Monday, June 30, 2008

Eve Kenin Interview and Contest!

Eve Kenin has become one of the best authors to write incredible Futuristic Speculative Romances. I already have enjoyed Eve's Gothic Historical Romances under her Eve Silver name. Last year when Driven was published I wasn't too sure what to think. To read about a desolate world where people either kill or be killed seemed a bit harsh for my tastes. But I decided to take a chance, and what a wonderful chance it was! Kristie also couldn't stop raving about Driven and we were anxiously waiting for the sequel, Hidden. And if you read our duo review last week, you can see what hardcore Eve Kenin fans we have become. And being such fans, we had to ask Eve for an interview, which she agreed to.

Kristie here. I was so excited when Kate said you would answer some questions. I was blown away by Driven. It was the first Urban Fantasy I'd read and I don't think I could have picked a better one to introduce me to the genre. I loved everything about it - the strong heroine, the unusual background of Wizard and his siblings, the post apocalyptic feel of the book just everything. And I equally loved Hidden – as you can tell.

Eve: Thanks, Kristie! I wrote DRIVEN because the book insisted on getting written. I honestly wasn't certain that it would ever find a, trans-Siberian trucker romances aren't a hugely popular sub-genre, LOL! I was blown away by the support for that book, and I really worked to make HIDDEN a worthy follow-up. Hearing that you love these stories as I do is wonderful.

Kristie: As both Kate and I have noticed, and I'm sure we aren't the only ones, your two Shomi books have almost a Mad Max feel to them. Have you seen the Mad Max movies and did they influence the stories?

Eve: I've seen the Mad Max movies, and enjoyed each one of them. But, no, they didn't influence these stories. Actually, it was Joss Whedon's amazing series Firefly that jump-started my imagination. Add to that the anime I was watching at the time--Full Metal Panic, Hellsing, GTO, GetBackers--and I was on a roll. Once the world and the history were fleshed out for DRIVEN, it was only a matter of keeping the continuity for HIDDEN. But I was worried that HIDDEN would simply be a rehash of DRIVEN, and I absolutely didn't want that to be the case. So I added twists and turns and surprises to keep the flavor and feel the same, while still offering the reader something new and fresh.

Kristie: Do you have any more storylines in mind in this setting? It may be just me, but I could see there could be quite a few tales to tell - I hope so anyway *g*

Eve: LOL! You aren't ready to let go of the Northern Waste, are you? I have a ton of stories in mind. There are so many characters clamoring to break free of my imagination and get their stories down in paper and ink.

Kristie: Do you have a story in mind for Yuriko planned and if so, any idea how long we have to wait for her story?

Eve: I'd love to have the opportunity to write Yuriko's story, as well as stories for some of the other characters we've encountered in the Northern Waste. But right now, I'm working on my next Eve Silver historical gothic, delving into the mind of a monster against the backdrop of beautiful, bucolic Cairncroft Abbey.

Kristie: What do you think of the covers you've received so far in your Shomi books? In my own case - I love them. There are quite a few romance books I won't read in public because of the covers, but I was reading Driven in the food court at the local mall one time and wasn't bothered at all.

Eve: The Shomi covers are interesting, and since the line began they have undergone an evolution. DRIVEN had a distinct feel that was reflected in all the early SHOMI releases. Then the direction of the covers changed and HIDDEN has a different feel. They both scream action, and I do feel that each accurately reflects elements of the stories.

Katie: So many post-apocalyptic stories and movies where they take place in a desert setting or where global warming has destroyed Earth with scorching temperatures. What made you decide on a frozen arctic setting for Driven and Hidden?

Eve: DRIVEN decided the setting. That might sound odd, but there's no other answer to this question. The Northern Waste popped out, fully fleshed. Maybe because I wrote DRIVEN in the winter, and, um, I really hate the cold. Maybe because the frozen setting was a reflection of the frozen and barren life that Wizard, Tatiana and Yuriko originally led. I only know that these stories needed to be set in the Waste. There was no other setting that would work.

Katie: You've been nominated and won many awards. The reviews for your books are outstanding. Do you feel you have a great deal to live up to? Does a review, good or bad influence your writing?

Eve: I feel both honored and humbled by the wonderful praise for my work, both as Eve Silver and Eve Kenin. My first release came out in late 2005, and since that time my books have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, been chosen among Library Journal's Best Books 2007, received nominations, awards and honorable mentions in AAR's Annual Reader Poll, and awards and Top Picks from Romantic Times in all three sub-genres that I write. I treasure each and every accolade. Is it a great deal to live up to? You bet. But I'm my own harshest critic. I can't put out a book that I feel isn't my very best effort, and I push myself hard with each story I tell. Good and bad reviews...Mostly, I try not to read reviews because I have been working at such a crazy pace. In addition to writing three releases for 2007 and four releases for 2008, I teach human anatomy. So my on-line reading time is limited, and I try to read and answer every email I receive because I value the time a reader puts into sending me an email. Moreover, I recognize that different books speak to different people. While some may love my stories, others may not, and they are perfectly entitled to their opinion. Not every story works for every reader or reviewer. What one reviewer hates about a particular story, another reviewer will love. If I tried to write to all the varying opinions, I'd likely freeze and never write another thing. So I just write the best book I can write.

Katie: You just updated your website recently, which looks really great! Do you think it is important for authors to have a website or blog? Is this good PR?

Eve: Thank you! I love my new website. When I made my first sale, my husband taught himself Dreamweaver and designed a website for me as a gift. I loved that original site, but it was designed for a newbie by a newbie. It wasn't designed to grow. Fast forward three years and nine books. There just wasn't room for all of them! So hubby went back to the drawing board and created a new site with the help of a buddy at MadLab. Do I think it is important for an author to have a website? Well, I can only speak for myself. I like to have that connection with readers, to offer a place that they can find information about my books and even a little bit about me (though I'm a fairly boring girl, which is why I don't have a nice, chatty blog, (LOL!)

Katie: You write for so many genres from historical romance, contemporary paranormals, and speculative futuristic. What made you decide to branch out to so many other genres instead of just writing for one?

Eve: This question's easy. I had stories to tell, so I told them. There's no guarantee that I'll stick only to these three genres. If I had a story about a wagon train that was screaming to be written, I'd write it. (But, um, there's never any guarantee that I'd find someone who'd publish it, LOL!)

Katie: If you were a character in one of you Northern Waste books, what type of character would you be? How would you survive? Urrgh! Must I answer this question?

Eve: How would I survive? *With a lot of grumbling.* I hate the cold (even though I live in a region that's cold for months and months on end). Thanks for asking these questions and giving me the chance to share this information :)

Along with a great interview, we have a great book to give away! Eve has an ARC of her September Anthology release, NATURE OF THE BEAST up for grabs! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by Thursday. And if you have a question for Eve, ask away because she may just stop by! :D

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The DIK blog

Now, in case some may not know, after a group of us finished the DIK books and heroes, Sarai came up with the idea for a blog.
Right now it's starting with a 'getting to know us' thing. A group of questions was asked and it was our choice to answer which ones we wanted to. So far everyone has answered one question -
Boxers, briefs, boxer briefs or kilts.

This is for all the ladies who answered kilts!!

WALL*E Movie Review

Yesterday I saw WALL*E, one of the three movies I had planned to see this summer. My four year old voice in my head, who I have now named Blossum, was screaming at me to go see this movie. So to look reputable I took my two little cousins with me, ages four and six. You would think I would have problems with two rambunctious boys, but actually they are angels when they go to the movies. My main problem was what if one of them one wanted to go to the bathroom during the movie? What do I do? I even told their mother about my concern. She just laughed and gave me good advice. But disaster was diverted and no potty breaks were needed during the viewing.

My favorite Disney Pixar movie of all time is Toy Story and now I can say that it is WALL*E. If you enjoy the Pixar movies, you will love this movie. Even if you aren’t a fan of animation, I whole heartily recommend you go see WALL*E. As an adult I was taught a lesson as well as the two little boys sitting next to me. When a child and adult can leave a movie together and talk about the same things they watched and ask questions, that is really an amazing thing.

