Saturday, October 11, 2008

How Would Jesus Vote

How Would Jesus Vote
D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe
ISBN 1400074061
Current Events

The upcoming elections present voters with a challenge, and for Christians, it is even more true. If we are to be imitators of Christ, we need to know how He would deal with all that is before us, on all electoral levels. In a clar, concise manner, the authors lay out Biblical principles on the issues before us such as poverty, immigration, heath care, and a plethora of others, with each opinion backed by Scripture and or examples from the lives of the Reformers. Though possibly someone of other opinion could find verse supporting their views, the style and content strike me as being balanced, fair, Biblical, and while not without bias, with a definite Christian perspective.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Merry Gentry 7

Swallowing Darkness
Laurell K Hamilton
Random House
ISBN 0345495934

If Merry thought that her pregnancy would make her life any easier, that is, she would have fulfilled the Queen of Air and Darkness' terms of heirship, she was sadly mistaken. Rather, the twins in her womb have made her at least twice as much of a target as ever and placed her at the center of a war that is fought on multiple fronts as both the Seelie and Unseelie courts attack her and her cousin, Cel, does not take his defeat lying down, either. Bloody battles are bad enough, but her personal losses sting all the more as her foes come against her through the men closest to her heart, the fathers of her children. As the situations come to their heads, Merry finds that she must make a choice that will cost her dearly, however it goes.

With the seventh volume of this series, the reader gets a payoff that is both bittersweet and yet, welcome. It feels as if things have drawn to a close on Merry's world, but it is done so well that it is hard to regret. High fantasy elements are mixed in with urban fantasy in this satisfying story, but you do need a scorecard to keep track of all the characters.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

CS Lewis

Yours, Jack
C.S. Lewis
Harper One
ISBN 0061240591
Biographical, Inspirational

C.S. Lewis was famous for the amount of time he spent composing letters and answering his mail. Every day brought dozens of pieces of fan mail and other correspondence that he spent hours dealing with daily. In this volume, we get to see the results of this time, the author's unvarnished heart and mind, not polished for publication. His questions and search for deeper answers as he pursued his Christian life, his personal concerns, his hopes, and his sorrows are all exposed for us to see and share in. Through this medium, we get insight into his professional writing and into the life of one of the twentieth century's most influential philosophers. We also gain much in the way of Christian instruction in a very readable format. This is a must for any fan of Lewis and Narnia.

Saturdays with Stella

Saturdays with Stella
Allison J Pittman
ISBN 1601421397

Owning an unruly dog can be a challenge, but for the author, it proves to be one of the best things that ever happened to her. When she takes her dog, Stella, to obedience classes, Allison begins to reflect on how like the canine she can be in relation to her Master, God. Through watching Stella's lessons and applying them to her spiritual life, she gleans lessons that are applicable to us all, such as sitting at the Master's feet, staying, letting go, and more. Pet owner or not, you'll discover something new that will help you as you walk with God.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Zoe Martinique Book II Spectre

Phaedra Weldon
ISBN 044101593X
Urban fantasy

In the weeks and months since being transformed to a Wraith, Zoe Martinique has adjusted to her new status; she has some awesome powers while in spirit form, the only real drawback is no voice. However, as things generally do, life is about to take a downward spiral for her. Because powerful beings connected to her hidden past want some gems that will give them power beyond measure, Zoe finds herself trying to solve a mystery and being forced into even more unspeakable acts than possession in order to save her mother from a fate far worse than death and all mankind from an evil as old as time.

Zoe's wry humor gives her a "voice" that readers will readily identify with and enjoy. She's sharp and funny, even at her most serious moments when things look dire. Ms. Weldon's unique concept of a world is fascinating and one that makes you want to see more of it, soon. Truly original spins on concepts are few and far between. Thankfully, readers can say they have found something special and new in the Zoe series.

Friday, August 29, 2008

AT last Acheron

Sherrilyn Kenyon
St. Martin's
ISBN 0312362153
Epic urban fantasy

His birth was heralded by prophecy, eleven thousand years ago. He would been slain on account of his odd eyes then and there, if it were not for the fact that if Acheron died, so would his "twin," the crown prince of his land. Yet, from that time on, he was the hated child of his family, loved only by his sister Ryssa, but even her compassion and royal place could not save him from being sent away to the most demeaning of slaveries that would come near to breaking him. Though he knows freedom for a time, he soon finds himself in chains again, forced to the most humiliating, debased service, doing unspeakable acts for the pleasure of others. Yet, he now finds someone else to love him, the goddess Artemis. Or is she just another user? Then, things happen that will forge destinies for millennia. Ryssa was taken as Apollo's concubine and bore his child. Then, the god's enemies killed them both and his revenge created the Daimons, as well as killed Acheron. However, Acheron finds his life in death, discovering his true heritage as the child of Atlantean gods. He also learns how treacherous his lover is. To counter the evil, Artemis creates the Dark Hunters, and binds them to Acheron. If any of them ever discover love and want to be free, she will allow it, if Ash will pay the price in her bed.

In the modern world, Acheron continues to serve his purpose as the leader of the Dark Hunters and pay for their lives when needed, but now, someone is about to discover his secret. Tory, a young scientist who is seeking Atlantis, has found his sister's journals. If that were not bad enough, she might be able to set free Ash's mother, an act that would rain death upon the world. That could happen anyway; for she has captured his heart and Aphrodite is not a goddess who bears rivals lightly.

This book is almost impossible to sum up in a few lines. With a massive, multi-faceted storyline that will draw you in and make you want to read fast, but need to read slowly so as to catch all the details and nuances, it forges a pivotal chapter in Dark Hunter history. Your heart will bleed for Acheron and many scenes are violent and graphic. However, the characterizations are brilliant, driving the many plots forward. Truly, if you love character dominant stories, this is a perfect book for you. It's also an excellent stand alone one, though this is a series not to be missed. Changes take place that will be felt in all future books, and I can't wait to see what the effects are.

Sons of Destiny

The Storm
Jean Johnston
ISBN 0425222179

In the Cat, we saw one side of a love story involving two sets of twins. Now, Rydan and Rora must find their way to each other, something only complicated by his solitary ways and her need to not be touched. Moreover, Rora and her sister have a tough time trusting this family that has taken them in, and in winning the trust of the growing clan. With mishaps and magic providing the background, though, love can ovecome even the highest, strongest walls around toughened hearts.

Ms. Johnston's created world is one that is becoming a comfortable place in which to park one's mind. Each brother provides a fascinating portrait, and the women they love are equal to the task of winning them. The auther has truly turned their "Curse" into a blessing, for readers, that is. Her characterization skills are among the best out there.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Body Movers

Three Men and a Body
Stephanie Bond
ISBN 0778326071
Romantic Suspense

What should have been a fairly "fun" trip with Coop, one of the trio of men courting Carlotta Wren, to pick up the body of a celebrity who has died at a young age under somewhat odd circumstances, turns out to be a pivotal event for Carlotta. Not only do she and Coop agree that it seems like the late star's death is more than a simple asthma attack, but their romantic interlude is cut short by her kid brother's intrusion on the trip and the fact that someone keeps trying to steal the body. Moreover, little brother Wesley's gambling debts are causing continual problems, ones that get in the way of any relationship with Jack, the cop she is interested in and keep her tied to her former fiance', Peter, who wants to be reinstated, despite his earlier betrayal. Making matters even worse are all the unwelcome truths that Carlotta finds herself being forced to face about her father's past.

This is a complex story, but still, filled with light and amusing moments off setting the terrifying ones. Ms. Bond has created characters that live and breath and make you want to know them better. I can hardly wait for the next one.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Death Angel

Death Angel
Linda Howard
ISBN 0345486544
Romantic Suspense

As a result of her gangster sugar daddy's latest deal with an assassin, Drea's life changes forever. In lieu of money, Rafael gives her, for the space of one afternoon, to a hitman he wants to keep happy. At first, she is angry at being such a pawn, but that is a magical afternoon and sets in motion plans she has made over the span of years. Though Drea played dumb, she was really brilliant and after being with a man who at least pretended to cherish her for a short time, she has to make her escape. Had she not taken over two million dollars along, Rafael might have let her go, but for that kind of change, she finds herself on the run and terrified. The man who inspired the change is among those hired to eliminate her, but instead, he turns into her greatest ally, after he kills her, that is.

Possibly this is her best book since Mr. Perfect. Drea's story draws you in immediately and steadily increases in intensity from there on out. It's one you can't put down once it really gets going so compelling are the characters and situations. I could have easily read it another hundred pages had it been longer, and probably still wanted to know more.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Weather Warden Rachel Caine

Gale Force
Rachel Caine
ISBN 0451462238

The war between the Djinn and the Wardens may have ceased and a new dynamic emerged from the conflict, but life is far from calm and quiet for Jo Baldwin. With her new powers and being the Conduit's lover, she has more to cope with than ever. Complicating matters is the opposition the Djinn have towards her relationship with David and the effects it could mean for them as a race as well as a new evil force that shakes the Earth and threatens all of life with the opposite of creation. Then, someone who should be dead makes all of that pale in comparison.

Light, wry wit keeps things from getting too heavy, but even at the funniest moments, there is an intense drama that makes this a magnetic book. Jo's stories are impossible to not read once you get hooked. Her human frailty is ever present, keeping her real, no matter how powerful she becomes. This series shows no signs of weakening and is the one time you can welcome a storm in your life. The characters are ones you care about so much that leaving them at the end is painful, no matter that you will be rushing to find out how the end does happen.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Guest Blog Victoria Rosendahl

Subject: what do you do with conflicting feedback?

Hi everyone!

Amanda kindly invited me to be a guest blogger and I'm honored to be here.

Today I’m going to talk about being a novelist and what you do when given conflicting feedback.

