First I’ll post the official book description of Jackie Barbosa's The Reiver and then offer my review.
“Duncan Maxwell, laird of Lochmorton Castle, gets the shock of his life when he discovers the reiver captured in a raid on his lands is not a boy, but a young woman. Although she flatly refuses to tell him her name or how she came to be riding with a raiding party, Duncan cannot countenance imprisoning a woman in his dungeon but neither can he release her without compensation. Unable to ransom her back to her family, he treats her as an honored—though exceptionally well-supervised—guest. He takes to calling her Reva and determines to seduce the truth of her identity from her. There’s just one problem—the reiver may steal his heart before he can reveal her secrets.
This short story (approximately 35 pages) was originally published in the Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance."
There is much to be said about this story. The Reiver has a healthy amount of mystery for the hero to puzzle through. Befuddled heroes are always fun, imo.lol. I loved how he tried to figure out her name by calling her something different every time they met up just to see if she’d react to it. So funny and clever! This story has a love that defies years of familial hatred(think Romeo and Juliet with a happy ending). The characters are incredibly mature and what would take hundreds of pages of thoughts and soul searching to come to their conclusions about each other in another book comes to them with some ease.
I’d also like to say that Jackie Barbosa is perhaps the most underrated author living right now. Her prose is exquisite. She clearly researches her books very thoroughly and her clear intelligence fairly oozes off the page.
Read this book and open yourself up to the genius that is Jackie Barbosa. You won’t regret it.
I’m afraid I’ve royally fallen down on the job as a blogger. The thing that’s weird, though, is that I really do love to blog. I love offering my unsolicited advice and opinions to the world(or the two or three people who might read this.lol)
Today I want to talk about heroines. Did the title give me away or were you just expecting me to praise an old favorite song of mine? Inevitably all of my heroines wind up something like Bette Davis. I love her. I love that she can play a shrew and still make me love her. I love that she can play a crazed killer and I still wouldn’t mind being her prison pen pal.lol. She also has played some of the most lovable characters ever. And lovable hoity-toity party hungry snobs. What’s not to love? *g*
She is quite possibly the most talented actress of all time and she leads me to my topic today.
I read somewhere once that Eloisa James(A.K.A Goddess of Writing!) said she starts her stories by first thinking up a spectacular heroine and what type of journey she will go on. In the Essex Sisters’ Quartet Eloisa gave herself a huge challenge. She took a character, Imogen, that was perhaps the tiniest (very tiny)bit likable in the first books in the series and made her into the type of heroine I could aspire to be like in real life.
When I write a new story I tend to come up with the heroine first and make her fabulous. I especially love if she’s insanely naughty or even evil. That gives me something to work on for her character arc. There’s nothing better than redeeming a character. And I also love a heroine who’s so strong that she redeems her hero. Bette Davis could perform all of these duties and then some.
So, when you write does the heroine come first or the hero? What’s your favorite type of heroine to write? And who are you writing now? I’m currently writing a whiskey swilling, cheroot smoking absent mother. I know it sounds awful but if I do it right it should all turn out well in the end.
I think eventually as a blogger the same subject is bound to come up-well, at least for me but play along so I don’t feel dumb! Today I’m going to talk about inspiration for our stories. Specifically where we get our ideas from. See, I get the dumbfounded looks from writers when I ask where they got their ideas. Yes, they do sort of drop into out heads but for me sometimes there’s a tiny seed of something, somewhere feeding me. I always felt out of the loop because of this. But one day I walked into my local Borders to find this amazingly beautiful woman signing books. I hadn’t known it was an author day-in fact I’m fairly sure my Borders doesn’t often do this- if ever!
She was so sweet and welcoming that I had to go talk to her. Her name is T. Marie Benchley author of Once Wicked Always Dead and one of my first questions for her was,”How did you get the idea for this book?” Internally my stomach lurched and I felt like a dolt. This is the king(or queen) of bad questions for authors. I’ve read so many blogs about it and couldn’t believe my faux pas. I scrambled to say, “Oh, um, I know that’s a hard question so…” And she graciously stopped me and said, “No, I know exactly how I got the idea.” Phew! There won’t be a review of the book today but one is coming.
We talked about writing and I felt so pleased to have met her. As an aside: Interestingly enough she’s related to the author that wrote Jaws.
So now I’m just hoping the question won’t be greeted with banal looks. When a person asks that question they’re taking an interest in us. It’s flattering and Benchley’s good conversation and winning personality sold many books that day-I saw so many people checking out with it.
