30 August 2010

Interview: Harry Connolly

Tomorrow one of my most expected books gets released, Games of Cages, the second book of the Twenty Palaces series. I want to thank the author, Harry Connolly, for being here today.


As a wealthy few gather to bid on a predator capable of destroying all life on earth, the sorcerers of the Twenty Palace Society mobilize to stop them. Caught up in the scramble is Ray Lilly, the lowest of the low in the society—an ex–car thief and the expendable assistant of a powerful sorcerer. Ray possesses exactly one spell to his name, along with a strong left hook. But when he arrives in the small town in the North Cascades where the bidding is to take place, the predator has escaped and the society’s most powerful enemies are desperate to recapture it. All Ray has to do is survive until help arrives. But it may already be too late.

- How long does it usually take you to write a book?

My agent would like me to finish in 9 months, but it usually takes me a year. Maybe a little longer.

- Some authors don't read the same genre they write. Do you?

Not too much. Lately I read mysteries and police procedurals.

- Do you listen to music while you write?

Just whatever is playing at the Starbucks. I try not to have rituals or special conditions when I sit down to write.

- What are you working on right now?

I don't have a contract for my next book. I have a couple of sample chapters and proposals on my agent's desk--we'll see if anyone bites.
In any event, it'll be different from the Twenty Palaces books I've been writing. I need to work on something new.

- What can you tell us about your next book, Games of Cages?

Aside from "It will be available August 31st?" :)
It's the second book in the Twenty Palaces series, and it features an auction gone wrong. A wealthy woman tries to auction off a long-imprisoned predator, but it gets free and hides in a nearby town. The bidders descend on the town to search for it, and plot ensues.
It's darker than the first novel. Some secrets are exposed and Ray gets a deeper view of the world he's entered, but he's still an outsider in a secret society that doesn't trust him.

- Ray and Annalise have a hate/sometimes a little less hate relationship. Is that going to change any time soon?

They get along better in book two--although Annalise's role is limited. There's still a lot of friction, though.

- Are we going to find out what happened between them in the past?

What's described in book one is where I'd planned to leave it: : that Annalise tried to take out a friend of Ray's and that, in defending his friend, Ray caused the death of someone Annalise cared about.

I'm surprised that so many people wanted more details about this. I wanted the leads in CHILD OF FIRE to have a legitimate reason for conflict, and I wanted it to be part of their backstory. And if Del Rey wants to publish a prequel, I'll be the first person to cheer. But GAME OF CAGES is going to have to sell well for that to happen.

- I've been very curious about the Twenty Palaces society. What can you tells us about it?

Not much. The society is part of the background of the stories, and will be revealed in the books.
I will say that they're a secret society that takes their secrecy seriously. They don't give tours of their headquarters to new recruits, and they don't introduce them to the head guy. (Sorry, but that always bugs me about secret organizations in books and movies.)

- Is Ray's magic going to evolve or is it going to stay the same?

Evolve. I don't want to give much more detail than that.

- In the first book, Ray doesn't seem to have a lot of friends (if any). Is he going to make any in the future?

This is something I've talked about with my editor. Lots of urban fantasy has a cast of recurring secondary characters to provide specific story functions--Butters (to pick The Dresden Files) provides medical exposition and Bob the skull provides magical exposition. Readers love the supporting cast, because they're often more quirky and outrageous than the hero.

My editor talked to me about this, but there are aspects of the story that work against it. The setting moves with every book, for instance, so it's not like Ray can drop in on his buddy the police chief every time.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't see this as a supporting-cast-type of series.

- Are we going to meet any new magical creatures in the next book?

I'm planning to have at least one in every new book, and sometimes more.

- Thanks for being here today and good luck with Game of Cages!

You're welcome, and thanks for your questions. I hope your readers give the books a try.

Read my review of the first book, Child of Fire, here.
You can learn more abot the author in his website.

27 August 2010

Advance Review: Born to Bite by Lynsay Sands

Title: Born to Bite
Author: Lynsay Sands
Series: Argeneau Family #13
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Publisher: Avon
Edition: Paperback

Legend has it that Armand Argeneau is a killer in the bedroom . . .

But with all three of his late wives meeting unfortunate and untimely ends, is this sexy immortal a lover or a murderer? That's what Eshe d'Aureus intends to find out. As an enforcer, it's her job to bring rogue vampires to justice, even if the rogue in question makes her blood race red hot.

Armand knew she was trouble the moment Eshe roared into town on her motorcycle, clad in tight black leather. She claims she's hiding from dangerous fiends, though he suspects something more. But after three wives who've all had trouble remaining, well, undead, Armand is reluctant to open his heart again. Then strange accidents start to happen, each deadlier than the last, and Armand realizes he may not have much time to prove he's a lover, not a slayer.

I've always loved the Argeneau series and after 13 books I'm still not tired of this crazy big family. The previous book, The Renegade Hunter, that had Armand's son Nicolas Argeneau as the protagonist, left a lot of questions unanswered, which annoyed me a lot because I had to wait almost a year to find out why all those things happened to him and who was the guilty party. I'm happy to say that Born to Bite answers all of those questions and gives us a glimpse of what's been happening with the rest of the family.

