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Top reads for 2013 January 6, 2013

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Book lists, Book picks, Fun stuff.
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Sorry for the lag between posts. Wish I could say I was out time traveling but it was something more mundane: work! However, I’m back. So here’s a look at my fave reads from last year and what I’m looking forward to reading in 2013. (This is part of a post I did for my friends at www.sookiestackhouse.com. You can read their faves here!) Did I miss any of your faves? Let me know in the comments section. Happy New Year!


1. Poison Princess (Book No. 1 in Arcana Chronicles) by Kresley Cole (This is a YA book but it’s a combo of a dystopian world/Tarot card characters and a smoking hot attraction between the heroine and lead male character. Great read.)

2. Iced (Dani O’Malley series No. 1) by Karen Marie Moning (Ending is predictable but I just wanna know more about the Fever world!)

3. Deadlocked (Sookie book No. 12) By Charlaine Harris. (Coming off the disappointing Dead Reckoning, I liked this second-to-last book in the series.)

4. Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr (Promising start to a nifty series set in world of daimons vs. witches)

5. Days of Blood & Starlight (Book No. 2 of Daughter of Smoke and Bone) by Laini Taylor (Fantastic sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, whose opening line is “Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”)


1. Dead Ever After (Last of the Sookie books) by Charlaine Harris

2. Frost Burned (Book No. 7 of the Mercy Thompson series) by Patricia Briggs

3. Dead Silence (Book No. 4 in the Body Finder series) by Kimberly Derting

4. Endless Knight (Book No. 2 in the Arcana Chronicles) by Kresley Cole (tentative title)

5. Burned (Dani O’Malley Book No. 2) By Karen Marie Moning

Paranormal romance/YA/urban fantasy authors coming to Comic-Con — so far! June 19, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in News.
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We’re still waiting for Comic-Con — July 21-24 in San Diego — to announce its complete schedule of panels and guests, but it says it won’t finalize the lineups until two weeks before the convention. In the meantime, here’s a short list of paranormal romance/urban fantasy/YA authors who are scheduled to appear at the convention — and we’ve checked in on a few of the author websites to find out what they have planned for the convention.

Patricia Briggs
This will be a treat because the author of the Mercy Thompson series (RIVER MARKED is the latest release in the saga about car mechanic Mercy Thompson who is an unusual shapeshifter) doesn’t go to many conventions. Here’s what she’s posted on her website about Comic-Con:

So, we’ve heard lots of great things about Comic-Con. Dan Dos Santos usually attends, and we’ve thought about going down to meet him. The costumes are crazy, the event is huge, and we were a little afraid we’d get lost or trampled in a convention of this size. This year, they invited Patty as a guest. They promised that they’d take care of us country bumpkins and not let us get lost too badly, so we’re going in. Wish us luck.

Kim Harrison
Harrison, who writes the popular Hollows series, has been to Comic-Con before. Her full-color graphic novel — BLOODWORK — which recounts the first book in the Hollows series (Rachel, witch and bounty hunter who has to team up with Ivy — a living vampire) is due out July 12, just before the convention kicks off. “I will be going to San Diego Comic Con to celebrate!” she writes on her website.

Sherrilyn Kenyon
This prolific paranormal romance/fantasy writer whose series include The Dark-Hunters, The League, Lords of Avalon, BAD Agency and the Chronicles of Nick, will apparently have her own panel at Comic-Con this year! Her Facebook page says the panel — still in the planning stages — will be held July 23 (Saturday) from 11:15 to 12:15. (Maybe she’ll give us a sneak preview of next Dark Hunter novel — RETRIBUTION, due out Aug. 2.)

Scott Westerfeld
The author of the Uglies series and  Midnighters trilogy is also a repeat Comic-Con guest. According to his blog, here’s the panel he’s going to be on at the convention: (GOLIATH, the next book in his Leviathan series comes out Sept. 20.)

Sunday, July 24
11:15-12:15AM Building the World of Leviathan, an Illustrated Steampunk Series. Bestselling YA author Scott Westerfeld (Uglies, Midnighters) discusses how illustrated adventure novels disappeared in the early 20th Century, and how he worked with artist Keith Thompson to create one for the 21st, Leviathan, a steampunk re-imaging of WWI. Lots of visuals (and some secret news about Uglies).

(He says there’s another panel about teen comics that he’ll be in, but it’s not confirmed yet. It will probably be Thursday, July 21, 4:30-5:30.)

Book pick: ‘River Marked’ — slow first half but second part makes up for it April 17, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Book lists.
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Who doesn’t love the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs? But I think only her diehard fans will like the latest installment —  RIVER MARKED —  because it is such a disjointed novel.

The book’s title refers to an ancient evil monster that Mercy doesn’t even learn about until the second half of the book. And that’s the problem with the overall novel. Nothing really happens in the first part of the story.

