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Featured Title: Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

Kate Daniels Series, Book 4 - Urban Fantasy 5 STARS (5/13/2010, 9780441018529, Penguin Group)

Magic Bleeds is the fourth book in the Kate Daniels series and completely made of awesome! In it, Kate’s still working for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid as a liaison and everything seems to be going the same ol’ until she’s called to break up a fight in a bar called the Steel Horse. Turns out it’s not just one of those you-grabbed-my-girl’s-ass kind of fights, more like some-dude-just-walked-in-and-impaled-another-on-a-pole kind. Not something you see everyday, even in a magic-crazy city like the Atlanta Kate lives in. So now Kate finds herself smack in the middle of a case that from the get-go, it’s more dangerous than the (ab)normal stuff she deals with. There’s someone new in town that’s causing a lot of trouble and they might be closer to Kate than you think. Hey, what’s a little murder and mayhem between family? I can honestly say that Magic Bleeds was one of my top most-anticipated books this year and it more than delivered. It’s hard to describe how absolutely fabulous this story is without accidentally giving spoilers away and that’s just not acceptable. I’m afraid Andrews is one of the rare authors that will turn me into a complete fan-girl! I admit it, I loved Magic Bleeds. I love Kate, she’s one of the best characters I’ve ever read, she’s so fiercely loyal and brave and such a smartass but in Magic Bleeds, we actually see a softer side of her and it just made me love her even more. The writing is just unbelievable. I could image scenes in my head in detail, whenever Kate was in a fight, my heart just pounded along. At times I felt like I needed to take a break from the book due to just being too engrossing, too brilliant for my little heart, like when you gorge yourself on Belgian chocolate. Magic Bleeds is the best yet of this series! Insanely fun read, action-packed and with scenes that made me turn into a puddle of goo, but in a good way! I’m more than ever looking forward to more Kate and Curran. Reviewed by Wendy


Features •

Great Reads by The NOR Staff.......................................4

Romance by Mary Eason.............................................11

Urban Fantasy and the Paranormal by Roxanne Rhoads ....................................................................................29

The Battle by Michael Davis.......................................35

Cooking Up A Storm With Kyrainse............................44

Author Interview by Tammie King..............................49

SFF Insider by Shartyrant............................................59

Tantalizing Tidbits by The Book Nerd..........................68

History Bits by Lilyraines.............................................71

Teen Reads by MonicaBBB..........................................74

Manga Insights by Lexile.............................................83


Great Reads

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Daemon’s Mark By Caitlin Kittredge Werewolf homicide detective Luna Wilder guards the fine line that separates Nocturne City’s humans from the weres and witches that roam its streets. Now, Luna must thwart a new evil more dangerous than anything she’s ever encountered.

Cottage by the Sea By Ciji Ware

All the romance of the beautiful Cornish coast and a wealth of local color add richness to a story that crosses the centuries... When a Hollywood scandal leaves her life and her marriage in ruins, Blythe Stowe escapes to the wild coast of Cornwall and a cottage by the sea. There she finds herself both physically drawn to her handsome neighbor, Lucas Teague, and literally drawn into a haunting 200-yearold love story as an elaborate family tree on his study wall sends her rushing back into the past. The Wolf Next Door By Lydia Dare

Rogue, Rake…Werewolf. Years ago on a full moon, Lord William Westfield gave way to his inner beast and nearly ruined young Prisca Hawthorne. Knowing he can never trust himself in the arms of the woman he loves, he throws himself into a debauched lifestyle. When Westfield discovers he has a rival for Prisca’s love, he decides if she’s going to marry a Lycan it damn well better be him. But time is running out as Prisca’s other suitor takes an instant and potentially fatal dislike to Westfield.


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Great Reads

Bring On the Night By Sonya Clark Only a vampire can own the night.

If there’s one thing Jessie hates, it’s going after her own kind. She may be used to taking a bite out of human killers, but she leaves her fellow immortals alone. It’s only after a series of gruesome murders have her suspecting vampires and werewolves are going after innocents does she set out to put a stop to it. Ares Express By Ian McDonald

A Mars of the imagination, like no other, in a colorful, witty SF novel; Taking place in the kaleidoscopic future of Ian McDonald’s Desolation Road, Ares Express is set on a terraformed Mars where fusion-powered locomotives run along the network of rails that is the planet’s circulatory system and artificial intelligences reconfigure reality billions of times each second. One young woman, Sweetness Octave Glorious-Honeybun Asiim 12th, becomes the person upon whom the future - or futures - of Mars depends.

Dept. 57: Jewel of the Dragon By Lynne Connolly

Dev Wyvern is Welsh, tall, dark and sexy as sin. When he walks into Alix Lancaster’s jewelry shop he knows her brother, Clay, has set a trap for a shape-shifting dragon. Which he happens to be. Still, the minute he sees Alix he wants her. She sets him on fire, and it’s not long before Dev persuades her into bed for a heated and passionate lovemaking session. But if she’s a member of the enemy to all Talents, the PHR society, then he can’t trust her.


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Romance www.NightOwlRomance.com

38

Suspense & Mystery www.SuspenseInsider.com

61

Science Fiction & Fantasy www.SFFInsider.com

78

Young Adult www.YAInsider.com

Night Owl Reviews™ WEtap Media, LLC ™ 319 NE Hyde Circle, Hillsboro, Oregon 97124 NightOwlReviews@gmail.com Editor-In-Chief: Tammie King Associate Editor: Sarah McDermed Associate Editor: Kim Wollenburg Advertising: Tammie King NightOwlReviews@gmail.com © Night Owl Reviews 2010

These are just a small portion of the reviews that Night Owl Reviews has available on our website. For a full listing and the most up to date reviews visit our website www.NightOwlReviews.com. Reviews are provided by our review staff. Reviewers get books via NOR and we get books direct from the publishers, authors and publicists. Reviews are based on reviewer thoughts.


Q & A With Author Nan D Arnold

Question:

Can you please give us a sneak peek into the book? --Tammie King

Answer: Maggie is childless by choice and Bruce suddenly finds himself with a baby brother to raise. (Oh, this isn’t any baby, this is the love child of his seventy- something-year-old father! Born is South America). This creates a real conflict in their relationship.

Q & A With Author Sharon Hooper

Question:

Do you outline your books or just start writing? --Tammie King

Answer:

The storyline plays in my head all the time. I tried an outline but then the scenes weren’t as spontaneous and vivid as much as I would have liked.


Romance by Mary Eason

This year’s must have reads for your vacation.

The days are getting hotter, school is almost out. Summer is just around the corner and you know what that means… summer vacation! Yep, after all those long, cold, dreary months of winter, spent working at the grind, struggling to keep a positive attitude, it’s finally time to have some fun. Whether you’re a beach person, fond of a little cabin in the mountains, or prefer to lock your door and hibernate at home, summer vacation is the perfect time to brush up on your three Rs. What are the three Rs you ask? Oh, man, you really do

need a vacation. The three Rs stand for, Relaxation, Rejuvenation, and Romance. And when I say romance, I mean great romantic fiction, a must have for any traveler’s tote bag. With summer vacation just around the corner, I thought June would be the perfect time to get a head start on some upcoming summer reads that every reader of romantic fiction truly must indulge in. Believe me, this year’s crop of summer romances has something for everyone’s tastes. So, here are my top ten must have reads for Summer 2010.


Night Owl Reviews

Number 10: Seven Secrets of Seduction by Anne Mallory Scandalous and provocative, The Seven Secrets of Seduction is an intoxicating insight into the mind of men and the desires of women—and the book has all the ton talking. Secret #1: Every good seduction begins with a baited hook . . . Well-educated, but not part of society, Miranda Chase is just as captivated by the erotic pages as everyone else in London. Intrigued by the layers she sees beneath the book’s surface, she writes an editorial about it, never realizing that her passionate words will draw an actual viscount to her uncle’s bookshop.