This book had a lot more mystery than others and the romance that blooms between Armand and Eshe is sweet and unhurried. Both of them lost their lifemates and all through the book you see how they risk themselves again for a chance at happiness.

After all the mystery surrounding Armand and his life, it was fun seeing how he lived this past years and at the same time heartbreaking because he had to stay away from his loved ones in case someone might hurt them.

In this book we also get some new insights into Lucian and how he doesn't seem to trust his judgement so much anymore after what happened with Jean-Claude. Bricker also appears as a side character. He gave a touch of humour to the story and I loved his interactions with Eshe. I can't wait to read his story (fingers crossed).
We finally also get to meet Jeanne Louise and I'm hoping that she'll get her book eventually.

The story moved at a nice pace and even though it was a bit predictable (I knew who the killer was since almost the beginning), it was really interesting hearing the reason behind the murders.
All in all, this was a great entry to this series, that answered a lot of questions that were raised in previous books, with a steady romance and a really strong mystery plot.

Previous Books:
1. A Quick Bite
2. Love Bites
3. Single White Vampire
4. Tall Dark and Hungry
5. A Bite to Remember
6. Bite Me If You Can
7. The Accidental Vampire
8. Vampires Are Forever
9. Vampire, Interrupted
10. The Rogue Hunter
11. The Immortal Hunter
12. The Renegade Hunter

Next Book:
14. Hungry for You (Dec 1, 2010)

Rating: 1/2

* I received this book from the publisher for review.

26 August 2010

Review: Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong

Title: Waking the Witch
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Women of the Otherworld #11
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: July 27, 2010
Publisher: Dutton
Edition: Hardback
The orphaned daughter of a sorcerer and a half-demon, Savannah is a terrifyingly powerful young witch who has never been able to resist the chance to throw her magical weight around. But at 21 she knows she needs to grow up and prove to her guardians, Paige and Lucas, that she can be a responsible member of their supernatural detective agency. So she jumps at the chance to fly solo, investigating the mysterious deaths of three young women in a nearby factory town as a favor to one of the agency's associates. At first glance, the murders look garden-variety human, but on closer inspection signs point to otherworldly stakes.

Soon Savannah is in over her head. She's run off the road and nearly killed, haunted by a mystery stalker, and freaked out when the brother of one of the dead women is murdered when he tries to investigate the crime. To complicate things, something weird is happening to her powers. Pitted against shamans, demons, a voodoo-inflected cult and garden-variety goons, Savannah has to fight to ensure her first case isn't her last. And she also has to ask for help, perhaps the hardest lesson she's ever had to learn.

We met Savannah in the 2nd book of the series when she was a kid. Through the books we've seen her grow up and finally, in this novel, we get her as the main character.
Not much has changed since the first time we saw her; she's still trying to prove herself and she's also impulsive, independent and hard-headed. After all the time she's being working as Paige and Lucas' assistant, she finally has a case to work on her own after both of them are on vacation.
She thinks it's going to be an easy case, but she couldn't have been more wrong.

Savannah spends most of the book on her own: a little town where people are not really helpful and where she doesn't get much cooperation. It was really interesting seeing her trying to gather information and also her rivalries with the others that were investigating at the same time.

Some parts of the book, especially at the beginning, were a little slow and there were sometimes when I wanted more action. I felt like Savannah investigated a lot of things, but they got her nowhere. I was expecting more of her but she didn't deliver most of the time.
There were some parts a really liked, such as the ones that included the detective Michael Kennedy or Kayla, the young daughter of one of the victims. In those parts you could see a softer side of Savannah, and how she relates and tries to comfort a kid that reminds her of herself.

If you've read the previous books of this series, you'll know that Savannah has always had a crush on Adam, Paige's best friend. I loved seeing these two interact with each other, especially when she blames herself for things that are not her fault and Adam is the only one that's there to comfort her and guide her the best he can. Their relationship is unique, and after reading the ending of the book I think they're going to get closer to each other than ever.

The book, while not the best of the series, is entertaining and it works well enough as the first book of the Savannah trilogy. After the ending the book had, I can't wait to get my hands into Spellbound, the next book.

Memorable Lines:

Jesse followed me up the stairs. “I guess the daughter of Eve Levine and Kristof Nast doesn't need to worry about strangers attacking her in an empty office.”
“If they do, I can always use them for my next ritual sacrifice. Volunteers are so hard to come by.”
It‟s not the sort of crack you should make when you have a notorious dark witch for a mother and an equally notorious cutthroat sorcerer for a father. It was a test of sorts, and Jesse passed, just laughing and saying, “I‟ll watch my step then.”

Previous Books:
1. Bitten
2. Stolen
3. Dime Store Magic
4. Industrial Magic
5. Haunted
6. Broken
7. No Humans Involved
8. Personal Demon
9. Living with the Dead
10. Frost Bitten

Next Book:
12. Spellbound (Summer 2011)

Rating: 1/2

* I received this book from the publisher for review.