I’ve just recently finished my third novel and sent it out for review before sending it up to the publisher. Now, let me explain what I do when I send a book out for review.

I like to choose four or five people whose opinions I trust. I asked them first if they would be interested in reading the manuscript of my newest novel and then send it to them, giving them a deadline for getting their comments back. I send a disclaimer asking them not to divulge the contents of the book since it hasn’t been published yet and then tell them their names will be in the acknowledgements section.

My latest series is geared toward kids from 8 to 12 and the newest installment is a mystery called Mudder. I sent the novel out to five people … including a seventh grader … and received glowing reviews from everyone.

Then I sent it out to a woman who critiques for me in Colorado. This is one that I pay for because Laura does this kind of work for living. If you write kids books and you're interested in having a good, objective critique of your manuscript, get in touch with Laura Backes at

When I got her critique back last week it was different from the critiques I got from my other readers. Laura felt that there was a pretty significant plotting problem that caused other ripples in the manuscript. On whole she liked it but gave me the sense that I needed to rewrite a good bit of it.

So who do you listen to? The casual, good time reader or the professional editor?

I think it's a mix of both. The thing that I found interesting is that the casual readers -- and I use that term loosely simply to describe those who aren't professional editors -- didn't say anything about having a plotting problem. In fact, they all said that they enjoyed the plot and thought that it moved well.

I think I'm probably going to go through the manuscript and make the changes that Laura suggested that don't include a major plot rewrite and see where it sits. It's very possible that the smaller changes help turn the plot to a point where there's been enough of a change.

The plotting issue that Laura brought up is that the book is called Mudder but he's not the main character. The mystery set at a sleep over camp in North Carolina is more of a focal point but Mudder isn’t intricately involved until later in the book. Also, she felt that I had not put my main character, Kathy, in enough danger early enough. I think all of those points are valid and well taken and I'm going to have to decide how much editing I’m going to do to clean it up.

The point of this exercise is to let you know that you don't always have to listen to everyone who critiques or edits your book. Critiquing and editing is as subjective as the writing of your manuscript.

The next time you receive what appears to be conflicting feedback, put the editorial comments aside for a week or more and then look at them again. You can make the decision on whether you're going to do any substantive rewriting or not. It's your book and the decision rests with you.

I hope you all have a great day and that this has been of some help. Happy writing!

Best regards –

Victoria Rosendahl

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Jacqueline D'Acre
Stargazer Press
ISBN 9781897424001

When a prize horse is framed for murder, it is up to Bryn to save the lovelyl animal from certain death. She knows in her heart that Lightening Strikes Once did not trample her friend, but proving it when all evidence points to that conclusion will prove both problematic and dangerous. If she does not want an injustice to happen, a killer to go free, and for her own life to end, she will have to discover who really did the deed. And before the last page is turned, Bryn may have to confront her own fears.

Both easy to read and informative as well as entertaining, this story does all a good mystery is supposed to do. Readers will have their knowledge base expanded and get to stretch their minds as they probe this puzzler. It's a must read for anyone who loves horses, too.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Of Atlantis
Linaia Lee
Roval Publishing and Digital Services
ISBN 0615207685
Epic historical fantasy

Archimedes loves his royal father, even though the older man carries as much or more fear of his son than any he might have when going into one of the many battles the King of Atlantis faces. Rather than the halcyon, highly advanced civilization many authors have portrayed the lost kingdom to be, this Atlantis is much like Greece or Rome, albeit a touch more magical Treachery, violence, forbidden love, religion, and politics make up the complex web that forms its society until the day the waves sweep it into being nothing more than a legend. Yet, it is not the end, for its last royal, Archimedes will live on through the ages. This is his story.

In great detail, the author brings life in this imaginary society to such life that you can believe it truly existed. Archimedes moves from boyhood into being a fascinating man wuth a rich history that readers will look forward to discovering in the books yet to come. One particularly wonderful aspect of this novel is the beautiful poetry that highlights it. That feature alone will make bibliophiles want to buy a second copy, the audio form, to be able to hear the music of the words as well as reading them.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Good Ghouls

Good Ghouls Do
Julie Kenner
Sept 07
ISBN 0425217035
YA Urban Fantasy

Since being turned into a vampire, Beth has found that life sucks, in more ways than one. The main one is, her boyfriend, Clayton, was also turned, by her, but to save his life, not for any nefarious reason. As a result, he has to kill her, unless she can kill her maker first, at which point, both should be turned back to human. She just has no idea WHO her maker is, and she can't spend a lot of time trying to find out. She has to perfect a daywalker formula or risk being killed by one faction, avoid the hunters that either belong to an opposing group of vampires or are being sent by Clayton, keep what she is a secret, work on beefing up her transcript, cheerlead, and cope with the fact that she's attracted to to boys, one who wants to kill her apparently and one who should want to. She'll have to live forever to get it all done, the question is, can she?

Reading a Julie Kenner book is a sheer treat for the mind, there's no two ways about it. Beth is a sympathetic heroine who keeps you laughing even though you're on the edge of your seat. At the end of each book this talented author writes, I find myself mentally screaming, what's next, I can hardly wait.

Wizard's daughter

Wizard's Daughter
Victoria Graydale
Stargazer Press

May 2007
ISBN 0973494077
Historical fantasy


After Adrian kidnaps two young women to fulfill a commission, he finds himself turned into a bodyguard for one of them. Lady Millie needs to avoid an unwanted marriage, and Phaedra is simply there to protect her lifelong mistress/companion. Soon, Adrian finds himself falling for Phaedra, but she is a nobody, and not someone he can marry. Meanwhile, Millie remains at the center of contention as rivals vie for her hand, though it is the somewhat awkward Egbert that she has given her heart to. Whether or not they can manage to be together is anyone's guess, especially when you consider how backward Millie is socially, and how she insults almost anyone without meaning to. Moreover, Phaedra might not be the nobody people believe her to be.

This is a charming, light and simple tale that can be easily enjoyed by all ages. True love and overcoming barriers to it are at its core, with no false padding of sensuality to distract from the honest emotions. Love, loyalty, and the quality of friendship are what matter here, not shallow sensations.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Teen mystery

Bitter Tastes
Victoria Rosendahl
ISBN 0973494093
YA Mystery

Moving to a new town and trying to fit into a different school is frightening and something Kathy does not want, but she has little choice. For one thing, she has an oddly formed hand that makes life difficult for her on a practical and emotional level each and marks her has different or weird to others. Yet, one girl, Martha, looks past it to befriend her. Such considerations take a backseat to murder when a woman who was kind to Kathy is murdered and the two girls begin trying to find out what really happened, no matter what the danger, for as they uncover secrets, the peril the young sleuths face increases.

While the story retains an innocence that is appealing, it still addresses very mature subjects and does not talk down to its target audience. If your pre-teen has read every Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Hardy Boys, and so on and is looking for something new, they will not go wrong in picking this up. Even if they have not, they need to read this.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Politics with a positive result

The Governor's Wife
Kate Rizor
Stargazer Press
ISBN 0973494085

Ten years ago, Tanner's wife, Andra, vanished. In the years since, there have been no leads and Tanner has become the governor, then from nowhere, she is found. A homeless woman is arrested and one sharp eyed cop, upon catching a glimpse of a picture of the missing first lady of the state, realizes "Andie" is Andra, though she cannot recall ever being anything other than a wandering vagrant, struggling to survive. Yet, all tests prove that she truly is Tanner's wife. Making the adjustment from homeless to great lady is difficult, nothing is familiar, trust is hard, and Andie knows her past could ruin the man she is falling in love with against all better judgment.

This is a sweet, compelling novel reminiscent of Diana Palmer in many ways. Straightforward narration makes for a fast read as the well developed characters build a new relationship from the ashes of the past. Though there are few surprises, sometimes you just need a comfortable book, and this is sure to please when you are in that mood.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


After layoffs end her job at a bank, Sara finds herself looking for work futilely until a friend posts a girl Friday ad for her on a bulletin board. Instantly, she is a celebrity and has offers, some rather shady, flooding in. The job she finally takes is a good, albeit unusual one. Then,she begins a sideline, sleuthing, and that bit of moonlighting could prove to be the last career move she makes.

**** Though the story would have been stronger if the mystery angle had begun a little sooner, the plotline prior to its introduction provides valuable background information and good character development for a potential series. Breezy and fun, this is an easy to read novel, one that will have you asking for more of Sara's adventures. Though initially, I must admit to qualms from the fact that its from a very small press, which usually bodes ill for the reader, all my fears proved baseless. If a larger publisher wants to catch something good, they'll snag this. In the meantime, readers can enjoy.

Nicki Styx 2

A Match Made in Hell
Teri Garey
ISBN 0061136166
Paranormal romance

Ever since she died and came back, Nicki Styx's life has been one replete with the weird. For one thing, she sees dead people, well, dead women. She can't see dead guys, like her long lost twin sister can. If seeing ghosts is strange, then the whole sister thing is doubly so. It turns out that Nicki's current lover was married to the long lost twin sister, Kelly. Nicki first meets Kelly when Kelly is in a car wreck during which their equally long lost birth mother who was on her way to reunite their "family", was killed. Now, Mama Peaches is haunting Nicki with enigmatic warnings meant to keep "Miss Perfect" (Kelly) from danger. Some would see the final strange point as a plus; a truly hot guy seems dedicated to stealing Nicki from her man; the only problem is, the reason he's "hot" is he lives in Hell. It would seem the devil wants a new bride, and Nicki has been chosen, but he'll take her twin if he can't have her. So, whether she likes Kelly or not, Nicki faces either a fight she can only barely hope to win or making an ultimate sacrifice to save a woman she barely knows or likes much.

