Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way our of her league—but she wouldn’t want it any other way…
This edition includes in-depth information about the world of Kate Daniels with descriptions of its characters and factions. Explore Kate’s Atlanta like never before with a quiz to find your place there and with answers to frequently asked questions. And don’t miss the prequel story “A Questionable Client” as well as scenes of events in Magic Bites from Curran’s point of view.
This book is the epitome of urban fantasy, and yet it also bucks tradition in many ways; it has a strong, mysterious heroine and all sorts of magic, heavily influenced by Russian folklore. If I tell you that Kate manages to fail spectacularly in this book, would that be considered a spoiler? I liked that because usually in the first few books of a series, the protagonist fails in smaller ways and the failures escalate the further along we get into the series.
I am a terrible, overwhelmed human being, so here is my list for the last year. As you will probably realize, I’ve done a lot less reading, and a lot of re-reading. I’ve put an asterisk “*” by the books I’ve re-read. Continue reading →
Hi friends! So I’d like to crawl into a hole with a fluffy blanket and just … sleep and rest for about a week, but I know I don’t get that. Alas. However, today we have a reader featured at ALBTALBS! These are some of my favorite posts, and I really hope you’ll read what Alys has to say. [Also – the pictures were sent embedded, which WP can’t handle – so odd formatting/whatever is on me. Forgive me.]
Um…hello everyone, this is little Alys from some blog somewhere with some twitter someplace and such and whatnot. Not really important. What is important is that for some reason, our dear Limecello (during a momentary lapse of judgment, I’m sure) felt that I was awesome enough to do a guest reader post for her much cooler blog and be on par- ok not on par, more like bask in the warm glowing limelight of equally cool writers/readers/guest posts. Continue reading →
Ok so I’ve been talking about writing this post for oh … the past four years, basically. Some things have changed, some things haven’t. (You can check out the first post here.) What am I talking about? … STUFF WE ALL GET. That’s right, it’s swag time. [Did y’all know that’s what swag stands for? Well, it does.] Swag is eeevvvveeerrryyywhhere at conferences. Almost every author has some sort of promotional item to give out. Either to leave in the goody room, or to hand out to people they see/meet. Some have special swag if you buy their book at a signing. (Or just at the signings to draw people to their tables.)
I (desperately) need to write reviews. Recently I’ve read two L.B. Gregg books for the TBR challenge (which I also dropped the ball on) – and you know, fuck you, 2013. I thought 2012 was bad and I mean it was, with the family and hospital and my stuff… but then people dropped like flies in 2013, and I get that getting older means that, but it for damn sure shouldn’t mean funeral after funeral and so much that you can’t even keep them all straight.
Also the holidays make me put my ranty pants on, because all this family and while others might have awesome ones, mine are more like the “oh that’s just unrealistic” ones in books. >.>
I read Simple Gifts and How I Met Your Father. I don’t read much m/m – not as a thing but I just haven’t, and there’s so much I’m behind on already. But I like L.B. and I read the premise to Simple Gifts and I was sold. I definitely recommend both, and wish more romances were like these two. M/M, M/F, F/F, whatever. M/F/M is good too. 😉 And now I feel like I should talk about more of the books I’ve read, so another new one was Ripped by Sarah Morgan. Lovedit!!! More of this please!
Today I read Whispers by Carolyn Jewel. I liked it, but not as much as I was hoping to, because I thought they were romances – or romance novellas, and I might disagree with using “romantic” to describe them. I’d be interested in hearing what any of you think if you were to read it. The short stories are all very well written, and I like Carolyn Jewel’s voice, but they are dark dark dark. And maybe it’s just that I see a lot of dark so my mind immediately goes to … possibly a place worse than others might, but, yeah. I think if you start with the knowledge (or expectation) that this is erotica, you’ll be blown away.
Five graphic, erotic, romantic, short stories from Carolyn Jewel.
Don’t read these if you’re disturbed or offended by strong, possibly offensive, sexual content. Really. Don’t.
INIGO THE MAGICIAN: A demon delivers on an ice-cold revenge after a magician uses him and a human woman to satisfy his sexual perversions. Six months later, she’s not even close to recoveredhe’s free and their first meeting is a volatile combination of minds, bodies, and the consequences of a promise made.
