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Book pick: ‘Supernaturally’ weak sequel to ‘Paranormalcy’ September 25, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in News, Releases.
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Turns out writing the second book in a series isn’t as easy as you’d think. — Kiersten White

That should have been my first clue that author Kiersten White was going to have a tough time following up her wildly funny and creative first book — PARANORMALCY — about Evie, a 16-year-old girl who can see through the glamours of paranormal creatures. That makes her a valuable asset of the IPCA — the International Paranormal Containment Agency — where she uses her pink “rhinestone-studded Tasey” to bag and tag paranormals, who are later made into useful members of society. (Read my review of that book HERE.)

But SUPERNATURALLY  is just so totally different in characters, tone and plot that I felt like I had to force my way through this book — which I read on a cross-country plane trip so I was a captive audience.

The sequel picks up with Evie after she has left the IPCA and starts her normal life. But — her normal life is too normal for her. She misses feeling special. Then her boss from the IPCA Raquel — through a series of totally weird events — comes into her life again and offers a position at IPCA. Evie jumps at the chance, even though her boyfriend Lend (invisible boy) isn’t going to be thrilled.

And this is the really annoying part of the book. Evie is so quick to go back to work for the IPCA after everything that occurred in PARANORMALCY that it’s a little tough to believe at first. But — Evie is a teen — and we know how teens change their minds — that after a bit, her return — on her own terms — seems plausible.  However, forget the wise-cracking “what the bleep” Evie of old. She is a big whiner in SUPERNATURALLY. OK — this is a YA book and you expect some teen-age angst but this was boring. Her boyfriend is in college and so can’t always spend time with her. She can’t seem to  focus — even when she’s back at work. She’s turning into a Twilightesque Bella. Where the heck is her backbone? She’s turned into a wimp. And she’s boring. Not the kind of main character you want to like or care about.

The best parts of the book:

  •  One of Evie’s missions is to bag a troll community but she ends of finding out they aren’t the bad guys. It’s a vampire. And this vamp finds that drinking paranormal blood makes him stronger. He’ll be back. And I liked these scenes because the real Evie returns.
  • The new character Jack. Jack is weird. He’s like a kid. A hyperactive one. But at the same time there’s something ancient about him. He’s spent time with the Fae and can travel through their paths. You sense he wants to be good — but he leaves Evie in a bind every time. And there’s something so odd about him that we don’t know yet if he could turn out to be a villain — or if he really is a good guy. But I liked his escapades.
  • We find out who Evie’s father is. It’s not really a “best” part because it’s so dorky. Let’s just say NASCAR is involved. And he’s a paranormal. But is he really her Dad?
  • Reth. He’s back and creepy as ever. What’s he up to? Not sure. But left me wanting to know more about why the Fae seem so determined to snag Evie.
  • The back stories on Vivian and Arianna.

I will say the last 80 or so pages of the book lived up to the pace of PARANORMALCY. The majority of the book, however, was mainly Evie feeling sorry for herself. You can’t help but wonder if an editor could’ve helped White focus a bit more because there were elements of this book that could have been sharpened into a much faster, fun read that would have made this a stronger sequel.

Let’s just hope the snappy, funny, smart Evie turns up in the final book, and that the editing is better for ENDLESSLY. (Here’s what White posted on GoodReads about the final book:

The final chapter of Evie’s adventures. Old friends, new ones, all wrapped up in impossible decisions. And some ball gowns. Because what’s a life of normal and paranormal drama without a ball gown or two?

(Note: I was given a copy of SUPERNATURALLY to review for my news site — which I haven’t turned in yet! So you’re getting my disclosure notice here and a look at my rough draft before I turn it in!)

Preview latest Carpathian novel from Christine Feehan August 29, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Fun stuff, Releases.
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I started out reading paranormal romance with Christine Feehan’s Carpathian series. Yeah — they’re very Alpha male, and the stories are all kind of the same. But I’ve kept track of most of her works because I can read her stories quickly and they’re entertaining. Plus, she’s always got like four different series going. (CLICK HERE to read my interview with her last year on her vamps.) Her latest Carpathian novel — DARK PERIL — comes out in a few days (Aug. 31). In the meantime, here’s a look at the book trailer for DARK PERIL. You can also read chapter one of the novel, but you must be a member of her fan site at www.christinefeehan.com. It’s free. You just need to sign up to read her excerpts.

‘Blood Oath’ — the president’s vampire — headed for big screen May 18, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment, News, Releases.
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Movie rights to Chris Farnsworth’s BLOOD OATH —  about vampire Nathaniel Cade who is sworn to protect the president and the United States from supernatural threats —  have been picked up by Lucas Foster, who produced   “Law Abiding Citizen” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”

“Cade has an amazing history, a great attitude and a great set of powers. He is a complete movie figure,” Foster told the Hollywood Reporter.

