Thursday, July 29, 2010

Last Day to Enter for "Hunted of 2060" Giveaway!

Hey everyone the contest to win The Hunted of 2060 ends tomorrow!  So please enter here if you haven't :-)

The Hunted of 2060 (Volume 1)

Review - Midnight's Daughter (Dorina Basarab, Book 1) by Karen Chance (4/5 stars)

Prior to reading this book I had read the first two books in Karen Chance's Cassandra Palmer series and I just couldn't get into them. I didn't like Cassie much as a character and didn't enjoy the mafia-like vampire setting.  When I heard that Chance was coming out with a series that was more urban fantasy and action focused I was excited to give it a try.  So far there are two books in this series "Death's Mistress" is the second one.  A third book is scheduled for 2011, but I couldn't find info on how many total books are planned for the series.  Anyway, I really liked this series much more than the Cassie Palmer series.

Dorina is a dhampir and her vampire father needs her help.  He needs her to hunt down her uncle Dracula (yes, THE Dracula) in return he will help Dory find her friend who is missing. A rather arrogant, devastatingly handsome, and irritating vampire named Louis-Cesare is sent along to assist Dory.  Along the way Dory will encounter some deadly fae, black mages, and an even more mysterious Fae power figure.  Hopefully Dory can manage to fight her blackout rages that are the hallmark of a dhampir and make it through to her final goal.

I enjoyed this book.  The action is non-stop and Dory's world holds a number of interesting surprises for the reader.  The reader is not slowly introduced to this world but thrown right in the middle of it.  Mostly this is a lot of fun, but at points I wished some of the creatures were explained a bit better.  The world is intriguing and complex and Chance does a great job of seamlessly (and casually) throwing major mythological figures into the mix; this makes the things Dory encounters interesting and fun.

Dory herself is a tough as nails dhampir who's seen a lot.  Over and over she takes a licking and keeps on ticking.  Of course she is a bit of an outcast, so that adds some darkness to her character.  I liked her practical outlook on things and her will to never fail.  She is also a bit snarky and funny.  Her and Louis-Cesare have great chemistry together; and even LC (Louis-Cesare) is pretty funny at times...although he has more of the over-protective/darkly brooding male thing going on.

There are a lot of other interesting characters and they all seem to have interesting depths of power that are not fully explored in this book.  I really enjoyed reading about them all.

Chance's writing style is not my favorite, but it is readable and engaging.  At times it is a bit lacking on description for me; but she does good fight scenes.  The ending wrapped the story up nicely and set up the story for the next book.  I love it when my stories are nicely wrapped up.

Overall this was a book I enjoyed much more than the Cassandra Palmer books.  It is definitely more of an urban fantasy than a paranormal romance; although there are a couple steamy scenes.  I am happy I read it and look forward to reading the next book, Death's Mistress.  Off the top of my head I can think of two series that I would recommend over this one.  I liked Ilona Andrew's Kate Daniels series and Faith Hunter's Jane Yellowrock series better than this one.  But this series is better than a lot of other ones I have read too.  I think this series could get much more interesting in the future books. 

This book goes towards the following challenges:
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
Midnight's Daughter (Dorina Basarab, Dhampir, Book 1)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Review - Here There Be Monsters: The Legendary Kraken and the Giant Squid by H. P. Newquist - 5/5 stars

I got an advanced reading copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program.  It was a very interesting, if quick read.  The version I had did not have the full color pictures in it, but I found the black and white versions to be very interesting nonetheless.

This book goes from describing the early myths and legends of the Kraken and takes you on a journey as humanity struggles to find out the reality behind this mythological creature.  Early findings and expeditions to find the creature are detailed, as well as references in classic literature.  The books gets more scientific as we get into modern times and then expeditions detailing the finding of giant and colossal squids are described.  The author gives references for the pictures in the back as well as provides sources for additional information both on the Kraken and the giant squid.

This book is a bit too wordy for young children but older children and adults should find it interesting.  The origins of different myths behind the Kraken were fascinating and the modern day science was just as interesting in a different way.  The anatomy of the giant squid is in itself intriguing and awe-inspiring. 