This is a fun, compelling, page turner. Laughs and suspense are perfectly melded so that you just cannot put this book down. Granted, some of the situations seem a bit over the top, but that only adds to the humor. Moreover, Ms. Garey conveys a level of heat without getting graphic, an art that is being lost and is appreciated greatly. I truly look forward to reading more of her work.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Guest Blog - Kelley Armstrong

Searching for the Fountain of Youth
Earlier this month, my first young adult book (The Summoning) came out, released after nine “adult” novels. My regular series, Women of the Otherworld, features a changing cast of narrators with ages varying from 22 to 44. So you’d think that writing about a teenage heroine shouldn’t be that big a stretch. But it was…at least psychologically.
The idea for this young adult trilogy came about while writing my second novel, Stolen. Out of that story, I got an idea for another, carrying on a plot thread. But I realized that this new story would need a teenage narrator, and that wouldn’t fly with readers expecting adults. So I put it on the back burner.
Still the idea kept cropping up. I considered ways to do it with an adult narrator, but there was no getting around the fact that it needed to be a teen—the story is about a special group of supernaturals coming into their powers, and in my universe that takes place with puberty. The solution seemed simple: make it a separate young adult story, rather than part of my current series.
At that point, the biggest stumbling block should have been whether publishers would want a new series from me. But that wasn’t what held me back. When I seriously thought about writing from a teenage point of view, I balked. I’m too far past that point in my life (I have a daughter that age) and no one is faster at spotting falseness than a teenager. They’d read one page of my attempts to sound fifteen, roll their eyes and send the book flying across the room.
Still the story wouldn’t go away.
I finally decided to write it as a NaNoWriMo project. During National Novel Writing Month, writers try to complete 50,000. I’d been wanting to encourage members of my discussion board writing group to give NaNoWriMo a try, and what better way than to do it myself? I could try this young adult idea, free of pressure. If it didn’t work, I’d just call it a month-long writing exercise.
So I wrote a 75,000 word young adult novel for NaNoWriMo 2006. The book had problems. As much as I loved the characters and the basic idea, the plot needed work, and eventually went through a total rewrite. But as for taking on the personae of a teenage narrator? It was easier than I ever imagined.
I’ve become accustomed to changing narrators (and voices) in my adult series, and I love that part of it. Once I worked into the character of Chloe Saunders, imagining her life, her surroundings, her thoughts and dreams, it was no different than with any of my adult characters. I had the trappings of a fifteen-year-old’s life in mind, so that was what came out—the voice of a fifteen-year-old character. Which is not to say that no teen will ever roll their eyes at the lady trying to pass herself off as a teenage character, but the voice felt right to me.
Once in Chloe’s mind-space, I remembered what it was like to be fifteen. I remembered the good and the bad, the memories flooding back. And when I pick up the pen to revisit her world, it’s wonderful…in the way that a trip back home is wonderful. It’s comfortable and it’s fun and I love to visit…though I wouldn’t want to live there again. I’m well past that time in my life, and the more I remember it, the more I’m glad of that! But it is a fascinating place to return to, and I hope to continue visiting for a while.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Nora Roberts
ISBN 0399154914
Romantic Suspense

Since leaving behind her acting career, Cilla has spent time "flipping houses". Her latest project is not to flip one, but to restore her late grandmother's home and make it her own. Janet Hardy died in the early seventies under odd circumstances billed as suicide, ala Marilyn Monroe, but could it have been murder? Cilla's return to the family hometown stirs up memories for someone who is not happy to have the past reawoken. She becomes the target of harrassment that edges towards deadly with precision and fear. Yet, it is not all bad news. Her handsome neighbor, Ford, instantly adores her, to the point of considering Cilla a "warrior goddess". That might be the most frightening thing of all for Miss Independent.

I read Nora Roberts as much for her people as for the plot, maybe more so. Cilla and Ford make this an easy to read charmer, even without the suspense. How can something be sexy, a bit scary, and heartwarming all at once? If I knew how, I'd be writing the books Ms. Roberts does. As it is, I'm delighted to be able to enter her worlds through their pages. This is another winner.

Monday, July 7, 2008

If Wishing made it so Lucy Finn

If Wishing Made it So
Lucy Finn
ISBN 0451224590

While attending a high school reunion, Hildy Caldwell half hopes to get a second shot at a Mike, her once upon a time sweetheart, but has little true belief it will take place. Then, not only does she win big at the casino, but finds a genie bottle. Tony G, the one time centurion, cursed now to be a genie, is more than willing to help her make her dream come true. However, Hildy has some competition in the form of a fiancé, and besides, she does not want a wish born love, but the real thing. In any case, Tony is fun to have around, but when his former gangster master wants him back, Hildy and everyone she cares for are in danger.

If you are wishing for a fun read that's not pure fluff, then - all I can say is granted. Though I was not expecting the way it ended, I was not disappointed. I'd love to see more of Tony, in fact. There are lots of laughs, danger, and a truly deep message contained in this delightful package of words. Ms. Finn is a rising star, don't miss out.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Kelley Armstrong's newest

The Summoning
Kelley Armstrong
Harper Teen
ISBN 0061662690
YA Paranormal

When Chloe's ability to see ghosts draws unwelcome attention, she is deemed to be an at risk adolescent and sent to a group home where she can "be helped." Among the troubled youths there, she makes some instant enemies, but also, some very close friends, some of whom will prove to be vitaly important in the days to come. Despite the purported high success rate of Lyle House, not every patient makes it out alive. Moreover, Chloe is not the only teen there who is not really troubled, just has powers. Two boys, Simon and Derek, introduce her to the idea of Supernaturals, beings like her who have something extra, whether it is spellcraft, necromancy, or other powers. Because of this, Lyle House is a very dangerous place for them, for something has been going on there for decades, something that threatens to destroy any Supernatural who walks through its doors. Chloe's admission there might not be a coincidence after all.

If you thought Kelley Armstrong to be an awesome writer going on her Women of the Otherworld series, then double your estimation by at least two when you read this. I still love her adult writing, but this really blows you away. Chloe's story is a compelling read that will keep you riveted right from the start, and grow more addictive as you turn the pages. I can hardly wait to see more.

Monday, June 30, 2008

A worthy read

Undead and Unworthy
Mary Janice Davidson
ISBN 0425221628

Whoever said "it is good to be queen" was obviously not queen of the Undead. Betsy finds the office to be one filled with constant challenges, such as having her dead evil step mother pop up to make acerbic comments while she and new husband, Sinclair, are in the middle of intimate somethings, having to raise her orphaned baby half brother, put up with the fact that her best friend's guy hates her guts simply because she's a vampire and might have used her powers on him when needed, and having the devil's goody two shoes daughter for a half sister. Then, there are the fiends, the mindless vampire zombies that she inherited after killing Nostro. Suddenly, they've regained their wits, thanks in part to her, but are they happy? No, they are out for blood, specifically, Betsy's, though they will not hesitate to go after anyone else in their way. Trying to keep her friends that are subject to death alive and help on murder cases in an effort to maintain peace with Jessica's cop boyfriend will make Bety's afterlife a little too interesting for comfort, but just right for readers.

As always, this is fun to read, though there is an added seriousness that gives the story a bit more depth and in my opinion, improves it, though there was nothing at all wrong with the unimproved plotline. Betsy's unique voice is witty and very easy to relate to. I also love it that she's in a steady, committed relationship that remains consistent throughout the series. I am not sure what the unworthy portion of the title refers to, for this is well worth your time.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sherlock's smarter sister

The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan
Nancy Springer
ISBN 0399247807
YA Mystery

For several months now, Enola Holmes, youger sister to the brilliant detective Sherlock and the equally clever Mycroft, has been on the lam from her siblings, trying to find her mother and also, doing what she can to help the poor and solve mysteries. Her latest case results from the covert plea of a young woman seeking her aid in preventing a forced marriage. Though she is not sure where her client is being held, Enola is determined to help her avoid a fate worse than death. However, she has to avoid a fate that, while not as unpleasant, would chafe her. In other words, keep her brothers, whose help she will need, from catching her and ending her freedom.

Reading this made me want to find the other books in the series and read Sherlock himself for the first time. This is an intelligent, fast paced, well written series that will charm and intrigue you. Though the mystery is not a brain teaser, really, it is attention grabbing and well paced. Especially worth mentioning is the excellent characterizaation that makes you care about what happens to the people involved. I reccomend this to not only young readers, but to any Holmes fan.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Lori Handeland series, coming in November

Give yourself an early Christmas gift and put this on your list to buy.
Any Given Doomsday
Lori Handeland
St Martin's
ISBN 0312949197
Urban Fantasy

Lizzie Phoenix wanted to be a cop, but thanks to her psychic "gifts", or curses, depending on your point of view, that proved to be a nightmare, so she settled for being a P.I. It's not a client, though that gets her into her present mess. Finding the body of a friend sets off a chain of events that will test her mettle and reveal her destiny, which might be a very short lived one, as the end of the world is looming. Lizzie, though, is supposed to stop it, and has been groomed for this time so that she can. Both helped and in some ways hindered by two extraordinary in every sense of the word men who care for her, Lizzie is granted new powers and abilities as a result of her love for them. But, will being a psychic empathy wth shapeshifting and dhampiric abilities be enough to stand between the world's life and the Nephilim?

I must admit, that the new Lori Handeland book was not another Night Creatures one was initially a disappointment. However, it only took a page or two for that to be completely alleviated. Lizzie is as much of a kick butt heroine as Edward was a "hero," but with a better sense of humor. Laughs are not the only assets in this story. She has written a story that is partly based on the Bible without being preachy, but is true to the spirit of that book and is exciting at every turn. Moreover, great respect is evident for the Bible and the two religions that honor it. This new world that the author has envisioned is one that should be fascinating, complex, and almost familiar, though not quite. Discovering it will be a joy.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Tempered Joy
Pamela S Thibodeaux
ISBN 193386144

Tamara and Craig's children are all grown up now; Amber with her own children and husband is making a new life and Ace is now a champion bull rider. Life seems ideal, but then tragedy strikes and tests not only the members of this tightly knit family, but also the young woman who, despite teasing and her own troubled past, loves Ace. Yet, Lexie will soon find that her love is what is needed when the Harris family stands on the brink of compounded tragedy.

