Saturday, September 29, 2012

Diaries of an Urban Panther by Amanda Arista

Title: Diaries of an Urban Panther
Author: Amanda Arista
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Diaries of an Urban Panther #1

Mass Market Paperback, 413 pages
Published July 26th 2011 by Avon Impulse

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Source: Bought it for myself

Violet Jordan Rule #1 of being a superhero: No tights.

Dear Diary,

By now you know I'm hardly a normal girl. Last night I woke up naked in an alley after fighting off some werewolves. All in a day's work, I guess. I thought I was dealing pretty well with the whole werepanther thing: the training, the apocalyptic prophecies. And the hot guy following me around, protecting me at every turn, is definitely a bonus. I'm even starting to become accustomed to the bloodshed and the violence--and that's what scares me. What will tomorrow bring? . . .

Violet Jordan just recently moved to Dallas from L.A. after a breakup, and is working as a writer scripting low-budgeted horror films. Violet is your average everyday gal, someone who never gets a second glance especially when the people she hangs out with are of the model varieties. Violet life is pretty normal, nothing big ever happens to her…until she gets attacked by a wild animal in an alley. Violet’s life gets turned upside down when she finds out she’s now a were-panther and she part of an ancient prophecy.

I really enjoyed this book more than I thought. Violet transformed from the girl behind the scene to a strong and more confident person throughout the book. She not only got more confident after becoming bitten but physically changed too, making her more noticeable than before. Readers follow Violet as she comes to terms with her being a shifter, and as she learns to control her inner beast. while Violet learns Panther 101, she must stop a demon from breaking free from ‘the veil’ (a barrier that separates our world from a magical prison) and not get captured by the clan that made her.  

The book is filled with flash-back scenes of Violet and her mom. Her mom always recited fairy tales, and all of these fairy tales hold truth to what is going to happen next in the book. There are also wonderful secondary characters as well, such as Chaz “stalker boy’’ who helps Violet learn the ropes of all things supernatural. Jessa, Violet’s best friend and Iris, the wise old woman…or is it lioness? 

This is labeled as a paranormal romance but I think it’s a blend of PR and UF. This was a great start to a new series! This book is full of action, snarky one-linear, hot guardians, nasty shifters, faeries, and an all dooming prophecy. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Author Interview & Giveaway with Sean Cummings

Sean Cummings, author of The Valerie Stevens series is joining us today to answer questions about his upcoming new novel, Poltergeeks which hits stores and online retailers everywhere October 2, 2012. 

Hi Sean! Thank you for joining us today, can you give us the Elevator pitch for Poltergeeks

Thanks for joining in on the blog tour! Elevator pitch, huh? A teen witch with an independence streak a mile wide along with her dorky best friend help a little old lady with a poltergeist infested house only to find themselves thrown into a do-or-die mystery where lives are at stake and only hours to save a person’s soul.

Was it harder for you to write this Young-Adult novel than your Urban Fantasy Valerie Stevens series? 

You bet it was – I’m writing for a younger audience and so there’s the need to make all my younger characters sound authentic. That took a bit of work and a boatload of help from my agent Jenny Savill and my editor Amanda Rutter.

What actors would you choose to play some of your characters if your book were made into a movie or TV show?

That’s a neat question, okay let’s see. For Julie, I’d like to see Elle Fanning who was in Super 8. For Marcus, I can’t think of anyone off the top of my head – Jay Baruchel immediately comes to mind but he’s way too old. For Julie’s mom, I think that Laura Linnie would be awesome. For Betty I’d like to see Andrea Martin doing her Edith Prickly character because that’s basically who was in my head as I wrote Betty. 

Is Poltergeeks a standalone or a planned series? 

It’s the first book in a series. The second book is STUDENT BODIES and it comes out next fall.

Do you have a certain writing routine? 

Yep. I’m up early every day as I have a day job so I write at around four in the morning – I’m a morning person. I just can’t write at the end of a full day worth of work. I write on the weekends – again first thing in the morning. It’s the curse of being a morning person.

Sean Cummings (via Author's site)
Tell us three interesting things about yourself that can’t be found in your biography section.
1)      I have a terrible sweet tooth
2)      I wanted to be an editorial cartoonist and I still dabble
3)      I originally wanted to be a children’s author

If you were shipwrecked on a desert island what 3 books would you want with you?
1)      An infantry field craft manual so that I can survive.
2)      Different Seasons by Stephen King because it’s a fantastic book
3)      A book about how to build a raft

What are you currently reading right now or what are some books in your TBR pile?