Synopsis: What if mankind had to leave Earth, and somebody forgot to turn the last robot off? After hundreds of lonely years of doing what he was built for, WALL*E (short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) discovers a new purpose in life (besides collecting knick-knacks) when he meets a sleek search robot named EVE. EVE comes to realize that WALL*E has inadvertently stumbled upon the key to the planet's future, and races back to space to report her findings to the humans (who have been eagerly awaiting word that it is safe to return home). Meanwhile, WALL*E chases EVE across the galaxy and sets an adventure into motion. Joining WALL*E on his journey across the universe is a cast of characters including a pet cockroach and a heroic team of malfunctioning misfit robots.

The first few minutes of WALL*E are a bit depressing. Earth is a vast wasteland of garbage. And when I say wasteland, I mean that in the literal sense. Humans have left Earth because of the output of garbage, waste and abuse to the environment. The year is 2775 and all that remains are skyscrapers, filth and waste. As I sat there, the six year turns to me and asks what has happened to the Earth? Why all the garbage? I honestly have no answer for him and as he turns back to look at the screen he says, garbage is very bad. Things become a bit lighter as we see WALL*E on the screen. The character of WALL*E is so very much like a child. He sees things as a child would. Even though his job is to clean up the garbage the best he can, he likes to collect things such as Rubik Cubes, light bulbs and utensils. WALL*E has such an incredible personality that shows he is not just a mindless robot. He enjoys watching an old time 1950’s musical and loves the music and the dancing. He especially enjoys watching one scene over and over again where a man and woman are holding hands and sing to each other. WALL*E assumes love means holding hands; but he has no one to hold hands with.
EVE comes down to Earth with a directive in mind. She reminded me of a mutant egg, but quickly just as WALL*E tugged at my heart, EVE will do the same with you. WALL*E welcomes her with open arms, so very happy he has another to share his toys with. He assumes she will want to stay with him and perhaps she will be the one to finally hold his hand. (The hand holding becomes very important throughout the movie) But WALL*E has in his possession what EVE is searching for. WALL*E has found a small plant growing out of all the waste and gives it to EVE. By plant life beginning to grown on Earth again after hundreds of years, that means humans can return to their home and begin a new.

EVE is taken back to her ship and WALL*E follows her because he thinks she is in danger. EVE is sent back to a huge giant like cruise spaceship where humans live as if they are on permanent vacation. Another disturbing fact is that because robots do everything for humans, humans have become big lazy blobs who ride around in chairs as they drink fatting shakes and watching TV very oblivious to life around them. When the Captain of the ship receives the plant, it means they can return home to Earth. But his co-pilot, which is a robot and so very much like HAL from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey has specific instructions that humans can not return to Earth. It takes over the ship’s controls and tries to stop WALL*E and EVE from placing the plant in a certain part of the ship that will enable them to go back to Earth.

So many lessons were taught and learned in this simple animated movie. It is heartbreaking to think in hundreds of years, Earth may no longer be inhabitable by living things and we would have to leave to travel in space with no meaning. WALL*E in some ways is very much like 2001: A Space Odyssey and as an adult I laughed at so many hidden jokes that came straight from the movie. But like 2001, there is hope and in WALL*E even though things look hopeless, that is not the case. Even though Earth is devastated, things can change. By the end of WALL*E my depression that I felt at the beginning of the movie became a feeling of hope. You must stay till the very end and watch the closing credits because as Peter Gabriel sings, we see through very amateur drawings how humans can make Earth so very green again because of a robot who should have no feelings or personality was able to deliver one small plant that will become the roots for a future of hope.

As my two little men and I left the theater laughing and chatting about what we watched, I pray because they are the next generation, that by watching a movie like WALL*E, they realize how important it is to be respectful to the Earth. But they are taught so very well already, because every piece of garbage they had, they put in the garbage can because it is the right thing to do.

Two very big thumbs up!!

**Make sure to stop by and visit tomorrow because Kristie and I are posting an interview with did with Eve Kenin. You will also have the chance to win an ARC of her September release of the Eve Silver anthology, Nature of the Beast. **

Katiebabs (KB)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I'm home - and I'm tired

Too tired to do anything but read other people's blogs for a while. So I thought I'd do a filler until the brain comes back with this cute quiz I saw on Let's Gab.

Your hidden talent is writing

Your hidden talent is writing. You have a unique way of viewing the world and are able to express your thoughts eloquently on the page. Some people might think that you are weird, but you are just the next Pulitzer prize winner.

Click Here To Start Writing Your Novel

Take this quiz at

Friday, June 27, 2008

Say Hello to Blossum!

Katiebabs has decided on a new alter-ego. Say hello to Powerpuff superheroine Blossum who can write thoughtful and funny book reviews on a moments notice! Plus if she has to be a bit snarky in her reviews, we can blame Blossum, not KB! *G*

Already Blossum has taken over my avatar. Stay tuned for more breaking information to follow...

If you could be any super hero or heroine who would you be and why?


Shades of Dark: The Joint Review

Thea and Ana from Book Smugglers and I have done it again! We have teamed up to write our "exclusive" reviews of Linnea Sinclair's Shades of Dark! Read mine and then go read hers and see if we are of the same mine. Plus, Ana and Thea are holding a Shades of Dark Contest over the weekend where there is an interview with Linnea and you can have your chance to win Shades of Dark.
And just to remind everyone, Sully is mine for always. Sorry Ana! :D

About two years ago, I was stuck in a romance genre rut. All I would read was historical with some contemporary funnies on the side. Also, paranormal romance was just starting to catch my eye. The thought of picking up a science fiction novel, even one with romance didn’t appeal to me. I don’t know how I came to hear of Linnea Sinclair, but for some reason I decided to give her a try. Some online message boards I would visit raved about her book, Gabriel’s Ghost. I quickly went to my local library to see if they had this book. It wasn’t in the romance section and I was shocked to see it was in Science Fiction. Why, honestly I have never even stepped foot to look at any books in that section and couldn’t believe I was there. I guess you could say I was a bit of a snob, because I really didn’t think there was no way romance could work in a sci-fi novel.
How wrong I was! I must first thank Linnea for opening my eyes to a whole new world. Because of Gabriel’s Ghost, I decided then to branch out to other genres. Soon I was reading all types of romance themed books. Linnea Sinclair is the reason I have grown from a biased type of reader into one willing to explore new books, even outside romance.

Gabriel’s Ghost is one of my all time favorite books regardless of it being a “science fiction” novel. As most of you know, I have a mad crush on Gabriel “Sully” Sullivan. He is such an ideal hero in so many ways. A bit of a loner who knows right from wrong but still feels the need for the best things in life. If he has to steal them, so be it. Of course the one thing he wants to steal most of all is the heart of a woman who seems to despise him. I won’t go into the whole plot of Gabriel’s Ghost, but the relationship between Sully and Chasidah “Chaz” Bergren, his angel-mine, is a subtle affair, not the big bang sexing love we are so use to in the romance we read and what some expect to find. Their love slowly builds up and becomes such a worthy one that can compete with most of the classic love stories we have come to adore.

When I heard Linnea was writing a sequel to Gabriel’s Ghost, I did a little dance of joy Sully and Chaz were coming back! But would her sequel, Shades of Dark be a worthy book? Would it loose its appeal or be written in a way where the love Sully and Chaz have for each other is lacking? Well, Linnea I am sorry to say Gabriel’s Ghost is no longer my favorite novel of yours, it is Shades of Dark, which is destined to be a sci-fi romance classic, in my eyes at least.

