This Week’s New and Notable Releases–October 28th Part Two

Here are this week’s new and notable releases, Part Two.  Check out Part One here.  So many great titles!  So little time to savor them all!  I am looking forward to Seduced by a Pirate, Lord Gray’s List , and Wicked Nights With a Proper Lady most.  What’s on your wish list?

Click on the covers for the Amazon product page.

Barefoot in the Rain (Barefoot Bay) by Roxanne St. Claire (Oct 30, 2012)

Burning Up (Smoke Jumpers) by Anne Marsh (Oct 30, 2012)

A Cowboy for Christmas: A Jubilee, Texas Novel by Lori Wilde (Oct 30, 2012)

Damek’s Redemption by N.J. Walters (Oct 30, 2012)

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet (Charley Davidson) by Darynda Jones (Oct 30, 2012)

An Heiress at Heart (Love’s Grace) by Jennifer Delamere (Oct 30, 2012)

Lord Gray’s List by Maggie Robinson (Oct 30, 2012)

A Notorious Countess Confesses: Pennyroyal Green Series by Julie Anne Long (Oct 30, 2012)

Princess in Love by Julianne MacLean (Oct 30, 2012)

The Recruit: A Highland Guard Novel by Monica Mccarty (Oct 30, 2012)

Scorched by Laura Griffin (Oct 30, 2012)

The Scottish Witch: The Chattan Curse by Cathy Maxwell (Oct 30, 2012)

Seduced by a Pirate by Eloisa James (Oct 30, 2012) – Novella

Seducing Mr. Knightly by Maya Rodale (Oct 30, 2012)

Sin With a Scoundrel: The Husband Hunters Club by Sara Bennett (Oct 30, 2012)

Sinners & Saints by Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley (Oct 30, 2012)

Stolen: A Novel of Romantic Suspense by Shiloh Walker (Oct 30, 2012)

To Hell and Back: A League of Guardians Novella by Juliana Stone (Oct 30, 2012) Novella

The Warrior (Return of the Highlanders) by Margaret Mallory (Oct 30, 2012)

Warrior Reborn by Melissa Mayhue (Oct 30, 2012)

Wed to a Highland Warrior (Warrior King) by Donna Fletcher (Oct 30, 2012)

Wicked Nights With a Proper Lady (Dangerous Rogues) by Tiffany Clare (Oct 30, 2012)

Excerpt! Venomous by Fiona Paul!

I have a special treat for you today!  Check out this excerpt of Venomous, a short story written by Fiona Paul!  If you haven’t read any of it yet, you can backtrack through the blogs hosting segments of the story (see below for links).  Be sure to follow the rest of the blogs; there will be a new excerpt posted every day!

Venomous

A Secrets of the Eternal Rose short story

By Fiona Paul

The year is 1600 and the streets of Venice, Italy are ripe with intrigue and danger. In this introduction to the world of Venom, eighteen-year-old Mariabella has recently elevated herself from the rank of common prostitute to the status of courtesan, a respected high-class escort for those men in Venetian society who can afford them. Mariabella steps out to attend a party on the arm of her powerful new patron, certain that the night will be filled with glamour, secrets, and adventure.

If you missed the last part of the story, check it out on Cover Analysis.

“Sometimes I think my father will never have the money for a proper wedding,” she says. The folds of her lavender skirt sink low on the ground as her body deflates slightly.

“Don’t fret, my goddess,” the boy says. “In my mind, we are already married.” He reaches out to tuck a tendril of dark hair back from her face.

She brightens at his touch. “In your mind I bet we’re doing all sorts of things,” she says playfully. He bends down to murmur something in her ear and her mouth twists into a smile. “Yes, we could, couldn’t we?”

Wind whips strands of dark hair around her face as the boy rests his hands on her waist and bends down to kiss her. She rises to meet his embrace, her gloves hands threading together behind his neck. I shouldn’t stare, but I do. There’s something so graceful about the way their bodies move together.

I duck behind the fountain as they break apart and turn toward the front of the palazzo. Sharp peals of laughter float through the air as their silhouettes gradually fade. It makes me think of bird song and flute music and other sounds of sheer joy.

