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Crimson Romance

Crimson Romance
For the best in romance, from sweet to naughty!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 25

Morning Everyone!

Sorry I've been offline all most of last week and all of this weekend (except for the scheduled post on Saturday...).  First I was so ill I didn't want to move, and then when I started feeling better, I had to run around like a crazy person.  It's been super busy here, we had the high school play this weekend, Patrick was in it so of course I spent three days watching, reassuring, laughing.. it was too cute!  And Kirsten had a cheerleading competition this weekend that didn't go so well.  Their cheer coach was changed two weeks ago, and the new coach took out the harder stunts that they were struggling with.  So, while they looked very much together out on the cheer floor, they were graded down on the difficulty of stunts.  The other squads put the harder stunts in and took the point deduction for the falls.  This is Kirsten's last year for high school cheer, so she feels kind of screwed, but at least next year, the coaches will be know how to choreograph the routine better and what type of stunts the judges are looking for.

In case anyone notices, I had a blog facelift last week too, while I was offline, Lea took advantage of the opportunity to make some adjustment to make my blog prettier!!  Thanks Lea!  She's so talented!

Now it's time to get to why I opened my blog this morning (because I should be cleaning house, lol, I wasn't here for the weekend, so it's filthy dirty).

It's time for Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge!  (Week 25.... wow!!)

I'm going to choose an image that I've had my eye on for a bit, and since I wasn't able to ask anyone else if they had an image in mind.... I'm just going to use it... I really like it... hope you all do too!

It's another image for Luis Royo, who has some wonderful urban fantasy images!  If you have a chance to visit his photobucket page (where this image came from) or his webpage, there was many beautiful images to be found.  This is part of a larger image, a larger collection, but all are fabulous!

The rules remain the same, somewhere around 350 words and come back Friday to post your response.

I didn't have a chance to post my response to last weeks image, so I'm going to add it to the bottom of my post here, lol.  It was dark and brooding....

Willingly Given
by Dottie Taylor
Word Count: 700

Rose watched the retreating back of the bastard who had consigned her to this place, her onetime love and future husband, Marcus. He had taken to visiting this place where only her essence remained, but somehow he knew her even in this form, making his cruelty all that much worse. In a rare moment of mocking irony, he smiled before turning to leave, hand resting on the open gate which he pushed wider. Leaving the one means of escape open knowing full well she could never cross the barrier.

“Bastard!” She muttered as she looked away, not wanting to give him the satisfaction of seeing her tears reflected in her cerulean eyes. Like waves on an ocean beach, tears threatened to crash across her lids and quiver upon her lashes. She sighed, who knew ghosts could cry?

Marcus sauntered down the leaf littered walkway, a spring to his step. His cape flung out as it shushed around him, flowing out in his quake. Rose was such a naïve little waif, incapable of knowing his true power... her life had been too easy to take and look, he still lived! He grinned manically, and barked out a laugh for the trees to hear. And he left her attached to the cemetery, happy it was her instead of him, the deal made with the demon said someone else willing to die in his stead would gladly be taken. He chewed his bottom lip, the 'willing' part had been tricky, and he thought back to the exchange between Rose and himself.

He came Rose on the day the deal came due, sweeping her up and swinging her around in this arms, proclaiming his love over and over again. Her eyes had glistened with his endearments, the smile one of true happiness. When he became pensive, she had pressed him.

“My love,” she began worriedly, “what has made this, the day of all days, the day our new life together begins,” she smiled, “an unhappy one?”

Marcus hid a small smile he made into a frown as he turned to fall into her arms. “Do you love me beyond all others? Would you do anything for me?”

“Darling, you know you only have to speak it for it to be my command.” She smiled playfully, and willingly, as she tousled his dark hair.

He breathed a sigh of relief, and a new gleam filled his eyes. He reached inside the very cloak he wore on this day, and brandishing a hidden serrated blade, he drove home his point. “You'll die for me?”

With a surprised look, a crimson flower of the brightest hue blossomed across her wedding dress as her heart shuddered one last time. Realization slowly found it's way to her, eyes glazing to became lifeless as she uttered her last word in her mortal existence. “Why?” She breathed through cold lips as death came for her, held tightly in Marcus's arms.

“Better you than I, love,” he bent down to brush his warm lips across the chill of hers with true regret, he hadn't yet tasted the sweetness of her virginity.

He had cried fake tears over prone body, claiming a thief had taken her life, and one had, buying his freedom with hers. No one questioned his sincerity.

But, Rose knew, and the demon knew.

“Foolish mortals, always willing to give so much for love.” It exhaled it's brimstone breath into her cringing face. “Such a shame, I'd much rather have Marcus, now he would have made a meal. You're hardly more than a bite.” The demon grinned to reveal row upon row of jagged teeth, and it scratched it's warty chin, “I can't give what's been taken, but I can offer revenge.” A steely glint filled it's elliptical eyes, hungry for a taste of what he'd been denied.

Rose hadn't wanted vengeance, she wanted life and love, she could have neither. Maybe she could live in this place of cold stones, but, to do so, she'd have to let the demon have his meal. “What do you have in mind?” And her ghostly visage smiled for the first time.

See everyone Friday I hope!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Guest Post: Author Graham Parke + Free Novelette

Today I have a little surprise.. Graham Parke, author of No Hope For Gomez, want to give you a gift.

Graham would like everyone to have a little taste of what life is for Gomez. So, he's offering a download of his novelette, Random Act of Senseless Kindness, free to all of my blog followers, so if you'd like a funny little read... download the PDF.

Here's an excerpt from the free read.

(Things start to spiral out of control for Gomez when he tries to win back his ex-girlfriend during a very strange New Year's Eve party.

Clinical studies have shown that reading the "Random Acts of Senseless Kindness" eBook is not only likely to make you more attractive to the opposite sex, it will also elevate your random luck by about 9.5%**

So, that's a nice bonus right there.)

Random Acts of Senseless Kindness


Blog entry: Arrived at the store late, found a homeless guy sleeping in the doorway. Hicks was already inside but gave no indication he'd noticed. I nudged the homeless guy and asked, "How are you doing down there, fellow? You okay?"

The homeless guy grumbled something in his sleep.

"It's getting pretty cold," I said. "Don't you want to come inside?"

"Inside?" He coughed and opened his eyes.

I pointed out the store, not convinced he'd actually noticed where he'd crashed the night before. "This is my antiques store," I told him. "We've got the heating on inside, shame to waste it on just two people. And it looks like it might start to snow soon."

The homeless guy gave me a suspicious look. "You want me to come inside? With you?

"Sure, if you'd like."

"Is that because you think that if I come inside with you, I'll let you touch me?"

"What? No!"

"Okay, because I can tell you right now, that's not gonna happen."

"Well, I suppose it is good to get those kinds of things clear beforehand. But no, I was just thinking you might enjoy the warmth, maybe a cup of cocoa."

"A cup of cocoa you say..." He scratched his stubble. "And you'll be charging me for this cup of cocoa?"

"No, the cocoa is free."

"I see. So, are you operating under the assumption that if I come inside with you, and I drink your free cocoa, that I will touch you?"

"What? No!"

"Okay, because I can tell you right now, that's not gonna happen either. Just because a guy is down on his luck, that doesn't mean he goes around touching people in exchange for cups of cocoa."