I knew some about the Kraken/giant squid just because of references in literature (I read a ton of fantasy books).  I found some of the information about the giant squid to be especially fascinating because I just finished reading China Mieville's book Kraken.

The pictures are fantastic.  There are pictures of everything from old world maps to diagrams detailing anatomy.  The book is also well-written, it is engaging and easy to read and written at a writing level that can be enjoyed by both children and adults.  The author doesn't take himself too seriously and the book is entertaining as well as informing as a result. 

The only small quibble that I have is that there are no footnotes; it would have been nice to have the information referenced back to its source so that the reader can obtain additional information that way if they want too.  I think that the footnotes were probably omitted to make it a more kid friendly book; but without them I just have to take the author at his word and can't expand on my knowledge directly.

I really enjoyed this book and it is one that I will keep on my bookshelf for years to come.  If you are curious about the sea, legendary creatures, or just curious about how humans justify the unknown and about how myths are created; this is the book for you.  Loved it and I really hope that future books will be released with the Here There Be Monsters series.
Here There Be Monsters: The Legendary Kraken and the Giant Squid 

Waiting on Wednesday - 7/28

Okay "Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

This week my Waiting on Wednesday book is Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld.  I enjoyed Leviathan and am eagerly awaiting a chance to read this next book in the series.

Behemoth (Leviathan)Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

Pages: 496 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: October 5th, 2010
ISBN:  978-1416971757 

Synopsis from "The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers.
Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.
Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Book Series Chart

Previously I have posted a spreadsheet that lists all of the series I am reading.  Well I finally figured out a way to post it in the sidebar and link it to a constantly updating spreadsheet.  So in the lefthand sidebar below my reading challenges you can link to it.  Click on it and it will open up in a new tab.

This chart shows:
- Series I am currently reading, along with release dates of the next books (at the top)
- Series I have on my shelf to read (in blue)
- Series I stopped reading (in green)
- Series that have ended (in purple)

I also have lots of great information about when the next books in a series are expected to be released and how many books are expected in a series.

Anyway, I hope that someone gets some use out of it (besides me).  It is the only way I can keep track of all the series I am reading or want to read.  You can also click below to link to it:

Review - The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell (5/5 stars)

I got a copy of this book through's Early Reviewer program.  I saw the cover and read the premise and instantly was dying to read it.  I loved this book.  This is a zombie novel with vision and heart, that can even be considered high literature.  It is haunting and beautiful and thought-provoking while at the same time being brutally realistic. I could not put it down and ended up reading it in a day.

Temple is a fifteen girl who was born after the apocalypse; that is after dead human beings started turning into "Meatskins" and attacking and eating live humans.  She is a tough girl who is struggling to find a place for herself.  She doesn't need anyone to protect her, but she needs a purpose and she uncannily finds beauty and wonder in the dreariest of places.  She tries to fit in with a local community until a man attempts to rape her; she kills him.  Then she is forced to flee with the man's brother Moses in pursuit.  She stumbles upon Maury, a slow mute carrying his dead grandmother and being chased by a pack a meatskins.  When she finds an address in Maury's pocket that states there are people waiting to take care of him, she decides to get Maury to his new home.

This is not a happy read.  It is gory and dark and brutal.  But somehow it is beautiful too.  Temple is a tough girl and a heroine that you really want to cheer on.  She is so practical and so capable.  She doesn't resent life, she just deals.  At one point someone asks her if she hates the meatheads and her response is "Why?  They are just being what they are."  Temple's real skill (besides surviving everything) is finding beauty in the craziest of places.

Bell as a writer did an excellent job.  The writing style is a bit different; speech is signified by a new paragraph or line rather than quotes and everything is written from an outside view.  For this book it really works though.  Bell's description is fabulous and really makes you feel like you are there with Temple.  I really enjoyed it a lot.  The characters he creates are wonderful too, full of depth and interesting.  Bell delves quite a bit into the philosophy of life in this story.  This is not your normal zombie story; it is more about humans and their quest to find a purpose, their quest to find beauty and hope, and their willingness to appreciate the good things they have (no matter how bad other things get).

