Friday, 29 June 2012

When Lightning Strikes - Book Review

When Lightning Strikes (1-800-Where-R-You #1/Missing #1)
by Meg Cabot writing as Jenny Carroll


What is it about:
When lightning strikes there can only be trouble - as Jessica Mastriani finds out when she and best friend Ruth get caught in a thunderstorm. Not that Jess has ever really avoided trouble before. Instead of cheerleading there are fistfights with the football team and month-long stints in detention - not that detention doesn't have its good points - like sitting next to Rob - the cutest senior around! But this is trouble with a capital T - this trouble is serious. Because somehow, on that long walk home in the thunderstorm, Jess acquired a newfound talent. An amazing power that can be used for good...or for evil.

What did I think of it:
This was a fun read.

Jess is a fun and spunky heroine who gets herself in trouble all the time. The writing is as I've come to know in Cabot's Heather Wells series: witty and funny.

The story is full laughs and action and because Jess is such a likeable heroine I was soon caught up in the story and rooting for Jess to get out of the weird situations she manages to get herself into.

This first book sets itself up nicely and although perfectly readable as a standalone it also creates lots of expectations as to what might happen next in a way that made me eager to read more about Jess and her friends.

I will most certainly read other books in this series if I get the chance and I might also try more of Cabot's humoress Young Adult books.

Why should you read it:
It's a fun and funny paranormal YA read


This book seems to be out of print, but you can buy this book and book two in one volume here

Thursday, 28 June 2012

The Blacksmith's Lover - Book Review by Voodoo Bride

The Blacksmith's Lover (The Clockpunk Trilogy #2)
by Heather Massey

ebook, novellette

What is it about:
The year is 1840. On the run after being caught in a scandalous incident, scullery maid Sarah Bailey must find refuge before her vengeful former mistress has her killed. When she stumbles upon a blacksmith’s shop in need of an apprentice in West Boylston, Massachusetts, she applies for the position.

Viktor is a brawny, reclusive blacksmith who creates strange clockwork and steam-powered devices. The gruff man makes it clear that Sarah’s plight is no concern of his, but ghosts from his past dictate otherwise. Viktor agrees to protect the spunky maid, but only until her trail of henchmen runs cold.

Sarah quickly discovers that the fire of this blacksmith’s forge runs volcanic hot. Unable to resist one another, she and Viktor begin a lust-filled affair. But how long will their idyllic arrangement last before Sarah’s former mistress destroys it?


What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
This is a wonderfully hot romance.

The slowly building romance between Sarah and Viktor is delightful to read and the tension between them is well written and hot.

Sarah was a complex character and I couldn't really understand her at times, but one thing I could completely understand: her attraction to Viktor. He's a swoonworthy hero: gruff, bearded, smoldering... Do I need to go on?

Next to the romance there was a small action storyline that was very satisfying as well. There were bad guys chasing Sarah, clockwork animals and other cool stuff like that.

I have to confess I had a bit difficulty in believing Sarah's former mistress would go through such extreme length to find and punish Sarah though, but for the sake of the romance and the action I was willing to go with it.

All in all I very much enjoyed this story and I will most certainly read the other stories in this trilogy as well.

Why should you read it:
It has a gruff, bearded hero!


Buy it here

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Absolution - Excerpt

Today I have an small excerpt for you from Absolution by Louis Corsair
What is it about:
In 1947, a gangster murders private investigator Raymond Adams. In 2011, he's brought back to life for 24 hours to solve the supernatural murder of a Hollywood Adult film star.

When the son of a Pit Lord is murdered in Hollywood, the celestial beings in charge of the Four Realms ask Raymond Adams to figure who did it and find the victim's missing soul. Without memories of his life, he accepts the case to gain eternal peace. But the job is daunting:

24 hours to nab a killer...
24 hours to find a missing soul...
24 hours to unravel the victim's exotic private life...
24 hours to stop a plot to send the universe into chaos...

With only the help of a possessed cop and a medium, Adams must trek through a Hollywood underground filled with pornography, prostitutes, the homeless, and sadists, along with supernatural monsters. But can he solve the case when his own haunting memories keep surfacing, telling him exactly what kind of man he was in life?


-------------------------

Excerpt:

A Return

I was in a preparation chamber made completely out of light. I hovered like a cloud watching child-like celestials regenerate and reanimate my corpse. They didn’t bother with new clothes and simply fixed up the suit I had been buried in. When finished, they vacuumed me into my old body, a loving experience I could only compare to dying.
“Cold...” I said and my throat was dry like the Mojave in the middle of summer. They explained my body was mostly dead but this would improve as time passed. To help me with the shivers, the merciful celestials threw in a brown overcoat, shoes, and a fedora.
“Gun,” I said. True I was dead, but the people I was going to deal with were not and I had a feeling they would want to stay that way. Protection was necessary.
They gave me a revolver loaded with ten Thunderbolt bullets. I also got a good watch to keep track of time, an enchanted magnifying glass, and a special rune to communicate with the Committee. The big people wanted regular updates on my progress.
The celestials opened a portal to the Realm of the Living and sent me through it.

Be sure to check out other stops of this tour and to enter the international giveaway here

Buy the ebook here (now only $0.99)
Buy the paperback here

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Teaser Tuesdays - Abandon

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


By the time I finally realized there are no handsome princes - that it was all up to me... that it had always been up to me - it was too late.
(page 116, Abandon by Meg Cabot


Monday, 25 June 2012

Being Neighborly - Book Review

Being Neighborly (The Neighborhood #2)
by Anita Ensal

ebook, short story

What is it about:
When Little Mams and Junior suspect there’s trouble brewing in the big city, Big Mams, armed with an old iron skillet, comes to investigate.

