‘Love Struck’ an intriguing tale of selchie love and lore February 19, 2012Posted by Diana McCabe in Book picks.
Tags: Alana, Love Struck, Melissa Marr, Murrin, selchies, selkies, Vic, Wicked Lovely
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Who would have thought seal love would be magical? Leave it to Melissa Marr to turn this bit of folklore into a short story of romance with a bit of a feminist twist.
I didn’t know much about selchies — or selkies — until I read LOVE STRUCK. I only knew that they were mythological creatures who live as seals but can take human form. For some reason, I always thought they were evil. And that they were women.
But in Marr’s short story, teenager Alana knows about the selchie legends and how the seal creatures can shed their “pelts” on shore to walk as human. In most legends, the female selchies are often trapped by human males as wives. But here, Alana meets not just one, but two selchie males who want her for a bride. (What’s cool for me? Marr writes in her introduction to FAERY TALES & NIGHTMARES that the Alana/selchie story was influenced by Solana Beach here in San Diego County!)
And of course, these selchie males — Vic and Murrin — are gorgeous. But there’s always a catch to paranormal love and it has to do with that blasted selchie pelt and the history behind Vic and Murrin. I won’t spoil the Vic and Murrin angle. But here’s what you need to know about the pelts: As a human, if you touch it, you’re pretty much infatuated with that selchie and he or she is attracted to you. And if you hide the pelt, the selchie won’t be able to return to the sea unless he or she finds it. In previous folklore, the selchies always stuck on shore were women because human fishermen would trap them by hiding their pelts. But in this story, Marr turns the tables and Alana has her choice between Vic and Murrin. And both have different reasons for wanting her as a bride and different tactics for getting her attention.
As short stories go, this was an interesting tale. Marr gives her female characters backbone. They don’t just fall for the good-looking guy. They are independent. They want to know he is the real deal. And even if it is true love — they want to be their own person and follow their own dreams.
You can find this short story in a couple of places. It’s at the beginning of a book titled LOVE STRUCK, which also contains chapter 1 of WICKED LOVELY and also the first chapter of INK EXCHANGE. (If you haven’t read the WICKED LOVELY series CLICK HERE to read my review on it.) LOVE STRUCK is also coming out this week (Feb. 21) in FAERY TALES & NIGHTMARES, a collection of short stories tales of favorite characters from Marr’s WICKED LOVELY novels and some new characters we haven’t met yet. (I plan to review the collection.) And, you can find it in LOVE IS HELL, an anthology.
If you read this short story, let me know what you think. I have one of those logic questions about the pelts and the ending. So leave me a note and I’ll ask you my question! Or — maybe Marr ended the story this way because she plans to explore the world of the selchies later? Would be an intriguing world to visit.
‘Lothaire’ continues disturbing trend in Immortals series January 30, 2012Posted by Diana McCabe in Book picks.
Tags: Immortals After Dark, Kresley Cole, Lothaire
Her heroines and heroes used to be funny and goofy in an endearing way. Sure, her Alpha males are overbearing and oversexed but in previous novels she’s balanced that with humor, romance and loyalty.
Lothaire continues what I think is a disturbing trend in Cole’s IAD series. This is the second book in the series where the hero abuses the heroine, and I just don’t think that’s cool. (Remember how icky Declan was in DREAMS OF A DARK WARRIOR? See my review HERE.)
This time around, our heroine isn’t a supernatural but a mere mortal. Ellie — born and raised in Appalachia — is possessed by a horribly weirdo demon named Saroya and is desperately trying to get rid of her. Ellie is so strong that she can keep Sayora hidden deep within her, but not always. And when Sayora “rises,” she’s a bloody killer.
Our so-called hero thinks Saroya is his bride and is determined to help her survive by extinguishing Ellie’s soul. I am not going to even bother with the plot details here. Suffice to say, Lothaire only steps in to protect Ellie — to save Saroya. Yes, we finally find out what he needs that ring for — to get rid of the mortal’s soul — but funny thing is — he can’t find it. When the real Ellie is present, all Lothaire does is tell her how pitiful and horrible she is, and the mental abuse is so horrific that any woman in her right mind would never forgive this jerk. And that’s where I think Cole stumbles again — big time. While Ellie is smart and clever, Cole never gives her a fighting will to push Lothaire away. He takes everything away from her and she still loves him. It makes no sense.
