Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shoots to Kill by Kate Collins

Scroll down or click here for some important information on my last contest and for a speed contest. And now, on with it!

*Quick note: This review is done from an ARC, so the BCC or any other mentions may be slightly different from the official book*

Shoots to Kill
by Kate Collins

Last I heard, being a five-foot-two, green-eyed redhead wasn't a crime. But that's precisely why I, Abby Knight, was yanked out of my Corvette by a state trooper, handcuffed, and thrown in jail.

This isn't your average case of mistaken identity.

Eight years ago Abby babysat Elizabeth Blume, a teen who seemed intent on making Abby's life miserable. Elizabeth imitated Abby's dress, pored over her diary, and sabotaged her love life. Now Elizabeth is back in New Chapel, and she soon adopts a new look: Abby's. Elizabeth, now going by Libby, copies Abby's entire life - she even drives a bright yellow car and opens a nearly identical shop. But when Libby comes between Abby and her boyfriend, Marco, imitation becomes the sincerest form of trouble, and that's before Abby is accused of murder. Is Abby's devious double the real killer? Or is there a more sinister suspect in town who's using them both to cover his evil crime?

Back in my d&D days, I "reviewed" (can I even say that's what I do?) two of the books in this series. Click here to read those first, and then come back for this! Go ahead. I'll wait.

Do you see a pattern in those posts? Ya know, kind of that I ADORE these books and Abby Knight? Or maybe you could see that I want to live in New Chapel and work in Bloomers? Or perhaps you noticed that I think Kate Collins ROCKS OUT LOUD?! Let me just say, all of that is true and even more so now that I've read the latest in this series!

Kate Collins has truly outdone herself in Shoots! You've all heard about identity theft, right? You know, when some one steals your social security number and ruins your credit while living high on the hog?

Well, forget identity theft. In Shoots, Abby is faced with the extreme version, which I have come to refer to as Life Theft. The last time Abby Knight saw Elizabeth Blume, she was an obnoxious pre-teen with a famous mother and slightly off-kilter wanna-be Army man brother. Elizabeth wasn't just the run-of-the-mill annoying that most of those kids we used to babysit for were. No, Elizabeth wormed her way into dinner at Abby's, Christmas and Birthday presents from the Knights, Abby's brothers refered to her as the other little sister, she read her diary - and wrote entries in it as Abby! - and broke into Abby's locker and humiliated her. Boy, was Abby ever glad to see the last of that brat.

But Elizabeth is back, and she wants a job at Bloomers. But when Abby says "NO Thanks" Elizabeth isn't quite happy. Before Abby can blink, Elizabeth is now Libby, driving a car like Abby's, hiring Marco, charming her dear friends and staff, stealing her mother's "art" from Abby's shop, and out and out making herself into a clone of Abby.

To Abby's dismay, she's the only one who sees it at first! When Abby loses her boyfriend (I nearly CRIED people, that is how close I feel to these characters!) and then gets arrested for murder - of Delphi Blume, Libby's super bitchy, uber famous mother, no less - she doesn't care if anybody believes her, because she knows that things have gone too far and it's time to act!

After all, Abby is great at righting the injustices of the world, it just so happens that this injustice happened to her! But, as Abby digs deeper and faces more danger, the questions mount, and this may just be the first time that justice is not served.

I'm telling you people, this book is by far THE BEST book in the series, and that's saying something, because The Flower Shop Mystery series is stellar. In the review for the last book in the series, I said this - I also don't know if I've just gotten really good, or if this mystery was an easy one to solve. I had it figured out really fast. Collins is good though, she almost had me changing my mind, and that was fun, but I stuck firm to my culprit and I was right. Well, mostly right, my motives were a bit off. - and I think Collins took it as a personal challenge, because I was guessing until the very end.

Filled with laugh out loud moments, an amazing mystery, fantastic sub-plot, and all the great people that live in New Chapel, SHOOTS TO KILL is one book you do not want to miss.

Cozy Mystery Fan? Clear your schedule and get thyself to the book store when they open August 5. You'll want your copy of this great book and you'll want to find a spot where you can read uninterrupted, trust me, this one is a page turner.

Never read cozy mysteries? Get thyself to the book store now so that you can buy the first books in this fabulous series. Then, no one will be able to stop you from waiting at the door on release day.

Take Care

P.S. While blog hopping, be sure to check out Kate's joint blog, The Cozy Chicks: Cozy Up To Some Killer Books , it's a great blog written by some great authors!

UPDATES And A Speed Contest

OY! I have been completely overwhelmed lately! OVERWHELMED! First of all, apparently blogger has declared me public enemy No. 1, because all week-end I could not post. Work has me swamped, but my sitter is sick so I'm squeezing in a full days work into four hours. My alergies are insane right now. It's so flippin' hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk. I seriously could go on, but then you'd quit reading.