"I understand completely. And thanks again for pointing that out. But no, my friend and I noticed that you were sleeping in our doorway and, well, we'd like to invite you inside."

The homeless guy turned and peered through the window in the door. He made eye-contact with Hicks, who panicked and went looking for his broom. "That your friend?"

I followed his gaze. "Yeah, that's Hicks. He's a bit peculiar, but he's okay."

"I see." The homeless guy pulled on his collar. "And this friend of yours, will he be drinking cocoa also?"

"I suppose. I'm not entirely sure, but it seems likely."

"I see." The homeless guy considered this. "So," he said, after a long moment, "will this friend of yours be expecting me to touch him?"

"No! There is no touching involved in any of this!"

"Okay, calm down," the homeless guy said. "There's no need to get all homophobic!"

"I wasn't!"

"You sounded homophobic to me."

"Me? You're the one who can't stop talking about touching people!"

I noticed people stopping in the street to stare at us. This made me very uncomfortable.

Download Free eBook

It's pretty funny, give it a try!

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dead in the Family, Book 10, The Southern Vampire Series (Sookie Stackhouse) by Charlaine Harris

Publisher:  Ace Books
Pages:  311

(Released:  May 4, 2010)

From the Cover:

Sookie Stackhouse has finally settled into a relationship with the Viking vampire Eric, and her errant brother Jason seems to have his life in order, too. But all the other people in Sookie’s life – Eric himself, her former lover Bill, her friend and boss Sam – are having family problems. 

Eric’s maker shows up with Eric’s ‘brother’ in tow, the ailing Bill can only be healed by a blood sibling, and Sam’s brother’s marriage is about to take place... or will it? The furor raised by the coming out of the two-natured has yet to settle; some people are just not ready to sit down to dinner with a man who turns into a dog. And Sookie herself is still recovering from her last ordeal. She’s definitely improving, physically and mentally, but she’s always going to have some dark moments now. 

The werewolves tell her that there have been strange and ominous passers-by in the Stackhouse woods; now Sookie is about to come face-to-face with one of her more distant relatives. 

Sookie's had a pretty rough go of it.  The Fae war cost so many lives, some very precious to her, and some her darkest enemies.  She's still recovering from the torture she endure at the hands of the mad fae, Bill has silver poisoning from the insane fae's bite, and Eric is feeling horribly guilty for leaving his would be wife and lover at the hands of the fae, while he endured his own torture at the hands of Victor Madden, bound in silver chains. Even Sookie believes that Victor should meet his one true death.  Sookie's grandfather has now sealed away the fae world from the human world, no longer can the two exist in peace, which is what the fae war was about anyway.

Since, the weres came out of the closet, it's getting harder and harder for them to lead normal lives, they're looked at suspiciously, the government is investigating them, and on the full moon, it's almost impossible to resist the pull. When Sookie lets the Long Tooth weres use her land for their monthly run, they find Sookie's land is being used by others.  There are fae outside the seal, and they're using Sookie's land, and a vampire has been crossing the land as well.  All this causes Eric to go into protective mode as he sends Heidi, one of Felipe de Castro's vampires and a tracker, to explore the woods at the back of Sookie's property, and she makes an even more gruesome discovery, a fresh body has been buried there.

If all this wasn't enough, Eric's maker comes to visit bringing his newest child in tow, Alexei who is slowly going mad with bloodlust and the need to have his every desire met in the most bloodiest of ways.

Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris captures Sookie at one of the worst times in her life.  She's been beaten, batter, bruised and bitten.  The least noise makes her jump, her nerves frazzled, she isn't enjoying life or love, and it's almost all to much to bear.  Instead of getting better, Bill is getting worse and worse, the silver poisoning slowly eating him away.  Caroline Bellefleur is dying, but it has nothing to do with the fae, as one of Bill's remaining living relatives, he decides to pay a visit bringing the family Bible.  He's refusing to contact his maker's only other child who may be the only vampire left who could heal him.  Eric is trying to be the best vampire lover that he can be, his guilt at leaving Sookie in the hands of the fae bringing him to tears and confessions about Victor.  On top of all of that, Eric's maker, Appius Liviua Ocella, shows up at Sookie's house bringing with his newest child, Alexei, son of the Romanov Tsar murdered in 1918.  Pam is afraid that with the distractions facing Eric, her own maker may leave himself open to Victor Madden's power grab and own his true death.  Pam will be anything in her power to save Eric, and in this installment, she does.

Dead in the Family is the 10th book in the Southern Vampire Mystery Series, and in my opinion, a damn good one and it ties up a lot of loose end from Dead and Gone (which I also thought was excellent, dark, edgy, bringing Sookie into the real world of vampires, weres, shifters, and the evil contained within the Fae society.)  Sookie becomes harder in a way in this book, she's lost part of her innocence.  She has always known that there are things out in her world that might try kill her.  But the Fae war was by far, the worse part of her world that she has experienced.  She wants to love Eric, and she does, but it seems that she's not sure she can say it's a true love, her feelings have been too exposed, too raw, too under appreciated, it may be a long time before she's well enough to admit love in more than a casual way.  The sex was impossible before her vampire lovers, I mean, how would you like to know your partner is actually counting ceiling tiles?  And sex with her vampires lovers has always been great, but after her torture, even sex is scary and she has to learn how to enjoy it again (it's a good thing Eric already has a very high opinion of himself).  With everything she's gone through, when Ocella shows up with Alexei in tow, it's almost too much to handle, but she does, and Sookie even allows the Long Tooth Pack to use her as a shaman to reveal their informant.  Though Sookie may seem unsophisticated, she's wise to the world in many ways that others are not.  She has become a stronger character through her ordeal with the destructive fae.  Eric too has had to grow in the last two books, in Dead in the Family, he begins to show real love for Sookie instead of the sometimes ambivalence his character has been known to portray.  I found this story to be one of the most engaging in the Southern Vampire Series, this is not the point to stop reading the series.  I would recommend beginning with Book 1 and working your way forward, I know this sounds like a daunting task, but the books are easy quick reads, and none should be missed.  This addition to the series is highly enjoyable urban fantasy/paranormal romance with a new dark edginess that I quite enjoyed.  I'm waiting to see what happens next to Sookie, Eric, Pam, Bill, Sam, Tara, Jason, and Alcide, all quite enjoyable characters that I've come to love.  I'm already looking forward to the first Tuesday in May, 2011 and Book 11.

On a side note:

HBO's True Blood is an off shoot of the Sookie Stackhouse books, but they do not follow the books.  The books provide a premise for the basis of the series, but it's much darker than the books, especially the first 4 or 5 in the Stackhouse series.  Sookie is still the same character, as is Bill, Eric, Sam, Jason, and Pam.  From this point, there are major differences.  LaFayette lives on in HBO's series, Eric's maker dies in the second season of the series, and in the second book, a vampire does meet the sun, but not Eric's maker, Tara has major differences from her book character and still hasn't gotten her life together, and she's LaFayette's cousin in the series.  And these are just a few of the differences.  (Sam's family is a whole other story as well, we all know only the first born can shape shift, and in the series, Sam's younger brother is a shifter, which according to the books, is impossible, and Sam's mother and step-father are total losers in the series, his step-father uses her and their son in dog fights, gross!  In the books, Sam's mother has kept her secret guarded.)  I love HBO's True Blood, but not because they are true to the books, but because it explores a different story line, like maybe when I thought, what if this happened..... and HBO's story line brings that 'what if' to life.  What can I say, HBO has embellished the books, a lot.  If you expect to see the books brought to life, you'll be disappointed, but if you want to see a darker, edgier new take on the stories, explored with greater possibilities, you're going to enjoy HBO's True Blood, I know I do, it's hard to wait for new season to start!