It has been a long time since I laughed like that. A few months ago, I was entertaining a traveling bard who always seemed more interested in singing to me than kissing me. I thought it was an odd waste of his money, but his songs always started out normal and then got sillier and siller until I couldn’t help but giggle—and then laugh, and then laugh until I snorted. He even gifted me a lute and persuaded me to accompany him in his act a couple of times.

It was fun, and I was happy during my time with him. But eventually he had to move on to another city. It’s for the best. If he returned it’d be one more man I’d want to see against Joseph’s wishes.

For the next part of the story, visit Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf tomorrow 10/18. [http://laurenscrammedbookshelf.blogspot.com]

Review: Paradise Kiss Vol 1 by Ai Yazawa

 

Title:  Paradise Kiss V 1

Author:  Ai Yazawa

Publisher:  Vertical

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Yukari is a spirited high school senior in the process of studying for her college entrance exams. Sadly the prospect of subjecting herself to a meaningless dull life leaves her feeling depressed about the future.  In a bout of frustration, Yukari begins to ignore her courses and she begins to hang out with a group of fashion design students. But what Yukari doesn’t know is that this circle is known as Paradise Kiss, and they are run by a pair of young designers already making their mark on the Asian scene. Furthermore, while her life is going to soon change, it will not be due to the elite political or commerce based future her family may have hoped for, instead her life may eventually be set in a world of high fashion, with her strutting down the catwalk as the face of Asian fashion!


Review:

How lovely to see Paradise Kiss back in print after so long!  This series,  Peach Girl, and Marmalade Boy  are directly responsible for my love of graphic novels.  During the hey-day of the US manga craze, there were so many wonderful books being released that it was hard to keep up with them all.  There was also a lot of garbage hitting store shelves, in such an overwhelming wave, that buyers couldn’t keep up.  Then the recession hit, and it was bye-bye to several of my favorite publishers.   CMX’s demise hit me the hardest, because DC’s imprint had licensed some unique titles, and many of the series that I followed were being released by them.  When Tokyopop shuttered, I actually became so discouraged with comics that I started reading prose books again.  Am I bitter that I will never see the end of I Hate You More Than Anyone or Kamui?  Am I upset that Silver Diamond and Demon Sacred were never competed?  You betcha! That’s one reason why I was so happy to see ParaKiss back in print with a new publisher.  This is a timeless story of a high school girl’s coming of age, with fun characters and gorgeous illustrations.  It deserves to stay in print, and since it’s been ten years since it was last published, there is a brand new audience out there just waiting to discover it.

One thing that I love about Ai Yazawa’s storytelling style is how she sprinkles humor into her plot when events get emotionally intense.   There is so much drama, drama, drama, which I love, and then all of a sudden there is this marvelous little blast of humor – either a joke from one of the characters or a humorous visual to ease all of that tension, just a little bit.  It is more evident in NANA (speaking of which, what happened to NANA?), but there are small glimpses in this first installment of Ai Yazawa’s classic romance.  I enjoy the contrast to the heart-stopping tension, and look forward to seeing how she’ll maneuver her characters from emotional trauma to eliciting an chuckle from the reader. 

In ParaKiss, Yukari is a high school senior with a lot of her mind.  She is cramming for her college entrance exams, and she doesn’t have time to get involved with a bunch of weirdos from the local fashion school.  Once she meets charismatic George and is caught under petite Miwako’s charm, she has no choice but to model for their fashion show.  There is so much change in Yukari from the opening chapter,  where she is risk adverse and single-mindedly intent on her studies, to the end of this volume, where she is fabricating lies for her parents so she can spend more time with her new friends in their basement studio.  She is finally starting to assert herself, and to reject her mother’s stranglehold over her.  Finally, there is something that she cares enough about to fight against the carefully planned path her parents have laid out before her.  Is it in her best interests to get caught up in the lives of these creative and impulsive people?  Probably not, but the rush of being with them is intoxicating, and she’s not willing to let it go.