DEMON LOVER: New Orleans, 1859. At nearly twenty-eight, Zoe remains at home to support her widowed father. She longs for something more in her life. David Nataniel is a dangerous man for a woman to know. He’s a client of her father’s and is often at the house, but Zoe believes she’s safe from his wickedness. She’s not.
MY GOBLIN BOYFRIEND: ‘My Goblin Boyfriend’ should say it all, but in case it doesn’t, Violet finds out first-hand why goblins have a rep for mastery in the bedroom after she finds an injured goblin passed out on her porch. She does the right thing for everyone involved and nurses him back to health. He’s big, strong, definitely not-human, and not shy at all. Features goblin sex. Doh.
CONSTANCE: In Edwardian-era America, Nathan reluctantly agrees to seduce and impregnate his good friend’s cousin. As he comes to know and like the woman, her tragic past changes him forever.
THE WILD: An unrepentant werewolf finds the woman of his dreams. She needs the kind of pain only he can deliver— As long as she’s willing to get Wild with him. Not for the faint of heart. Includes werewolf sex.
So anyway, immediately afterwards I read Making Over Maris. That was a cute story with a definite romance, and I’ll be reading more books by both authors.
What about you though? I’m still on the hunt for erotic romances with a definite happy ending and closure. I’d prefer not dark dark dark but most important to me, is that it’s well written. So, let’s dish about books!
There is nothing so wonderful as being in love and nothing so miserable as being in love with the wrong person. The three novellas here are all stories of unrequited love, or at least love that is assumed to be unrequited. Even knowing she’s going to get her heart broken, heroines can’t help but love these men. Even knowing they can’t have the girl, heroes can’t help but yearn. We read romance to see longing turned to satisfaction.
I met Erin Knightley, a friend of a twitter friend, at the RWA conference in Atlanta. We were chatting while I was waiting to say hi to someone at a signing. She was so completely charming to chat with that when her novella Ruined by a Rake was available for free (it’s no longer free but it’s under a dollar!) and I was looking for a short read, so I snapped it up and started reading. I read the novella that day and started the next book in the series the next morning. Eleanor, having grown up alongside Nicholas, finds him endlessly annoying. For his part, Nicolas finds her endlessly fascinating and he spends all his time teasing her and taunting her, which might annoy her but at least ensures that the beauty doesn’t ignore him. Our hero is just home from the Army and he’s matured enough to catch Eleanor’s eye even if she is unwilling to admit it. While it’s true the “Sealed with a Kiss” books are chaste, there is no shortage of sexual awareness and tension. These books reminded me of all the things I loved about historicals when I first started reading the genre. They are light and flirty and fun. The story all takes place during a house party so it’s a quick paced read. The characters dragged me along through their adventures, eager to know what was coming next.
*On the other end of the spectrum is a short, erotic novella by Edie Harris. A friend lent this to me after I’d spent (okay, exceeded) my book budget for the month and I’m so grateful that she did. This story has all the pieces you’d expect of a historical but manages to surprise at every turn. The heroine Claudia is a shy wallflower desperate to marry to escape her heartless relatives but she isn’t timid. In fact she is almost recklessly brave as she pursues the promiscuous nobleman she hopes to wed. Only it isn’t the hero she thinks herself in love with. As sexually experienced as Gaspard is, he has had no romantic relationship so their affair is an awakening for him as well. As hard as he fights, he can’t help but falling for Claudia. There is even a circle of spies, but it isn’t the enemies who pose the greatest risk. It’s also the opposite of Knightley’s book in most every way. Erotic, angsty and emotional, still not without humor. I read this one straight through too and I’m going to end up buying it so I can read again Gaspard’s and Claudia’s slow, desperate slide into love.
