurry to buy a new one.

“Let’s try Frankie and Johnny’s.” I steered toward the nearby uptown mainstay, calculating how much attention the pirate might draw. He was ignored in the Quarter, where a Frenchman dressed like a big, strapping pirate was among the more normal folks one encountered. Uptown, not so much. But F&J’s was neighborhood-funky, so I thought we’d be safe from any preternatural incidents. Plus, it might be fun to watch Jean interpret a modern menu.

The restaurant was packed with lunch-goers, though, so I looped back over to Mid-City and cruised the options on Carrollton. I looked longingly at Mikimoto’s, where the “Hawaii Five-O” sushi rolls with eel sauce were to die for. I couldn’t imagine Jean trying to maneuver those big hands around a pair of little wooden chopsticks, however.

I spotted one of my favorite comfort spots and cut in front of a sky-blue VW Beetle, whipping with a slight screech of cheap rental tires across two lanes of traffic and coming to a quick halt in a parking lot

River Road by Suzanne Johnson (Sentinel of New Orleans #2)I looked at Jean, whose fingers clutched the car door handles. “I feel you need automobile lessons as much as I, Drusilla,” he said, measuring his words. “I wonder if men were meant to travel in such a rapid manner.”

“Yeah, well, remind me to tell you about airplanes,” I said, unbuckling my seatbelt. “You like fried chicken?”

He was frowning at the red and gold sign. “Who is Popeye? Does he cook pleasing chicken?”

“Oh yeah.” True, Popeye’s wasn’t the grease-fest it had been back before a group of Canadians had bought it from its local founder. But it still filled a need. “Popeye is a cartoon character, a sailor.” At Jean’s blank expression, I added, “a made-up character in stories for children.” I didn’t know how to explain a logo.

“What has this Popeye sailor to do with chicken?”

Sheesh, what was this, chicken twenty questions? “I’ll explain later,” I said, getting out and walking across the lot. In other words, I had no idea.

Jean followed me inside and we stood at the counter, gazing up at the menu board. “I’ll buy your lunch,” I told him. The Elders would reimburse me since he was on their clock. “Just tell the man at the counter what you want, then I’ll pay for both orders.”

Jean nodded and stepped to the counter. The teenage order-taker looked at him, slightly open-mouthed. I crossed my arms and waited for the fun to begin.

“This for here or to go?” the teen asked, straightening the gold apron that stretched a bit too tightly across his purple t-shirt clad torso.

“Here,” I hissed, and Jean, ever the French gentleman, said, “Ici, s’il-vous plait.”

“Say what?” The teen craned his neck to look past Jean at me. “Dude don’t speak no English?”

“It’s for here.” I shrugged, fighting to keep a grin off my face.

“Ok, then what you want?” The teen pulled out an orange tray, slapped a paper placemat on it and looked at me.

“Do not treat the famous privateer…” Jean paused…”John Lafayette as if he were unable to order a simple meal.” The famous John Lafayette did not like being dismissed or diminished, as our teenage chicken-monger was learning.

He didn’t look contrite. “Sorry, sir. What you want?”

“I am fond of popcorn, but I do not wish it with shrimp.” Jean studied the menu. “Therefore, I should like popcorn with a chicken leg.”

The teen slid his gaze slowly to me. I grinned at him. Who was I to try and explain the phenomenon of popcorn shrimp to a 230-year-old pirate?

He seemed to ponder a moment. “We’re all outta popcorn, sir.” I smiled at his quick recovery. “How ‘bout some onion rings with that chicken leg?”

Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson (Sentinel of New Orleans #1)Jean frowned and whispered over his shoulder: “These onion rings, Jolie. Are they a type of jewels or does one eat them?”

“Eat,” I whispered back.

“Very well.” Jean smiled as he continued to study the menu. “And a Coke.” He’d recently been introduced to the joys of soda and I’d seen him drink several. I pondered whether the historical undead could develop blood-sugar problems.

“You want that leg spicy or mild?” The teen’s triumph faded as Jean’s frown returned. “You know, regular or like wit’ some red pepper in the batter?”

I settled in for an entertaining lunch.

Copyright 2013 Suzanne Johnson. May not be reprinted or shared without written permission of the author.


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Thanks for stopping by with such a great Jean Lafitte story! (He's my favourite character in the series.)


For more Suzanne, you can visit her website or blog, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.