There was nothing in this story to indicate why Ellie should even love Lothaire — even after he finally recognizes she is his bride. (Boy — what an arrogant dummy!) He did nothing. Made no sacrifice. He hated her. And he said it over and over again. He never gave her any choices.
And then poof! All is OK in lovey-dovey land? It just doesn’t work for me.
If this is how the rest of the books are going to be written — count me out. I can only hope when she tells Nix’s story that she returns to her old form and stops writing these gross, abusive stories.
5 paranormal romance books for 2012 January 9, 2012Posted by Diana McCabe in Book picks, News.
Tags: darkest seduction, Deadlocked, Fair Game, favorite books, Iced, Lothaire, paranormal romance
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Lots to read and see in this new year but here are the five paranormal romance books I’m looking forward to reading in 2012. I’m posting them by release date. Let me know what books you’re looking forward to this year! (These don’t include any of my YA picks or fantasy/sci-fi paranormal reads. I’ll post those picks later this month!)
LOTHAIRE — Kresley Cole (Jan. 10)
Next up in her IMMORTALS AFTER DARKNESS series is the tale of the evil vampire Lothaire, who has cropped up in several of the IAD books. I love this series because Kresley Cole has a wicked sense of humor and her stories feature strong heroines. I thought the last book she did — DREAMS OF A DARK WARRIOR — was way too dark for the series (read my review HERE) but I’m hoping she gets back on track with LOTHAIRE.
Driven by his insatiable need for revenge, Lothaire, the Lore’s most ruthless vampire, plots to seize the Horde’s crown. But bloodlust and torture have left him on the brink of madness — until he finds Elizabeth Peirce, the key to his victory. He captures the unique young mortal, intending to offer up her very soul in exchange for power, yet Elizabeth soothes his tormented mind and awakens within him emotions Lothaire believed he could no longer experience
THE DARKEST SEDUCTION — Gina Showalter (Feb. 28)
This is one of those over-the-top but entertaining series if you like SUPER Alpha heroes, tortured souls and the women who rescue them. Showalter’s LORDS OF THE UNDERWORLD is about immortal warriors who were naughty and opened Pandora’s box. Now each must live with a demon released from the box. With THE DARKEST SEDUCTION, we finally get the story of Paris — the seducer. (Read one of my interviews with Showalter HERE.)
Possessed by the demon of Promiscuity, immortal warrior Paris is irresistibly seductive—but his potent allure comes at a terrible price. Every night he must bed someone new, or weaken and die. And the woman he craves above all others is the one woman he’d thought was forever beyond his reach … until now. Newly possessed by the demon of Wrath, Sienna Blackstone is racked by a ruthless need to punish those around her. Yet, in Paris’s arms the vulnerable beauty finds soul-searing passion and incredible peace. Until a blood feud between ancient enemies heats up. Will the battle against gods, angels and creatures of the night bind them eternally– or tear them apart?
FAIR GAME — Patricia Briggs (March 6)
Most of us know Briggs for her Mercy Thompson series, which chronicles the adventures of her shape-shifter/coyote/auto mechanic heroine. But in Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series — which is loosely connected to Mercy’s story but in a slightly earlier time frame — Briggs focuses on werewolf Samuel’s brother Charles and his newly acquired mate Anna. This is the third book in the series. (On her website, Briggs said she set the story in Boston — a city she’s never visited. CLICK HERE to read her author’s note about how she selected Boston.):
They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind. Now that the werewolves have revealed themselves to humans, they can’t afford any bad publicity. Infractions that could have been overlooked in the past must now be punished, and the strain of doing his father’s dirty work is taking a toll on Charles. Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack’s help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer’s sights.