Tempting Fate by Amber Lin is a totally different book. Lin gave me an early copy of this book (which is now on sale) after I was expressing my love for ballerina heroines on Twitter. This one is a contemporary about a ballet dancer who is struggling with the wear on her aging body. This part of the book rang so true with me. I’ve known a few aging ballerinas and it’s hard to watch them fight through pain and injury to get one more performance out of their uncooperative body. As hard as they fight, it simply isn’t as good anymore. All of this meant I started out this book with a huge love for the heroine and then? Rose has a thing for her older brother’s best friend. This is probably my favorite trope ever. Rose is a complex character, both hesitant to finally strike out on her own and determined to follow through on her plans, despite her fears and her brother’s smothering. She brings those same qualities to her pursuit of Drew. They’ve had years of silent, hungry stares while Rose battered her body and worked to overcome her past. The book begins when things are at a breaking point for Rose – both physically and emotionally. I love so much that the huge changes in her life are things she chooses for herself as she sets out to make a new life out of the ashes of the old one.
I’m not 100% sure that’s the title, but I figured I’m right. 😉
Hey y’all! We’ve got Cynthia Eden here today sharing an exclusive excerpt of her upcoming book Angel Betrayed! Which is totally exciting, because it’s out June 26! So we’re getting this teaser a whole month in advance. But not only that, the book releases a measly two days before my birthday! (Cuz we all know what’s important to me here, right? … ME! ;))
Unedited excerpt from Angel Betrayed (by Cynthia Eden, June 26, 2012, Kensington Brava)
Sammael–call him Sam–was an angel once. An Angel of Death. But the dispassionate, watch-from-above thing just wasn’t working for him when it meant watching evil torture innocent souls day in and day out. It might have cost him his wings, but these days he gets to apply the direct method on the bad guys. Problem is, what’s making his life difficult is a bad girl…
Seline O’Shaw needs protection, and with the hounds of hell on her tail, she’s not going to quibble too hard about where she gets it. Sam’s virtue is questionable, but he’s smoking hot, massively powerful, and owes her a favor. So what if she’s getting a little case of angel lust? There are some damn deadly sins after her hide…
A shiver slipped over her at his touch. She hadn’t expected her reaction to Sam. The first time she’d seen him, she’d…wanted him, and that wasn’t the way things were supposed to work in her world. She was the one desired. The one wanted. That was the way she’d been made. She might not like the life she’d been given, but screw the bitching and moaning routine. Seline couldn’t control what she was, but she could use her power.
Sam led her through the crowd and to a small door on the side of the club. The private room. Yeah, she knew the place. She’d been working at Sunrise for a while now, and she’d learned the rules. This room was for the VIPs. A place for them to have quick sex, to run a business deal, or to party the night away. All without having to worry about any prying eyes watching.
Unless you wanted to be watched, because she knew some folks in Sunrise liked that, too.
The bouncer at the door immediately let Sam inside. Figured he’d get instant access because right then, she knew Sam was the most important VIP in the place.
Fear had a way of making certain people very, very important.
The door closed behind her with a soft click. No watching. Seline’s heart did a too-fast kick when Sam turned around and locked his stare on her. “Better now?” he asked with a twist of his lips. Sexy lips. “I’m all yours.” He crossed his arms over his chest and watched her with a gaze that always saw too much.
Oh, damn. She swallowed. Play the game. “I-I…you owe me, Sam.”
His dark brows—black to match his midnight mane of hair—rose. “Do I?” His voice was careless, but she saw the intensity in his eyes.
Seline nodded quickly. “I helped you before. I told you—told you when the shifter wanted you dead.” Who didn’t want him dead? But a few weeks ago, she’d tipped Sam off about the very dangerous coyote shifter who’d been hunting him. That tip-off should give her the bargaining power she needed right now.
His head inclined. “So you did.” His gaze raked her body, and that hot blue stare lingered a bit too long on her breasts and her thighs. The top of her “uniform” plunged right between her breasts, and the skirt barely skimmed the tops of her thighs.
She shifted slightly beneath his stare but quickly caught herself. “You owe me now, Sam,” she reminded him.
That brought his eyes back to hers. His face, that perfect face that didn’t belong on someone so dangerous, tilted to study her. Sam might have the reputation of the devil, but the man’s face and body were pure perfection. All the better to tempt.
Sometimes she felt like everything about the man was a lie. But, fair enough, she was pretty good at deceiving, too.
She pressed, “You pay your debts, right?” He’d better.
