Sunday, January 29, 2012

Indie Authors Spotlight (1) + Giveaway

Welcome to the Indie Authors Spotlight, my good readers! Beckie, over at Bittersweet Enchantment, did a post about how she regrets having to reject review requests from Indie/self-published authors cause of our blogging/reading commitments as book bloggers, and so she and I came up with this new weekly meme to help promote these authors called Indie Authors Spotlight where we will feature up to 3 Indie/self-published authors every Sunday. You can find out more it at my Indie Authors Spotlight page.

So, this week, I will be featuring...

Michelle Isenhoff!
Michelle's Biography

I was born and raised in a not-so-busy corner of Michigan. I live there still, enjoying the changes that come with every season. In the spring and summer I like to swim, camp, and garden. When fall brings cooler days, I gather my writing tools and hibernate until spring softens my garden once again. I enjoy playing the piano all year long.

As a child, I carried a book with me wherever I went. Books with titles such as Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Engalls Wilder, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by CS Lewis, Big Red, by Jim Kjelgaard, The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley, and The Call of the Wild, by Jack London. Through books, I was able to visit so many exciting places!

After graduating from college, I worked in elementary education for several years and found I never really outgrew these wonderful tales. Today, some of my favorite authors include JRR Tolkien, AVI, Gary D. Schmidt, Elizabeth George Speare, Jean Craighead George and James Herriot.

The elements I love most in a good book are beautiful imagery and a strong hero who grows and changes. These, I think, characterize my own writing. I create characters who make wise choices or face honest consequences. Hopefully, they inspire kids to make thoughtful choices of their own. But most importantly, I write stories that kids can escape into, as I did growing up. As I still do now.

To date, I have published four children's novels and a couple short stories. Two more novels are in the works. (Keep watching my "Books" page!) When I'm not writing, I can still be found with book in hand.
--Quoted from Michelle's Website


Michelle's novels:

The Quill Pen (Fantasy)
The Blurb

If you owned a pen that wrote the future, would you use it? What if the consequences spread like ripples in a pond? What if they raged out of control?

What if the pen demanded tribute...in blood?

Thirteen-year-old Micah has found such a pen. One that's ensnared him in a curse dating back generations. One that's devastated two families and now threatens his whole New England village. But how can Micah destroy the pen when it offers him his only chance at the future he dreams of? Ages 8+
Nook | Paperback | Smashwords

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Promises | Interview with Amber Garr and Evianna + Giveaway


Amber Garr!
About Amber

Amber Garr spends her days conducting scientific experiments and wondering if her next door neighbor is secretly a vampire. Born in Pennsylvania, she lives in Florida with her husband and their furry kids. Her childhood imaginary friend was a witch, Halloween is sacred, and she is certain that she has a supernatural sense of smell. She writes both adult and young adult urban fantasies and when not obsessing over the unknown, she can be found dancing, reading, or enjoying a good movie. --Quoted from from Amber's Website

And her beautiful novel:

The Syrenka series #1
The Blurb

Sometimes following your heart can end up destroying the ones you love.

When seventeen-year-old Eviana Dumahl is faced with the responsibility of an arranged marriage and clan leadership, she is forced to choose between the life required of a mermaid and one of a teenage girl simply infatuated with the wrong guy. Kain, her devoted fiancĂ© would make a wonderful husband except that she’s been in love with Brendan, a shape-shifting selkie, ever since they were kids. Choosing to abandon her family, her clan, and her life with Kain will have dire consequences far beyond anything she could have imagined.

A war is brewing amongst the clans and Eviana unwittingly becomes a pawn in the intricate schemes of a twisted mastermind. With Brendan’s life on the line, she has no choice but to involve those who she once considered friends. Amidst encountering senseless tragedies and immense loss, Eviana discovers that she is more valuable as a clan leader than anyone ever suspected. Her survival is not only dependent upon the loyalty of her friends, but also on her acceptance of a life that she had so adamantly tried to escape.

Promises is the first book of The Syrenka Series trilogy following Eviana and her friends through the perils of growing up in a discrete world that inherently threatens human society.


Hey, you two, thanks for coming to the blog today!

Thank you for having us!

CYP: Can y'all tell me about yourself, say, in 5 words each.

Amber: A girl with a plan.

Eviana: A girl who needs a plan (I know, that’s six words…but I’m not one to follow all of the rules)

CYP: *Turns to Amber* What do you like to do when you're not being an author and crafting the very exciting life of Eviana and her two boyfriends? *snickers*

Amber: Well, when Eviana and the crew aren’t screaming in my brain, I spend my days working as a marine biologist. So I conduct experiments, write proposals, manuscripts…things like that. I also teach dance at a local studio, so sometimes I get to tell stories through movement instead of words.

CYP: Wow, that's awesome. A very fulfilling lifestyle, indeed.

CYP: What are both of your dreams? Has your dream always been to be an author, Amber? What about being a marine biologist? Which one came first? Which one comes first now? Haha.

Amber: Well, originally I was going to be a ballerina. And then I met some scientists when I was ten and I decided that I was going to be a marine biologist. I ended up going to school for both. I’ve always loved creative writing and thought it would be awesome to have something published…but my focus had consistently been on the science side of writing. So, I would say that I’ve really focused on fiction writing in the last few years and now I’m totally obsessed! When I’m not at work, I’m writing!!!

CYP: What about you, Eviana? Has your one big dream always been to marry Brendan and full stop?

Eviana: If you would have asked me this a few months ago, I would have told you that my dream was to have a perfect life with Brendan that most likely didn’t involve my family and clan. But now I’m not so sure. Too much has happened and too many things have changed. I suppose my dream at this moment would be for me not to fail. Yes, I know that’s dramatic, but I’m not quite sure what to expect anymore.

CYP: What were y'all's previous dreams?

Amber: Oops, I think I kind of answered this one. But to add to the mix…I wanted to invent gills for humans so that we could breathe underwater without wearing a tank! I should probably start working on that….

Eviana: I had always enjoyed mentoring the younger kids in my clan, so at one point I wanted to be a teacher. Although, in reality I knew that could never happened because of my birthright.

CYP: What was the hardest part in your path to becoming an author and you running away with lover-selkie (y'know, loverboy?)?

Amber: Getting over the fear of rejection (although I’ll never really be over it!). Wow! I sound like Eviana a bit! I don’t have a problem making the time to write all of my stories, but asking someone to critique them for me has really been my biggest obstacle. Accepting that not everyone will enjoy your story is a part of this process, and it’s still a work in progress for me!

Eviana: (sighs) Kain. I didn’t want to hurt him and I knew that it would. He’s such a great person and friend, but he isn’t Brendan. Believe me, I contemplated going through with everything and sometimes I wonder if that would have been for the better…

CYP: Oh man, I know what you mean. I could feel your pain even when I was reading your "autobiography". He really is a very good friend. But anyway, Eviana, from here, I'll interview y'all separately, so I'll post my questions to Amber first, k?

CYP: What age did you start penning down all those crazy ideas of yours, Amber?

Amber: You know? I’m not really sure. We had a lot of artists in the family, so I remember telling stories through drawings or putting on plays. Of course I also danced a lot and made up a ton of stories that way. I did have a journal when I was a kid, so that would have probably been where all of my written ideas were stored.

CYP: Is PROMISES the first novel you ever wrote? Any that didn't get published?

Amber: No, it was actually the second novel. I have an adult urban fantasy under review right now that I’m thinking about publishing later this year. After I finished that, I took a short story (pretty much the first chapter of Promises) and just kept on writing. It quickly turned into a trilogy! I’ve written three complete books so far, and a bunch of random short stories.

CYP: What is the inspiration behind PROMISES? Eviana the mermaid with a big destiny, Kain the man with a big heart and tragic love life (lol, ok I'm exaggerating) and Brendan the selkie loverboy?

Amber: Well, of course I always wished that I could be a mermaid *Eviana sighs…and Amber rolls her eyes*, so I often wondered what that life would be like. Would I live in the ocean or walk amongst the humans? And what kind of responsibility would that entail? So the story kind of developed from there…a secret society of mermaids and a girl who feels like the she has the weight of the world on her shoulders. Because, who hasn’t felt that way at least once in their life? Kain’s character is a combination of all of us who have ever loved unconditionally or without it being returned. It is tragic! Kain represents the good in people. And the selkie…well, I was just really fascinated with their mythology and wanted to incorporate that into my mermaid world. I mean, why would there only be one water creature out there? Brendan really loves Eviana, and he would have been a good match for her…if only he had been a merman. I think Brendan represents those “if only” type moments.