When their neighbors are disappearing and acting strangely, Junior and Little Mams know it’s time to call in for reinforcements—Big Mams.

Things aren’t usually what they appear to be for anyone from The Neighborhood, and the neighborhood where her daughter and son-in-law are living in the “big city” is harboring something very nasty. But Big Mams didn’t come to visit alone…and she won’t be going home alone, either.


What did I think of it:
Although short this story is fun and well worked out.

I liked how Ensal with just a few words characterized people and set the mood for this short story. The story itself isn't very complicated, but that's not a bad thing, especially for a short story, as a more complicated plot would take away from the characters and the mood.

If I had any complaints it would have been that I finished it much to soon and wanted to know lots more about Big Mams and her family. So I'm hoping Ensal will write more stories in this setting and with these characters.

Why should you read it:
It's a fun and fantastical short story.


Buy it here

Friday, 22 June 2012

Nightshifted - Book Review

Nightshifted (Edie Spence #1)
by Cassie Alexander


What is it about:
Nursing school prepared Edie Spence for a lot of things. Burn victims? No problem. Severed limbs? Piece of cake. Vampires? No way in hell. But as the newest nurse on Y4, the secret ward hidden in the bowels of County Hospital, Edie has her hands full with every paranormal patient you can imagine—from vamps and were-things to zombies and beyond...

Edie’s just trying to learn the ropes so she can get through her latest shift unscathed. But when a vampire servant turns to dust under her watch, all hell breaks loose. Now she’s haunted by the man’s dying words—Save Anna—and before she knows it, she’s on a mission to rescue some poor girl from the undead. Which involves crashing a vampire den, falling for a zombie, and fighting for her soul. Grey’s Anatomy was never like this ...


What did I think of it:
The premise of this book is really cool in my opinion: a ward especially for paranormal patients.

Sadly enough it takes more than a cool premise to write an engaging book.

This book certainly has its merits, the world building is cool, there are some really intriguing characters, but overall I thought the story was cluttered and chaotic. There were just too many unconnected things going on. And at times that some events finally did connect it felt forced.

I also didn't like Edie. She was a bit too hard boiled for my tastes and there might have been reasons for her being like that, but that didn't change the fact that I didn't feel any connection with her. This is probably also why the romantic storyline felt unconvincing to me.

In the end this was an entertaining, although chaotic read. I don't think I will read the next book in this series though.

Why should you read it:
It's about a hospital ward for paranormal creatures!


Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Dreadful Beginnings - Book Review

Dreadful Beginnings
by Marty Shaw

ebook, novella

What is it about:
When you think of home, you probably think of chilling out in front of the TV or hanging with friends on the latest social media hotspot. What you probably don’t think about are killer hairdryers and murderous stuffed bunnies that want to make sure you don’t wake up from your blissful slumber. These are the kinds of things that might happen when you accidentally release a demon while playing witch. Hey! Don’t look at me that way. My friend was doing the spellcasting. I was just there.

Demon-killing isn’t something I considered as an actual profession until a guy named Doctor Horror showed up and asked for my help in dealing with this supernatural pest. Once I got over his strange name, it seemed like a pretty good deal. Killing demons definitely sounded better than telemarketing. Ugh! More importantly, this thing was trying to kill me and my friends… and that just doesn’t work for me.

Now, armed with Doc’s little suitcase of goodies and a special bracelet that has a mind of its own, I’m going to show this demon why he would’ve been better off staying in Hell.


What did I think of it:
Shaw's earlier stories turned out to be wildly entertaining and full of action, so when asked if I wanted to read and review this novella I jumped at the chance.

And Dreadful Beginnings doesn't disappoint.

Lead character Penny is a likeable teenager who's confronted with a demon and has to fight for her life and the lives of those close to her. Luckily she gets help from the totally cool and mysterious Doctor Horror.

I very much enjoyed the action and Penny's interactions with Doctor Horror. I liked how there were a couple of hints about who and what Doctor Horror is, adding more mystery to the man. I would have liked to see a bit more interaction between Penny and her friends though, it felt as if Shaw cut some corners on the friendship front to get to the good stuff: Doctor Horror and the demon fighting action.

All in all I very much enjoyed Dreadful Beginnings and I hope Shaw will write more stories about Penny and Doctor Horror. I certainly wouldn't mind if those were novel sized instead of novella sized either.

Why should you read it:
Murderous stuffed bunnies!!


Buy this ebook here

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Stalking The Others - Interview with Jess Haines and Giveaway

Today we have one of our favorite authors over for an interview!
Say hello to Jess Haines, author of the awesome H&W Investigations series and don't forget to enter the amazing giveaway Jess is having for a chance to win Stalking the Others.


Jess, welcome back to Pearls Cast Before A McPig! It’s good to have you here.

Thanks for having me back! Always a pleasure to see you again, Sullie and Voodoo Bride!

So, what can people expect from Stalking the Others?

STALKING THE OTHERS is the fourth book in the series, and if you’ve read the last book, you know Shia hasn’t been having an easy time of things. In STO, she sets out to find her ex to make him pay for the hell he put her through. Not to mention come to terms with the possibility that she is going through changes from which there can be no return.