DEADLOCKED — Charlaine Harris (May 8)
Last year I was disappointed with DEAD RECKONING, book No. 11 in the Sookie Stackhouse series. It was my stinker of 2011 because I have come to expect so much from this series. (CLICK HERE to read my top books of 2011 and what I said about the stinker!) So why is this on my “to read” list for 2012? Because I enjoy the characters that Harris has brought to us and am so hoping that she can restore some magic and intrigue to Sookie’s story for us. Remember — she’s said she’s planning to end the series with book No. 13. And we all want to know if Sookie gets a happily ever after and who she winds up with in the end:
With Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), in town, it’s the worst possible time for a body to show up in Eric Northman’s front yard — especially the body of a woman whose blood he just drank. Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.
ICED — Karen Marie Moning (Oct. 30)
Fans of Mac and Barrons from KMM’s FEVER series will be happy to know that the spinoff series for Dani O’Malley — the super fast sidhe-seer — comes out right before Halloween. Last month on her Twitter feed, KMM said she was about halfway done. (Other titles in Dani’s series — but no release dates: BURNED and FLAYED.) Here’s what KMM says on her blog about the series — and other FEVER storylines that are coming:
I’m currently working on a trilogy that features Dani, Christian MacKeltar, Ryodan, and the mysterious ‘Dancer,’ set primarily in Fever-Dublin. Each installment in the trilogy is a stand-alone mystery, however there are larger plot arcs unfolding in the background. Where Mac was introspective and her story could feel somewhat esoteric, Dani is down and dirty in the streets. Lots of details, lots of action. There’s a different feel to the two series, totally different vantage points. I’m having a blast writing it.
For those of you who have been worrying—the trilogy is not YA. If I had to categorize it, I would say it straddles the line between YA and adult uneasily. I don’t pull any punches. It may be controversial in some ways. But whose teen years weren’t? LOL! Many of the questions I left unanswered in the FEVER series are addressed in this new series.
Exciting news: I’ve agreed to write two more books after that. Once the new trilogy is complete, I’m returning to the core story begun in the FEVER series, and will resume writing about Mac, Barrons, V’lane, Cruce, the Unseelie king, the concubine, the Song of Making.
All in all, there are five more books coming about the Fever World!
Because I know you guys, I know this is going to make some of you as nervous as it makes you excited. Trust me. I’m making no compromises with the characters or the story. It’s all unfolding exactly as it should, true to itself-which means, it’s a sometimes rocky road. Dark times ahead, guys. But I write it all with genuine love for the characters, the world, and you the reader.
My Top 5 book picks of 2011 — and a stinker December 22, 2011Posted by Diana McCabe in Book picks, News.
Tags: Dreams of a Dark Warrior. Dead Reckoning, Graveminder, MockingJay, Shadowfever, The Scorpio Races
Here are my favorite book pics — Top 5 — for 2011 and then I added a “stinker” — a book that didn’t really live up to my expectations. What were your favorite reads from 2011? Let me know! (And did you have a stinker?)
1. SHADOWFEVER by Karen Marie Moning
Karen Marie Moning wraps up her fantastic Fever series with a finale that whipsaws the reader in an oh-my-gosh page turner that never lets up until the last page. (And that would be page 594 …. it’s a long book!) After waiting two years for SHADOWFEVER and debating countless theories on Mac and Barrons, KMM delivers all of the answers her fans demanded — and leaves us with a few more questions. (We want more books!)
2. GRAVEMINDER by Melissa Marr
Loved this. All about family rituals and how to keep the dead where they belong. A gritty, urban fantasy about one new graveminder. Makes you wonder if people really do have a choice about who they love and why.
3.THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater (pronounced “Steve-Otter.”)
A magical, lyrical story about a boy, a girl and the capall uisce (pronounced “copple ookshka”) — flesh-eating Celtic water horses that come from the sea to terrorize the townspeople of the fictional isle of Thisby. Only a few brave riders race the horses. Only a few riders survive.
4. MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins
OK — I know this came out last year but I didn’t get a chance to finish the Hunger trilogy until this year and oh — what an interesting ending to a scary and fascinating story. (Did you all like how she ended it?) Can’t wait for the movie.
