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Sunday, February 27, 2011

IMM February

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren. But you already knew that.
Sorry this one is such a long one, guys, but stick around, there are shenanigans at the end.
Also, much of this video is utterly ridiculous.  (Or much of me is, I guess)

Awesomeness Mentioned:
The Story Siren
Jane in June
Fairy Tale Fortnight
Presenting Lenore's Dystopian February
Bitch Mag controversy
Liz from Consumed by Books

What'd you get in YOUR mailbox?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore

Red Moon Rising
by Peter Moore 

from Goodreads

Being only half-vamp in a high school like Carpathia Night makes you a whole loser. But Danny Gray manages to escape the worst of the specists at his school. Thanks to genetic treatments he had as an infant, most people assume Danny's other half is human. Which is a good thing.
Ever since the development of synthetic blood – SynHeme – vamps have become society’s elite, while wulves like his father work menial jobs and live in bad neighborhoods. Wulves are less than second class citizens; once a month they become inmatesforced to undergo their Change in dangerous government compounds.
For Danny, living with his vamp mother and going to a school with a nearly all-vamp student body, it’s best to pretend his wulf half doesn’t even exist. But lately Danny's been having some weird symptoms — fantastic night vision; a keener-than-usual sense of smell; and headaches, right around the full moon.
Even though it's easy to be in denial, it's hard to ignore evidence. There's only a month until the next few moon, and Danny's time is running out.

Red Moon Rising was far more enjoyable than I anticipated it being (and I know that sounds weird -- why read a book you don't anticipate enjoying?).  I found myself fairly immersed in it whenever I would sit down to read it, and Danny's voice felt authentic and engaging most of the time.  There were some issues at play, and some really interesting dynamics that I enjoyed exploring with Danny, and all in all, I would have given the book a fairly hearty recommendation -- if it weren't for a few things that really nagged at me.

1) I had some trouble swallowing the worldbuilding.  I mean, the idea of having this level of paranormal racism and tension is really appealing, and I could see how, if such beings existed and were out in the open, there would be a real issue here.  But the getting there was a little strained to me.  Some things fit so perfectly, like the fact that wulves are ugly and deformed from changing, and this is of course used as proof of their inferiority and beastliness.  This makes perfect sense in that scary way humans have of justifying the worst in humanity.  But some things -- like the fact that vampires are insanely smarter for no apparent reason, or that they were feared and reviled until about 80 years ago, and are now society's elite -- these things didn't make sense to me, and they distracted me from the story in a jarring way.  I had trouble just buying it, or reconciling the feeling that there was some legitimate reason for the separatism the story revolves around.  It would have been so much more complex and believable if there was no real reason for the specism -- if it was on a level of modern-day and/or historical good ole-fashioned racism, where there's no real reason genetically for the racism.  It would have been more interesting to me if there wasn't a reason beyond the physicality and the lifestyles to lead to the racism -- if it was just like now, when people really have no reason beyond what they see and what they're taught.

2) But even bigger than that, and really, this is kind of stupid, but it drove me NUTS, there was this issue with trying to make things -- I dunno, current?  Pop-culturey?  -- that rang so false, and was done in such an off-putting way.  Basically, it was almost like some weird comedy sketch, where the comedian doesn't want to be sued for a parody, so they slightly change the names of the subjects used.  So, instead of saying David Bowie, Moore would say David Bo-E (<--- real example).  An iPod was an iPoddMaxx.  What is the point of this?  Why change something in such a teeny, tiny way that is only going to irritate, and most likely make your teenage audience think you're some weird old guy trying to look in-touch?   I really, really didn't get the motivation behind this.  If it was a half-assed attempt to change real names to keep from dealing with legal repercussions, just make up your own goddamn name and be done with it; if it's going to be so thinly veiled, why not just say what you fucking mean?  (Sorry, got a little carried away there.  But I said it irritated me.)  What it felt like, was someone told Moore (or he got it in his head all by himself) that he needed to drop some names that would help anchor his story in the real world, and help the book seem more, I dunno, something.  I can't really say 'hip' or 'current' if he's going with David Bowie references.  I doubt most teens reading this book would even know who that is. 

And honestly, it's a shame.  Other than these two things, I really did like this book, and probably would have recommended it a lot more than I now would consider.  I don't like recommending a book and feeling like I've got to give warnings, or say "You'll like this but..."  
That being said, I do think you'll like this.

