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‘Body Finder’ author Kimberly Derting pens new series — ‘The Pledge’ March 27, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in News.
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New YA author Kimberly Derting last month released DESIRES OF THE DEAD, her second book in THE BODY FINDER series about 17-year-old Violet Ambrose, who can hear the echoes of the dead. Kimberly has about 100 pages to write by April 1 for her third installment in the series (she’s yet to name the book), but she’s already got a new series that debuts Nov. 15: THE PLEDGE. (Check out our interview with her on Last Bite Podcast with my pal Maria! It should post in another day but CLICK HERE for the link!)

Here’s a description of THE PLEDGE from Kimberly’s website:

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she’s spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It’s there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she’s never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can’t be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.


Our podcast with YA author Melissa Marr!
Book pick: DARKEST MERCY fitting ending to WICKED LOVELY series
Alyson Noël’s latest — ‘Shimmer’ — is out!
Check out the new paperback cover for ‘Shadowfever’
Now what? An Amish/vampire novel? Yes — ‘Forsaken’

Book pick: ‘Darkest Mercy’ fitting ending to ‘Wicked Lovely’ series March 20, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Reviews/summaries.
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Fans of Melissa Marr’s WICKED LOVELY series have been waiting for DARKEST MERCY — the fifth and final novel in the saga about the world of the fae and battle between good and evil. Of course, it’s also about  finding out if you’re strong enough to leave the one you love for a greater purpose. Or is love that greater purpose? (DON’T MISS! Check out the interview we did on Last Bite Podcast with Melissa Marr. It should be available HERE later this week.)

DARKEST MERCY picks up where RADIANT SHADOWS left off. Aislinn is fending for herself as Summer Queen because Keenan is AWOL. While she needs Keenan to run the court,  she pines for her true love, Seth. But does Seth still want her? Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is dealing with his new powers as a seer and exactly what that means. Donia — like Aislinn — is dealing the best she can with the Winter Court as she longs for Keenan — a love she thinks can never really be. And will Niall find a way to save Irial, who was stabbed with a poisonous knife by Bananach?

Such a lot of story lines to wind up but Marr cleverly handles the pace and plot by writing DARKEST MERCY from several points of view. I liked this approach because the reader gets a chance to really get inside a character’s head and see the story from his/her perspective. So we understand Niall’s anguish after he brings healer after healer to Irial with the same result. And his anger toward Seth, who he believes might have been able to foresee the action and have saved Irial. We feel Donia’s pain, when she realizes to make the Summer Court whole and strengthen her own. she can never have Keenan. We see Keenan’s struggles as he realizes he must make a choice between his Summer Queen and Donia.

The best part for me was watching Aislinn grow. Throughout this series, she’s been tough at times, but mostly she’s flopped about trying to figure out her new role while keeping her true love with her. That’s pretty tough to do with the sexy and worldly Keenan tempting you and evil fae trying to kill or unseat you. But when both her love interests seemingly abandon her, she’s had it. And she takes action She’s determined to get her court back in order and to sort out her love life — no matter what. Yes, at times I found both Keenan and Seth exasperating and wished she’d dump both of ’em (ditto for Donia), but in the end, Ash stays true to herself, as do the other characters.

The most interesting story though involved Leslie, Irial and Niall. I don’t want to spoil it for folks but it was a rather creative ending for this trio. And if you didn’t have a good idea about the depth of love Irial and Niall held for each other — it’s very clear here. You see a different side to Niall — and one that’s not so nice.

Sure, it’s no big surprise that in end, everyone has to work together to defeat War and Disorder. Marr doesn’t flinch though. The Death Man is in town and some favorite side characters die during the battle. It’s a bit bittersweet.  But the entire series has always juggled darkness and cruelty with the  light and sunshine of Marr’s worlds.