George is so far over her head that I worry for Yukari.  He is jaded and worldly, while she’s lived a very sheltered life.  No friends, no boyfriends, few connections outside of her family.  George is like a blazing torch, and she is drawn, against her will,  to his brilliance.  As I read the book this time around, I sympathized more with her confusion over her feelings for George.  She’s not accustomed to expressing her feelings or hanging out with a guy, and everything that George does sets her world on end.  He is intense and self-confident, and he rushes head-first into everything that life has to offer.  Yukari isn’t prepared for a guy like George, and now that she’s caught his attention, she isn’t sure how to keep it fixed firmly on her.  All of the emotional ups and downs of that first relationship are intensified by George’s vivid personality.  She doesn’t stand a chance against him, and I kept wondering if he was just dicking around with her from the moment he met her.

I love the art.  Ai Yazawa’s delicate, detailed character designs are distinctive and beautiful.  The clothing is also stunning, but how can you possibly have a story about fashion designers and have everybody wearing ugly clothing?  You can’t, and the clothing take on a life of their own.

If you enjoy drama and that pulse-pounding confusion of first love, give this series a shot.  If you enjoy comics with beautiful clothes and beautiful characters, give this series a shot.  If you are interested in manga and haven’t read any of it yet, this is a good, short (3 volume) title to get you started.  It’s still as pretty and as moving as it was 10 years ago.  As always, Vertical’s presentation is top notch, with a new translation and a bigger, bolder trim size than the previous version.

Grade:   B+

Review copy provided by publisher

[PR] BEAUTIFUL CREATURES limited low-price eBook!

{ED. I received this email and wanted to share.  You can grab Beautiful Creatures at a discount, to test drive the series if you haven’t started it yet.}

 

THE END IS COMING… CATCH UP ON HOW IT ALL BEGAN.

For a limited time, Beautiful Creatures (Beautiful Creatures, Book 1)  is available as an e-book for just $3.99!

Visit your favorite e-retailer this week and enjoy the first book in the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES series at a special low price.

AND ON OCTOBER 23, 2012:

BEAUTIFUL REDEMPTION, the breathtaking series finale, arrives in print and eBook!

"The Beautiful Creatures novels contain a potent mix of the gothic, the mythic, and the magical. Readers can look forward to more of what they love in the final installment, Beautiful Redemption, as they follow Ethan’s compelling journey to its bittersweet close. With original characters, complex world building, and crackling prose, this is masterful storytelling." – Deborah Harkness, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches

Praise for The BEAUTIFUL CREATURES Novels

“Exactly the right blend of dark suspense and romance” —Newark Star Ledger

“Fans will devour this latest book and plead for more.” —VOYA, starred review

“Give this to fans of Twilight or HBO’s “True Blood” series.” —School Library Journal

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES was named an Amazon #1 Teen Best Book of The Year and #5 Editor’s Pick Best Book of the Year for 2009.  The series was an instant New York Times, Indiebound, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller.

Coming February 13, 2013: BEAUTIFUL CREATURES will be released as a major motion picture from Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros. Pictures! Directed by Academy Award® nominee Richard LaGravenese, the film stars Academy Award® winnersJeremy Irons and Emma Thompson, Academy Award® nominee Viola Davis, Emmy Rossum, and Thomas Mann, as well as newcomers Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert.

About the authors

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl both live in Los Angeles, California with their families.  Beautiful Redemption is the fourth and final book in the Beautiful Creatures series, following Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, and Beautiful Chaos. You can visit them online at www.beautifulcreaturesthebook.com

Click here to purchase your copy!

Cover Shot! The Lazarus Machine by Paul Crilley

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

The cover for The Lazarus Machine by Paul Crilley is so cool.  I love the colors and the flashes of lightning, and the creepy masked guys in the background – they are really creepy!  The world-building seems interesting, what with the automatons powered by human souls.  Human souls. Really?  I’m am very intrigued by this book!

In stores November 2012.

  

An alternate 1895… a world where Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace perfected the Difference engine. Where steam and tesla-powered computers are everywhere. Where automatons powered by human souls venture out into the sprawling London streets. Where the Ministry, a secretive government agency, seeks to control everything in the name of the Queen.

