Tag Archives: Urban Fantasy

Every fairy tale has a dark side…

Cover Art by Robin Ludwig

Every fairy tale has a dark side…

Elodie Rose has a secret. Any day, she’ll become a wolf and succumb to the violence that’s cursed her family for centuries. For seventeen years she’s hidden who and what she is. But now someone knows the truth and is determined to exterminate her family line. Living on borrowed time in the midst of this dangerous game of hide and seek, the last thing Elodie needs to do is fall in love. But Sawyer is determined to protect her, and the brooding, angry boy is more than what he seems. Can they outsmart a madman? And if they survive, will they find a way to beat the curse for good?

******************************************************************************************************************************************

This is the fourth work of Kait’s that I’ve read (no pun intended), and once again, Kait never ceases to amaze, excite, and suck me into the plot immediately. I positively adore the way she takes a classic fairy tale as a rudimentary base for this plot. With all  the remade movies (The Green Lantern, Tron, etc.) and TV shows (Hawaii Five-O, Charlie’s Angels, etc.) based loosely on media that was popular in the seventies and eighties, I often wonder why corporate media can’t simply release something ORIGINAL?!? I mean come on?! There are thousands of indie authors out there, writing fabulous stories in the YA and paranormal genres (what’s HOT right now), that could easily be turned into feature films or TV shows! What?! Do they have no creativity left? Are they afraid to try new things? Are they simply so stupid that they don’t think society as a whole has any ingenuity or brain cells left? Between Kait Nolan, Susan Bischoff, Stacey Wallace Benefiel, and Zoe Winters, your paranormal/YA schtick is good-to-go for years! (Alternate post title: Fuck Stephanie Meyers.)

Likewise, Red is the first YA work she’s published, yet it still has all the strength of her paranormal romances, with a dark, teenage twist.

In this era of Twilight, with its emo-heroines, who in my opinion, are NOT good role-models for teenage women, Red provides a strong teenage female lead character, who refuses to take any shit from anyone. She’s an outcast, but she’s okay with that status, at least in the beginning. I loved watching the transformation of Elodie from a somewhat pacifist state into a total badass, take-no-prisoners kind of gal.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a quick, quirky yet serious read. Kait envelopes a great twist to an old classic, in such an awesome feminist way!

Kait Nolan is stuck in an office all day, sometimes juggling all of her jobs at once with the skill of a trained bear—sometimes with a similar temperament. After hours, she uses her powers for good, creating escapist fiction. The work of this Mississippi native is packed with action, romance, and the kinds of imaginative paranormal creatures you’d want to sweep you off your feet…or eat your boss.  When she’s not working or writing, she’s in her kitchen, heading up a revolution to Retake Homemade from her cooking blog, Pots and Plots.

Check out Kait Nolan’s website here.

1 Comment

Filed under Book review

Sex Demons, Harems & Snark. Oh my!

Cover Art by Robin Ludwig
 
I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
 

Save My Soul by Zoe Winters

All he’s asking for is her soul.

After buying the antebellum home she’s fantasized about since childhood, Anna Worthington discovers Luc, a dangerously seductive incubus who has been trapped in the house by a fifty-year-old curse. To rid herself of her problem house guest she’ll call on a priest, gypsies, ghost hunters, and the coven of witches from lust bunny hell. All she has to do is resist him long enough to break the spell so they can go their separate ways. If she doesn’t, she could die. And that would be the best case scenario.

Honestly, this book sat in my TBR (to-be-read) pile for awhile about a year. Unfortunately, it usually got shoved to the back burner by more persistent library books (with due dates), or an unpublished manuscript I was beta reading. It wasn’t that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the first Preternatural Book, Blood Lust, but such is the life of an avid reader.

You can check out my review of Blood Lust by clicking on the link.

The aspect that I loved most about Save My Soul was the fact that while Blood Lust is a compilation of three separate novellas, this second book is devoted entirely to the story of Luc and Anna.

Immediately, I identified with Anna Worthington. She’s smart. She’s sarcastic. She’s independent, yet vulnerable. Just don’t tell her that!