Here's my favorite minisode, but I love them all!

(Pam and Eric)

Just got an email, Charlaine Harris's new Sookie Stackhouse book available May 3, 2011!!  Squee!! Pretty!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Blog Award

Angelika Devlyn, the author of the dark erotic fantasy, Black Ice, has give me an award, and it's an easy one to do!  So, I'm passing it along to all of my bloggers buds.

Here are da rules:

1. Share 7 things about yourself
2. Pass The Award to 15 bloggers recently discovered (or however many you can manage).
3. Notify the blogger recipients.
4. Link your blogger to the one who gave the award.

Here are 7 things about myself:

1.  Tinkerbell is my all time favorite Disney character, because she as the 'tude dude!  But, Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast are my favorite all time Disney love stories.  I've read all kinds of stories translated from their original language where Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast are involved.  

2.  I started reading romance/fantasy books and writing my own stories back when I was 10 years old, I'd tell the stories to my younger siblings.  I love reading storybooks aloud and adding my own sound effects to the enthralled audiences of preschooler and kindergartens.

3.  I used to be a speech disorders teacher, but I taught Spanish at one of the local high schools, even though I'm not fluent in the language.  I've taught every grade/subject imaginable/disability.

4.  I love kitties and puppies, sadly my kitty left us a few weeks ago.  I miss Killer more than I thought I would, even if he was smelly, lol.  He was nineteen years old and the best kitty in the world.  I still have my doggie, but he's demonic, sometimes growling at the unknown in his sleep, but I still love him and most of the time, he loves me.... when he's not threatening to bite me.

5.  I'm a HUGE fan of the SciFi Channel (hate the new syfy logo).  I'm a Trekkie from birth, Captain James Tiberius Kirk (who I recognize as womanizer and demeanor, lol, but I have a weakness for bad boys) was my favorite, as well as Bones, Spock, Scotty, Chekhov, and Sulu.  Chris Pine is the sexiest James T. Kirk!!  I freaking love the rebooted movie.

6.  I don't own an iPod (really want one, holding out for an iPhone), but I'm a huge fan of music and dancing (and yes, I can dance on one leg with crutches, lol).  I don't own one because I tend to put small things down in unknown places, and lose them for months at a time, lol.  (See the incident with my car keys... only found them by mowing the grass) I'm constantly losing car keys, and my daughter seems to have inherited the affliction.  It's a wonder I don't lose my cell, but there a few things I can't live without, phones are one of them (hence the iPhone would be a safe bet!).

7.  Halloween is my favorite holiday (used to love playing dress up), but I do love the Christmas lights, never turn off my tree once I finally get ambitious enough to put it up.  My dad's house used looks will the Griswolds, lol, he gets a kick out of Christmas lights too (who knew you could inherit a love of shiny lights?). 

All my blogger buds deserve this award; Lea, Amy, Michelle, Blodeudd, Anna, Ms. Moonlight, Alyssa @ Teens Read and Write, Blanche (Blanche recently closed her blog :(, miss her), Cecile, and Hawk, are just a few off the top of my head, but there are many more.  Everyone who visits my blog or whose blog I visit, should pick up this award, you all work way to hard!  Anyone who blogs knows how much hard work book bloggers do to write reviews, interview authors, post giveaways, and how many hours are spent trying to make our blogs the best they can be.  Thanks to the blogging community for being supportive, blogging has been a source of outlet for physical activities I can no longer do, sharing my love of good books, and dabbling in writing which I hadn't done in years and I probably would not have attempt again without finding blogging.

To all the blogger friends, thank you! (And a special thank you to Angelika ((hugs)) for the award!!)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Movie Review: Grosse Pointe Blank starring John Cusack & Minnie Driver

Starring:  John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Dan Aykroyd, Alan Arkin
Director:  George Armitage
Running Time: 107 minutes

(Released:  April 11, 1997)

A little known fact about me:  I love John Cusack!!  I don't mean I like his movies, no, it goes beyond that... I've seen them all, liked most of them. (Stand By Me broke my heart a little) And Grosse Pointe Blank is one of my favorite movies, I own a copy on DVD... but anytime it's on, I make time to watch it.... so, it's 2 am, and TBS was showing it again!!  Squee!  Another late night for me (at least it's by choice)!

Grosse Pointe Blank is the story of a boy and a girl. Boy leaves girl, finds out what he's really good at. One problem, boy still wants girl, and he'd like to stay alive...  at least through their 10 year high school reunion.

Martin goes home to take care of one last job, and go to his 10 year high school reunion.  Debi, the girl he stood up for senior prom, still waits and wonders. But, Martin can never truly go home, he's an assassin and his work seems to follow him... Walk in Grocer, socio-pycho-path and maniac... he wants to start a murder for hire organization, and Martin is his next recruit, but the assassin business is a solitary business, no clubs allowed.  And then... well... the fun starts....

Martin as the movie opens, this is one case where the messenger does get killed.

Home Sweet Home?  You can never go home, but you can shop there...

You screw up one job, kill one prized pooch, and the assassin becomes the prey!

You really can't go home again, especially when it's an Ultimart and it gets blowed up!

Martin gives Debi an airplane.....

Long time listener, First time caller (yeah right, the FBI listens to Debi)

Debi and Martin finally make to the reunion.

Does this look like fun?

It's not me.... (death by pen)

 Naw, this looks like fun... Disposing of the deceased 'Garbage Can' the assassin sent to kill Martin.

Should I answer the door?

Grocer horns in on Martin's last job, he's supposed to be taking out Debi's dad, instead Grocer is the one who gets taken. Hey, hey, bing bing bing bing bang! POPCORN! (It's Grocer mantra, I guess bing gun pops, like popcorn.)

And the happy couple drive off into the sunset...

So... that's a little about my John Cusack obsession.... and Grosse Pointe Blank (a play on the words:  the city Martin lives in Grosse Pointe, Martin's name... Martin Q. Blank and gross point blank... totally accuracy, the shot that can't miss.  I love good sarcasm, don't you?)

Movie Trailer

Favorite Scene: Dr. Oatman

Favorite Song: Blister in the Sun

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 24

Good Morning Blogosphere Peeps... hope everyone is happy and healthy.  I'm starting to feel a little better, not great, but I don't feel like bubble gum on the bottom of a sneaker anymore either.  So, it's getting better.  (hope it continues... and I'm done with the winter ills)

AmyC over at Romance Book Wyrm chose today prompt for....

Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge

She chose a very unique picture and I can't wait to see what kind of flash you all come up with!

I think B maybe able to use this for the continuation of her flash...maybe...we'll have to wait and see of course.