Anyway, I am still waiting on the Grand Prize winner of the Angie Fox contest to contact me, so I haven't yet gone to the Post Office. Here's why, I am now calling LAST CALL, if I do not hear from the winner by tomorrow night, I will re-draw for the Big Prize. I am keeping the three tee-shirt winners in the draw, so if one of you happens to be drawn for the BIG prize, I'll draw another name for the tee. So, if you are LadyTink_534 , click here and send me your details by tomorrow night, or I have to draw a new name. Why tomorrow night? Simple, I'd like to go to the Post Office after work on Friday, and get ya'll your things! Brandy, I haven't forgotten your box either :)

And although things have been crazy insane lately, we have had some good things. One of which is the little guy at the top. That's Dumas, our newest kitty (that makes two). He's adorable, tiny and a cuddle bug. Some one had been a bit on the mean side to this little guy, because he had one side of his whiskers cut and his tail shaved! He was skin and bones when he found us, and now he's got a belly like you would not believe.

And in the spirit of the happiness Dumas has brought us, I'm offering you a chance to win a signed copy of Fantasyland by Michele Bardsley and some bookmarks. This is a speed contest, because I want to send this one out with the others on Friday.

The Details: The Hubs and I were in silly moods the night Dumas found us. We jokingly said we should name him Dumas after the kids had laid down for bed. The kids heard us say this (they should have been asleep) and the name Dumas stuck.

To WIN: Tell me what Dumas is short for. Remember it was a JOKE meant to be between only The Hubs and myself, and now our poor love-bug of a cat is stuck with it.

I'm also getting ready to post a review, so check back in a few to see if it's up!

Take Care

Thursday, July 24, 2008

When Authors Completely Waste Your Time

This post, believe it or not, is not a rant about bad writing. No, this post is about what can happen when you visit one of your favorite author's blog and end up playing away the rest of the afternoon, instead of you know, actually doing something constructive like writing or reading.

Today I got off work a little early because Bear was sick. I ended up blog surfing for a bit, and lo and behold I see this post on Jenny Crusie's Argh Ink blog. Well, what can I say, I had to play too. The next thing I knew, The Hubs was home and it was time to cook dinner (past time actually)! That iVillage Makeover , it is addictive.

First, you start off with a picture or yourself sans make-up and with your hair all slicked/pulled back. Here's mine:
Then the fun begins. You get to choose hairstyles from a selection of celebrity styles or from regular people styles and several shades of color. You also get to do your make-up (lips and eyes), can choose contacts, eyeglasses, sunglasses, and yes, even hats. The following are my three of the day:
and finally, me as a blonde, because everyone always said if I had blonde hair I'd look just like my younger sister (everyone was right):

And then, once we had our family swim, Miss Beautiful wanted in on the action too, here's my darling little diva:
It's amazing what difference hair cut and color make. That picture looks nothing like my beautiful little girl!

If you visit the site, have fun, but don't say I didn't warn ya about it being addicting. More reviewing tomorrow. I'm off to go get a few scenes ready for my crit partner.

Take Care

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Midnight Brunch At Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta

Blogger is still giving me pains whenever I try to post. I still have that stupid word verification showing before I hit publish. To solve this problem, they say I merely must hit the '?' beside the letters. There is no '?'. Sigh. Hopefully soon the problem will be fixed or I shall have to go all WordPress on their bottoms. On a better note though, our family has a new member. We found (or shall I say he found us) a new kitty. Just a tiny little thing that some one had obviously not been kind to. His whiskers had been cut on one side and so he walks off balance and part of his tail had been shaved off. However, he is a loving little thing and Mayhem our other kitty is slowly getting used to not being the only one. Good thing, because we all already love our new baby. But enough about me, let's talk books.

I have already reviewed the first book in this series and you can find it here. As you can see, I LOVED it and couldn't wait to read more. Well, Marta was kind enough to send me the book I'm getting ready to review today and an ARC for her third release The Bride of Casa Dracula. I read both in one day. Not one day each mind you. One day. I flippin' love this world that Acosta has created. I love it so much, in fact, that I want to share it. So closer to the release day, probably around the first of September, look forward to a Launch Party here at Novel Reads for The Bride! There will contests! There will be interviews! There will be a review! There will be fun! So mark your calendars and be sure to join in on all the fun.

Midnight Brunch at Casa Dracula
by Marta Acosta


Hip, funny Milagro de los Santos thinks she's finally found love and a home at the California ranch of fabulous Oswald Grant and his urbane relatives, who have a rare genetic disorder that some call vapirism. But Milagro is bewildered when she's excluded from an ancient and mysterious midnight ceremony whose participants include Oswald's unfriendly parents, a creepy family elder, and Milagro's ex-lover, the powerful and decadent Ian Ducharme. What skeletons are the vampires keeping in their designer closets?