*Please note: I read an ARC of Red Moon Rising, and there could have been significant changes made in the final version.
Disclosure: I received this book for review from Disney Hyperion.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Face Off: Blood Magic v. Losing Faith

I noticed this one awhile back and just kept forgetting to work it into the FFO schedule.  Though these covers both have their own spin, I'm pretty sure this is the same stock photo, doctored to fit the story (one assumes), and with one being a cropped version.  What's interesting is that they're both 2011 debuts...
So what do you guys think?  Which makes you want to pick up the book on cover appeal alone (if any)?
Who did it better?

Last Wee on FFO:  Lyddie felt the sharp sting of defeat when it went braid-to-braid with Sweet Venom.  With one exception, everyone loved the little curlicue ends, and Sweet Venom won in a landslide.
Winnah ---->

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wishlist Wednesday: Supernaturally

Evie, Lend, Reth, Arianna, 
Raquel, David . . .

And Jack.

Life's never fair when faeries are involved.

Paranormalcy was my first read of 2011, and I loved every minute of it.  I can't wait for the sequel, and I have my fingers crossed that it won't suffer from the sophomore slump.
Are you guys awaiting on this one too?  What do you think of this cover?  Is it a nice progression from the Paranormalcy cover, or does it lack some of the mystery and magic?
What's on your  wishlist?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

TBR Tuesday: Never Let Me Go

Currently languishing on my shelves...

Never Let Me Go
by Kazuo Ishiguro 

As a child, Kathy—now thirty-one years old—lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory.

And so, as her friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbed--even comforted--by their isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham's nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled to face the truth about their childhood—and about their lives now. 

I have been meaning to read this forever, and I really thought I was going to work it in for Lenore's Dystopian February, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.  February has been a busy month for me!  But I still do want to read this sooner rather than later, especially with the movie out now.  (I won't let myself see the movie until I've read the book, and I really want to see the movie!)
What do you guys think?  Have any of you read this?
What's on YOUR tbr?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Crafty Rat: If I Stay Bookmark

Every now and then I mention to you the bookmark swap I'm in.  And I've shown you a few bookmarks, like the results of the first swap, or my favorite that I've done, the Fallen bookmark.
Since this is something I do every month, I thought it might be fun every now and then to walk you through the process of creating the bookmark, so some of you maybe inspired to make your own, for personal use or for gifts!
If you have a suggestion for a specific book you'd like to see me make into a bookmark, let me know in the comments!

I'm kicking it off with the most recent, a very stylistically simple bookmark for If I Stay...

This was a "free round" where we worked without a theme.  I ended up choosing If I Stay purely on a whim.  It was lying atop a stack of books, and I glanced at it and thought "That would make a neat bookmark if you could bleach in the image of the tree..."
After a little trial and error, that's exactly what I did.  Check it out:

I used: 
* 1 sheet sky blue "Mulberry" paper (grainy, fibrous paper)
* 1 sheet white sketch paper
* bleach + various tipped things for "painting" with the bleach (fine paintbrush, embossing scorer, toothpick)
* embossing powders + embossing pen + heat gun
* a deep pink ink pad
* thin cardboard
* spray adhesive

Step 1: I first very lightly sketched out the shape of the tree on the flat  side of the mulberry paper using the fine paintbrush (like an eyelash brush) dipped in bleach, using the book cover as a guide.  This is important: if you draw on the fibrous, ridged side of the paper, the bleach will spread and blotch.  Also, you must sketch very lightly, and pause in between each section/dip of the brush, to allow the bleach to develop, so you can see what you're doing.

To finish the tree, I alternated between the brush, embossing tool and toothpick, adding to the limbs and trunk until I had a passable tree.  I write "If I Stay" and "Gayle Forman" with the toothpick.  This was the hardest part, as I had limited space and the bleach wants to spread.  I drew on the flower of the tree with the smallest rounded end of the embossing tool, starting small and expanding out as necessary.

Step 2: I rouged the center of the flower just a tiny bit with some deep pink ink on the tip of a cotton swab.  I then colored over all of the flower with the embossing pen, sprinkled on a tiny bit of purple and red embossing powders in the very center, and light pink around the rest of the flower, and melted it with the heat gun.  Mulberry paper has a tendency to curl and/or singe when heat is applied, so you have to be very light-handed in this step.  That finished this side of the bookmark.

