Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Book Cover: FIREFIGHT by Brandon Sanderson (Reckoners Book 2)



They told David it was impossible--that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart--invincible, immortal, unconquerable--is dead. And he died by David's hand. 

Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And there's no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs. 


Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David's willing to risk it. 

 Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David's heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic--Firefight. And he's willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.

Release: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Press
EW Exclusive Interview About FIREFIGHT

So what do y'all think stacked up against the first book STEELHEART?  I like this tearing through kind of destroyed metal look they have going on, though its a little less effective above since we're looking in at fire so its hard to tell.

Its Brandon Sanderson so you know I'm excited, but how about everyone else?  Did you guys enjoy Steelheart?  Its interesting how they phrase the above, its similar to the summary for the second Mistborn book The Well of Ascension.  Its likely intentional (Steelheart and the quest therein reminded me quite a bit of Vin's quest in the Mistborn books).



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

eBook Review: The Daring Miss Danvers


It's all fun and games . . . until someone falls in love.

Oliver Goswick, Viscount Rathburn, needs money—and soon. With time ticking away and his inheritance held hostage until he's properly wed, Rathburn's slim options point to a single solution: a faux engagement. In need of the perfect bride, he knows of only one candidate: his best friend's wallflower sister. The plan seems flawless, except for one problem . . . He can't help falling in love with her.

Poised, polished Emma Danvers knows nothing good can come of Rathburn's scheme. Spending the next two months engaged in a mock courtship is not what she'd imagined for her final season. Yet, charmed by his roguish ways and the inexplicable hammering he causes in her heart, she accepts his challenge.

For Emma, keeping the secret seemed easy when it was just a game . . . But as Rathburn begins to see past her reserved exterior to the passionate woman within, the risk of losing her heart becomes all too real


Back when I was part of Avon Addicts (in late 2012/early 2013) one of the books I reviewed as part of the holiday season was "Five Golden Rings", an anthology of Christmas short stories.  Part of the collection included the precursor to Lorret's new series "Wallflower Weddings" called "Tempting Mr. Featherstone" it was my favorite story of the set in fact.  We return now to watch as Penelope's three friends--Delaney, Emma and Merribeth--find their own true loves in adventures of their own.

Emma is, both in her opinion and the general opinion of everyone else (friend, family or otherwise), a decorous, modest young woman interested in propriety.  She has to be else she will never find a suitable husband; not with her "artiste" parents disgracing her and her older brother Rafe's best friend Oliver Rathburn glaring all eligible young men away during balls.  Which is perfect for Oliver since she also happens to be not only the only young lady that his severe grandmother approves of (thus helping him gain his inheritance finally), but also the only woman he can think of as a perfect match for him.

This begins more or less how you'd expect a romance of its kind to--Emma and Oliver are constantly at swords point with each other.  Oliver flirts outrageously with her, getting away with it mostly because Emma has the most lackadaisical parents and chaperone I have ever read in a historical romance.  Meanwhile Emma silently laments never hearing her parents say "We're so proud of you", they finally say as much because they believe she's running head first into catastrophe!  Its not that they're neglectful or cruel or unloving; at some point they said FU to the ton and became happier for it so they want their daughter to find that same level of happiness.

In no time at all Oliver realizes that the bumble broth he's found himself in is not causing him anxiety at all, in fact he is vastly excited about the prospect and wants Emma to feel the same way.  Which good luck to that since Emma is certain he is not serious and besides she wants someone who grounds her, not encourages her to make out in public with him causing scandal.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable book, but as much as I liked the characters I found myself wincing any time Emma's parents appeared.  Their acceptance of Oliver's faux engagement plan was just too easy.  Neither so much as batted an eyelash at what could, at the very worst, destroy their daughter's chances at marriage to anyone even partially acceptable. 

And honestly the dancing around their emotions thing seemed to go on forever.  Don't get me wrong, Oliver realizes much quicker then Emma his feelings, but neither was in a hurry to vocalize said feelings even as they both fretted over various disasters (not the least of which was Emma's brother, who I'm pretty sure would have gotten over it if he had seen how openly in love the two were with each other).

I found Emma (and Oliver by proxy)'s battle of wills with Oliver's grandmother, the dowager duchess, to be far more entertaining.  On the one hand the dowager was everything Emma hoped to one day be--upright, seen as a beacon of propriety despite her family's eccentricities and a formidable hostess.  However the lady terrifies her and really she doesn't want to inspire that feeling in people.