The rules remain the same, somewhere around 350 words and come back on Friday to post your response.  Be creative and have fun!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove by Marta Acosta

Publisher:  Sold to Tor Books
Pages:  269

(Release Date:  To Be Announced)

From the Cover:

Jane Williams has suffered personal tragedy and learned to survive by hiding in the shadows of life.  She thinks she will never escape the misery of her foster home when she's offered a full-scholarship at an elite academy.  The school even offers Jane a place of her own to live, the old groundskeeper's cottage in a dense grove of birch trees.

The very pale and very elegant headmistress, Mrs. Monroe, is especially kind and suggests that Jane earn spending money by tutoring her son, gorgeous Lucky.  A popular group of girls take Jane into their circle, and the challenging classes are all she could have hoped for.

It seems too good to be true.  It is.

Marta Acosta has stirred my imagination once again!  I'm not going to be a traditional review, because the book is under going construction....who knows?  A new title, new cover art?  And I'm going to re-read when it comes out with Tor and the review will follow then.  All I can say is that Marta Acosta doesn't fail to make me think, make me laugh, or make me cringe.  This Gothic YA paranormal romance is already a tasty treat.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 23..... The Friday Post

Afternoon everyone... didn't know if I was going to post anything or not.  It seems my weaken immune system is still in rebel mode.... The antibiotics I took caused my tummy to hurt.  And I still feel crappy.  But, I dragged myself up...finally... and I'm posting my response.

Soul Fire, Part 4
by Dottie Taylor
word count: 530

The arch barring entrance to the tunnel buzzed with electricity. A fine sheath of energy rippled, wavering like heat on a highway. Petrov found himself surrounded by greenery, looking for shelter. Soon the beast would begin it's search, unhappy at being denied it's meal. Reena rolled in his arms, releasing a soft moan. He shook her once more, whispering close to her ear. “Reena, please, wake up.” But Reena only moaned louder and pushed further away...

Reena peered around the darkness, Petrov had been here moments before. He had been shaking her, begging her. Her head pounded and she groaned as the pain pulsed with her heart, each beat reverberating with a sharp throb. Then she heard Petrov's voice, felt his touch, but each time her head bounced, the pain grew worse. She whimpered, placing her hand on her forehead. Petro's voice came again, begging her, and her eyelids fluttered. She wanted to wake but it hurt so bad.

Petrov sighed in relief as he watched Reena's eyes open. He placed his lips to her forehead, absorbing some of the pain with his lingering kiss. “I thought I'd lost you.” He breathed against her flesh.

“Petrov, where are we? What's happening?” Reena softly spoke, adopting his need for caution. His body quivered next to hers.

He raised his head, looking around, “As far as I can tell we're in the cemetery behind St. Ignatius. I've erected a barrier, but it won't hold for long.”

“A barrier? What are you talking about?” Reena slowly moved, loosening his grip.

“Think Reena, where have we met before? It's right there, I can help you, but first you've got to help yourself.” Petrov gazed into her eyes, pleading with her to remember something she had no memory of.... knowing him before this evening.

Then, Reena blinked, and a trickle of a thought seeped into her mind. It tickled her with forgotten knowledge... she could almost reach out and touch what she wanted to see... She concentrated harder, letting Petrov's words sink into her thoughts. And like a flash of lightning, a scene played out before her.... Petrov and her, but somehow different.

Petrov watched as knowledge bloomed in Reena's eyes. She squeezed them tightly as the memories began to flood back to her, the same everytime. But, he vowed, the outcome would be different this time. He'd keep her closer, watch over her better, the beast be damned. It wouldn't win, not ever again.

Reena clutched Petrov's black t-shirt, crushing it in twinned fists, whispering, “Where is it?” She shivered, hiding her face, terrified of what her memories revealed.

“Shhhh....” Petrov rubbed her arms, lifting his head enough to bring his lips to her ear. “Not here yet, but we need to move, find a hiding place.” The energy barrier vibrated and pulsed, like being tested for strength. “It's coming... it'll be here soon, it's has your scent and it's hunting...” Abruptly, the barrier shimmered and the beast roared hungrily.

Petrov jumped up, hastily dragging Reena to her feet, “Come on, it's here!” And they began to run.

Okay, that's it. I'll be offline most of this weekend, hoping the antibiotics work, I can breathe again, and my throat feels better.... as well as my tummy.

Remember to join us Monday for another prompt, another chance to play along.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blood Prophecy by Stefan Petrucha

Publisher:  Hachette Book Group/Grand Central Publishing
Pages:  368

(Released:  October 26, 2010)

From the Cover:

Man and Monster are in his blood....

His name is Jeremiah Fall. A soldier of fortune, he has been fighting his own war for 150 years—ever since the beast in him was born.

Desperate to restore his lost humanity, Fall crosses the sands of Egypt, discovers a lost city off the coast of France, and finally arrives at the birthplace of all mankind. Shunning daylight and feeding only when he must, he battles the monster who transformed him forever. He can share his deepest secret with no one . . . not even the beautiful woman he starts to love, the only human who grasps the mysteries of an ebony stone as old as creation itself.

Across the world, across time, Fall seeks the stone's secret. But has he found a cure for himself or unleashed a final curse on all mankind?

Jeremiah Fall first started this journey into the new land in 1644, America was supposed to bring them religious freedoms, but instead the Puritans were almost as condemning as the persecutors in England.  When Atticus is thought to be "touched", the leader of the sect would like nothing better than to drive them from their community.

When Nathan Fall (Jeremiah's father) accidentally releases Skog from his ancient burial mound, the beast kills Nathan, and Nathan returns to kill Jeremiah.  It is only through the madness of Atticus that Jeremiah survives to be reborn, and he learns to hang on to a piece of his old life with Atticus's help.

Now the year 1799, 150 years later since his rebirth, Jeremiah has been searching for the cure relayed to him by the Algonian natives.  It has taken him to England, Paris, and finally, Egypt.  There he finds what he thinks he has been searching for, but by releasing the ancient obelisk from the desert sand, has he bought his cure or brought a curse to the rest of mankind?

Blood Prophecy by Stefan Petrucha is a paranormal historical vampire tale.  It's a different take on the story of the vampire, with some old mythos as well as some new, blended together to create a page turning urban fantasy.  It all starts with the Puritans crossing and the release of Skog, and the loss of Jeremiah's humanity.  Where Jeremiah once found hope, he finds himself lost.  His roots in the Puritan religion tell him he's a monster, but he vows to never feed from humans, to try to fight on the side of right.  In his search for the truth, he has had to choose sides and hope for the best.  Now, as he finds himself a prisoner of the French revolutionary soldiers, he has discovered what he has for so long sought.  It speaks to him, praises him, reassures him.  But, it is all a lie?  The Bandias, the believers in the Lord's story of the unfinished man, see in him as part of the one they hope to follow, the one who will bring an end to the lies.  Jeremiah Fall realizes his folly, "arrogance is folly", only after the obelisk is released and the darkness comes.