I’m currently reading MOCKINGBIRD by Chuck Wendig. A fantastic follow-up to BLACKBIRDS. Miriam Black is a train wreck of a character and I just can’t help but watch.

Valerie Stevens #1

What other projects can we look forward to reading from you in the future?

As mentioned, the follow up to POLTERGEEKS is STUDENT BODIES and it comes out next fall. I’m working on revisions for the first in a post apocalyptic trilogy called THE NORTH – another YA book. My agent is going to being shopping TIM REAPER – he’s an amoral death spirit in human form. A bit of a detective, a bit of a bounty hunter. He’s a fantastic character and I could write TIM REAPER books until the cows come home because he’s fun as hell to write.

Do you have any advice to aspiring writers?

Yes. Get an agent. Seriously, get an agent. I know there’s a handful of self-published authors who’ve met with great success in 2012, but they’re the exception and not the rule. An agent is a sounding board for ideas and they understand the market far better than an aspiring author because that’s their job. An agent gives you the swift kick in the pants that you need to make your story just that much better. They have the connections in publishing that you don’t. They are everything that you’re not and you simply need an agent if you plan to meet with any kind of success in this business.

Finish this statement: You’ll enjoy Poltergeeks if you like…

Action movies on the printed page. Non-stop action where the stakes are high and time is running out.

**Lighting Questions**

Facebook or Twitter?: Twitter. I’m on Facebook but Twitter is the more influential social networking tool in my view.
Valerie Stevens #2

Coke or Pepsi?: Doctor Pepper. Preferably in Big Gulp form from 7-11

Favorite Paranormal creature?: Werewolf – of the kind that rips you apart and eats you. Thomas Emson’s MANEATER is a brilliant example of what a good werewolf novel looks like.

Morning or Night?: Morning – it’s when I am most creative.

Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings?: Lord of the Rings. It’s epic. I like epic stuff.

Favorite junk food?: Sour Cream and Onion chips.

Baked or Fried?: Baked

Valerie Stevens #3
E-reader or physical book?: E-reader. I love physical books but I prefer my ereader because my eyes aren’t as great as they once were and I can adjust the font.

Comedy or Horror?: Horror Comedy – A good example is An American Werewolf in London.

All time favorite movie?: Lillies of the Field starring Sidney Poitier. That movie can’t not make you smile in your heart. It’s a movie about hope. It’s beautifully filmed in the desert. It’s got strong characters and an underlying message about love and the spirit of generosity that exists in all of us. I absolutely adore Lillies of the Field.

Thank you for being here today Sean! 

Sean Cumming's

Buy the Book

A prize pack which includes one copy of SHADE FRIGHT, FUNERAL PALLOR, UNSEEN, and POLTERGEEKS by Sean Cummings.

To enter this amazing prize pack, click here to Sean's blog for more details!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Title: Magic Slays
Author: Ilona Andrews
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Kate Daniels #5

Mass Market Paperback, 308 pages
Published May 31st 2011 by Ace

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Source: Bought for myself

Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.

Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be—now that the Order is disparaging her good name, and many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.

So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. Turns out this is not an isolated incident, and Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price . . .


Man, oh man…you can never go wrong with a Kate Daniels novel. Magic Slays, the fifth book in the Kate Daniels series just keeps getting better and better. Kate has left the Order and is now running her own business The Cutting Edge. Kate’s first big assignment involves tracking down a device that obliterates all magic, meaning if you have an ounce of magic you’re dead (The People, The Pack, or Kate herself). If Kate hopes to track down the device and the mad-man that created it, she’s going to need help from all the supernaturals of Atlanta.  

There was a lot going on in this book. Kate and Curran are officially mated, so readers see how their relationship is adjusting. Kate and Curran’s relationship is still strong but kind of lost its flirty-sizzling banter thing they had going on before they got together. As the book progress you can see their relationship grow, and they’re still learning things about one another. I love seeing Kate in alpha mode in front of the pack. The pack thinks they can give her a hard time, but we know Kate…she’s never one to back down from a fight. The readers also learn more about Kate’s past, family, and the ugly truth about her mother and Voron (the man that raised and trained her).  There were plenty of Kate and Curran throughout the book, with my other favorite characters like Derek, Andrea, Julie, getting their page time. Sadly, no Raphael in the book (but don’t worry that’s what Gunmetal Magic is for LOL) but we did meet a new bouda character, Ascanio…and I hope we get to see more of him in the future books. 