Step 3: For the reverse side, I wanted to do the same thing, but with reverse colors that mimic the paperback edition, which has a stormier look.   --------->
I sketched out the same tree, flower, and words on a piece of sketch paper using the embossing pen, doing the tree first in blue and gray tones, and adding the flower in the same pink/purple/red combo.

Note: the paper is plain white, not striped.  That's something my camera added, though I kind of like the look.

Step 4: Lastly, I cut both pieces to the same size, and mounted them on a piece of thin cardboard with spray adhesive and let it dry.   This is what each side looked like in the end, set against the paper used on the opposite side:  I would have liked a little cleaner look on the mulberry paper side, but all in all, I'm pleased with the way it looks.  The image bleached straight into the paper looks pretty damn neat in person. :)

And there you have it!  I hope you'll consider making your own bookmarks and sharing them with the readers in your life.

Next month, we're making sci-fi bookmarks...stay tuned!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly (Unearthly, #1)
by Cynthia Hand

from Goodreads:
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.
Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.
As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?
Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

I was so, so dubious going into this book.  In fact, because of other angel books, I had no intention of reading it at all, until someone who feels similar convinced me to read this because she liked it.  And though there were a few drawbacks for me, I'm really glad I read it.  This puts the other angel books -- and some paranormal YA in general -- to shame.

"I won't be that girl who lets the guy treat her like crap and still fawns all over him." <--- Aaaand we have a winner!  I'm sold from this line alone...

I've got to give it to Cynthia Hand -- she didn't write a fill in the blanks novel.  It would have been very easy to follow the expected pattern, and to make everything really angsty and melodramatic, with a lot of Romeo and Juliet-esque vows of lovetothedeathbecauseweweremadeforeachotherandnothingcancomebetweennussohelpmegod.
The romance that was there felt natural and not over the top.  It flowed and grew in a realistic manner, and was more charming because of it.  I think the relationship itself demonstrates one of the best aspects of the book: Clara and most of the characters in the novel are *gasp* well-adjusted.  I know, it's a novel concept, but it was so refreshing to read from the POV of a character who has a brain that she actually uses, and who considers her decisions and the impacts they will make.

I liked, too, that even though Clara is an angel-blood and thus sort of powerful and good at most things, she still struggles to figure things out, and she has to work at some things, as well as still trying to figure out who she is and what she wants, in spite of her angel "Purpose".  It made her so much more relatable and likable.  The characters may have been a little too easy and perfect at times, but they were more authentic-feeling than a lot of the unrelatable caricatures that generally populate these books.

The few drawbacks I had, big as they are, wouldn't keep me from recommending this, sometimes even enthusiastically.  I already mentioned that things were a little too easy and perfect at times, and it can leave you with a slightly saccharine taste if you let it.  Some key things are far too convenient (and far too recognizable for the plot devices they are), and I always respect an author more when they're willing to make some tough choices in the name of reality; I don't think this book would have suffered with a little more of that.  But I think there are hints of darker stuff, and it is almost balanced by it.

The biggest issue, though, is that, as good as the book was, in the end I was left wondering what really happened.  Vampires and Tofu pegged it when she said "Nothing was really resolved and that left me feeling like I had read an extended prologue instead of a complete story. I think perhaps not every story is meant to be a trilogy."  It did leave me wondering if it was originally meant to be a trilogy, or if that was forced on Cynthia Hand.  It was like the difference between a TV series and a movie: a movie cuts right to the heart of everything because there's a limited amount of time to make things happen.  A TV series, though, can bring you in slowly and let you get to know everything and everyone in bits and pieces, and begin figuring things out yourself.  This is fine, but if the first season was just a "getting to know you" season that ended before any of the real drama happened -- well, I'm not sure it would be renewed for a second season...

That being said, it wasn't like I felt I had wasted my time reading it.  Yes, everything that was built up was sort of undone by the end, and I feel like going into book 2 will feel like just starting the series.  But in spite of that, it was still very enjoyable, and I will absolutely be reading book 2, as well as recommending this one.

 No teaser from me on this one, since I read an e-copy.  But here's the book trailer:

*Please note: I read an ARC, so the final version may (and probably will) change in some ways. Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Face Off: I think we've been here before...