The set up for both Delaney and Merribeth's romances (of which Merribeth is next, with "Winning Miss Wakefield") are present, but don't distract.  Neither does the continuation of Penelope's romance (and aren't they just the cutest pair ever?).  Really if Oliver and Emma had just admitted things a little sooner I would have been perfectly happy to watch them join forces to beat the dowager at her own game for the rest of the novel!



Monday, April 21, 2014

eBook Review: Perfect 10


Katrina’s Lesson in Social Media Disasters or How Technology Can Bite You In The A**

Katrina Phillips is an expert social media manager. But that doesn’t mean she can’t make mistakes. Horrible, hide-in-your-closet-forever mistakes... like accidentally syncing her BootyBook app with her online profiles.

Blammo. Now everyone in the world can see who Katrina has dated and how they rated in appearance, sexual performance, and (OMG) detailed descriptions of their manly parts! Now her phone is blowing up with irate exes—and an out-of-the-blue text from the only guy who came close to a perfect score...

Katrina has had a thing for Drew Jordan since forever ago, even if a booze-fuelled one-nighter did destroy their friendship. So why is he suddenly texting her now—and is it because she rated his Sexy Staff Of Manliness as “magnificent”? Now the only way to satisfy her curiosity is to reunite with Drew... and rate him all over again!


Okay you know how much those other Cosmo Red Hots did nothing (good) for me pretty much? I want to thank McCarthy for what turned out to be a truly delightful, amusing romance.   This is what I was expecting from the Cosmo Red Hot Reads line of ebooks from Harlequin.  Its modern, its about a young woman what is successful at what she does, and the romance is bloody hot.

You have Katrina (called Trina) who has built a business around something anyone in today's world knows is important (social media) and can be very slippery slope to navigate.  Toss in a new phone that is not as user friendly as the provider swears it is and bam! You have the recipe for something that practically everyone I know has feared will happen one day.

I have accidentally synced up accounts without thinking about--my family and friends were quite put out when Goodreads synced to my Facebook account and they were flooded with book updates every five minutes.  McCarthy handles that part perfectly--throughout the story Trina's frustration and irritation with the fallout is what makes this a much more genuine feeling story then the previous Red Hots I've read.

And honestly reading things from Drew's perspective helped as well.  Its written in third person limited, but his inner monologue of 'wait did that sound creepy? no is that too fast? oh god that sounded super corny!' was a welcome counterpoint to Trina's sometimes very anxious musings.  Also McCarthy made their friendship feel honest.  The two poke fun at each other, embarrass the other and remember little details that friends know without obviously pointing them out.  

There was also romance involved.  Not just a little bit to make the story a little meatier then erotica, but Drew went out of his way to show Trina that he wanted to make up for that awkwardness from before.  I wholeheartedly recommend this story and sincerely hope that they produce more stories like this in the line.



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Review: Heaven's Queen

From the moment she took a job on Captain Caldswell's doomed ship, Devi Morris' life has been one disaster after another: government conspiracies, two alien races out for her blood, an incurable virus that's eating her alive.

Now, with the captain missing and everyone -- even her own government -- determined to hunt her down, things are going from bad to impossible. The sensible plan would be to hide and wait for things to blow over, but Devi's never been one to shy from a fight, and she's getting mighty sick of running.

It's time to put this crisis on her terms and do what she knows is right. But with all human life hanging on her actions, the price of taking a stand might be more than she can pay.

Absolutely 100% loved this book with every fiber of my being. Glorious, appropriate ending to a glorious crazy ride.

+++

(let's continue the trend of how I open these reviews eh?)  So you're a kick ass merc who, through no fault of your own find yourself flung through hyperspace unguided with the ship mate you formerly was repulsed by, but found out you share an intense relationship with that he wiped from your memory for your own good just so you wouldn't be chased from one end of universe to the other.  Luck being the bitch it is you run into your former lover (who told you about the cursed ship that landed you in this mess), your former captain is part of the detail that is hunting you down and shooting first, asking questions later and oh yeah that pesky attraction to Rupert....

What would you do?  Well if you're Deviana Morris you threaten EVERYONE within an inch of their lives and then do the reckless thing just because you can.

Please let us take a moment to mourn for Lady Gray, who valiantly and without fear fought with Devi through everything.  Never once faltering and always, always being the wind beneath her wings.  Even more then Rupert.