Blood Prophecy is not the story of nice vegetarian vampires, hero vampires, sexually powerful vampires who attract those they come in contact with.  This vampire, though he does not prey on people, wants nothing more than to lose the part of himself that has become vampire.  He wants to be free of his difference.  The Bandias want to set free the creator of the ones like Skog and Jeremiah, the unfinished man who wants to be reborn in the flesh of a woman to bring an end to those unlike himself.  It is only through Jeremiah's Puritan upbringing that he survives his life as a vampire.  It lets him hold onto a piece of his humanity that would otherwise be lost, as well as battle the unfinished man when the time comes.  (For those who don't understand, the unfinished man was the first man God created in his attempt to create the likeness of Himself in Adam, the unfinished man has been jealous of Adam, and all of his offspring since the time of creation)

Blood Prophecy is not wrapped up in Bible verse and doesn't feel like there is a religious tenor to the story.  It's simply another take on vampirism and the creation of the vampire species.  It's a story all urban fantasy lovers will want to take a peek at, fantasy lovers may want to take a peek as well.  I'm happy to see the vampire genre receive so many new forays, all different origins of the vampire species, all have a fresh feel to them, keeping the genre fresh as well.  There is room left open at the end of this book for a continuation of Jeremiah Fall's story, so I hope to see him again.  If you're looking for romance, other than the use of words and an almost unrequited longing, look elsewhere.

I received this book for review from the author.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Iron Queen, Book 3, The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa

Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Pages:  368

 (Release Date:  January 25, 2011)

From the Cover:

My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back. 

Meghan Chase, daughter of Oberon, King of the Summer Court, has been exiled from the land of Faery, all because she fell in love.  With the Winter Prince.  Ash.  When Queen Mab, of the Winter Court, exiled Ash for allowing his feelings to rule his heart, he was banished from the Nevernever, and Meghan with her heart held in Ash's cool hands, followed him.

Now, though together, neither has a place to call home.

Meghan can never go "home" to her mortal family, she will forever and always be fey.  True, she's only a half-fey and one day her existence on in the mortal world will die, but also strange Iron Fey are hunting her, she can't bring that to her mortal family.

Ash, doesn't belong in the mortal world, he can't exist in the mortal realm, he is and always will be a full-blooded Winter Prince, even if his mother has denied him.  How can these two exist not in the mortal world and not in Faery?

The only answer is the InBetween where Leanansidhe, The Exiled Queen, reigns.  Grimalkin, cait sith, has come to collect them, Leanansidhe has questions to be answered.

Puck, Robin Goodfellow, the Prankster, has also been waiting for the lovers.  Unable to give up Meghan, even if she loves the Winter Prince more, he follows them into exile, Oberon banishing him as he promised he would for disobeying.  Together, Ash, Meghan, and Grimalkin find Puck and journey once more to the home of Leanansidhe.  But, more adventure is waiting for the exiles.  Within days of arriving at Leanansidhe's, both Winter and Summer Knights request an audience, and after a mere weeks of exile and peace, once again our trio plus the wily cait sith are up to their necks in trouble, trying to save the land of Faery from the poisonous menace of the Iron Fey.  War is brewing, and it could be the death of all Faery, oldbloods and Iron alike.

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa is another action packed emotion twister of a story.  It seems to have it all; mystery, intrigue, court politics, love, and the wonder of a story that leaves you hoping for more.  Once again, Meghan Chase finds herself as the only savior for the land of Faery, a place from which she and her true love have been banished.  But, that was before the false king of the Iron Fey made his march on the Nevernever.  Now, if there is to be any hope at all, Meghan Chase along with Ash and Puck have to find a way to kill the false king.  With war at the edge of the Nevernever, there's no time to waste, no plans to be made.  Meghan must learn to fight or die, and if she dies, all of Faery may go with her.  But, what she doesn't realize and can't yet understand, is that the magic of the Iron Fey has been left for her....she holds the power of Machina deep inside her.  The Summer glamour doesn't quite know what to make of the Iron glamour now residing within her body, but it will have a purpose, Meghan just has to figure out what it is.  When she's recalled to the land of Faery, along with Ash and Puck, Oberon and Mab have become allies against the false king as his forces encroach on and poison the land of the Nevernever.  With little time to spare, Meghan, Ash, and Puck along with Grimalkin begin their trek into the Iron Realm, to find and destroy the false king.

The Iron Queen is a must read.  In fact, the entire series is a must read for all fantasy lovers, all magic lovers.  This is a series that will take your imagination on the wild ride of it's life.  It's one of those magically stories that you get lost in, become part of, and before you know it, you're rooting for Meghan Chase to come out on top, you're hoping for the best, and cringing at the same time, because as much as you want the lovers to be together, Winter can't exist in Summer, Iron is poisonous to oldblood fey, mortals were never met to exist in Faery (they eventually go mad).  There's so many obstacles, and yet, here I am, pulling for, crying with, and dreading the outcome for Meghan and Ash.  Puck, sweet and irresistible, will always be Meghan's best and oldest friend, but he can never fill her heart like Ash.  But, as Meghan comes to realize, their love is ill fated, Ash cannot exist in the Iron Realm, and she being pulled into something she doesn't want, but can't avoid.  Can she release Ash, never to see him again?  Can she survive?  I highly recommend the entire Iron Fey series, and the Iron Queen, to all lovers of fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, YA lovers, this is a must try series, a must read and reread.  If you want a taste of the Nevernever, Prince Ash, Puck, and Meghan Chase, then hurry and download this free novella ( and it's only free until 1-31-11!!), Winter's Passage, it gives some of the back story and in between story of Ash and Meghan's adventures together.  I'll be impatiently waiting for the next in the series, Ash's story, The Iron Knight.  I can't imagine where this story is going to go next, but I do know I can't wait for find out!

I received this ebook for review from Net Galley and Harlequin.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

American Vampire by Jennifer Armintrout

Publisher:  Mira/Harlequin
Pages:  336

(Release Date:  February 22, 2011)

From the Cover:


Buried in the Heartland is a town that no one enters or leaves. Graf McDonald somehow becomes its first visitor in more than five years…and he was only looking for a good party. Unfortunately, Penance, Ohio, is not that place. And after having been isolated for so long, they do not like strangers at all.

Jessa's the only one to even remotely trust him, and she's desperate for the kind of protection that only a vampire like Graf can provide. Supplies are low, the locals are ornery for a sacrifice and there's a monster more powerful than Graf lurking in the woods. New men are hard to come by in this lonesome town, and this handsome stranger might be Jessa's only hope for salvation.

Even if she has to die first… 

Jessa Gallagher was stuck, and sick of being stuck.  No one in the small town of Penance, Ohio has moved in the last five years.  No, I mean, no one has move at all, unable to escape the boundaries of the town in five long lonely years.

There's a monster in the town, a real honest-to-Gawd monster, and it's hunting something.  It'll do whatever it needs to fulfill it's own crude needs.  It's like time has passed the town by, and the outside world no longer knows of their existence, and certainly, no one knows about the monster terrorizing Penance.  Until a wayward vampire stumbles into the mist of the battle, who knew vampires could get lost?

Graf MacDonald is the vampire lost in the middle of no where, who stumbles into a fight not his own.  It becomes his battle when he discovers he's as stuck as everyone else is in the small town.  But, he needs to find a place to sleep away from the sun, and someone to eat because he's starving too.

When Graf finds Jessa hiding from the beast, he doesn't know if he should eat her or lose her.... She seems slightly crazy and snotty to boot.  But she has lost her entire family, maybe there's a reason for her short temper.