I positively adored all of the relationship dynamics in this paranormal romance! Anna vs. Lucian. Luc vs. Cain. Anna vs. Tam. The entire harem of Atlanta prostitutes, brought to Anna’s house to fulfill Lucian’s desire to feed. Even the Catholic priest played a significant role.  And I must add that I absolutely adored/abhorred the townsfolk, especially the elderly twins and neighbors of Anna. 😉

In Book One, the author introduces Cain, who is the original incubus, as we discover in Book Two. Originally, I’d thought that this second book would be more about him, as I knew it was about an incubus. However, I am thrilled that the author made Cain into more of a “bad boy”, at least as far as demons go, and lent a softer side to Lucian, making the reader more sympathetic to said demon.

Lucian, while still a sex demon, was limited by his humanity, or better yet, his soul and the feelings he feels. I’m  a softy for a demon with a humanitarian side, so I immediately took to Luc. Plus, he’s straight-up gorgeous?! Honestly, I’m impressed that Anna hung onto her values as long as she did. I’d have succumbed much sooner than she. Slowly, but surely, Lucian breaks down her tough-girl barriers, and Anna eventually realizes how much she loves him. Even with the blood-bonding, Anna understands that what she has with Luc is more than just a simple physical attraction. What they have is so much more…

So go buy the book! NOW! 🙂

You can access Zoe Winters’s website by clicking on her name…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

2 Comments

Filed under Book review

Every Demon Has His Day by Cara Lockwood (book review)

“One battle of good vs. evil can ruin your whole day.”

Taken from the author’s website.

The Story:
It’s your not-so-typical Girl meets Demon story, where our heroine discovers she’s the Chosen One who must prevent the conception of the Antichrist. Her only helpers are the ghost of her useless almost-ex husband and a talking French Bulldog in a pink sweater. Looks like God likes rooting for underdogs.

The Inspiration:
I am a total horror movie sissy, but I am completely addicted to the History channel (Armageddon Week is like my Shark Week). I started thinking about what if the devil’s army and God’s army were just like us? In other words, there might be demons out there who were stuck in middle management and bored with their jobs. I fleshed out that idea a little more, and voila, now you have “Every Demon Has His Day” in which every other chapter is narrated by a pair of disgruntled demons hoping to get ahead, and God’s Chosen One is, well, just like you and me. 

Anyone who knows me, understands that I frequent my library at least twice a week, and am always reading no less than three books at once. I’ve simply started wandering around the library, and picking up random books based on cover art or genre or whatever strikes my fancy at the time.

Another random library find FOR THE WIN!

Want to know what initially grabbed my attention?

It was the “Demon” in the title, paired with the picture of the dog in a pink sweater. I mean, how can you not be immediately intrigued?! Which becomes even more amusing when you realize that the dog’s name is Frank.

Yes, Frank. As in, he’s a male.

Apparently, his owner, a pop-princess moron/mother of the Antichrist couldn’t even tell the sex of her pet?!?

Awesome.

This novel was a quirky, hilarious, and quick read. I simply couldn’t put it down!

Plus, I absolutely adored the demons! Yes, I said demons.

Yaman and Shadow were two of the most humanesque demons I’ve ever encountered.  And funny!

Their rapport was stand-up comedy.

Yep. I was hooked immediately.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good paranormal romance. Or anyone who appreciates Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. It was the humor that got me. 😉

ABOUT CARA

I grew up in Mesquite, Texas, which for those of you who like livestock shows, is the home of the Mesquite Rodeo. Ironically, Mesquite was named after Mesquite trees, only none of them now exist in the city, which is about fifteen minutes east of Dallas. No, I don’t own a pair of cowboy boots, although I do own quite an impressive collection of black shoes. My Dad is a third-generation Japanese-American, and my mom is a second-generation Texan who’s mostly English, or at least claims to be because of her anglophile nature.

I went to school at the University of Pennsylvania, only I’m not sure how I got in. I think these days they only accept students who can solve String Theory. Anyway, I majored in English, and because my dad said “and just what are you going to do with an English degree?” I went to work for the school newspaper. After college, I spent four years as a newspaper reporter, working for an overly exciteable editor who sent me running anytime the police scanner went off. I was working insane hours for next to no pay. I was actually sent to cover a grass fire on my 25th Birthday. Let me tell you, it smelled bad. I think some mice may have lost their lives. But that was about it in terms of excitement. Happy Birthday to Me.

So, I decided after I had taken to hiding from my editor in the bathroom at the office anytime the police scanner went off, that journalism probably wasn’t for me. I went to work for a marketing firm and discovered that most everyone else didn’t stay until ten o’clock every night writing up their riveting story about grass fires. I also decided that I would take advantage of that free time to write some fiction. That’s when I started writing “I Do (But I Don’t).” A year later, I finished it, thanks to the help of my friend, Shannon, who wouldn’t let me slack off and kept asking me for chapters.