Of all the books in this series, Tempered Joy is the most difficult to summarize. It is far more than an inspirational romance, for one thing, and for another, I do not want to risk giving away any of the pivotal surprises. Suffice it to say, it lives up to the title, as joy shines through despite heartaches that will make more than one fan weep, I dare say. Through it all, faith and love shine in the words, but not in a bland, falsely optimistic fashion. So often in novels, Christians face the sad moments and tough times with stoic piety that makes real Christians want to be ill because we do react badly to our hurts in this world, and not always in ways that honor our Father. Ms. Thibodeaux lets her characters be true to life without falling away from their faith. Her words are a ministry, showing any Christian who reads these books that you can come through your negative emotions even if you aren't rejoicing over the circumstances that invoked them. You will eventually be able to, with His help. She also depicts us in a way that can show non-believers we're people too.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Blood Ties

All Souls' Night
Jennifer Armintrout
ISBN 0778325377

With the Soul Eater on the verge of performing a ritual that will give him so much power as to be unstoppable, it is time for Carrie, Nate, Ziggy, Max, and Bella to do whatever it takes to end the creature's over-extended life. Yet, there are new challenges to face; Carrie has discovered an aspect of herself that makes her as much a danger, or potential one, as their foe, Nathan has been injured to the point of near permanent death, and that's just the highlights. The coming battle will demand sacrifices and choices that are nigh to impossible to imagine, but are nonetheless essential.

In a way, I hate this because it is clearly the end of the series and I love the books so much I don't want them to stop. Yet, I must admire an author who has the courage to not milk something for all it's worth and keep at it beyond that. This is a heartwrenching saga, and never more so than in this final volume. It will put you through an emotional ringer and have you on the edge of your seat. Ms. Armintrout is right up there with J.K. Rowling and Stephen R Donaldson for being able to make you feel the intense pain in her words and live in the characters' souls to share it with them. Yet, you love the story for the emotional battering it gives you. You must buy her books if you like quality, that's all there is to it.

Amanda Ashley Madeline Baker Interview

You write under two names, each with a distinct voice. Is it difficult to manage separate personas?
It sounds strange, but I never realized my "voice" changed when I changed genres until someone else pointed it out to me. I don't think it's something I do on a conscious level, it just happens.

What inspired you to shift from historical to incorporate paranormal?
My agent. Years ago, he asked if I'd like to write a story for a paranormal anthology. I'd been reading vampire romances and decided to try writing about a vampire. That story, "Masquerade" (available in the anthology "After Twilight") was such fun to write that I wrote a full-length novel ("Embrace the Night") and I've been writing vampires, and loving it, ever since.
A strong, redemptive theme runs through your writing. Is this influenced by religious beliefs?
I never thought about it. When I sit down to write, I'm never sure what's coming next. I simply write what comes to me as I'm in a particular character's point of view. I've never made a conscious effort to write a particular theme. Having said that, I do have strong religious beliefs, so I'm sure there's a connection.

Your books stand alone well, but they all each fit into an established universe, something many writers fail to do; if they are part of a world, most books don't stand alone well. Is this a hard trick?
You ask really hard questions, and I feel kind of foolish because these are questions I've never considered. I just write. Whatever I do, it just happens naturally, or maybe subconsciously. When I write, it's sort of like recording what I see happening inside my mind. I don't worry about voice or technique, I just write. The only thing I am conscious of as I write are my readers. I know that I have readers as young as 11 or 12, and I'm mindful of that as I write.

I know many authors are "pushing the envelope", getting more and more graphic in their language and their love scenes, something which turns me off. I've stopped buying several of my favorite authors for this reason. I've read things lately that would never have been acceptable a few years ago. I fully agree with whoever said, "Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should."

How do your vampire books all relate to each other?

I have two series:

Shades of Gray

After Sundown

Desire After Dark

Night’s Kiss

Night’s Touch

Night’s Master

Night’s Pleasure

Night’s Mistress (tentative title)

Have you considered other para beings?
Some of my books have other paranormal beings in them - mostly witches and werewolves, but for now, I think my heroes will continue to be vampires. I'm fascinated by them. I do have one book (Deeper Than the Night) where the hero behaves like a vampire, but is actually an alien. And also a short story (Sunlight, Moonlight) where the hero, who looks like Fabio, is from another planet. That one was really fun to write!

What's next under any name?
Amanda Ashley has Night's Master coming out in October. It's the 3rd book in my Night series. The 4th book, Night's Pleasure, will be out in February of '09. I love both of these books, which are about twin brothers. In August of this year, I have a short story in an anthology titled "The Mammoth Book of Vampires Romances".

Cerridwen is publishing 4 of my out-of-print Madeline Baker historical romances: Hawk's Woman, Wolf Shadow, Lakota Love Song, and Apache Flame. They'll be released first as ebooks, and then in print. The first one, Hawk's Woman, will be out in July as an ebook and then in print at the end of September, with the other books to follow every few months.

Leisure Books is reissuing Midnight Fire, Reckless Desire, Renegade Heart and Reckless Embrace in September or October of this year.

Is there anything you'd just like to say? Free reign.

Mainly, I'd like to thank those who take the time to write or email me to tell me that they enjoy my books. I get a lot of negative reviews on Amazon. Receiving letters from readers saying they like my work takes some of the sting out of those nasty Amazon reviews. And thank you, Amanda, for the wonderful review you gave Night's Master, and for this interview. Mandy

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A different Camelot

The Excalibur Murders
J.M.C. Blair
ISBN 0425222535

The "peace" of Camelot is shattered when first one squire, then his twin brother is murdered and both the legendary sword and the stone vanish. With jealousy, greed, and ambition running high, it will be a dangerous challenge for any sleuth to investigate the matter and there is no shortage of suspects. Fortunately, though Merlin has no magical powers, he is as brilliant as Sherlock and ably assisted by Nimue as he delves into the motives and clues presented to him and tries to keep Arthur from being the ultimate victim.

This is not your standard version of Camelot, though it is likely truer to the facts than the traditional. No love is lost between the King and his queen, but Lancelot is not nearly as noble either. Politics and sheer conflicting personalities make this a much more complicated land than the fairy tale images we usually see, but it's also a fascinating vision. I frankly loved this book and want to read more of the author and the series.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Something to Look forward too for Vampire lovers

Night's Master
Amanda Ashley
ISBN 0821780638
Vampire Romance

Almost immediately, Kathy McKenna and Rafe Cordova are drawn together, and not just because the lovely bookstore owner can sense paranormal beings, such as vampires, which is what Rafe is. Despite all the good common sense arguments against getting involved, the two fall in love at the worst possible time, in the midst of a war between vampires and shape shifters and just as after a lull of a quarter century, hunters are on the rise again and more sinister than ever. This time, not only are were creatures and vampires in danger from them, but so are ordinary humans whose deaths could be useful. Love is a battle when your heart belongs to the undead.

How can a book be charmingly sweet yet edgy at the same time? I don't know how, but Amanda Ashley invariable makes it happen and in a unique way that keeps me impatient for her next book. The family ties she forms that provide the foundations of her worlds make you care about them, whether it's the Cordova family, or Edward the hunter turned vampire, or any other set. Night's Master is almost impossible to put down, but is also gentle enough to be relaxing. I love how she conveys the sensual without being graphic and how Rafe respects his lady's morals. We need more of that in this world, in both reality and fiction. My hat is off to my fellow Amanda.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Rene Gutteridge
ISBN 1400071593

Posing as an annoying, needy, yet pleasant passenger, Hank Hazard is about to embark on the ride of his life as he proves to be the salt that keeps a quirk filled flight from falling to pieces. Between a pet pig, a passenger who dies, a New Age secular humanist, turbulence, and an inept hijacker, Hank will need all the faith he can mustesr and every bit of God's grace to see his fellow passengers and crew through the obstacle course of crises that assail them.

Though engaging and making a definite point about the need for faith in stressful times especially, it could convince you to never ever fly. Humor and serious matters are well blended, and the message is not preachy. Hank simply evangelizes by being himself, something most of us need lessons in doing.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ten Best Days of My Life - Debut Author

The Ten Best Days of My Life
Adena Halpern
ISBN 0452289408
Fantasy/Women's fiction

Struck down while walking her dog at four a.m., Alex finds herself instantly in the Seventh Heaven where life could hardly get any better as far as she's concerned. Everything that was good but had drawbacks on Earth is now completely without negative implications. Love, clothes, food, you name it, it's there to enjoy. Then, she gets the news that her time there is limited unless she passes an entrance essay exam that is to recount the ten best days of her life. Though the ones she chooses often seem mundane, even in her own estimation, the journey of self discovery is anything but.

This is one of those books that should be bland and boring, but instead is touching, funny, and just works. I will admit that if I judged it on theology, it would get an F on its portrayal of Heaven as a place of sensual delight, not one where you enjoy God forever. That aside, the message of love, not romantic love, but a deeper kind, is one that will make you long to hug someone, especially if they are in Heaven now. This may be a comedy, but I value the tears it brought to me even more than the laughter, they were the good kind of tears.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Teen read that speaks to all ages

If You Could Only Choose Your Mother
Julie Harford
ISBN 159987317

Five years ago, Marcie's mother walked out, and in the intervening years, her dad has dated some. The latest one is Eva, a rather maternal type who is actually older than he is, but all her good qualities only make Marcie resent her more; not that she wants her mother back, she just doesn't want another woman there either. Nor is she thrilled when her absentee parenet demands that she and her brother come spend the summer in New York and to her wedding. Her attempts to cope with that only lead to arguments and humiliating incidents. Her best friend getting into trouble only adds to the tension, but then, something good happens and Marcie finally discovers what might be true love. With things looking up, Marcie is actually happy, until tragedy strikes and she is forced to face one of the scariest things that can happen to a teen, or to an adult for that matter. In the crisis though, she learns many very important things.