What’s interesting about Marr’s work is how her characters grow and make decisions we think they aren’t really capable of making. Some might complain that the ending is too neatly wrapped up for the main characters — Ash, Donia, Seth and Keenan — but many other questions linger for others such as Niall, Leslie and Irial.  (I particularly like how Keenan’s story ends. It’s rather ironic at first but just.) I have to say — I kind of want a bit more. I want to know how things look 100 years from now. But that’s not the author’s intent. The series is about change and growth and how one handles those changes and ensuing decisions. If you look at the entirety of this series, it’s a fitting ending to a story that has so many themes that lots of YA readers — and adults — can relate to in their own lives.

If you haven’t read any of the books in the series, save this one for the end. The books — in order:


Check out the interview we did on Last Bite Podcast with Melissa Marr. It should be available HERE later this week.

Alyson Noël’s latest — ‘Shimmer’ — is out! March 15, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in News.
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Alyson Noël, author of the Immortals series, continues her new series about Ever’s younger sister, Riley, with SHIMMER. It’s the second book in her Riley Bloom series.

Here’s a description of the book from Alyson’s blog:

Having solved the matter of the Radiant Boy, Riley, Buttercup, and Bodhi are enjoying a well-deserved vacation. When Riley comes across a young ghost named Rebecca, Riley soon learns Rebecca’s not at all what she sees. The daughter of a former plantation owner, she is furious about being murdered during a slave revolt in 1733. Mired in her own anger, Rebecca is keeping the ghosts who died along with her trapped in their worst memories. Can Riley help Rebecca without losing herself to her own nightmarish memories?

She also notes: “Just like the first book in the series, RADIANCE SHIMMER was a blast to write! Riley is one of my favorite characters to spend time with as she’s so spunky and sassy, but also has a really soft vulnerability about her as well–she’s a bundle of contradictions, for sure!” (DREAMLAND, book 3, will be in stores on Sept. 13.)

To read Chapter 1 of SHIMMER, CLICK HERE.

Check out the book video below:

Check out new paperback cover for ‘Shadowfever’ March 13, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in News.
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I thought the hardcover for SHADOWFEVER was fab, but it looks like Karen Marie Moning’s team has come up with another winner for the mass market paperback cover — scheduled for release Aug. 30. Check it out below.

KMM says on her blog that the cover is printed on foil, which gives it a sheen. You see Black Mac more clearly on this cover with dark hair, grunge leather and red silk. She’s not facing the camera so we don’t see her face. KMM says, “She’s not liking what she sees in the mirror and has no desire for anyone to look too deep into her eyes.  She knows what’s behind them now.”
The tattoo on this cover is different, too. It looks like the tips of Mac’s wings are starting to unfurl, says KMM.  And the back cover is straight out of the White Mansion — dreamy and haunting, KMM says.

And in case you didn’t get it, here’s the hardback cover:

Did you miss these?

Now what? An Amish/vampire novel? Yes — ‘Forsaken’ March 9, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Book lists, Fun stuff, News.
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When I first saw a reference on Twitter to an Amish/vampire novel, I thought it was a joke. How little do I know. There is a book coming out in August —  FORSAKEN by Leanna Ellis. (I’m not even gonna mess with the “Plain Fear” line.) Here’s the book description that’s posted on amazon.com

Hannah Schmidt pines for Jacob, the boy who saved her life. But Jacob is gone, buried. Levi Fisher loves Hannah. But he knows how much Hannah loved his brother Jacob. He also knows the troubling event that took Jacob out of their lives. So when a stranger named Akiva comes into their community, he carries with him two secrets: he is, in fact, Jacob. And he is now a vampire. When secrets are revealed, Hannah must choose between light and dark, between the one she has always loved and the new possibility of love-a decision that will decide the fate of her soul.

Ellis has written other books, including FACELIFT, ONCE IN A BLUE MOON and ELVIS TAKES A BACK SEAT. I’ve never read any of her novels, so can’t tell you anything about her writing but you can check out her site, bio, books etc. at her site HERE. The Amish and vamps — seems an odd — almost irreverent — combination. A bit over the top. But what the heck — you never know.