And that’s how I became a writer. Except that it still feels weird to say, “I’m a writer.” I keep expecting to wake up tomorrow and have to go cover another grass fire.

Follow Cara on Twitter. Or friend her on MySpace.

1 Comment

Filed under Book review

Writer Unleashed on the World! Blog Tour 2011/Nice guys vs. Bad boys

Can I just say that I suggested that title for the blog tour? hee-hee 😉

Today, I have the honor of welcoming Sharon Gerlach to Random Musings. She’s on a blog tour, supporting the release of her first published novella, Malakh. Which is awesome, by the way. Today, Sharon and I will be discussing nice guys versus bad boys, good versus evil, the inherent humanity of her characters, and character development.

Excerpt from the book…

HE HUNTS, SILENT AND UNSEEN

The string of mutilated bodies points to a madman, but the police are stymied. Trace evidence yields no DNA, animal or human. Male, female, young, old—the victims fall without a struggle to the killer in the shadows.

HIS NEXT VICTIM HAS BEEN CHOSEN

For a brief time, Suzanne Harper wielded supernatural abilities and super-human athletic prowess, but that was while she had been the lover of an angel. The murders point to her former lover, and the trail of bodies tells a terrifying tale: he’s working his way to her.

PREY BECOMES PREDATOR

Icarus, an angel who hunts those of his kind who have fallen from grace, enlists Suzanne’s help to stop the killer, for only one as close as a lover can anticipate his next move. Now she must reconcile her heart’s longing for her lost love with her sense of justice and honor, and she must do it fast … because the next murder could be hers.

 

About the book…

Malakh isn’t just a tale about good versus evil. It’s about repentance, redemption, restoration. There is little to no romance—both of Suzanne’s relationships are far in the past—because the focus of the story is Suzanne’s journey from brokenness to reparation and peace, even though it means bringing judgment and justice to a treasured lover.

Malakh is available in several electronic formats from Smashwords, Amazon, and Amazon.com, for a special promotional price of $.99 through April 30.

Purchase the book here for 99 cents through April 30th!

Smashwords:   http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52440

Amazon:   http://www.amazon.com/Malakh-ebook/dp/B004VXK0NO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1302986173&sr=8-1

Amazon UK:    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Malakh/dp/B004VXK0NO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text&qid=1302986242&sr=8-1

Nice guys or Bad boys?

Oh, I’m a sucker for bad boys, have been all my life.  There’s just something so appealing about someone willing, ready, and unafraid to throw common sense and safety to the wind.

Which characters are the most fun to write?

Bad guys, without a doubt. There are no moral boundaries, no pesky conscience to elbow out of the way.

Who are your labors of love?

My biggest labor of love is my ultimate bad guy, Caleb Schaefer. He is still a masterpiece in progress, and I am quite pleased with him.

His counterparts – his nephew Aaron and Aaron’s wife Kimberly – are two more whose facets I’ve sculpted carefully and lovingly. They feel very real to me, and hopefully to my readers as well.

Note: Caleb Schaefer is the villain in the Wyckham House/Gothic/Sundown books. They are probably my personal favorite books Sharon has written. Unfortunately, they are still unpublished. (hint, hint, hint) 😉

Excerpt from Wyckham House:

Reckless and rash, that’s Kimberly Owens. From the impulsive act of marrying her high school sweetheart, which  ultimately leads to her broken marriage and damaged heart, to her imprudent decision to search for her may-or-may-not-be-missing father in a tiny Pennsylvania town, her life has been punctuated by consequence and regret.

With no regard to the potential danger, armed only with a borrowed identity and a false sense of indestructibility, Kim probes into the mysteries of her father’s disappearance and of the stone mansion in the thick woods behind town.

So it really can’t be much of a surprise to Kim when she finds herself chained to an ancient altar in a house of the damned,  waiting to be rescued by a man she shouldn’t love and who will, no doubt, finish the job of massacring her heart beyond repair. That is, if he manages to save her life before her captor ends it … or worse.

For there are things worse than death. <——-Best. Hook. Ever.

Alas, I digress…….

Physical characteristics that you consider inherently bad or good?

Ummm, not sure what you mean by that, but…as usual I will assign my own meaning. 😀  Generally when someone calls someone else “charismatic,” I think uh-oh, bad news!  Which is why my favorite bad guy, Caleb Schaefer (in my paranormal series), chills me to the bone at the same time he’s so darn compelling and unforgettable.