Shades of Dark takes place three months after Gabriel’s Ghost ends. Sully, Chaz and their crew are fugitives, trying to stop Sully’s cousin and his partner in crime by taking over the galaxy. These villains are able to re-create mutant beasts called Jukors that were used by the Empire. Because these things were so dangerous and hard to control, the Empire stopped all creation of them. Sully and Chaz’s self determined mission is to fine these illegal labs where the Jukors are being made and try and stop these horrendous clones before it is too late.

Things are a bit touch and go, especially because Sully is a rare human breed called a Kyi Ragkiril who has telepathic and telekinetic abilities. His kind are so feared that he would be killed right on the spot. Sully is slowly losing his identity as a human because he is not sure he can control his powers. His only hope is Chaz, who is his ky’sara. As his ky’sara, Chaz can feel all of Sully thoughts and emotions, and the same goes for Sully. They are soul mates in the literal sense and when Sully makes love to Chaz, she does literally see stars! Sully likes to show Chaz the stars a lot! Yup, much more intimate moments going on between Sully and Chaz here! :D

Even though Sully and Chaz are happy to be together, they are never safe, especially when her brother is arrested for treason. Now more than ever they must find these labs and through some rumors and inside information from associates, they may have the perfect man to aid them. His name is Regarth Serian Cordell Delkavra otherwise known as Captain "Del" Regarth who is also a Stolorth and a Kyi. He is willing to help for a price and seems to take an interest in Chaz.

As Del joins Sully and Chaz, Del helps train Sully to control his kyi abilities. But Chaz doesn’t like the way Del works. Del is a sleazy yet seductive character who not only wants to have a special relationship with Sully but wants to be a part of what Chaz and Sully have together! Yup, an intergalactic Kyi ménage. Now before you all become shocked and think, why, is Linnea going to go where none of her stories have gone before, Del’s “blackmail” shall we say, is very subtle. Chaz makes the assumption and Del doesn’t deny or agree.

Chaz is in between a rock and hard place. Her brother may end up dead, Sully is loosing himself more and more as a Kyi and Del keeps giving her the dirty eye that makes her want to shower. And then her ex-husband Philip shows up and that is when the real fun begins!

Ana and I talked about how hard of a review this was to write because there is so much going on and the action is the non-stop, buckle yourself in because it is going to be a bumpy ride type. To give anything else away would be major spoilers. A little tease I can give you is that at one point Linnea does something to Sully that made me sob and want to write her and say “WTF?”. I did end up writing her and she chuckled and said just keep reading, which I did and was truly blown away up to the very last page.

Shades of Dark is a masterpiece of science fiction fantasy. This is everything I was looking for in a book from a stellar love story, some of the most excellent written characters that I have read in such a long time and some twists that made me shout out loud. I am not one to shout as I read, but Linnea’s books tend to do that to me. For an author to bring such emotion from myself is truly a master. Shades of Dark is one of these books that is a work of art. There are only two other books this year I have given a total of 5 stars to and Shades of Dark is one of them.

5 out of 5 stars.

Katiebabs (KB)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dead To Me Winner

We have a winner in the Dead To Me book giveaway!


You have won a copy of Dead To Me by Anton Strout. Just email me your mailing address at:

Come back tomorrow for my review of Linnea's Sinclair's Shades of Dark. It will be another duel review with Ana from Book Smugglers!
**Ana is under the delusion that Sully is hers. Sorry, but I lay claim to him! Linnea even told me he's mine! (um, I like to think she will let me have him since Sully is one of my favorite heroes of all time!)**
Katiebabs (KB)

Some Fun

By now you have seen this quiz making the rounds on the blogs.

And the lovely ladies at Book Smugglers tagged me!
Here's the deal:

Get yourself to the nearest book, flip to page 123, and copy the 5th sentence out here...

I am reading Sam's Creed by Sarah McCarty:

"She licked her lips, the next words lodge in her throat as a flush burned her from toe to head"

Such a perfect sentence for the tone of this book :D

Of course I need some victims... ahem... volunteers to play along. I have tagged:

Carolyn Jean
Lisa Bea
Jen B
Wendy the Super Librarian
Jill D

Katiebabs (KB)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dangerous Secrets Review!

When I finally ventured into the online world of ebooks, I found Ellora’s Cave. There were three authors there I quickly had become a big fan of. They were Samantha Kane, Sarah McCarty and Lisa Marie Rice. I find Lisa Marie Rice to be a very different author of erotic romance. Most erotic romance has the hero and heroine trying out every sexual position possible to the point where they are swinging from chandeliers and spanking each other upside their bums. (and even in some cases multiple partners and toys are a big option) Lisa writes romances that don’t need such shocking and scandalous sex to get her point across. She is the one author who writes some of the hottest missionary sex around. Her stories are so beyond sexy because of the bond the hero and heroine form between them. Her heroes are men who are so lost, adrift in the world until they meet that one woman that gives them their soul back.

When I found out Lisa would be published in the mainstream book world, I was over the moon. Dangerous Lover was one of my favorite books of 2007 and her hero, Jack Prescott is one of my all time favorite heroes in romance ever. That says a lot coming from me, because from the amount of romances I read a year, the majority of the heroes are a dime a dozen. But not Lisa’s men. Her newest hero, Nicholas Ireland, in her July release of Dangerous Secrets is very much a trademark Rice hero. He is very much an alpha male but so protective and sweet of the woman he cares for. He wants to swallow his new found love whole, but feels the need to treat her with kindness and care instead. Because I am so biased about Jack, Nick doesn’t even come close in my hero worship, but the way he treats his woman, librarian Charity Prewitt, is so very endearing.

I read Dangerous Secrets in one sitting a few weeks ago during an electrical blackout because the heat was so intense. Without any power, I cracked open Dangerous Secrets and read it under four hours. Nicholas Ames is a rich stockbroker who starts to woo the local town librarian. Actually, Nick is a former Delta operator on an undercover mission. He is really Nick Ireland a.k.a. the Iceman who must befriend and seduce Charity because she is best friends with Vassily Worontzoff, a Russian immigrant who has acclaim as a world renowned writer. He also happens to be head of a world wide crime syndicate that aids terrorists. If Nick can get close to Charity, he will be able to get to Worontzoff and stop him from ruining more innocent lives.

Charity has no clue who the real Nick is and he courts her very smoothly. Things happen very quickly between these two and Charity is so enthralled by Nick, that she takes him into her bed and gives him her heart. Even though Nick’s nickname is the Iceman, he is not cold at all. He is sick over the way he has to lie to Charity. He hates the fact that the woman he is falling for is being placed in danger because of him. Charity is such a kind and loving woman and her love wraps Nick in a wonderful bubble of promises and hope for a future. But he knows that all will end because he has to betray Charity in the worst way.

Ah yes, that nasty word- betrayal. Nick does something that tears Charity apart and probably will make most readers growl because Charity feels so deeply for Nick and her heart is ripped in half to the point she is ready to die. As she goes through these emotions, I felt so deeply for her. And when Charity finally confronts Nick, he has no words to explain how sorry he is over her grief. Even if he groveled on his hands and knees (and we all know we love when a hero gets down and begs for forgiveness) it won’t be enough. The only promise Nick can give Charity is the fact that she will no longer be alone and he will make it his life’s purpose to bring her joy, happiness and all the hot loving she can handle.

Dangerous Secrets is very much an erotic thriller because of the plot about terrorists. Worontzoff is borderline cartoonish in his villainy, but Lisa gives the reader enough background on this man that you actually do feel sorry for him at one point. For he is a man that has loved and lost; much like Nick. The difference is that Nick does not descend into madness like Worontzoff.

Charity is sweet yet not so innocent where she will annoy most. If I were in her shoes, I would have fallen for a man like Nick and never question his motives. There is a point where she does something some would place under the TSTL (to stupid to live) category but her actions pulled everything together in the end.

Dangerous Secrets is a nice read for the summer season, even though it takes place in the cold winter of Vermont. Nick and Charity steam up the sheets just fine with their love story and of course some nice missionary sex I have come to enjoy in a Rice novel.

3 out of 5 stars.