American Vampire by Jennifer Armintrout is an urban fantasy that ends up being a vampire romance, one of my favorite genres.  I have to admit, at first I didn't like either of the main characters, Jessa or Graf.  Jessa because she was whiny, sleeping with her loser ex-boyfriend who married her best friend rather than support her after her entire family is wiped out.  Graf, because he was a heartless bastard who wants help but it unwilling to give it, in a hurry to leave Penance and their monster with no intention of helping them.  In fact, he throws Jessa out of his car when he thinks she's gone around the bend, granted, he also doesn't know Jessa either, and vampires are not indestructible.  But, as I got further into the story, Jessa learned to be less dependent of her loser ex-boyfriend, who is worse than anything she can imagine, including the monster terrorizing the town.  Graf, by being stranded with no escape from Penance, finally learns what it means to need another person for something besides a meal or a place to hide from the blistering sun.  Though, he still cares little for the humans surrounding him in the town, and with good reason... they aren't any more likable at the beginning of the story than by the end, but then again, I didn't get to glimpse the town before the monster started terrorizing it, and they've all been trapped for five years, they've got plenty of reason to be pissed, but they've lost part of their humanity in the process, becoming monsters themselves.  I did like the ending where Graf saves Jessa in the only way he can.

American Vampire is an interesting story, and from my above comments, you may think I didn't enjoy the story.  You'd be wrong, it was an intense page turner that grabbed my interest from the start, I read this book in a single day.  After getting to know Jessa, and watching her grow up at long last, accepting her family's death, she turned out to be a self-sacrificing character, and Graf turned out to be the strong vampire hero everyone needed him to be.  As the townspeople have lost part of their humanity, Graf gains a little of his back.  At first, I thought Graf was going to be a vampire savior, but he really is just an ordinary guy who happens to be a vampire.  He's not super human strong, very much susceptible to sunlight, his emotions have become lost with the change to vampire, but he is super quick and learns to mock human behavior pretending so well to be human, he almost fools Jessa, almost.  Even though he is relatively new to vampirism, only being turned in 1967, he understands the lost of humanity.  It seems with Ms. Armintrout's version of vampirism, as soon as one becomes a vampire, humanity is lost; no breathing, no blinking, an imitation of human existence.  This is another new twist to the vampire genre, which only helps keep the genre fresh and interesting.  Urban fantasy lovers may want to give this one a try, and paranormal romance lovers, there's some lovin in here for you too.  At the heart of this story is a monster, the question is who let the monster out to play and how can it be killed?

I received this ebook for review from Net Galley and Harlequin.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 23

Sorry, Monday Morning Flash Fiction victims, I'm still sick.  I've been taking meds, but ran a fever yesterday.  But, I feel better now than I have since last Thursday!  So, I'm doing a quick post and lying back down before the fever gets me again.

It's time for Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge!

I found this picture in Michelle's folder, I like it, I think I can work with it.

I really like the feeling, the desolation of this image.  But, maybe it's the drugs or the fevered fried brain speaking?

The rules remain the same, some where around 350 words, come back Friday and post your response.

Until later then.... have some posts scheduled and I'll be off and on the interwebs... as I feel like it, hope I've seen the last of this frakking illness...


Friday, January 14, 2011

Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 22..... The Friday Post

Well, it's Friday morning, and I feel like crap! I'm sick again, and it's not FAIR (I say as I stomp my foot). It seems like I just got over this crap, and it's back again...

So, this is going to be a short post...

My response to this week's gorgeous prompt chosen by Amy!  This is the third part I've written to this story, if you'd like to read the first and second parts, click here (pt.1) and here (pt.2).  If I weave these into a book, there is much blending and editing that will have to be done, there's pieces of the story still to be fleshed out.  But, it's a taste of what might come....

Soul Fire, Part 3
by: Dottie Taylor
word count: 740

Reena slipped into sleep and became aware of the mist surrounding her. Slowly, she made her way across the courtyard to find stairs. Dreams were so odd, she thought as she floated through this one.

Glancing down, she found a foreign looking hillside, strange flowers poked their heads above the rolling fog. She reached down and brushed her hand along them, it tingled as the flowers sighed in response.

“Where am I?” Reena wondered, she didn't know if she spoke aloud, how did it work during dreams?

Though, she couldn't hear an answer to question, she felt another presence enter her dream. She shuddered, a cold breeze squeezed up tight to her body, caressing her, time froze as quickly as her body. Chill flesh seized her with fingers of icy dread.

Wanting to leave this place where she now felt trapped, she pulled away from the breeze, wondering how long she'd been held in it's embrace?

Reena rushed down the steps, gazing back over her shoulder. An arched bridge waited for her, and to the right, more stairs leading up to a multitude of doorways. She crossed the bridge, staring down into the water where the petals of the flowers looked back up at her, winking in and out of the water, some speeding by and others coming to rest to peer at her. As she watched, her heart beat faster. One of the flowers yawned back at her, revealing a row of vicious teeth.

“Who's there?” She called as the breezed swept by, grasping ahold of her, lifting her brash hair away from her pale face, leaving her dizzying, washed out further.

Reena stopped, she thought she heard something, she concentrated hard, and at last, the voice broke through to her thoughts.

“Reena, run, it's coming..!!” It shouted to her, and she realized she knew this voice. It was the voice of that detective, the murder that happened near the high school. Abruptly, it screamed inside her skull, “RUN!!!”

She put her hands up to her ears, trying to silence the scream, her heart pounding out a staccato beat. Again she yelled into the growing mist as she began to move, “Where am I?!?” But this time, someone else answered, calling her to the doorways.

“Reena, hurry, the mist grows stronger, fuller. Look around, it's thicker now. It grows stronger as it absorbs your Ki, you must hurry!”

“Who's there?!?” Reena barreled toward the voice, hoping she was rushing to her savior, not her destroyer.

“Think Reena, who am I?” He fought to rasp out as if he was physically pulling her to him, “You know me, but you've forgotten. We've known each other for so long.” A wistful longing filled his voice.

“Petrov?” Reena called, she'd only met him the night before, Brea's new boyfriend.

“Hurry Reena!!” His voice grew frantic, “Hurry, it's coming!”

Suddenly, Reena was running as fast as her feet could carry her up the slippery steps. She came to the top and in one of the doorways, Petrov stood in his own ghostly state, motioning her to him.

Without thinking, she raced to the safety of his arms as her heart pounded out her fear. She really didn't know Petrov, but he felt familiar, like she'd known him before. Then she wondered, before what? It was the same strange feeling of familiarity that surged through her in her parents living room.

Petrov pulled Reena hard against his body, folding her in his arms, hiding her as the cold breeze once again reached out for her, and this time, she shivered, not from the cold, but from the anger she could feel boiling inside the breeze that became a bristling wind seeking her, demanding she be returned, and she found herself almost willing to let it take her, she wanted to appease the demand.

As she made to leave Petrov's arms, he pulled her fiercely back, growling out, “Not this time!” He placed his body between the pull of the wind and Reena's. “She'll never be yours again!”

Next, an obscene laughter filled Reena's ears. What was happening to her?

Petrov spun around, brandishing a small ankh, and the wind howled, furiously leaving them.

Quickly, he turned, “Reena, please wake up!” He shook her, harder and harder, her head snapping back and forth as Petrov grew more agitated. “You must wake before it returns!”

Ok, posted, now going to go lie down, but don't worry as soon as the drugs kick in, I'll be by to check out your post! Beware of comments that don't make any sense!