I have often advised adult readers to partake of young adult books, and this is no exception. Though darker than you might expect a teen book to be, the realism of it is never crass or overly depressing. Furthermore, the bleak moments make the light shine through all the more clearly when it comes. Marcie's is a powerful story, one that will get into your heart. Having watched my own dad suffer ill health, I have to say, those scenes almost hit too close to home, and made me wish I could hug the characters involved.


Author: Amy Wallace
Title - Healing Promises

Clint Rollins is used to danger, even to putting his life at risk, but when he is shot and discovers that the true enemy lies within his own body, cancer, the agent finds himself in a new war. Complicating factors include the fact that Sara, his wife, while supportive, feels extreme guilt for not seeing the signs sooner and a former enemy who wants revenge on them both. Battling this evil man, his body, and his emotions puts Clint's strong faith to the ultimate test and he wonders if God abandoned him or if there can be truth behind the promises of healing?

**** Anyone who has ever witnessed a loved one go through this or lived through a debilitating disease, cancer or other, may find this uncomfortable reading as Ms. Wallace has captured the emotional turbulence of the situation and the Job like feelings of martyrdom perfectly. Balancing out the melancholy is the suspense plot that is only enhanced by the more common but no less threatening danger. ****

For your convenience you may read more about, or purchase this book, from Amazon by clicking HERE!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Deja Demon
Julie Kenner
Berkley Trade
ISBN 0425221903
Urban fantasy

Life can be complicated for your average suburban housewife, this is true, but for Kate Connor, that is triply true, maybe more. First of all, she lives a double life, juggling being a wife and mother with keeping the world safe from demons. She also has her daughter, Allie, to train as a potential hunter and a faux grandfather-in-law retired hunter helping her. Kate's other partner in demon hunting is the major complication in her world; though the world knows him as David, a mild mannered high school science teacher, she knows he is her first husband, her soul mate, Eric, back from the dead in a different body and wanting his family back. She does love her present husband, but the old attraction is there. All this drama is going on, along with her present husband's attempts to be elected to public office, trying to keep her activities and her other husband secret from him, and dealing with zombies, a demon war, and ancient prophecies.

This is easily among the very best of urban fantasy. There is a lot to laugh at, but the serious events are what will hold your attention and make Kate Connor's world beloved. The issues she wrestles with are so compelling that it is frustrating for a book to end. I can hardly wait to learn more. Each one gets better and better and Deja Demon will have you on the edge of your seat with suspense, laughing, and crying all in the too brief time it takes to finish it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Blood Noir
Laurrell K Hamilton
ISBN 0425222195
Urban fantasy

To help out Jason, one of her many men, Anita Blake agrees to exaggerate their relationship and accompany the young werewolf home so he can hopefully reconcile with his dying father. Yet, once there, it is clear that her efforts are not only in vain, but may have put Jean-Claude, the Master of St. Louis, in danger from those who crave his power. On top of that, Anita's powers are continuing to evolve and grow, making her the focus of attention for Jean-Claude's rivals, not to mention the fact that the Mother of Darkness is still obsessed with the necromancer. However, it is another, completely unexpected enemy that will nearly cost Anita a piece of her heart.

Despite a few gratuitous sex scenes, which are easily skimmed past if you are among those who love Anita's world except for that angle, this is a fantastic story where character development is the main focus. Jason has been an intriguing man who lingered on the edge while the Alphas of various forms took center stage. Now, featured in his own right, he truly comes to life and is revealed to be a more complex, vulnerable and very loveable soul. The continuing cold war with Marmee Noir remains one of the more fascinating sub-threads to this saga, and I anxiously await its full blown treatment.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Interview with Alice Alfonsi/Alice Kimberly/Cleo Coyle

TO: Amanda Killgore, Huntress Reviews, The Eternal Night UK,

FROM: Alice Alfonsi, author (

SUBJECT: Q&A with Alice Alfonsi, who writes as Cleo Coyle and Alice Kimberly

1. For newbie readers, tell us a bit about your dual identities and what "they" write.

Cleo Coyle is my writing ID for the Coffeehouse Mysteries, a series of light amateur sleuth novels that have been (so far, anyway) national bestsellers. Cleo’s mystery series focuses on the misadventures of single-mom, barista, and coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi, a woman who routinely finds herself mixed up in murder. One fan called it Murder She Wrote meets Starbucks – that’s a fair description and a nice one, actually, since I happen to love Murder She Wrote!
Berkley Prime Crime has published six books in Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mystery series thus far: On What Grounds, Through the Grinder, Latte Trouble, Murder Most Frothy, Decaffeinated Corpse, French Pressed and (coming in late September, the first hardcover of the series) Espresso Shot.
If you start with book one and read the books in order, you’ll see that Clare Cosi moves along on a sort of amateur sleuth learning curve. Your average barista, after all, isn’t going to be ready for a starring role on CSI right out of the starting gate, you know? So during the first novel, an NYPD detective named Mike Quinn becomes one of Clare’s regular coffeehouse customers (not too big a stretch since cops usually down coffee by the gallon during their tours). The more Clare learns from Mike Quinn about detection and crime solving, the better she gets at practicing it.

My second alias is Alice Kimberly. Alice writes the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries (also for Berkley Prime Crime). The amateur sleuth in her series is Penelope Thornton-McClure or “Pen” for short. Pen owns the Rhode Island bookshop of the series title and during the first novel of the series she discovers that her bookshop is haunted by the spirit of a big city private detective named Jack Shepard, who was gunned down on the premises while investigating a murder. Now Jack’s ghost is stuck within the fieldstone walls of Pen’s shop—and, brother, is he bored with his small town afterlife. But then bodies start dropping around Penelope, and Jack livens up. (After all, murder was his business in life.) Jack’s hard-boiled attitude often tries Pen’s patience, but the ghost has a lot more experience with solving homicides than she does. And Pen soon finds the ghost to be an invaluable crime-solving partner, even though he and his license did expire back in 1949.
The Alice Kimberly Haunted Bookshop series was launched in 2004 and there are four titles published thus far with more on the way: The Ghost and Mrs. McClure; The Ghost and the Dead Deb; The Ghost and the Dead Man’s Library; The Ghost and the Femme Fatale; and (coming in January 2009) The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion.

2. You write with your husband, yet your narrative has one voice. How difficult is it to so perfectly blend?

My husband and I have collaborated on a number of projects so by now we work pretty well together—like one person (we hope). So far, so good!

3. What made you transition from paranormal romance to mysteries?

More than ten years ago, I wrote four paranormal novels for Berkley Jove (an imprint of Penguin) under my own name, Alice Alfonsi: Some Enchanted Evening, Eternal Sea, Eternal Love, and Eternal Vows, along with a short story in an anthology, featuring a wonderful tale from the amazing Jo Beverley (Star of Wonder). Back then, the paranormal genre wasn’t as wildly popular as it is now, so the audience was pretty small, a real niche corner of the mass market, and my titles didn’t stay in print, which broke my heart, but that’s what happens when you put something out there as a writer—sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Even so, those novels led to a great opportunity.
Because I became comfortable with mixing contemporary romance with odd paranormal elements, like ghosts and Jinns, magic and mysterious plotlines, NBC television selected me from a short list of authors to “ghost” write for a fictional witch by the name of Tabitha Lenox. “Tabitha’s” book, Hidden Passions: Secrets from the Diary of Tabitha Lenox, was an original, hardcover work of fiction based on characters and situations in NBC TV’s paranormal daytime drama Passions. This was a huge job for me to take on. It was a big book, a tight deadline, and I was working a full-time day job so I did all of my writing at night and on weekends. But this offbeat novel turned out to be a New York Times, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestseller. Entertainment Weekly recognized the cheeky fun of the book, saying “camp takes courage,” which, believe me, it does! They gave it a B+ in their book review section and in their year-end issue even named Hidden Passion’s 2001’s media tie-in book of the year. The book’s editor thought we’d be very lucky if Hidden Passions made the New York Times list for one week. We were on it for eight.
Hidden Passions was also a great learning experience for me. I wrote a big, original novel, tied to a major media property, quickly and successfully. After that, it was a relatively easy process joining forces with my husband, Marc Cerasini, to co-write the first tie-in work of fiction attached to the Emmy-award winning Fox TV series 24. In our book, 24: The House Special Subcommittee’s Findings at CTU, counter-terrorist agent Jack Bauer must appear before Congress and defend the actions he took during the course of 24’s first television season (“Day 1” for fans of the show). My past experience as a news reporter was helpful there, too, since we had to create fictional news articles tied to Jack Bauer’s actions.
Marc and I learned some interesting thriller techniques working with Virgil Williams, the story editor (at the time) for 24, who guided and advised us along the way. We both agreed that a great next step would be to begin developing our own book series. But what?
Because we live and work in New York City, we wanted to set the series in the Big Apple. But there were already so many serious, dark stories about New York. We wanted to give the readers something different. Over the years, we’ve both enjoyed comic mysteries. I also knew the “village” setting was a standard for cozy mystery, so we decided to set our first mystery series in New York’s Greenwich Village.
It’s a bit of cheeky irony for the cozy genre, setting your series in the “Village” of big, bad, busy New York instead of the more traditional cozy village of a small town, but we figured the readers would give us a little license to play. And, the truth is, many aspects of New York living aren’t so dissimilar from conventional, small town life—from the city’s unique neighborhoods and mom-and-pop businesses to the love of baseball and pets. The quiet, picturesque, historically preserved neighborhood of Greenwich Village with its quaint shops and welcoming coffeehouses has plenty in common with historic small towns, too.
After getting the Coffeehouse Mysteries off the ground (with On What Grounds) in 2003, my husband and I developed our second mystery series. Given my continued fascination with the elements and themes of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (see my out-of-print paranormal novel Eternal Sea!), you can understand how Jack Shepard, ghostly PI, ended up haunting Penelope and her bookshop. (FYI: A former boyfriend of mine had a sister who owned an old Stanford White house in Newport, Rhode Island, so I’ve been to Rhode Island a number of times, which is how the setting was developed—and there are a lot of authentic ghost stories in that locale, too, by the way!)