CYP: Wow, that's very deep. And there's so much symbolism in your PROMISES it's amazing! Oh man, now I feel so shallow after reading it and not being able to point those out..-.-

CYP: Did you base any of your characters on real life people/experiences? If so, which ones?

Amber: Ha! It’s funny you ask this because the first thing my mom asked me was if I based Marisol on my own sister. And the short answer is YES! She’s not so bratty anymore, but we didn’t always get along well as teenagers and you can tell that it stuck with me! (Love ya, Aimee!)

CYP: Why a love triangle? Haha. And why YA? Why not adult fiction? Thinking of it, I've never seen an adult fiction novel about mermaids before...hmm..

Amber: You know, that’s a good point. An adult mermaid story…sounds like the next project! And the dreaded love triangle…I think I needed to include that because I remember having feelings all over the place as a YA (be it with boyfriends, friends, or family) and I thought that it is a very real situation. Having to choose and knowing you may hurt someone’s feelings in the process is not an easy thing to do. Even as an adult (sigh, yes I’m no longer a YA). I also have parts of those inner struggles in my adult novels too. One is an urban fantasy dealing with grief and the other one tests the boundaries of choosing right and wrong.

CYP: What do you plan to do now? Sequel to PROMISES, more diving, more experimenting?

Amber: All of the above! Betrayal, the sequel to Promises will be out in February and I am a third of the way done with the final book of the trilogy. I also want to finish my adult books and hope to see those on the shelves within the next year. I always love diving, so that’s on the table, plus I’m gearing up to finish my doctoral studies in May! So that means more experimenting, more writing….

CYP: What is the one question that you would like to be asked in interviews and what would your answer be?

Amber: This is tough. I think one that I’ve been asked by some of the readers quite a bit is who would be cast in these roles if this were turned into a movie. And to be honest, the only person I currently have cast in my mind is Kain – and Alex Pettyfer would be my pick! One of my dancers wants to be Eviana, so we could give her that role! Ha! And as for Brendan…I’m not sure. I’ll have to think about that some more.

CYP: AHHH, Alex Pettyfer! Yes!! Hahaha. *Turns to Eviana* Hey, sorry for the cold treatment. Haha. So, looking back, your life's been quite the adventure, huh? Tell me, which was the most memorable one of them all? Can either be the saddest, most touching, or happiest.

Evianna: Yeah, and it feels like all of those adventures have happened in the last couple of months. Unfortunately, most of them have been sad (like my parents) or scary (Lucian). But probably one of the most touching memories is that despite what I did, my friends didn’t abandon me. I needed them and they were there.

CYP: Actually if you think about it, the root of your problems stem from being the princess of a mermaid clan. Would you have traded your mermaid's life for a selkie's to be able to marry Brendan without all that fuss?

Evianna: In a second…if only that would make a difference. I’d always been envious of their solitary lifestyle and the ease in which they transition. But Brendan and I still would have had issues to deal with when it came to following the call. I’m not quite sure how that would have worked out for us…

CYP: What is the best thing about being a mermaid?

Evianna: The water. There is nothing like feeling the freedom of being under the water and leaving the human world behind. It’s exhilarating and if it were possible, I would probably live in the ocean forever.

CYP: Yes! I love swimming, and I wished I could stay in the water and drift for as long as I liked..:( But sadly, the limitation of lungs will always plague me sad body.. Hehe X)

CYP: How do you feel now that your novel is released and you know that everyone - and that includes Brendan, Kain, your parents, and your other mermaid friends - will be privy to your innermost thoughts and those secret moments you had with Brendan AND Kain?

Evianna: Hmmm…I haven’t thought about that before. I guess that it’s a little scary, because ultimately someone is going to be hurt by my actions or my thoughts. But I can’t really change the way I feel, so I just hope it helps them understand why I chose to make the decisions I did.

CYP: Tell me about your other friends besides Brendan and Kain. Any close ones?

Evianna: Well, I met a few at Cotillion earlier this year- Daniel, Lily, and Carissa – who have become really good friends. Although we all live in a different state, we talk to each other on a regular basis. Daniel and I are probably the closest and he’s supposed to come and visit me soon. At my school, I have three close human friends – Kristy, Carlee, and Mia who help me forget about my other life for a while. But sometimes it’s hard because I can’t tell them all of my secrets.

CYP: What was life like, back before you were betrothed to Kain?

Evianna: Simple. Although, I’ve been promised to Kain since we were little, I guess I never thought that would actually happen. So before I had the reality of a wedding and a future clan leadership to worry about, I would say that I was a pretty “normal” girl. School, babysitting, swimming all night long…easy things.

CYP: Huh..that must've been nice. Relaxing. But when it's boring, you'll wish for adventure, and when you get adventure, you wish for simple. Haha, it's always the case, right? There's that saying, "the grass on the other side is greener". Lol. *Turns back to face both Amber and Eviana* Any parting words to the readers?

Amber: Just a BIG thank you to those who read Promises and I hope that you enjoy they story!
Eviana: I’d tell them to hang on for the ride, and when times seem like time are tough, we will find a way to get though it.

CYP: Where can readers buy PROMISES?

Amber: Both paperback and ebook formats are available and readers can buy them at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Thanks again for coming, both of you!


If you're interested to find out more about Amber or Evianna or Promises, you can visit them at:

Or, you can read the first chapter of Promises HERE!

Amber with Conch!

Giveaway Time!

 Amber is so generously giving away three (3) ecopies of Promises to three (3) international winners! Following is not mandatory, and this giveaway will last for 2 weeks till 2/12. Just fill in the Rafflecopter form below, and you're good to go!:)

ARC Review: Halflings by Heather Burch

Published Date: January 17th, 2012
Finished Date: January 26th, 2012
Publisher: Zondervan Publishing/Zonderkidz 

Format: eARC via Netgalley
Series: Halflings #1
My Rating: 1/5

Blurb from Goodreads:
After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.

My Review

I didn't enjoy HALFLINGS. There, I said it. I'll try to keep this review short and as objective as I can.

My Brief Summary

Nicole "Nikki" Youngblood is an artist who has a black belt in karate. She's a T-shirt and jeans kind of girl, and one who doesn't like to dress up much. She was in the woods one day when she was attacked by hellhounds. Therein enters our three heroes: Mace, Raven, and Vine - Halflings with a mission to protect our young damsel in distress.

Halflings and humans can never have a relationship, or the halfling in the equation will have to risk eternal damnation. But the moment Mace and Raven looks at Nikki, there's something about her that attracts them, and with the devils in hell targeting her, Nikki's in for a lot of trouble, drama, and heartache.

My Thoughts

Nikki didn't really make an impression on me; She's a very typical YA heroine who's apparently so beautiful that she looks like an angel, but obviously is too oblivious to know it herself. She is also very stubborn, so much so that she demands to know some answers when it's not her place to know, and when the truth gets too much, she says stop. Let me say this out front that I don't like impossibly gorgeous heroines who are overly-obstinate.

She and Mace were the first ones to confess their feelings for each other, but when Raven turns on his charm and brings her to a forest in Arkansas to teach her how to fend for herself, she ends up flirting with him. Another reason why I didn't like her.

Now comes our two love interests, Mace and Raven. Mace is the serious, stick-to-the-rules kind of person who started going against said rules to be with and protect Nikki. Nothing very special, actually, apart from his stunning looks, that is.

Raven. He is the brooding type of males, who is the most experienced of the three halflings sent to protect Nikki, and the one with the most inner-demons to contend with. I was actually rooting for him for the most part of the first half of the book which I read, and after some time when there was evidently going to be minimal action scenes, he was my motivation to forge on reading. I wanted to see him fight Mace for Nikki - not literally, of course - and I want to see him in action in all his lean, graceful glory. (Ok, I'm the fairytale type of girl, what are you gonna do about it?) But the part where I stopped, at the 70% mark, Raven did something that turned me off big time. When Nikki and her pet dog were again attacked by hellhounds and a demon, Mace, Raven and Vine swooped in to save her in the nick of time, but after the imminent danger was over, Raven carried Megan over to a hill and since this is the first time Megan's seeing them with their wings, he asks her what she thinks of it. I mean, seriously? Her dog lay dying in the forest and she's probably in some kind of post-traumatic stress and all he can think about is impressing her with his wings? This is really the epitome of self-centeredness. One thing I cannot stand is arroant, selfish men, and so when I reached this part, there was obviously not much action to keep the adrenaline-junky in me satisfied, and since I couldn't stomach Raven any further, the book was immediately sent flying into the DNF pile.