How do you feel when people ask where you get your ideas from? Do they literally drop from the sky and land in your head? Or do they stem from something? I’m truly curious.
Personally, I struggle with this a lot. It's not just the internet that distracts me, it's everything. I'm much more productive during wee hours - after midnight or before dawn - precisely because there's nothing else going on. There's no little sister calling for help on her math homework or a car inspection that just has to get done or an adorable white puppy insisting you to throw her toy. This would be fine, if I was the kind of person who could do without sleep. I'm not. Without a full 8 hours, I turn into a Disney villain. Namely, one who can shoot fire from her eyes.
These past few weeks have been worse than normal. Exciting things are happening for me, in seemingly every area of life. Which not only makes it hard to carve out time to write, it makes it hard to do the actual writing. I'm not thinking about the GMC of my heroine, I'm instead replaying that phone call I just had. This had to stop. If I get out of rhythm with writing, I'll wake up three months later with barely 1200 words written. So what did I do?
I turned to books. Of course.
Last night, I drew myself a bubble path, brewed some tea, and amassed some of my favorite writing books. The theory? Reading about writing would get me more excited about writing. This is something that happens to me all the time -the more I research a topic, the more enthusiastic I become about it. If I'm looking at gorgeous fabric, I want to sew a dress. If I'm reading about character archetypes, I want to write my own characters!
Does anyone else find this to be true? I know craft books can burn some people out, but there's nothing that rejuvenates my writing mojo like reading a good one. We all get distracted from our goals from time to time, but what do you do to counteract that?
The books in question:
- The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever and Sue Viders.
- Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
- Beginnings, Middles, and Ends by Nancy Kress
It's not just that I hate ice cream, it's that resorting to such stereotypes belittles the notion of love. It turns it into the stuff of fantasies - the naïve hopes of a pitiful caricature of a woman. In our modern society, where for the first time in history more people are free to love and be loved as they choose, it's appalling how much we buy into this view of love.
Taking my group of friends as an example, I see it happen all the time. When we talk about love, we tend to do it in a snarky cynical manner. Phrases commonly overheard are:
- "Not that I believe in soulmates, but..."
- "It was so cheesy, I don't know why I'm even talking about it." (In reference to a romantic thing a love interest has done.)
- "I'm in the mood for something silly. Let's go see a romance!"
- "That relationship will never last. Passion fades, you need something consistent."
Even I'm guilty of it. When referencing my ex-boyfriend, my sole brush with real love, I normally laugh the relationship off as my attraction to exotic, well-dressed men with tortured pasts and addiction issues. Yes, that does sum up a big part of the relationship, but it was more. We were mismatched in many ways, but I have no doubt that we loved each other. It wasn't the sort of happily ever after of fairytales, but I don't blame that on love, I blame timing. If anything, love in the face of such issues proves to me that it does exist.
So, why am I ashamed to admit my belief in romance? Why, when people categorize happy endings as the stuff of fantasies, do I nod along? Countless times, I have sat idly by while people defended their love of the romance genre by portraying it as escapism.
The truth is - I don't buy that.
I don't think movies and books with happy endings are any less real than hard hitting crime dramas. People sit through movies with epic car chases and bank robberies, without questioning the validity of such stories. But make a bunch of critics watch a romantic comedy and they may praise it, but it will be backhanded for sure. The writing will be great for a romance; the acting will be great, in spite of the shmaltzy plot line. In literature, Romance is the one genre that is consistently berated for its formulaic writing. Yet, do mysteries not always involve solving a crime and fantasies consistently feature involved world-building? Is boy-meets-girl any more formulaic? It's all in reader expectations of the genre, not some masterful formula.
From here, my argument quickly devolves into a gender politics discussion, which could easily turn into a 500 page tome. (Essentially: why is love, a phenomenon closely associated with the feminine mindset, so mocked when both sexes experience it?) But, this is not a textbook, it's a manifesto.
True love is not a myth, it is a fact. It has nothing to do with wedding dresses or naïveté or even red cartoon hearts. Love is not just for the dumb, the dreamers, the little girls, or literary characters. It is for everyone. It is two people finding a deep, incandescent emotional connection. Love doesn't automatically produce any ending -happy or tragic. Love is. That's all. The ending is what we make of it and every relationship is different.
And, in keeping with that spirit, I give you my new set of rules to live by. I will no longer hide my romanticism in the closet, ashamed to be thought naïve or empty-headed. From now on, I am a romantic - fiercely so.