We meet up with Stefan. who we haven’t seen since the horrifying events of BONE CROSSED. Mercy visits him and learns that he and his band are wasting away in some sort of weird apathy. And Mercy is determined to shake him out of it. Then we have Adam and Mercy’s long delayed wedding and honeymoon. We see just about every character important to Mercy. It was pleasant but in no way did it propel me toward the story in the second half of the book. And it just made me not want to read it. I had to force myself to keep going! (And I’ve never done that with a  Mercy book.)

But then, the second half of the story emerges and it is exciting. We finally get more info on Mercy’s father, her Native American heritage. Coyote, Hawk and Wolf return. And we find out why Mercy is always in the middle of trouble and change. We learn why she is able to do things others around her cannot. And we learn more about her strength and abilities.

Finally, we get to a great battle with the river monster — who shouldn’t be in the river but is and is causing death and destruction — and only Mercy and her friends can kill it. The lore and world building behind this part of the story is great. (And the magic fae walking stick makes an appearance and it plays a crucial part in the story. I wonder what will happen to it in the next story?)

I also like that Adam is with Mercy for most of this story. And while he wants to go alpha — and does a few times — he’s definitely married and cares for Mercy in a way we haven’t seen before.

Of all the books in the series, this one misses the mark in the first half, but than Patricia Briggs brings us right back into the thick of things later in the book with rich lore and great storytelling. (Where did she think up those creepy river otters?) I’ll be curious where she takes the next book. I’d hate to see Adam and Mercy fall into a boring domestic bliss. (We’ll know next spring!)

The next Mercy Thompson ‘River Marked’ cover, now due out in January 2011 September 14, 2010

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OK — so I’m a little behind in my Mercy Thompson news but here’s my first look at the cover for the next installment about our odd little shifter who can fix cars. At first I thought RIVER MARKED wouldn’t be released until Spring 2011 but now it looks like the release date is January 2011. Yah!

Here’s the book blurb from Amazon.com:

Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She’s never known any others of her kind. Until now. An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River-one that her father’s people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help…

Did you miss these?

Author Patricia Briggs on how she writes & who she’s reading now! April 7, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Fun stuff, News.
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(Patricia Briggs reads from SILVER BORNE in Huntington Beach on Tuesday)

When Patricia Briggs sits down to write her Mercy Thompson books, she doesn’t know how the stories will unfold.

Patricia Briggs reads from SILVER BORNE Tuesday in Huntington Beach.

“There are a lot of great outliners out there, but I can’t do it,” Briggs told about 80 fans at a book signing of SILVER BORNE in Huntington Beach on Tuesday night. Instead she takes a character, gives them a problem and sees how it works out. And she does it again and again until she feels her story is right. “It means that I write a lot of pages that I probably throw out.”

That method seems to work well for Briggs, whose fans praised her Tuesday night for fresh story lines, world building and complex and magical characters in the series, whose heroine is a vampire-stalking coyote shape shifter. Briggs writes two books a year but admits the pace can be grueling. She finished SILVER BORNE — book No. 5 in the Mercy Thompson series — right at Christmas. There are times when she gets so tired she can’t read her writing or anything else. “The first draft is always the hardest because I don’t know where it’s going. But revisions are fun. That’s where I see the subplots and characters.”

Briggs spent the first part of the evening reading from SILVER BORNE (see video clip below) and taking questions before signing books. Here’s what she said on other topics:

On the Mercy Thompson books:

Stefan: The vampire is in his ‘not very happy place right now. He’s been betrayed at a very basic level.” He’ll be back though.

The magical walking stick: “It has to show it’s ugly dark side — and it has one.”

Mercy’s family: Look for her mother and sisters to show up more in the next books.

The Walkers: Are aware of Mercy and are watching her. “I don’t know if we like them (the Walkers) yet,” Briggs says. Readers will find out in the next book in the series RIVER MARKED, due in 2011.

Books for the signing!

On what she’s learned since publishing her first book:

–Be respectful and kind to everyone you meet
–Watch what you say (in the publishing world)
–Read books from a lot of different genres

Early influences?

Laurell K. Hamilton (author of the Anita Blake series). “She made this genre what it is. I picked up GUILTY PLEASURES with that cheesy cover. … I love her books and read them all.” Also, Kelley Armstrong, Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher — all very popular authors today, too.

Among the many books she read as a kid, one sticks out: MAINLY IN MOONLIGHT: Ten Stories of Sorcery and the Supernatural by Nicholas Stuart Gray. (Published in 1965) For it’s fairy tale/scary qualities.

What’s she reading now? (What books are in her suitcase!)
MASTER OF NONE by Sonya Bateman. (It’s about a genie and she really likes it!)
CHANGES by Jim Butcher (She’ll pick up a copy on her way out.)
KITTY GOES TO WAR by Carrie Vaughn (Not released yet)

Why does she know so much about coyotes, dogs and wolves?

She studies them. At her home in Washington she’s got 38 acres of vineyards where coyotes build their dens. Some nights she can hear 16 to 18 coyotes howling. She also used to live in Montana and was around many wolf-dog mixes. “Wolves are very smart and only become dangerous when afraid.”