And you can check out the book trailer to FORSAKEN below.

Book pick: ‘This Side of the Grave’ fun in parts but missing spark! March 8, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Reviews/summaries.
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Longtime fans of Jeaniene Frost’s Cat & Bones series will want to read THIS SIDE OF THE GRAVE, but it’s not the snappy, fast-paced story we’ve been treated to before.

In fact, I found it hard to get into the first few chapters. We knew what the storyline was  one based on the last novel: The ghouls are itching for a war against the vampires, and Cat is the flash point because of the unusual abilities she’s gained. She and Bones head back to New Orleans to meet with Marie Laveau, who juices Cat up with some of her black magic mojo  — and boy are there some interesting results —  and then — well — the gang tries to stop the war from occurring.

Sounds good, but on the whole, you just never get the sense of doom like in the previous stories. There also is a serious lack of tension between Cat and Bones. No danger. No anger. Very little lust. That much-talked about Chapter 21 wasn’t anything  like Chapter 32 of ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE, although I get what Frost was trying to do. Frankly, I was so distracted by  how the wax was manipulated that the atmosphere Frost was trying to create — and she usually does these scenes very well — was totally missing for me. To be fair — the previous novels have featured all kinds of obstacles between Cat and Bones. I guess it might be kind of hard to keep upping the ante in the couple’s relationship. Even Cat makes a remark about how their relationship has settled.

Also, I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read the book yet, but the historical reference to the other half-vamp — made me roll my eyes. Yes, it’s part of the back story but it just seemed — well — almost funny to me that Frost would pick this person.

However, parts of THIS SIDE OF THE GRAVE were fun  and interesting, and I just wish we’d had more of that. The scenes between Vlad and Cat are good. You can’t help but wonder how Frost will write his story — and she is planning a couple of books about him. The storyline with Don is fascinating and I can’t wait to see how that develops. We also get to see Tate, Juan,  Mencheres and Kira, and Denise and Spade, too. But it just wasn’t enough to really keep me riveted as I usually am with Frost’s stories.

That said, most fans will happily soldier through book No. 5 and get to the good nuggets in the story — and that will be enough to keep them wondering about the next book in the series. I still think that this one feels like  a “bridge” book —  that there’s something more coming — and this was a story to keep everything glued together. And I’m OK with that because I like the overall series.

Other reviews of THIS SIDE OF THE GRAVE:

Q&A: Why Dianne Duvall’s Immortals eat organic in ‘Darkness Dawns’ March 2, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Fun stuff, News.
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Sarah Bingham is a music professor who just wants a break from classes. Roland Warbrook is just trying to stay alive. When Sarah rescues the Immortal vampire hunter, she, too, becomes a target of his enemies and is thrust into a battle between two supernatural species. But at first, Sarah has no clue that Roland is nearly  a millennium old — or that he eats organic food!
That’s the premise behind Dianne Duvall’s debut paranormal romance novel DARKNESS DAWNS. She spends time with us today, answering questions about her novel and writing. Stay to the end to find out how you can win a signed copy of her book!

Q: What inspired you to write DARKNESS DAWNS and why go into the paranormal romance genre?

Dianne Duvall

A: I love paranormal romances, particularly vampire romances, and wanted to create my own paranormal world.  But I wanted to approach the vampire romance genre from a new perspective.  The idea for this new slant actually arose from two manuscripts I wrote before DARKNESS DAWNS: a medieval romance with paranormal elements and a time travel romance.  Both featured women with special gifts bestowed upon them at birth by advanced DNA (though they didn’t know the source themselves).  These women and their male counterparts — referred to as gifted ones — provided me with a way to differentiate between immortals and vampires in DARKNESS DAWNS.  In my Immortal Guardians series, vampirism is caused by a rare symbiotic virus.  Immortals are gifted ones who have been infected and, thus, transformed by the virus.  The corrupt vampires they hunt are ordinary humans who have been infected with it.

