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It’s March Madness — and I don’t mean NCAA hoops February 27, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in News.
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So many good reads out there right now — so little time to get through them all. But we will have some good stuff coming this week on the blog!

Look for my take on the latest Cat & Bones book — THIS SIDE OF THE GRAVE — by Jeaniene Frost.
Patricia Briggs comes out with her latest Mercy Thompson book — RIVER MARKED — on Tuesday. I’ll be looking at that and posting this week.
Q&A with Dianne Duvall on her debut release DARKNESS DAWNS (She will be giving away a copy of her book!)

RT convention in LA: Anyone going to LA April 6-10 for this event? If so — holler. I might go one day, but am not sure yet. Just seeing if there’s anyone else who might attend. (Which authors are you most interested in — see website HERE for author list and events. )

Something fun: Check out GEEK SPEAK MAGAZINE’S “The Top 13 Paranormal Romance Cliches.” It’s a hoot. Subtitled: “Virgins, whores, soulmates, serendipity, mortal enemies, and more. A look at all the tropes we love … and love to mock.” So have some fun! CLICK HERE for the article and list!

My fave on their list is No. 7. Here’s a little excerpt: (What’s your fave?)

7. The Headless Hero
You know how you can tell it’s a Paranormal Romance? The cover features a dude with chiseled abs and no head. Okay, that may be an oversimplification — sometimes it’s a scantily clad and nubile headless woman. There will often be a full moon. Other indicators are an exquisitely wrought young thing taking a bite out of someone’s neck, any kind of black and lacy wings (especially prevalent, in this time of angels), or perhaps even a hot chick in leather staring sultrily out at us — though the latter does tend to suggest that the book is leaning more towards the Urban Fantasy end of the spectrum. But a good rule of thumb in the Science Fiction and Fantasy section of the bookstore: if you can only see a tantalizing part of the cover model’s perfect face and/or semi-naked body, then odds are, it ain’t Tolkien.

On a related note, you can tell it’s the Paranormal kind in the Romance section of the bookstore by answering ye these questions three: 1. Is there only a partial person on the cover? 2. Is the cover shadowed and kinda mysterious? 3. Does the title have anything to do with a) darkness, death, or any kind of hunger, b) wolves, moons or The Night, c. legendary creatures, myths or magic, or d. the Scottish Highlands? Preferably, in pun-form? If so, it’s PR alright!

Book pick: ‘Dreams of a Dark Warrior’ — darkest story in the IAD series February 20, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in News, Reviews/summaries.
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I usually shy away from reincarnation romance stories, but I couldn’t pass up DREAMS OF A DARK WARRIOR, the ninth novel  in Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series.  But be warned, this is a much darker IAD book than her previous entries.

The story — which is almost a retelling of DEMON FROM THE DARK from a different point of view — follows ill-fated lovers  Aidan the Fierce and Regin the Radiant. Warlord Aidan first meets Regin when she is 12. He is  a berserker, who recognizes her as his mate, and waits for her to grow up before claiming her. But his life — and their love life — is cut short before he can gain immortality.  And that’s their history. Every time the reincarnated Aidan and Regin consummate their love, Aidan  dies shortly after, leaving immortal Valkyrie Regin to mourn his loss and wait for his next reincarnation – where he dies again.

So when the present day story picks up, the cheeky Regin is done repeating history. This time,  she decides not to look for the next version of Aidan — hoping to avoid heartbreak and their cursed history.

Instead, Regin is kidnapped by The Order, a mortal organization that wants to wipe out all immortals. And guess who is a bigwig in The Order and Regin’s captor?  Declan Chase, a bitter, emotionally/physically scarred human who hates all immortals — but who is the latest reincarnation of Aidan the Fierce.

Chase is a real evil dude. He kills and tortures good and evil immortals alike and doesn’t realize that not all supernatural beings are like the evil creatures who  killed his family and tortured him when he was a teen.  As fate would have it (Hint: Nix knows all), Regin ends up as one of his torture victims. This is where the story got a little weird for me. In previous reincarnations, Aidan would recognize Regin as his beloved — just after they kissed — and would do everything in his power to protect her from any harm. But while Chase feels something toward Regin — he refuses to fall for her, fails to protect her and it makes him a very hard Kresley Cole hero to love. This is a guy who has his best friend (Brandr) cut up. (Yuck!) He even guts Regin during the capture and continues to let her come into harm’s way at the compound.

I have to say, Chase is my least favorite hero of the entire series right now. There’s nothing wrong with a few flaws, but he’s beyond just a few. He’s a broken man, at times warring with his personal feelings and brainwashing via The Order. He’s hooked on drugs. And in desperation, he makes deals with other immortals — yes — to help save Regin — but it’s hard to swallow. And the torture stuff. Ugh. Just hard to take that and think this is the guy the spirited and witty Regin will wind up with.  In the end, the author does salvage his character enough that some IAD readers should come around.

He’s not super popular among the Lore either. After he helps Regin and other immortals escape from The Order’s torture camp,  Chase kind of has a price on his head. After all, he captured and tortured so many of the Lore. And even at the end of the story, it’s clear that many in the Lore don’t care if he’s with Regin — he’s not been forgiven for his role in The Order.

DREAMS OF A DARK WARRIOR does have a great supporting cast:  Natalya with her poisonous claws; Thad, the clueless vampire halfling who has no idea what his “talent’ might be,  and Lothaire (evil vampire) who holds a lot of power and secrets. They offer most of the  humor that’s a trademark of Kresley Cole, and they lighten the dark romance between Chase and Regin.  Their escape gives you the “other view” of the collapse of The Order’s compound that we saw in DEMON FROM THE DARK. And if you’ve read that — you definitely already know some of what happens to Regin and her friends. We also get to see Malkom Slaine and Carrow Graie again. (Since this is a retelling)

As with all IAD books there are a lot of sex scenes. This time around, I thought it was a bit much. (Maybe it’s because I didn’t like Chase for most of the novel?)