In short, after the events and subsequent betrayal Shia experienced in the last book, she’s done being pushed around. If she’s going down, she’ll take out as many of her enemies as she can—and hope that in the process, she keeps whatever humanity she has left...

How are things going on book 5? Is there a release date for it yet?

Smooth sailing, at the moment. *g* No release date, but chances are good it will be July 2013.

I’m sure you’d like to know a little about it, so I’ll tell you this: Shiarra’s leaving New York and heading to Los Angeles. I can’t say why, but I can tell you she’s going to meet a slew of new Others and I’m sure you’re going to get a kick out of meeting Jimmy Thrane and Clyde Seabreeze. If there are any Devon fans in the audience, you’ll be seeing him again, too!

In our first interview you told me there might be zombies in book 5. Can you tell us anything about the kind of zombies that will be in there?
(They’re still there aren’t they?)


They are absolutely still in there, and they play a major role in the book. These zombies are mindless automatons doing another’s bidding. They are shufflers, not runners, though I have to admit I’ve toyed with the idea of tossing in a few that don’t fit the mold just to spice things up…

Is there a chance there will be more books after book 6?

There is always a chance. I’ve always said I’ve had a story arc plotted out for the H&W Investigations series through nine books, total. While I can’t promise my publisher will provide another contract—that’s out of my hands—I’ve got plans for plenty of other stories in mind to write once this series is put to bed.


Did your life change since Hunted by the Others got published?

Absolutely. There was a period where I wasn’t doing very well. Writing was what got me through it. The whole period between when I was contracted, and when my first and seconds books came out, was surreal. It turned some terrifically awful circumstances around and, in a lot of ways, reminded me that even when times seem darkest, it’s always possible to pull yourself out of it.

What have you liked the most about being a published author?

Meeting so many new people! It’s amazing how many doors opened to me, and how many friends I’ve made from visiting conventions and from getting to know bloggers and readers online. While I haven’t always been a social butterfly, I really like getting to know the people who share my interests, and finding people to chat with who share my obsessions with things like coffee, chocolate, and sexy vampires.

And what have you liked the least?

Having to publicly censor myself. I have a tendency to curse like a sailor and I can be a bit… erm… “opinionated” at times. It’s not always easy to rein that in.

And lastly:
Are there any other projects you’re working on or thinking about starting in the near future?
(a suggestion: a spin-off featuring a dashingly handsome were-boar)


While I can’t say I have any plans to write about a Were-boar in the near future, I’m currently shopping around for a home for a paranormal romance. It’s set in the H&W-verse, but features two characters who haven’t gotten much page time in the series. Since this hasn’t sold yet, I don’t want to say too much more about it, but we’ll see what happens with it. For those familiar with the characters, the story features Mouse, the mute vampiress, and Christoph, the dude in the fetish collar who shows up briefly in DECEIVED and again in STALKING THE OTHERS.

Thanks again so much for having me, Sullivan and Voodoo Bride!

Thanks to you as well.
It's always fun to have you drop by.


don't forget to drop by at the other stops in Jess' Stalking The Others Official Blog Tour.

Want a chance to win Stalking the Others?
Fill in the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Teaser Tuesdays - When Lightning Strikes

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


Just as I was opening my mouth to tell Ruth it was probably just a little spring storm, and not to worry, she screamed, "Jess, don't-"
But I didn't hear what she said after that, because right then and there was this big explosion that drowned out everything else.
(page23, Missing - When Lightning Strikes by Meg Cabot (writing as Jenny Carroll)


Monday, 18 June 2012

Switched - Book Review

Switched (Trylle Trilogy #1)
by Amanda Hocking


What is it about:
When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might've been telling the truth. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - and it's one she's not sure if she wants to be a part of.

What did I think of it:
This is a nice enough read, but it had some things that annoyed me.

First there's the fact that a boy turns up in Wendy's life and starts telling her she's actually a Trylle and that she should leave her family to come with him to the world of the Trylles. At first Wendy declares him crazy and doesn't want him near her. A logical reaction in my opinion and I hoped there would be a believable story arc in which Finn manages to convince Wendy...

Alas: Like a Deus Ex Machina bad guys turn up to go after Wendy, forcing her to take Finn's wild tale for Gospel Truth and follow him.

Then there's Wendy herself. That little bit of spine she had before the bad guys turn up, quickly disappears and for most part of the book she turns into a doormat who lets people jostle her around. I couldn't help wanting to kick her and tell her to grow back her spine and to demand some answers from people instead of just going along with everything. When she finally does speak up against something she acts like a whiny brat though, not earning her any sympathy from me.

So while I thought the overall story was nice and the world building was interesting, I had a hard time liking and understanding Wendy. I might give book two a chance though, if only to see if Wendy manages to grow back her spine permanently.

Why should you read it:
It's a nice YA paranormal read with interesting world building


Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


Sunday, 17 June 2012

Shameless Summer Giveaway Winner



The Shameless Summer Giveaway Hop has come to an end and the random number generator picked a winner!


Library Lady won and she picked Feast.
She has been contacted.

Thanks to everyone who hopped along!

Friday, 15 June 2012

The Earth Painter - Guestpost and Excerpt

Today I have a guest:
Melissa Lee, author of The Earth Painter.
She will tell you something about her book and there's an excerpt as well

I always love anything completely original. I think that’s why I’m a fan of Doctor Who. He’s a Time Lord. The Doctor, travels in his TARADIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space) which is a little blue box that is bigger on the inside. In it he can go anywhere in time and space. And he takes a lovely lady companion with him as he goes. How cool is that?