4. When you begin a story, do you know "who dun it?" to borrow a phrase from Ellery Queen, or do you learn over the course of the story.

We almost always know who “dun it” early in the writing. How exactly we develop our plots and write our novels can differ from book to book. And, yes, on occasion we may choose a murderer later in the story. But that’s very rare. What’s much more common is our knowing from the beginning of the writing who the victim is, who the murderer is, and why the murder was committed.

5. How did you get hooked on ghosts? I got so excited to see the Ghost and Mrs. Muir quote, and as I recall as Alice Alfonsi you had several ghost romances, that I emailed my "Gamm" loop to say, “She quoted ‘our’ guy!” And, Jack would be a welcome member of the spectral fraternity with Captain Gregg, I'm sure.

For you to consider Jack worthy of sharing any plane whatsoever with the Ghost and Mrs. Muir’s Captain Gregg is one of the best compliments that you can give me. Thank you. I greatly admire author Josephine Leslie for her novel, which (as you know) was turned into a Hollywood movie after it became a bestseller in England in 1945.

I often consider the period when Ms. Leslie wrote that book—at a time when many young widows were grieving over the loss of their young, vital husbands on the bloody battlefields of World War II. Ms. Leslie’s novel (written under the pen name R.A. Dick) gave these women the story of Mrs. Muir, a young widow like themselves, who finds companionship with the ghost of a virile sea captain. Captain Gregg even becomes Mrs. Muir’s muse in the course of the novel, dictating his adventures as she writes them into a book.

I can’t think of many better uses for fiction, or any art, than to comfort the grieving; to lift them up with an idea that maybe they really aren’t so alone, that maybe there really are spirits looking after them, even if those spirits reside within themselves—as imagination, passion, or creative abilities they have yet to tap.

As to my own relationship with the spirit realm, it’s kind of morbid, but while I was growing up in Pennsylvania, I used to spend a lot of time in a small Revolutionary War-era cemetery as a kid, reading gravestones and hanging out alone with the dead. I even convinced my girlfriends to have a picnic there. (We were quiet and respectful, I assure you.) Only later in life did I learn about the Day of the Dead ritual and realized I wasn’t such a weirdo after all.

My fascination with ghosts just came naturally and very early. It’s definitely something that started before I was old enough to understand where it came from. What I call “ghost hunting” is a favorite pastime of mine and my husband’s, which is what I call visiting places purported to be haunted. I’ve even had my own encounters with ghosts/spirits—one with my husband as a witness, so I assure you that I’m not crackers. Anyway, now that my mother, my beloved Aunt Mary, and a respected mentor have all passed over, I feel a real connection to people on the other side, so when I write about ghosts, it’s from a genuine perspective. And if anyone reading this thinks the spirits of the dead are a big crock, by all means chock my viewpoint up to my superior imaginative abilities (or my unbalanced creative mind). Either way it works for me when putting specters on paper.

6. Your love of the timeless classic movies shone through, especially in all the quotes. What's your favorite of them?

If I had to narrow down my very long list of favorite old films, I’d say:
GAMM (of course!), aka The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Laura (1944), which also stars The Ghost and Mrs. Muir’s Gene Tierney, my late mother’s favorite actress
The Thin Man film series (1934 – 1947), starring William Powell & Myrna Loy
The Dark Corner, a very entertaining 1946 film with Lucille Ball as the hard-boiled gumshoe’s gutsy but steadfastly loyal secretary – a very Penelope and Jack kind of relationship!
Michael Shayne: Detective: the first in a seven-film series starring Lloyd Nolan as the title character and spanning from 1940 to 1942. This is a fun, unique detective film series, sort of hard-boiled “light” where serious hard-boiled action moments are juxtaposed with screwball comedy – based on the series of novels with the same interesting mix of elements by “Brett Halliday”
Kiss Me Deadly (1955) Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer stars in this one.
The Big Sleep (1946 version) with screenplay by Leigh Brackett and William Faulkner
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946 version)
Lady in the Lake (the surreal one, directed by Robert Montgomery in 1947, that gives the camera’s perspective to the PI, essentially making YOU the viewer Philip Marlowe), and, finally...
The dark, intense, romantic, and wonderful: Rebecca (1940).

7. What do readers have to look forward to from you under any name?

Look for Coffeehouse Mystery #7: Espresso Shot in September 2008 (for the first time releasing in hardcover – yeah, baby!) and in January 2009, look for Haunted Bookshop Mystery #5: The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion.
As Cleo Coyle, the teller of Clare Cosi’s coffeehouse tales, I’ll also continue to write and maintain the website, where I’m able to keep in touch with the series readers. I also post coffee news and recipes, give away a monthly “coffee pick” to random e-newsletter subscribers, and host a Coffee Talk message board, where readers often share favorite coffeehouses, recipes, and foodie stories. (The e-newsletter is free, by the way, and your readers are most welcome to stop by and sign up.)
Both my husband and I have quite a few ideas for more novels. If fortune smiles upon us, and allows us to continue making a living as full-time writers, we’ll be able to put in the time to develop these and get them into the hands of readers. In the end, we know ours may not be a success story. But, you know, if life’s a crap shoot, then we’re staying at the table. Odds are, the dice will be nice to you eventually—but only if you keep throwing.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

book giveaway

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Vampire in my dreams

Vampire In My Dreams
Terry Spear
ISBN 1-59998-666-3
YA Paranormal


Ironically, it is when Marissa is hunting vampires that she meets her soul mate, who happens to be almost a vampire. Dominic has one shot at escaping a dark destiny, and the moment he sees Marissa, he knows she is the key to his return to being a normal human. Fortunately or unfortunately, Marissa is not a plain vanilla human; she's a witch, so he can't compel her cooperation, he has to win it. As soon as she truly comprehends what danger he is in and begins to love him, Marissa can't do otherwise, though, even if she is ticked about a slip up that could doom her as well. With time running out, the young couple has to defeat the dangerous female who sired Dominic or lose their souls forever.

Anyone who loves vampire stories should get this, regardless of their age. The legends are updated and reinvented with a fresh spin that holds your interest from the outset. There is just enough angst and tension to give this book an edge, yet light moments keep it from being dark or grim in any way. This is a world I'd gladly revisit. Ms. Spears' characters are believable, even with their gifts and powers, making them easy to care about.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Terrific two-fer post - Kleypas and Cast

Blue Eyed Devil
Lisa Kleypas
St Martin's
March 25
ISBN 031235164X
Romantic Suspense

If she had just followed through on the one, embarrassing kiss she accidentally gave Hardy Cates in the dark, Haven Travis might have saved herself a sentence in an earthly Hell. But, she did not, instead marrying the devil himself, or nearly so. Nick turns from being a caring fiance' to a demoralizing, abusive rapist, subjecting her to years of degrading torture that strips away Haven's self worth and tries to steal her away from herself. When he goes too far, Haven is able to summon up enough spirit to escape, turning to her brother for refuge. Once safe, she begins to heal on several levels gradually. Then, Hardy re-enters her life and the attraction is there and stronger than ever. Yet, Haven still has the scars of her marraige on her soul, ones Hardy will have to deal with in order to win her. And, Nick is not done with his ex-wife.

Though this book has been critisized for being graphic in its depiction of domestic violence, that is a strength. Normally, I abhor seeing portrayls that are graphic in any way; however, it was critical to this story for the harshness to be seen. Haven's situation comes to life thanks to this, and once you start, this book is impossible to walk away from.

Warrior Rising
P.C. Cast
ISBN 0425221377
Paranormal/Time Travel

When the goddesses get utterly fed up with the Trojan War, not to mention with all the inaccurate information that myth, legend, and history have recorded about it, they decide its time to intervene. Since Achilles is the key to stopping it, they decide what he needs is a good woman, and thanks to Venus' time in the modern world among mortals, Kat, a twenty first century woman in the prime of her life, is chosen to go back to the time of the Iliad and tame a berserker warrior. Before she can though, she and her best friend, Jacky, are killed in a car wreck. While that's disconcerting, it's no problem, really. The goddesses simply transplant their souls into the bodies of a Trojan princess and her maid. As the princess, Kat combines a younger, more beautiful body with her intellect and skills to easily win over her "master." Yet, though Achilles loves her and longs for peace, he lives under a curse and fate seems determined to carry out his doom. Only a great sacrifice might have a slim chance of stopping that, if Kat is willing.

Most Trojan epics can be summed up in the phrase long and boring. No wonder Venus, Athena, and company got their fill of it. This is the exception to the rule. With snazzy, snappy wit and loads of humor, Ms. Cast has made the epic interesting again. Her spin on things is far different than most, but that is what makes it wonderful.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Oceans Apart

Oceans Apart
Karen Kingsbury
ISBN 0061456713
Inspirational Mainstream

He only slipped up once in his marriage vows and his commitment to living the Christian way, but it only took one night of giving into loneliness and tempation to give Connor Evans a son that he does not know about until the boy's mother is killed in a plane crash. When lawyers contact him to inform him of the sad news and the decision he now faces, Connor must confess to cheating to his wife, Michele. Though she attempts to cope, Michele is rocked and believes her entire marriage to be stained by lies. Even as Conner and his son, Max grow closer and their daughters begin to accept him as a friend, even though they do not know the whole truth, Michele struggles with the entire situation. Has Conner gained a son to lose a marriage? What is the path God woudl have them take?