Hollywood is saturated with vampire projects, but Farnsworth’s novel “bucks vampire fatigue by focusing on action and bringing in different supernatural creatures,” the Hollywood Reporter says.

“It’s a big idea and it’s an idea that in the wrong hands could have been cheesy,” Foster said. “He did a very good job of making the reader, and me, buy it. It’s the right tone between thriller and improbable fantasy.”

Foster also has picked up the rights for the second book in the series, BLACK SITE, which Farnsworth is still writing.

To read the rest of the Hollywood Reporter article, CLICK HERE.

BLOOD OATH, which was released today, has received strong reviews:

  • To read the Washington Post’s review, CLICK HERE.
  • BLOOD OATH makes the New York Post’s “Required Reading” list. CLICK HERE to read.
  • Great profile of Chris and more about the book by The Orange County Register’s Peter Larsen. CLICK HERE to read.

Finally, check out his book tour. It starts in Southern California but he winds his way through a couple of other states. CLICK HERE for book signing info.

What readers are saying about ‘Dead in the Family’ May 4, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Fun stuff, Releases.
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I’m busy moving from Huntington Beach to San Diego so haven’t had a chance to read the latest Sookie book, DEAD IN THE FAMILY, which was released today. But here are a few comments from fans on Twitter:

mistischindele: Just finished ‘Dead in the Family’ by Charlaine Harris..a another winner in the Sookie Stackhouse series.
EricaBowles: Wooo got the new sookie stackhous novel today and I finished it in 2 and a half hours….what am I gonna do now? ReRead it!!!
Maggie126: is reading the new Sookie Stackhouse book by candlelight since the power is out. I’m ruining my eyes, but worth it for new Sookie!
PMRPWNSU: @Worthfghting4 That it is – he cries it as he goes into battle (as recounted to Sookie later, as she’s not allowed to go).
jewelboxdreams: finished the new sookie stackhouse book! it’s very entertaining, but the pacing is a little frenzied.

WhisperHello: Lordy the new Sookie book is good. 😀 Good good good.

Lifeisart83: Finished the best sookie book yet! Omg I cant believe i finished in a day &now i will have to wait for what feels like 4ever for the next 1

(Have you read it yet? If so — drop us a line and tell us what you thought!)

What’s wrong with Diana Gabaldon’s new book cover for ‘The Exile’? April 17, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in News, Releases.
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Check out the new book cover for Diana Gabaldon’s THE EXILE, an Outlander graphic novel due out Sept. 21. The story is a retelling of the Jamie/Claire story. See anything wrong with the cover? On her blog, Diana says: “Yes, yes, yes, Claire should indeed be wearing her shoes here [g], and with luck, that will be fixed along with a number of other small things. And the flashes among the rocks are musket-fire.”

Diana’s website says THE EXILE is told mainly from Murtagh’s point of view, but the book blurb on Amazon.com says the story is told from “Jamie Fraser’s point of view, revealing events never seen in the original story and giving readers a whole new insight into the Jamie-Claire relationship.”

In either case, we get a retelling of the OUTLANDER story. Diana wrote the script and the artwork is by Hoang Nguyen. To see initial sketches, go to Diana’s website HERE. Follow the link. Once you are on her site, look for “Excerpts” and then scroll down until you see her links to THE EXILE sketches.

Related posts:

Scotsman.com interview with Diana Gabaldon
Video: Diana Gabaldon on how she started ‘Outlander’ series
What’s your favorite ‘movie’ video of Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’?
What’s up with Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ movie?

The buzz about ‘Blood Oath’ & the president’s vampire April 14, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Releases, Reviews/summaries.
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Chris Farnsworth, a journalist buddy turned screen writer/novelist, received a great review from the Washington Post’s Elizabeth Hand on his soon-to-be-released  political thriller BLOOD OATH, about a vampire who has protected every U.S. president for the past 140 years.   Here’s a snippet from the article:

“Such incursions by the Dark Side are not confined to the distant past, of course. Christopher Farnsworth’s taut thriller Blood Oath (Putnam, $24.95, forthcoming next month) is an irresistible page-turner that makes one realize that, no matter how tough the War on Terror may be, at least it’s not the War on Horror. Farnsworth summons his talents as a scriptwriter and journalist to spin a complex and unnervingly realistic tale in which vampire Nathaniel Cade, a Secret Service agent sworn to protect the president, is far less of a monster than his human colleagues at the CIA and FBI. The supernatural elements here are dazzlingly clever. With its labyrinthine plot and byzantine layers of government deceit, “Blood Oath” is a 21st-century riff on themes explored in such classics from America’s first Paranoid Age as “The Manchurian Candidate” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” Cade is a wonderfully idiosyncratic character: a Christian renegade from the Vampire Nation who attends AA meetings to help him resist the lure of human blood. And as an added bonus, readers finally learn the truth behind the failed assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan and that  mysterious 18 1/2 -minute gap in the Watergate tapes.”