Anyway, it’s my love of anything original that led me to write The Earth Painter. There are no vampires, angels, or werewolves. In my story world, the earth was created by artists full of pure creativity but governed by beings called sciences who are pure order and logic. The painters are like the designers of earth and the sciences are the engineers who give the ideas function. But in that process, the painters’ ideas get tweaked. Artists don’t like their work tinkered with. But there’s not much they can do about it. One painter in particular is not happy with how things have turned out. His name is Fritz. He’s the water painter.

In the middle of all this, there is a love story. Holly is a lonely, insecure girl, beaten down by her perfectionist mother. She meets Theo, the earth painter in her drama class and her eyes are opened to many things. She discovers her world is more complex than she ever knew. But Holly also discovers her own beauty and talents on her journey.

So if you enjoy a lite but original read, I hope you will try The Earth Painter. There’s not another book in the young adult market like it.


What is it about:
The Sculptor was alone. The world was gray, as it always had been.
And then the Sculptor said, “It is time…
Time for color,
Time for more,
The beginning.”

With a word, three sculptures became aware. And they needed to paint.

There was Ocean, Sky, Land, and Life all painted into place.
Then it ended, just as quickly as it started. Then the painters were no longer needed.
But they were still…AWARE.

And it was in this awareness that the battle began. And continues.

When a self-conscious young woman discovers the boy in drama class is actually the immortal who painted the world into being, she becomes the target of another painter who could shatter not only her new sense of hope, but her world, as well.


------------------

Excerpt:

I got to drama a little late because my AP history class ran over. Ms. Jones walked to the middle of the stage. Paint splattered overalls replaced her normal dressy style “Listen up everyone. Our scripts still aren’t here so we are going to get busy painting scenery. We have canvases ready for painting. If you are talented in art, you can work on the forest backdrop. If you are not good with a paint brush, you are not excluded from helping. You will work on the stones walls for the castle. All you do with those is paint the whole canvas gray. Then later someone from the art department will go over it to make the stone outlines.”
She was about to walk off when she remembered something. “Oh and because of her excellent performance, Holly Scruggs will be performing her monologue for the parent teacher night scheduled next week.”
I stood there for a second while people half clapped and half chanted they were glad I’d done a good job instead of them as they got busy putting on paint smocks and heading to different painting stations.
I trudged up the steps to the stage and looked at the canvas destined to be stonewalls. I sighed grateful they had something simple I could work on. Surely, I could manage painting the whole thing gray. It was bad enough when my mom yelled at me at home. I didn’t want that here in front of everyone.
I grabbed a painting smock and snapped it up before grabbing a brush to dip in the bucket of gray paint.
“Why are you painting a gray wall when you could be painting a forest?” Theo asked from behind me.
I turned around so he could see me roll my eyes. “Um…because not everyone can paint like you.”
“Tsk…sure you can. All you need is a little guidance.” Theo took my hand and dragged me to the larger canvas no one had started on. I followed without protest. I didn’t mind Theo showing off to impress me. It was kind of flattering. My heart skipped a beat.

But instead of me standing back to watch him, he stood behind me, and took hold of my right hand while nuzzling his face by my ear.
“First, let’s start with green. The forest is made of different shades of green. Green means growth and life,” he whispered. His breath tickled my earlobe. Goose bumps pimpled down that side of my body in response. He guided my brush into the paint and then across the canvas with soft gentle strokes. My eyes fluttered when he tucked strands of my hair behind my ear. I’d never been held by a boy before. The feelings and thoughts were more than I could comprehend.
“If we mix the green with a touch of black, mix white for gray, we can create shadows.” He mixed the colors on a piece of cardboard box he held for a pallet.
We moved from side to side, up and down, covering the blank canvas with gentle strokes. His words still tickling each time he spoke. My heartbeat quickened and my breathing became a little more labored. I watched in amazement as my brush changed the canvas from white to shapeless shades of green and then into a forest thick with vegetation.
As the brush glided along the canvas, I breathed in deeply, the scent of pine trees rushed up my nose. I shook my head and tried to focus on the trees we were painting. The flat painted trees suddenly became three-dimensional. A brown and white bunny hopped into a bush and stirred the leaves, causing me to turn my head towards the motion just before a squirrel scurried up an oak tree carrying a nut in its mouth.
I swallowed and my breath caught as the trees began to surround me. For a second I was sure I was in a real forest. I could smell it. I could hear the leaves rustle while at the same time I could feel Theo still holding me guiding my brush across the canvas. My knowledge of what was true and my senses were in conflict.
Was the room spinning? My stomach was moving with it, or at least it felt like it. My mind couldn’t process what I saw or thought I saw while painting. I was sure the paint fumes were making me high. I had to get away from them. I stepped back from the canvas to get a grip on myself.
The dizziness continued and my stomached tightened. My breathing became quick and shallow. The room grew dim while stars sparkled over me. I was afraid I might faint or throw up. I pulled out of Theo’s grasp and bent over to catch my breath. Ms. Jones and some of the other students looked up to see what was wrong with me. It was bad enough to feel sick, but it would be too embarrassing to throw up or faint in front of the class.
“Holly, did you paint that?” asked Ms. Jones—her eyes wide with wonder.
I looked up at the painting. The forest was immaculate, but just a flat painting, not the real one I was sure I’d just been in with Theo.