STINKER, if we’re really picking and being honest:
DEAD RECKONING by Charlaine Harris
I had to force my way through this one and while I will finish the series, I hope the writing picks up. Now — Charlaine on an off day beats most writers hands down. But this is the story about Sookie and so my expectations are high. I hope Charlaine can finish the series the way she wants. But this installment just didn’t do it for me. (Think about the great series you’ve read and how the good ones do not peter out in the end … think about when you first read this series how you couldn’t wait to get the next book. It’s not like that now! I hope Charlaine can finish strong!)
Book pick: ‘Red’ serves up creative twist on ‘Red Riding Hood’ tale November 13, 2011Posted by Diana McCabe in Book picks.
Tags: Kait Nolan, Red, Red Riding Hood
Looking for a fun, fast, creative werewolf read? Check out Kait Nolan’s RED, a tale that weaves werewolf lore with a coming of age story that is a page turner.
RED’s heroine is Elodie Rose, a teen with a big, bad secret. The 17-year-old is about to turn into a werewolf any day. But she and her father — who live deep in the woods hidden from view — have tried to stave off her transformation by all means possible, including keeping her away from any romantic relationships that might trigger the change from human to wolf.
Elodie’s fears are rooted in family history. Her mother — a wolf — left a note for Elodie that her father gave to her when she turned 13. The letter detailed how Elodie would one day change into a wolf and that any contact with guys would speed up the change. And where is Elodie’s mother? Elodie was told her mother committed suicide so that her mother could avoid the curse of her ancestors. Her mother was afraid she would turn into a monster and kill everyone.
Talk about a heavy load for a teen girl to shoulder.
But Elodie’s luck is about to change. She meets a boy named Sawyer — who happens to be a full-blooded werewolf and comes from a family of weres. Like Elodie — he lost his mother, but in a tragic accident. His father, also a wolf, conducts research on wolf populations.
Neither Elodie nor Sawyer have any clue what the other really is and that’s the part of the story that is fun as each dance around each other. Nolan tells her story by alternating chapters between Elodie and Sawyer and these are in the first person. I like this format but for some reason I got a little confused sometimes switching back and forth. I think — even thought the chapters are clearly labeled — it sometimes wasn’t exactly clear at the onset who was talking but as the story progressed it was easier for me to follow.
In the meantime, there is a killer on the loose in the community (this is actually told quite well in the story so ignore my clumsy quick introduction of the plot here!) and it turns out this person knows about Elodie’s history and is hunting her down. That plot point is where the rest of the story unfolds.
The twist/allegory on RED RIDING HOOD at times is a bit heavy handed. Let’s face it, Red Riding Hood wasn’t supposed to go traipsing about in the woods. That tale was a warning to young women. And in RED, the message of chastity is pretty clear — remain a virgin or else you turn into a wolf and people hunt you down and you die.
There’s also the typical teen bullying angst between girls in here, which is kind of ho-hum. But Elodie is a strong character. She’s trying to figure out what’s happening to her. How to deal with life.
What I really liked about Nolan’s story are the relationships. Elodie is close to her father. He’s raised her all alone. He tries to protect her and she tries to protect him. In so many YA novels, the parents are MIA, but not here. And when Elodie realizes she’s changing, it’s not just into a wolf — but she’s growing up from girl to young woman. And there is a time when daughters leave their fathers and strike out in the world on their own.
I’ve never read a book by Nolan, but I follow her on Twitter (@kaitnolan) and would never have known about this book if she hadn’t written a Tweet promoting it. (Hint to all authors — we are out there and reading your Twitter feeds!) I don’t know if there will be a sequel. (I asked Nolan via Twitter but never heard back and can’t find any reference on her website.) But she also has another paranormal fantasy series — which I will now read — called MIRUS.
The other really cool thing about Nolan — she’s an e-book author. I love traditional hardcover books, but I must admit that I mostly read on my iPad now and rarely buy a paperback or hardcover book. I bought RED via Kindle on Amazon for $4.99. And while some folks don’t seem to care for ebooks, I love them.
You should check out Nolan’s website HERE. She — like many writers — holds down a day job(s) while working on her writing. (She also writes about cooking and her GIT (Goddess in Training) program so I sense she’s like so many of us — trying to balance work, life and health/fitness!)
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