The relationship between Temple and Moses is an interesting one.  Moses swears to hunt Temple down and kill her, yet somehow they seem to be the only characters in the book who really understand each other.  They understand survival, hope, and beauty and this draws them to an understanding even as Moses is hunting Temple.

This book will leave you with a lot to think about and probably leave you a little scared.  You can't help but think about how you would hold up in a similar situation and if you could be as brave as Temple.

Overall this was a wonderful read.  The writing style is perfect and makes this zombie book a work of fine literature.  The story has equal parts action, adventure, and philosophy.  It is incredibly engaging and almost impossible to put down.   I loved it and will be looking forward to Bell's future works.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
The Reapers Are the Angels: A Novel

Teaser Tuesday - 7/27

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week my teaser comes from A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge.
A Fire Upon the Deep [FIRE UPON THE DEEP] [Mass Market Paperback]

Here it is: "And then Ravna heard it, a keening that might have come from a voder. The sound was steadily growing, a howl that made all Blueshell's sound effects friendly nonsense." Pg. 410

Monday, July 26, 2010

Epic Review - A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge (4/5 stars)

I will say right off of the bat that I don't read a ton of hard science fiction.  The premise of this book sounded fascinating and it is a Hugo award winner.  Then a co-worker of mine starting talking about this wonderful book he just finished and I was like hey that sounds like this Vernor Vinge book I wanted to read.  So he lent it to me and I read it.  It is an interesting and complex book, but it is also very long and a bit wordy.

The plot is complex.  Humans in the Beyond (a portion of space where higher intelligence is possible) have created something horrible, something they have lost control of.  A single family is the only thing to escape the horror and they crash land on a primitive planet.  The planet is home to dog-like creatures who exist as multiple dog people (4-6) to one pack mind; they are called Tines.  The only people to survive the initial encounter with the Tines are two kids; Johanna and Jefri and they are taken in by competing factions of Tines.  Meanwhile in space, Ravena and a human who is host to a Power, Pham, are trying to escape the Blight that is taking over the universe.   In the end the answer to pushing back the Blight may lie with the child survivors of the Human colony that survived it.

The plot is complicated, but mainly goes between the planet of the Tines and Ravena.  There were a lot of good things about this book.  The story is complex, the idea behind space having different Zones of thought that enable higher intelligence and different types of technology is fascinating.  The Tines as a race are very interesting in how they are small packs that think with one mind.  There are a lot of traditional sci-fi topics broached such as humans dabbling in tech they shouldn't and people from a high tech race being stranded on a medieval like world.

Vinge also delves into questions around war, mortality, morality, and humanity as a whole.  So all in all this book has a bit of everything; action, philosophy, etc.  Characterization isn't the strong point of this novel; you never really care all that much about the characters.  Plot and world-building are definitely Vinge's strengths.

Vinge has a very readable writing style and overall I enjoyed it.  His writing really shines when describing the scenes on the Tine's home planet.  I didn't enjoy the space scenes as much; they tended to be wordy and throw around a lot of unexplained terminology.

There were some things I did not like about this novel.  It is long, and I think the length was unnecessary.  A lot of the space travel scenes get really wordy, and I think they could have been much more concise and still conveyed what the reader needed to know.  Also there is a problem that I have with a lot of sci-fi which is the throwing around of terms and names without really ever explaining them.  The reader is left to suss out what they can as they continue reading and is constantly struggling to figure exactly what things are.  It took me a while to figure out exactly what the Tines were and how they worked together.  Maybe that is the thrill of the book for some readers, but I just found it irritating.

Overall not a book I really enjoyed reading but it was interesting and creative.  I would definitely recommend this for hardcore sci-fi fans.  I think people who dabble in sci-fi might find it a bit lengthy and wordy.  The concepts are really fascinating though so I recommend it based on that.  It is a complex book and it is obvious the Vinge put a lot of thought into it; I wouldn't necessarily call it a fun read though.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
A Fire Upon The Deep 

Mailbox Monday - 7/26

Mailbox Monday can be found at: The Printed Page
Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists. 