When Milagro's life is threatened by a rogue family member, she flees to teh desert to hide. Instead of solitude, she encounters an egomaniacal actor, a partying heiress, a sly tabloid reporter, and a lavish spa full of dark secrets - all of which might help her find her way home.

Milagro de los Santos, the miracle of the saints, is back in this second installment of the Casa Dracula series. Things have been going great in her little bit of the world. She's in love with Oswald. She loves his family and they love her. She's a new auntie (well, sort of), life on the ranch is peaceful, she's getting ready to go back to The City to attend her good friends wedding, and see Mercedes her best friend, yep, her life is good. That is until Oswald's parents show up, along with a bunch of other vampire family to celebrate the babies birth with a naming ceremony that she won't be able to attend. Oswald's parent's hate her, but there are some vampires who don't. Oh no, there are other vampires that covet her. Her blood that is. Since she is a rare survivor of the infection, and she came through it new and improved, it appears that Mil has become a target, not of the anti-vampire sect, but of the vampires themselves. There are some that believe her blood holds the answer to all their problems and they will do anything to get their hands, erm, mouths, on it.

Secrets abound, and Mil is sick of it. She wants to be included in the family ceremonies. She wants to know all about the genetic disorder that infected her, giving her strange cravings. But most of all, she wants to completely belong to the world of her new friends. She wants to completely belong with Oswald. But it is this very curiosity of their world that throws Mil into a dark and dangerous fight for her life. Where, if she's not careful, she could lose everything she's trying her hardest to be a part of.

But luck steps in just as Mil needs it and she is offered a job re-writing a script for a new movie. The production company pays for her to stay at an upscale spa in the desert while she works, and since she needs to run far away from those she loves and those that want her dead, Mil jumps at the chance to escape.

Soon, Milagro finds herself living with an aging ex-sex god of an actor, running around with a tabloid reporter/English teacher, partying with her new friend the heiress, and trying to figure out how to survive being drained to death by the vampires who seem to have their hand in everything, including this very upscale spa.

What can I say? This book was over way too fast for my tastes. I absolutely adore Milagro and the people that make up her life. Again, don't let the term vampire fool you. These aint your mamma's vamps. In fact, most of them don't even like to be referred to as such. They are simply people who have a rare genetic disorder.

Midnight Brunch has it all. Laughs, romance, mystery, friendships, and a fantastic fictional world you'll never want to leave. Acosta has found the perfect combination for all of the paranormal fans out there that wanted their vamps but wanted something different too. I'm telling you, I could not put it down, and know that these books will grace my keeper shelf, to be re-read and loved for many years.

Take Care

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tonight! It's tonight! I'm SO excited about tonights movie on Nick! The Avatar: Sozin's Comet is TONIGHT! The whole family is so ready we're doing a countdown!

Novel Chats

It's Saturday, which means it's time for another edition of Novel Chats. Some of the books I've read but not talked about here yet are part of a series, some are not. I hope you that if you've read some, you'll leave me a comment and let me know what you thought as well! Just a note, please forgive the fact that the pics are all over the place, Gooe Ole' Blooger, OOPS, I mean Blogger, won't let me copy and paste now to make them line up!

Real Vampires Live Large by Gerry Bartlett

What can I say? I LOVED this one. Glory is a hoot. Her world is amazingly believabel, and OH Baby does Blade every do it for me. With a great cast of characters, Bartlett is a fresh voice in the genre that will have readers craving more. I know I was left wanting more. And thanks to a great contest over on Darque Reviews, I got to read the next book too. I'll post a full length review on it soon! This one gets an A+

How To Knit A Wild Bikini by Christie Ridgway

Another book I adored. I have to admit, this is the first Ridgway I've read and I can't really explain why. Maybe because I'm not a fan of a certain Romance author's work, and I've always associated the two. I don't know why, because I see no evidence that they are even similar, but whatever. It was my loss. Because I absolutely LOVED this book. It made me smile. It made me FEEL. It made me want to learn how to knit! Ridgway has found her way into my TBR list from now on! This one gets an A.

Road To Hell by Jackie Kessler

I just didn't feel this one. I didn't really feel the first book in the series either, but in the end enjoyed the bits that made the whole. I guess I felt the same way about this one. I just don't care much for Jesse. I can't sympathize with her, and that makes the reading hard. It was worth the read because I'd read the first book, and I'll probably even read the next one. Hey, I'm a glutton for punishment when it comes to series books, what can I say. All and all, I have to give this one a C.

That's it for Novel Chat today. More next Saturday.