Do you prefer a balance of good/bad in your heroes/heroines?

I don’t like perfect characters. We’re all flawed, make mistakes, make bad decisions, have flawed judgment. Why should my characters be any different? Who would relate to them if they were the paper embodiment of perfection?

In my fourth novel, one of the main female characters becomes the victim of her own impetuousness and ends up wrecking her own marriage. She knows she’s wrong, she knows she made a mistake, she knows it’s her fault, but can she bring herself to apologize? Nooooo!

Do the good guys always win? Should they?

The good guys don’t always win in real life. Therefore, they don’t always win in my fictional worlds. The truth of the matter is, you can only keep evil at bay; you can’t ever completely stop its influence or eradicate its existence. My stories are about the efforts to hold it at bay, and to keep from succumbing to its siren song.

Would you/could you kill off a character that you’re in love with simply for the sake of the plot?

Funny you should ask that. Yes, I could kill off a character I’m in love with. In fact, one of my all-time favorite characters is poised on the chopping block. But that’s a book I haven’t started writing yet.

Why

 Sometimes you have to kill off a treasured character—even a main character—to keep things realistic. People lose the ones they love all the time in real life, and to think that fictional life is any different isn’t being true and isn’t being fair to the readers. Not everything is happily ever after. You want happily ever after, best not read my stuff. lol

Is redemption attainable by your villains?

Oh, definitely. Even dastardly Caleb Schaefer has his regrets. Will I allow his redemption? That remains to be seen.

How blurry do the lines between good/evil become when dealing with angels as opposed to humans?

Actually, for me, the lines clarify rather than blur when dealing with angels. The good angels—these still in service and obedience to God—are obviously held to a higher standard, which makes Raum’s affair with Suzanne and his subsequent murderous spree a greater affront to the heavenly realm.

Demons, on the other hand—well, one can’t expect too much by way of good from them, and they rarely disappoint.

It was actually harder to write the angels because good and bad with them are so clearly defined. It’s much easier when dealing with humankind, who can be flawed and yet still be good; or can come across as pure as the driven snow and have a heart as black as sin.

Thank you, Sharon for these awesome answers. I know we’ve discussed villains versus nice guys previously, and I think we’re on the same page, as far as bad boys go. 😉

Sharon Gerlach is a Program Specialist II in a financial aid office at a community college. She is also a writer in her spare time, and has completed three novel-length manuscripts. Two more are in various stages of production. She loves very dark beer, tequila, and scotch, although not at the same time. Her husband, Gail, is her best friend, and she loves her life!

In Sharon’s words:

  • I believe there is room in friendship for people to believe in different things without it affecting relationships.
  • I collect antique teapots, kids, and cats.
  • I have been writing since the age of 11. I didn’t complete my first novel until the age of 42. Go figure. Middle-age is my golden era.
  • I am not afraid to get old. I am enjoying life more now than I did when I was younger. Beauty fades; wisdom shines.

Find Sharon Gerlach here:

http://sharongerlach.wordpress.com/

http://forevernocturne.wordpress.com/

facebook.com/writerunleashed

http://www.goodreads.com/sharonlgerlach

http://twitter.com/SharonGerlach

“Let us go forth, the teller of tales, and seize whatever prey the heart long for, and have no fear.” William Butler Yeats, The Celtic Twilight

2 Comments

Filed under Blogs 2011

Malakh: An Angelic Novella by Sharon Gerlach

 

Excerpt:

“He hunts, silent and unseen.

The string of mutilated bodies points to a madman, but the police are stymied. Trace evidence yields no DNA, animal or human. Male, female, young, old—the victims fall without a struggle to the killer in the shadows.

His next victim has been chosen.

For a brief time, Suzanne Harper wielded supernatural abilities and super-human athletic prowess, but that was while she had been the lover of an angel. The murders point to her former lover, and the trail of bodies tells a terrifying tale: he’s working his way to her.

Prey becomes predator.

Icarus, an angel who hunts those of his kind who have fallen from grace, enlists Suzanne’s help to stop the killer, for only one as close as a lover can anticipate his next move. Now she must reconcile her heart’s longing for her lost love with her sense of justice and honor, and she must do it fast … because the next murder could be hers.”