I ended up with only one new book this week.  That was Here There Be Monsters: The Legendary Kraken and the Giant Squid by H. P. Newquist with I got through the Amazon Vine program.

It's actually kind of nice that I only got one book!  It gives me a chance to catch up on all the other books I need to read!

Here There Be Monsters: The Legendary Kraken and the Giant Squid by H. P. Newquist
Here There Be Monsters: The Legendary Kraken and the Giant Squid 
First Sentence: "The legends of a nightmarish creatures living deep in the ocean were created hundreds of years ago, during a time when ships sailed in search of new lands, not always knowing what they would find or where they would end up.
"HP Newquist's fast-paced account reveals how long-ago myths about the kraken transformed into the modern study of Architeuthis dux, the giant squid.Weaving scientific discovery with historical accounts—along with the giant squid’s appearance in film and literature—Here There Be Monsters explores the mystery of this creature in fascinating detail. Readers will find that the monster remains hidden no longer, because scientists have finally seen the kraken with their own eyes . . . alive and rising up out of the sea." 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Review - Wistril Compleat by Frank Tuttle (5/5 stars)

I downloaded this for my Kindle not knowing what to expect.  It just sounded like an interesting book.  I really ended up enjoying this book a lot.  It is a very classic fantasy tale with a lot of humor woven throughout.

Wistril and his apprentice, Kern, live in Castle Kauph and in general just want to be left alone to their studies.  In these three stories about Wistril, that is just not meant to be. The three stories included are Wistril Besieged, Wistril Afloat, and Wistril Betrothed.  In each story Wistril shows that brain always triumphs over brawn and comes up with humorous solutions to rather difficult situations.

I thoroughly enjoyed these stories.  Wistril is a pretentious, yet caring and hilarious wizard.  He constantly surprises the reader with his crazy solutions to problems.  Kern is a very competent apprentice who weaves tons of hilarious sarcasm throughout the novel.  Wistril is sworn, as a white wizard, to never harm with his magic and this adds an interesting twist to things.

Tuttle has a very readable writing style that I really enjoyed.  He develops wonderfully quirky characters.  These stories really have a classic kind of tongue-in-cheek dungeon crawling humor to them.  I was pleasantly surprised and very amused.

Overall I absolutely loved this book.  I immediately went online and got a couple more of Tuttle's Kindle books.  If you love classic fantasy with a humorous twist you have to check out this book.

This book goes towards the following reading challenge:
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
Wistril Compleat 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Review - The Demon in the Teahouse by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler (3.5/5 stars)

This is the second book in the Samurai Mystery series; there are six books total in the series. If you enjoyed the first book you will enjoy this one. The two books are very similar in style.

Seikei is busy training as a samurai when his master, Judge Ooka, gets a desperate call for help. Fires have been breaking out in Edo and Judge Ooka must find out why. The mystery will lead Jedge Ooka and Seikei deep into the geisha district; where Seikei must help figure out if the fires are being caused by a demon or by something more human in nature.

Again the best part about this book is how it delves into Japanese culture. You learn a lot about the culture of Geisha's in this novel and a lot about the history of fire safety in Japanese cities. Seikei has a number of life-threatening close calls; making this book a bit more tense than the first one.

The mystery is well woven and has a less predictable outcome than it did in the first book. The writing style is still nothing special; the books are written at a pretty basic reading level.

Overall the book was engaging and enjoyable. Nothing incredibly special but I again enjoyed the Japanese history and enjoyed reading about Seikei. I look forward to reading the next book.

This book goes towards the following reading challenge:
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge

The Demon in the Teahouse (The Samurai Mysteries) 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Review - The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn (Samurai Mysteries, Book 1) by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler (3.5/5 stars)

This is the first book in the Samurai Mystery series which contains seven books.  This book was pretty good, the writing style is a bit juvenile but it includes a lot of interesting Japanese traditions and history and has a great lead character.