**And I have another surprise in store! Lisa Marie Rice gave me an interview! Keep your eyes posted here for my "EXCLUSIVE" interview with Lisa!**

Katiebabs (KB)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Quickly ducking in again

Nancy is off looking for food they don't sell in the States that she misses. She dropped me off at home and either she has stopped at Walmart and is taking a while - or she is lost.

But until I get that phone call to come and find her, I have time to do another quick post and send you to Kaya's. She has a wonderful post on what makes North and South so special for her.
And speaking of North and South, I had a friend over on Friday night and yep - we watched it. She LOVED it and is planning on finding her own copy. She doesn't have a blog so I can't add her - but still - another Crusader.

Now I gotta run 'cause I'm supposed to be working on the back bedroom. My whole house is in chaos at the moment - not just the back bedrooms. And I've had to make some real tough choices on what to throw out. It's painful to the pack rat in me.


Busted!! She wasn't lost. Nancy was indeed at Walmart. She got me some green garbage bags for more purging.
I told her I just had to comment on Kaya's wonderful post. I'm trying to talk her into watching North and South but she's not going for it -------yet

(the pain, the pain)


Krisitie's sister Nancy here. Procrastination is her middle name.......

She's right you know.

Only back briefly but thanks once again to Cindy S *sigh*

(while Nancy gets ready - she's more of a girly girl than me and takes much longer - why she's putting on make-up and stuff when she knows I'm going to make her sweat by helping me clean out the back bedroom I don't know - but it gives me a bit extra time)
Cindy just had to do it. She just had to mention buy 3 get one free at Chapters. I know Nath mentioned it, but I kind of forgot. But Cindy couldn't not remind us.
So of course I had to go for it. And of course I couldn't let it rest at buy 3 get one free. I had to buy 6 get 2 free.
My latest purchases:

Dead to Me by Anton Strout
Katies been saying how good this one is and her review sounded intriguing. So I went outside my box for this book.

The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter
Yep, I know a lot of you are envious that I have this one. For some reason it was on the shelves early. Now all I need to do is start reading this series. I have all of them - just need to read them.

Lessons from a Courtesan by Jenna Petersen.
I got this one after reading her interview at Ciara's blog. I've never tried any of this authors' books before

Tall Tales and Wedding Veils by Jane Graves
I've loved just about all this author's books save one and last time I looked it wasn't on the shelf. This time it was!!

In Twilight's Shadow by Patti O'Shea
I looked for this one last time and couldn't find it even though the store said they had it in. I looked again this time again, didn't see it in the romance section but I found it in the general books shelves

Wild for Him by Janelle Denison
This one was a bit of a gamble. Her last one was a DNF for me but I liked the previous books. So I figured it was only fair to give her another chance.

Never Say Never by Geralyn Dawson.
It's been years since I've read her books. I used to like them but then the Wedding books got to be a bit too much so I kind of stopped. But this one is a RS so I wanted to give it a try.

The Loner by Geralyn Dawson
A Western, not one of her Wedding Series and it was time I tried her again. I've read good buzz on her lately so wanted to get back into the swimming pool

Two Books To Keep Your Eye On

The awesome Mary Kate from Adventures in Katidom (who I forgive for stealing Roarke from me) noticed this new book by Marjorie M. Liu. She wanted to know more information about it, and I have delivered!

THE IRON HUNT (July 08):
"Silver smoke winds around my torso, peeling away from my ribs and back, stealing the dark mist covering my hands and lower extremities…tattoos dissolving into demon flesh, coalescing into small dark bodies. My boys. The only friends I have in this world. Demons.

I am a demon hunter. I am a demon. I am Hunter Kiss."

By day, her tattoos are her armor. By night, they unwind from her body to take on forms of their own. Demons of the flesh, turned into flesh. This is the only family demon hunter Maxine Kiss has ever known. The only way to live—and the very way she’ll die. For one day, her demons will abandon her for her daughter to assure their own survival—leaving Maxine helpless against her enemies

But such is the way of Earth’s last protector—the only one standing between humanity and the demons breaking out from behind the prison veils. It is a life lacking in love, reveling in death, until one moment—and one man—changes everything…

**The cover is very eye catching. I have never read Marjorie's books before. Should this be the first one I read by her?

And coming in November from Shannon McKenna:
Tamara’s a bad girl with a dangerous difference. Enter a terrifying, sexually charged world of thrilling suspense, where love is the riskiest game of all…

Covert operations are what Val Janos is all about. The man is mysterious and sinister, and lethally hot. Only Tamara can understand the strange intensity that drives him to win at all costs—and only she can match it.

Val has one weak spot: Imre, the frail old man who befriended him when he was a scared, hungry kid abandoned on the streets of Budapest. But Daddy Novak knows about Imre, and Imre's head is on the block if Val doesn't deliver Tam up to Novak's tender mercies…
A white-hot passion explodes when Tam and Val get too close. They both have too much to be afraid of, too much to hide. And now, for the first time, too much to lose…

**Finally bad girl Tamara gets her own story! I have been waiting years ever since this character was introduced. Can't wait!

Katiebabs (KB)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Anton Strout Interview and Book Giveaway!

After reading Dead To Me and hearing Ace author Anton Strout speak, my goal was to have him answer some questions that have been on my mind about the publishing industry along with the Urban Fantasy genre that has exploded recently with such excellent authors! And, I can honestly say that Anton is one of these authors.
Since you work in the publishing industry, are there any secrets or advice you can give to a new author trying to get their work published?

Anton: Be professional when trying to submit your work. Publishing is a business, and although your secret heart is poured out on your manuscript pages, you can't take things personally. If you get a form rejection, don't rage and scream against the industry. If you get a more personalized rejection, take any advice you get in it and give it careful consideration. I've heard too many stories about aspiring authors getting caught up in feeling like their precious baby has been kicked in the teeth that they forget that they SHOULD be trying to make their manuscript better! Serve the story. Even published authors are always learning new things to make their work better. You should be too!

I have heard so many rumors about how important it is to wait to buy a book on the release date. How true is it that sales are only counted after a book is released than before? If I buy a book before its release date, does that mean I am a bad person and that it won't count toward the total sales of the book?

Anton: It depends. Generally, it works best if you pick up an author's work in the first 8 weeks or so after the "street date" of a book. Why? The stores that carry these books are looking to see what the strong performers are during that time period and those sales will affect how many of your NEXT book they will take. It's also a crucial time for trying to get an author onto the bestseller list. By buying a book early, there is a chance that those early sales won't get lumped into the first week sales that are reported and crucial to a books performance. I believe some of the online retailers do factor this in and report the sales as one rolled up figure, but it's not a constant.

How did you come up with the character of Simon?

Anton: Is it strange to say that he decided to show himself to me over time? There was no initial inspiration for him that I can remember, but when I started writing the protagonist of this story I wanted to tell, the situation's kind of help to build him. Simon strives to be a badass hero that we're all used to in the genre, except he's not. He's a fairly normal guy who simply wants to get his shit together, date, and do something a bit more good and meaningful in his life. But all of this only came to me as Simon walked up to situation after situation. It was only then than he revealed how he'd handle it.

You made New York City come so alive that it seemed like another character in Dead To Me. Did you do any type of research on the city or just make it up along as you wrote since you work there and live close by?

Anton: I lived in Manhattan for about a decade and about six years in Queens, so I am very familiar with most of New York City. It IS a character all its own and I set out to portray the lively creature that it is. I researched a lot of my locations within the story and if I didn't have the time I would Wiki some of the history of those locations. It's such a fascinating city! I have little videoed bits on my camera where I would act out certain scenes at locations, which drew some stares. The Lovecraft Cafe, for example, is based on an East Village coffeehouse/movie theater I used to go to. I'm almost afraid to go back there because my fictional version of it has so taken over that I might be disappointed by the reality of it.

What does the future hold for Simon?