Burch's writing style is a little confusing. There was a lot of bandwagon jumping, and most of the time, her jumps were big leaps and then there will be a random revelation somewhere without showing the process of how the subject person got to his/her conclusion. For example, one minute Nikki still thinks the three halflings were human, and suddenly she bursts into their house and goes all, "I know what you are. Don't deny it! You're angels." Yep, perfectly sane and normal. And there was this other part where a student was quarrelling with a teacher and when the discussion got heated, the student pulls out a knife and almost killed said teacher. Raven moves with inhuman speed and grace toward the scene and knocks the knife out of the student's hand and voilĂ ! The day is saved, and only Nikki was there to witness the unnatural phenomenon that was Raven. There is so much wrong in that one scene that I rolled my eyes like probably more than a dozen times.

Other than that, there were the multiple cheesy romance scenes in here, more so than the number of fight scenes, as can be seen from my summary that romance takes precedence over action in HALFLINGS. Another weird thing is that Nikki's parents somehow disappeared after the quarter mark, and Nikki somehow could do whatever she liked like storming into someone else's house and proclaiming that they're angels.

However, the two things that I liked about HALFLINGS was firstly, how Burch described Mace's and Raven's relationship with Nikki. Mace "embraced her destiny, saw her as a future warrior, and swore to see her through"; Raven was "the one who embraced the person she was right now. Odds were, he’d likely stand beside her and die to protect her as well, if she gave him the chance." There's a subtle difference, and one that makes their feelings for her unique from each other.

The other thing was Vine. He is one of the main characters, but more a younger brother persona. He's a little immature, but when it somes to morals, this guy's the one that has the most. And when it comes to fighting and looks, he doesn't lose out to Mace or Raven either. He's fun, and he keeps the tension out whenever Raven quarrels with Mace or Will, their caretaker.

All in all, HALFLINGS isn't the book for me. It has been quite a while since I've chucked a book into my DNF pile. The feeling's not great, but things just has to be done. I am a fan of love triangles, but in this case, it just didn't work for me.

*eARC courtesy of Zondervan Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Random Musings - which you will not get if you haven't read the book:

Y'know that part where Nikki and Mace went to that burning building? The one where Nikki was sketching out the building using this artist's technique by drawing in the negative spaces to see a picture? That one was just plain confusing to me. You don't have to draw out a building to see that it's ON FIRE. And you certainly don't need a sketch to see that THERE IS A PERSON DYING ON THE FLOOR in the burning building. The idea was cool, but not properly utilized.

My Rating

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jeffe Kennedy Blog Tour: Review + Excerpts


Jeffe Kennedy!
About Jeffe

Jeffe took the crooked road to writing, stopping off at neurobiology, religious studies and environmental consulting before her creative writing began appearing in places like Redbook, Puerto del Sol, Wyoming Wildlife, Under the Sun and Aeon. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow (2001), was a Wyoming Arts Council roster artist, when she lived in Wyoming, and received the state’s 2005 Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award for a woman writer of exceptional talent in any creative writing genre and the 2007 Fellowship for Poetry. Jeffe has contributed to several anthologies, Drive: Women’s True Stories of the Open Road. (2002), Hard Ground (2003), Bombshells (2007) and Going Green (2009). Her first book, Wyoming Trucks, True Love and the Weather Channel was published by University of New Mexico Press in 2004. An erotic novella, Petals and Thorns, came out under her pen name of Jennifer Paris in 2010, heralding yet another branch of her path, into erotica and romantic fantasy fiction. Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and frequently serves as a guinea pig for an acupuncturist-in-training.

Who Is Jennifer Paris?

I was doing the “Jeffe Kennedy writing as Jennifer Paris” thing, but Angela James, my editor at Carina, said no, no, no. Since I really don’t want to “flesh out” Jennifer Paris and tweet or blog as her (she was only a cardboard cut-out anyway), I decided to retire her. However, I have one book “Petals and Thorns” that is by Jennifer Paris.

Feeding the Vampire
Blurb from Goodreads:

Through good luck and healthy cowardice, Misty has survived the earthquakes that have torn the world apart, but has no skills to speak of. Or so she thinks. She does have blood, and someone must feed the vampire who has offered his protection and strength in exchange for sustenance. Feeding Ivan is a priority, and Misty finally serves a purpose.

But when she awakens tied to his bed, an unwilling gift to Ivan from the townspeople, she discovers he has hungers other than blood. Hungers he expects her to satisfy in the most carnal manner. Under his seductive persuasion, Misty discovers she has the power to sustain Ivan in all ways-while experiencing unspeakable pleasure herself.

What I Had to Say:

FEEDING THE VAMPIRE was a surprisingly short and enjoyable novella with mild BDSM.

...considering how short this novel/novella is, I thought that the world building, albeit still have rooms for improvement, was considerably well done. I know what poor condition the world was in, and I know what it's like to live in her city, what the people are like, and details like that were all covered and explained. Which is really amazing.

...All in all, FVP is an average vamp novel perfect if you want a quick, light and mildly erotic read.

(Read my full review HERE)


I was compelled to feed him. I had no choice, really.

Review + Giveaway: Shaedes of Gray by Amanda Bonilla

Published Date: December 6th, 2011
Finished Date: January 21st, 2012
Publisher: Signet Eclipse/NAL
Format: Paperback
Pages: 317
Series: Shaede Assassin #1
My Rating: 4/5

Blurb from Goodreads:
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...

My Review

My Summary

Darian is a Shaede made by another - a past lover, in fact, one that abandoned her almost a century ago. She's the last of her kind, or so she was led to believe, and with only stealth in her arsenal, she trains herself to be one of the best assassins in the field. She can become incorporeal after twilight, and move in the shadows as nothing more than a ghost.

Tyler has been a long-standing friend (a friend who makes her body feel all warm and flushed) and agent who informs her of her new targets/marks. And this time, her mark happens to be a man named Xander Peck. Nothing special, just a name that isn't commonly heard of. Just another man that has pissed off someone with the goods to hire her services. But when she was about to deliver the killing stroke, Xander slips into the shadows. That's when her world tilts around and she finds out she's no longer the last of her kind.

Xander turns out to be the King of the Shaedes, and her assignment was actually a test. Now, Xander - or should I say, High King Alexander - is training her up for his real task, for her next target may just be one of the most powerful Shaedes alive. That, and someone whom she may have known quite intimately in the past...

My Thoughts

I have to say that SOG is really a "my" type of book - witty, kickass heroine who has awesome powers, a friend that has always looked out for her, another more powerful, high-ranking love interest comes along, and amidst the love triangle troubles, nothing's better than a big and complex plot to up the thrill and suspense. Typical for a PNR novel, but the idea of the Shaede, well that is very unique, and very cool. The only regrettable thing was Darian didn't pick the guy that I was rooting for! But that is for a later paragraph to elaborate.

Darian was witty, snarky, and a girl who sticks up for herself. She is the master of her own decisions, and she will allow no one to be her king, or to make her a pawn of some twisted game for power. I think that's what attracted the attention of the King of the Shaedes himself. Haha, she sure is one special and beautiful woman.

As far as the love interests goes..I'm a fan of love triangles. Not all of them though, cause some of them are just insufferably immature, and in a lot of cases the protagonists are highly self-centered as they get all frustrated with life when they have more than one person vying for their attention, and they go all, "Life is tough." Yeah, ok, have you seen what other people in Third World countries have to go through? That's tough, so suck it up. But as for Tyler, Xander, and Darian, they're all awesome. Tyler's sweet and fiercely-protective in his own silent way, but he is also funny and easygoing; Xander is intense, highhanded, powerful, but very romantic and male; Darian is scared to surrender to the fragile thing that is love, is unsure of what love truly is, or if the thing that she's feeling is actually love at all after what happened in the past. The confusion on Darian's part was very well-written. I used to think 'How can you be unsure if what you're feeling is love or not?', but after seeing what happened to her, it became believable.