Seikei is the fourteen year old son of a merchant and dreams of being a samurai.  While his father and him are staying at an inn Seikei is awoken by a ghost who is stealing a priceless Ruby from one of the Samurai staying at the inn.  When Seikei mentions the ghost to Judge Ooka, the samurai magistrate sent to investigate the case, Judge Ooka asks Seikei to assist him in solving the mystery.

The best part about this book is all of the information included on Japanese history and culture.  At the end of the book the authors talk about which parts are real history and which parts are story.  Another good part is the boy Seikei, he is such a hopeful character and always determined to follow his dreams.

The writing is more juvenile than other Middle Grade books that I usually read.  Pretty simple use of language and words; so younger kids should be able to read it.  I personally thought the dialogue was a bit too simplistic at times.

The authors weave a good mystery though and the characters are interesting and believable.  The plot is somewhat complex and is interesting to follow; although I found it to be a bit predictable.

Overall I liked the book.  I enjoyed the mystery and reading about Japanese culture and history, I thought Seikei was a very likable and endearing character.  I wasn't a big fan of the writing style; I thought it was a bit simplistic even for the age group the book is aimed at.  I will read the next book in the series and see how I like that one and then determine whether or not I will read the remaining five.

This book goes towards the following reading challenge:
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn (The Samurai Mysteries) 

Review - The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1) by Rick Riordan (4/5 stars)

This is the first book in the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan.  This series is set to be a trilogy; with the next book released in 2011 and the final book released in 2012.  I absolutely loved Riordan's series Percy Jackson and the Olympians; so I was excited to read this one.  I actually listened to this on audio book so I have a couple of comments about that in the paragraph below (skip this if you have it in paper format).  This was a great book and I think fans of Percy Jackson will find a lot to like here.

The audio book was interesting.  They had two readers one who read Carter's part and one who read Sadie's part.  The person who read Carter's part sounded almost exactly like Percy Jackson.  The person who read Sadie's part tended to sound a bit shrill at points in the book.  Overall the audio was well done but the shrillness of the girl's voice got to be a bit much at times.

The story involves two of the Kane siblings, Carter and Sadie.  They are the children of Julius Kane and have been raised separate for most of their lives because of a legal battle that Julius lost after his wife died (Carter and Sadie's mom).  In this book they are drawn into a scheme by their father involving the Rosetta Stone and a number of Egyptian gods.  Things go horribly wrong though and when their Uncle Amos comes to rescue them; Carter and Sadie are drawn into a world of Egyptian Gods and Magicians that is more dangerous than anything they have ever encountered.  Will they be able to save their father?  Will they be able to save the world?

If you liked the Percy Jackson series you will like this book.  Riordan does an excellent job of creating believable characters that are easy to relate too.  Carter and Sadie are just your every day kids but with a twist.  Riordan manages to add history and depth to all of the characters.  My favorite part about Riordan's writing is his ability to inject humor into his stories no matter how crazy the adventure and danger gets.

Carter is the more serious character in this story and Sadie is the one that is spunky with a lot of sarcasm.  Between Sadie and Sadie's protector (the Goddess of Cats, Bast) you get a lot of laughs throughout this book.  The pace was great; the characters are thrust from one adventure to the next and you are constantly on the edge of your seat wondering what will be thrown at them next.

Of course there is a lot of Egyptian mythology in here and Riordan has again done his homework.  I don't know as much about Egyptian mythology as Greek mythology; but what I do know coincided with the facts Riordan presents and there was a lot for me to learn too!

My only complaint with this book is that is definitely a Riordan book.  It echoes a lot of the same themes and feelings that we saw in Percy Jackson and the Olympians.  You have all the dealing with Gods, the kids missing parental figures, and kids dealing with budding power.  The writing style is nearly identical and Riordan is absolutely writing for the same audience he was writing for in his Percy Jackson series.  Don't get me wrong most of the book is very unique and different; but I couldn't help feeling like some of this ground was covered in Percy Jackson.  Comparison to the Percy Jackson series is inevitable, and while I loved that series, I was hoping that Riordan's next series would be something super special.  And The Red Pyramid is entertaining and special, just not all that different from what we've read before.