Magic Slays is a great addition to the series; it’s everything you expect from an Ilona Andrews novel. This book, and its predecessors before it is full of Kate’s trademark snark, an emotional rollercoaster on every page, and nonstop action. The world-building is always expanding, with complex and multilayered characters that grow with each book making it one of the best urban fantasy series around. I can’t wait till Magic Rises; book 6 in the series comes out! I highly recommend this series to everyone, definitely a series that will stay with for a long time and a series that never get tiring. Book five...still going strong!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson

Title: Full Blooded
Author: Amanda Carlson
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Jessica McClain #1

Trade paperback, 322 pages

Published on September 11, 2012 by Orbit

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Source: Publisher


It's not easy being a girl. It's even harder when you're the only girl in a family of werewolves. But it's next to impossible when your very existence spells out the doom of your race... Meet Jessica McClain -- she just became part of the pack.


Holy cow, this book was AMAZING! ! I’ve been excited for this book ever since I heard the synopsis and when the author posted the cover reveal a couple of months back. Jessica McCain is the only female ever born in an all male race (werewolves), being the daughter of the alpha but not carrying the shifter gene. The pack sees Jessica as an abomination, and they believe her birth is a catalyst to the demise of their race. At the age of 26 and way pass puberty, Jessica has made a life for herself working as a PI with her best friend Nick who is a shifter. Then one night everything changed, and Jessica made her first shift into a werewolf.  With her shifting, it triggered a line between the alpha, her dad and the entire pack. Not only does Jessica now have to watch her back from the threat of the pack, the supernatural community, but also a mercenary who’ve been hired to track down Jessica at all means necessary. 

I LOVE this book! So far it’s the best book I’ve read this year. Full Blooded grabbed me in the first page and had me reading till the very end! I stayed up till the wee hours of the morning finishing Full Blooded, and there hasn’t been a book that held my attention like this EVER. I love anything werewolf or shifter related, but Carlson took the werewolf lore and what it means to be an UF novel to a whole new high, creating an original world through the Cain and Lycan legend. 

Jessica our one and only female werewolf, is one kick-ass chick! She’s strong, independent, snarky, and one crazy fighter…she’s surrounded by tough dominant males but is able to hold her own in a fight. Jessica and her wolf are one but at the same time two separate entity. In order to be in control, Jessica needs to dominant her wolf but as you read you see Jessica and her wolf working together. At times Jessica, even takes the back-seat and let her wolf be in the forefront taking charge. I really enjoyed Jessica's internal monologue with herself and wolf. Jessica McCain is definitely up there with other strong and likeable UF heroines of the genre like, Kate Daniels, Mercy Thompson, Charlie Madigan, Gin Blanco, Max, and Arcadia Bell to name a few. 

Now on to the men of Full blooded, and boy were there many!! I have never read a book packed with so many awesome male leads and supporting characters. We have Jessica’s dad Callum, alpha of the pack. As you read the book, you definitely see why he is the alpha and I love his relationship to his pack and children. Next we have Tyler (Jessica’s twin brother), James (second in command to the pack), Danny (head of security), and IRISH- nuff said LOL but no he is super funny and will make you laugh through the book, Nick, and finally Rourke. Rourke, a charming mysterious man and we learn a lot of things about him along the way…which was quite a fun surprise. I love his interaction with Jessica, but even at the end of the book, readers still don’t know what werecat he is.

Full Blooded was full of action and twist on the werewolf mythology, with a world and characters that you can’t get enough of. While werewolves are the main sups of the book, there are also shifters, a crazy sorceress /goddess, imp, and creepy vampires (thankfully not of the twilight variety!) I highly recommend this all to PR and UF fans, this is the best werewolf book and best UF book that I’ve read so far this year. If I can give it more than 5 stars I would…yes, it’s that awesomeee! Calrson’s debut novel is a must read, and if you haven’t read it yet…you’re totally missing out.

Full blooded is the first book in a planned series, with Hot Blooded releasing in April 2013. 

**Thank you Orbit for sending me a copy of this book for review**

FTC disclaimer: Orbit provided me with a copy of Full Blooded, and in return I provide an honest review.