****

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Waiting For Midnight - Book Review

Waiting For Midnight
by Merrie Destefano

(ebook)

What is it about:
From the author of Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles comes a collection of 16 short stories, full of the rich prose and plot twists that have become Destefano’s trademark. Written to keep you reading all night long, this combination of short stories and flash fiction contains a ghost story, a werewolf story, and a science fiction story, as well as two stories that feature characters from her novels, AFTERLIFE and FEAST. This collection is approximately 70 pages long.

Short stories included in this collection:

Set on an alien world, “Letters from Home” tells the tale of a mother’s love for her wayward son and the great lengths to which she’ll go to rescue him from another dimension.

“Learning to Hunt” features Ash, the Darkling dream-eater introduced in Feast: Harvest of Dreams, as he explores seventeenth-century Amsterdam, where his father teaches him how to harvest dreams.

“Waiting for Midnight” explores that dangerous territory between first love and obsession, all set in Primrose Wood, a forest where dark magic rules.


What did I think of it:
Ok.... There are now two authors who made me cry over a flower:
H.C. Anderson and Merrie Destefano!

Seriously:
This collection of short stories is absolutely wonderful.

Destefano's writing is beautiful and poetic and fit the almost dreamlike stories in this collection perfectly.

The stories range from touching to creepy and from beautiful to disturbing.

The first couple of stories are short stories: rounded and complete. In the Garden and Waiting for Midnight were my favorites of these stories. In the Garden is a bittersweet story about a garden and it's this story that had me crying over a flower.

Then there are a two stories told in three acts. Charlie Brown Doesn’t Live Here Anymore was my favorite here: it was both a funny and a sad tale about coyotes and dogs.

Lastly there were the Flash Fiction stories: short moments frozen in time. These were wonderful. Some were just perfect as they are, others were screaming to be expanded into longer stories, but all of them were powerful and so vividly described that even when the subject was far from mundane it felt real and alive.

The beautiful writing and the strong emotions in these short stories make sure I will reread this collection often and I'm hoping Destefano will decide to write more short stories (next to her full length novels of course).

Why should you read it:
This collection of touching and disturbing tales is beautifully written


Buy it here

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Wishlist Wednesday - Hemlock

This sounds like it might be a cool read.

Hemlock (Hemlock #1)
by Kathleen Peacock


Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

Kathleen Peacock’s thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spellbinding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Teaser Tuesdays - The Vampire Shrink

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


His voice held the verbal equivalent of a smirk. "It sounds like we're a little cranky when we don't get our beauty sleep, Doc. Even though you're being testy, I'll answer your question anyway."
(page 84, The Vampire Shrink by Lynda Hilburn)


Monday, 11 June 2012

Silver Knight - Book Review

Silver Knight
by Caron Rider


What is it about:
When seventeen-year-old Diana recognizes an elderly priest in a video on YouTube, she realizes that reincarnation is real and that she’s been alive before! Every night in her dreams, she relives her past learning that it’s kill or be killed. Now a bishop at the Vatican whom she saved in another life calls on her once more. She is needed to help defeat evil within the catacombs of Rome. But when she arrives in Rome, she meets Alexander – the man of her dreams! Through the centuries she has loved him…betrayed him...been killed by him. Will she give him another chance or this time will she strike first?

What did I think of it:
This was a nice read.

The story keeps jumping back and forth in time between the different lives Diana has had. I really liked the short views in all these different lives as you're taken on a ride through history and get glimpses of many different time periods.

Diana and her friends were fun characters, although I did think that Diana could have been a bit more mature taken into account she has lived many lives already. Along the way Diana picks up more allies and these were all very intriguing as well.

The overall story was a bit confusing though. There were several things going on that didn't really seem to lead anywhere. I felt a little bit lost at the end of the book as only one storyline seemed to have a proper conclusion while the others were cut short or left unresolved.

Most probably the open ended storylines will find a conclusion in the next book, but in my opinion there could have been a little bit more closure or at least explanation on some things.

All in all a nice read with an unsatisfactory ending. I might give the next book a try to see what happens next.

Why should you read it:
It's a nice, history filled YA read


Buy it here

Friday, 8 June 2012

Shameless Summer Giveaway Hop


Michelle Greathouse and some of her blogging friends are hosting a Shameless Summer Giveaway Hop.

I decided to hop along:


I'm offering a copy of either Afterlife or Feast by Merrie Destefano to one commenter.

Rules:
- Leave a comment telling me which one of these two book you would want to win
- Leave a way for me to contact you
- Last day to enter is June 15 2012
(a winner will be randomly selected soon after)

Open internationally and you don't have to be a follower to enter

------------------

Hop on to more giveaways:






Thursday, 7 June 2012

Fallen - Book Review/Rant

Fallen (Fallen #1)
by Lauren Kate


What is it about:
There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.


What did I think about it:
Warning: this review is a bit ranty.

This could have been a nice read.

I enjoyed the writing, the story and the characters, even though it's another one of those books where I was left wondering why immortal beings who've lived for hundreds of years would go to school of all things. I mean: they might look like teenagers, but they're not teenagers, so why go back to school?

But I've learned by now to not let a story be spoiled by little things like that, so I ignored that inconsistency and even though the story was a bit predictable, I lost myself in the teenage squabbles, the teenage drama and even the love triangle.

And then... near the end of the book there was this one remark, this one revelation, that ruined the entire book for me.

I can't even go into it, because it would include some huge spoilers, but let me just say that it has to do with certain world views and that it enraged me and made sure I will not read another book in this series.