Overall this is a great read.  If you liked the Percy Jackson series you will enjoy this one.  It took me a bit to get into the story but I imagine as the series develops I will get very attached to these characters, just like I got attached to the ones in the Percy Jackson series.  If you are interested in reading more great books about Egyptian mythology check out the Theodosia books by R.L. LaFevers.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge

The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1) 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Review - Atlas of Anatomy by Anne M. Gilroy, Brian R. MacPherson, and Lawrence M. Ross (5/5 stars)

Okay this isn't usually the type of book I review, but when I saw this was offered through the Amazon Vine program I snapped it up because it just looked so cool.  Right off the bat I will tell you I am not a medical student or a doctor so this review is from the layman's perspective.

This book is exactly what the title suggests; it is an atlas of the anatomy of the body.  It is filled with wonderful illustrations of every part of your body you can possibly imagine.  There are not many photographs; most of the pictures are illustrations although there is the occasional picture of an MRI or something of that nature.  The book is separated into six sections: back, thorax, abdomen and pelvis, upper limb, lower limb, head and neck, and neuroanatomy.  The nueroanatomy is by far the smallest section of the book.

All of the illustrations have decent descriptions.  The skeletal, muscular, and vascular structures are detailed for each section as well ascartilage, ligaments, joints.

Everything is beautifully presented and very easy to read.

This is definitely a great book for those who want something to help them visualize the location of things in the human body.  My only complaint would be that there is not a ton of text. There are short descriptions and some small grey boxes with asides describing certain conditions.  But, this is definitely a book that details where things are and doesn't have a ton of emphasis on how things work.

I think it is a beautiful book full of a ton of excellent information on where things are in the human body.  The brief explanations given are good enough for the layman, but not incredibly detailed.  We have used it a number of times in my family to show my three year old son what his bones look like, where his muscles are, and how blood gets moved through his body.  I think it will be a useful book for us as a family.

Overall an excellent map of the human body, very high quality and highly detailed illustrations.  I would definitely recommend this book both for families and for medical students who need to learn the parts of the human body.
Atlas of Anatomy (Thieme Anatomy) 

Waiting on Wednesday - 7/21

Okay "Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

This week my Waiting on Wednesday book is: Kill the Dead (Sandman Slim, Book 2) by Richard Kadrey.  I absolultely adored Sandman can read my review of it here.  The gritty anti-superhero attitude of Sandman Slim is wonderful and I am eager to get my hands on this sequel.

Kill the Dead: A Sandman Slim NovelKill the Dead: A Sandman Slim Novel by Richard Kadrey
Pages: 448 pages
Publisher: Eos
Release Date: October 5th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0061714313

Synopsis from "What do you do after you’ve crawled out of Hell to wreak bloody revenge? If you’re Stark you turn to bounty hunting, tracking and decimating whatever rogue monsters you’re paid to kill. Stark hates the work, but he needs the money, especially the big bucks Lucifer is offering. In town as an advisor on a biopic of his life, Lucifer needs protection, and he wants Stark as his bodyguard. But the gig isn’t all bad; there is the very sexy, very hot French porn star Brigitte Bardo, a friend of Lucifer’s in LA to remake her reputation as a legit actress. While it isn’t love, it’s pretty damn good, and after 11 years of demonic chastity, it’s enough for now.

Stark has enough trouble juggling a diva devil and a scorching French bombshell without a zombie plague to complicate matters. And just what happens when a human-angel half-breed is bitten by the living dead? His human side begins to die, transforming him into an unstoppable angel of death—a killing machine devoid of emotion or thought, with no regrets or future to worry about. Not a bad way to be when you’re choices are limited. Now, Stark has to decide...if he does finds a cure for the zombie infection, will he take it?"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ami Rebecca Blackwelder - Author Interview and Giveaway

I got to read Ami's new book The Hunted of 2060.  She was nice enough to give me a copy to give away to all of my followers as well as do an interview with me.