Take Care

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox

Sorry for the last few days of silence, but apparently blogger tagged me as a SPAM blog. I noticed the problem a couple of weeks ago, it suddenly was making me do word verification before I could post. And then, I went to log in and was unable to do anything. I've contacted blogger and now I can post, but I still have the stupid word verification. I think it started when I added their stupid blog feed. I've removed it and will do a regular blog roll instead. We'll see if that stops the problem. Until then, I'll continue to jump through their hoops and hope they come to their senses. ARGH! Anyway, Thanks to I now have the contest winners name to announce!

Three KISS MY ASPHALT t-shirts go to:


The Grand Prize Winner of a signed copy of THE ACCIDENTAL DEMON SLAYER and a KISS MY ASPHALT t-shirt is:


If you could all please send me your snail mail addy and t-shirt size, I'll make sure your prizes make it in the mail soon! Send the information to novelreads at gmail dot com. You know the drill. And now that business is taken care of..

(BCC) *Please note, this review is being done from an ARC, changes may have been made by time the actual book lands in your hands.

It's never a good day when an ancient demon shows up on your toilet. For Lizzie Brown, that's just the beginning. Soon her hyperactive terrier starts talking, and her long-lost biker-witch grandma is hurling Smucker's jars filled with magic. Just when she thinks she's seen it all, Lizzie learns she's a demon slayer - and all hell is after her.

Of course, that's not the only thing after her. Dimitri Kallinikos, a devastatingly handsome shape-shifting griffin, needs Lizzie to slay a demon of his own. But how do you talk a girl you've never met into going straight to the underworld? Lie. And if that doesn't work, how dangerous could a little seduction be...?

"Simple. You're a demon slayer. That means you're attracted to danger, problems, things that need to be fixed."

When I first heard about this book, I was thrilled. It sounded fun. It sounded sexy. It sounded loaded with danger. It sounded right up my alley. And boy, was I right! I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed Lizzie and her crazy world.

Imagine you're a pre-school teacher who can't even cuss right. Imagine you plan your life down to every detail. Now imagine you're turning 30. You're getting ready to go out to a great party, and you know it's great because YOU planned it. You'll finally have your shot at the hot guy from the gym, because he'll be there and you know this of course, because you invited him. You're almost ready when a knock at the door comes and low and behold, your long-lost grandma is at the door. You then find yourself locked in the bathroom while said grandma tries to do something, what you have no idea, and a demon shows up on your toilet.

Let's pretend for a moment that you are able to defeat said demon. Of course, then your grandma would want you to jump on her Harley and run for your life. Because you know what? This demon is only the beginning, and you have a bad, bad, fifth level demon on your tail. One who has a grudge against your entire family. One who wants you dead.

Then imagine that you finally meet the biker gang your grandma hangs with and find out that their are actually witches who think you are their only hope of slaying this awful demon once and for all. Then imagine, that you're supposed to be trained, but before that can happen, you make a HUGE mistake, your grandma is trapped in the first level of hell, her biker coven seems to have it out for you, a very sexy griffin that you don't exactly trust offers you his protection, a pack of werewolves you thought were allies turns out to want you dead, and your dog Pirate won't shut up. Oh yeah, and everyone you need to trust won't even tell you the whole story. Everyone has a secret, and the secrets could very well cost you your very safe, very stable life. Well, if you can imagine all of that, you've got a good picture of what Lizzie goes through in TADS.

From page one, Fox takes you on a ride that is non-stop action. I've heard the saying "whirlwind, wild ride" but I don't think I'd ever truly knew what that meant until I read this book. Lizzie is an amazingly real character, thrown into an amazingly believable paranormal world, where curses are kept in jelly jars, roadkill is a delicacy, and demons want your soul. It was refreshing to read a paranormal novel that had a heroine not obsessed with shoes/clothes (not that I don't enjoy those). It was wonderful to read a paranormal that showed real growth in the heroine. I can't wait to see where Lizzie will go from here!

Make sure your day is clear before cracking this one, trust me, once you pick it up you won't want to put it down!

I want to thank Angie for hanging with us this past week. I've had a ball and I hope everyone else has too!

Take Care

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Novel Talk With Author Angie Fox

My biker witch name is Skullcap Sue Windy Pants. What's yours? Take the quiz and find out. After all, we need to know what to call you when you park your Harley next to the pool table.

So, as you can see, you may now call me Skullcap Sue. I LOVE it! What's your biker name? Just click here to find out, leave me a comment letting me know your name and you are entered to win a "Kiss My Asphalt" Tee Shirt!

Now, the original contest is over, and winners will be announced tomorrow night. Be warned, it could be very late, we have an out of town swim meet for Bear tomorrow, so I'm not sure what time I'll get home. BUT, I will announce the winner as well as my review of THE ACCIDENTAL DEMON SLAYER, so check back to see if you won and to hear my wonderfully insightful thoughts on this great book!