I'm pretty sure the author probably didn't mean to insult me as a reader and most probably didn't think about how this part of the story could come across to some readers. I will even state it might be just me who takes offence, but it left me feeling angry and annoyed. A shame as up until that one event I was enjoying the story.

Why should you read it:
It's (mostly) a nice paranormal YA read


Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Wishlist Wednesday - Rogue's Pawn

Voodoo Bride loves Jeffe Kennedy's books, so this book is at the top of Voodoo Bride's wishlist:

Rogue's Pawn (Covenant of Thorns, #1)
by Jeffe Kennedy


This is no fairy tale…

Haunted by nightmares of a black dog, sick to death of my mind-numbing career and heart-numbing fiancĂ©, I impulsively walked out of my life—and fell into Faerie. Terrified, fascinated, I discover I possess a power I can't control: my wishes come true. After an all-too-real attack by the animal from my dreams, I wake to find myself the captive of the seductive and ruthless fae lord Rogue. In return for my rescue, he demands an extravagant price—my firstborn child, which he intends to sire himself…

With no hope of escaping this world, I must learn to harness my magic and build a new life despite the perils—including my own inexplicable and debilitating desire for Rogue. I swear I will never submit to his demands, no matter what erotic torment he subjects me to…


ebook
Expected publication: July 16th 2012 by Carina Press

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Teaser Tuesdays - Waiting for Midnight

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

The wind howled and circled, set the canopy of branches creaking above us, though the rest of the world was silent. I knew who she was in an instant, but of course she didn't know me.
(page 58, Waiting for Midnight by Merrie Destefano)

Ps: never read anything by Merrie Destefano and want to have a chance to change that?
Check back this Friday for my Summer Hop giveaway.

Monday, 4 June 2012

The Inspiration behind the Vigilare series – Guestpost by Brooklyn James

Today I have another guest over at my blog:
Brooklyn James, the author of Vigilare.
Be sure to check my review of Vigilare which I posted earlier today.

Brooklyn: welcome to Pearls Cast Before A McPig.
It's great to have you here.

Hi. Brooklyn James here, author/singer/songwriter. Yep, still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Thank you Sullivan for hosting me!

My latest novel, Vigilare: Hell Hound, is book #2 in the paranormal thriller trilogy, Vigilare. Released May 1 in ebook & June 1 in paperback.

Upon release of the first book in the trilogy...Vigilare, inquiring readers asked, “What is a Vigilare?” Now, with the release of the second book in the series...Vigilare: Hell Hound, they say, “What is a Hell Hound?”

Vigilare—Italian derivative of Latin, meaning to watch out, to guard, to protect, to keep an eye on.

As far as its pronunciation, technically, it is pronounced vi-gi-la-re. In its conception, I wanted a word that was similar to vigilante, yet unique. I keep it simple, pronouncing it vigil-are (like vigil-air).

To me, in the context of my novels, my Vigilare is a vigilant guardian, with intent to serve retribution style—an eye for an eye. Much like Batman, Vigilare is chosen for her position, a divine assignment. Vigilare does not willingly choose her role. Which allows me to play with the notion of good and evil, and how good can be and commit evil, even when it may seem justified. There's a fine line between right and wrong. It all depends on perspective. I love toying with that idea, and propelling readers to do the same, hopefully invoking internal questions: What would YOU do and how would YOU feel if bestowed such a power? Would you consider it a blessing or a curse?

Hell Hound—is actually a character in book #2 of the series, a rival Vigilare, so to speak. I capitalize it, as it is the title of the character. However, it's derived from Hellhound—a supernatural dog, most commonly associated with folklore, specifically Greek Mythology.

In the words of my manic Hematologist from the novels, Dr. Godfrey, "In Greek mythology, Hades is the god of the underworld. The devil, one may conclude. A Hell Hound is a hound of Hades, or a dog of Hell in the literal translation. They are the guards to the underworld, relegating who is sucked in and who is declined access. As described in legends, Hell Hounds have glowing red eyes and supernatural abilities. They’re rarely seen, very phantom-like. They may appear as if out of nowhere and vanish with the blink of an eye. An elusive creature. Hell Hounds are associated with fire and often have fire or heat-based abilities.”

So, you see, Vigilare: Hell Hound is a play on Greek Mythology's Cerberus...the most notorious three-headed Hellhound. I found the premise fascinating, and it plays so well into the plot, I had no other choice but to make it the title of book #2. And it made for a menacingly delicious cover. Besides, who doesn't like a good fireball slinging?

Couple that concept with the new character, Maxim Kiesel-the blue-eyed prodigy with an icy touch, and you have a good climactic scene. Do you fight fire with ice? Or do you fight fire with fire? Read Vigilare: Hell Hound, and you'll surely find out! The colors alone provided an interesting education for me. Steel blue, violent red, emerald green...who knew so much could be attributed to color? Think maybe we've found our new eye color for the cover of book #3...


The Vigilare series is an adaptation from a short narrative student film. Inspired by a hodge-podge of comic books and movies, such as The Punisher and Boondock Saints, I started a feature-length screenplay, playing off the idea of vigilantism. Later using that screenplay to storyboard a student short for a film class I curiously enrolled in. The short turned out pretty good and received a gracious reception at our end of semester screening. At that particular time I was drafting my first novel, The Boots My Mother Gave Me, An Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter Finalist. This particular book is a coming of age/women’s fiction, the genre I figured most suitable for me. At the time, promotion for and the buzz around the Amazon honor, that novel kind of took off. Needless to say, I put Vigilare on the back burner.