Maximilian, Viscount Downing, has very particular ideas about passion and sees truth only in desire. He freely flaunts his sensual power and seeks nothing more than another conquest—the one that could justify his entire debauched existence. But Miranda’s blend of innocence, trust, and love cause a strange thing to happen on the way to this seduction. Something that just might threaten the very fabric of his jaded heart. Publisher: Avon (Preorder May 25, 2010)

Number 9:

The Devil She Knows by Diane Whiteside After avenging the murders of his family, Gareth Lowell headed west to put his


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demons to rest. Though several years have passed, he still carries the weight of his sins and doesn’t believe he deserves to be loved – even by the beautiful Portia Townsend. He’s known Portia since she was a young girl, and though she’s blossomed into a voluptuous woman, he resists the deep longing she stirs in him. When Portia realizes Gareth will never see her as anything more than the feisty, silly girl she once was, she decides to move on. Trouble is, Portia has once again gotten herself into a dangerous situation, and the only way out is to marry Gareth — if only temporarily. Turns out getting hitched was the easy part, while giving up

a scorching passion is the last thing either are willing to admit… Publisher: Brava (Pre-order May 25, 2010) Number 8:

Winter’s Awakening by Shelley Shepard Gray As the coldest winter on record blows into Sugarcreek, will three hearts have the courage to discover the life that God wants for them? In the small Amish town of Sugarcreek, Ohio, Joshua knows what’s expected of him: to work at the family store and to finally marry Gretta, whom he’s courted for years. But when a new English family moves in next door—and their


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teenage daughter catches his eye—Joshua wonders if his future plans are too firmly set in stone. Gretta is shocked by the sudden change in Joshua. Their arguments followed by tense silences feel too much like the frosty atmosphere at home between her parents. When Roland begins to take an interest in her, she considers what her life might be like with Joshua out of the picture. With Roland, Gretta would have steady, kind companionship...although she knows she could never love him. When Lilly moved to Sugarcreek, she never imagined she’d be enamored with the Amish way of life—and especially with her handsome new neighbor, Joshua. But

she guards a secret that will surely drive him away, one that compelled her family to leave their old home and move to Sugarcreek in the first place: Lilly is pregnant. Publisher: Thorndike Press (February, 2010) Number 7:

After Dark by Beverly Barton When A Shocking Scandal Exposes Southern SecretsAs the blazing heat of summer gives way to sultry September, a shroud of suspicion settles over Noble-s Crossing, a sleepy Alabama town. Nothing is as it seems-and never will be again. Lane Noble Graham stands accused of murdering her ex-husband. And the one man who can


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help, Johnny Mack Cahill, vowed never to return to the town that scorned him-or the woman whose love he knew he didn-t deserve. -No One Is Safe From ColdBlooded Murder From the rusted-out trailers on the wrong side of the river to the stately pillared mansions along Magnolia Avenue, everybody has something to hide-but one secret could make Lane and Johnny Mack the next targets of a twisted killer, who-s struck once and is bent on striking againPublisher: Zebra (August 3, 2010) Number 6:

No Mercy (Dark-Hunter Novels) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Setting: Modern New Orleans Live fast, fight hard and if you have to die then take as many of your enemies with you as you can. That is the Amazon credo and it was one Samia lived and died by. Now in contemporary New Orleans, the immortal Amazon warrior is about to learn that there’s a worse evil coming to slaughter mankind than she’s ever faced before. Shapeshifter Dev Peltier has stood guard at the front of Sanctuary for almost two hundred years and in that time, he’s seen it all. Or so he thought. Now their enemies have discovered a new source of powerone that makes a mockery of anything faced to date. The war is on and Dev and Sam are guarding ground


zero. But in order to win, they will have to break the most cardinal of all rules and pray it doesn’t unravel the universe as we know it.

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Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (August 3, 2010) Number 5:

His Pretend Wife by Lucy Gordon Andrew Blake is the heart surgeon who will operate on Elinor’s daughter, Hetta. He’s also the man Elinor nearly married.... Andrew has helped them so much--saving Hetta’s life and finding them a new place to live. Elinor finds

she still loves Andrew, but didn’t she lose her right to his love years ago? Now single dad Andrew asks Elinor to live in his home, and become his housekeeper and childminder, almost like a pretend wife. Elinor agrees--for all their sakes--but can she ever be Mrs. Blake for real...? Publisher: Harlequin Romance (Kindle - May 24, 2010) Number 4:

Bliss by Opal Carew Lock the door and get ready to follow your bliss… Kara is a sex columnist who believes lovemaking is a natural physical function and nothing


more. When she meets a J.M— a Tantra master who thinks sex is the way to reach a higher spiritual plane—she thinks he’s whacked. But when he volunteers to tutor her in the ancient sensual arts and show her what Tantra is all about—one look at his smoking hot body and wildly good looks, and it’s an offer she can’t refuse. After a few intoxicating nights in J.M.’s arms, Kara feels a deep connection to the man who’s brought her most decadent fantasies to life. And she wonders if the soul-shattering bliss she’s experienced has something to do with Tantra-or if J.M.’s simply stolen her heart… Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (June 22, 2010) Number 3:

Beast Behaving Badly by Shelly Laurenston


Ten years after Blayne Thorpe first encountered Bo Novikov, she still can’t get the smooth talking shifter out of her head. Now he’s shadowing her in New York - all seven-plus feet of him - determined to protect her from stalkers who want to use her in shifter dogfights. Even if he has to drag her off to an isolated Maine town where the only neighbors are other bears almost as crazy as he is. Let sleeping dogs lie. Bo knows it’s good advice, but he can’t leave Blayne be. She may insist Bo’s nothing but a pain in her delectable behind, but polar bears have patience in spades. Soon she’ll realize how good they can be together. And when she does, animal

instinct tells him it’ll be worth the wait. Publisher: Brava (May 25, 2010) Number 2:

Corralled: A Blacktop Cowboys Novel by Lorelei James First in a new series about some hard-riding rodeo cowboys...and the women who can rein them in. Sports therapist Lainie Capshaw has been rehabilitating injured cowboys long enough to know that a charming western drawl combined with a fine physical form doesn’t mean you fall for the man. So no one is more surprised than Lainie when she finds herself involved with not one, but two dif-


ferent men: Hank Lawson, a bullfighter, and Kyle Gilchrist, a bull rider. Lainie feels guilty about her two-timing, but it doesn’t keep her from doubling her fun-that is until Hank catches her with Kyle. She’s shocked that Hank isn’t mad. But she’s more shocked to learn Hank and Kyle are hometown buddies. But when the men offer to share her-in every way-she knows that she’s going to have to choose the one man who can give her the ride of her life...

Publisher: NAL Trade (August 3, 2010)

And Number 1: Infamous by Suzanne Brockmann In her first paperback original in more than six years, New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann delivers an unforgettable novel of contemporary romance and thrilling suspense. When history professor Alison Carter became a consultant to the film version of the Wild West legend she’d dedicated her career to researching, she couldn’t possibly have known that she would not only get a front-row seat to a full-blown Hollywood circus but would innocently witness something


that would put her life in peril. Nor did she expect that a tall stranger in a cowboy hat would turn the movie— and her world—completely upside down. A. J. Gallagher didn’t crash the set in dusty Arizona to rub elbows with Hollywood’s elite. Unable to ignore ghosts from the past that refuse to stay buried, A. J. came to put an end to the false legend that has tarnished the reputation of his family. But when he confronts Alison, sparks fly. And when Alison is targeted by ruthless criminals, suddenly she and A .J. must face the intense attraction that threatens to consume them—and survive the danger that threatens their very lives. Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 27, 2010)

Okay, you all have your reading assignments for the three

Rs. So let’s get cracking… summer’s calling. All the best… Mary Eason

Mary Eason is the author of books such as “A Night to Remember” and “Root of All Evil”. You can find Mary online at http://www.maryeason. com.


Romance

Night Owl Reviews

Lover Mine By J.R. Ward Penguin Group 4.5 / 5 Stars - Top Pick Wow, to read this book only once for review was not enough. I had to read it twice before I could literally wrap my head around everyone’s current situations. Most J.R. Ward fans have seen John Mathew (JM) grow up, so to speak. It is absolutely amazing to see him finally fulfill his dreams, and after so much loss and pain that he is still able to love another is simply amazing as well. I am in complete awe of Ms. Ward’s character development, she has a way of making her characters vulnerable yet inpenitrable all at the same time; only to be touched by the one person who will share thier life. The plot is insane as is the changes we get to see JM go

through in his hunt for Xhex and vengeance against the evil Lash. He is practically an entirely different person (vampire?) from the start of the book to the end. This is an amazing read and a wonderful edition to the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Reviewed by MonicaBBB

The Stranger Behind the Kiss By Tess Thieler The Wild Rose Press 4.5 / 5 Stars - Top Pick Tess Thieler generates two fantastic characters in her bold and brisk romantic suspense tale. Arden is the type of female I aspire to be and Jake is a hero worth falling for. The plot and pace had me glued to the page and before I knew it I was concluding this brief detour to my day. As


Romance

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a tried and true romantic I’m a sucker for happily-ever-after and this delivered an ending which left me beaming. I enjoyed this amusing and adventurous short story and I look forward to reading more from this talented author. Investigating a new case, PI Jake Summers is following a cheating husband hoping to catch him in the act. What Jake records are two dangerous drug dealers who chase him down a dark alley determined to retrieve the evidence and silence the witness. Arden Majors is returning from viewing a romantic movie and when a handsome stranger requests a kiss how is she to know that her impulsive gesture will not only put her heart in jeopardy but perhaps her life as well?