The Romance Manifesto
A Guide for the Defiantly Optimistic
Followers of the guide will practice the prescribed rules in their daily lives, spreading the belief in true love and arguing against the misguided stereotypes of romance whenever possible.
- Never belittle love, soul-mates, happy endings, or any other classic tenet of romance. They may not exist for every couple, but they do exist.
- Defend romantic love to the cynics, not as a naïve hope, but as a universal truth.
- Seek out love in your own life. Whether in strengthening existing relationships or staying doggedly open to new relationships.
Sorry about my limited blogging everybody! My life is a bit chaotic at the moment. School is back in session and I’m glad for that. I’ve always loved school which probably makes me a massive nerd-oh, who am I kidding? I am, without question, the largest nerd in American history. lol.
I have been preparing to write my first YA novel and that’s exciting. I’m trying to take pleasure in the little things because if I looked at the big picture of my life right now I’d be a sobbing mess 24/7.
Losing Mommy has thrown my whole life off track but I’m hanging in there.
How are all of you? I hope well!
As the mother of two, Elizabeth writes on the run as she juggles duties as Brownie leader, referees play dates, drives carpools, and is dragged along as a hostage/chaperone on field trips. We're honored to have Elizabeth here today, giving us an insightful look into the tools every writer should have in his or her literary kit.
The writing life isn’t an easy one. In fact, there seem to be obstacles around every corner—from lack of time to the difficulty of obtaining a literary agent.
But there are some great things about writing as a hobby or career. It’s inexpensive. It’s portable and can be done anywhere and in varying chunks of time. And there are few simple tools that can help you achieve your goals.
Here are five tools to help you on your path to publication:
Backup. How you do it doesn’t really matter, but doing it is really a necessity. Almost every writer I know who has been writing for more than a year has lost data. Even if you write on paper, you should consider a form of backup (either by typing completed text into a computer…and backing that up, or by taking your notebook paper to the copy shop and letting them copy the document for you.) USB drives can be bought for under ten dollars and text files use up little space. When I’m feeling especially lazy or can’t get my hands on a USB drive, I’ll email the manuscript to myself. That’s also handy if you travel a lot, as long as you email it to an account that you can access from other computers.
Paper and pencil. I’m merging these two tools into one unit. They’re inexpensive, but invaluable. I always think that I can remember an idea, plot shift, or scrap of dialogue when the idea comes to me. But nine times out of ten, the thought is gone just hours later. If you keep just a small, flip-top notebook and pencil on hand and jot down the ideas as they come to you, you have the ability to make greater progress on your novel.
An honest beta reader. It doesn’t really matter who this person is—friend, family member, or fellow writer that you connect with through an online critique group. It does matter that they can give constructive criticism of your novel. Sure, it’s great hearing that we’ve written the best novel ever, but if we don’t hear ways to improve our novel then it’s going to be tougher to make our way past the publishing gatekeepers.
Support and information from other writers. I think one of the best things a 21st century writer can do for their writing career is to connect with other writers. Writing is a tough slog, and friends and family may…or may not…understand why we’re taking it on. The online writing community can be your best friend when you’ve reached a brick wall with your plot or research, or when you’re dispirited from rejections or critiques. Where can you find other writers online? Go to any popular writing blog and look in their sidebar for a blog roll—you’ll find blogs of other writers. Those writers will have blogs listed in their sidebars, too. Then befriend these writers you’ve found on blogs on Facebook and Twitter for more ways to communicate beyond blog commenting.
A blog to serve as a living room for visitors. I’m going to go ahead and add a personal blog to the list of important tools for writers. If we have a blog, we have more than a place for other writers to visit us—we have a place for agents and editors to glimpse our writing style, voice, and professionalism. How much does a blog cost? Besides the regular cost of your internet access, you can have a blog for free…mine doesn’t cost me a cent. Blogger is one of the hosts that offers free blogging.
Are these some of your top tools as a writer? What would you add to the list?
Elizabeth Spann Craig (Riley Adams)
Mystery Writing is Murder
Mystery Lovers' Kitchen
Follow her on Twitter: @elizabethscraig
I am quite certain I’m entirely wrong when I say that there have been six million and five point three combined zombie books and movies and blogs written. I am "quite certain" I’m wrong because I’m thinking it’s actually more. But something has excited me in the zombie genre recently. Something I never expected but it makes me so incredibly happy that I want to put on dancing shoes and cut a rug(I should say that I prolly would cut a rug literally. Like for instance, I’d fall in really high, spiked heels and tear tender fabric. Oops! Sorry in advance).