“Depends on the debt.”
That wasn’t the answer she wanted.
Sam lowered his arms and stalked closer until only a foot of space separated their bodies. The door was closed behind her, and when he leaned in, Sam slapped both of his palms against the wooden frame and caged her with his arms. “What do you need, Seline?”
She wasn’t surprised that he knew her name. He’d watched her often enough in the last two months. First, he’d watched her at Temptation. Going in as a dancer had been the only way she knew to get close to Sam—and she had to get close.
But when some assholes had torched the joint, she’d had to come up with a real fast plan B. Since she knew Sam spent a lot of time here, she’d taken a waitressing job at Sunrise. All to stay close to him.
It had only been later that she’d learned Sam actually owned Sunrise, too.
“Seline?” His breath feathered lightly over her cheek. “What do you want from me?”
Her chin lifted but she kept her hands at her sides. Don’t touch him. “Protection.”
His brows rose.
“I won’t lie to you, Sam.” Yes, actually, she would. A lot. “I haven’t exactly been living the pure and innocent life.” Okay, that line was one hundred percent true. “I made a mistake a while back, and now there are some people out there that want me dead.”
The door was shut. They were totally alone. She could confess to him. “Because I killed a man.” The words seemed to fall into the thick silence of the room. “I didn’t plan to do it. It-it was an accident—”
Her hands clenched into fists. Ah, caught me. “No, it wasn’t.” Again, this part was true. The lies would only come later. “He was an asshole who got off on hurting women. He used his fists any chance he had, and I wasn’t gonna be the next body he put in a box.” She wouldn’t be any man’s punching bag.
His eyes studied her. “You’re afraid.”
Only of a few things in this world.
“Is that why,” he continued quietly, “you’re always armed?”
“With a gun close by, tucked in your purse or…” His fingers slid up her thigh. Up, up, stroking over her flesh until he found the sheath of her knife, tucked right on the interior of her thigh. “Or why you keep a knife strapped to your thigh?”
“You can’t be too careful,” she whispered, her body tight because he was still touching her—and she liked it. Can’t. Too dangerous. Wanting Sam could make her weak, and lust was a weakness she couldn’t afford right then.
Unfortunately for her kind, lust was like kryptonite. The closer the temptation, the stronger the weakness.
You can also read an additional excerpt on Ms. Eden’s site here.
Wasn’t that such a tease? Ms. Eden also mentioned a signed copy of Angel Betrayed to one lucky commenter here. But, I wouldn’t take that at face value. I’m sure the heat got to her, and she meant to say she’s going to send me a copy and all the rest of you are supposed to congratulate me on my luck. Yes, that’s it. 😛
For those of you unused to my sense of humor… yes, Cynthia Eden is giving away a signed copy of this book. So tell us, what did you think? Do you like paranormal romances or not? Which are your favorite types of paranormal creatures?
Look everyone! Two posts in one day! (What? Shut up! That other one totally counts!) … You can tell when I’m writing this, can’t you >.> Anyway, we have the lovely Leslie Dicken guesting with us! Not only is she awesome, she’s especially awesome because she’s my not, but almost, birthday twin! Cuz we’ve already established it’s all about me. Which is why you always want me to shut up and get you to the part where the author actually starts talking. :
Every author has a theme. They don’t always know it or purposely write about it, but when you look at their body of work you will find a consistent theme. It could be redemption or revenge or love conquers all. Many authors will write their books to show off this theme on purpose. Others, like me, just write the story in their head without realizing that their theme will emerge.
EVERY story I’ve written can have this drawn from it: what is the character’s identity? where do they really belong?
In my novella erotica Taboo, my characters are from opposing cultures (think “West Side Story” or “Romeo and Juliet”). My hero and heroine each start to question their culture and how they identify with all that they’ve learned and known.
In The Price of Discovery, my hero is from another planet. He comes to earth only to bring back a vital resources to save his ailing people. However, his beliefs are shaken by a woman he meets. She will challenge him to let go of his identity and long-held beliefs.