Reviewed by Pauline Michael

Handcuffs and Leather By Kim Dare

Resplendence 4 / 5 Stars Constable Joe Hadley has a secret. He has fantasies and dreams about being tied up and under someone else’s control. When he takes a call to run off some trespassers at a local farm, he ends up being ambushed by three men and taken hostage. Even though his attackers turn out to be very passive and he easily outsmarts them, arrests them and saves the day; he is still required to see psychologist, Dr. Michael Rawlings, to make sure he wasn’t traumatized by the whole thing. Since the attack, Hadley has had some issues, but it’s not what most people think. He keeps having these reoccurring dreams that the hostages are more forceful with him and make him submit to their every demand. Hadley doesn’t want to admit these fantasies to himself, much less to the


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Romance

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older attractive, Dr. Rawlings. Hadley could easily see himself submitting to the older man’s ever desire. But, Dr. Rawlings is nothing but persistent, and soon Hadley confesses his fantasy of being forced to submit to dominant men. To his utter horror, Dr. Rawlings immediately calls off the session and tells Hadley he must see another psychiatrist. Angry and confused, Hadley leaves without looking back. Dr. Rawlings has suspected Hadley’s true submissive nature for some time. As soon as Hadley finally admitted his desire to be a submissive, he knew he had to disassociate himself from Hadley’s therapy for both personal and professional reasons. Rawlings wants Hadley to submit to him. He seeks Hadley out and tells him that he doesn’t need a psychiatrist but a master. At first Hadley

is confused, but soon understands that Rawlings is a Dom, and wants Hadley to be his submissive. The men quickly embark on an erotic D/s relationship. Just as they really get their D/s relationship started there is the natural confusion of boundaries and their budding feelings they have for each other. I liked this book, but I did think it was too short. I was a little disappointed because Rawlings and Hadley didn’t really start connecting emotionally to one another until the very end of the book. It’s very obvious that this is the first book in a series, so I’m okay with their emotional development coming on slow. I did think the BDSM sex scenes were pretty erotic and I enjoyed the physical chemistry the characters had with each other. I’m definitely ready to read more about them and look forward to the next book in the ‘Rawlings Men’ series.


Romance Reviewed by Daisiemae

Taken Beyond Temptation By Cara Summers Harlequin Blaze #547 4.5 / 5 Stars - Top Pick

In this second book of the Forbidden Fantasies series, we get to know another one of the Brightman sisters a bit better. Jillian, the interior designer of the Haworth House, has always dreamed of being swept away and seduced by a mysterious stranger. As she and her sisters successful run the Haworth House they seem to be bringing themselves much publicity due to the haunting of the inn. You see, Hattie Haworth used to be a legendary silent film star. Since she passed away, it’s said that she still haunts the tower room. In the past, the sisters have had their share of experiences of seeing Hattie and they don’t mind her stay-

ing there with them since she brings them no harm. But since the radio and TV crews haven’t stopped talking about the haunted inn, it seems to be popular with many visitors. As the weeks and months pass, strange things begin occurring and they seem to all be wrapped around one specific sister. This time, Jillian seems to be the target of some pranks that are starting to cause quite a stir at the inn. Such a stir that everyone starts to question if the Haworth House should still be in business. Thankfully, Avery, the inn’s manager and good friend of the family, is keeping everything under control as best as he can. But after the last few events have plagued the inn’s visitors he doesn’t hesitate to call Dane MacFarland’s brother, Ian, in to help get to the bottom of all the mischievous occurrences. Since they


Romance run their own investigative services he hopes Ian will find out the culprit behind the occurrences at the inn. Poor Ian doesn’t realize just how deeply involved he’s getting himself when he accepts this job and meets Jillian for the first time. Sparks fly and love at first sight hits the both of them. This leaves Ian to wonder if he can guard his heart as well as guarding Jillian and the Haworth guests. Do Ian and Jillian finally find out who the culprit is who’s plaguing the Haworth House? If so, why would this person be doing such nasty things to Jillian and her guests at the inn? Does Hattie help in revealing the truth behind these recent occurrences? I adored this second installment to the Forbidden Fantasies series and I think that Ms. Summers has penned another hit! The characters are so believable and the

storyline keeps you wondering who is behind all the nasty occurrences going on at the Haworth House. I instantly fell in love with Ian and thought he would be perfect for Jillian. In turn, if things worked out for them, she may just have gotten her secret fantasy fulfilled after all. Ms. Summers is an extremely talented author and you won’t go wrong adding this series to your collection. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Reviewed by Diana Coyle

Saving Sarah By Michele Bardsley Ellora’s Cave 4.75 / 5 Stars - Top Pick

Almost one year ago, Sarah Slattery was raped in her home while her husband, Ben, was out. Since this horrific and traumatic event, Sarah has been unable to make love to Ben, Feeling


Romance there is nowhere else to turn, Ben seeks the advice of a therapist. But this is no ordinary therapist. Annie is a white witch who holds souls that are in limbo and not ready to move into the light. With the help of Dunley, one of these lost souls, she embarks on a plan to help save Sarah and Ben’s marriage. With Dunley’s help, Ben and Sarah are once again able to share the physical intimacy that has been missing from their lives. But there is also a dark force out to destroy the rekindled passion and it

becomes a race against time to stop that force before it reaches its goal. Filled with hope, lots of steamy sex, and even some suspense, Saving Sarah is a story of a couple trying to get the magic back and move on from the past and a lost soul, trying to redeem himself The sex was so hot at times, I felt warm all over, and the ending was so sweet, it almost brought tears to my eyes. If you like your paranormal romance with lots of steam, Saving Sarah is a great read. Reviewed by Lisa


Urban Fantasy and the Paranormal by Roxanne Rhoads

Roxanne Rhoads is a story stumpet, tome loving tart, and lover of all things paranormal. She is also a freelance writer and the author of erotic paranormal romances.

What’s New in Paranormal and Urban Fantasy??? Boy is it hot in here or is it just this book I’m reading? Summer has officially started and the new releases are sizzling. Laurell K Hamilton’s 19th Anita Blake book, Bullet, flew into stores June 1st along with Strange Neighbors by Ashlyn Chase (a

very fun read), From Hell with Love by Simon Green, Forged of Shadows by Jessa Slade, A Cast Off Coven by Juliet Blackwell (I want to read this series), Dreamveil by Lynn Viehl, and Demon Hunts by C.E. Murphy and one not to miss is Alayna Williams debut novel, Dark Oracle. Definitely some hot releases to kick off a great month of reading.


On June 8th the new Cat Adams book is out, Blood Song. Nice cover, looks like it should be a good read. On June 22 be on the lookout for Shades of Gray by Jackie Kessler and Dracula’s Guest: A Connoisseurs Collection of Victorian Vampire Stories by Michael Sims. June 29 gives us another hot assortment of new UF and PNR releases including: Black Dust Mambo by Adrian Phoenix, Fatal Circle by

Linda Robertson, Night Myst by Yasmine Galenorn, Pray for Dawn by Jocelyn Drake, Kitty Goes to War by Carrie Vaughn, Red Hot Fury by Kasey Mackenzie, Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison, and a book on my must have list: Nicole Peeler’s second Jane True book, Tracking the Tempest. Fans of YA PNR and UF books will have some new releases from popular authors to choose from like Rachel Vincent’s My Soul to Keep on June 1, The


Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella by Stephenie Meyer on June 5, and Blood Feud by Alyxandra Harvey on June 22. This is the second book of The Drake Chronicles. On June 29 Keys to the Repository by Melissa de la Cruz will be available. I don’t know about you but my reading glasses are getting steamed up just thinking about the hot summer reads I have to look forward to. SQAL with Michele Hauf by Roxanne Rhoads RR: Let’s start out by getting the name of your newest release and what genre/category it falls into

and/or hero in 3 words? MH: Hero – bold, sexy, determined Heroine – artistic, smart, beautiful RR: Name one unique trait about your heroine and/or hero

MH: ANGEL SLAYER, paranormal romance featuring angels, demons and vamps

MH: Hero – he’s an angel slayer Heroine – she dreams about Fallen angels

RR: Can you describe your heroine

RR: Name the sexiest trait of the main man


in your newest book

about being an author is____________

MH: He must sin to survive. RR: Can you think of three adjectives that can best describe this book ? MH: Sexy, fast-paced, paranormal RR: What’s the heat level: arctic winter, flirtatious, romantic, sizzling, or scorched panties hot MH: Romance that flirts with the sizzle. :-) RR: Can you sum up your book in 2 sentences or less MH: Fallen angels are on earth to start the apocalypse. This hero and heroine won’t let that happen. RR: And please finish this sentence: The best thing

MH: working from home and getting to work with characters I love. RR: And last but not least when can we expect to find your book in stores? MH: I believe the last week in May, and then only available for a month in stores. “Halo Hunter” is a short story that goes along with this book (features a hero who pops up in ANGEL SLAYER), and that is available June 1st at eHarlequin.com SQAL with Alayna Williams by Roxanne Rhoads RR: Let’s start out by getting the name of your newest release and what genre/category it falls into


AW: My newest release is an urban fantasy, DARK ORACLE (Pocket-Juno Books, June 2010). RR: Can you describe your heroine in 3 words? AW: Tara is intuitive, isolated, and scarred. RR: What is one unique trait about your heroine? AW: Tara is a criminal profiler who solves crimes using Tarot cards. RR: Name the sexiest trait of the main man in your newest book. AW: Harry Li is an intense

federal agent who helps Tara track down a missing scientist. His most compelling trait is his loyalty, both for Tara and his mission. RR: List three adjectives that can describe this book AW: Mystical, scientific, and conspiratorial. RR: What’s the heat level: arctic winter, flirtatious, romantic, sizzling, or scorched panties hot: AW: Romantic. RR: Can you sum up your book in 2 sentences or less? AW: Tara Sheridan swore off criminal profiling after narrowly escaping a serial killer who left her scarred for life. By combining Tarot card


divination with her own intuition, she must help an intense federal agent find a missing scientist who has unlocked the destructive secrets of dark energy. RR: And please finish this sentence: The best thing about being an author is‌ AW: balancing ideas about magic and science in a world that is very similar to

our own. RR: And last but not least when can we expect to find your book in stores: AW: DARK ORACLE will be available June 1, 2010.