Can I just tell you how excited proud happy just plain SQUEE I am today?! 🙂

Sharon and I have been friends for years! We first met over on Writer’s Cafe in 2006 or 2007? I honestly can’t even remember how long, but it feels like forever?! This was prior to THE GREAT WC DELETE in 2008.  If you weren’t there then, it was the moment when the entire site crashed, and thousands of writers lost all their work. BACK UP YOUR SHIT PEOPLE!!!! I, of course, was still  a fledgling in the world of online writing, and I lost almost everything. Sharon managed to help me find a lot of my work. THANK YOU!!!

And as they say, it was all over from there?!

We (awesome writer peeps) all left the WC fairly soon after that incident, but it wasn’t just that one occurrence. WC had gotten extremely junior high-ish, and I don’t play that. So now, we all have our own blogs.

Don’t get me wrong, I made the core of my online writing friends through Writer’s Cafe. Writers I still follow, read and pimp when needed. (see below)

http://sharongerlach.wordpress.com/

http://nlgervasio.wordpress.com/

http://rblackbirdsong.blogspot.com/

http://www.carrieclevengerstories.com/

And years later, we all still keep in contact via Twitter or Facebook or whatever. I’ve read all of Sharon’s novels. At least three times a piece? 😉

Yes, they are all that good.

I’m just thrilled that Sharon has finally decided to self-publish?! She had played the traditional publishing game for too long, and while she’s definitely worthy of a huge publishing contract, it’s simply not that easy.

I’ve been telling her for a while to “Go Indie!” Not that it’s  cop-out from traditional, but for me, it’s all about control. And not having to wait for other people to pull their heads out their rears and realize what awesome potential is out there?!

And I’m thrilled that Sharon & Jinx have launched Running Ink Press with Malakh being their first release!

http://runninginkpress.com/

They also publish (bi-annually) an e-zine called Forever Nocturne. They even been gracious enough to publish yours truly, as well as many other up-and-coming writers!

http://forevernocturne.wordpress.com/

Somewhere, I seem to have lost the point of this…..oh yeah?!

NEW NOVELLA! 😉

Go buy it! Or if you can’t afford the $1.99, simply email Sharon for a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Seriously though, it’s cheap. So support your local Indie authors!

Email her at SHARONLGERLACH (at) GMAIL (dot) COM with the subject line MALAKH COUPON (so her spam filter doesn’t swat you into cyber-oblivion). She will e-mail all interested parties a coupon code for a free download at Smashwords.

I will be interviewing Sharon towards the end of the month, when she launches her WRITER UNLEASHED ON THE WORLD BLOG TOUR.

Ahhh……caps lock.

Anyway, here’s her links to pretty much everything….

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?id=100001552017705&aid=33275#!/writerunleashed

http://sharongerlach.wordpress.com/

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52440

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4762686.Sharon_Gerlach

http://twitter.com/SharonGerlach

Congratulations, Sharon!

And calm down. Everyone has a panic attack the first time they publish.

And try not to be a stat junkie. I have NO room to talk…..

2 Comments

Filed under Blogs 2011

Werewolf cops! (book review)

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.” ~ from the back cover

I’ve been following Caitlin on Twitter for years, but never managed to actually pick up one of her many books, and read it. Until one day when I walked into my local library, and immediately saw this book beckoning to me in the New Release section. My library is very small, so you can imagine surprise?! Apparently, this is the fifth book in the Nocturne City series, but honestly, I don’t think it truly matters what order they’re read in. I appreciate that. While I love series (who doesn’t), I enjoy a book that can also stand readily on its own.

I immediately fell for the narrator (Luna Wilder) because of her strength and no-nonsense attitude. I love me some kick-ass heroines! The character of Luna reminded me of Eve Dalles (J.D. Robb), only scarier?! And with werewolves?! Hell yeah! As with Eve’s character, Luna possesses the strength of conviction, as well as brief moments of vulnerability. Shhh…just don’t tell anyone….

This novel basically had everything I love in a good book: strong female, paranormal aspects, a romantic sub-plot, and a lead male who is emotional but not soft, and can keep up with his heroine.

I highly recommend reading this, if you haven’t already. I know I’m going to read the rest of the Nocturne City books, as well as her Black London series.

You can find Caitlin Kittredge’s webiste by clicking on the link below.

http://www.caitlinkittredge.com/

Or her Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001552017705&sk=wall#!/caitlinkittredge

Or her Twitter:

 http://twitter.com/caitkitt

1 Comment

Filed under Blogs 2011, Book review