Back in May we had a FFO between The Keeper's Tattoo and The Dragon Seer , both of which use the same stock photo for very different books.  Today's once again uses the same stock photo as well as one that is slightly different, but decidedly in the same vein.  There's apparently just something about the back of a girl's head when she has a long brown braid.  I guess...
Check em out:

So what do you think?  Which makes you curious about the book, and which do you want to pick up?
Which do you like better?  

http://www.thebookrat.com/2011/02/friday-face-offs-bite.html>Last Week on FFO: We had a Love Bites showdown between the nearly-naked dudes (aka Fabios) and scantily-clad dudettes (aka Fabiettes) that seem to always adorn the covers of paranormal romances.   It was pretty unanimous that we all hate these go-to cheesetastic covers -- in the words of Vampires and Tofu, we "despise those cover styles with the white hot passion of a thousand suns..." -- but if we had to choose, we'd all go with the Fabiettes, which are at least a little more suitable for public consumption.  I said "It's like, the Fabiette signals to the world someone who's kick-ass and not afraid of her sexuallity, while the Fabio cover just signals there's going to be some smut, period, and who cares what else."  What do you guys think?

Er, winnah? ---->

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Hey guys!  It's Hot Brits Week over at Comsumed By Books, and the lovely list has let me write a guest post about my Top 3 Swoon Worthy moments from my fave British period pieces.
I don't think you'll be too surprised, given Jane in June...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wishlist Wednesday: Finnikin of the Rock

Finnikin of the Rock
by Melina Marchetta 

At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh in order to save the royal house of his homeland, Lumatere. 

And so he stands on the rock of three wonders with his childhood friend Prince Balthazar and the prince's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood. And Lumatere is safe. 

Until the 'five days of the unspeakable', when the King and Queen and their children are slaughtered in the palace. And an imposter king takes the throne. 
And a curse is put on Lumatere, which traps those caught inside and forces thousands of others to roam the land as exiles, dying of fever and persecution in foreign camps. 

But ten years later Finnikin is led to another rock to meet the young novice, Evanjalin. A girl plagued by dark dreams, who holds the key to their return to the Land of light...

I've had this on my wishlist for awhile because it was recommended by a few people I trust, but lately, I've just been reading so many good reviews and recommendations of it, or it seems to randomly pop up in posts or conversations.  I'm thinking I might have to cave on this soon.  Especially with this gorgeous cover for the Australian version.
What do you think?  Anyone read this one?  Love it or hate it?
What's on your wishlist?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

TBR Tuesday: Extraordinary

by Nancy Werlin

Phoebe finds herself drawn to Mallory, the strange and secretive new kid in school, and the two girls become as close as sisters . . . until Mallory's magnetic older brother, Ryland, shows up during their junior year. Ryland has an immediate, exciting hold on Phoebe, but a dangerous hold, for she begins to question her feelings about her best friend and, worse, about herself. Soon she'll discover the shocking truth about Ryland and Mallory: that these two are visitors from the faerie realm who have come to collect on an age-old debt. Generations ago, the faerie queen promised Pheobe's ancestor five extraordinary sons in exchange for the sacrifice of one ordinary female heir. But in hundreds of years there hasn't been a single ordinary girl in the family, and now the faeries are dying. Could Phoebe be the first ordinary one? Could she save the faeries, or is she special enough to save herself?

I got a (signed!) copy of this at ALA this summer, which I was very excited for.  Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but FORTUNATELY, Fairy Tale Fortnight is coming up, and I will be reading this for it.  (And, um, Ashley and I just may have a copy or two to give away...)
Until then, I'd love for you guys to stop by this post and leave questions for the great authors who are going to be involved in this event!

What's climbing your TBR mountain this week?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day BITES, Love BITES, and WINNAHS BITE!

Nimbus, "PlayRat" centrefold
*image from The Dapper Rat, one of my fave ratty sites!

Well, kittens, it's the end of Love Bites!  Hope you had fun; thanks for sharing some love (and some steam) with me.
Special thanks to 
and everyone who commented and participated!