The Battle

Part 4 – Connections By Michael W. Davis (www.Davisstories.com) “The Battle” is a series of articles about one author’s real-life trip through a minefield of experiences as he’s learning to deal with personal difficulty. There is no ulterior purpose, other than to share thoughts in the hope others may find counsel in the shared journey. All humans possess a network of connections with other people in their lives. This human network comes in layers: family, special buds, friends, business contacts, faces you see in local stores and say hi to each day, etc. This post is about the role the human network plays in our well being, but stick with me for a minute cause I need to interject a little background. Just…hold… on. In the discipline of applied mathematics, the study and analysis of networks is a special sub field. A few real world examples will help. There are city networks (roadways), biological networks (our nerve or vascular system), infrastructure networks (our power supply), and a ton of other areas of application, including a sub specialty referred to as social networks (e.g. humans touching humans). We all have one, but it varies for each of us in terms of three properties of connectivity: namely depth, breath and strength. Depth pertains to the layers within layers and their complexity. Breath deals with how wide or big the network is, and strength deals with how strong the linkage is between the people in the network. Based on our age, gregarious nature, intro vs extrovert focus and many other


factors; the shape, size, depth and importance of the human network to each of our lives is different. Where in the world am I going with this post, well bear with me, its coming. To some, the relevance of their human network to their state of mind is minimal, in others it is paramount. I’m in the later category, always have been, always will. But I contend as people expand their awareness of what life is really all about, especially as they enter their later years, most begin to draw more and more strength from their network, especially in times of difficulty. I’ll provide a personal example. Recently I was diagnosed with Cancer, that’s right, the big C word. My point is the tremendous energy that can be gained from your personal connectivity network. I am very fortunate to have a wide and deep network, mostly because I love good people, and I seek them out

and do my best to stay in touch. I am also able to recognize and gravitate to individuals who are pure of spirit, broad of heart, and strong in character. I have drawn such powerful support and genuine emotions from my human network. The shared stories, experiences, personal tragedies, and prayers have really firmed up my foundation, and at 300 pounds this old body needs all the support it can get. Everyone that reached out moved me higher and higher up the state of mind scale, and I can’t reference them all. I picked one as an example, and after you read this one, it should give you a warm and fuzzy about human nature. I have permission to site part of the message from Harvey Tate (http://www.authorsden. com/harveyrtate): Four years ago I remember sitting in a lonely hospital room in the late hours, wondering if I’d recover from my second bout of congestive


heart failure. The night can make you feel mighty dismal. For whatever reason, I began humming the tune “Rainbow Connection” very quietly. The tune kept me from total depression. I kept humming and trying to remember the words. The hours slipped by much easier. Sometime around three in the morning a nurse slipped into the room and told me that she’d seen lots of illness in her job, but the ones who had a positive attitude usually walked out the door. She patted my head like I was a little boy and told me I was going to be fine. One of my favorite songs I sing my grand daughter has being Rainbow Connections (primarily because I hope she will pattern on the under lying message), but now it will always have another special meaning to me, and hopefully you. My point? Never be afraid to reach out into your human network. We are not really alone unless we want

to be. The walls that separate us are by choice and can be torn down. Sure, not all will respond, but many will. Reach out, extend a smile, a handshake, some positive little words to make someone’s day. You will be amazed how your network grows and grows while willing people that are just like you, that get lonely, need a hug every now and then; they willingly will join your network. And they are real, positive, honest connections. You’d be surprised how many are waiting with open arms to give you a hug, or hold you hand, and if you need one more, hell let me know and I’ll give ya a web hug. And I promise to be gentle.


Suspense / Mystery The Devil’s Punchbowl By Greg ILes Pocket 4.75 / 5 Stars - Top Pick Penn Cage is the mayor of Natchez, MS after being the assistant DA in Houston and a published author. He ran for mayor because he wanted to revitalize Natchez back to the way he remembered it as a youth. So far, he’s just getting frustrated and feels nothing is changing. The schools are still the same, gambling is booming and many citizens are resisting any kind of change. Penn is seriously thinking of giving up and resigning. When childhood friend, Tim Jessup contacts Penn for a meeting at the local cemetery just after midnight, Penn goes to meet him based on his memories of the past. Shortly after high school Tim turned to drugs and though it appears that his new wife has kept him clean since they’ve been togeth-

er Penn isn’t sure that it will last. What Tim tells Penn and shows him though knocks him for a loop. There are a lot more vices going on around Natchez then Penn realized and as mayor he needs to do something about them. Only Tim warns Penn that not everyone who should be doing something, like the DA and some of the police, is clean. Some of them are deeply involved in things that they shouldn’t be. Things really get murky when Tim arranges to meet Penn the next night, same place and time, and Tim is killed. The DA swears it was suicide but Penn knows better. Then, when the operator of a gambling boat threatens Penn and his family, Penn has to call in some friends for help. This is a lot bigger than he thought and a lot more dangerous for not only Penn but his family and close friends. Besides extremely long, this book is extremely intense. Mr. Iles takes you into places you


Suspense / Mystery never wanted to be like dog fights and rapes. The emotions and descriptions will leave you torn as you merge into his written words. The coldness and coolness of murder and mayhem gave me chills. The depth of the corruption was amazing and believable. I think one of the best aspect of this book is the absolutely fantastic descriptions of Natchez and the area around it. What really kept my interest though were the quirks of the area; the cemetery and its divisions as to where one was buried, the smallish cult churches abounding in the rural areas, and things of that sort. While I enjoyed this book, I did feel that it was too long. I was ready for it to be finished a few hundred pages before it was. There are some subplots that I felt weren’t needed though they did bring some fullness to the story. Intense and hard hitting, this thriller makes you give serious

thought about what could be really happening in even your own neighborhood.

Reviewed by Terri

Executive Intent By Dale Brown HarperCollins 4.5 / 5 Stars - Top Pick

When it comes to military suspense that features lots of intrigue and technological weaponry, you can’t beat Dale Brown, a former U.S. Air Force captain who has authored 22 action-adventure “techno-thrillers” to date. In this latest novel the United States squares off against China when the Asian superpower aggressively responds to the Americans’ development of a high tech, space based protection system. At the heart of this system in Earth’s orbit is a precision guided, artificial meteorite that can strike anywhere on the planet in


Suspense / Mystery a matter of seconds. Rather than negotiate with the American president to disarm and cancel the weapon system, the Chinese invade Somalia and Yemen, thus capturing the vital shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden. With the U.S. Navy’s nuclear carrier battle groups now at risk, U.S. military might in the region is all but neutralized and Russia, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan take advantage of the situation. Meanwhile, out in space the Chinese and Russians have sent their spacecraft to blockade an American space station. As the volatile situation reaches critical mass, retired Air Force

Lieutenant General Patrick McLanahan is called to assist the commander of the U.S. Space Defense Force in dealing with the mess. If the men aren’t successful, a full-scale war between the superpowers for control of the sea and space will have catastrophic results. Walking the thin line between sci-fi and reality, Dale Brown has a knack for making far-fetched military situations seem feasible. Fast paced action make his books highly entertaining quick reads that make tedious waits in airports or lengthy flights go by quickly.