In the meantime, Angie was wonderful enough to sit down with me and answer a few questions. So kick back and learn more about this amazing new author, as Novel Reads proudly introduces Angie Fox!

Hi Angie, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me! I'm so super excited about The Accidental Demon Slayer, I was wondering though if you could describe it in three sentences or less?

I’ll do it in one:

Newly anointed with demon-fighting powers and suddenly able to hear the thoughts of her hilarious Jack Russell terrier, a preschool teacher finds a whole new world of dark and dangerous, including a sexy shape-shifting griffin she’s not entirely sure she can trust.

TADS is your debut novel, what was it like to get the news that you were going to be published?

It was a complete shock. I’d finished the manuscript on Thursday, sent it off and then “the call” came on Tuesday. An editor had taken it home with her over the weekend, read the whole thing and decided to buy it. So I basically went from figuring out the last chapter to having a book contract in less than a week.

Is TADS the first in a series, and can you give us any juicy tidbits of what we can expect in the future?

The second book in the series, The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers, is going to be released in April 2009. In it, the straight-laced Lizzie decides she’s going to learn everything about her powers, and at the same time, write the proverbial book on demon slaying. As you might have guessed – things don’t quite go according to plan.

Also, thanks to the influence of some local succubi, Dimitri (the hero) becomes darker – and sexier. We meet some unusual fairies. And (this is one of my favorite parts) one of the rough-and-tumble biker witches even manages to find love.

What type of books do you find yourself reading? Any favorite authors?

I read a lot of paranormals, both light and dark. Right now, I’m addicted to the Sookie Stackhouse series. I loved Undead and Unworthy (although Undead and Unwed will always be my favorite). I read Katie MacAlister, Tate Hallaway, Stephanie Rowe, Michelle Rowen, Lynsay Sands, Elizabeth Peters, Laurell K Hamilton, JR Ward. I just discovered Kathy Love’s “Young Brothers” books (yes, I’ve been buried under a rock). I’m blowing through those right now. That’s actually kind of fun to know I have the next three books already on my shelf. I also have Erin McCarthy’s vegas vampires, the latest Michele Bardsley and Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series on my ever-growing TBR shelf. And I just read a really great cozy mystery by Rhys Bowen.

Where do you get your ideas from?

Out of my warped brain. Seriously, sometimes I’ll think of an idea or make a character do something and it seems pretty reasonable to me. Then someone will say, “How do you even think of that?” Whoops.

But I will tell you this – I’m a big believer in really thinking things through before starting a book. I can’t tell you how many decent ideas I rejected before saying, “What if you had this accidental demon slayer…” Because you have to be 100% invested and downright entertained by the book you’re writing. As a reader, I can always tell the authors that love what they’re writing. And those are the ones I buy.

Have you always wanted to be a writer and if so, did you always want to write paranormal?

I don’t know if I’ve always wanted to be a writer because I definitely went through the “veterinarian” stage as a kid, but I have always enjoyed writing. My degree is in journalism and I’ve worked as an advertising writer for more than ten years now.

I started off writing mysteries, because I love to read those too. But I was doing everything wrong. I’d outline, I’d write pages and pages of character notes, I’d force myself to do those little note cards. And I hate note cards. In retrospect, I was fighting my voice. I’d write these serious, research-heavy chapters and then sneak off to read the latest Stephanie Rowe book, or giggle through a few chapters of MaryJanice Davidson. It took a while for it to click and for me to realize that hmm…maybe I should write the kind of books I love to read.

I had this spark of an idea about a preschool teacher who is forced to run off with a gang of geriatric biker witches and The Accidental Demon Slayer was born. Instead of a 20-page plot outline, I had a 5-page list of ideas, one of which included “but little did they know, all the Shoney’s are run by werewolves.” Instead of following the rules, I broke a few. Instead of painstakingly writing over the course of a year, I grinned my way through the book and had a complete manuscript in five months.

The opening chapters did well in contests and caught the eye of an editor, who asked to see the whole thing. That same editor bought the book less than a week after I finished it. And I didn’t write one single note card.

Do you have writing ritual? Something you do to get ready for actually setting down to write or maybe something you do while you write that helps keep the creativity flowing?

Well, I write at a certain time every day and I think that helps keep me focused. I have two small kids and as soon as they go down for their afternoon naps, I whip out the laptop. I write in the same place – this green couch in the living room and I always have a Diet Coke on hand.

Are you a plotter or do you fly by the seat of your pants?

Both, actually. How’s that for an answer? *grins*

I’ve found that if I outline too much, my books lose the energy that is generated when a writer is discovering the book along with the reader. So, now, I figure out where the book is going in general terms, like we’re heading towards the huge scene in the werewolf cemetery, but I don’t know exactly how a scene will unfold until I write it.