Here are the answers to the cover game, in case you were wondering:

  1. Vampire Academy, Richelle Mead
  2. Wicked Lovely, Melissa Marr
  3. Revelations, Melissa de la Cruz
  4. Shiver, Maggie Stiefvater
  5. Parnormalcy, Kiersten White
  6. Bloodsucking Fiends, Christopher Moore
  7. Dark Lover, JR Ward
  8. Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
  9. Poison Study, Maria V. Snyder
  10. Stray, Rachel Vincent
  11. The Awakening, Kelley Armstrong
  12. Sunshine, Robin McKinley
  13. Moon Called, Patricia Briggs
  14. Spider's Bite, Jennifer Estep
  15. A Brush of Darkness, Allison Pang
  16. Soulless, Gail Carriger
Nobody got all of them right!  Looks like I threw you guys some curve balls! =D

And here are the WINNAHS!

The Love Bites giveaway (Skyler White prize pack)

The Follower Love Blog Hop giveaway:
(she chose Beautiful Malice!)

and because I love you, I chose a 2nd winner:
(she chose A Highlander's Temptation!)

The $65 CSN Stores GC giveaway:

*All winners chosen using random.org

Congrats, everyone!  Enjoy, and thanks for playing! :P

Hope you have a great Valentine's Day, whether you celebrate it (alone or coupled) or not.
Thanks for joining me for Love Bites!
Hope you can join me for Fairy Tale Fortnight as well!
If you have a second to spare, Ashley and I would love to get your interview questions for our great fairy tale authors.
Until then, it's back to regularly scheduled programming 'round here!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Poison Study Bites

from Goodreads:
Yelena, convicted of murdering the son of a powerful general, awaits execution. But with only a few hours left, she is offered an incredible reprieve -- and agrees to become the new food taster for Commander Ambrose, the military leader of Ixia. Living in a palace and eating only the best meals is a dramatic change for Yelena, who spent the last year locked up in a rat-infested dungeon, eating gruel. But she soon realizes that she has more to worry about than ingesting potentially lethal poisons in the commander's meals. The general whose son she murdered has vowed bloody vengeance, and everyone in the commander's retinue look at Yelena as an untrustworthy criminal. The longer she stays alive, however, the more she begins to understand her own perplexing abilities -- all of which will be put to the test when cunning rebels plot to take control of Ixia. 

I'm going to get straight to the point: I love this book.  Wholeheartedly, in retrospect.  It came highly recommended shortly after its release from a friend, and I was dubious.  It wasn't the type of book I read at that time, and from the first 20 pages or so, I didn't think I was going to like it.  And then something clicked and I found myself falling in love.  With Yelena.  With Valek.  With Ixia and the Commander, and every little detail of the fully-realized world Maria V. Snyder created.
It's one of those I've never fully reviewed because I don't even know what to say or where to begin.  I can't talk about it, I can only discuss it.  About a year and a half ago, my book club (devoted Snyder fans, all) got Maria to come to town for a couple of events, and we hung out with her and had a rollicking good time. At our first dinner with her, this big, loud, lovely affair, we abandoned our polite Company Behavior and devolved into our normal book club selves, yelling over each other about our favorite characters and how things should happen, and who was clearly right and who was hopelessly wrong...Maria sat back and watched it all like the cat who'd eaten the canary.  It must be a heady experience to see people get so involved in your writing.  
And that's the highest recommendation I can give.  We cared.  We still argue about it.  We still have a tendency to turn roughly 1/2 of our monthly meetings into animated discussions about Maria's work (generally, the Glass series, in which we most disagree on things).  When someone new joins and asks us what to read, we all say "Poison Study" like Stepford Readers.  So what should you read?
Poison Study.

Should have shown you these looong ago, as our visit with Maria took place in November...of 2009...
 the group of us
 Dinner with Maria.  Lots of antics.
My contribution to our dinner.  When we read Poison Study for book club, I made "Pick Your Poison" lemonade, with fruit purees to mix in, each named after a poison from the books.  It was a hit, so when Maria came, I made it again -- bigger and better!  It's an odd assortment of beakers, test tubes, and odd-shaped glass, plus some skull and cross bones "shot glasses" (votives).  All transported in an antique medical satchel... ;)

 After dinner, we presented Maria with a gift basket as thanks!

I had other pictures, too, from the event, but I can't seem to find that memory card, so this'll have to do!

*Make sure you check out my CSN stores $65 GC giveaway and my part of the Follower Love Blog Hop giveaway!

