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What do you think ‘Dead Ever After’ cover means?! October 20, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, News.
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Here it is. The cover for the last book in the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series. Charlaine Harris revealed the new cover earlier in the week to USA TODAY. The 13th and final book in the series will be published May 7.

When asked why she was ending the series, Harris told USA TODAY:

“I felt that I’d told the story I set out to tell. I thought continuing it, which I could have done, would have been a disservice to readers who have stuck with me this long.”

Thoughts on the cover? I think it is bright. The colors pop more than on any other cover. All of her friends are on it — her shifter friends. She’s looking back at them. For support? To bid farewell? Is that a sunrise or a sunset? I think Sookie is wearing a lot of red — Eric’s fave color. Is she following the bats or saying goodbye to them? Are the bats leading her  somewhere or fly off? And what the heck does a rose, tomato and purple daisy signify? I’ll have to look those up for another post, but if you have any thoughts on this — post below!!

Melissa Marr’s ‘Carnival of Souls’ intriguing read but rushed October 14, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Book picks.
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I’m a big fan of Melissa Marr’s books and so I couldn’t wait to read CARNIVAL OF SOULS, a tale that revolves around the mistrust and hatred between daimons and witches. It’s an intricate YA story — and it will hold your attention — but it’s not fully developed and Marr obviously has a sequel planned. Here’s the description from the book that’s posted online:

In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures — if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.

All Mallory knows of The City is that her father — and every other witch there — fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it’s only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable. While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls.

Marr’s story focuses on Mallory,  the daughter of the daimon ruler Marchosias. But she doesn’t know she’s a daimon. She thinks she’s a human because her mother let a witch — Adam — raise her in the human/witch world. He teaches her how to fight. And to fear and hate daimons. (Why did her mother give her up? Most daimon babies don’t survive the rough city.)

But other daimons — from the daimon world — have been hired by Mallory’s biological father and his enemies to find her. Mallory’s daimon father says she was stolen from him and wants her back. In the daimon world — daughters are meant for one thing — making little daimons. One of the searchers is a lower caste daimon named Kaleb. He finds Mallory and befriends her in the human/witch world.

But there are other story lines going on in Marr’s richly created world of daimons and witches, and if you aren’t paying attention it is easy to get lost in the different characters. There is Aya — who lives in the daimon world and has decided that despite her high-class birth, she will fight in a deadly competition that will let her help rule the city if she wins. She’s the only female to have ever entered and she is pitted against her former betrothed — Belias. Belias can’t understand why Aya won’t marry him, why she feels she has to fight (she does have a good reason!)  or why she doesn’t want to “breed.” He truly loves her and wants to protect her. This in itself or Mallory’s story alone would have held my attention, too. But Marr packs in the plot lines.

On top of this story, we learn more of Kaleb — called a cur in the book — and his packmate Zevi. The two are tight and are like brothers. Zevi heals Kaleb after each battle. We also have the back story of Mallory’s foster Dad — Adam — and his all-powerful sibling Evelyn.

I loved the different characters Marrs creates in this story. And the two worlds are so different, especially the daimon world with all of its rigid class structures. You realize that they are going to be part of the sequel or sequels. But I found toward the end that everything was speeding together too fast in the story. The ending was cramped. Another zinger plot point is flung in near the end of the story and all of a sudden — BAM — you are on the last page with a gigantic thud.

I was a bit flabbergasted at the way Marr just ended the story. Without spoiling anything, you know where the next book will pick up. I know this is what authors do now — especially in YA. But it’s a total downer to be left standing out there — giant cliff hanger — with such an abrupt ending. Despite it all — I really liked this story and want to know more. I would just advise you to wait until the sequel is out before reading CARNIVAL because then you won’t have to wait to find out what happens next.

Kresley Cole’s ‘Poison Princess’ a dark, racy thriller for adults and YA October 8, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Book picks, Reviews/summaries.
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If you like Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series for adults, you’re going to love POISON PRINCESS, her first   paranormal YA novel.

The story is dark — very dark — but Cole’s witty dialogue, creative new world and characters based on Tarot cards — the Arcana — and just the right amount of weird teen angst make this a page turner. Here’s Cole’s description from her website: (And scroll to the bottom to see YouTube video of her talking about the book!)

22 Arcana cards. 22 young assassins. May the best hand live.

Sixteen-year-old Evie Greene’s horrific hallucinations predicted the apocalypse, and the end of the world brought her all sorts of new powers. With the earth scorched and few survivors, Evie teams up with handsome and dangerous Jack Deveaux in a race to find answers. They discover that that an ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of teens have been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side…

Her heroine is Evie — a popular Southern belle in high school who is dating a hunky quarterback and who seemingly has the world wrapped around her finger. But when we meet Evie, we are not in her cheerful high school world — but  in a different world — one that’s been laid to waste by something called the “Flash” with loved ones killed. It’s a world where lawless groups  roam the countryside. Zombie-like creatures are everywhere. And it’s literally every man – -because most women died in the “Flash”  — for himself. But when the story opens, Evie is being lured into an old house by a young man named Arthur, who is exceptionally cruel and evil — and a total mystery.

And that’s how Cole tells her tale. She alternates between the sadistic Arthur  and Evie’s past until we are caught up at the end and back in Arthur’s house. We go back in time to find out that her idyllic teen life wasn’t so perfect because Evie had visions of the end of the world. Her mother put her in an institute for the summer because she was worried Evie would follow in her grandmother’s footsteps — insanity. Or what Evie’s mother thought was insanity.

As Evie struggles to mainstream her way back into school and with friends, she meets bad boy Jackson Deveaux, a Cajun from the wrong side of the tracks who is fascinated by Evie and what is haunting her. They tug at each other — both repulsed and yet attracted to each other at first. It’s a pretty intense and hot relationship — just right for this story.

Cole weaves in the story of Evie’s visions — the strange creatures she sees. A witch, Death, a girl who shoots arrows and a boy who beckons to her as a friend. Bloody battles from ancient wars.  Evie sees desolate landscapes, death and oddly enough — plants. Evie is called the Empress in these visions and later on after the “Flash” but she doesn’t understand who or what she really is. Without giving too much away, I will say that Cole has based her characters on Tarot — what she calls the Arcana — cards. In the end, the story and subsequent books in this series will amount to a sort of THE HUNGER GAMES among these card characters. But the relationships are more complicated in this frightening post-apocalyptic world.

And then there’s Jackson — who is dark and handsome and not part of the Arcana — at least that we know in this first book. He seems to want to protect Evie, who — fast forward into the world after the “Flash” — is determined to find her grandmother, who was put away somewhere in North Carolina. Evie is convinced her grandmother is still alive and can help her figure out what her role as Empress should be in this new world.

Suffice to say, Cole leaves us with a giant cliffhanger and it’s going to be a long wait between this book and the sequel. But if the second book is anything like the first, it will be well worth the wait.

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