The plot was good, not a "WOW!" kind of impressive, but not bad. There was quite some overlaying storylines, and the main point to the storyline only surfaced towards the middle of the book, but I had fun getting to know the characters. After knowing who's the read baddy in here, there was constant action, deceptions - and betrayals and lies..lots and lots of 'em - and the likes! And all that excitement escalated till the end where I just couldn't tear my attention away from the book; I HAD to know where the story went, and how it concluded. And now that the conclusion is read, damn if I don't want to get my hands on the sequel.

However, there were a few questions that I had when I was reading:

1) When Darian just met Xander and they were still strangers to each other, Darian divulged all her personal information to Xander when he asked for it without question. Maybe not all, but she did spill quite a lot. Which is weird, even more so since she's a skilled assassin who has lived in solitude for the past century.

2) It was mentioned that Lyhtans - the counterpart of a Shaede, which means they can slip into the light and be invisible as long as the sun shines, and also the enemies of the Shaede - are easily controlled. Well, if they were so easily manipulated, why aren't they under the control of the good people? Why are they, so coincidentally, under the influence of the bad Shaede?

3) Midway through the book, Darian was attacked by a Lyhtan and was lying in bed unconscious. But when she started to wake, she heard Tyler and Xander quarrelling and she referred to the two voices as "two of my favourite voices". Thing is, she keeps mentioning how much she dislikes Xander for lying to her, for treating her like one of his subjects, and now you're telling me his is one of your favourite voices? Really?

Actually, other than those, the book was very enjoyable. I loved Bonilla's humor and her writing style. She is consistent and I often find myself laughing along with the characters. There was only one sex scene in SOG, but let me assure all Romance-junkies out there - have no fear, the sexual tension in here is as good as any panties-combusting scene.

Overall, SHAEDES OF GREY is an amazing Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance novel packed full of fast-paced action, suspense, witty humor, sarcastic and kickass heroine, love triangle that'll leave you feeling so conflicted as to who to side with, a complex plot with curveballs at every turn, and betrayals and deceptions that will leave you reeling hours after you've put down the book. Even though the plot was a little typical, it was still fun, intense and never dull; A real page-turner, indeed.

Random Musings:

Don't you find it freaking cool that the word "Shaedes" in the title Shaedes of Gray is so unique that you don't even have to type the full title of the book in search engines or book stores or Goodreads to search for the book? It's the one and only one that shows up in the results.

My Rating

Giveaway Time!

Ms Bonilla and NAL are so generously giving away a PRINT copy of Shaedes of Gray to an INTERNATIONAL winner. No strings attached, just fill in the Rafflecopter form below and you're good to go!

*Just a reminder: All ABS giveaway winners will be announced on ABS's Facebook page. So be sure to check back!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (12)

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!

Shaedes of Gray
Shaede Assassin #1
By Amanda Bonilla
The Blurb

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...

My Teaser

“You should be killed for your disrespect,” she seethed in my ear. “You are nothing—less than nothing—and I won’t need much of an excuse to cut your throat.”

“Try it,” Tyler’s voice came as a growl. “I’ll fuck you up if you draw even a drop of her blood.”

“That’s enough, Anya,” the high king said. “Let her go. I’d hate to see anyone . . . fucked up tonight.”

--Page 42 of eBook

This book was great, and I'm still writing up the review for it. So, what do you think of it? What are your teasers this tuesday? Link it up in the comments so I can go check it out! And thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

ARC Review: Katana by Cole Gibsen

Published Date: March 8th, 2012
Finished Date: January 15th, 2012
Publisher: Flux
Format: eARC via Netgalley 
Series: #1 in series
My Rating: 4.5/5!!

Blurb from Goodreads:
Kill Bill meets Buffy in this supernatural samurai tale.

Rileigh Martin would love to believe that adrenaline gave her the uncanny courage and strength to fend off three muggers. But it doesn’t explain her dreams of fifteenth century Japan, the incredible fighting skills she suddenly possesses, or the strange voice giving her battle tips and danger warnings. While worrying that she’s going crazy (always a reputation ruiner), Rileigh gets a visit from Kim, a handsome martial arts instructor, who tells Rileigh she’s harboring the spirit of a five-hundred-year-old samurai warrior.

Relentlessly attacked by ninjas, Rileigh has no choice but to master the katana--a deadly Japanese sword that’s also the key to her past. As the spirit grows stronger and her feelings for Kim intensify, Rileigh is torn between continuing as the girl she’s always been and embracing the warrior inside her.

My Review

It was amazing! I think I have finally found the perfect novel with a Japanese martial arts theme. This book is phenomenal! I loved the flashbacks to 15th century Japan, I loved the undying love of the two samurais from the past, and I loved how that loved stayed true and un-cliche even till modern age. Wow.

My Summary

Rileigh Martin is a skater chick with a gay best friend, Quentin. They were shopping for a gift for the party they were about to attend when they were assaulted by three thugs. They thought they were dead for sure, until Rileigh hears this voice in her head, and her body seems to know how to defend itself - martial arts style. After fending those thugs off, she faints and is carted off to the hospital. Upon waking up, she meets a strange - and very handsome - Asian martial arts teacher who seems to know about the voice in her head. And if her life's not weird enough, she's having flashbacks of a female samurai back in 15th century Japan.

She finds out that those flashbacks are actually memories of her past life, and it's high time Rileigh embrace her identity and accept the help of Kim - said handsome Asian martial arts teacher, and who has a soul-deep connection to her past samurai life - and 3 other familiar faces from the past, or be killed by an old enemy who was reincarnated to the present.

My Thoughts

Again, WOWOW! You have no idea how long I've been searching for for a perfect samurai-martial arts novel. KATANA, though not perfect (that's where the 0.5 stars went), is amazing. I love the plot, I love the cast, I love, LOVE the heroine and hero, I love the romance between them, and all the fast-paced action and suspense!

Let me get the imperfect 0.5 stars out of the way first before I start gushing about the other 4.5. There were many stereotypes in KATANA. For one, there was the gay best friend with lots of hugs and pedis and manis even when "Ri Ri" was in mortal danger. And what's up with the incessant "Ri Ri" calling? The first time I saw Q call Rileigh "Ri Ri", I literally cringed! A little over-the-top. Why not Ri or something less....gay? Haha. Anyway, for stereotype number two, there was the fact that our lead guy is Asian. Not that I have something against that (Heck, I'm an Asian myself), but must the male protagonist in a samurai novel be Asian when all his other samurai friends were reincarnated as Whites? Gibsen already said that soul-mates will never be reborn far from each other, so why the big cultural difference? Another stereotype I read from a Goodreads review which said that biker chicks aren't all badass wannabes. We don't have biker chicks here in Singapore, so I'm not sure what they're like, but the ones in KATANA were mean-ass bitches who tried to beat the shit out of Rileigh.

Now on to the 4.5! I have always found the soul-mates reincarnating together and finding their love for each other again very cliche, but in KATANA, it is just so damn sweet. And romantic. Kim Gimhae (this is a Korean name, by the way, not Japanese) didn't force Rileigh to accept him when she went out on a date with some other guy from school, just watch over her as a silent protector. They felt the connection, but Rileigh's afraid of embracing her past cause she thinks that she will lose her modern self, so she constantly pushes Kim away.

I was a little turned off when I realise that the lead male in KATANA was named Kim (even if it's only his first name/surname/family name) - not to mention shocked out of my wits. But I started overlooking the fact as I got to know him. He's a tough warrior, through and through, he's a natural born leader, he's playful and witty when he wants to be, he's kind, and he's very sincere and tender towards Rileigh. But he resumes the tough warrior-natural leader persona during their warrior's training, even towards Rileigh. Rileigh feels pain in her chest one time but Kim signals everyone to continue combating and Rileigh shoots him a dirty look. All in a day's work. Haha. But yes, Kim is an enigmatic warrior who I am very much in *ahem* love *ahem* with. Not only is he hot and a warrior, he's the brooding type of male. Rileigh even made a hilarious comment about it:

"After studying him for a moment, I realized it was a good thing Debbie wasn’t here. She would have signed him to be a model in a second. The brooding types always sold the most underwear."

Rileigh's awesome. She's strong, she's brave, she's funny and sarcastic, but she can be feminine when she wants to be. She's so sarcastic that no-nonsense Kim picked up on it and cracked a few sarcastic jokes himself! When she first met Kim and the other warriors, she was very rude to them. That part was a little extreme, but I can understand cause they lied to her and tried to kill her. But still, it doesn't mean she has to be so rude.. But she's still awesome with all her cool moves.