Wicked Lovely Bites

from Goodreads
All teenagers have problems, but few of them can match those of Aislinn, who has the power to see faeries. Quite understandably, she wishes that she could share her friends' obliviousness and tries hard to avoid these invisible intruders. But one faery in particular refuses to leave her alone. Keenan the Summer King is convinced beyond all reasoning that Aislinn is the queen he has been seeking for nine centuries. What's a 21st-century girl to do when she's stalked by a suitor nobody else can see? A debut fantasy romance for the ages; superlative summer read.

There are times that this book fades into meh territory in my head, but then there are things that stand out now, 2 or 3 years after reading it.  It can feel a little write-by-numbers, with big neon signs over the plot points, and yet there's stilla part of me that likes it and recommends it.  And I think the reason is one silly little thing.
Donia and the history of the Winter Girls.  This one little painful gem in the story, with Donia suffering endless cold for love of the Summer King, sold me.  I wanted to read Donia's story, I wanted to read the story without the happy, easy resolution.  There were other things, too, that helped me like it and dragged it out of meh territory, but the mythology of the Winter Girls, the danger of becoming one, and Donia herself were what made it for me, and are the biggest motivator behind me recommending this book to people.
Beyond that, it's a super quick read, so even if you're not completely sold, it won't take you long at all.  It's fun and fast, and come to think of it, would have made a great choice for one of the fluff reads for Winter Wonderland...

*Make sure you check out my CSN stores $65 GC giveaway and my part of the Follower Love Blog Hop giveaway!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Smut Bite: Bitten

Ahem. This is a long one...

I moved back, more testing his reaction than seriously resisting.  He pushed me against a tree, hands sliding to my hips and gripping hard. His lips went back to mine, kisses deepening.  I started to struggle in earnest.  He pinned me between his body and the tree.  I kicked out at him and he pulled back, shaking his head.  I scrambled to catch my breath and looked around.  The clearing was empty.  Clay was gone.  As my fogged brain struggled to process this, my arms were yanked behind my head, toppling me to my knees.
"What the ---" 
"Hold still," Clay said from behind me.  "I'm helping."
"Helping?  Helping what?"
I tried to pull my arms down, but he held them tight.  Something soft slipped around my wrists.  A sapling swayed overhead.  Then Clay let go.  I jerked my arms but only moved a couple of inches before the cloth around my wrists snapped tight.    Once I was secured, he walked around and knelt over me, obviously far too pleased with what he was seeing.
"This isn't funny," I said.  "Untie me. Now."
Still grinning, he took hold of the top of my T-shirt and ripped it down the middle.  The he undid my bra.  I started to say something, then stopped, inhaling sharply.  He'd taken my breast in his mouth and was teasing the nipple with his teeth.  He flicked his tongue and it sprang up, hard.  A dart of lust fogged my brain.  I gasped.  He chuckled and the vibration sent a shivering tickle through me.
"Is that better?" he asked.  "Since you can't fight me, you can't be expected to stop me.  It's out of your control."
His hand moved from my breast and stroked my stomach, moving lower with frustrating slowness.  I had an unbidden image of his naked body over me.  The lust flared.  He shifted around.  I could feel his erection slide up my thigh.   I spread my legs a bit and felt the roughness of his jeans press against me.  Then he pulled back.
"Can you still feel tonight?" he whispered, bending to my ear.  "The hunt.  The chase.  Running through the city."
I shivered.
"Where do you feel it?" Clay asked, his voice deepening, eyes burning phosphorescent blue.
His hands slid to my jeans, unbuttoning them and sliding them over my hips.  He touched the inside of my thigh, holding his fingers there just long enough to make my heart skip.
"Do you feel it here?"
He slid his hand down to the inside of my knees, tracing the path of the chills coursing through me.  I closed my eyes and let the images of the night flow through my brain, the locked doors, the quiet streets, the scent of fear.  I remembered Clay's hand running through my fur, the spark of hunger in his eyes...The excitement was still there, pulsing through every part of my body.
"Can you feel it?" he asked, his face coming closer to mine.
I started to close my eyes.
"Don't" he whispered.  "Watch me."

I would love to transcribe this entire scene for you, as it is one of my favorite steamy moments (ever), but I'm not going to.  You need to pick up the book and enjoy for that...


*Make sure you check out my CSN stores $65 GC giveaway and my part of the Follower Love Blog Hop giveaway!