And remember to join us again on Monday (when I'm sure I'll feel better...)


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Nancy's Theory of Style by Grace Coopersmith

Publisher:  Gallery Books/Simon and Schuster
Pages:  362

From the Cover:
Lively young socialite Nancy Carrington-Chambers has always believed an excellent sense of style and strict attention to detail are what it takes to succeed, but her own husband Todd is showing symptoms of incurable tackiness, so Nancy flees their McMansion for her posh San Francisco apartment. She knows her event planning company, Froth, is a real winner, but she must prove herself by reinventing the turgid Barbary Coast Historical Museum fundraiser. Luckily, Nancy now has the perfect assistant. Derek Cathcart is British, impeccably dressed, gorgeous, and clearly gay—so why does Nancy find him so attractive?

Before Nancy can unravel her feelings, her irresponsible cousin Birdie abandons her little daughter with Nancy and takes off. Nancy, Derek, and Eugenia make an unlikely "family," but strangely it seems incredibly right. Now Nancy's parents are pressuring her to return to Todd, and she still has to pull off a spectacular party. For someone who's always known exactly where she's going, Nancy is in dangerously uncharted waters.

Irresistibly funny and romantic, Nancy's Theory of Style shows that happiness and
love—just like fashion—aren't about playing it safe.

We first meet Nancy Carrington when reading Marta Acosta's wonderful Casa Dracula series, she's one of Milagro's best friends, so she couldn't be all bad, could she?  She's one of those socialite girls who went to FU (Fancy University) with Milagro and ever since, they had become fast friends.  No one understand Nancy Fancy like Milagro does.

By the time we find Nancy in Nancy's Theory of Style, she has married her one time boyfriend, Todd Chambers.  Nancy knows they'll look fabulous together, have a fabulous life, and live in a fabulous house.  But, maybe fabulous isn't all it's cracked up to be, and maybe life isn't meant to be fabulous.  Nancy comes to realize that living with Todd isn't what she thought it would be, it's isn't her fairytale life that she thinks it's going to be, but then life isn't usually a fairytale unless you ignore reality, something Nancy comes to discover quickly enough.

Deciding she needs time away from her life and Todd, Nancy starts an events planning business, everyone is always so taken with her weddings, parties, and other affairs she has planned.  She knows this will be just the thing for her, she's the best and it will give her life new meaning, she'll be seen as successful, Toddless.  So, she moves back to her small apartment in Chateau Winkles, and starts setting up her business.  Todd, on a rare generous note, offers to pay for an assistant to help Nancy, to make her life easier.  Nancy is grateful for Todd's help, but is it really help or something else?

To add to her wrong choices in life, Birdie, her flighty cousins stops to visit Nancy, and leaves without taking one of her most important possessions with her, her daughter, Eugenia.  Nancy calls everyone she can think of, but Birdie has done a complete disappearing act, not to be found, and no one will take Eugenia either.  Having had Eugenia foisted upon her, Nancy has to learn how to care for a child, she's only ever had to care for herself.  Eugenia is a sweet kid who refers to Nancy as Auntie Nanny, much to Nancy's embarrassment, but she lets it go, to please Eugenia.

Into the picture strolls her fabulous assistant arranged for by Todd.  Derek Cathcart is everything Nancy has pictured the perfect assistant could be; British, gay, good-looking, and completely stylish, so fitting for her Theory of Style.  Things blossom for Nancy, in many ways, her business, her assistant, and her niece.  But, you know, just when you think you have it all, know it all.... that's when things start to come apart, a lesson Nancy has yet to learn.

Nancy's Theory of Style by Grace Coopersmith isn't your typical contemporary romance, nor is it Marta Acosta's typical paranormal romance.  It's the story of Fancypants Nancy and how she learns to grow up, that does eventually include romance, and it's a tasty little romance, between Nancy and her fabulously gay assistant, Derek.  But what Todd has paid for isn't only assistant services for Nancy, and it may cost her more than her heart.  Then there's Bailey Whiteside, and he's not what he appears either, he has all these investment ideas, and even starts to fill Nancy's head with thoughts of a socially acceptable match, but what he really finds socially acceptable is Nancy's trust fund.  Another issue for Nancy to deal with are her mother and father, they want life to appear happy, the perfect couple, but it's another fabrication in Nancy's life.

Nancy's Theory of Style is a humorous take on the lives of the rich and famous, and it isn't all fairytales and flowers.  Nancy Fancypants has some serious growing up to do, and as yet, hasn't be forced to do so.  She's made bad life choices too, including marrying the wrong man, and then almost making the same mistake twice.  Of all her society friends, it turns out only a handful are truly her friends.  Sloane, a friend from college, Milagro, GP, and Mrs. Winkles are the only ones besides her assistant, Derek, who we found out is Rick, really cares about Nancy.  All those hoity toity society type friends are just waiting for her to fall on her face, especially Junie.  I don't read many romances that aren't paranormals, because, let's face, I adore supernatural creatures!  But, as far as a funny, fast, quirky, quick read goes, Nancy's Theory of Style is it.  Milagro makes a few quick appears and never fails to make me laugh.  Nancy's so involved in her life, she can't really see what's happening all around her.  There are some laugh out loud ridiculous moments, some moments when you wish Nancy didn't have to learn things the hard way, and moments when you wanted to kick Nancy in the Fancypants.  If you haven't read Grace Coopersmith (aka Marta Acosta), I would definitely start here.  Then, rush out and buy her Casa Dracula series because you'll find you can't get enough.  I highly recommend this book to all romance lovers, you'll find yourself rooting for Nancy, after you get over the idea of kicking her in her Fancypants.  Nancy's Theory of Style is about life and growing up, learning to really live.  If you like to try this wonderful book, you can do it for free.  For a limited time (and I don't know how long that will be), you can read the Draft of Nancy's Theory of Style at Scribd.  It's a little rough and it doesn't have current cover art, but still so enjoyable.  Marta Acosta also has out a new YA paranormal, The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove (only her publisher things the title is too long... I'm rooting for Shadow Girl), if you want to try this book for free, click here.

Here's a peek at the back cover, love it almost as much as the front!

I picked up this book for my own enjoyment (even if it is available for free), Marta Acosta is a keeper for me.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Crescendo, Book 2, The Hush, Hush Saga by Becca Fitzpatrick

Publisher:  Simon and Schuster
Pages:  427

(Released: October 19, 2010)

From the Cover:

The sequel to the New York Times Best selling phenomenon, Hush, Hush

Nora should have know her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?

Crescendo takes off where Hush, Hush leaves off....

Nora thinks she has all she could wish for. An awesomely hot boyfriend/guardian angel/used to be fallen archangel, Patch, and it can't get much better. Well, yeah, it could, she misses her dad so much, and wishes everyday he wasn't dead. It's hard for her to deal with, even her mom hasn't been as open about everything going on in their lives. And of course, there's always her evil nemesis, Marcie, she'd like to drive a spike through Nora's heart, and smile while she's doing it.

But Patch makes her life real and her own.... until she says the three little words he's been dreading to hear..... "I love you". He drops her little a hot potato and she later discovers he was outside Marcie's bedroom window, staring up.

Patch is very misunderstood, by all those around him, and especially by Nora. Things are happening that he can't explain, least of all to Nora, not without putting her life in greater danger. And she's already died once.