What advice would you give to other writers out there wanting to be published?

The key for me is to have that certain time, every day, when I sit down and write. Sure, the laundry may be piling up and I should return my mom’s phone call, but not during writing time. Giving myself the space to create is important. My brain is trained to know when it’s writing time.

Also, I think you need to give yourself the permission and the freedom to make the story as big as you can. I had a lot of trouble with this one initially, because I didn’t know what it meant. I had to push my writing to a level I had never gone to before. My characters had to take bigger chances, have more to risk and lose. It’s easy to say, but a hard thing for a writer to do. It’s a vulnerable, risky place to be. I knew my story was big enough to sell when instead of ending my writing sessions thinking, “I hope that’s good enough to impress an editor.” I ended them thinking, “No. I didn’t not just write that. I did not just make my character defend herself with a toilet brush and a can of Purple Prairie Clover air freshener.”

And just for fun FIVE SILLY QUESTIONS:

What's your favorite color?

Hot pink

Is that a demon in your closet or are you just making it all up?

Yes, that is a demon in my closet and I’d really like to know why he’s trying on my shoes.

If you could have a night on the town with any three people, living or dead, who would choose and why?

Oh you know I should probably say something deep, but my first thought is that if I’m going out on the town, I want to have fun. So hop in the car: Chris Farley, Tina Fey and Will Ferrell. And Christopher Walken can drive. He can play Blue Oyster Cult and tell us when we need more cow bell.

Favorite drink? Why? (that doesn't count as two questions, don't ask me why, I don't make the rules I just follow them)

During the day, it’s Diet Coke. If you’re talking alcoholic beverages, I love a nice, strong beer. There’s a local brewery, Schlafly, that has some amazing microbrews. I’m partial to their Pilsner.

Say Ed McMahon just showed up at your door with his posse, what would you do with the winnings?

Oh gosh. I have no idea. I’ve always wanted to own a really cool bookstore, so maybe I’d start there.

Take Care

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Introducing Novel Chats...

...'Cause sometimes I'm lazy. Well, not really lazy just short on time. You see, I read a LOT during the short hiatus I took after leaving d&D and starting this blog, and I haven't had a chance to really post about any of those books. And since it's been a LONG time ( a few months at least) and I can't re-read them all - Novel Chats was born. Basically, I'll take a few of the books I read during that time period and just post the general thoughts I have about the books.

For my first ever Chat session, I'm focusing on two series I started during my time off.

I'm a huge fan of the cozy mystery genre, so when I saw this new series (only two books in) at the book store, I grabbed them up expecting great things. In fact, I enjoyed the books, but they were no where near as "cozy" and endearing as I usually find the books in this genre. I never caught the sudoku bug, and that in and of itself could be the reason I didn't fall in love. I also didn't form any real connection with the heroine, and when I went online to find out more about the author and found nothing- no author website, not much about her on the publisher site-I felt even less enthusiastic. The mystery in the first book was far too easy to solve, and while it was a bit harder in the third, it still felt incredibly transparent. However, I'll read the next one upon its release, because they were a fairly quick and easy read. Also, for those readers that did ride the Sudoku Crazy Train, there are free puzzles and tips. All in all, I have to give the series a C-. But don't just take my word for it, leave me a comment on this post about why you'd like to read the series, and I'll select a reader at random to receive my copy of the books. I've only read them once, so they are practically like new. I'll run the contest until Thursday night, as I won't have a chance to get to the Post Office until the end of the week anyway.

The next series I started while on hiatus was Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy. I'm a Mead lurver. I admit it freely. Mead was my first ever FAB pick while at d&D, and her Succubus series even has The Hubs hooked. I'm also a big fan of the YA genre. HUGE fan as a matter of fact, so I started this series with great expectations. I'm happy to announce, that the expectations were met. While the characters may be younger, therefore the raunchiness toned down, Mead's voice is apparent, and her talent for First Person storytelling that leaves you knowing not only the storyteller but the secondary characters makes this a series not to be missed. The take on the vampiric world is unique, the suspense is amazing, and the pacing is sprint speed. With a strong and unique heroine, Mead's new series will delight readers of all ages. I give this series an A!

Don't forget my contest this week with Angie Fox, just click the link on the side bar or scroll down for the details!

Take Care

Thursday, July 10, 2008

"So this is how a war starts," thought Gregor. Not with two armies facing off, waiting for the signal to charge. Not with a wave of rats invading the avenues of Regalia. Not with a formation of bats swooping down on an unsuspecting colony of rats. It begins much more quietly. In a room, on a field, in a remote tunnel when someone who has power decides the time has come."

We just finished the fifth and final book in this amazing series tonight, and as soon as the tears stopped (both mine and Bear's), I found myself wanting to talk about it. Then I realized that I hadn't had the chance to talk about the fourth book yet and I needed to do that before I started in on the amazing conclusion! So let me do just that!