Once the hoopla over the first novel wound down, I started thinking about the next book, and Vigilare kept coming back to me. I resisted, seeing how I thought I should stick to one genre. Until one day, I gave in and started drafting Vigilare. I knew I wanted it to be a darker read, and my Vigilare had to have some sort of superhuman power.

Vigilare is set in the town of Vanguard, where Detectives Gina DeLuca and Tony Gronkowski investigate a string of murders among the city’s most loathsome population, convicted rapists and pedophiles. With fed up citizens, Vanguard is on the verge of a vigilante uprising in support of their seemingly superhuman Vigilare with the sparkling emerald green eyes. It’s a race to finish between Detectives DeLuca and Gronkowski, and the Vigilare to figure out who she is and why she exists.

Vigilare walks the line between a thriller and a supernatural adventure while safely anchored in a scientific discourse around blood that James put together so well that it's reminiscent of a Douglas Preston or Michael Crichton novel. With action, romance, a strong female hero and a likeable group of characters, Vigilare reads like a good action movie.” –Gabino Iglesias, Austin Post

As an Intensive Care RN, I knew a little bit about blood, and thought that would be the key to Vigilare’s superpower. After some intriguing research, I knew a lot about blood. There are so many theories about Rh-negative blood factor. It is this factor that feeds her transformation. Some hypothesize that Rh-negative blood was the ‘blood of the gods,’ the ‘ancient astronauts.’ There are reports that the blood found at the Shroud of Turin, of one Jesus Christ, was AB-negative…the rarest blood type in the world, representing only one-percent of the population. Scientists postulate Rh-positive factor links us to primates, the Rhesus Monkey. However, Rh-negative blood is of unknown origin. Not one scientist can give a single reason for its existence, other than to speculate it is a mutation that occurred tens of thousands of years ago. Rh-negative factor is found nowhere in nature, except in humans. Consider the fact that Rh-positive blood types can be cloned while Rh-negative blood types cannot…a true original. O-negative blood is the purest blood in the world, the universal donor. A person with O-negative blood can donate to any other blood type, but they cannot receive blood from anyone other than their own type. It’s incompatible with life. If all mankind evolved from the same ancestor, their blood would be compatible. Where did Rh-negative factor come from?

When Vigilare’s O-negative blood is exposed to external oxygen, her transformation from mortal to immortal is engaged. What better defense than a natural inclination to offend when made to bleed?

-----

The blood released from her lip feels cool and tingly, the same sensation surging through her entire body. From the tips of her fingers to the ends of her toes her form quivers, electrified and powerful. She lies still, confused, her heart pounding with renewed force, aware of every surge of lifeblood pumped through her. With each beat, she is sure the life-sustaining organ will explode from her chest.

What the hell is going on? What’s happening to me?

Her eyes are wide and searching with intent, as if designed specifically to do so. She breathes deeply through her nose, unsure if she could ever acquire enough air to fill her seemingly super-sized lungs. Every sound amplified times ten, her ears flood with stimulation.

“Look at her eyes, bro!” the man at her head challenges.

The leader, forcefully hunched between her thighs, does as instructed, leaning forward, unimpressed at first, until his eyes stare into hers. Hers, once complacent, now sparkle like emeralds. She tries to blink, closing her eyes from his. She cannot. They remain wide and steadily searching, as if someone willed them unable to close. The leader tries to look away, move, shut his eyes—something, anything to break the stare. He cannot. Propelled by a far greater force, he remains there, his eyes giving into hers. Images flash in her mind, reflections of the man and the things he has done. The eyes are the windows to the soul. His soul is evil.

-----

In Vigilare, the reader, the detectives and the Vigilare find out who she is and why she exists. Once reluctantly accepting of her position, we progress into Vigilare: Hell Hound.


-----

A red hue emerges, where once it was only emerald green!

Now accepting of her position, Vigilare is propelled into a twist on Greek Mythology's Cerberus―Hell Hound―a rival Vigilare with fire capabilities. ETNA harbored her blood. Have they created a monster they cannot control? Along with her motley crew, the dashing Detective Tony Gronkowski, wily hematologist Dr. Godfrey and suspicious Emily Truly, Vigilare comes face to face with her past in the form of the hellish one.

As the city of New Orleans and its Gambini mafia family are under siege with Vigilare drones, the power hungry Emily wastes no time in solidifying her place in the ranks when she exposes Vigilare to the menacing Hell Hound. Newcomer, Maxim Kiesel, the steel blue-eyed prodigy graced with icy powers may very well be the antidote, or the ultimate traitor.

Will Vigilare give up her role, sacrificing her immortality to stop Hell Hound? The second in a trilogy, Vigilare: Hell Hound―when power is given, the true testament of one's character will rise.

-----

“Now that Vigilare has assumed and accepted her position, here comes Hell Hound. I'm not well versed in Greek Myth, but I enjoyed the spin. And the paranormal aspect was vibrant and colorful. Very well crafted by the author, yet not too flamboyant to turn me off. As usual, James plays with contrasts. You have the Hell Hound with fire capabilities, whose favorite weapons are fireballs. And then, you have newcomer, Maxim Kiesel. He has "steel blue eyes" and an icy touch. Fire and ice! And of couse, Dr. Godfrey (the manic hematologist) is there to help the reader make sense of all the science and myth behind the Vigilare pedigree. It's fascinating really, the whole Rh-negative blood factor James weaves into the story. It is this factor that makes the Vigilare super human. It makes so much sense, it leaves me wondering just exactly how unique is Rh-negative blood? Brooklyn James has done a fine job of tightly knitting a storyline and a cast of characters to peek and keep any reader's interest. With the combination of action, suspense, intrigue, romance (this is a very SEXY series), science and heart—Vigilare: Hell Hound is a fast, entertaining read.” –Amazon Review

Again, thank you Sullivan for hosting me! And thank you readers for your time and consideration. Please feel free to comment. Below is a list of places you can find and follow me. All the best to each and everyone.