This is a book that will shake you up; Ms. Kingsbury, as usual, pulls you into the narrative and wires you into the characters' emotions. Max's simple faith, Michele's hurt reaction to being betrayed, and Conner having to face the results of his sin will all feel as real as the nose on your face. Once again, a strong Christian message is presented, but not in a wimpy way, like so many "inspirational" novels tend to do. The characters are beautifully realized with all their flaws and heartaches. Even more clear though, is God's ability to make miracles out of messes.


The Hollow
Nora Roberts
ISBN 0515144592
Paranormal Romantic Suspense

Once upon a time, three young boys performed a dark ritual to bind their friendship, but in doing so, awakened an ancient evil that has gone on a killing spree at seven year intervals in their small hometown. As the time for its return approaches, the trio unites to stop it. Now adults, the men need their other halves, the women who are their soul mates, to help them use the powers that the ceremony bequeathed them, in order to put the chaos to an end and atone for their foolish act. Fox's resultant "gift" from that night was the ability to read minds, and in Layla, he finds a soul with a similar blessed curse. For her the emphasis is on the curse side, and she is unable to deal with having such a power, or the sudden connection she finds with this man. Despite her struggle, it is something she must learn to accept, for herself, for Fox, and for everyone she cares for's sakes.

The drama and tension continue to cast their spells over Ms. Roberts' legions of fans. Her ability to weave relationships is fantastic, and she makes the utterly unrealistic seem totally believable. You will never go wrong with one of her books, and this is not the exception to the rule.


Call of the Highland Moon
Kendra Leigh Castle
Casablanca Press
ISBN 1402211589

Normally, the worst thing you have to worry about when taking in a stray is fleas, various messes, or possibly that the animal is diseased. The critter turning into a hot naked guy running both away from and towards destiny just is not something that would cross your mind, but it's what Carly gets when she takes in a rather large dog that turns out not only to be a wolf, but Gideon, a werewolf crown prince. Bound together by evil circumstances that include the weather and rival wolves and by a growing attraction for each other that goes against all the rules and logic, Carly and Gideon become involved in a power struggle and the search for an ancient artifact dating back to the time of the Patriarchs.

Weaving together romance, adventure, and lore, Ms. Castle has the start of a fantastic series here. All sorts of passionate feelings crackle to life on the pages, shifting dynamically as lycanthrope mythology is reinvented for this new world. This belongs on the keeper shelf beside Susan Krinard or Ronda Thompson's shapeshifter romances for sure.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Stranger in Death
J.D. Robb
ISBN 0399154701

The humiliating death of a millionaire was supposed to look like a kinky accident, but Eve Dallas knows murder when she sees it. Though she has strong suspicions about who did it and why, there is no way to prove it as the prime suspect has an airtight alibi. Frustration only makes her determination stronger. Armed with her keen mind, her need for justice, unerring instincts, and a cadre of loyal and brilliant friends, Eve sets out to prove her theory. The key will be found in a most unusual way.

Combining the wit and class of the best and most classic detectives with a taut edge, a hint of sizzling passion, and wry humor, Ms. Robb once again proves why Eve Dallas is the best there is. Normally, I do not like futuristic stories, because they lack humanity, but Dallas breaks that rule. The strong characterizations are what keep this series working and make it, in the words of Mavis, “totally mag.” Even if you are not into novels set in anything other than the present, if you enjoy mysteries, if you enjoy having a series where the characters become cherished friends, you are cheating yourself not to invest in the entire set of these books. Invest is the right word; they are keepers.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Personal Demons - Stacia Kane

Personal Demons
Stacia Kane
ISBN 0809572559
Urban Fantasy

Her promises to "slay personal demons" for her listeners and patients were supposed to be only taken as a figure of speech. Despite her paranormal gift that allowed her to read minds, Megan did not really believe there were demons out there, and certainly not that they would come after her. However, she has to alter her thoughts when she begins to see them and when a friend, Greyson, turns out to be one that is trying to keep her safe from the Accuser himself. This turn of events also forces her to confront her pain filled childhood and the incident that made her a parriah in her home town. Unless she gets past that, if she survives, her future will be ruined. Of course, the trio of demon brothers assigned to keep her from becoming roadkill would rather face the legions of Hell than Greyson if they fail to make sure she lives to see tomorrow.

Ms. Kane has managed to blend eerie edginess with laugh out loud humor and just enough romance to make this a truly winning recipe for a good read. She even includes a recipe that looks interesting enough to almost tempt a vegetarian! I simply adored this story, especially the three brothers 0809572559who I cannot decide if I'd enjoy having around or if they'd drive me mad trying to "take care of me" where I their charge. Treat yourself to this when you want to smile.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Personal Demon Kelley Armstrong

Personal Demons
Kelley Armstrong
ISBN 0553806610
Urban Fantasy/Romantic

In the Otherworld, you don't want to upset the Cabals, defy them, or owe them. Even if you are the devil's daughter, it's a wise half demon that stays on the good side of these semi - Mafia like entities. So, when the head of the Cortez Cabal calls in the debt Hope Adams, Lucifer's daughter, owes, she figures it's in her best interests to accept the job. Going undercover to infiltrate a gang of potential troublemakers, Hope soon finds herself up to her neck in alligators and having to tread a fine line to live through the successful completion of her assignment. Complicating matters is her back-up man, Karl, the werewolf who was once her lover. While she might resent his presence, the real problem is the temptation he represents. The perils are not wholly physical in nature. Moral choices, the lure of rekindling a romance, conflicting loyalties, truth, pride, and more become "personal demons" for Hope.

Sharing the spotlight with Hope is Lucas Cortez, Paige's husband and the youngest "black" or would that be white sheep of the Cortez clan. In his usual dry, yet witty tone, Lucas offers some extra insight into the twists and turns of the plot. He has even more issues to confront as he is drawn back into his family's politics. Even though this is a "Women" of the Otherworld book, it would be more than cool to see Lucas get a book told entirely through his eyes.

Having a Kelley Armstrong book come my way is always a treat, and this is no exception. There is an extra edginess to this one, especially when compared to the books focused on Paige, perhaps reflecting the evolution of Ms. Armstrong's writing as is seen in Exit Strategy. Fortunately, for new readers, this, as do all the books in this series, can stand on its own two feet. You can enter the Otherworld at any point in the timeline without being lost. Since manths pass between the stories, and I do read a lot, that is very welcome. October and the next book can't come soon enough.

Friday, April 11, 2008


The Ghost and the Femme Fatale
Alice Kimberly
Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN 0425218384

An old time film noir former bombshell, Hedda Geist, is nearly killed at a revival festival, and shortly thereafter, those who attended the Festival begin to die. Because the cops are completely off base in their investigations, Penelope Thornton and her ghostly partner, PI Jack Shephard, take on the case. Jack remembers Hedda from his days among the living, and many of the clues lie in his past, when he was alive, so that's where he takes Penelope. Once upon a time is now with this charming pair on the trail of a killer.

Time travel, magnificent, spectral rogues, mystery, and romance, what more could a girl want? Jack is one of the most charming spooks since Daniel Gregg haunted Mrs. Carolyn Muir. This book also solves a mystery for me personally; where did one of my favorite authors go, Alice Alfonsi, and now I learn she's writing mysteries under two names and I have a whole new series to track down, something I advise everyone coming to these books for the first time to do.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Cait London interview

Q.: Have you always wanted to write, or was it something that manifested later?

Cait: I've always been a heavy reader of everything, including epic poetry, but when I began reading romances, everything clicked. It was then I knew what I wanted to do. I think writing was a natural progression from that of painting. Stories are much like paintings in that there is a canvas, which would be all of the blank chapters and pages. There is a background and a foreground. The darks bring out the light pieces. They're actually very close, writing and painting, and you'll find very many of writers also are artists, photographers, et cetera. You can see some of my paintings at my website's studio. I think my interest in painting and photography now, also helps paint the scenes within my books, the settings acting as characters. To keep fresh, or going back to the well is to say, I drive quite a bit. I also take a lot of photographs, and hope to get some of them up on my website soon. I use my photographs as visuals for my books, but I miss painting very much. I have not had much time to do that since my writing career took off full-time.

Q.: What was your first published work?

Cait: LADY ON THE LINE, 1986. That was for Second Chance at Love, Berkley. I've written several category since then, quite a few Silhouette Desires, and single titles in romance subgenre. I've written for Berkley, Silhouette Desires/Harlequin, Dell, and the latest is Avon Books/HarperCollins. I am considered to be an “enduring” storyteller, that is, many of my stories are in reissue in the U.S. and abroad.

Q.: Do you have a favorite genre? Is there one kind of writing you would never want to do? Is there some kind you've always wanted to do, but never have?

Cait: I've written in several different romance subgenres, and have been quite happy in romance. I believe it permeates through time and our contemporary lines. On the other hand, stretching out of the comfortable is something every writer needs to do. If you don't stretch at times, your writing can become stale and you can be locked into a slot that may be difficult to leave. “Branding” is recommended for writers, to build their careers. However, “branding” also can restrict a writer’s creative growth. I’ve been lucky enough to move around within romance subgenres and still enjoy it. But I believe that every writer should “stretch” and I may in the future.

Q.: Would you like to meet any of your characters as "real people"?

Cait: Since I've been living with these characters for a period of time, I feel as if they are "living."  I have three daughters and understood much about the individual’s personality as it pertains to birth order. I basically wrote what I knew existed in my own family and extended the personalities.

Q.: Do you have a favorite book among your own?

Cait: My favorite book is always the one I am currently writing.