Anton: Well, Ace recently contracted books three and four in the series, so suffice it to say, poor Simon has some troubling times coming. DEADER STILL, book two in the series has Simon dealing with oubliettes, ghosts, cultists, and the scariest creature of them all... women!

What is your definition of Urban Fantasy? Do you see this genre exploding even more? What other authors should we look forward to?

Anton: I have a very loose definition. I think that to qualify as urban fantasy you need a modern day city and you need something fantastical... magic, vamps, you name it. That's it for me. A lot of it can wander into the paranormal romance category, which generally speaking constitutes more emphasis on the boning and less on the plot. Julie Kenner gets away with sub-urban fantasy, with her soccer mom demon slayer, so there are of course exceptions to these rules... I'm doing humorous urban fantasy, sort of in a Whedon-esque vein, and I'd love to see even more of that. I miss Buffy and Ghostbusters.I think the genre has grown about as much as it will, but I think we'll be seeing changes in what specifically is being dealt with in urban fantasy. Vampires were the initial trendsetters... shape shifters are big now... I'm gonna predict that dragonkin will be next. Not in my work, mind you, but hey, it could happen!As far as other authors, I can always recommend my colleagues over at the League of Reluctant Adults... and also this new author at Ace, Jes Battis, who is doing my kind of stuff only with a more serious edge and a paranormal CSI squad.

If you were stuck on a desert island, what 5 books would you want with you? Also, what 5 characters would you want living in your hut?

Anton: Hmm...again with the tough questions! I tried to come up with all kinds of erudite answers, but you'll have to settle for these...
Fellowship of the Ring- I like beginnings, and this is my favorite one. I reread it every few years.
The Hotel New Hampshire
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy- I don't think I'd be a writer if it weren't for the humor in this book
The Sandman- the entire graphic novel series, which I'm counting as one book.... this has a little bit of everything and helps class up my list
Neuromancer- this William Gibson classic made me realize that I had to work hard, both as a writer AND as a reader... first read through at fourteen, I didn't get it, but I wanted to. Gibson (who I recently had a sammich with!) hits the ground running, not looking back, and it's up to the reader to catch up to what's going on and quick.. I like that Runner up:
Snow Crash/The Diamond Age- Neal Stephenson makes me drool a little bit, what can I say...?

If you could have any superpowers, what would they be? Who is your favorite superhero if you have any?

Anton: These are tough questions to ask a self-proclaimed comic book geek. I've given too many hours to thinking about this in my life. Spidey has always been one of my favorite heroes and I'd probably want his powers. I don't need nigh-invulnerability or anything grand like that... I'd be happy to settle for webslinging, clinging to walls and super strength. Although I always used to play Tony Stark driven Iron Man clones back in my RPG days... I'm also a huge Batman fan, but other than his smarts and wealth, he doesn’t really have powers... which is keen in its own right. Now please to be putting on this Wonder Woman outfit....

Not only was Anton nice enough for me to "pick his brain", he is giving away a signed copy of Dead To Me! All you have to do to win is post here by Thursday. But to make it interesting, I want to know:

"If you could have any super power what would it be and why?"

Katiebabs, who would want the power to fly! :D

Sunday, June 22, 2008

My Sangria Weekend in Review

This is me on Saturday night, taken with my new digital camera my wonderful parents gave me for my birthday! In my hand is a glass of sangria (one of many)! I think I look a bit drunk already, but that is waaaaay before I drank 2 pitchers with my parents. Around 10pm I was ready to say hello to my pillow.

*unfortunately, no pictures were taken of drunk Katie*

The first pictures I took with my camera were my TBR pile as you can see down below:
*Yup, a very scary sight*
**ignore the flower wallpaper circa 1970**

And finally I was given an award on Friday from one of our favorites bloggers, Lisabea!

Lisa has humbled me by giving me the award for: The Sweetest Girl in Bloglandia. I don't think Lisa realizes how much she brings to blogland and deserves her own special award.

Since my Captain Kristie has left me in charge so to speak, I will try my best to give you the best reviews, author interviews and perhaps a contest or two this week *G*

So, what did everyone do this weekend?

Katiebabs (KB)

But before I go

I found another brand new baby blogger (I love saying that!)

Sydney of Syd's Place. And she's a fellow Canuck -though she lives might far away from me. Be sure to stop by and say hey and welcome another one of "us"

This next week

Now that her celebrating is done, I'm relying on Katie to take over this week. You see, I'm on vacation - the first of three different vacation weeks - all completely different.
For this first one, my sister Nancy is visiting from Massachusettes. She will be here later today - and ACK - I really need to get moving on cleaning out the bedrooms from kitchen stuff. She will be here until Wednesday, then Lisa and I are driving back with her and flying home next Saturday. I will be able to drop in from time to time - but only very briefly - so the Wing Commander will be doing solo duty.
While I loved my sisters growing up - they also drove me nuts. Being the oldest of three, I was the responsible one. Lisa, being the middle one, was the peacemaker and Nancy following up the rear was the free spirit one. I recently read an article on the different personalities of sisters based on their birth order and it fit us to a tee!
But now that we are older - and all live in different houses - we get along like gangbusters and I'm REALLY looking forward to this first week of vacation time.
So with this announcement - I leave with Ramblings on Romance, etc in Very Good Hands.
I'll be back in a week.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Huge Happy Birthday

It's a special day

For my Wing Commander Katie!!

Drop by, have a beer and wish her a

Happy Birthday!!

Contest Pimpage For The Weekend

Today is my birthday. Yup, I am turning 21 yet again! So, my gift to you is to make you all aware of some excellent contests going on in the blog world.

The wonderful ladies at the Book Binge are doing this fabulous book giveaway called Summer Time with Dorchester Publishing. You not only get some great books and some nice handbags to go along with them! You have till June 30th to submit your entry.

The wonderful duo of Thea and Ana a.k.a. The Book Smugglers are holding a fabulous contest where you can win you win your own copy of Loretta Chase's new release, Your Scandalous Ways if you comment tomorrow where there will be an interview with Loretta!

Zeek over at The Way I See It has posted a wonderful interview with Maria V. Snyder and your chance to win one of her books in her Study Series.

Update: I forgot to mention over at Jace Scribbles that there is a great contest for all you Linnea Sinclair fans! You have a chance to win some excellent giveaways such as Linnea's July release, Shades of Dark!

**On a side note, I had a lot of birthday cheer today and the one question most asked, is what I want for my birthday? Instead of wanting a specific item, I actually must count my blessing for a truly incredible year! And the reason I am so blessed is in part because of all of you, the most wonderful group in blogland!

And a special BIG THANK YOU to Kristie (J), she has given me the best gift I could ask for. I applaud her for her dedication and love of reading and asking a shy and simple woman like myself to have a place to be heard. There are no words to say what you have done for me.

Katiebabs (KB)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad

I have been on such an Urban/ Paranormal Fantasy kick lately. The two out of the three I have reviewed here were very enjoyable, while the third one was a major dud. I may have some rotten fruit thrown at my head when you find out which one was given the label of being a DNF! *muwahahaa*

Dead To Me by Anton Strout
I had met Anton when Christine and I went to Comic Con a few months ago and when he wrote me saying that he was doing a talk at Borders last Saturday and invited me to come hear him speak, I was very interested. I had a very enjoyable experience hearing him speak about the publishing industry, (he also works for Penguin) his writing process and how he came up with the ideas for his first published book.

Dead To Me is the first book in a series about Simon Canderous, a twenty-four year old psychometrist, living in New York City and working for the secret Department of Extraordinary Affairs. What’s a psychometrist you ask? Psychometry is the ability to touch an object that someone owns and find out things about them, such as memories or a certain time in their lives when they owned the object. Poor Simon hates having this ability because anything he touches with his bare hands, will allow him to know a person’s deepest and darkest secrets. It also makes dating quite an uncomfortable thing for him.