You can also see the other stops on her blog tour by clicking on the banner:


Elysian Fields Tour Banner


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Elysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson (Sentinel of New Orleans #3)The mer feud has been settled, but life in South Louisiana still has more twists and turns than the muddy Mississippi. New Orleanians are under attack from a copycat killer mimicking the crimes of a 1918 serial murderer known as the Axeman of New Orleans.

Thanks to a tip from the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, DJ Jaco knows the attacks aren't random--an unknown necromancer has resurrected the original Axeman of New Orleans, and his ultimate target is a certain blonde wizard.

Namely, DJ. Fighting off an undead serial killer as troubles pile up around her isn't easy. Jake Warin's loup-garou nature is spiraling downward, enigmatic neighbor Quince Randolph is acting weirder than ever, the Elders are insisting on lessons in elven magic from the world's most annoying wizard, and former partner Alex

Warin just turned up on DJ's to-do list. Not to mention big maneuvers are afoot in the halls of preternatural power.

Suddenly, moving to the Beyond as Jean Lafitte's pirate wench? It could be DJ's best option.

Jenn's thoughts


Read an excerpt


Pre-order: Amazon | Book Depository



And here's the full series:


River Road-Royal Street-Elysian Fields Banner


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giveaway bannerThere is a fantastic tour-wide giveaway!
Suzanne is offering one (1) iPad 2 and five (5) $20 gift cards, open internationally!


To enter, do what the Rafflecopter wants. :)


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Jennsig


 

Elysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson

If you've been following the blog for a while, you know that I am positively gaga for Suzanne Johnson's Sentinel of New Orleans novels. I'm head over heels in love with the world, the characters, and Johnson's clever writing. Plus, things just keep getting more and more complicated for DJ, which means the reading just gets better and better!

In DJ's third outing, things are at their most tense, thanks to an undead serial killer, strained relationships, and questions that only lead to more questions. Needless to say, I loved it, especially since the dashing undead pirate Jean Lafitte has a central role in ELYSIAN FIELDS. He's my favourite character in the series because he's such a honourable rake and I'm positively thrilled that he has a key role in this novel. He even does a bit of growing as a character, which made him all the more charming to me. I die over his interactions with DJ, who is so unwillingly attracted to him.

Also great: the interactions between DJ and the rest of the cast. She has some major revelations about Jake and his life as a loup-garou, and what it means for their friendship; DJ and Alex have some serious conversations and moments, which were quite satisfying; and DJ learns the cost of her secrets when it comes to her friendships with non-preternaturals. And if that's not enough, we finally get an explanation about the mysterious Quince Randolph! I won't spoil it by telling you if he's good or bad but I will tell you that I was very surprised by the plot points involving this character and that I think it's going to make life quite interesting for DJ in future novels.

We also see DJ explore her elven magic, which is a lot of fun since she's frankly quite bad at it. Her training sessions are such fun to read. They're some of my favourite scenes in ELYSIAN FIELDS, which says a lot since I think the whole book was just delightful.

I think I'm going to stop raving here since some of my favourite parts of ELYSIAN FIELDS are major spoilers. If you want to chat, just let me know. I'm dying to talk about some of these developments!! To wrap up, I'll just say this: ELYSIAN FIELDS is Grade A urban fantasy goodness. If you haven't tried the Sentinel of New Orleans series yet, (a) you're missing out and (b) you better hustle to your local bookstore to give it at try!

Read an excerpt


Jennsig

Rogue blog tour + giveaway!

Today we're participating in Gina Damico's tour for her upcoming release, ROGUE, the third book in her Croak series. It's a really fun image tour that I think you'll enjoy. Plus, Gina's graciously offering a giveaway to celebrate!


Without further ado, here's Gina!


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Rogue tour banner


Hey hey Croak fans! Welcome to my blog tour / photo hunt / Roguestravaganza!

From now until ROGUE's release on September 10th, each stop on the tour will reveal an image that represents a chapter in the book - could refer to setting, plot, an important object, mood, or whatever other diabolical visualizations with which I feel like tormenting my dear readers. Each image also contains a hidden letter...though really, they're not that well hidden. (If you have eyes, you should be able to spot them.) Collect the letters every day, and at the end of the tour I'll hold a contest, the winner of which will receive signed and annotated copies of the complete trilogy. (For a complete description of the contest, tour schedule, and links to the stops you might have missed, check out the blog tour page on my website.)

This photo is for Chapter 5. I will let the image do the talking.