Q. Tell us about your current series?

Cait: The Aisling psychic triplet trilogy concerns contemporary sisters descended from an ancient Celtic seer and a Viking chieftain. Each triplet has inherited a gift she does not want; she only wants to be like every other normal woman, but she cannot deny her inheritance. Claire, the youngest and an empath, begins the series in AT THE EDGE. Tempest’s gift lies in her touch; with her naked hands she can feel the history of an object and something of those who have held it. She must wear gloves to protect herself, and her story is A STRANGER'S TOUCH. Leona, the eldest is a precognitive; she sees into the future and her visions are unwanted. She is also the oldest and considered the most powerful of the psychics, should she want to "open" herself. FOR HER EYES ONLY is an October 2008 release and ends the series. Though each book has its own individual story, there are story threads through out all three, and danger is never far away.

Q.: Will Greer get her own book?

Cait: There is much interest in Greer; however at this time I am not planning a prequel.

Q.: Do you think this series of books works better as direct sequels one to the other chronologically or more of they all exist in the same world and are related, but can be read in any order of format?

Cait: This is based on individual taste; all readers like different challenges and have different interests. These books are based on a storyline arc. That means interest builds in the first book, identifies the main characters throughout. The second book heightens the interest and danger, and the third book concludes the series, answering all questions. Not all readers like many-layered stories, rather they would prefer to read simplistic books. It's all a matter of individual reader preference as to whether they want individual completed stories within each book, or a continuation until the conclusion. For the writer, to write series in a storyline arc is a definite risk. I only hope readers will enjoy the triplets journey through their romances and danger. I believe this trilogy will be enduring and has already gone back to print for new readers.

Q.: What’s your favorite way to interact with fans? As any fan encounter particularly touched you? Freak you out?

Cait: To me, the word “fans” represents more of an interest in me personally, rather than my stories. I love talking to readers at my book signings and do carry on correspondence with some of them via e-mail. But generally, a writer's life is pretty reclusive as they create their stories. I am no different. It is always surprising and thrilling when a reader can recall an older book, the incidents, and the characters, while I have moved on to new stories, and cannot recall the same. Many of my books are reread and recalled to me continuously, and I am always pleased.

Q.: Anything else you would like to add?

Cait: I hope readers of my work will visit my extensive website to learn more about the Aisling psychic triplets and my personal involvement with their development. I am guesting on several blogs now and writing articles about the series and my work, i.e. how I get my ideas, etc. I hope readers will subscribe to my e-newsletter at my website, They can also enter monthly contests, check out my articles on writing, cooking, etc. I hope that readers will also write to me. I am always grateful when readers take their own time to write. A wonderful letter from a reader is an uplifting gift and encouragement.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Feast of Fools, Mogranville

Feast of Fools
Rachel Caine
ISBN 0451224639
YA Paranormal

Claire is rapidly coming to learn that in Morganville, it's always darkest, and there's no dawn that the darkest is just before, and furthermore, when it's dark, that's when the vampires come out to play with humans. It need not be said that the games are not nice or fun for the humans. Though she might feel like Amelie is on the side of the angels and can harbor both fear and an odd affection for Myrnin, and even be friends with Michael Glass, for the most part, she fears the vampires, with reason. The newest one in town, Bishop, makes even Oliver, Amelie's nemesis, seem friendly. With the deadliest, most ruthless of the undead in Morganville, determined to take over, and with her parents and friends in danger from him and his minions, the risks Claire is forced to take are not just increased, but cubed. Strange alliances are made as former enemies realize that they share a common foe. As Claire struggles with all this, she still has to race against time to try and save the lives of all the local vampires from a microscopic opponent, a disease that could make the threat of Biship moot. And somewhere in all the madness, she'd love to be able to sort out her own life as well.

Even when she's not writing about the weather, Ms. Caine blows me away. Through Claire's eyes and heart, we are pulled into an intense, kinetic, and highly emotional story that with wider exposure could topple a certain wizard from his broomstick. Words can barely describe the impact of books like this, that are so filled with feeling that you almost become the characters. It is not a stand alone novel, but if you have missed the first volumes, you just need to go back and read them. Though labeled young adult book, I'd say that just means there is nothing vulgar in it. The swear words are those of low level and everyone keeps their clothes on around other people. That does not make this any less of a mature book. In fact, it is more so than some adult books.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Amish romance

When Morning Comes
Cindy Woodsmall
ISBN 0739487949

After fleeing her quiet Amish community, Hannah sought to make a new life for herself among the "English." Still mourning the loss of the baby concieved in violence, she is quite lost in the new world until a kind, yet gruff and somewhat sarcastic, doctor, Martin, offers her friendship and real help. Before long, she is attending school, working, and making friends in a land she never imagined living in. Meanwhile, back at home, her first love, Paul, has seen how wrong he was about her and wants to find her, and her family is grief stricken by her disappearance. Her sister in particular has difficulty coping. As Hannah moves on, the question remains, will she ever find the past she left behind, or is the future a better direction?

This beautifully complex novel manages to be gentle and hard hitting at the same time. Hannah's story has taken an unusual twist that I did not see coming,and though unconventional, is executed so well that I hope it ends in a certain way that I'd spoil for the readers if I said more about. Ms. Woodsmall is not just one of the best inspirational authors, but one of the best.

Amish romance

When Morning Comes
Cindy Woodsmall
ISBN 0739487949

After fleeing her quiet Amish community, Hannah sought to make a new life for herself among the "English." Still mourning the loss of the baby concieved in violence, she is quite lost in the new world until a kind, yet gruff and somewhat sarcastic, doctor, Martin, offers her friendship and real help. Before long, she is attending school, working, and making friends in a land she never imagined living in. Meanwhile, back at home, her first love, Paul, has seen how wrong he was about her and wants to find her, and her family is grief stricken by her disappearance. Her sister in particular has difficulty coping. As Hannah moves on, the question remains, will she ever find the past she left behind, or is the future a better direction?

This beautifully complex novel manages to be gentle and hard hitting at the same time. Hannah's story has taken an unusual twist that I did not see coming,and though unconventional, is executed so well that I hope it ends in a certain way that I'd spoil for the readers if I said more about. Ms. Woodsmall is not just one of the best inspirational authors, but one of the best.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Truly original

Eternal Pleasure
Nina Bangs
ISBN 0843959533

For sixty five million years, the Eleven have waited for this time, the time when the world would be poised on the edge of a violent change, one that would wipe out mankind, unless they, the protectors of humanity, could triumph against their foes. Now, with the long prophesized event upon them, it is up to Ty Endeka and his ten "brothers," for want of a better description, along with Ty's driver, Kelly, to prevent what would amount to Armeggedon. For her part, Kelly had no idea what she was getting into when she accepted the job to chauffer the sinfully handsome man, or any idea what he truly was. She did know Houston could get strange, but as she enters Ty's world, she finds out exactly how weird. Her planet is on the line here, and now, so is her heart. Ty is not an ordinary guy; in fact, he's so different that even if he saves the world, Kelly's looking at a broken heart, but she still has to risk it all.

This is a complex book, one that is tough to sum up without letting the cat, complete with sharp fangs, out of the bag, and that would absolutely ruin your enjoyment of this marvelous novel. Ms. Bangs can be relied upon to deliver a story worth her readers' time and money, but she truly reveals her range of ability in this one. We are used to light comedy from her, and it's there, but coupled with high drama, action, and concepts that are brand new, at least to me. Her hero is like nothing you've met before on the printed page, and I seriously doubt elsewhere either. As a native Houstonian, I can add in that she captures the city itself well, too, and a couple of places where she mentioned supernatural goings on taking place, I had to think, "You know, that could explain a bit."

Friday, March 28, 2008

Marguerite's story

Vampire, Interrupted
Lynsay Sands
ISBN 0061229776
Paranormal Romance

Though Marguerite is beloved by her entire family, it appears that not everyone holds her in equal affection; someone is determined to remove her pretty, seven hundred year old head from her shoulders. Just as her life has taken this dangerous and deadly turn, she meets Julius, another Immortal who gets into her heart like no man ever has, including her late husband. Could he be her lifemate, after all this time? Has he found her just in time to lose her to another's desire for revenge, and what secrets will be revealed as he enters Marguerite's life?

Humor, romance, mystery, and delightful plot twists make this one of the strongest Argeneau books yet. Marguerite is a mature heroine, yet still innocent in a way, and not at all worn out or angsty. The complexity of her situation might boggle the mind, but after being a supporting character for so many novels, it's time she got her own, very meaty story. I just hope there is more to come.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cait London's Stranger's Touch

Stranger's Touch
Cait London
ISBN 0061140511
Paranormal Romance

Her life, and her sister's lives, have been dominated by the prepossessing fact of their powers. Tempest's "gift" is to be able to know all about an object by simply touching it, so she keeps her hands gloved, trying to minimize the exposure and the trauma. Sure that a brooch is key to freeing her family from a cursed destiny, Tempest has made locating it her goal in life. However, its owner is in the way. Handsome, wealthy, and suave, Marcus is every woman's dream, except perhaps Tempest's. She is able to walk away from him, rather than the reverse. That makes her VERY interesting to him. Like Tempest, Marcus is haunted by his past, specifically, by his parents' murders, and believes she can help him put those ghosts to rest. In order to do so, she will have to make herself vulnerable, in more ways than one. Though she is walking into what she knows is a dangerous situation, Tempest risks everything for those she loves; surprisingly, that list has expanded to include Marcus, not just her sisters and mother.

Tempest and Marcus' story is one that manages to be both incredible and credible at once. Though the description of her power will remind you, superficially, of the X-men's Rogue, she is much more than that character. This is a solid, well rounded tale that holds your attention from beginning to end. I would also love to see a novel featuring her mother, Greer, at the center. The glimpses of her showed someone who was complex and had enough of a past and secrets to rate four hundred plus pages to delve into them.