Both main characters in A Tarnished Heart question where they really belong. The heroine is a vicar’s daughter and does not think she is right for high London society. She is constantly trying to go back home to her small village. The hero feels his must do everything he can to keep his place in society, but perhaps it isn’t worth it all in the end.
The hero in Beauty Tempts the Beast has focused his identity on being a “monster.” He keeps himself isolated and won’t let himself get close to anyone. But when the heroine comes into his life, she forces him to reexamine his life and break free of that self-imposed prison.
In my upcoming release, The Iron Heart, (Ed* which is actually out now! Whee – and congratulations on another release!) my heroine has already decided she didn’t belong in the world she was born into and moved to live with her uncle. However, the hero continually questions his identity and the person he thinks he is.
Think about authors you’ve read. What themes do they have showing up in their stories over and over again? If you were to write, what would be your theme?
Leslie is very kindly giving one lucky commenter a copy of The Iron Heart!
[Remember how Sandi is here the last Saturday of each month? I heart her very much. Yay Sandi!]
We are almost to the end of the first month of 2012. It’s been a fairly good month for me both professionally and personally.
After several weeks of being unhappy professionally I finally see a light. I spent a good part of one day barely able to refrain from doing a snoopy dance in my seat when that light finally started shining! I realize that no job is perfect, but with the change that I had been asking for and finally received my job got closer to perfection, and that’s good enough for me!
I decided that I really enjoy reading and that without a doubt I was going to make time to read each and every day! I also decided that I was going to do a much better job in tracking what I read or listen to than I did in 2011. So far I believe that there have been few days where I didn’t read at least a page, and I’m confident that every book I’ve read has been recorded at least once, and hopefully even two or three times! Obsessive I know, but this way I can be sure I’m tracking because if my different lists don’t match I know right away I forgot to add something somewhere.
Without a doubt the best book I read in January 2012 was Home Front by Kristin Hannah which is her latest title. I got to read an advance copy because I review for Fresh Fiction. It’s an amazing story of one family’s journey through deployment, active duty, injury, recovery, and eventual fitting back into the family during the Iraq war. Have the tissues handy because you will need them.
Is 2012 shaping up to be the type of year you had hoped? Did you resolve to change something about yourself or your job and been able to make it happen? Did you set a reading goal? Tell me something happy to keep my good mood going as the year progresses!
It’s time to bid a fond farewell to 2011 and to look forward into 2012. However, before I can think about looking forward I want to take a glimpse backward.
I had huge hopes of 2011 finally being my year after having had several that weren’t so hot. Well, while things weren’t horrendous they weren’t as rosy perfect as I would have hoped, but I still managed to read and listen to about 90 different books.
During 2011 I discovered a couple of writers who while they have been around a year or more I just got to. I discovered Christy Reece who writes romantic suspense, and who had been lingering in my TBR sinceRescue Me was first released. I’m thrilled to say I totally loved Rescue Me, but as I’m basically a book hoarder, the rest of the series still remains waiting for me!
I discovered Karen White, who again had been just laying in my TBR waiting patiently for her turn! Karen’s book I did in audio because she was coming to my area to sign, and I wanted to be able to say I had “read” at least one book. Now I know that when I need my women’s fiction fix I have a great read waiting in the ever present TBR!
The last discovery who comes quickly to mind is Tawny Weber. Ms. Weber writes for the Blaze line, and while at first I wasn’t quite sure what I thought of her by the time I concluded her Undercover Operatives miniseries I was quite ready to delve into the TBR mountain range and see if she might be hiding there somewhere!
While not new discoveries for me I also enjoyed books by Kristin Hannah, Robyn Carr, Elin Hilderbrand, Beverly Barton, Nancy Thayer, and so many more!
With 2011 behind me I look forward to what 2012 is going to bring. I know there are some unresolved issues to be dealt with in the new year, and have my fingers crossed for their positive outcome, but I know that regardless of what fate has in store for me, my TBR mountain range contains some great reading by the authors listed above and I’m looking forward to some new discoveries in 2012!
How was your 2011? Was it all you had hoped for personally and reading wise? Are you setting any sort of goal for 2012? Is there an author with an upcoming book you’re excited to get? An author you’re going to try for the first time? Tell all, as inquiring minds need to know!