Feast of Fools Bite

from Goodreads:
In the town of Morganville, vampires and humans live in relative peace. Student Claire Danvers has never been convinced, though especially with the arrival of Mr. Bishop, an ancient, old-school vampire who cares nothing about harmony. What he wants from the town's living and its dead is unthinkably sinister. It's only at a formal ball, attended by vampires and their human dates, that Claire realizes the elaborately evil trap he's set for Morganville.

This is the 4th book of the Morganville Vampires series.  Though I do still enjoy them, and they are still quick, fun reads, I think they're starting to lose a little bit of the magic at this point.  I guess, for me, if you're going to continually be one-upping the danger level with Big Bads, something's got to give.  Someone's got to get seriously hurt or die (good guy or bad guy) or something's got to come out into the light of day; it just makes sense, and makes it more real.
↓!!! teensy bit spoilerish below !!!
To that end, something happened in this book that I didn't expect to like, but did: Clare's parents moved to Morganville.  I thought, oh great, this is going to be another "Clare's gotta keep the secret and hide all these antics from her parents blahblah" scenario, and it was going to be silly and unrealistic.  Instead, Clare's parents get pulled into the thick of the vampire mess that is Morganville, so there is no hiding it.  I liked this.  I didn't want to see any pussyfooting around. I'm sure they're still going to be used as pawns to build suspense, and that could get old, but for now, it was a twist I liked.
Another - the new players in town throw a great big wrench in the system, and 1 of them seems to particularly like toying with Shane.  I liked this, and the new dynamic it brought.
Overall, still completely enjoyable, but I didn't feel the need to stay up super late reading it like I did with Glass Houses.

*Make sure you check out my CSN stores $65 GC giveaway and my part of the Follower Love Blog Hop giveaway!

Black Dagger Brotherhood hawties BITE!

I haven't read any of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, but everyone keeps telling me I need to.  And my friend Evie recently tore through them, and posted lots of...interesting excerpts.  So clearly, I need to cave and read them. Until then, I'll just enjoy this fan-made "cast' video, set to "Sexy Boy" (love that song!), and featuring lots of swoon-worthies:

full credit goes to Calanthaa for making this video.  Makes you wanna read the books, doesn't it?

*Make sure you check out my CSN stores $65 GC giveaway and my part of the Follower Love Blog Hop giveaway!

Friday, February 11, 2011

I don't think you're ready for this jelly...

So, um, I should probably not publicize this little quirk of mine, but when something makes me really happy (like when I'm cooking willy-nilly and it turns out delicious), I do an excited shimmy.  For reals.  Just this weird little jigglyspazzydance that lets a little of the awesome out.
I've been doing it a lot lately.

As I'm sure you know, Basically Amazing Ashley and I are preparing for Fairy Tale Fortnight, and things are just -- the stars are aligning, manna is raining, and all the kids are coming out to play.
No joke.  I can't even tell you all of the awesome that is about to be unleashed on the world (wouldn't want to spoil it), but the word EPIC keeps springing to mind.

And to keep it awesome, and hopefully make it awesom-er, Ashley and I are coming to you for some input.  We are going to be having a number of interviews during the event, and we want to know what you guys want to know.  We'll be interviewing the following people, and we'd love to ask YOUR questions.
What have you been dying to know?   Tell us in the comments for a chance to have your question asked.  Questions can be specific to a certain author or book, or they can be general for all of the authors involved.
The list so far:

ELIZABETH C BUNCE, author of A Curse Dark as Gold; Starcrossed

JACLYN DOLAMORE, author of Magic Under Glass; Between the Sea and Sky, et al.

JESSICA DAY GEORGE, author of Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow; Princess of the Midnight Ball, et al.

METTE IVIE HARRISON, author of The Princess and the Hound; The Princess and the Bear, et al.

DONNA JO NAPOLI, author of Bound; Hush: an Irish Princess' Tale, et al.

JANETTE RALLISON, author of My Fair Godmother;  My Unfair Godmother, et al.

DIANE ZAHLER, author of The Thirteenth Princess, A True Princess, et al.

Please feel free to leave questions for any of the authors in the comments.  Multiple questions are welcome.
Also, if there's a book or author you'd particularly like to see be a part of the event, let me know in the comments!
And keep an eye out for Questions, Round 2...Ashley and I have a feeling we're going to need your input on some more great authors!


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