As the final book in what was a roller coaster thrill ride of a trilogy, I was hopeful this would live up to all my expectations.  Bach has, through this trilogy and her fantasy series (under Rachel Aaron), never given me room to doubt that she will end with a bang.  Her characters don't know what "quiet" or "subtle" even means quite frankly.  Even the ones who claim they do (looking at you Rupert).  And since Devi is hell of a lot more of a ACTION YEAH chick then anyone in the Eli Monpress books ever was, I expected a lot of explosions and fighting.

Bach didn't disappoint.

Let's get this out of the way--awwww Rupert!  That man...he's just...there are no words for this man that would do him justice.  Not since Valek have I been so enamored of a fictional guy before.  He could literally do NO wrong in my (or Devi's apparently) book.  Shady past? Big deal.  Shady present? Pfft who cares.  A way with words that could charm a girl out of her Paradoxian armor quicker then you could say "Sacred King"?  Oh my sainted stars.

I liked that Bach had Devi seriously consider every angle about what being Rupert would mean.  She doesn't take any of it lightly and doesn't allow Rupert to underestimate her.  When Devi wants something nothing in the universe will stop her from having it.  Her dream of being a Devestator led her to join a cursed ship with a 100% turn over rate on security personal for crying out loud.  The two finally communicating on equal terms did a lot to making me handwave some of their less then smart moments.

The resolution to Devi's problem, as well as the Phantom problem and the Daughter system and Ma'at and even Rupert's issues was so freaking easy I almost laughed.  Not that getting it done was easy, but the actual trigger was really easy.  At one point Caldswell says that they should have just talked to Rupert and Devi and worked with them instead of fighting with them.  Well duh. 

And Devi is, as always, marvelous.  Whether its when she's fighting to stay calm (her mother always said her anger would be the death of her), struggling to understand the Phantoms or having a truly divine moment Devi is Devi.  Her choice is almost always 'hit it until it stops', but you know what?  You can't argue with what works.

 

Monday, April 7, 2014

PR Special Edition: Sharon Lynn Fisher Guest Post!

Poisoned Rationality Special  Edition

Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition!  Today we  welcome Sharon Lynn Fisher, author of the recently released (and awesome) The Ophelia Prophecy and Ghost Planet!
+++
Summary
Our world is no longer our own.
We engineered a race of superior fighters--the Manti, mutant humans with insect-like abilities. Twenty-five years ago they all but destroyed us.
In Sanctuary, some of us survive. Eking out our existence. Clinging to the past.
Some of us intend to do more than survive.

Asha and Pax—strangers and enemies—find themselves stranded together on the border of the last human city, neither with a memory of how they got there.

Asha is an archivist working to preserve humanity’s most valuable resource—information—viewed as the only means of resurrecting their society.

Pax is Manti, his Scarab ship a menacing presence in the skies over Sanctuary, keeping the last dregs of humanity in check.

But neither of them is really what they seem, and what humanity believes about the Manti is a lie.

With their hearts and fates on a collision course, they must unlock each other's secrets and forge a bond of trust before a rekindled conflict pushes their two races into repeating the mistakes of the past.

+++
 
 Uncrossing the star-crossed lovers in THE OPHELIA PROPHECY

On book tour I always ask for post suggestions from bloggers — when you're writing two dozen, it can be maddening to come up with something original for each one. I really liked Poisoned Rationality’s suggestion for this one: "crafting Pax and Asha's bond over time to make it believable they'd trust each other with their lives."

I'll tell you right now that was one of the trickiest aspects of this book. I'd thought the couple in my first book, GHOST PLANET, were star-crossed, but they had it easy compared to Asha and Pax. Frankly, Romeo and Juliet had it easy compared to Asha and Pax.

When these two find themselves abandoned together on a beach, neither with any memory of how they got there, it takes Asha a few pages to figure out they're enemies. Enemies as in HIS kind (a genetically engineered race of human/insect beings called the Manti) released a virus that all but wiped out HER kind (the humans, who created the Manti).

Furthermore Pax believes she might be a spy, so he forces her to board his ship so he can interrogate her.

And probably I should also mention he has a genetic oversensitivity to pheromones that makes him behave very … *aggressively* toward her in the first chapter of the book.

As a writer I am mostly a pantser, though I do have a high-level summary I work from in the early stages of development. I know the general direction I'm headed, and more or less how the story will end. But the romantic arc … for me it's not something that can be planned. It has to develop organically.