Simon used to work as a petty thief and is now on the side of good even though his underpaying job can hardly pay the bills. Plus, he comes in contact with all types of creatures. This includes ghosts who will turn part of your hair white if you tangle with them, thus being welcomed into the “White Stripes” group. Simon calls them the Hair Club For Men. His older partner, Connor, is part of this elite group of hair men because of his latest ghostly investigation. Simon and Connor take up a case after Simon spills his coffee through a ghost named Irene. And since they can’t just have her floating around scaring people, they decide to find out who killed her. From there, Simon falls into all types of scrapes from being chased by killer bookshelves and evil cultists. He has to make sure he keeps his job and not touch anything that could possibly drain him to the point of passing out.

Since I am so use to reading about the female protagonist’s point of view, it was nice for a change to read about the male’s POV. Dead To Me is very quirky and Simon is such a funny and loveable guy. I wanted to give Simon a big hug because he is such a fish out of water, barely making ends meet while trying to stay alive as the things that go bump in the night try to do him in. This is a straight up Urban Fantasy with many pop culture references (Simon has a leather duster that reminds him of the one worn by Angel in the old TV series Angel) and I found myself chuckling a few times. There is this one scene where Conner and Simon go looking for a man on the run and as they enter an office looking for him, they announce they are D.E.A. One of the characters responds:

“But, we’re environmentally friendly! We recycle. We don’t dump any contaminants.”

There are some subtle moments with a possible romance to come and since Anton has been contracted for three more books in this series, I would love to see what else he has in store for Simon.

3 out of 5 stars.

Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole
Since the titles in Kresley Cole's Immortal After Dark Series have become so confusing, I have nicknamed this one, Cade: The One With the Likable Horns. Alas, his horns were not licked during the story but this is another worthy addition to Cole’s paranormal series that should not be missed.

Caedon Woede is a rage demon who is trying to help his brother, Rydstrom retrieve his magical crown so he can take back his kingdom he lost. Cadeon will do anything to get his brother’s crown back even if it means sacrificing his one true mate, Holly. Cade has been watching or rather peeping on her ever since they met. He can never have her because she is human after all and if he tries to mate with her, she wouldn’t be able to survive. So, Cade has a constant case of blue balls.

One night Holly is attacked and about to be raped so she can conceive the spawn of evil, but Cade comes to her rescue in time. Holly finds out she is part Valkyrie and the vessel to carry the spawn that can either become a product of good or evil and help change the world. This has only come out now because Holly has been repressed. She holds back all types of sexual urges and likes everything to be in perfect harmony. Cade and Holly go on the road and she thinks Cade is trying to protect her and find someone who can change her back into human, while Cade needs to deliver her to the one person who can help him get Rydstrom’s crown and thus the key to the kingdom.

If you like road romances, Dark Desires is the perfect read for you. I had so much fun over the bantering and bickering back and forth between Cade and Holly. Talk about total opposites! Cade is a porn loving slob while Holly has OCD and the thought of sex gets her very scared because she feels if she loses it in the heat of the moment, she will hurt the man she is with because of her Valkyrie strength. I know some had issues with Holly and her being so repressed and stiff but what I enjoyed the most is how Holly was able to break free of her self imposed bonds and become more empowered within herself. Cade helped her realize who she is and held her hand so to speak. Plus, they way Cade helps her release her pent up feelings is oh, so good.

These two were a riot to read even though I wanted to bop Cade over the head at one point because of a certain situation he places Holly in, but again, Cade has to sacrifice a part of himself for his brother. In my eyes that made him a worthy hero.

3 ½ stars out of 5

Damien by Jacquelyn Frank
Sorry, this was the one book that was a major DNF for me. I have tried repeatedly to enjoy the world of the Nightwalkers and every time, I scratch my head and go “huh?” Perhaps I am missing something but every one of Frank’s books are so long winded and go on and on without any major action. I also think part of my problem is the long paragraphs that don’t really make sense and the sex is pretty ho hum.

Damien is the prince of all vampires and his story involves Syreena, sister and princess to the queen of the Lycanthropes. There is a magical sort of library that has all the secrets and history of the Nightwalkers which includes all creatures such as Vampires, Lycanthropes and Demons. Syreena is there to guard this library and Damian goes to read some books. Out pops an evil demon skank who attacks Syreena and Damien rescues her. All this rescuing makes them both horny for each other and they figure out they are each other’s mates even though it is not possible for a Vampire and Lycanthrope to be together. But for some reason it worked for Syreena’s sister and her consort who is an important Demon. Damien and Syreena think a lot while trying to deny each other. Plus there are some rogue vampires around intent on causing mayhem along with the demon skank who won’t go away and realize she has no chance in wining.

It is really hard to explain in so many words that Damien doesn’t really have much going on. Yes, there are some fight scenes and a love story, but this was so slow moving and blah, that I really didn’t care if Damien and Syreena would go off and have a few Vampthropes… or would that be Lycanpires?

1 ½ stars out of 5
Katiebabs (KB)

New to me blogger

I'm thrilled when ever I find a new reader blogger. Sometimes I forget to post about new ones - and while I always book mark them, sometimes I'm slow to add them to the side bar. But sometimes the brain is in good working order and I remember.

Say hello to Kaja of Books and Games- the newest blogger I've found! And guess what? She's also a Crusader!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Everod?! (Scandalous By Night)

Barbara Pierce has a new book coming out on July 29th called Scandalous By Night.
As I read the synopsis, I thought this look like a pretty good read. And the cover is pretty hot also.

"Even among that band of rakes known as les sauvages nobles, Lord Everod’s reputation is truly wicked. Countless willing partners have enjoyed his sensual prowess, but now one lovely innocent has his undivided attention. The alluring Miss Maura Keighly once lost Everod his family’s regard, and almost cost him his life. And no vengeance could be sweeter than the delicious seduction he has planned…Maura is on the verge of marrying another. Yet no sooner has she set foot among the ton than Everod makes himself known, tempting and taunting her by word and deed, filling her days and nights with illicit longing. His wanton invitation is plain, yet Maura’s passionate response blindsides them both. For the first time, Everod feels something more potent than lust. Simple surrender will never be enough; Everod must possess Maura completely. But the past cannot be so easily forgotten—and some desires are even more dangerous than revenge…"

But, then I saw the hero's name is... Everod!!

Insert your jokes here.
Katiebabs (KB)

TBR Challenge for June

Rock Star by Roslyn Holcomb

Published in 2006

I’ve had this one in the TBR pile for a while now and kept meaning to read it. Yet again, I’m glad Keishon’s challenge has spurred me to read a book that might have lingered a bit longer in the TBR pile.

I bought this one when I heard good buzz on it and to also to be honest, because Of Karen Scott’s series of articles and posts about racism and AA authors. She helped raise my level of consciousness to the fact that while I didn’t avoid books written by AA authors, neither did I seek them out. Mostly it’s because we don’t hear that much about them.

Blurb from the authors web site:

How does a hedonistic, hellbound L.A. sophisticate like bad boy rock star Bryan Spencer woo young, gifted and black sweet home Alabama belle Callie Lawson? What type of magical voodoo draws him to her magnolia-scented bosom? Seduced by the unhurried pace and a lifestyle that is the antithesis of his own, he finds that he cannot break away from the seductive spell of a woman who soothes the deepest recesses of his tortured soul. Bryan, guitar god extraordinaire, is compelled to retreat to the small town when he is devastated by the loss of his best friend and band mate. The peaceful tranquility, not to mention unaccustomed celibacy, is slowly driving him mad until he meets Callie Lawson, budding tycoon, aficionado of black entrepreneurship and owner of the local bookstore. He quickly discovers that Callie is one of the few people he’s met who doesn’t have her own agenda for befriending him. Far from the cloying adulation he is accustomed to, Callie is totally focused on her own career goals and is reluctant to have anything to do with a ‘long-haired rocker from California.’ Bryan overcomes her misgivings with an old-fashioned courtship that belies his L.A. rocker origins. He introduces this Sunday School girl to some truly high-powered sex and decadence. The question is which one wins: Southern Sunday School or L.A. sin? Just when they’re certain everlasting love is firmly in their grasp, they are rent asunder by treachery and betrayal of the most staggering kind. They must defy egregious stereotypes and false perceptions to embrace their own sweet Alabama love.