Q: Tell us what went into creating your heroine, Sarah Bingham, and hero, Roland Warbrook.

A: As I mentioned above, before DARKNESS DAWNS I wrote a medieval romance with paranormal elements and a time travel romance (not yet published).  Having spent so much time researching Medieval England, the idea of featuring a medieval warrior as a hero in a contemporary setting appealed to me.  I decided Roland, in addition to possessing the occasional medieval mannerism, would be a strong alpha male, but an introvert at the same time so readers could enjoy watching Sarah lure him out of his shell.  As for Sarah, I have a number of college professors and professional musicians and composers amongst my circle of friends and acquaintances and come from a musical background myself (11 years of piano lessons and musicians in the family), so making her a music professor seemed only natural.  I also thought, since her world was about to be thrown into chaos and filled with action and violence, that making her someone who longs only for peace and quiet at the beginning of the book would be fun.

Q: DARKNESS DAWNS has an interesting take on Immortals vs. Vampires. Why did you create two different supernatural worlds?

A: Good versus bad or good versus evil has long been a favorite theme in fiction of all genres and forms.  It has also been a favorite theme of book lovers and moviegoers, myself included.  After all, who doesn’t enjoy seeing the good guys win considering how often we see the opposite happen in our society?  Such triumphs, even though they are not our own, provide a welcome escape as well as entertainment.  In my Immortal Guardians series, I wanted two races of paranormal beings to be pitted against each other — one good and one bad.  But I thought it would be interesting to make the villains involuntarily villainous.  It’s easy to dislike bad guys who choose to be bad.  But when the bad guys are good guys who are the victims of madness induced by a virus — something over which they have no control — it’s a little more complicated.  Since both the immortals and the vampires in my series are infected with the same virus, I made the advanced DNA the immortals possess mutate the virus and protects them from the madness.  Hence the two different races.
Q: Where does the organic eating fit in!? (Do you eat organic?)
A: The rare symbiotic virus that infects the immortals and vampires in my Immortal Guardians series first conquers then replaces their immune system.  In addition to lending them incredible strength and speed and dramatically enhancing their senses, the virus uses blood to repair any and all damage done to the body no matter how minute.  Unlike the vampires in my series, the immortals rely upon blood donations generously provided by the human employees of the network that aids them, so I thought the immortals would naturally maintain the healthiest diet possible to reduce their need and, thus, avoid taking unnecessary advantage of their human colleagues by requiring more.  Also, most of the immortals in DARKNESS DAWNS have lived centuries, if not millennia.  For hundreds of years, all they could eat was organic food, so I thought they might balk at changing their diet this late in the game.  As for me, I do try to eat healthy whenever I can.  🙂

Q: Who is your favorite Immortal?

A: Although I really like Roland (and Seth and David . . .), I’d have to say that Marcus is my favorite simply because he’s been with me longer.  In the time travel romance I wrote before Darkness Dawns, Marcus was both a friend of the heroine in the present and the teenaged squire of the hero in thirteenth century England (before his transformation).  Knowing him as a cocky, courageous youth in the Middle Ages made me like him as an immortal all the more . . . and want him to have his own happily ever after.
Q: Besides vampires, what other supernatural creatures do you want to write about? And will any of them be featured in your series?
A: There will be other paranormal or supernatural beings in my series, but I can’t tell you what they are without giving too much away.  I can tell you, however, that ghosts will make an appearance in NIGHT REIGNS, the second book in the series.  Marcus’s gift is the ability to see them, so they’ll be popping in at inopportune moments and may continue to do so in later books.  🙂

Q: What was the hardest part of the book to write and why?

A: In terms of the story itself, the part that revolved around Ami was hard to write simply because of her situation, but I still enjoyed her interactions with Seth, David and Darnell.  With regards to writing in general, choosing the title was the hardest part.  I wanted something that would both symbolize what takes place in the novel and lure readers into picking it up off the shelf to explore more, a difficult task.  I was very pleased when my editor liked my choice.