Rogue blog tour - 5

Thanks for having me! Good luck everyone!

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Rogue by Gina Damico (Croak #3)Teenage Grim Reaper Lex’s power to Damn souls is getting out of control. She's a fugitive, on the run from the maniacal new mayor of Croak and the townspeople who want to see her pay the price for her misdeeds. Uncle Mort rounds up the Junior Grims to flee Croak once again, but this time they're joined by Grotton, the most powerful Grim of all time. Their new mission is clear: fix his mistakes, or the Afterlife will cease to exist, along with all the souls in it.


The gang heads for Necropolis, the labyrinth-like capital city of the Grimsphere. There, they discover that the Grimsphere needs a reboot. To do that, the portals to the Afterlife must be destroyed...but even that may not be enough to fix the damage. Things go from bad to worse, and when at last the fate of the Afterlife and all the souls of the Damned hang in the balance, it falls to Lex and her friends to make one final, impossible choice.


[embed width="420" height="315"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSM7X-Aw7Ys[/embed]


Pre-order: Amazon | Book Depository


Read an excerpt



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giveaway_thumb-25255B3-25255D



Gina is graciously offering a giveaway to our readers and it's open internationally!
One (1) lucky winner will receive a Croak Prize Pack!


Check out the Rafflecopter for details.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Jennsig

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Whenever I try to review a Neil Gaiman book, I'm always looking for the perfect words to do it justice but it so very hard to sum up genius in just a few paragraphs. His typical books usually land in the magical realism genre and THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE is definitely a part of that genre. In this book, there's a chilling quality to his writing that makes you shiver throughout, and it leaves you wondering how close to the truth his magical world really is. Everything is based on real life lessons so it's hard to believe there isn't a bit of truth in his every word.


Despite its paranormal/magical realism genre, the book is really a story about growing up and the blurred lines between childhood and adulthood. Some situations can make children grow older faster, despite their ability to overcome troublesome ordeals.  However, as children we have a tendency to believe anything, even if things are a little bit farfetched, so some of these farfetched and imaginative situations can impact us a great deal. This novel is narrated by a nameless seven year old main character so you really have to question the accuracy of some situations. Are things really happening the way they are narrated or are the facts confused by some little boy’s overactive imagination? That’s the charm of Gaiman’s writing because it makes you question everything, despite your strong grip on reality.


The nameless narrator is a very shy boy who befriends a strange country girl named Lottie Hempstock. After meeting her, things get a little strange. Things get even stranger when he pulls a worm out from a hole under his foot. Disguised as the new housekeeper for his family, the monster (or the flea as Lottie calls it) that haunts the small English town makes his life miserable. He’s the only one in his family that truly sees the evil hiding behind the housekeeper facade and he faces danger when he tries to defy the monster’s orders. He finds help in Lottie and her mother and grandmother, who try to help him as much as possible with their strange and eccentric abilities. As the third generation, Lottie is only 11 years old but she seems wise beyond her years. Together, the old lady, the middle age woman and the eager pre-adolescent make a strange female trio. The whole setting and story is eerie, curious and fantastic, but I was on the edge of my seat until the very end.


For a short book, it had a lot of things to say. From the few Gaiman books I’ve read, after reading THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, I have to issues saying that he is a master at what he does. He has the ability to write wonderful YA and children’s books (for example Coraline) but I think his talent is best suited for Adult books. Despite it being told from the point of view of a seven year old, I would definitely qualify this book as an Adult book because of some of the themes. Because I like strange books, I really enjoyed this one because it made me believe everything that was happening and pushed the limits of my imagination.


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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Issues commenting?

Hello Everyone!



The move to WP is now complete and we are hard at work to edit all our past posts and reviews. If you notice any major problems, feel free to let us know!


I noticed there hasn't been a single comment on the blog this past week (and we usually have multiple a day) and I am wondering if there's anything wrong with the comments I'm not aware of? I would greatly appreciate your input. If you have any issues, you can also tweet me @tynga



Thank you!

Stacking The Shelves [69]

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


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Hey everyone! A short vlog for this week's Stacking the Shelves. Not too many books, but enough to satisfy me for at least a few weeks. I hope you all had a great week and I look forward to seeing what you all got for your own shelves.




Purchased


The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
Fox & Phoenix by Beth Bernobich
The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks
Shadow's Edge by Brent Weeks
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare



For Review


The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway


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