I really enjoyed this book. Reading it, she did an excellent job in describing the intense longing between Callie and Bryan. I could relate to Callie in wondering what this hot, famous rock star who could have had any woman, saw in a small town girl like her. But as I got into the book, I could see it. She has a sweetness and an honesty about her and doesn’t hesitate to break his rock star at times, inflated bubble. She doesn’t kow-tow to him the way so many people do. And she sees him for who he really is inside – not the outer ‘famous’ layer.

For his part, Bryan is also a well written character. For him, it’s not about his rock star status, it’s about the music. Music was his solace when he was a young and neglected child. He’s totally and completely smitten with Callie, and as I’ve said before, I love that in a hero.

The conflict between them is two-fold. First of all, Callie is a small town girl at heart and really doesn’t want to be a part of Bryan’s wild, hedonistic LA crowd. She has made quite a success for herself doing what I’ve always dreamed of doing myself – opening and successfully running a books store. The second conflict that comes into play is their different races. For Bryan, it’s a total non-issue. He sees only Callie for the warm wonderful ‘real’ person she is, not the colour of her skin. On the other hand for Callie, it was a different story. Before I started the book, I read at the back ‘about the author’ and how she herself is in an interracial marriage and has experienced many of the same issues Callie does in starting and maintaining a relationship with some one of a different race. It really helped when reading later in the book, all the issues Callie encountered from both races. Oddly enough, she seemed to almost get it worse from other black women.

At this point, I’d like to say I find it rather sad that there still is a barrier in real life between two people who love each other but come from different races from other people. To me, love is love and if two people feel that deep connection to each other – and if they make each other happy and better people, that’s all that counts.

Callie certainly makes Bryan a better person.

The love scenes were a tad purple in places, as if the author was a bit uncomfortable writing them, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this book at all.

I checked to see if the author had any other books I could read and was disappointed that she doesn’t. I think Tonya, Callie’s best friend and business partner would make a great heroine for her own book. She’s also a writer of suspense books in her spare time and there is a hilarious scene where she is doing research and has tied Callie up to see how easy it would be to escape when Bryan walks in on them.

Roslyn Holcomb does have a short story, on her web site though, somewhat like an epilogue and I read and enjoyed it. She also gets a bit into the relationship of Twist, a fellow band mate and Naysa, their sassy fashion designer.

Overall, this was a tender, raw, poignant story of two people fated to be together despite all the odds and all that might separate them. I hope she is planning on more books, because I will be reading them.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Once again my TBR challenge book proved to be a real winner!

In case you haven't seen it - A Plug

A bunch of us had a riot lately doing the DIK thing - which books and which heroes we would take to an island with us.
Well - it went over so well and we had so much fun, a few wanted to keep it up, so they started a blog. In a flurry of emails - the extent of which was truly scary, I came home one day to over 100, I think it was Sarai and Tracy that came up with the idea and got the ball rolling.
More bloggers got involved in the original group.
If I got it right from the HUGE amount of emails, first we had a group of questions and we answered whichever ones we wanted to.
After that we each have a day to say why we picked what book and who was our favourite hero - and why.
There is also quite a list of authors who are contributing too!
(let me know if I got anything wrong!)
Anyway - it's up and running now. Sarai and Tracy had their day and it's my day up today for the grilling. *blush*
So be sure to Check It Out! You get to see a bit of the 'naughty' me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Perfect Picture...

to show what my TBR Pile really looks like at this moment:

And what it may look like by the end of the summer:

Katiebabs (KB)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Kristie and Katie Discuss Eve Kenin's Hidden

Kristie and I were such big fans of Eve Kenin's first release, Driven, that we couldn't wait for the sequel, Hidden, to come out. And, we were also very lucky to receive advanced reading copies. Without further ado, we welcome you to read out reviews and another wonderful chat discussion!

Katie(babs) Thoughts:
Eve Kenin, who is also known for writing gothic historical romance under the name Eve Silver, made quite a splash last year with her post-apocalyptic hit, Driven. It was a fast paced, on the edge of your seat thriller with a hero and heroine we all rooted for. I can’t help but compare Driven to the cult classic Mad Max movies, and I must give Dorchester Publishing a hand for coming up with the Shomi line that allows for very “out of the box” books like Kenin’s.

When I heard Eve was writing a sequel about Wizard’s sister Tatiana, who was talked about but in Driven but did not make an appearance, I made sure to put Hidden down on the list of must read books this year. The question I had was if Hidden would be just as great as her first?

It is 2093 in the Northern Waste, a setting known all to well to those that have read Driven. (I know I keep bring up Driven, but honestly in order to understand and get the feel for Eve’s storytelling, you really should read Driven first. BREAK OUT THE CHECKBOOKS! *G*)

There is a lone woman who goes by the name of Tatiana. She survives by retrieving stolen items for people. She is really quite good at what she does, but Tatiana is not normal. She is a very special woman who has an amazing genetic makeup where she can regenerate and survive from the harsh weather or even death. Tatiana also can read people’s thoughts. Actually, this is a pretty handy thing to have when you know someone is out to kill you. Tatiana has suffered horribly because she was imprisoned by a crazed scientist along with her sister and brother who were to be used as secret weapons in order to take over the world. She was able to escape after years of torture and is barely making a life for herself. Tatiana wants revenge against Gavin Ward, the scientist who used her as a human guinea pig. Also, she is searching for Ward’s right hand man who goes by the name of Tolliver. She will find Tolliver and make him tell her where Ward is. Then she will kill them both, making sure they suffer the same way they made her suffer.

Tatiana is not the type of woman who can remain hidden and because of that she catches the eye of Tristan, who is also a scientist roaming the frigid tundra. He is a man on a mission to stop a deadly virus from taking over the world. One thing leads to another and he comes in contact with Tatiana and unfortunately she catches this virus. Because Tristan has no clue that Tatiana is immune because of her genetics, he wants to help save her, partly over his guilt for bringing this virus into the world. Since Tatiana needs to lie low for awhile, she goes with Tristan and he introduces her to a world she is so unfamiliar with.

During this time they become close and she begins to have feelings for Tristan, and also the people he protects in their small commune. There is a point in Hidden where Tatiana has an epiphany of sorts because Tristan sees her as a person and not just a woman:

“She froze, her hands on the rock, her heart flipping over. She wanted that. Wanted him to see her as an equal. A partner. Not as a woman. And at the same time, she wanted him to see her as only that, a woman.”

For the first time in her life, Tatiana is not a means for those evil corrupt individuals to get what they want. She is special, a person who is able to be loved by another. But even as Tatiana and Tristan become “special friends”, Ward is on their heels. Tristan also has a major secret that will ruin everything he has accomplished with Tatiana and is so horrible in his mind because he feels he is responsible for the deaths of so many.

So, the question I asked at the beginning? You better bet your booty that Hidden is just as good as Driven. I am all for a heroine who kicks some major ass and doesn’t even care about their names. Tatiana is truly an unique and amazing character who you will feel such compassion for because of what she has gone through because of the uber-villain Ward. Tristan also adds to the story because he has some quirks like Tatiana does and when you find out who he is, his identity leads to some morale questions, perhaps on the reader’s part.

Everything in Hidden is about the will to live and the survival of the fittest. Death, murder and destruction are scattered throughout this complex world Eve Kenin has invented. If you don’t have her on your author’s to be read list, you are missing out on an author who is re-inventing a genre and writing such excellent books that I can not compare with any other being published today.