Rixon, Patch's best friend, is up to no good, but he's fooling everyone, including Nora, Patch, and even Nora's best friend and cohort in crime, Vee (who's also locking lips with Rixon). Into the hazy picture of distress walks Scott (Scotty the Potty... used to wet his pants). Scott isn't telling all he knows either, and he seems even more dangerous than Patch, at least Patch doesn't act crazy.

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick is a YA paranormal romance with all the right qualities that changes it from a good PNR to a moving story, excellently told, with a cliffhanger ending that leaves the reader begging for more. Nora's life has changed so much since her father was killed. She's never really been one of the 'popular' kids, but with Marcie's help, she's been ostracized. The police haven't a clue who could have murdered Nora's father, a heinous crime to befall her family. Nora and her mother are slow to recover, there's not a lot of extra money, in fact, Nora's car is sold to pay the mortgage and fill the frig. But, now things are starting to look up. Since Patch saved Nora's life, he's become her guardian angel, and he vows nothing will ever hurt her again. Except him. When Nora says 'I love you' in the heat of the moment and when Patch suddenly feels the need to tear away from her, she's left wondering if it was the words. Then, Rixon starts leaving not so subtle hints that Patch may be seeing Marcie, that Patch was known as The Black Hand. Nora is nearly crazy with grief, first over losing her father, and then Patch to Marcie. I truly enjoyed Nora because she does seem like a typical sixteen year old, bad hair days, worrying about school, but with one exception, her guardian angel. Patch is an honest to goodness bad boy, but one who can be, wants to be, and if Nora has her way, will be redeemed. Everything isn't as it seems as you're flipping through the pages, and it gets better with each flip.

Crescendo was a fantastically quick read, 1.5 days from page 1 to the last of the devoured 427 pages, and that was with sleeping! It was a page turner that captured my attention from the first page, and left me anxiously waiting for the continuing story on the last page. It was one of those books where I was speedily flipping pages and dreading the end, I knew what Nora didn't, and it ended so unexpectedly.... It was great! I highly recommend this book to YA lovers, paranormal romance lovers, and urban fantasy lovers. While the story contains a heated love story, it's very much appropriate for a YA audience. If you enjoy fast paced paranormal romance with unexpected twists and turns, with evil fallen archangels and not so evil guardian angels, give Crescendo a try, you won't be disappointed! I recommend reading the books in order, Hush, Hush, Book 1 and Crescendo, Book 2. Book 3 will be released October 18, 2011, it was tentatively named Tempest, but according to Ms. Fitzpatrick's Fallen Archangel Fan Page, it is currently untitled with the title to come soon. It will also be the final book in the Hush, Hush Saga.

I received Crescendo from PTA Reviewer Rewards for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 22

Morning y'all!  I'm sitting here in my freezing living room watching Sweet Home Alabama, I love Reese Witherspoon, even if she does look anorexic in this movie (and maybe I'm just a little jealous... just a pinch... used to be thin one time too... lol... how do they get so skinny again after having babies????) And I realized I need to post....

The Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge!!!!

Anyway, I shared some images with Amy (I love having Amy back!!! Even if it's only temporary until school starts again or something else...!!) and she chose an awesome image for our flash this morning.

It's it great??  I love it!  Can't wait to see what kind of flash this one produces.....

Michelle, if I had a way, I'd send you one of our laptops so you could play along too, I have my son's old one just sitting here, not the best in the world, not a dual core or anything fancy, but internet access and a great word processor... hope you're feeling better  ((hugs))  and maybe your computer will be fixed a lot quicker than the one or two week time frame.

The rules remain the same, 350 word count (I don't even know why I put the word count in... I can never confine myself to stay within the limits...) and come back Friday and post your response.

Until next time bat fans, same bat time, same bat channel!!  (can you tell I just watched an elderly episode of Batman???)

Ciao bella!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sassy Sunday Story Starter.... from Sassy Brit 'Alternative-Read'

Every Sunday, Sassy Brit @ Alternative-Read offers a Sunday morning story starter.  This Sunday story starter was provided by Karen Mercury.  It was an excellent couple of lines, and I found myself drawn back to one of the early prompts, continuing the story.  Here's my response to the prompt.

Soul Fire, Part 2
by: Dottie Taylor
word count: 600

“For the love of Mike!” cried Wallingford, nearly jumping from his tennis shoes at the sight of his partner, Fowler. “I thought you were a ghost!”

But the transparent, sunken, and oddly green image of Fowler just hovered there at the edge of the cliff, saying nothing.

“Fowler?” Wallingford called out. Still Fowler clung to the precipice, almost seeming to float, and as Wallingford watched, Fowler drifted away from the boundary, into the lightness of the breaking dawn.

“What the fu...” Wallingford shrank back, away from edge, away from his partner, away from death. “Son of a bitch!” Wallingford bit out. He blinked his eyes again and again in disbelief. Fowler was... no way in hell was Fowler out there floating around off the edge of the cliff, he was floating around out there like some damnable ghost.

Then, Wallingford saw Fowler's lips begin to move, speaking to him, gesturing, and finally pointing at him. Wallingford's heart beat frantically against his ribs, and he took a deep shuddering breath, and stepped forward.

“Fowler, what's happened?” He said barely louder than a whisper, his eyes filled with horror. His best friend and partner he thought shaking his head, and Fowler's ghostly appearance wobbled in and out of focus.

Wallingford's eyes bulged because even though Fowler's lips refused to let sound pass them, there was a burst of noise inside Wallingford's head. He clapped his hands tightly over his ears, and the volume for dialed down, he was able to recognize Fowler's voice.

“...this time. You have to stop it, you have to keep it....” And his voice faded, but his countenance still hung in the air above him. “....hurry, soon it will be too late... save Reena....”

Wallingford looking anxiously at his partner, not really believing any of this, he was probably at home asleep in his bed, having a nightmare instead of his usual playboy bunny filled ones. He shook his head, bit his lip hard enough to draw the coppery taste of blood into his mouth. No, this wasn't a dream, not unless you can bled and feel pain in one.

“Fowler, who's Reena, what are you talking about?” Wallingford groaned, he held a hand to his head, it pounded almost as hard as his heart.

“....investigation …....” Fowler's visage began to slip away.

“Wait! I don't know who Reena is?!?” Wallingford howled.

Again he heard the voice bounding around his skull. “.... case file... hurry.... it's coming...”

Wallingford watched Fowler slip away. He turned away from the cliff as he rushed back down to find his Taurus, but he looked back one last time. A scream filled his throbbing head, Fowler wouldn't be visiting him again any time soon.

He sped back across town to their offices, a seedy building that had seen better days. He burst into the room he shared with Fowler and tore open the files, throwing the ones he didn't need onto the floor, hands shaking as he scanned the pages rapidly looking for the one word that would stand out, Reena, she had to be here. He had to find her, if he didn't he wouldn't be able to live with himself.

Finally, his finger came to rest on the name. A murder investigation he and Fowler had worked on, one of the people interviewed was a girl named Reena. A bead of dread slithered down Wallingford's chest, cold as ice. Something was hunting, it was getting closer. He jammed the file inside his coat, racing from the office, he had to be in time.

That's it, until next time.  Join me in the response if you'd like.


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