Fans follow along as Patricia Briggs reads from SILVER BORNE.


This Barnes & Noble in Huntington Beach always seems to snag really interesting authors. Next up: Jim Butcher and CHANGES, book No. 12 in the Dresden Files. He speaks Saturday (April 10) at 3 p.m. at the bookstore on 7881 Edinger Ave.

Miss this? Will Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson make it to the big screen? CLICK HERE to read.

Shout-outs! A special hello to Cassie, Christina and Van! Great to meet other fans, artists and writers!

Cool pics: CLICK HERE to see Cassie’s very cool and complete slideshow of the event (Thanks Cassie! That is one awesome camera!)

Will Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson make it to big screen? April 6, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, News.
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Patricia Briggs at a booksigning in Huntington Beach.

Ask her in about three months.

“I’ll be able to better tell you then,” she told about 80 fans at a book signing for SILVER BORNE on Tuesday night in Huntington Beach. Briggs, the author of the popular Mercy Thompson series — about a vampire-stalking coyote shapeshifter — said she has hired a lawyer who understands Hollywood to help sort things out, but if “it doesn’t go in the next three or four months, they’ll drop the contract.”  Briggs said the series has been optioned by 50 Cannon Entertainment, which is run by Mike Newell, who has directed a lot of interesting films, including “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Donnie Brasco” and “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” And they’ve given her “an awful lot of control.” But if it doesn’t work out with 50 Cannon, she said she has had several other offers. However, if the series is picked up by someone else, “it will have to go to someone who will let me put my stamp on it.”

MORE PHOTOS/VIDEO: I’ll have more on what she said at the book signing in a separate post tomorrow!

Patricia Briggs will talk about her latest Mercy Thompson book in O.C. March 30, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, News.
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I snapped up my copy of SILVER BORNE — book No. 5 in the Mercy Thompson series — and figure I’ll zoom through it in plenty of time to hear author Patricia Briggs talk before her  book signing here in Orange County.  For those lucky fans in the O.C., Briggs will be at the Barnes & Noble in Huntington Beach on 7881 Edinger Ave.  on April 6 (Tuesday) at 7 p.m. I’ll be there!

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.

Short story picks: Charlaine Harris & oinkers and Patricia Briggs & witches August 19, 2009

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Reviews/summaries.
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I want to sooooo post a book pick on Karen Moning’s DREAMFEVER, but am waiting for the little sis to finish it up so we can talk about it first. Until then — and it should only be another day — I’m leaving you with two interesting short stories I’ve strangebrewpicked out from STRANGE BREW — a great collection of short stories by Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs and other authors.


Does Charlaine Harris have a thing for pigs or have I been watching too much of the HBO TRUE BLOOD series? I think not.

In BACON, Dahlia Lynley-Chivers is a vampire who is now a widow because her werewolf husband was defeated in a challenge fight for pack position. But, it was not a fair fight. Her hubby was messed with and the vamp is out for revenge. She hires a witch to help her find out what was done to her husband to make him vulnerable and weak during the fight. This witch has an interesting family history. An ancestor had turned visitors to her island home into pigs because — well — she just felt like it. And, the ancestor left a record — a grimoire — of her life and deeds. It’s a nifty little tale and you know something weird is gonna happen.  Suffice to say that justice is served.

But the pig thing made me wonder. Does Charlaine have a thing for pigs?  Yup — in the early books, the maenad ran around the woods with a razorback pig. Of course, it’s probably a stretch to say that the name “Sookie” sounds like a pig call. I believe that’s “Sooey!” However “Sook cow,” and “Sookie” are Scottish cow calls.  Hummmm. Well — in any event. I had porkers on the brain between the Sookie books, the pig in the TRUE BLOOD series and when I saw the title of her short story.

One note from Charlaine on her message board about this short story — which has nothing to do with pigs:

Bacon” is a Dahlia Linley-Chivers story. There was a previous Dahlia story in the anthology “My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding,” and there’ll be another Dahlia story in the MWA anthology “Blood Lust.” They have no bearing on the Sookie stories, though Dahlia does appear in ALL TOGETHER DEAD. The story in “Must Love Hellhounds” also does not have any bearing on the sequence of the Sookie stories.


The doorbell rang.

That was the problem with her business. Too many people thought they could approach her at any time. Even oh-dark thirty, even though her hours were posted clearly on her door and on her Web site.”

This is why I love Patricia Briggs. She writes smartly, tightly and her worlds are kind of spooky yet a little familiar. In SEEING EYE, a blind witch, Wendy Moira Keller, helps werewolf Tom Franklin search for his missing brother. But why is she helping, how did she become blind and what is it about the pair that seems to click from the get go?  It’s not love at first sight — OK — I so had to say that (San — I know you will hate that) but there is something there. So far it’s my fave.

Are you reading STRANGE BREW? What are your faves in the collection? More to come on this book.

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