Hand reviewed two other vamp books in her roundup:  A.E. Moorat’s QUEEN VICTORIA: DEMON HUNTER and Seth Grahame-Smith’s ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER. To read the complete article CLICK HERE.

Q&A with BLOOD OATH AUTHOR! We’ll have a Q&A with Chris  on the blog next month after his book is released May 18. If  you have questions, send ’em to me!  Also, check out his book  site HERE. And he’s got a fan site on Facebook HERE.

Latest SHADOWFEVER teaser: Is this Barrons in the Court of Shadows? March 30, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Fun stuff, News, Releases.
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Banner by Victoria M., a.k.a. Viking Princess

Here’s  the latest SHADOWFEVER teaser from Karen Marie Moning. (You can get these teasers each month if you subscribe to her newsletter. CLICK HERE to get to her sign-up link. And she’s also got a fan page on Facebook, so join in the discussion there, too.) To read the previous teaser CLICK HERE. OK — what does it mean? The mystery deepens and we won’t get the book until December!

Her pace quickens and she races down the corridor, passing soundlessly over obsidian floors, laughing with joy.

I know that sound. I love that sound.  It means her lover is near.

He is coming. She feels his approach.

He is so powerful!  It’s what first drew her to him. She’d never encountered anyone like him.

She was awed that he chose her.

She is awed every day that he continues choosing her.

The stuff of him explodes through from his side in the Court of Shadows, telling her he comes, filling her home (prison) where she lives a fabulous life (a sentence not of her choosing) surrounded by everything she wants (illusions, she misses her world, so far away and all of them long dead) and waits for him with hope (ever growing despair.)

He will carry her to his big, dark bed and do things to her until his black wings open wide, so wide, eclipsing the world, and when he is inside her nothing else will matter but the moment, their dark, intense lust, the endless passion they share.

No matter what else he is — he is hers.

What is between them is without blame.

Love knows no right or wrong.

Love is. Only is.

March Madness: Paranormal romance books due out March 30! March 27, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Book lists, Releases, Reviews/summaries.
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I’m still preoccupied with March Madness hoops, but I did remember that several authors will release some good reads at the end of month. Here are a few I’m hoping to pick up. Did I leave anything out? Let me know. Also, next up this week: A book pick from Dot!

Books coming out March 30!!!!

Book blurb listed on Amazon.com: Salvatore Giuliani is not a happy werewolf. It’s his duty as leader to track down the pureblood females who can keep his people from extinction. But the moment he catches scent of Harley, a pureblood held by a pack of mangy curs, his savage need for her obliterates all other instincts. And the only thing worse than being captured is finding that beautiful, independent Harley defiantly refuses to become his mate. Harley has been taught to distrust all Weres, especially their arrogant king. She won’t be used for breeding or bonded against her will, not even to a man who makes every nerve tingle with awareness. Yet Salvatore is her key to saving the family she never knew she had – if she dares to succumb to his dark, predatory desire, and face a vicious enemy sworn to destroy them both…

Read my interview with Alexandra Ivy HERE!

Book blurb listed on Amazon.com:
FBI profiler Jace Valchek was pulled into this parallel realm to hunt for Aristotle Stoker, a human serial killer who preys on vampires and werewolves. Now she works for the National Security Agency of the Unnatural States of America—and her boss is a vampire. At a bizarre crime scene, Jace finds a bloodsucker murdered by magic, fried to the bone and dressed in the costume of the comic book hero the Flash—a character who isn’t supposed to exist here. Comic books have been outlawed for their powers, including crossover spells like the one that transported Jace to this world. Soon, she’s following a trail of dead bodies into the sinister underworld of black-market comics—where a deranged madman gives new meaning to the term “super-villain”…

Read our writeup on the first novel in DD Barant’s series — DYING BITES — HERE.

Book blurb listed on Amazon.com (Publisher’s Weekly): Coyote-shifting garage mechanic Mercedes Thompson, now mated to Adam, the Alpha of the local werewolf pack, embarks on her exciting fifth dark fantasy adventure (after 2009’s bestselling Bone Crossed). Three subplots—Mercy’s attempt to return a magical book to a fae friend-of-a-friend, her difficulties integrating into Adam’s pack, and her roommate Samuel’s misery over being a lone Alpha—come together seamlessly, and excitement builds as Mercy and her loved ones go through ever more intense experiences, including a house fire, a suicide attempt, a death sentence, and a reunion between long-ago loves. Briggs creates both well-rounded characters and a complex mythology, resulting in a rich read that’s far more than a series of action adventures strung together. Fans of the series will be thrilled; new readers should start at the beginning or risk drowning in the immersive world-building.