Q: How many books are planned for the Immortal Guardians series?

A: I don’t have a finite number in mind, but can tell you that there will be at least four books in the series.  NIGHT REIGNS will revolve around Marcus.  For those who haven’t read DARKNESS DAWN yet:  Marcus is the only immortal who braved Roland’s irascible nature to become his friend.  He is also mourning the loss of a woman he loved for eight centuries and is now skating the edge.  When his actions become increasingly reckless and spawn concern amongst his fellow immortals, Seth assigns him a new Second (assistant) . . . one who proves to be immensely distracting and turns his world upside down.

Q: Are you working on anything else?

A: Right now I’m focusing on the Immortal Guardians series.  NIGHT REIGNS is scheduled to be released in December.  I’m currently working on Book 3.

Q: Who are your fave writers? Movies? Music? (That inspires you!)


A: Every writer who wrote a book I enjoyed inspired me simply by firing my imagination.  Julie Garwood, Johanna Lindsey, Julia Quinn and Kinley Macgregor are amongst my favorite historical romance authors.  Karen Marie Moning  is one of my favorite time-travel authors.  And Alexandra Ivy, Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole and Lindsay Sands are amongst the authors who made paranormal romance my favorite genre.  For favorite movies, I’ll stick with vampire films: Blade II, Twilight, Let Me In and Dusk Till Dawn.  My taste in music spans just about all genres and eras because of my musical background.  But the music I turn to most often when writing my Immortal Guardians series is metal, namely Disturbed.

Q: This is your debut novel. What are three tips you’d pass along to aspiring writers?

A: 1.  Don’t give up.  It took me quite a few years and more than one manuscript to garner the notice that netted me “The Call.”  2.  Romance writing contests are a good way to get writing samples into the hands of agents and editors who don’t accept unsolicited queries or submissions.  They’re also a way to test the response of readers who come from a variety of backgrounds and locales to your work.  3.  Once you’ve signed your first contract, begin planning and executing your promotional efforts at least six months before the book is scheduled to be released.  I learned this past year, much to my surprise, that promoting a book takes as much time writing it does.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: I hope readers will enjoy DARKNESS DAWNS and my Immortal Guardians series!

Want to know more? Visit Dianne Duvall’s sites below:

Main website: CLICK HERE
Dianne’s Blog: CLICK HERE
Facebook page: HERE
Follow her on Twitter: @DianneDuvall

Dianne is giving away an autographed copy of DARKNESS DAWNS to one lucky reader! Just post your questions and comments before for Dianne and we’ll choose a winner from the comments. I’ll keep the contest running through March 13, 5 p.m. Eastern time. Good luck!

‘Blood Oath’ out in paperback & includes sneak preview of ‘The President’s Vampire’ March 1, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, News.
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That witty vamp author Christopher Farnsworth says the paperback edition of BLOOD OATH is now out. Here’s what he’s saying about it:
“If you’ve been waiting for a more conveniently sized package of vampire mayhem, then this is the edition for you.
Not only does it include all the sex, violence and monsters of the hardback, but there’s a special sneak preview of Book Two in the series, THE PRESIDENT’S VAMPIRE, which answers the question: whatever happened to Osama Bin Laden?
You can purchase the book by clicking any of these links.
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Indiebound.

Farnsworth says if you send him a copy of your receipt, or order confirmation, or a photo of you with your copy, he’ll mail you a special commemorative signed bookplate at no extra charge.
If you’ve already purchased the hardback, Farnsworth has a special bonus: CLICK HERE to link to the story of the first meeting between Cade and Johann Konrad.

(But what if I want another T-shirt?!)


  • To read a Q&A with Chris Farnsworth CLICK HERE.
  • To read the Washington Post’s review of BLOOD OATH, CLICK HERE.
  • BLOOD OATH headed for the big screen, CLICK HERE.
  • Great profile of Chris and more about the book by The Orange County Register’s Peter Larsen. CLICK HERE to read.
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