Reviewed by Bob Walch

This Body of Death


Suspense / Mystery By Elizabeth George Inspector Lynley Series #15 HarperCollins 3.5 / 5 Stars Although he still grieves for his dead wife and unborn child, it is time for Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley to leave the isolation of Cornwall and return to his job at Scotland Yard. Awaiting the inspector is a puzzling case that involves the murder of a young woman found brutally stabbed in a London cemetery. Newly arrived in the city, Jemima Hastings acquired some rather quirky friends, including an Italian mask maker who lived in her boarding house. Is one of these new acquaintances responsible for her death or does the solution to the case reside back in the dead woman’s native Hampshire? While Lynley, his former partner Barbara Havers and the department’s temporary head, Isabelle Ardery, search for clues

both in London and in Hampshire’s New Forest, another seemingly unrelated case becomes a factor in the investigation. What the abduction and death of a toddler from a fastfood outlet decades before have to do with this case remains to be seen. But, rest assured, the two cases will converge with astounding consequences. Those who enjoy a solid read involving captivating characters and a tightly woven plot will find Elizabeth George’s 16th novel much to their liking. She may live on Whidbey Island, Washington, but ask George’s readers where they think she resides and they say, “England!”. The Anglophile’s research is so meticulous and her characters so “authentic” that it is assumed she was born and bred in Britain. Guess again! Reviewed by Bob Walch


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Cooking Up A Storm

With Kyraninse

Title: In my mother’s kitchen (Anthology)

Rating: 3.75 / 5 stars

Is there anything so evocative and transporting as the mention of a mother’s kitchen? Even if one’s mother never cooked, even if the only thing to come out of that kitchen were frozen meals hastily thrown into the microwave -- that’s a memory of sorts. In this anthology though, the pages abound with

mothers who were talented in the kitchen, mentors in this most basic and yet important of things. Perhaps it would have been a stronger anthology if there had been mention of mothers who didn’t or disliked to cook and how the writer moved past or through that block and found their own happiness therein -- but that is a small quibble. M.F.K Fisher starts off


with a surprising confession, one shocking to those who know her best as a food writer extraordinaire -- the pudding with blackberries she served her mother after giving birth sent her mother into a severe allergic reaction. Further revelations that she was queen of the kitchen and desired no interference is interesting, but not quite as memorable as that particular bit of trivia. Julie Sahni takes us into a kitchen perhaps not quite like others we have been in before, that of her Indian mothers. There, we see that many things are the same -- the casual intimacy between a daughter and mother in the kitchen -- and that many things are not quite the same: the milkman comes by with his cow and calf in tow, not

with the canonical glass bottles that are known in the US. Lela Nargi’s account of how she fired her therapist because she absolutely refused to see that being a food enthusiast wasn’t a mark of a deranged mind but surely hid some terrible sort of secret -- perhaps of the Freudian sort -- was wry, right-on, and absolutely hysterical at points. James Villas’ account of his relationship with his mother and how it evolved as he grew into a cook in his own right was beautiful and touching without a bit of the sanctimonious sappiness that often pervades such accounts. It’s not all cake, ham, and wine though. For every two stories that was marvelously turned out, there is one or another which doesn’t quite hit the


spot. Sometimes a story would meander, seemingly without point, a string of kitchen experiences that didn’t illuminate either the author’s personality nor that of his/her mother. Some were simply bland and uninteresting -- after one account of singing a mother’s praises without really getting to the nitty gritty, that’s quite enough.

I don’t need the extrapolated version of a Hallmark card in book form. I will admit to being particularly peeved that there was no recipe for the Queen of Sheba cake, after the author went on at great length about this cake and didn’t get to anything important. Descriptions of how tasty something is not quite as interesting as some might


think, really, and at the very least she could have compensated with a recipe so the readers could then make the cake and then judge for themselves. Sometimes it seemed like the authors were trying too hard to achieve something, but not succeeding. Heavy-handed overuse of the wink, for example, got to the point where I just wanted mention of it to go away. Rosemary Gong’s account of her popo’s kitchen might have been a success if it had been tighter writing, more about her popo and the family dynamics, more about the immigration from China, more about the culture clash than just what seemed to be random descriptions of what happened there on a usual day, and not even a drama-filled day.

I did enjoy this book though, since it was thought provoking and brought to mind my own experiences with my mother in the kitchen. For nothing else, I was happy to relive those little conflicts and rivalries, the rare times of working in harmonious intimacy, and to be grateful that my own mother is still with me, still around to boss me around in the kitchen and tell me how I can do better next time. I also found some authors that I might need to look up: Lela Nargi and Julie Sahni, for example. This would be a lovely addition to any bookshelf, and also a potential sweet gift for a mother or mother to be. Kyraninse lives on the East Coast and enjoys cooking and reading.


Author Interview Patricia Briggs http://www.patriciabriggs.com by Tammie King

Q:

Your Mercy Thompson books have become wildly popular, can you share with us how many books you think will be in the series?

A:

Q:

I have no idea -- however, I promise to stop before I get tired of writing them.

The next book in the Mercy series, Silver Borne, is Sam’s book, could you tell us a bit about it and did you have a hard time writing his story?

A:

What to do about Samuel has been nibbling at my Mercy Thompson #5 conscience since Mercy picked Adam and I knew that things were going to get very bad for him before (or if) they got better. Writing a book, I’ve found, is like giving birth -- after it is over, unless things were very bad (or really easy) I pretty much forget about the agony involved. It wasn’t as hard as Cry Wolf, nor as easy as When Demons Walk


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(which are my extremes to judge writing by).

Q:

The Alpha and Omega books are set in the same world of Mercy’s book but at a different timeline, have you thought about doing a crossover or catching up with the timeline? And do you have any idea how many books there’s going to be in this series?

A:

Catching up the time lines An Alpha and Omega Novel #1 would be simply awesome, making things much easier for me and for the readers. I fully intend to do so as soon as Charles and Anna quit being so interesting in their first few months. In a sense, a lot of the books are crossovers, with Samuel and Bran (and in a lesser way, Charles himself) making appearances in both series. I think it would be difficult to write a book with Mercy and Anna playing major roles without showing too much of the hand of the author. So right now I do not plan on writing a crossover. I’m not saying I’ll never do it, just that there are some big writing-craft issues that I’ll need to overcome to do it right.

Q:

Original Cover

Masques, your first book, is being rereleased this year, did you make a lot of changes or did you feel it was necessary to leave some originality to it?


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A:

I didn’t make a lot of story level changes besides adding a scene to the very beginning, but yes, a lot of filling in here and tightening up there. The very first scenes, especially, got a lot of lipstick. I always try to improve my writing -- and it was kind of cool working on my first book and realizing just how far I’ve come.

Q:

It is very apparent in your Mercy Thompson novels as well as the Alpha and Omega series that nature is a big part of the Mercy Thompson #1 setting. As it is described in such detail with respect and appreciation, do you have a background in hiking, camping, hunting or did you do extensive research?

A:

Yes. I’ve done a lot of riding and hiking up in the woods -and my husband has done even more. But there was still some research involved in doing Cry Wolf. My husband spent a long time talking to the forest ranger who spent several decades in the Cabinet Wilderness (which were my husband’s old stomping grounds). You should have seen us trotting around on snowshoes. I prefer to run around in the woods when you don’t need snowshoes. My husband had used them when he ran a trapline as a boy, and doing Search and Rescue in high school -but there have been some real improvements to snowshoe design since then. So we bought a pair and played around with them for a bit when, unexpectedly, we got a really deep snowfall in Butte


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that winter (Butte is very cold -- and so it doesn’t snow as much as it does elsewhere in Montana). We used the snowshoes (and a sled for the hay) when we fed the horses for the better part of a week and were grateful not to have to wade through the snow.

Q:

In both of your current series there seems to be a concurrent theme of how crucial it is for the strong to protect the weak. Is this your personal philosophy to make the world a better place or is it just how wolf packs work so you put it in the books?

A:

Hmm. I hadn’t thought about that being a theme -- which is okay. Themes should creep into an author’s work without notice, otherwise they tend to be soapboxes and get annoying. The wolves in a pack will kill a weak wolf, one that endangers the pack’s survival. But outside of that, they take care of each other, using their strengths to bolster other wolves weaknesses and are aided in return. Actively protecting the weak is a more human virtue -- the boy scout who helps an old lady across the street, my mother’s neighbors who mowed her yard and checked up on her every day to make sure she was all right, the guy who came boiling off his porch when he saw some middle-aged man accosted my fourteen-year-old daughter as she was walking her dog. To me, such actions contribute to the survival of a community and, since all of the supernatural communities in my books are trying very hard to survive, it is someMercy Thompson thing they cultivate. Graphic Novel Series #1


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Q:

In other interviews you have said how you have driven VWs and other German made cars in the past. Since that is part of Mercy’s charm as a heroine, what kind of car do you drive right now?

A:

We have owned two Vanagons, four Jetta, a Eurovan (ack pffft), and a Passat wagon. We all mourned our poor ‘91 Jetta that just couldn’t make the move back to Washington. My husband and I drive a Toyota Mercy Thompson #4 Camry SE (that doesn’t drive like our Passat did, no matter that they tried to tell about how it was supposed to drive like a European sports sedan) and an old Dodge truck. But our kids are old enough to drive and my youngest daughter has a 2000 Jetta TDI that we all love.

Q: A:

Since your previous books were straight fantasy, what inspired you to go in the direction of urban fantasy and to create Mercy?

I’ve been reading urban fantasy all my life, beginning with writers like Charles de Lindt and Tim Powers (even the early Barbara Hambly books had an urban fantasy crossed on traditional fantasy feel); through Tanya Huff’s Blood Books, Mercedes Lackey’s Diana Tregarth and Car Racing Elves , and Fred Saberhagen’s wonderful Dracula series; and into the next generation fully realized by Laurell Hamilton, Charlaine Harris,


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and Jim Butcher. I’d just finished Raven Strike -- my longest book to date, written, extensively revised (throw out a hundred pages and replace it with a hundred and fifty) and edited in three months because, after all these years, I somehow forgot how to read my contracts. I was sitting at my desk staring at the blank screen and wondering if I needed to take a few months off when my editor called me. She and I share reading lists, so she knew I was reading a lot of urban fantasy. Her boss asked her if any of Ace’s writers could write an urban fantasy fast. She knew I liked urban fantasy -- and I’d just demonstrated I could write fast (though I didn’t tell her just how fast I’d done everything until it was finished). So she asked me if I’d try my hand at writing an urban fantasy series for them. I discovered that switching genres is a lovely cure for burn-out because I sat right down and started writing as soon as I hung up the phone.