Gregor and the Marks of Secret by Suzanne Collins

Now, with the third prophecy fulfilled, Gregor is drawn ever deeper into a brewing crisis. For generations, rats have run the mice - ir "nibblers" - out of whatever lands they've claimed, keeping them constantly on the move. But now the mice are disappearing, and the young queen Luxa, who credits them with saving her life, is determined to find out why.

When Gregor joins her on a fact-finding mission, he's relieved that this time, at least, there's no prophecy on the line. But when the true fate of the mice is revealed, it is something far more sinister than Grefpr or Luza had imagined - and it points the way to the final prophcy he has yet to fulfill. Gregor's role as a warrior and his abilities as a rager are put to the test in this suspeseful, action-packed penultimate installment of Suzanne Collins's thrilling Underland Chronicles.

The quote at the start of this post is a quote from this book, so you no doubt know by now, that the war I've talked about in the other three novel talks on this series, is official declared in this one. Gregor has been spending quite a bit of time in the Underland, his mother is still recovering from the plague that nearly took her life, and with no prophecy looming over him, he actually finds himself enjoying the time spent there. Though he does feel a bit bad about leaving his dad (who is still too shook up from his ordeal there) and his sister Lizzie (who wants badly to see their mother but is too scared to venture into the unknown world, but does insist on sending treats to Ripred) to look after their sickly grandmother while he and his baby sister Boots are spending a fun filled time with their friends in the strange place.

But while enjoying a fun day at Hazard's birthday party, a nibbler returns Luxa's crown, the same crown she had left with them in gratitude after they saved her and her bond Aurora's lives. The nibblers were told that should they ever be in need of assistance that they should give the crown to a scout and Luxa would do what she could to help.

Luxa knows that something terribly wrong must be taking place if the nibblers have sent her crown to request aid. She also knows that there is no way the Regalian Council will do a thing to help them without more to go on. Since she is not yet of age to force them to do anything, Luxa decides she must go on her own to help. But Gregor has no intention of letter her go alone, and as it turns out, neither do her cousin Howard, a princess bat named Nike, Boots and Hazard with his soon to be bond Thalia. So off our motley crew heads again, on what should be just a small search for answers.

What the group finds is terrifying. The rats have been busy plotting their way into power using the Bane as their leader, and the first order of business is wiping out the nibblers. An earthquake destroys the fastest way to help, and as it turns out, there may just be a prophecy to fulfill after all. But those are only a few of Gregor's problems. His mom takes a turn for the worse, he knows he'll be grounded until he's 80, and Ripred is missing after taking off after the Bane. How will he ever survive the trek back to Regalia, let alone a war. But if he can survive the giant scorpions, the volcanic ash, and a deranged rat he just may have a chance...

Once again, Collins totally blew me away with this wonderful book! Bear and I were on the edge of our seats, as page after page we had a new twist to unravel, a new mystery to solve. Overcoming great odds once again, Gregor not only suffers more losses, sees more death, but he also finds a resolve that I as an adult only wish I could exhibit.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, don't let the Children's Book label fool you, The Underland Chronicles are not to be missed. You'll find yourself turning the pages so fast you'll see smoke and you'll close the book on the edge of your seat begging for more!

Don't forget the contest I've got on right now, for a signed book and a really cool tee shirt. Just click here to get all the details!

Take Care
I'm swamped at work (so swamped and no babysitter today, so I get to take the young'uns with me this morning), and I apologize to everyone for not posting yesterday! I'll post tonight when I get home. Until then, I thought I'd link a few sites that have reviews up of THE ACCIDENTAL DEMON SLAYER, to whet your appetite for more. Don't forget the contest on right now!

Darque Reviews

Romance Junkies

Fallen Angel Reviews


And now, since comments are so full on the other post, read those great Road Trip stories and share your own! You can continue on that thread, or start one here. Also, if you read the other reviews I have up there and leave us a comment on them, I'll throw in another tee shirt to pick a third winner!

Take Care

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Novel Talk with Author Angie Fox - CONTEST TIME

Happy Fourth of July!!! OK, OK, I'm late! Shock *gasp* I know! To tell the truth, I slept through all the fireworks and missed out on the big party, so it's no surprise I've forgotten to wish everyone a Happy and Safe one. So I hope everyone had a most excellent day. Although, after my small hiatus here, I figured I needed to do something HUGE to celebrate. And have I ever found the reason to celebrate! You know I love the debut author, always have, always will, and today I get to introduce you to debut author Angie Fox and her book The Accidental Demon Slayer, that I'm super excited about. In fact, I'm so excited that I've decided to make a week of it! So to kick things off today, Angie has written a guest blog for you, and she introduces a contest at the end. Be sure to read the blog, then my note at the end for even more chances at goodies and all the details!