20 August 2010

I'm back + Award

So, I'm back after almost 2 weeks of being out. I have lots of reviews to post, but first, while I was out, Jessica from A Great Read awarded me with the Versatil Blogger award.
Thanks so much!

Here are the guidelines that come along with receiving The Versatile Blogger award:

1. Thank and link back to the blogger who gave you the award. (This is just good manners.)
2. Share seven things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers whom you have recently discovered and find fantastic.
4. Give the aforementioned bloggers a heads up about the award.

7 things about me ...

1) I'm a chocoholic.
2) I'm writing my first novel.
3) I like colourful things.
4) My favourite books usually have fantasy elements in it.
5) I've banned myself from buying hardcover books (or at least only a couple a month).
6) I'm addicted to several different TV shows.
7) I love watching sports and playing tennis.

I don't think I can choose 15 bloggers, so I'll choose 7:

- Melissa @ My world ... in words and pages
- Larissa @ Larissa's Bookish Life
- Tori @ Book Faery
- Velvet @ vvb32 Reads
- Leanna @ Daisy Chain Book Reviews
- Tara @ 25 Hour Books
- Qwill @ The Qwillery

07 August 2010

Vacation ... again

Well, I'm not going to be much around until the 18th. I'm going on vacation again! YAY!
I'll see if I can post some reviews, but I don't think I'll have much internet time.

See you on the 18th!

05 August 2010


I'm sorry it took me a week to post the winner, it's been a crazy month so far!

So, thanks to everyone who participated in the contest and I hope you come back visit the blog soon.

I had more than 200 entrants. That's crazy, people!

Anyway, the winner of the $50 CSN Stores GC is ...

Jeanette Juan !

Congrats! I'll be contacting you soon to send you the GC. If you don't answer my email in 48hr. I'll have to choose another winner.

02 August 2010

Review: The Demon In Me by Michelle Rowen

Title: The Demon in Me
Author: Michelle Rowen
Series: Living in Eden #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: May 4, 2007
Publisher: Berkley
Edition: Paperback
Hell hath no fury...

Fate has led Eden Riley to become a "psychic consultant" to the police, even though her abilities are unreliable at best. Those paranormal powers are about to get her into a jam she couldn't have predicted: After her hunky police detective partner guns down a serial killer in front of her, Eden realizes that she's quite literally no longer alone. A voice in her head introduces himself as Darrak. He's a demon. But not in a bad way!

...Like a woman possessed.

Darrak lost his original body three hundred years ago, thanks to a witch's curse. This is the first time he's been able to speak directly to a host, plus there's a bonus: Eden's psychic energy helps him to take form during daylight hours. He wants to use this chance to find a way to break his curse - finally. Otherwise, Eden's going to have to learn to live with this sexy demon ... like it or not.

But she thinks she might like it.

This is the first book I've read by this author, and I loved it.
Eden is a very realistic psychic who doesn't really rely on her abilities, but when she gets possessed by a demon all she though she knew about the world changes.
She's a bit of a loner because of events of her past and when she realizes that the demon can't leave her, she flips. I liked how she didn't spend much time feeling sorry for herself and instead she tried to find ways to get rid of the demon and later, help him be free.

She inherited part of a PI agency from her mother but it's in bankruptcy, so when otherworldly creatures starts appearing asking for detective services, she can't refuse them or deny any longer that a much bigger and unknown world exists.

As for Darrak, he's a demon who's keeping a lot of secrets. The one thing we can be sure of is that he isn't going to hurt Eden and he proves it time and time again through the book. I found his relationship with Eden to be funny, at times sweet and other times filled with jealousy. I loved his interactions with Andy, Eden's PI agency business partner and Ben, the police detective Eden is interested in.

Speaking of Ben, I actually didn't like him much. He was too perfect, too good to be true. And at the end, he proved me right. I hope he catches some serious hell in the future.

I've never been a big fan of books with possession themes, but this one works it perfectly and I enjoyed every little bit of the book. The pace moved along nicely and I read the novel in one sitting. I couldn't get myself to stop! The little bit of the worldbuilding that it's showed is not anything new to the genre, but it keeps being interesting nonetheless.

I can't wait to get my hands into the next book, especially after the cliffhanger at the last chapter; see Eden solve otherworldly cases and find out more about Darrak and his past.

Memorable Lines:

She tried to ignore him. “What is it, Detective?”
“I thought I asked you to call me Ben?”
“Right...Ben.” She felt incredibly angry that what should have been a kick-ass moment was tainted by Darrak’s invisible but very audible presence.
“I know our dinner plans were ruined for tonight, but maybe if you’re not doing anything later this week—”
“I think you should ask him to leave,” Darrak said. “I don’t like the way he’s looking at you. It’s very ungentlemanly.”
Eden hissed out a sigh. “Just go away, would you?”
Ben blinked. “Oh. Got it.”

Next Book:
Something Wicked - Living in Eden #2 - October 5th 2010

Rating: 1/2