Q:

If you had the ability to shapeshift, what animal would you choose, wolf or coyote or would it be something entirely different?

A:

I think I’d love to be a hawk or a big fish or sea-going mammal like a walrus. I think flying or exploring the ocean would be the ultimate adventure.

Q:

Will we ever discover who Adelbert was and why Zee

Mercy Thompson #2


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smote him?

A:

Now is as good a time as any! Adelbert was a priest dedicated to bringing Christianity to the still somewhat pagan Germanic people of Northern Europe. Zee smote him because he was annoyed. Have I mentioned that Zee was not exactly a nice fae back then? He’s not nearly so likely to kill people who annoy him today . . . or at least he’s more cautious about taking credit. However, smiting Adelbert was viewed by most of the people at An Alpha and Omega Novel #2 the time as a service. Relieved, they made Adelbert a saint so the church wouldn’t think the people had anything to do with it -- and dead saints cause a lot less trouble than alive ones (Joan of Arc, anyone?) Zee was left strictly alone for a few more centuries, just as he wished. Everyone (except for Adelbert) lived happily ever after. At least that’s what Zee tells me.

Q:

The supernatural characters in your books are very unique, especially the Fae. Did you use any specific research materials or was it simply a matter of collecting information from different sources in order to create them?

A:

I like to credit Katherine Briggs (no relation) who collected and studied British Isles folklore in the 1960s and 70s. Most useful is her terrific Encyclopedia of Fairies which I tend to buy every time I see a copy for sale. Mostly, though, my fae come from a childhood of reading the collections of folk tales put together by people like the Brother’s Grimm and Andrew


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Lang as well as original writers like Nicolas Stuart Grey and Hans Christian Anderson.

Q:

The Trickster is a reoccurring theme in many different cultures and Native American legends, usually portrayed as a coyote. Do you see Mercy as the trickster or is Mercy’s true purpose something different? And did you see that episode of the Simpsons where Homer met the coyote?

A:

I love Simpsons. How many series are there that just keep going and stay awesome year after year -- yes, I saw that one. I think that the Coyote aspect of Mercy is something that has been developing from book to book. Initially I was looking at the qualities of the animal that Mercy had -- and noticed that a lot of them are things Coyote also displays. For me, the biggest parallel between Mercy and Coyote is their ability to get into trouble and out of it. That the fae are starting to draw stronger connections between the two is their problem. Unless they make it Mercy’s problem -- but that’s another story (grin).

Q: A:

I find the level of sensuality in your books to be perfect. Was it hard for you to bring that into your books or is it one of the easier tasks?

To me, sex is a very powerful writing tool. I tend to be cautious because I don’t want to overuse it and let it lose its edge. Sexual tension is

An Alpha and Omega Graphic Novel #2


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even more useful and less likely to bring on disastrous results. It’s like swearing. I used to sub a lot at a small school, so all the students know me. I had an English class I took to the library one day. A couple of the boys were flirting (ineptly) with a girl by taking her notebook and running off with it. I was working with someone on their essay and the girl came to me for help for the fourth or fifth time. “Damn it,” I said. Maybe I used a worse word. And the room hushed, everyone froze. The notebook was quickly handed over by the sheepish kids. I apologized for swearing at them. “That’s okay,” one of the boys said. “Mr. J-- swears all the time.” “And do you stop what you’re doing and behave when he does?” I asked. They looked around at each other and shook their heads. If you overuse powerful things, they cease to be powerful -- it’s a matter of balance. I have people who write to me and ask for more sex or less. In the end, a writer has to make those sorts of choices for themselves. I write what the story demands of me and not a pinch more or less. I am grateful to live in a day and age when I don’t have to ignore or gloss over that (important) part of a relationship, nor do I have to stuff it in where it doesn’t belong.

Q: A:

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I’ve always been a voracious reader, but, especially when I was younger, I hated unhappy endings. When a good book ended badly, I’d find myself revising it. The Little Mermaid found a merman who showed her, by example, what a dweeb the prince (who died of a very disfiguring case of the mumps along with his beautiful wife) was. The dogs from Where the Red Fern Grows met Old Yeller and ran away to live happily ever after with a nice old man who could heal dogs of their ills. I


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also drew a lot: mostly horses, dragons and girls. People would ask me who they were so I had to make up stories. Eventually I started writing them down, just scenes, left unfinished when I ran out of interest -- or the story outpaced my ability to write it on paper. In college I had a friend whose room was filled with spiral notebooks filled with stories and books, and for the first time I met someone my age who had written a book

from beginning to end. That real people wrote books was something of a revelation to me. I decided to try it -- and Masques, my first published novel, is the result.


SFF Insider

by Shartyrant

Science Fiction & Fantasy News & Reviews The Dark Age: The Queen of Sinister by Mark Chadbourn continues the story from The Devil In Green returning to the post apocalyptic England where a terrible plague forces a doctor to seek a cure in the Celtic Otherworld. Not only is the doctor in a race against time to find the cure, but she has to deal with her burden of having five distinct personalities and one may not be human. This story is a nice continuation of the story arc begun with The Dark Age: The Devil in Green where the humans are trying

to recreate human civilization and survive in a world with paranormal creatures and gods. Recommend for readers who enjoy strong futuristic fantasy with a strong dose of Celtic or pagan elements. I would rate this one three stars.

The Office of Shadow by Matthew Sturges is a high fantasy story with lots of spy action. This story is a direct sequel to the events in Midwinter. However, I was not lost in this story though as it was satisfying in of itself. Silverdun is the new leader of the “ Shadows�


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or spies who has been assigned to discover the origin of a city killing weapon that was used in the previous Seelie/Unseelie war. Silverdun and his allies are required to help prevent a total war by entering into hostile land to find out the secret behind Mab’s weapon. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and recommend it for those who would like to enjoy a tightly written fantasy spy thriller that is filled with betrayal, secrets and fantasy. I give this one 5 stars and would say it deserves a place on your keeper shelf. Shadow’s Sun is the fantasy debut of Jon Sprunk. In the holy city of Othir, Caim is a freelance assassin who is given what he believes is going to be a routine job that ends

up thrusting him into the middle of a plot to change the political structure of that area. Caim’s only allies are his jealous and snarky guardian spirit, Kit, and the socialite daughter of his last victim, Josephine. This fantasy is filled with lots of action and suspense. There are plenty of assassinations and fight scenes for those who crave a bit more action in their fantasy. Caim’s abilities are interesting as is the fact of his attitude towards it which will quickly grab a reader. I highly look forward to the sequel and give this novel 5 stars as well as it deserves keeper status. Recommend for fantasy fans of the sword and sorcery genre and fans of assassin leads.


Science Fiction & Fantasy Song of Scarabaeus By Sara Creasy EOS 5 / 5 Stars - Top Pick Kidnapped by rebel forces, Edie is at first unsure whether to be thankful for her release from the Crib empire or the be fearful of what the Fringe revolutionaries plan to use her and her abilities for. When she learns that the bodyguard, Finn, assigned to her will die if she roams out of a very short range, she knows that her only loyalties are to herself and becomes determined to escape, with Finn, at least until she can break the leash. But before they can successfully escape, she learns that the rebels plan for her to tackle her one failure, a planet called Scarabaeus. Can she succeed where she one failed? What does the future hold for her

and Finn? Sara Creasy has tackled the Science Fiction community with her debut SONG OF SCARABAEUS. I love the chance to enter into a new world with a new author and I loved Ms. Creasy’s new creation. I felt that she did a phenomenal job building her new worlds and characters. SONG OF SCARABAEUS is a fast-paced, action packed adventure, mixing in a lot of sci-fi technology, with an emotional backdrop that keeps the pages turning. Edie is a very strong woman, she never really had a chance to bond with people, and is very tech oriented, as that is all the Crib really let her be. While her interactions with others was limited, she didn’t lack people skills nor compassion. Finn has been dealt a really bad hand in life. He was a commanding officer in war,


Science Fiction & Fantasy then became a slave to the Crib’s, who tried to break him, but never succeeded. Now he’s expected to watch over Edie, but what he didn’t expect was the emotions that would threaten to break through. Honestly, I’m a sucker for any romantic elements, and I grew very attached to Edie and Finn and their budding relationship, I can’t wait to see where future books take them. There is a strong chemistry between him and Edie, though they barely touched upon their emotions in this book. Edie was rightfully leery of any attachments, but slowly began opening up. I also want to see what is in store for Cat, Gia, Corky and Yasuo, to see what direction they will all go, and to see if the Crib empire will become diminished or if the revolutionaries will begin to gain

power. There are so many questions left unanswered that leave me hoping that a second book comes out soon!