They say you learn something new with each book you write, but I think I learned a little too much with this last one. The Accidental Demon Slayer is about a straight-laced preschool teacher forced to hit the road with a gang of geriatric biker witches. The idea made me smile. In theory. In reality, though, I’d never met any bikers and the toughest thing I’d ridden was my pink Huffy back in grade school. It had flames down the side.

Yes, I know. I’m easy to impress. I’m also easy to distract. As I wrote the book, I forgot about bikers for a bit and I found myself liking the heroine’s dog. I hadn’t even planned on him in the beginning, but when the heroine learns she's a demon slayer and all hell is after her, she takes comfort in her dog. It was a sweet moment. And as I wrote it, I thought, 'How do I throw her off?'

I made Pirate, the dog say something to my heroine. Nothing big. After all, he's only after the fettuccine from last week. And he knows exactly where she can find it (back of the fridge, to the left of the lettuce crisper, behind the mustard). It amused me, so I did it. Thanks to her unholy powers, Lizzie can now understand her smart-mouthed Jack Russell Terrier. I ended up having a ball with it, and I fell in love with Pirate the dog. Then I realized I was writing about Harley riding biker witches.

How do you get a dog on a motorcycle?

Well, I went online and learned that there is a nationwide club of Harley bikers who ride with their dogs. So my heroine could have her pink motorcycle, and her Jack Russell Terrier too.

And of course I had to meet these Harley riding dog lovers. I called up a few of the members of the Biker Dogs Motorcycle Club and the adventure began. They invited me into their homes, introduced me to their dogs and, like my heroine, the bikers hoisted me up on the back of a Harley, with a dog in tow.

So just when I thought I was writing fiction, it seemed my made-up characters from The Accidental Demon Slayer weren't so imaginary after all. One of the bikers I met even has a wife who is a biker witch. I'm wondering if she, like my heroine's biker witch grandma, wears a "kiss my asphalt" t-shirt and carries a carpet bag full of Smuckers jars filled with magic. Maybe I'll find out on my next adventure.

Now it’s your turn. Tell us a road trip story (longest trip, most obnoxious, most fun) and you’re entered to win an autographed copy of The Accidental Demon Slayer!

Thanks Angie for the great post and contest! And now, let me add to this a bit. For everyone that comments to Angie on this post (or any other throughout the week that involve the book) you will be entered into a drawing for a "Kiss My Asphalt" tee shirt. And bonus, leave a question, the most interesting question you can think of , about her writing, her book, anything(well, use some discretion) and I'll enter you double in the drawing for the tee (or tank, your choice). The winner of the signed copy of TADS will also receive a tee. So what are you waiting for?! Check out Angie's post, visit her site and get to commenting! Contest ends on July 15th (my birthday!)at about three.

Take Care

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Win A Kindle and Free Books For A Year

OK, remember when I said you didn't want to miss the All Day Chats that AuthorIsland holds monthly? Well, two of the contests posted yesterday are a BIG reason behind that. In fact, these contests were so cool, I wanted to give a heads up.


Got one massive reading habit??? Going broke buying up all the great books you see here at Well, we don't want you to stop supporting our wonderful authors, but we would like to help keep you in reading material for the next year! is turning TWO this July and to celebrate, we are offering TWO lucky readers the chance to win A BOOK A WEEK FOR A YEAR delivered right to your door and autographed by the author!

One winner will be chosen from all those who post in the month of July over on the News Blog and you'll be in the hat as many times as you post - no limit! Our Author News Blog is a fun and busy place where the authors are announcing their new releases, teasing us with their excerpts and sharing their special news. You won't want to miss a single day!

The other winner will be chosen from those who are signed up for our newsletter on July 31st. It's an announcement only yahoo group with only about one message a week, so it won't overflow the old inbox, but you'll be one of the first to hear about all the great new releases, fun chats, and super contests we have going on over here at the Island!

One small note - because of the postage costs involved, this contest is open only to those in the continental United States - sorry.

WIN A KINDLE!!!!! is turning TWO this month and to celebrate, forty three authors and one of our publisher members got together to offer up one heck of a prize! They're giving away TWO - are you ready for this? - TWO AMAZON KINDLES!!! YIPPEEEE!!!

But you're going to have to work for it, each of the forty four sponsors has a question for you to answer - the answers can be found somewhere on each of the author's websites. Once you have all the answers, email them to AuthorIsland at, numbered, along with your name and address, with AuthorIsland Kindle Contest in the subject line. TWO winners will be drawn on August 1st from all the correct entries to receive their very own - AMAZON KINDLE!!!

To find out all the details, just head over to and check out the contest page!

Good Luck and Take Care