Vigilare (book #1) - $2.99 Kindle; $12.99 paperback
Vigilare: Hell Hound (book #2) - $6.99 Kindle; $15 paperback [NEW RELEASE]

Website: www.brooklyn-james.com
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Vigilare - Book Review

Vigilare
by Brooklyn James


What is it about:
Where One System Fails, Another Never Gives Up!

Detectives Gina DeLuca and Tony Gronkowski investigate a string of murders among Vanguard's most loathsome population, rapists and pedophiles. With fed up citizens, the city is on the verge of a vigilante uprising in support of their seemingly superhuman Vigilare with the sparkling emerald green eyes.

Friend or foe, Vanguard Police Department has a job to do in bringing the vigilant one to justice, causing their own internal battle with right and wrong, immoral and just. Following their leads, Detectives DeLuca and Gronkowski find themselves pulled into a mysterious world of super blood and super powers, and closer to the Vigilare than ever expected.

It's a race to the finish between Detectives DeLuca and Gronkowski and the Vigilare to figure out who she is and why she exists. The first series in a Trilogy. Vigilare-the one who watches over-comes to light.

Advisory: In order to be true to content and characters, some scenes contain harsh language and attempted rape/physical violence. Such scenes are handled with care and tact in propelling the prevailing storyline.


What did I think of it:
This was a really cool read.

When I started reading Vigilare and discovered it was in present tense I was a bit apprehensive, but I soon discovered that James' choice for present tense was a good call for this story. It created a distance that gave this supernatural story a more realistic mood.

The story is both suspenseful and intriguing. It explores the concepts of good and evil and all the grey areas in between in a way that has you invested in the story and that makes you think.

The first part of this story is full of action while Gina and Tony try to catch this Vigilare. Then the mood and pacing chance and we get a better view on who and what Vigilare is and people are trying to decide what to do with Vigilare. I really liked this part of the story as it's here that you get stimulated to think about things and to pick a side. (And it has a trial! I will confess I have a weakness for trial/courtroom scenes.) And just when I had come to my own conclusions about Vigilare, the action started again and my ideas were rattled.

The ending left me a bit flabbergasted and eager to know what will happen next.

All in all this is a story that keeps you on your toes. I most probably will give the second book a try if I can fit it in somewhere in my huge tbr-pile.

Why should you read it:
It's a cool and suspenseful read


Buy it here

Friday, 1 June 2012

On Haunted Ground - Guest Post by Lisa Rogers

Today I have a guest: Lisa Rogers.
She wrote the book On Haunted Ground, a true account of two decades of terrifying, funny, and heartwarming paranormal encounters.

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When people find out that I live in a haunted house, they always ask the same question. “What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to you?”

Even though I’ve been asked this, many, many times, I always come up with the same eloquent authorly answer of, “Uh… I dunno.”

In truth, the whole reason behind my writing On Haunted Ground, was to show that contrary to what the movies depict, ghosts aren’t always scary. I know that as a society, we’ve been taught that ghosts are horrible awful things that we should fear, but in my experience, this isn’t always true. Not only have I lived with ghosts (peacefully for the most part) for 28 years, I’ve met several other people who live in haunted houses that say the same thing.

Most people are very surprised to hear me say that if I could change the fact that ghosts live in my home, I wouldn’t. While I know this concept seems outlandish to many, a while back I had an unforgettable experience involving an entity that actually prevented my precious little grandson from taking a bad fall. You can read about the account here http://talkingaboutghost.blogspot.com/2012/01/helping-hand.html

With all of that said, I’d also like to say that if I claimed I had never been afraid of our ghosts, I’d be lying. When you’re at home alone and you see someone standing in your dining room, it tends to make your heart race a little bit. The same can be said by knowing that someone you can’t see has tucked your daughter into bed, and capturing a man’s voice on a recorder makes one to want to flee from the house screaming.

Even though I’ve had many incidents that have scared the bejabbers out of me, I can honestly say, I’ve never met an entity that I would consider to have been malicious. Am I just lucky? Maybe, but I don’t necessarily think so. I’m sure some of the horrific accounts of terrifying hauntings are true, but I think most people who live with ghosts do so peacefully and many times they are even unaware that they are living with ghosts at all.

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On Haunted Ground: The Green Ghost and Other Spirits of Cemetery Road

Lisa Rogers sensed that the house she bought with her husband Wes came with a ghost. But nothing prepared them for doors slamming on their own, objects flying, and the nightly appearance of a freaky green orb in their bedroom. Their two children had opposing views on the paranormal activity. While Keshia grew attached to the grandmotherly ghost who taught her not to be afraid of thunderstorms and the Native American spirit that tucked her into bed, her brother Troy wasn't quick to believe in their unearthly guests.

This amazing true story details two decades of terrifying, funny, and heartwarming paranormal encounters--the mischievous entity that imitated the voice of each family member, the spool that "came to life" to chase the kids, the shocking events that shake Wes and Troy's skepticism--and the enduring love that keeps the family together through it all.




click here for the entire tour schedule

Buy On Haunted Ground here