As I progressed with this story, the romance began to slowly slimmer. The chemistry between them felt thick and inevitable. But as each new plot development unfolded, in the back of my mind I was fretting a bit. How would these two ever let down their guard enough to come together? Particularly when Asha kept running from him, and regularly encountered other characters more sympathetic to her plight.

The answer was little by little, beginning with the moment in chapter one when Pax realizes his body has "tuned" to Asha as his mate. His physiology drives him to make her his, but his human side fights to protect her from those subconscious drives. That becomes the foundation for a slow growing, but very powerful emotional — and yes, eventually physical — bond.

I remember one of my early readers, a science fiction fan who's in one of my yoga classes, demanding, "When are they going to have sex?" I loved this, because what it told me was she was buying the romance.

I don’t usually include reviews in my blog posts, but the one from RT Book Reviews is very special to me. Having read this post, I think you’ll understand why!

a sexy, irresistible take on the enemies-to-lovers trope. […] the development of this slow-burn romance feels authentic, organic and totally satisfying.

  +++

Thank you Sharon for perfectly illustrating why these two worked so well! I can fully attest to the fact that from the first it seems unthinkable that they could ever get to a point where trust is granted, never mind anything else.  Want to know more about what I thought?  Check out my review :) 

About the Author

A Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist and a three-time RWA Golden Heart Award finalist, SHARON LYNN FISHER lives in the Pacific Northwest. She writes books for the geeky at heart—sci-fi flavored stories full of adventure and romance—and battles writerly angst with baked goods, Irish tea, and champagne. Her works include Ghost Planet (2012), The Ophelia Prophecy (2014), and Echo 8 (2015).

Author Links:



Follow Sharon on her Blog Tour!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Avon Addicts Application is Live!

http://www.avonaddicts.com

Remember some time ago when I was talking about being an Avon Addict?  Its Avon's "super reader" program for passionate readers who love romance.

For 6 months you'll have access to exclusive content such as author chats, reader discussions, events, blog tours, books and so much more! 

And once you're an Addict you're always an Addict.  Read about my experiences in my "Confessions of Being an Avon Addict" post from last year.

Applications close May 1st, 2014 so make sure you toss your hat in!  Click the image above or go to Avon Addicts Application.


Requirements:

• You must be 18 or older to apply.
• Open to U.S. residents only.
• You must answer all the questions as completely as possible for consideration.
• You can apply again once a year for this special program.



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ilona Andrews "BURN FOR ME" Cover Reveal!


Summary:  #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career-a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan - a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

Release: October 28, 2014

My Reaction: What can you say about a book you're so excited for?  I think it looks wonderful - it fits the more romantic tone of the book, and oh hey look at that look Nevada is giving!  I'm eager to see what scene this fits (as Ilona says below) as well. Plus who doesn't like a destroyed city in the background of a romantic scene?

It is such a gorgeous, distinctive cover, melding together unique paranormal aspect of the world and the sizzle of the relationship between Mad Rogan and Nevada. It's rare when the cover captures a scene from the book exactly the way the author had imagined it. You learn to resign yourself to it. Covers aren't meant to be a literal representation of the narrative, but BURN FOR ME is.  It actually shows a pivotal scene, especially when combined with the aerial view splashback.  If you read the book, you'll know exactly what I mean. When I got the cover file, I sent it to a friend.  She emailed back in minutes.  The email said, "Who did you sacrifice to Cover Gods to get this?"
—Ilona Andrews on her reaction to the cover for BURN FOR ME

BURN FOR ME is a slight departure from Ilona Andrews’ other bestselling urban fantasy series. There’s still the trademark snappy dialogue/narrative and action-packed scenes, but there’s a stronger romance thread here that we wanted to get across right away with this cover.  Our hero Rogan is not just hot and sexy, but he’s powerful.  Like kill-you-with-a-stare powerful.  And Nevada is just as strong, only she doesn’t realize her full potential yet.  So I wanted to show off our couple, have that intimacy between them and not lose any kickass-ness (I know, not a real word, sorry).  The background with the exploding buildings around them…the idea was Ilona’s and the execution is just exquisite. 
—Erika Tsang, Ilona’s Editor extraordinaire



About the Author: “Ilona Andrews” is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

They have co-authored two New York Times and USA Today bestselling series, the urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and the romantic urban fantasy of The Edge and are working on the next volumes for both. They live in Texas with their two children and many dogs and cats.