I really liked that Kim and Rileigh had a deep connection in the past, and their story back then was heartwrenchingly sweet. And heartbreaking. They didn't die natural deaths (being samurai and all), but they died together with honor.

Another thing that I really liked about KATANA was Gibsen's phrasings. There were a lot of descriptions and metaphors that were unique and well, vivid. An example:

"It was too much. I was on sensory overload. My body felt like it held a Ferris wheel with anger, confusion, and fear spinning round and round, each taking their turn at the top. I couldn’t focus enough to organize my thoughts, so I did the first thing that came to mind.

I ran."

It did get a little immature at times, and there were a few errors, but overall I thought that Gibsen has a special way of writing, and one that I really appreciate. I will only list one of the errors I've spotted cause I know that since this is an ARC, the final copy will be edited. But this one error is a common misconception that people have:

"At the rate of speed I fell, everything should have been a blur. Instead, I saw it all with crystal clarity."

Spot the error? Rate of speed? Speed is a rate. You can't say the rate of rate of motion. But apart from this, the rest are more inconsequential. But there were some that were cheesy (which I think is inevitable for a novel which has romance):

I gave an exaggerated sigh. “It’s not that easy. Whitley is so nice and drama-free. But Kim, the way I feel around him … it scares me. It’s like gravity ceases to exist and he’s the only thing I can hold on to.”

Gravity ceases? Uh huh, ok.

But anyway, I really, really loved KATANA, and I'd recommend this to any fan of action and romance. The action, well the title is self-explanatory, and there's a beautiful romance in here. Even though there were errors and things like stereotyping that I am quite averse to, I think that the awesomeness of it all trumps the bad, so yes, I still like it. Very much. I look forward to its sequel, and there's no doubt that I will grab onto it the moment it - or its ARC :D - is out, and that I'll reread this several more times before that. I urge and beseech you to read KATANA when it releases in March. You will not regret the money, time, and brain space. :)

*eARC courtesy of Flux via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

PS. This is a looong review.:P

My Rating

Lifting the Wheel of Karma Tour: Guest Post


Paul Magid!
About Paul

Paul H. Magid started writing his debut novel, Lifting the Wheel of Karma, twenty-five years ago while still in high school. It took him so long to complete because he tried repeatedly to abandon it, but the work refused to be forsaken. Eventually he realized that sharing this story with the world was, in fact, his Dharma.

Along the way he has worked as a Wall Street financial analyst, a waiter (not a very good one), a Hollywood Agent Trainee, a real estate developer, a summer day camp director, an award winning screenwriter, and independent filmmaker—including his autobiographical film, A Life Unfinished, which screened in The Hamptons International Film Festival.
--Quoted from the Novel's Website

And his novel:

Lifting The Wheel Of Karma!
The Blurb

Joseph Connell is a gifted high school athlete from Montana, loved deeply by his family, yet tormented by nightmarish visions he can neither explain nor escape.

He believes the answer to what threatens to crush him can be found in the knowledge possessed by a mystical old wise man, who lives deep within the remote Himalayas of India.

If Joseph is ever to find the peace he so desperately seeks, he must get this wise old man to reveal what he truly knows, but that will not be easy...for this sage knows far more than he admits.


A Guest Post by Paul Magid

My novel, LIFTING THE WHEEL OF KARMA, is set predominantly in India. The story takes readers on a magical and mystical journey and you might say the fabric of the story is the history and culture of India. But while it would be fair to say that the story focuses on the culture of India, I think it would also be fair to say that it focuses on the universal concept of Karma.

Karma as an idea certainly originated in India, but it has been so universally disseminated to people and cultures around the world, that I would say, and I think the people of India would agree with me and be happy with me for saying so, that Karma is now a universal concept.

Each person is on a journey –of self-discovery, of purpose, of meaning, of understanding, and how a person conducts herself or himself will determine the direction that journey takes.

What makes my novel unique is the position that forces, well beyond our control, affect, guide, even determine the course of the events of our life, as needed, to continue to push us forward on our journey. Many times these forces and events are not pleasant, even painful –quite painful as the main character in my novel surely discovers.

But it is by going through these experiences that we progress, not just mentally and emotionally, but spiritually, which ultimately is what I believe each one of us is doing here.

My novel deals with many themes –healing, redemption, forgiveness, but also ones such as sacrifice and loyalty, all of which can lead to a fulfilling and spiritually valuable journey. I believe there are many paths to a spiritually fulfilling life and it was my goal in crafting this story to appeal to as many readers as possible by sharing with them a story that they could relate to their own lives.

It’s very interesting to me to hear different responses and emotional reactions that readers have had. One reader said it made her stop and think about not only the actions, good and bad, that she had done, but the bad ones she was thinking about doing.

Another said she was brought to tears by the love story –albeit an unusual one, at least in the way that the words “love story” are traditionally employed, between two brothers, in particular the unwavering love that an older brother has for his younger brother, no matter the commitment, because he feels it is his duty to protect his baby brother.

I have many goals I hope to achieve with readers of LIFTING THE WHEEL OF KARMA and so far, so good. As to the question of why I believe in Karma, real life experiences and all, it is because I have lived a life of, to be candid, incredible pain and suffering, and that has caused me to explore not only life and its meaning, but the questions of what we are supposed to learn while we are here.


See anything that caught your eye? If you'd like to find out more about Paul or his novel, you can visit him at:

You can see the full tour schedule HERE. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Interview with Tendai Huchu and Smokey + Giveaway


Tendai Huchu!
About Tendai

Tendai Huchu was born in 1982 in Bindura, Zimbabwe. He attended Churchill High School in Harare and from there went to the University of Zimbabwe to study a degree in Mining Engineering. He dropped out in the middle of the first semester, found work briefly in a casino and from there drifted from one job to the next. Four years later he returned to university and is now a Podiatrist living in Edinburgh, Scotland. --Quoted from His Website

And Smokey from...

An Untimely Love!
The Blurb

Love can find us in the most unusual of circumstances. This is what happens to Khalid Patel, a terrorist, when he falls in love with Smokey, a feisty and independent young woman who was to be Britain's first female suicide bomber. On what is meant to be his day of martyrdom, his violent worldview is thrown into turmoil. We share his thoughts as Death and Duty become irrevocably and movingly entwined with Love and Life.


An Interview with Tendai

Hi Tendai! Thank you so much for coming to the blog today!

1) Tell me about yourself?

Is this a chat up line, CYP? I was born in a small mining town called Bindura in Zimbabwe, way back in 1982, so 30 is round the corner and I’m dreading it. I now live in Edinburgh, Scotland.

2) Wow..Scotland!! I've always wanted to go there. Haha anyway, what do you usually do when you're not being an author?

I work part-time as a podiatrist. Play a bit of chess, watch a lot of movies, not much else really. I don’t think you ever stop being an author, there’s always ideas swirling in your head, no matter where you are.

3) Podiatrist.. Then how and why did you start writing?

I read an awful lot and the more I read, the more I kept finding ideas quite similar to mine in other peoples’ work so finally I put pen to paper and just wrote.

4) Was An Untimely Love the first novel you've ever written? If it isn't, then what are the others about?

My first novel’s called The Hairdresser of Harare. An Untimely Love is the second, the two are completely different.

5) Have you ever written a novels in other genres?

The Hairdresser of Harare is a contemporary novel. It’s the story of a young single mum called Vimbai who’s struggling to create a future for herself and her daughter amidst the economic, political and social turmoil in Zimbabwe. To cut a long story short, she falls in love with a charming man keeping a dark secret…

6) What's An Untimely Love about?

It’s about Khalid Patel, a first generation British-Pakistani is a suicide bomber who falls in love on the day he’s supposed to martyr himself. As you can expect his violent world view is thrown into turmoil and that’s just the start of a roller-coaster ride that pits him against his handlers and the intelligence services.

7) Did you base any of your characters on real life people/experiences? Which ones?

The book is an idea based on the story of the Black September group who committed atrocities at the Munich Olympics. It is thought one of the things that contributed to their disbanding as an effective terror organisation is the fact they were encouraged to marry and start families which decreased their appetite for violence. This is based on work by Thomas Hayden and Dr. Malcolm Potts in their book, Sex and War: How Biology Explains Warfare and Terrorism and Offers a Path to a Safer World. So I essentially took that idea and then linked it with contemporary issues around terrorism in Britain.

8) What is your favourite part in An Untimely Love?
So many to pick from. The book is divided into three parts, the first which is called, The Last Day of a Suicide Bomber which I love because it’s taken from Victor Hugo’s The Last Day of a Condemned Man.