The Hunted of 2060 (Volume 1)Synopsis: Three Lovers. Two Species. One Way to Survive. Set in Alaska in 2060, when April enters her Sophomore year at University, she thought Robert might be the love of her life, but as she discovers, she is hiding something inside her, something the rest of the world believes to have died out. She struggles with who she was and who she is becoming as she learns of a family she never knew existed and of enemies she will have to outrun, outfight or outwit to survive. Order on Kindle as an ebook and the .pdf directly from the author.

You can visit Ami's website at:

Click Here to Read More About Ami


What made you want to start writing and why paranormal romance?
I personally love science fiction and paranormal movies, reads, and television and wanted to write my own novels....but I also write historical romances. In fact, you may really like The Day the Flowers Died which is an adult novel written in Munich 1930 , romance style.

Who is your favorite current author?
My favorite current authors: Margaret West, Imogen Rose, Jim Bernheimer, Rhiannon Frater

What projects are you currently working on?
I am working on the prequel of The Hunted of 2060, called The Shifters of 2040 and some re-writes for the Hunted of 2060.

Why did you decide set the Hunted of 2060 in a futuristic setting rather than modern day?
I enjoy playing with time.

What is your favorite food? 
Thai, Italian and Mediterranean

Where is your favorite place that you have visited?
Thailand, lived there for six years ;-)

Giveaway Details
Thanks to Ami for excellent interview and for all the time she took to answer questions.  Ami's provided a copy of The Hunted of 2060 for me to giveaway on my site.  See below for giveaway details.

To enter the contest you must be a follower.  This contest is open to US Residents only. You must be 13+ years of age to enter.  JUST FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW.  You can post an entry about this contest on your blog for extra entries.

The contest is open until August 1st 2010. 

Review - Illyria by Elizabeth Hand (5/5 stars)

I just read another Hand book earlier this month called Generation Loss.  I was intrigued to read Hand's take at a young adult novel.  This book is nothing like Generation Loss (which was an adult thriller, but the writing style does have many similarities).  Like with all of her books Hand weaves a beautiful and dark atmosphere and creates magic that is subtle and memorizing.

Maddy and Rogan are cousins born on the same day.  They see themselves as twins, soulmates, and maybe, eventually, lovers.  They struggle against their families' teasing and with how they are teased by those around them.  Then one day in a secret room in an attic they find a miniature magical stage.  The stage makes them want to create and Maddy and Rogan try out for the school play.  Maddy with her determination and Rogan with his magical presence and angelic voice will definitely turn the heads of their audience.  But, their passion and beauty make those around them uncomfortable and perhaps this star-crossed couple was never meant to be.

I love Hand's writing style.  She makes the surroundings come alive, doesn't spell everything out for you, and fills her story with dark atmospheric magic.  In many ways this book is similar to her others in that it does those same things.  This book is more about magical realism than straight up magic.  The story and magic are a bit ambiguous, but more beautiful because they let the reader make what they will out of some of the scenes.

All of the characters presented are delightfully complicated.  Maddy with her devotion to Rogan, the way she works so hard, yet excels only at being a little better than the norm.  Rogan with his wildness and feyness; the way he cares so much but hides behind a veneer of casualness.  Even Aunt Kate, who wants Maddy and Rogan to become something exceptional, has many layers of secrets and mysteries to her character.  This is a love story of star-crossed couple, but as is always the case with Hand's book, it talks about so much more.

The cover is very apt, in that most of the book seems shrouded in a bit of mysterious fog.  As I mentioned the story is a bit vague at points.  Given what a slender read this is though, Hand sure packed a lot of story in here.  We are subject to Maddy and Rogan's past, the events of their teenage years, the school play, and then finally the results of their lives.

It was a beautiful and bittersweet story.  I would recommend for an older young adult audience.  It touches a lot on sexuality, incest (they are cousins after all), there is some swearing, and there is a lot of casual drug use. 

Overall I loved this story.  It is beautifully and intelligently written.  The reader is whisked off to a place with a magical atmosphere with darkly magical characters.  I found it to be very engaging and just...well...darkly beautiful.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
- Summer Romance Reading Challenge

You can visit Elizabeth Hand's homepage here.