Book blurb listed on Amazon.com:
Georgina Kincaid has formidable powers. Immortality, seduction, shape-shifting into any human form she desires, walking in heels that would cripple mere mortals–all child’s play to a succubus like her. Helping to plan her ex-boyfriend’s wedding is a different story. Georgina isn’t sure which is worse–that Seth is marrying another woman, or that Georgina has to run all over Seattle trying on bridesmaid dresses. Still, there are distractions. Georgina’s roommate, Roman, is cluttering her apartment with sexual tension. Then there’s Simone, the new succubus in town, who’s intent on corrupting Seth. But the real danger lies in the mysterious force that’s visiting her thoughts, trying to draw her into a dark, otherworldly realm. Sooner or later, Georgina knows she’ll be too weak to resist. And when that happens, she’ll discover who she can trust, who she can’t — and that Hell is far from the worst place to spend eternity …

Book blurb listed on Amazon.com: Sold into slavery as a child to a cruel taskmaster, tiger-shifter Aiden Shrader trusts no one. Not even his own kind. Yet as a member of the Watchmen — the organization of shape-shifters who keep watch over the ancient nonhuman race — Aiden is fiercely protective of the helpless. Never more so than when he’s asked to guard a little girl with witches’ blood — and her beautiful human aunt. A woman who arouses all of Aiden’s primal urges … urges he must resist. To small-town schoolteacher Olivia Harcourt, the massive tiger-shifter with the glowing amber eyes is as much a dark mystery as the enemy stalking her. Yet Aiden is her only hope of surviving. Until their intense passion unleashes her own inner tigress with a ferocity that will make the evil Casus rue the day they messed with her family … and will take Aiden by seductive surprise.

A few more tidbits (spoilers?!) on Sookie book No. 10 — Dead in the Family March 16, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in News, Releases.
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My buddies over at Lastbitepodcast (a great podcast about all things Sookie/ True Blood/all things vampire at www.sookiestackhouse.com) tipped me off to this nugget in Publisher’s Weekly. It’s a short book blurb on the next book — DEAD IN THE FAMILY. It’s got a few interesting tidbits/minor spoilers. But also brings up a few questions! (You can follow Lastbitepodcast on Twitter, too! CLICK HERE to follow.) Oh — and before I forget, the buzz on Twitter and Web sites has season No. 3 of True Blood kicking off on June 13.

Dead in the Family Charlaine Harris. Ace, $25.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-441-01864-2

Still reeling from the deaths of her fairy cousin, Claudine, and many others in 2009’s Dead and Gone, Sookie Stackhouse struggles with paranormal politics in her entertaining if slow-moving 10th outing. When Claudine’s triplet, Claude, appears at her doorstep, Sookie reluctantly allows him to move in. The government threatens two-natures with mandatory registration, and tensions run high in the local Were pack. Then Eric’s maker, a Roman named Appius Livius Ocella, arrives without warning, bringing along Alexei Romanov, whom he rescued from the Bolsheviks and turned into a vampire. Though the action often builds too slowly, the exploration of family in its many human and undead variations is intriguing, and Harris delivers her usual mix of eccentric characters and engaging subplots.

Hummm — Alexei Romanov. Rescued from the Bolsheviks. Could it be the little tsar with the blood disorder? Eric’s maker? And Claude moves in with Sookie? Like I said … hummmmm. Until the book comes out …. (Of course, feel free to speculate below!)

C.L. Wilson moves to Avon, which renames final book in Tairen Soul series March 14, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in News, Releases.
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C.L. Wilson's contract was sold to Avon.

C.L. Wilson says her current contract, which includes TAIREN SOUL, was sold to Avon. So, she’s changed editors and is working with  Avon’s Tessa Woodward. But — there’s more! Avon suggested she change the title of her fifth and final book in the series to CROWN OF CRYSTAL FLAME from TAIREN SOUL, the original name of the manuscript. The marketing wizards at Avon thought CROWN OF CRYSTAL FLAME would appeal more to new readers than TAIREN SOUL — because if you haven’t read the books you wouldn’t know what a Tairen Soul is. (OK — but you have to read them in order anyway so you would know!) Interesting tidbit: That’s the exact reason Dorchester asked her to change the name of her manuscript  to LORD OF THE FADING LANDS and LADY OF LIGHT AND SHADOWS. (Hummm — maybe Tairen Soul was never meant to be a title?)

On her blog, Wilson apologizes for the confusion.  She also admits she’s growing fond of the new title. “All the book elements it plays upon — Ellysetta’s crown, Soul Quest crystals, tairen flame,and a big surprise.”

When will it be released? Wilson is keeping quiet. She promises fans that she’ll make an official announcement on her Web site about the release date after she turns in the book.

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