Reviewed by Aemelia

Directive 51 By John Barnes Penguin Group 3.5 / 5 Stars

In the first of a planned trilogy of post-apocalyptic stories, veteran sci-fi author John Barnes takes an interesting premise—what would happen should Directive 51, the United States’ ultimate chain-of-command plan should everyone in the presidential line of succession be killed—and sets it against an intricate “Daybreak” plot of eco-terrorism aimed at destroying modern society. The book sprawls from one end of the country to the other, divided into pre-, mid- and post-Daybreak sections as it


Science Fiction & Fantasy follows a group of characters on both sides of the political fence. Pre-Daybreak moves a bit slowly as Barnes tries to introduce an intricate plot, a huge cast of characters, and the biologically engineered microbes set to destroy modern society by melting plastic, corroding anything electrical, and generally short-circuiting our high-tech future. The story picks up once Daybreak finally hits and we begin to see the physical, social, moral and political fallout as people lose the ability to mass-communicate, physically move from place to place with ease, and govern themselves from afar. Thrown back to the 19th century, pockets of people begin to ferret out the old ways of getting news distributed, people fed, and communities organized. The book strays off-course in a few places, however, and

leaves a couple of bothersome holes. It gets downright preachy at times—in one or two spots, it feels as if the author is inserting himself into the narrative to take a few potshots at Democrats and offer up a diatribe on the miserable human condition. The book also jumps so quickly from location to location, from character to character, that it’s hard for a reader to really get invested in what happens to them. In the end, there are nice scenes where the country starts pulling itself together, but it takes a lot of hard reading to get there. Maybe the questions get answered in book two, as society rebuilds—maybe with a few less sermons.

Reviewed by Preternatura

Red Hot Rury Shades of Fury, Book 1 By Kasey MacKenzie


Science Fiction & Fantasy Penguin Group 4.5 / 5 Stars - Top Pick As the Chief Magical Investigator for the Boston PD, Marissa is expected to investigate the cases that are suspected of being arcane. She’s also a Fury, one of those immortals beings who avenge the wronged, but when she shows up at her latest case’s crime scene, things get personal. The victim is a Fury who is also an old friend of hers that was killed by an angry ex years ago, or so Marissa (Riss) thought. But it’s not really her murdered friend, but someone made to look like her. Things only get more dicey when Riss is suspended from her job for no reason at all. She’s still determined to find out what happened to the victim and why it looks like her friend. But with most of

her resources gone, the only person left that can help is her ex-boyfriend Scott who is also a shapeshifting Warhound. If they don’t manage to kill each other first, that is. Yet, this is no ordinary case. There’s powerful people who will stop at nothing to make sure she doesn’t investigate this specific crime and Marissa soon finds herself trying to stop a war. Or maybe almost starting one. Let me start off by saying that I think the storyline about Furies is super original and creative and it’s awesome to read about something other than vampires or werewolves. Don’t get me wrong, I love vampires and werewolves story but variety is the spice of life and all that. Red Hot Fury is a super fast-paced story. The plot just swoons by and it was incredibly fun to read! However, if you’re


Science Fiction & Fantasy not paying attention, then you might miss some crucial scenes. The characters are nicely fleshed out and the chemistry between Riss and Scott was yummy. Red Hot Fury is fabulous! There’s plenty of kick-ass action scenes, the world-building is really interesting and I’m definitely

looking forward to the next book in this new Urban Fantasy series.

Reviewed by Wendy


Night Owl Reviews

Tantalizing Tidbits by The Book Nerd

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I know a lot of people, and strangely they like to talk to me. I don’t think it has anything to do with popularity or anything like that. The real reason is that I’ll talk to just about anyone who’s willing to pay attention to what I have to say. The other people that tend to hang around are relatives and well… what can you say about family members without getting into trouble. Anyhoo, there are pluses and minuses to knowing a ton of people. The most important

one for me is that someone is always traveling and willing to bring back a shot glass to add to my collection. The down side is, uh…you can’t get rid of them when you need some “me” time. Almost everyone knows that I’m either writing about something, reading a book from my massive TBR stack, or in the potty; so sometimes when the phone rings, I may not answer. This, of course, is no reflection on any of those people, but when I’m writing or reading, solitude is important. Unfortunately, some people leave desperate messages to tell me about something on television, the latest gossip, or a crisis they’re having with a significant other.


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I’m not sure why an unanswered phone creates havoc in the minds of friends and relatives alike, but it does. What’s worse is when a few even take the time to drive over to my house, see the car in the driveway, then call again, leaving a message on the machine that they know I’m home because they see my car. YIKES! Can you say stalkers? So I’ve decided to take an unannounced vacation to get away. If you’re from New York, perhaps you’ve heard of the Library Hotel New York in midtown Manhattan where they actually have floors set up using the Dewey Decimal system, which is way cool. If you’ve never heard of the Dewey Decimal System I have to assume you’ve never visited a library, but that’s okay because you’ll be able to figure

it all out once you get there. What makes this interesting is that each of its ten floors is set up for books that are relevant to a particular category. So if you’re into Social Science, Language, History, etc., you’ll have a ball; but I’m zeroing in on the eighth floor. Feel free to get your groove on with fairy tales, mysteries or fiction, but 800.001 is where plenty of Erotic Literature awaits my greedy little hands. So in addition to being able to take three or four books along for the trip, I’ll be able to meet and greet others who want to get naughty. Oops, I meant, read naughty. Yippee, let the fun begin! There are plenty of neat amenities there, and guess what? You can even keep the bathrobe and slippers! To be honest, all I need is somewhere to plug in my laptop,


a place to curl up and read, some cheeseburgers with a chocolate chip latte, and oh yeah – a bathroom. They’re celebrating their tenth anniversary in August, which just happens to be my birthday month, so I’m in. I’m not planning to tell anyone where I’m going in an effort to stem the flow of tears. So mum’s the word. If you’re trying to hide from some undesirables, I suggest taking a little trip yourselves

where you can take as many books as you want to read, with no threat of interruption. I’m excited about my vacation and to even make it more fun, I’m taking a taxi to the airport, leaving my car at my house in the driveway. That’ll teach ‘em. Hugs,

The Book Nerd


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History Bits by Lilyraines Reading books of a historical nature can either be a wonderful experience that makes the reader want to keep reading or it can be drier than dust. Which the reader prefers is up to them, I prefer to read a book that brings history alive, imparting information in a vivid manner rather than read a book that imparts information by rote (even though that type of book has its place as well). To that end, Nancy Goldstone’s Four Queens: The Provençal Sisters Who Ruled Europe is a delight to read.

The book focuses on the four daughters of Count Raymond Berenger V of Provence; their marriages to Louis IX (Marguerite), Henry III (Eleanor), Richard (Earl of Cornwall and King of the Romans) (Sanchia), and Charles (Count of Anjou and King of Sicily) (Beatrice); the times they lived in; shifting loyalties; wars; intrigue; and their families. The setup of the book has a fantastic – for me – setup in that, rather than focusing on one sister and her life before moving on to the next sister, the focus is on the overall historical timeline and the


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book goes from one sister to the next (and back) as the timeframe moves on and affects each individual sister. What makes these sisters’ story even more remarkable for the times they lived in (13th century Europe) is that they came from a family that was neither rich nor royal. The story is even more remarkable for the fact that Provence was, at the time, a cultural rather than strategic area. I would certainly recommend this book to someone who not only wants to find out a little bit more about history, but who likes a good read. Other books that readers may find interesting are as

follows: Four Gothic Kings: The Turbulent History of Medieval England and the Plantagenet Kings, Elizabeth Hallam (editor)

This book focuses on four English monarchs who ruled England between 1216 and 1377: Henry III (Eleanor’s husband in Four Queens), Edward I, Edward II, and Edward III and who are shown through accounts of contemporary figures. The book features photographs and illustrations that focus on the monarchs and other contemporary figures such as William Wallace, Thomas Aquinas and Francis of Assisi. Uppity Women of Medieval Times, Vicki León


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Profiles different women from all walks of life in the middle ages from Queen Isabella of Spain (who ruled on equal footing with Ferdinand) to Prioress Eglentyne (who didn’t really take to prescribed rules, but traveled as well) to ordinary everyday women who provided services (such as

alewives) and made names for themselves above and beyond the norms of the time. You can also find other Uppity Women titles including Uppity Women of Ancient Time.

I hope you found at least one history book to check out this month.