9) Wow..you must read A LOT of these war/suicide bombing books. Do you have a favourite book or author?

When you read so much you stop having favourite authors and favourite books. Literature is a house with many rooms and so many of them linked together. My favourite is usually the book I’m reading at the time… if it’s good.

10) What was the hardest part in your path to becoming an author?

The long hours spent writing, never knowing whether or not my work would ever see the light of day. But I kept on anyway.

Haha, ok. I think Smokey's just arrived for her interview. Talk to you next time, Tendai!

An Interview with Smokey

*Smokey enters the scene, walks past the no smoking sign, cigarette in hand, eyes glazed, wearing red Converse trainers and a blue hoodie.*

Hi Smokey! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

1) Hey, how are you today? Where's Mr Patel?

First of all, I didn’t wanna do your shit interview but the author forced me so fuck it. Where’s Mr Patel? Out there, planning to blow your ass up. Can I go now?

2) Ok....nice to meet you too. If you're so disagreeable, then I suggest we start this interview proper and get it over and done with. You're the lead girl in An Untimely Love, what is it about?

Weird stage in my life. I was caught up in this terror network and we were planning to blow some targets up in London but things happened that we didn’t expect to happen.

3) Must've been quite a panic moment when you're planning something big and things don't go as planned.. The story's in yours and Mr Patel's point of view, isn't it? How do you feel, knowing that people will be privy to both of your inner thoughts? Haha, to those moments you had with each other?

He shouldn’t have written it. I mean we live in a world with shit reality T.V. shows, crass Tabloids, kiss and tell books from used up D-List celebrities. The last thing I need is for people to get all up in my business like that.

4) Aw, but a FEMALE, BRITISH, suicide bomber makes for a very good story. *winks* You're Britain's first female suicide bomber. Tell me, what made you decide to be one? It takes so much gut. What's the big reason for you to be willing to sacrifice your life like that?

Am I gonna get a medal or something? I wanted to change the world, like everyone else in their twenties. I thought we were at the vanguard of something special. Yeah, I was willing to die.

5) If you hadn't become a suicide bomber, what do you imagine yourself to be? Any dreams and ambitions?

I’d have been a doctor, I was at uni. Ironic ha, one day you’re treating sick people the next you wanna blow them up.

6) That's.....nice. What you think of Mr Patel? What was your first impression of him?

Good looking, a bit slow but then all men are. When I first saw him I knew there was something different about him. Kind, that’s it, he was kind, he cared.

7) What's your most memorable memory in An Untimely Love?

The bit when Khalid came to rescue me from the cops. I mean, I’d given up and there he goes with some Prison Break shit just to get me. That took a lot of heart.

8) Do you have anything you'd like to say to readers out there?

This Tendai Huchu guy should really stop ripping people’s stories off and selling them as his own. I mean there’s bits in the book I’d have taken out just because they’re so private you know. How come he gets his name on the front cover when it was Khalid’s story anyway?

9) Err, well, Tendai was the one who WROTE Khalid's story, so I guess his name's the one that's gonna be on the cover. Where can readers buy your "autobiography", of sorts? Haha.

That’s in the works but for now I just need to chill out and think about where my future’s headed. If you see me in a crowded train carriage or something… get the hell out.

Thank you again for coming to do the interview! Even if it was done so reluctantly.:)


If you'd like to find out more about Tendai or his books, you can visit him at:

Giveaway Time!

Tendai is generously giving away 5 ecopies of An Untimely Love to 5 international winners! No requirements, just fill in the Rafflecopter form below and you're good to go! This giveaway will last for 2 weeks, which will end Febuary 4th, 2012.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review: Feeding the Vampire by Jeffe Kennedy

Published Date: August 3rd, 2011
Finished Date: January 11th, 2012
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Format: eBook for Tour
My Rating: 3/5

Blurb from Goodreads:
Through good luck and healthy cowardice, Misty has survived the earthquakes that have torn the world apart, but has no skills to speak of. Or so she thinks. She does have blood, and someone must feed the vampire who has offered his protection and strength in exchange for sustenance. Feeding Ivan is a priority, and Misty finally serves a purpose.

But when she awakens tied to his bed, an unwilling gift to Ivan from the townspeople, she discovers he has hungers other than blood. Hungers he expects her to satisfy in the most carnal manner. Under his seductive persuasion, Misty discovers she has the power to sustain Ivan in all ways-while experiencing unspeakable pleasure herself.

My Review

My Summary
Natural disasters have ravaged the earth, leaving only the bare neccessities that the remaining human population can live off of. Food and electricity becomes so scarce that if you cannot contribute to society in any way, you are considered a disposable extra mouth to feed.

The only reason why Misty is still alive is because she has always been at the right place at the right time - like how she was born into the land that has its natural, partial protection against the elements. She can't contribute much to society, and she thinks that she's going to be thrown out of her own house soon if she doesn't do something about it. Now that a vampire has shown up and demands nutritions for himself (blood) in exchange for their decimating society's protection, Misty volunteers herself. Just one tiny little bite and suck from the vampire can't be that hard, right?

But what she doesn't know is that the vampire's deal comprised of more than satisfying his hunger for blood, but also his hunger for more. After Ivan, the vampire, drained some blood from her, Misty faints and wakes up tied to a bed...Ivan's bed. She finds him lying beside her, trying to coax her to a willing participant from here on out.

My Thoughts
FEEDING THE VAMPIRE was a surprisingly short and enjoyable novella with mild BDSM. There isn't much to go on about this book because when I say short, it is honest-to-god short. FTV comprises of only 3 scenes, or more specifically 2.5 scenes cause the first scene, where the people meet to discuss about their society's future, started at the end of the meeting where Misty volunteers herself. It really was so short that I, being an extremely slow reader, finished it in an hour.

Misty's a timid, sweet girl who has to earn her right to continue living in her city, but she changed to become a brave, outspoken woman after spending the night with Ivan. I found it very unrealistic, actually. Just because she had sex with a vampire doesn't mean her basal characteristics can change overnight. Her drastic change was very unnerving, and as I've said, unrealistic. So character development was something I found lacking.

On the other hand, Ivan, the new vamp in town, wasn't all that hot and sexy like the other vampires I read about in other books. Y'know, vamps are usually mysterious, dangerous, handsome, alpha males, but Ivan didn't give off those vibes. Handsome, yes, but not dangerous and mysterious. Thus he didn't really make an impression on me.

However, considering how short this novel/novella is, I thought that the world building, albeit still have rooms for improvement, was considerably well done. I know what poor condition the world was in, and I know what it's like to live in her city, what the people are like, and details like that were all covered and explained. Which is really amazing.

All that said, I thought that FEEDING THE VAMPIRE was an ok sort of book - writing style was good but typical, dystopian setting and plot was average, characters are not bad, but not impressive. Actually, I think that this book had lots of potential, plot-wise and all. But I attribute the reason why FTV wasn't fantastical to the length of the novel. The synopsis intrigued me, and I think that the story would have been much better if it was longer. Or maybe not, cause then it'll be draggy. But for this, I'd give it an average rating. It wasn't bad, but not a stunner as well.

All in all, FVP is an average vamp novel perfect if you want a quick, light and mildly erotic read.

My Rating

Teaser Tuesday (11)

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!

I haven't done a TT in quite a while - it may be due to laziness - but I've recently read this book that I just had to share.

By Cole Gibsen
My Teaser

  As it had in the mall parking lot, a calm focus flooded through me and pushed the confusion from my mind.

 This one is inexperienced with a blade,  the voice whispered. It won’t take much to bring him down.

I felt the unfamiliar smile return to my lips—this was going to be fun. I dodged the outstretched blade inches before my skin was to be torn apart by sharpened metal.

Spinning  behind  the  first  attacker,  I  ducked  low  to  ground, kicked my leg, and swept his feet out from under him. He landed on his back and groaned.

The next attacker circled me, his eyes darting nervously back and forth between me and his fallen comrade.

His body was rigid as he waited for an opportunity to move in.

This one is looking for a hole in our defense. We mustn’t give him one.

“Sounds good to me,” I whispered.

The attacker hesitated.

I straightened my stance. “Yeah that’s right, I’m talking to myself! What of it?”