**If only Wizard had more of an appearance… perhaps Eve should give us a nice short story about Raina and Wizard and how those two wacky kids are doing… *HINT HINT*

4 out of 5 stars

Kristie(J)'s Thoughts:
I loved Driven, the first book by Eve Kenin aka Eve Silver. In fact I was wowed by it. It was the first book I’d read in the Shomi line and the first book in what could be considered Urban Romance. I’d been holding off reading it for a while figuring I wouldn’t like it, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

So when I got an ARC of the next book in the series, Hidden, I was ecstatic though part of me wondered whether I would be as impressed with it as I was with Driven.

I was.

I took this book to work to read and I was late back from breaks. I was late back from lunch. I silently groaned when someone came and sat next to me as I was reading, since I figure it’s bad form to be reading while someone is talking to you and I reluctantly tucked it back in my purse until I had another chance to pick up where I had left off.

Hidden is the story of Tatiana. For those who had the good fortune to read Driven, Tatiana was the youngest of the three siblings and seemingly the most helpless. Well not anymore!! She has turned into one kick ass heroine who can take care of herself just fine thank you. She has become like this the hard way. Tortured endlessly as when she was younger, she has quite a few super powers of her own now. I tell you, I like these kinds of heroines. Tatiana has been alone for most of her adult life and she is very afraid of love. She’s not even sure what it is.

Tristan, the hero of the book is very mysterious in his own right and we only get to know him in bits and pieces. He is one very intriguing hero and when we finally do learn his lonely past, we get a chance to see how good he and Tatiana are together. He eventually breaks through the walls Tatiana has raised to protect herself and they are very tender together.

Here is an example of the depth of their love:
For a long while she stared at him, feeling the emotion pulsing from him in waves. And suddenly she understood.
He did love her. Truly loved her. Enough to kill for her. Enough to die for her. Enough to walk away from this if she asked him.

And if you thought the villain in Driven was evil – he’s lightweight compared to the villain Gavin Ward. He is one chilling bad guy – one of the most chilling I’ve read.

If there was one thing I might have liked to have seen, that would be more of Wizard and Raina from Driven. They only appear very briefly in this book. I don’t know if she has a book planned for Yuriko. I hope so. And I hope I get to read it early, because reading it I will be doing!

I have a number of Eve Silver books in the TBR pile. I really need to get to them. Because Even Kenin writes Very Good Books.

Driven was one of my favourite books of 2007. Hidden is one of my favourite books of 2008.
Grade 4.5 out of 5

The Discussion:
KristieJ: After reading your review and you reading mine, it seems as if we are in agreement on this book
KatieBabs: Great minds think alike!
KristieJ: And our minds seem to be in cinque/sinque - how do you spell that word anyway?
KatieBabs: sync
KristieJ: sync - that's how! heh heh
KatieBabs: psych!
KristieJ: see? So - what did you think of Tatiana’s transformation from book 1 and 2?
KatieBabs: Tatiana was such a lonely soul. She felt she was not worth anything. Tristan made her a person and than a woman
KristieJ: She was a lonely soul wasn't she? After her brother and sister left, there was no one for her. I think the author really got that across - how lonely they both were
KatieBabs: She also thought she was weak but she was so strong, even more so than Raina in Driven, IMO
KristieJ: Oh I agree. Raina had a rotten childhood, but she didn't endure nearly the horrible things that Tatiana did
KatieBabs: What that psycho Ward did to her? OMG
KristieJ: I KNOW!!! Wasn't he one scary evil dude? I thought the villain in Driven was bad, but this guy was ever so much worse!!
KatieBabs: I agree on that point. The villain in Driven was all about greed, whereas ward was a sick mo fo who wanted to rule the world.
KristieJ: I like that how strong she writes her heroines - and she does write them strong, Raina was one tough cookie and so was Tatiana, although she seemed more vulnerable, the author also writes great heroes for her heroines. What did you think of Tristan and how would you compare him to Wizard?
KatieBabs: Wizard was so unique in his thinking and actions, where as Tristan was more at ease with himself, maybe because he had a different upbringing than Wizard? I also liked how Tristan brought up things about his past we are so familiar with. And Tristan's love for his family, and Tatiana's love for her siblings were the same
KristieJ: yep I agree - the road hockey *g*. Wizard was more like Tatiana in his uniqueness - duh - being as they were raised together. And I loved how underneath all his toughness and protectiveness of Tatiana, he was just a geeky scientist at heart
KatieBabs: Ah yes, sexy geeky scientists
KristieJ: You gotta love those alpha, geeky scientist types don't you? *chuckle*
KatieBabs: Tristan was definitely one of them. Plus he can protect himself and others so well. What was your opinion about the sensuality in the novel?
KristieJ: Hmmm - well, I read it a while ago and I know you didn't read it that long ago, but from what I remember - keep in mind the brain cells aren't quite as active as they were when I was in my 20's, I thought it very good. I wouldn't have minded it being a bit steamier - more brilliant, geeky scientist sex. But what there was, I liked. What about you?
KatieBabs: I think the sexual tension was very believable and when Tristan and Tatiana were finally together, it was a very peaceful and loving moment. They for once were calm
KristieJ: He was so tender with her wasn't he? I really liked that, especially because the setting and people are so harsh and deadly. And if I remember, she wasn't quite sure about the enjoyment aspect of sex before she met Tristan. She had tried it - but didn't really 'get' it
KatieBabs: I like that also. She wasn't a naive virgin who didn't know was a penis was
KristieJ: or what it's used for
KatieBabs: or his little friends on the side. LOL
KristieJ: So - in reading your review, it looks like we were both disappointed in one aspect of the book. This is what kept it from getting a five from me. I think your last sentence says it all
KatieBabs: In my review?
KristieJ: I think we were both disappointed we didn't get to see more of Wizard and company
KatieBabs: oh this one: **If only Wizard had made more of an appearance… perhaps Eve should give us a nice short story about Raina and Wizard and how those two wacky kids are doing
KristieJ: yep - that sentence *g*
KatieBabs: I think most fans of Driven and Hidden wouldn't mind perhaps a short story in an anthology per say about Wizard and Raina...
KristieJ: I wonder if she has something planned for Yuriko?
KatieBabs: Hopefully Eve will. Yuriko is still very much an enigma.
KristieJ: Have you ever seen the Mad Max movies and did these remind you of those movies? They both did me - not so much in the character of Max, but of the desolation of the world
KatieBabs: Oh yes, I have see all the Mad Max movies, which Eve's series is so comparable to. A great comparison!
KristieJ: And the way the find all the scrap they can and use it for all kinds of things. And that band that helped Tatiana and Tristan near the end - they were really Mad Max type characters. Because I've seen the movies, I could picture them so easily in my mind when I was reading about them
KatieBabs: Where is Tina Turner when you need her? We need a theme song for Hidden
KristieJ: LOL - I could almost hear her singing in the background
KatieBabs: yes! I love that song
**We are watching You Tube**
KatieBabs: Mel looks so hot
KristieJ: Mel was hot in his day!! You should see him in The Bounty. Have you seen The Bounty? He is TO DIE FOR
KatieBabs: oh yes drool
KristieJ: So - let's finish - you gave this one a 4 out of 5 and I gave it a 4.5 out of 5. Looks like it get's a thumbs up from both of us
KatieBabs: thumbs up definitely
KristieJ: She has another winner in Hidden I'd say
KatieBabs: She is 2 for 2!
KristieJ: Yes she is! I'm very impressed with these two and hope other readers are too!
KatieBabs: If you love Sci-Fi or futuristic novels, you will not be disappointed in the least
KristieJ: LOL - I seem to be in Sci Fi mode lately
KristieJ: then you'd best check out the Susan Grant book too then *g*

KatieBabs: me too. What does that say about us? Head in the stars!
KristieJ: We are star struck?
KristieJ: there are no guys in this time so we have to look to the future for mens?
KatieBabs: well except Hardy from Blue Eyed Devil
KristieJ: Roarke's from the future though
KatieBabs: I know! *pout*

Be on the look out for Hidden to be published in July!
**I do believe this calls for some "We Don't Need Another Hero" by Tina Turner**