But here’s the news that has rejuvenated my interest in zombies- not to mention my blog writing soul. Here’s another lead up! This new excitement directly involves one of my fave authors who is largely known as Jenna Petersen. She is also known as Jess Michaels. I love her under both names. I’ve reviewed her books more than once. Her books just plain make me happy-I am sure you are shocked.*g* When I pick up one of her books I trust that she’ll guide me through a gamut of tumultuous emotions and then lead me safely home again.
What more can I say? Well…
She now has a new pen name!!!! Under the lovely name Jesse Petersen she is writing zombie books! I am too excited and can’t explain the books so click here to go the web page. You won’t regret it. Now go and read the page and drool, and ponder with me what will happen.
Anything y’all excited about? Well, post it here. Yes, Eclipse and the two part Breaking Dawn movie are allowed to be mentioned. Harry Potter is allowed. Heck, everything is allowed. BTW, it’s good to be back. I love you all so!
Which makes sense, considering she's a figment of our imaginations. We are the ones criticizing and insisting that we're just not good enough. Whatever facet of our story we deem to be most important is what we'll harp on. But what facet is most important? In the first draft especially, it can be difficult to balance all the ingredients of good writing - great characters, compelling settings, tight plotting, interesting style, etc. We can't concentrate on them all at once, or else we'd go mad. Writing conferences would look like reenactments of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the soul sucked right out of aspiring authors by the overwhelming "big picture" of their stories.
My solution is this: pick the area of writing most important to you and chuck the rest. At least for the first draft. I would never get a chapter written, if I were worrying about every little aspect. I'd just sit at the beginning, working and reworking until it was perfect...even if it took nine months. That can't happen. If I worked that way, it would take years to finish a book. Instead of hoping to be published within two years, I'd be hoping for two decades. That way Zombiefication lies.
Personally, my first draft focuses on style (or, if you prefer the term, voice). Heresy, right? I know that "real" writers probably focus on their characters or plot. Those are no doubt those same writers who write whole scenes of idle conversation in their initial drafts just to explore their characters. I do not work that way. At all. In fact, it would drive me absolutely batty to have big swaths of prose I know I'm going to cut. For me, I have to do a lot of characterization work and plotting beforehand, so that I can concentrate on the literal writing of the book. That stringing the right words together part. When writing a scene for the first time, I'm not thinking of what my characters must be feeling or how to best express their goals. Instead, I'm concentrating on the perfect first and last lines, snappy dialogue exchanges, and the most evocative way to describe the warmth of the bonfire.
It's the language of the first draft that concerns me, how it sounds and flows, what emotions it sparks. I want to be able to read the whole thing aloud and revel in how it feels on my lips. It needs to sound right to me, before I can focus on whether the characters are acting in a believable manner or the setting is properly moody. I think that's why I rely so much on outlines and collages beforehand - I need the freedom to just think about the words. After the draft is finished, I go back and add in all the other necessary ingredients. But the style always comes first. Everything else grows from it.
In some circles of writing, this technique is called layering. The art of rewriting - going back and focusing on one aspect per rewrite - to achieve the final, finished draft. I call it sanity. Writing a first draft, quite frankly, sucks. We need a strategy, however unconscious, to cope with it. I think this probably where the true difference between plotters and pantsers lies - what's most important to the individual writer is what shapes his or her process.
So, what comes first for you? Are you wrapped up in the characters, their conflicts and personalities, or do you revel in that next plot twist? How do you think your favorite aspect of writing influences your process and your final drafts?
Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin - "In the popular Giffin's latest, Nick Russo is a pediatric plastic surgeon; his wife, Tessa (sister of Dex, from Something Borrowed), is a professor turned stay-at-home mom living a cushy life in Boston. Nick is called in to care for a six-year-old burn victim, and Nick's devotion to his work is soon tangled up in his attraction to the boy's mother, Valerie, a single attorney. Narrated in turn by Tessa and Valerie, the action centers around—will they or won't they, and, if they do, will Tessa forgive him? While unclear what Nick finds so unsatisfying in his marriage, adultery is always tempting and Tessa and Valerie both have their charms." - Publishers Weekly
61 Hours by Lee Child - "Jack Reacher is back in his element—Smalltown, U.S.A.—in bestseller Child's fine 14th thriller to feature the roving ex-military cop. When a tour bus on which he bummed a ride skids off the road and crashes, Reacher finds himself in Bolton, S.Dak., a tiny burg with big problems. A highly sophisticated methamphetamine lab run by a vicious Mexican drug cartel has begun operating outside town at an abandoned military facility. After figuring out the snow-bound, marooned Reacher's smart, great with weapons, and capable of tapping military intelligence, the helpless local cops enlist his assistance, and, as always, he displays plenty of derring-do, mental acuity, and good old-fashioned decency." - Publishers Weekly
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson - "The exhilarating conclusion to bestseller Larsson's Millennium trilogy (after The Girl Who Played with Fire) finds Lisbeth Salander, the brilliant computer hacker who was shot in the head in the final pages of Fire, alive, though still the prime suspect in three murders in Stockholm. While she convalesces under armed guard, journalist Mikael Blomkvist works to unravel the decades-old coverup surrounding the man who shot Salander: her father, Alexander Zalachenko, a Soviet intelligence defector and longtime secret asset to Säpo, Sweden's security police. Estranged throughout Fire, Blomkvist and Salander communicate primarily online, but their lack of physical interaction in no way diminishes the intensity of their unconventional relationship." - Publishers Weekly
A Secret Affair by Mary Balogh - "Balogh's final entry in the Huxtable family saga focuses on enigmatic cousin Constantine, long the most maligned of the Huxtables. Hannah, widowed duchess of Dunbarton, has set her sights on Constantine as the ideal lover—a handsome man of experience that she can seduce and set aside once she is done with him. Constantine, meanwhile, is thrilled by Hannah's beauty, but scornful of her reputation, and though the intention is just to have a little fun, they fall in love. Balogh has saved the best for last; Constantine—dark, wicked, and cryptic—has a perfect foil in Hannah, and their encounters are steamy, their romance believable. Though series fans will be disappointed to see it come to a close, they couldn't ask for a better way to go out. " - Publishers Weekly
His At Night by Sherry Thomas - "Thomas employs grand misunderstanding (as she did in 2008's Private Arrangements) to motivate this Victorian romance, which is replete with perfect period touches. The marquess of Vere fakes stupidity so no one will suspect he's investigating Edmund Douglas for fraud—and murder. Douglas's niece, Elissande, is thoroughly fooled and plots to snare the marquess and escape her vicious uncle. Through a comedy of accidents involving rats, spicy Victorian parlor games, and sneaking around hallways at night, Elissande tricks Vere into marriage. As attraction grows, she wants to admit her motivations, but Vere shuts his conniving bride out as Douglas swears revenge." - Publishers Weekly
Married By Morning by Lisa Kleypas - "Everyone in the Hathaway family loves Catherine Marks. Well, everyone except for the head of the family, Leo, Lord Ramsay. Leo thinks Catherine is far too outspoken, opinionated, and obstinate for a companion, and Catherine has an equally high opinion of her employer. For the sake of his sisters, however, Leo manages to strike an uneasy truce. But when he suddenly discovers he has one year to find a wife and produce an heir or lose the family’s beloved home, the first (and only) woman he even considers marrying is the one who drives him crazy. The only problem is that Catherine is a lady with secrets, and one of those secrets is about to destroy her carefully cultivated new life unless Leo can convince her to trust him to help set things right. " - Booklist
My Reckless Surrender by Anna Campbell - "
A well-practiced rake, weary of easy conquests and empty pleasures, Tarquin Vale, Earl of Ashcroft, knows women—and his every instinct warns him to beware of this one. Diana Carrick's brazen overtures have thrown the haunted, sinfully handsome lord completely off his guard. Why, the exquisite temptress stated outright that she wishes to be his lover. But it is neither Diana's boldness nor her beauty that intrigues him so—it is the innocence he senses behind her worldly mask. Intent upon the seduction that will finally free her, Diana has set her sights on the notorious Ashcroft—never dreaming that there is much more to the enigmatic rogue than sin and deviltry. His kiss is bewitching, his caress intoxicating—and even the dangerous secret Diana must protect cannot shield her from Ashcroft's dark allure." - from the back cover
One Dance With A Duke by Tessa Dare - "This standout Regency romance, the first in Dare's Stud Club trilogy, matches an unlikely heroine with an arrogant, secretive duke. Plump, plain, and poor, spinster Amelia d'Orsay is astonished when Spencer Dumarque, duke of Morland and a famously handsome and wealthy bachelor, literally sweeps her off her feet and out the door at a London ball. The news of a friend's unexpected death leads them on a significant detour, and Amelia returns home at dawn. Deciding others will believe Amelia compromised after a night in his company, Spencer asks for her hand, leading to a hasty, often conflicted, and deeply passionate marriage. " - Publishers Weekly
Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn - London's most charming rogue, Sebastian Grey, is the heir to an earldom - at least, right now he is. His quite-over-the-hill uncle, Lord Newbury, is out to find a wife and get himself an heir, so that unfortunate occurance never comes to pass. When Newbery sets his sights on Annabel Winslow, a fresh, funny country girl with "child-bearing hips," he's convinced he's found just the woman to help him thwart his nephew. If only Annabel didn't think Mr. Grey quite so very charming and if only Sebastian didn't find himself finally coveting something of his uncle's...Miss Winslow, herself. Julia Quinn is at the top of her from in this delightful follow to last year's What Happens in London. Favorite secondary characters are back, her much beloved family interactions are present, and the romance between Sebastian and Annabel is both sweet and sultry. Does JQ ever get it wrong? Not yet!
Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols - "Lori can't wait for her summer at the lake. She loves wakeboarding and hanging with her friends--including the two hotties next door. With the Vader brothers, she's always been just one of the guys. Now that she's turning sixteen, she wants to be seen as one of the girls, especially in the eyes of Sean, the older brother. But that's not going to happen--not if the younger brother, Adam, can help it. Lori plans to make Sean jealous by spending time with Adam. Adam has plans of his own for Lori. As the air heats up, so does this love triangle. Will Lori's romantic summer melt into one hot mess?" - from the back cover
It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han - "Belly, 16, lives all year for her summers at Cousins Beach. But when a family friend dies and the beach house tradition is threatened, she faces the season without her second family and without the boy she loves. In this follow-up to The Summer I Turned Pretty (S & S, 2009), Belly is still reeling from the dissolution of her relationship with Conrad, her lifelong love, and the death of his mother. But mourning Suzanne is even harder since Conrad has shut down, refusing to talk to Belly or anyone else. When he suddenly leaves school without explanation, his brother, Jeremiah, recruits Belly to help find and mend him. The trio find themselves at Cousins Beach after all, and the memories and feelings of the past come flooding back. Complicated and fragile, Belly's relationships with the two young men are put to new tests as she and Conrad come to terms with their relationship, and Belly and Jeremiah begin to build a romantic bond of their own." - School Library Journal
Infinity: Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon - "At fourteen, Nick Gautier thinks he knows everything about the world around him. Streetwise, tough and savvy, his quick sarcasm is the stuff of legends. . .until the night when his best friends try to kill him. Saved by a mysterious warrior who has more fighting skills than Chuck Norris, Nick is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters: immortal vampire slayers who risk everything to save humanity. Nick quickly learns that the human world is only a veil for a much larger and more dangerous one: a world where the captain of the football team is a werewolf and the girl he has a crush on goes out at night to stake the undead. But before he can even learn the rules of this new world, his fellow students are turning into flesh eating zombies. And he’s next on the menu." - from the back cover
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan - "Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives. Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them--Set--has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe--a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs. " - from the back cover
Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti - "Lani and Erin are older teens who share an interest in fortune-telling. Erin is less serious than Lani, who backed out of the popular crowd because she is more interested in things like environmental action than parties. Although the two girls have a deep bond that began in childhood, Lani’s true best friend is Blake, who fears his father will discover that he is gay. Erin is delighted when she starts dating Jason—one of many crushes she has shared with Lani—but when the three start hanging out together, Lani realizes that she and Jason are meant for each other. Colasanti provides credible and engaging character development for each cast member and interactions that spark just the right amount of tension to make this a romantic page-turner." - Booklist
Spells by Aprilynne Pike - "In this second installment of a series that started with the best-selling Wings (2009), Laurel, who recently discovered she is a faerie, finds herself completely immersed in her new world when she begins studies at the Academy at Avalon. There she can spend more time with Tam, the faerie who is hopelessly in love with her, and also learn about the benefits and burdens her heritage entails. But the action really begins when she returns home. The trolls that stalked her in the previous book are more dangerous than ever, and this time Laurel is not the only one being targeted. Pike astutely mixes these breathtaking events with the real meat of the story: the angst and uncertainty Laurel feels as she tries to combine—and sometimes keep separate—her two lives. At the heart of that conundrum is the affection she feels for both her earthly love, David, and the deliciously different Tam." - Booklist
June 1, 2010:
The Dead Lie Down by Sophie Hannah (Mystery) - "Det. Sgt. Charlotte Charlie Zailer and Det. Constable Simon Waterhouse face one of their strangest cases yet in this superb thriller from Hannah (The Wrong Mother). Ruth Bussey, who suffered a violent attack years earlier, arrives at the police station in the English town of Spilling and explains that her boyfriend, painter Aidan Seed, confessed to murdering a woman named Mary Trelease. Charlie and Simon—who recently got engaged, despite their bizarre relationship—are reluctant to take Ruth seriously, especially after they learn that Mary, a reclusive painter, is alive and well. Ruth's insistence, bordering on the obsessive, prompts the detectives to start digging into Mary's history. The pair soon discover disturbing links to Aidan and the art world. When an actual murder is committed, Charlie and Simon must sort out what's real and what's imagined." - Publishers Weekly
The Irish Warrior by Kris Kennedy (Historical Romance) - "As his men are slaughtered around him, legendary Irish warrior Finian O'Melaghlin is held captive by the despised English Lord Rardove. Struggling to break free, Finian finds aid from an unlikely source: the beautiful Senna de Valery, who is also trying to escape Rardove's bloodthirsty grasp. Risking both their lives, Senna releases Finian from his shackles so they can both flee, but their plight has just begun...Seeking safe refuge, Finian and Senna have only each other to depend on for survival. Neither can deny their immediate attraction, but indulging their desires will put them both in grave danger. Finian vows to protect the woman who saved his life, but he soon learns she is a pawn in a much larger battle. For Senna has an unbreakable link to a priceless treasure many centuries old. It is the stuff from which dreams are made and for which men will kill - and not even Finian may be strong enough to save her. " - from the back cover
The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne (Historical Romance) - "Bourne (The Spymaster's Lady) returns to the French Revolution for her latest romance, this time matching up an English spy and a French aristocrat. Marguerite de Fleurignac, a noblewoman who smuggles émigrés to England, encounters William Doyle in the charred remains of her chateau outside of Paris. She needs sanctuary and agrees to let him escort her through the French countryside. Though she pretends to be Scottish and he claims to be French, no one in this book seems able to keep secrets: William knows Marguerite's identity, she and the French secret police both know he is hunting her father, and everyone, including the secret police and the British, knows everything about the smugglers. Nonetheless, the romance is sweet, and once William and Marguerite admit their love, the ensuing adventure story is everything a spy thriller should be." - Publishers Weekly
The Making of a Duchess by Shana Galen (Historical Romance) - "Julien Harcourt, duc de Valère, is more than willing to marry the lovely young lady his mother has chosen. Little does he know, she's been sent to prove him a spy and a traitor. Sarah Smith's mission is to find out whether the Duc's trips to the Continent are as innocent as he claims, but the way he looks at her is far from innocent. Their risky game of cat and mouse propels them from the ballrooms of London to the prisons of Paris, and into a fragile love that may not survive their deceptions..." - from the back cover
Tempting the Marquess by Sara Lindsey (Historical Romance) - "While Olivia Weston loves matchmaking and romantic novels, she intends to make a suitable match. But first she wants an adventure, and when given the opportunity to visit a reclusive widower living in a haunted castle, Livvy can’t possibly resist. After his wife’s death, Jason Traherne, Marquess of Sheldon, shut his heart to everyone but his son, and until now he has succeeded in maintaining his distance. But there’s something about Livy – her unique blend of sweetness and sensuality – that tempts him beyond all reason. Though there’s nothing suitable about the feelings he inspires in her, Livvy can’t help falling for the marquess. But can she persuade him to let go of the past and risk his heart again?" - from the back cover
June 5, 2010:
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer (Young Adult) - "Fans of The Twilight Saga will be enthralled by this riveting story of Bree Tanner, a character first introduced in Eclipse, and the darker side of the newborn vampire world she inhabits. In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion. " - from the back cover
June 7, 2010:
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce (Young Adult) - "For Scarlett and Rosie March, the world is not what it seems. Werewolves, called Fenris, live among them in the form of good-looking men who prey on pretty young girls. When a Fenris attacked the March girls, it killed their grandmother and left them emotionally and, for Scarlett, physically scarred. Since then, they have taken action and revenge. With the help of a friend, Silas, the girls are on a mission—to destroy as many Fenris as they can. This goal becomes more complicated when they try to unravel the mystery behind the pack and prevent the next "Potential" from transforming fully into a soulless, evil monster. Pearce is on the mark with this modern-day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. " - School Library Journal
June 8, 2010:
Insatiable by Meg Cabot (General Fiction) - "Cabot (Princess Diaries) winningly applies her trademark likably fallible protagonists and breezy storytelling to a vampire war in New York City. TV writer Meena Harper creates fabulous plots for Insatiable, the second-highest–rated soap opera, thanks to her burdensome if lucrative psychic ability to see into the future and determine how people are going to die. And just as Insatiable is switching to a vampire theme to attract a younger demographic, a spate of chilling murders-by-exsanguination grips New York City. Enter Lucien Antonescu, a sexy, melancholic Romanian history professor/vampire who recognizes that the murders are the work of rogue vampires who have broken away from his order. (Lucien happens to be the son of Vlad the Impaler, whom Bram Stoker gave such a bad rep.) Lucien's opposition: Alaric Wulf, a sympathetic detective from the Palatine Guard, who hopes to use Meena and her prophetic gift to stop the murders and track down Lucien. Unfortunately for Alaric, Meena is a little in love with Lucien." - Publishers Weekly
Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Young Adult) - "Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it. That doesn't mean that she's averse to breaking a rule or two. But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian's basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents' murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs." - from the back cover
Wanted by Sara Shepard (Young Adult) - "Back in middle school, Ali plucked Emily, Hanna, Aria, and Spencer from obscurity and turned them into the beautiful, popular girls everyone wanted to be. Ali was the best friend they ever had. But she also made them do terrible things and taunted them with their worst secrets. Now, three years later, all their questions about Ali have finally been answered and they can put this awful chapter of their lives behind them. Or so they think. Not every story has a happy ending, especially when four pretty little liars have done so many wicked things. In the dramatic conclusion of Sara Shepard's bestselling Pretty Little Liars series, Emily, Hanna, Aria, and Spencer could get everything they've ever wanted—unless A has one more horrifying twist in store." - from the back cover
June 22, 2010:
Dark Flame by Alyson Noel (Young Adult) - "Ever is trying to help Haven transition into life as an immortal. But with Haven drunk on her new powers and acting recklessly, she poses the ultimate threat—exposing their secret world to the outside. As Ever struggles to keep the Immortals hidden, it only propels Haven closer to the enemy—Roman and his evil companions. At the same time, Ever delves deeper into dark magick to free Damen from Roman’s power. But when her spell backfires, it binds her to the one guy who’s hell-bent on her destruction. Now there’s a strange, foreign pulse coursing through her, and no matter what she does, she can’t stop thinking about Roman—and longing for his touch. As she struggles to resist the fiery attraction threatening to consume her, Roman is more than willing to take advantage of her weakened state…and Ever edges closer and closer to surrender." - from the back cover
Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evonovich (Mystery) - "Stephanie Plum has inherited a “lucky” bottle from her Uncle Pip. Problem is, Uncle Pip didn’t specify if the bottle brought good luck or bad luck. BAD LUCK: Vinnie, of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds, has run up a gambling debt of $786,000 with mobster Bobby Sunflower and is being held until the cash can be produced. Nobody else will pay to get Vinnie back, leaving it up to Stephanie, office manager Connie, and file clerk Lula to raise the money if they want to save their jobs. GOOD LUCK: Being in the business of tracking down people, Stephanie, Lula, and Connie have an advantage in finding Vinnie. If they can rescue him, it will buy them some time to raise the cash." - from the back cover
Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare (Historical Romance) - "Luck is a double-edged sword for brooding war hero Rhys St. Maur. His death wish went unanswered on the battlefield, while fate allowed the murder of his good friend in the elite gentlemen’s society known as the Stud Club. Out of options, Rhys returns to his ancestral home on the moors of Devonshire, expecting anything but a chance at redemption in the arms of a beautiful innkeeper who dares him to take on the demons of his past—and the sweet temptation of a woman’s love. Meredith Maddox believes in hard work, not fate, and romance isn’t part of her plan. But when Rhys returns, battle-scarred, world-weary, and more dangerously attractive than ever, the lovely widow is torn between determination and desire. As a deep mystery and dangerous smugglers threaten much more than their passionate reckoning, Meredith discovers that she must trust everything to a wager her heart placed long ago." - from the back cover
Are there any other books that you've loved lately or can't wait to dive into? Let me know in the comments and I'll add them to our next list!