Still, if you’re reading the series, you don’t want to miss this story. The reincarnation romance  was interesting and even funny at times — plus it had an interesting twist.  And this story also is setting us up for the next book in the series. Nix is nuttier than ever.  What is her connection to Lothaire? And will Lothaire ever get his ring back and who is the “she” he must get back to? (If it’s who I think it is — it will be a real  talker!)

As the Ascension is clearly in full swing, you have to wonder if the rest of Cole’s stories will become even more dark. I hope not. I don’t expect her to write all sweetness and light when the world of the Lore is falling apart, but I want more of the humor and wit and grit from both heroes and heroines that has come to be a hallmark of her series. (OK — and give me a hero who is worthy of our Valkyries!)

Tip: If you haven’t read the IAD series, don’t start with this book. Most of the other novels can stand on their own but the last few in the series are definitely interconnected. And DREAMS OF A DARK WARRIOR should be read after DEMON FROM THE DARK.


Charlaine Harris: Only 2 more Sookie books February 17, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in News.
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The end is near for our beloved Sookie Stackhouse.  Charlaine Harris, author of the popular book series, told the LA Times earlier this month:

“Truthfully, the next two books will probably be the last two books in the series. I still love Sookie, but I’m beginning to want to write something else, and Sookie’s kind of taken over my life. I was able to write other things for the first few years I was involved in Sookie, but then after the start of the television show she took over so much of my time because of my increased publicity obligations that it’s been very hard to write other things, and I really need to do that.”

I must say I think it’s time for the series to wrap up. I love the characters and even the HBO series — TRUE BLOOD — but I have a hard time tearing through each new book release. Book No. 11 in the series  — DEAD RECKONING — is due out May 3.

You can read the entire LATimes interview HERE. (Are you ready for Sookie’s story to end?  And who do you think she’ll wind up with?)

Book video trailer & author tidbits from ‘This Side of the Grave’ February 14, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in News.
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We’re one week away from the release of THIS SIDE OF THE GRAVE, book No. 5 in Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series about half-vamp Cat and and her vampy hubby Bones.

The book picks up a few months after events from DESTINED FOR AN EARLY GRAVE. Here’s the book blurb from Amazon.com, and then scroll below for the book trailer and comments from Frost about the upcoming release — Feb. 22 — she made during a recent podcast:

Danger waits on both sides of the grave.

Half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her vampire husband Bones have fought for their lives, as well as for their relationship. But just when they’ve triumphed over the latest battle, Cat’s new and unexpected abilities threaten to upset a long-standing balance … With the mysterious disappearance of vampires, rumors abound that a species war is brewing.  A zealot is inciting tensions between the vampires and ghouls, and if these two powerful groups clash, innocent mortals could become collateral damage. Now Cat and Bones are forced to seek help from a dangerous “ally”–the ghoul queen of New Orleans herself. But the price of her assistance may prove more treacherous than even the threat of a supernatural war. … to say nothing of the repercussions Cat never imagined.

Frost won’t say much about the book but in a recent podcast she did say:

  • Vlad is a prominent character in this book. And she is working on a separate novel about him. (Her Twitter feed says 2 books and first release is expected in 2012.)
  • Justina is back and readers will be “surprised” by what she’s been up to.
  • Chapter 21 of THIS SIDE OF AN EARLY GRAVE is apparently very steamy — akin to Chapter 32 in ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE. (She says that chapter was only one she didn’t have to revise. However,  she worried about it because when she wrote it, she didn’t have an agent or book deal and didn’t expect anyone to see it. She was nervous because it was very explicit. Turned out her editor was right to leave it intact, she said.) On reading Chapter 21, Frost’s editor tweeted that it was a good thing she wasn’t a prude. Frost says if she had to sum up Chapter 21 — she’d say: “Cat bites back.”
  • She likes giving out deleted chapters/material. One idea she’s toying with now: Should she release a deleted alternate storyline from DESTINED FOR AN EARLY GRAVE, where Gregor could erase Bone’s memories, much as Mencheres did to Cat. She didn’t include it in the book because she realized it deviated from her world building. It went against rules she had in place — that a full vampire wouldn’t be able to do that to another vamp.
  • We will find out who the other half-breed is/was. In DESTINED FOR AN EARLY GRAVE, Bones and Gregor told Cat she wasn’t the only half-breed. Frost says the half-breed is a recognizable historical figure — but won’t say if that figure is alive in the book or dead.
  • Book No. 5 takes readers to Ohio, New Orleans,  Memphis, Tenn., and Garland, Texas.
  • Book No. 6 is titled ONE GRAVE AT A TIME.

Want an early glimpse of book No. 5? CLICK HERE to go to Frost’s website where she has 20 percent of the book posted. (I haven’t checked it out yet!)

And here’s her video trailer for THIS SIDE OF THE GRAVE.

Last Bite Podcast discusses ‘Shadowfever’ February 6, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Fun stuff.
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Just a few more SHADOWFEVER posts (and after I said I was moving on!). But if you want to hear a discussion about the book on Last Bite Podcast with me and Maria, who founded and hosts the podcast about all things paranormal on TV, film and in print, CLICK HERE or visit the website at www.sookiestackhouse.com. You can also download the podcast on iTunes.

The discussion is at the end of the podcast. At the top of the podcast, Kelly and Maria discuss the latest on casting for TRUE BLOOD and what’s up with some of the current shows on TV including BEING HUMAN and THE VAMPIRE DIARIES.

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