Teen Reads by MonicaBBB

Classics vs. Newbies. Young adult books have been around for a lot longer than the actual genre of young adult. In this installment of Teen Reads we are going to pit the classics vs. the newbies. There are so many differences between books written in previous generations and the books written in this one. The covers are the first thing that come to mind, and after that definitely the sense of propriety. Society and generations change therefor it

would only be proper that the literature would evolve with it. The one thing that all young adult has had in common are the protagonists, they are usually young teens/adults. We are going to take a look at the classics first. There are so many it would take way to long to list them all; the ones that always stay fresh in my mind are The Giver by Lois Lowry, Treasure Island by: Robert Louis Stevenson, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by: Mark Twain. The sad part of today’s society is that these book are considered old-fashioned and not the founders of an entire genre of fiction. There are of course even more great contemporaries to list as well;pick up any-


thing by Judy Blume, Maggie Stiefvater, Sarah Dessen, and of course Cornelia Funke and you have a great teen read on your hands. There are the early teen books that I myself grew up with to include The Chronicles of Narnia by: C.S. Lewis and The Boxcar Children by: Gertrude Chandler Warner as well. Many people might

also remember when the The Babysitter’s Club were THE books to read. The most appealing part of a teen reads these days are the covers. So many beautiful covers to choose from, why choose the book that belongs on your high school summer reading list as opposed to the great cover featuring angel wings? I will tell you exactly why; because


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the level of imagination previous generations hold is so very different than the current generation. The young adult market is saturated with so many different themes yet somehow they all remain the

same. Older books offer a different outlook for a young reader, a different society and time to peek into. I guarantee you will fall in love with The Count of Monte Cristo and The Outsiders just as easily as you fell in love with Twilight and The Hunger Games. MonicaBBB is a lover of books and more books!


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Young Adult

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Mistwood By Leah Cypess Harper Teen 3.75 / 5 Stars I am not going to lie, this book got a bit confusing at times. It was very difficult to step into Isabel’s shoes because of the whole “I am shifter” deal. The imagery is very beautiful though, and the author does an amazing job at conveying character’s emotions. She also does a very good job at not choosing favorites, most of the time. Some authors pick favorite characters and you can really tell whom the favorites are but Ms. Cypess equally betrays and maims all. The plot is strong and entertaining. It moves at a very fast pace and is very unpredictable. I didn’t see some of the things that were revealed toward the end a mile away, but the author didn’t let on either so there really was no way to see them, in

my opinion. I think this book is pretty good. It’s a great read for a young teen or adult and will hopefully be the start of an interesting series.

Reviewed by MonicaBBB

Summer of the Geek By Piper Banks Penguin Group 4.5 / 5 Stars - Top Pick

Miranda Bloom’s summer looked perfect or as perfect as it gets in her life. She got the guy that she loves, Dex, a summer job lined up, being an au pair to 10 year old genius, Amanda and a position next school year with the school paper which she has been aspiring to for years. On the other hand, Miranda has her driving test coming up which she is sure to fail, her mother wants her to move to London, England and her dad and stepmom


Young Adult seem to be fighting all the time. All in all, Miranda is looking for a good summer until Dex’s ex comes home. It seems that Dex is meeting her on the side and has some secret that he’s not sharing. Is he going back to his ex? Amanda hates Miranda. All Amanda wants to do is play the piano. That can’t be normal even for a piano playing genius! What is Miranda going to do? The main character, Miranda is in a lot of ways a typical teen. She has worries about school, parents and boyfriend. She’s also a mathematical genius but she doesn’t particularly like math. Miranda likes to write. Touches of humor come out as Miranda works her way through her problems and joys. The other characters are as likeable and quirky as Miranda giving a very light, fun feeling to this book. One of Miranda’s best friends, Charlie has her hair dyed purple. Another, Finn

is a millionaire due to a video game he developed. Hannah is Miranda’s stepsister and is about the opposite of Miranda. Even Dex’s jock friends make appearances which attracts Charlie’s interest. The problems that are in Miranda’s life are in many teens; which parent to live with, communication issues with friends and getting your drivers license. Though some of these are extremely serious, this story doesn’t drone on and on about them but puts them into a context that allows Miranda to work through them. I would completely recommend this cute, fun story to any tween or young teen. Though the main character is suppose to be 16, this book reads younger. There are no passionate kisses but sweet innocent encounters. Sex, drugs and other major vices and concerns are not mentioned. Instead, wholesome activities like sports, cookouts and working


Young Adult are stressed. Yet, even as an adult I enjoyed reading about Miranda and wonder how her junior year at Geek High will go.

Reviewed by Terri

Grounded By Sandra Cox Class Act Books 4.5 / 5 Stars - Top Pick

One of Gillian Stone’s ancestor’s many generations ago made a wish with a genie but didn’t listen to the consequences. Her family may be rich and beautiful beyond belief, but they have a curse. The firstborn daughter of every generation is grounded during the day...in a marble statue. Also, if the firstborn daughter gets pregnant, she will die in childbirth with the child carrying on the curse. Gillian has just hired a servant to help around the mansion. His name is Darth Hunter. Over the course of the book the two fall in love. So she

has to find a way to break the curse if they ever want to have a future together, including children. While trying to break the spell Gillian has to survive being attacked by a rogue detective who she had crossed earlier. I really enjoyed this book because it was unusual and unlike any book I had read before. It involves a love story intertwined with magic. Grounded mixes love with violence in a truly interesting way that grabs the reader’s attention. I recommend this book to teens because of the characters’ ages but it will also appeal to fans of fantasy and the paranormal. Plus, what book with a talking cat is not good?

Reviewed by ReaderGirl

Forgive My Fins By Tera Lynn Childs Harper Teen 4.5 / 5 Stars - Top Pick


Young Adult Lily is just more than a High School girl. She’s a mermaid and to boot, the princess of Thalassinia, the undersea world where all merpeople reside. She’s also half-human and because of that, for the past several months she’s been living on land and pining after the love of her life: Brody. The thing is, to be able to become the Queen of Thalassinia once her father retires, she has to be bonded to her mermate before her eighteen birthday and that’s only weeks ago. So she hatches a plan.. To ask Brody to the Spring Fling dance and there, she would confess her love for him and they’d live happily ever after in Thalassinia. Only, things don’t go as planned. Quince Fletcher, Lily’s archenemy and the bane of her existence sticks his head into the whole thing; as he is wont to do just to make Lily miserable, or so she thinks; and before you know it, Lily is smack in the middle of mistaken-identity-

drama-inducing trouble! Forgive My Fins is just what I needed! It’s such a lovely, bright and airy story that I just totally devoured it in one day. Lily is a character that will easily make you cheer for her. However, the only thing that really bothered me about her is how hung up she was on Brody. I felt like she was building him up in her mind but soon enough, her image of him was going to go up in flames. Quince absolutely stole my heart! He’s described as such a bad boy with his motorcycle and black boots but he’s incredibly sweet and adorable and from the beginning, I hoped that Lily would fall for him! Forgive My Fins is a super fun story, hilarious and romantic, I had a blast reading it and I’m definitely going to be reading more of Childs’ future books!

Reviewed by Wendy


Night Owl Reviews


Manga Insights Topic: ‘Seinen’ Seinen, or ‘young men’s’, comics cover the widest range of audience with their target being men of late teens to mid-30’s. Seinen’s rise to fame began a little differently then the other three categories. In the 50’s there was a brand of manga called gekiga, ‘dramatic pictures’ that tackled issues of social importance and realistic topics. In the 60’s, as the post-WWII readers grew out of shounen type stories, publishers decided to combine the two to make a whole new category--seinen. Combining the outlandish action and escapism of shounen with the

by Lexile

violence and sex of gekiga, the seinen category exploded. Unlike the female oriented josei category, seinen manga falls into three separate subsections. The more professional seinen magazines that also feature men’s lifestyle articles, editorial columns and interviews with note-worthy people are aimed at middle-aged men. The ‘typical’ seinen magazine heavy on sex, violence and sports is aimed at late teens/college-aged men (with some of the magazines being very explicit and little better then sex comics). And the more niche magazine aimed at specific genre types-science fiction, fantasy and comics based around video games are aimed at the ubiqui-


tous otaku set. Seinen manga also tends to be darker then its shounen counterpart and develops the story more thoroughly. Its not unusual for some of the ‘lighter’ seinen works to be considered shoujo (young girl) in fact because of the emphasis on story development over action. Chobits by CLAMP is often confused for shoujo, much like Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles is confused for shoujo when its in fact shounen. Series such as 20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa, Ghost in the Shell by Masamune Shirow and Berserk by Kentaro Miura are some of the more popular titles here in America, though Lupin III (also known as Lupin the 3rd) by Monkey Punch is arguably the most well known and oldest true seinen title. That wraps up the

four main categories of manga available, hopefully you’ll be able to choose the right title for yourself! Next month I’m going to get the ball rolling by reviewing a classic shoujo title currently being re-released in omnibus form by Viz, Fushigi Yugi by Yuu Watase. So let’s get lost in an ancient book shall we? Lexile is...your friendly, neighborhood otaku. She’s been known to wander aimlessly through bookstores, correcting customer misconceptions about manga for years--much to the chagrin of her tolerant friends and ire of the bookstore employees. You can find her at her personal blog Poisoned Rationality if she’s not busy with the mundaneness that is real life.


Night Owl Reviews Magazine, Issue 7  

A book lovers magazine. Author interviews and book lover articles

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