--Quoted from eARC, so it may appear different in the final copy


I was deliberating between a fight scene and a romantic scene but decided against the romantic one because this book is more on Rileigh discovering her inner samurai. It focuses a lot on the love story between Rileigh and Kim and also them in their past lives, but I really liked ALL of the fight scenes. It's a little long, but well, I couldn't find any shorter ones that were nice.:/

This teaser also shows how snarky and kickass our heroine is. Haha. KATANA releases in March this year, so look out for it!

What's the teaser that you want to share this week? Leave them or your links in the comments so I can check them out! :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cover Reveal: Bourne by Lisa Tawn Bergren!!

Here comes the first novella in the River of Time series by Lisa Tawn Bergren! And it's the story of MY MAN! MUAhahhaha. *coughs* Ok, kidding. But yes, he is my favourite character in TROT apart from Gabi.

So, introducing BOURNE, The River of Time series #3.5...

Tentative release date: 2/1-2/14

Isn't is beautiful? I've always liked that far-off feeling all the books in this series give me, and this is one of my favourite ones. This book takes place after TORRENT, third book in the series. Ah..Greco is swoon-worthy, of course he'd get a gorgeous cover for his own book. B)

Ms Bergren's posted some frequently asked Q&A thingy on her website about the series. You can go check it out HERE. And I really like her post title: A Cover is BOURNE!!! HAH! Good one!

Guest Post by Dana Michelle Burnett + Excerpt + Giveaway


Dana Michelle Burnett!
About Dana

Dana Michelle Burnett spent most of her life writing short stories and sharing them with family and friends. Over the years, her work was published in numerous commercial and literary magazines including Just Labs, Mindprints: A Literary Journal, Foliate Oak, and many more. Her short story John Lennon and the Chicken Holocaust was included in The Best of Foliate Oak in 2006.  --Taken from the author's website

And her novel:

First in the Spiritus series
The Blurb

Book #1 of the Spiritus series just .99!

A love that refuses to die…

“As I watched him vanish into a soft mist that faded away, I knew that he was no ordinary spirit…I knew that he was a dangerous entity that could be in some corner of another realm planning his revenge, but I also knew that I was hopelessly in love with him.”

When Becca moves into her ancestral home in Corydon, Indiana, her life takes a puzzling and thrilling turn when she meets the ghost haunting the halls. As the seductive spirit lures her closer and closer, she learns about her own past and starts to understand that some mistakes are meant to last.

Becca McAllister has always been different from other girls her age. Never part of the "in crowd", Becca never really fit in anywhere. When her mother dies and her father moves them to the small town of Corydon, Indiana, Becca didn't expect things to change.

But things do change when Becca accidentally makes contact with a one hundred and sixty year old ghost, Alastor Sinclair, that haunts the halls of her new home.

To Becca, Alastor is a seductive spirit that seems to see straight into her soul. To Alastor, Becca is what he was waited a century for--A second chance.

But the closer they get, the more Becca realizes that this isn't the first time she and Alastor have known each other. Worse still, is she the one responsible for his death so long ago? And if so, did he come back for love or revenge?


When Paranormal Runs in the Family
By Dana Michelle Burnett
Thanks for having me on the blog today!  I’ve been super busy promoting my novel Spiritus.  It’s been a wild and crazy time and I love having the opportunity to share Becca and Alastor with my readers!
Since Spiritus is a paranormal romance, I’m often asked just exactly where I stand on ghosts and the supernatural.  Well, around my house there is only one place to stand and it is definitely on the side of the paranormal.  The unexplained is an everyday occurrence and we all take it in stride.
My eight year old daughter has been giving us her random predictions since she could talk.  She would often warn us about trees down in the driveway while we were still a mile away from the house or telling us all how my Dad was wounded in Vietnam even though we never told her about it.  Her predictions became so spot on that when she suddenly refused to ride in a particular vehicle because she said we would crash, we sold it as fast as we could.
My daughter also had issues with “shadowy people” visiting her room.  She didn’t mind them being there, but I often had to go in and tell these “people” to stop looking at her.  She complained she couldn’t sleep with them looking at her all the time.  She was never afraid of these visitors, but “the old lady with the mean eyes” tended to show up outside and my daughter was terrified of her.  Even though I couldn’t see the woman, I would order her away until eventually my daughter stopped seeing her around the age of four.
It’s not just my daughter who has these unusual gifts.  When my parents had their home in Corydon (yes, the town where Spiritus takes place), it was a normal event to have the lights flicker on and off, or to even have a lamp explode.  All of us in the family had some sort of experience in that house.
When my father died, my daughter and I spent that night with my mother.  My daughter being five at the time, slept with my mom that night because she didn’t want Nana to be lonely and miss Papaw too bad.
The next morning my daughter tells me that Papaw came and saw her the previous night and sat on the edge of the bed and told her that he had to go away, but that things would be okay and that she needed to be a big girl for Mommy and Nana.  She said that he also told her not to worry about the old lady with the mean eyes.  He said that was his mother and she was alright and wouldn't be bothering her anymore.  Now this was almost two years after the last “sighting” of the old lady.
So, as your readers can tell, I have to say that I am a firm believer in the unexplained and the paranormal.  I try to always look for rational explanations like maybe my parents’ house had electrical issues, but some of the things my daughter says and does defy rational explanation.  So in my case, the paranormal runs in our family, I’m just the first one to put it into words.


Here's a famous dance scene in Spiritus:

It was a sweet moment, dancing together under the paper streamers and balloons.  I could feel the warmth of his skin through his shirt and jacket as we danced, reminding me that this was real.  This was now.
“What are you thinking?”  Jonah asked, leaning his head down so our foreheads touched.  I could smell the scent of mints on his breath and the woodsy scent of his aftershave on his jaw.
I inhaled the reality of him, “Nothing.  I’m just savoring the moment.”
I expected him to laugh, but he didn’t.  He pulled me closer, seeming to ignore how I stepped all over his feet.  He brought his cheek next to mine, caressing my skin with the youthful shadow of a beard.
“I like the sound of that.”  He whispered.
He tilted his head then, kissing me softly with boyish clumsiness.  His arm tightened around me as his lips lingered for a moment before he pulled away.
I fought the guilt that was trying to steal over me, but I shook it off.  I felt myself turning a deep red, humiliated by my lack of experience.  I was sure that was the worst kiss and that Jonah had ever had and he was going to realize he was wasting his time with me.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Ashley watching us with narrowed eyes.  She would have known how to kiss him the right way.
If Jonah was disappointed, he hid it well, holding me in his arms until the song ended and then leading me off to the side of the room.  I followed him without question, painfully aware all of a sudden of how large my feet were and that my palm was sweating inside of his.
“Thirsty?”  Jonah asked with that charming smile that always made my heart stop and start in a crazy way.
“Sure.”  I answered with a nervous giggle and then cursed myself for being a complete goof.
As if he could tell what I was thinking his smile widened, “Punch okay?”
His self-confidence made me feel even more awkward.  “That’s fine.”
I watched Jonah walk away, calling and waving to his friends as he went over to the refreshment table.  I fanned my face with my hands, trying to make the redness disappear.
Ally, with Billie in tow, bounced up beside me.  “I can’t believe he kissed you!  Was it great?  Is he like the best kisser ever?”
“I don’t have much to compare him to.”  I replied, hoping to downplay the whole thing before the whole school overheard.  I couldn’t dare tell them that a century ago, I was kissed in a way that made my knees go weak and were a far cry from being boyish and clumsy.  “But it was nice.”
Billie nudged my shoulder, “What was nice was the look on Ashley’s face.  She was dying.”
I stole a glance over at Ashley.  She stood in a circle of her minions.  Despite her obvious and complete beauty, she was a picture of misery as she shot daggers in my direction.  It seemed even her upper lip twitched like a dog snarling.  I had to look away from her fury.
“She looks like she’s about ready to explode.”  I whispered.
I wasn’t admitting, even to myself, that I enjoyed seeing her like that.  It wasn’t every day someone like me got the upper hand on someone like Ashley.  There was probably a law about it somewhere in the natural order of things that went against this even happening.  It was the rarity of such an occurrence that made it all the more significant.
Just then Jonah appeared with two paper cups of bright red punch.  He smiled with ease, “Hello ladies.”
“Hi Jonah.”  Ally and Billie replied in unison.  They each gave a quick wave and walked away full of giggles.
I pretended not to notice and took the cup Jonah offered.  I couldn’t look up at him and I didn’t know what it was I was really supposed to do.  Was I standing too close to him?  Too far away?  Should I take his hand, or should I just let my hand hang at my side so he could hold it if he wanted to?
I took a sip of punch, more out of the need to do something than actual thirst, and felt the burn of alcohol in my throat.  I struggled to swallow, coughing until my eyes watered.
Jonah stroked my back gently, “I’m sorry.  I should have warned you that a couple of guys from the football team always puts a little something extra in the punch.”
“It’s okay.”  I gasped, humiliated beyond belief.  “I think I’ll just step out in the hall and get some water.”
I walked off before he could follow me, dying of embarrassment and certain that I had proved what a little kid I was.  He was just so perfect, and I was so—Not perfect.
I drank long gulps from the water fountain.  It extinguished the burning in my throat, but it did nothing to silence the voice in my head that was telling me I was doing everything wrong.  What was wrong with me?  Was I really this socially incompetent?
How hard could it be?  This is what I was supposed to want, right?  Jonah was good looking, popular, and charming in his small town hero sort of way.  What more could I ask for?
Alastor’s voice reverberated inside my head, “He’s not me…”
I jumped at the sound of his secret voice.  I looked around even though I knew that he wouldn’t be standing there, his tantrum earlier would have left him too weak.
“Go away,” I whispered aloud.  “Don’t ruin this for me.  Let me have this night.”
I waited, straining to hear if Alastor would answer, but there was nothing.  I turned to go back to the dance, knowing I should want to return to Jonah, but part of me wished Alastor would answer.
Ashley stepped from around the corner, blocking my way.  She crossed her arms and glared down at me.
“Talking to yourself Becca?”  She asked sarcastically, emphasizing my name. 
“What do you want Ashley?”
She shook her head and rolled her eyes, “I just wanted to give you some advice.”
“Don’t get too comfortable with Jonah.”  Ashley smirked, almost purring as she stepped closer.  “He’ll get tired of you.  You’re not his type.  He’ll come back to his own kind soon enough.”
I hated it that she was giving a voice to my own insecurities, “Whatever Ashley.”
She reached out and grabbed my arm as I tried to get past her, “Just remember, your day is coming.”
I pulled away just as one of the chaperones stepped into the hall.  I took my escape while I could, knowing she couldn’t say or do anything else at the moment, and headed back toward the gym.
I had no idea how long I had been standing in the hallway drinking water, talking to invisible spirits, and arguing with disgruntled cheerleaders, but when I got back inside the gym the music seemed louder and the flashing lights brighter.
At first I didn’t see Jonah.  The crowd kept shifting back and forth, blocking my view.  I finally spotted him off to the side, away from the bulk of the people.  Ashley found him before I did and had him backed against the bleachers.  I was just about to run away and find a nice dark place to cry when Jonah stepped away from her with a look of disgust.
“Why don’t you back off Ashley?”  He slurred as he staggered over to me.  He swayed a little from side to side as he smiled down at me.  “I was just about ready to send a search party out for you.”
“Sorry.”  I said as I reached up to stop him from falling right into me.  “Are you okay?”
He staggered a little to the right, “Yeah that Ashley just gets under my skin.  She doesn’t know when to shut up and go away.”
I took his paper cup from him and tossed it into the trash.  I was a bit taken back to see that it was a large metal drum lined with a large black trash bag.  Things in Corydon never failed to surprise me.
“That’s not what I was talking about,” I replied, wiping my hands on the front of my dress before I could stop myself.  “How many of those have you drank?”
Jonah blushed, looking vulnerable for the first time tonight.  “I am so sorry.”
I didn’t know what to say.  I helped steady him on his feet.  “Are you going to be alright?”
Jonah shook his head, this time leaning dangerously to the left.  He tried to smile with his famous charm, “I’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure?”
“Not really.”  He said with a stupid grin.  He pulled himself up straighter, “Why don’t I go splash some water on my face.  Will you wait for me?”
I watched him lurch off, trying to compose himself as he walked past the group of teachers by the door.  Even intoxicated, he was amazing to watch.  Jonah drew the admiring glances of every female he passed.  He was just so stereotypically high school perfect.
I had to laugh; he and I were like a bad movie.  The predictable one where the new girl, unpopular, falls for the school jock and then the jock takes her to the dance.  So that was it, tonight was my happy ending.  I didn’t want to think any further than that.
Happy endings never lasted.  I could vaguely remember a grand celebration where I danced with Alastor so long ago.  That was a very happy moment, but not long after that we were both dead.
“May I have this dance?”
I turned to see a much recovered Jonah holding his hand out to me.  Without a word, I placed my hand in his and let him lead me to the dance floor.  His strong arms pulled me close, holding me against his body.
“My beautiful Becca,” He said in a moist whisper against my forehead.
I waited for him to say something else, but he didn’t.  When I stole a glance up at him he had his eyes closed while his lips still rested against my hair.  I felt that there was something that I should say or do, but I didn’t know what it could be.  I shifted slightly away from him.
“Don’t.”  Jonah begged. 
Without opening his eyes, he lowered his lips to mine.  He brushed his mouth over mine with such gentleness that I wouldn’t have been sure that he even kissed me if it wasn’t for the tingling running through my body.
Neither of us moved, his lips hovered over mine.  He pulled me even closer, this time his lips lingered, making my knees go weak.  There was a sensual passion this time.  There was no trace of boyish clumbsiness.
I knew then and pulled away, terrified and not sure how he did it.
“Alastor!”  I gasped.
I looked up into Jonah’s face, searching his eyes for an answer, but behind his face, deep in the soul of those eyes was Alastor.
“How?”  Was all I could ask.
Pulling me close again, he looked down at me through another man’s eyes.  Images of old movies with tearful endings came to mind as he pulled me to him.
“Please don’t scream.”  He said against my hair.
“How did you do it?”  I demanded, nearing hysteria.
“Does it matter?”  He asked as we waltzed about the floor, so much more graceful than before.  “You asked for a kiss and I gave it to you.”
I tried to fend off panic.  I knew this was impossible.  I was shaking so badly that my teeth began to chatter.  “Alastor…I can’t…”
“Please,” Alastor begged.  “Please, you asked me to give you this one night.  I’m asking you to give me this one moment.”
My heart fell with his request and the tears came to my eyes.  I trembled in his arms.  How could I refuse him?
“What do you want me to do?”  I asked.
“Close your eyes.”  He whispered over my eyelids.
I did as he asked.  “Now what?”
“Just be.”  He said and lowered his face so our cheeks touched.  “Just be.”
With my eyes closed, I forgot all about Jonah.  I was dancing safe and secure in Alastor’s arms with my body remembering his touch even my mind sometimes couldn’t.  As long as I didn’t open my eyes, it was Alastor that was holding me close.  This is where I belonged.
“Kiss me again.”  I requested in a whisper, longing for the sensation of him touching me, of crossing that breach between life and death.
He took my face into his hands.  I kept my eyes shut tight as I reached up and covered his hands with mine.  The earth shifted beneath me as I remembered standing just like this the day that we were married over a century ago.
Alastor’s lips met mine, soft at first and then harder.  He was real.  He was alive. 
I wanted to feel his skin against mine.  I wanted his lips on my throat.  I wanted him.  It was a feeling that only the most primal part of me seemed to understand.
I kissed him again and again.  I kept my eyes shut tight and was afraid to let go.  I couldn’t breathe, part of me was still terrified and another part wanted to sob uncontrollably.
“I’m sorry.”  I whimpered, trying to hold on tighter.  “I’m so sorry for everything.”
He kissed me again and I knew that there would never be another.  There was only Alastor.  It was only Alastor that I loved.  It was only Alastor to whom I belonged.  It was Alastor to whom I was lost.


See anything that caught your eye? SPIRITUS is sold at Amazon, B&N and Smashwords at $0.99! If you'd like to find out more about Dana or her novels (or Becca and Alastor), you can visit her at:

Giveaway Time!

Dana is so kindly giving away 5 ecopies of SPIRITUS. This giveaway is international. Giveaway lasts for one week, which will end on January 21st. Just fill in the Rafflecopter form below and you're all good to go!:)

Cyp's Abbreviation Dictionary

DNF = Did Not Finish
HEA = Happily Ever After
PNR = Paranormal Romance
UF = Urban Fantasy
YA = Young Adult

Erotica Reference

BDSM = Bondage/Discipline, Dominant/Submissive, Sadism/Masochism
f/f = female/female
m/f = male/female
m/m = male/male


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