It is in this claustrophobic, paranoid city that seventeen-year-old Sebastian Tweed and his conman father struggle to eke out a living.

But all is not well…

A murderous, masked gang has moved into London, spreading terror through the criminal ranks as they take over the underworld. as the gang carves up more and more of the city, a single name comes to be uttered in fearful whispers.

Professor Moriarty.

When Tweed’s father is kidnapped by Moriarty, he is forced to team up with information broker Octavia Nightingale to track him down. But he soon realizes that his father’s disappearance is just a tiny piece of a political conspiracy that could destroy the British Empire and plunge the world into a horrific war.

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Interview with Laurianne Uy, Creator of Polterguys

Laurianne Uy is the creator of Polterguys, a new graphic novel series with one shy girl and a bunch of hot ghosts.  Laurianne dropped by the virtual offices to chat about Polterguys, and about her road to getting her project published.  Check out what she has to say!

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Laurianne Uy] Someone who enjoys writing and creating fun, compelling stories Likes visual art analysis and bubble milk tea. Internet junkie. XD

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about Polterguys?

[Laurianne Uy] Sure, it’s the story of Bree — a smart but socially awkward college girl who moves into a house that’s haunted by five cute guys. She’s the only one who can see these ghosts so she has to help them resolve their unfinished business. From someone who’s uncomfortable hanging around boys, Bree suddenly has to live with a bunch of dead ones!

The series is informed by my love of ghost stories, reverse-harem manga and TV shows with awesome girls as lead characters. Some of my favorite movies from the ‘90s were Ghost, Heart & Souls and The Frighteners and I was always drawn to them for the dramatic storylines. But I always wanted to see one with a young girl in the spotlight (Why should guys have all the ghostly fun? XD)

Fruits Basket and Ouran are among my favorite anime/manga because they are incredibly entertaining with just the right amount of bittersweet-ness to them. Both series don’t have the “save-the-world” kind of arcs but their conflicts always felt so personal and intimate. The characters’ struggles were much more relatable that way and for Polterguys, I wanted familiar kinds of problems, too.

And finally, I can’t say enough how empowering shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Veronica Mars are for me as a viewer. Watching these tough girls take on bad guys, saving their friends and just kick ass inspires me to do the same (er…narratively, of course.) I like the idea that stories could inspire young women to be their own heroes in their daily lives. My favorite writers do that for me and this is me trying to pay it forward.

[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Laurianne Uy] Out of nowhere, I was having breakfast one morning and an idea just came to me- "Ghost harem." Somehow, my mind connected ghosts from shonen manga like Bleach and Yu Yu Hakusho to the reverse-harem shojo trope in Fruits Basket and Ouran. I usually didn’t have strong conceptual ideas like this so I knew this was special. But I did struggle to flesh out the world. My first drafts were pretty depressing and the main character was not very relatable or sympathetic. 

Then, I moved the setting from high school to the university and suddenly, the drafts were getting stronger. It was about this girl and figuring out who she was on her own. Full disclosure, I was pulling from my experiences studying at Berkeley for college after growing up in the Philippines most of my life. I felt like a blank slate coming here and that was fueling my writing much more so than if I had a younger protagonist.

Bree is the survivor out of all the protagonists we tried placing in this unique situation and I’m relieved people have liked her (so far, haha!) As for the ghosts, I retrieved all my mental files on reverse-harem stories I’ve enjoyed and devoured in the past. The boys had to somehow clue you into that reverse-harem trope but also function as believable characters in this world. So I had a football jock as the gentle giant, the kid who’s smarter than a whip and goes to a private school, identical twins with different tastes in fashion, and a cute kid in pajamas. 

[Manga Maniac Café] What three words best describe Bree?

[Laurianne Uy] Driven. Nerdy. Lonely.

[Manga Maniac Café] What are three things Bree would never have in her bedroom?

[Laurianne Uy] Frilly skirts, sports gear and green lipstick.  

[Manga Maniac Café] Why did you decide to use Kickstarter to fund this project?

[Laurianne Uy] I’ve seen Womanthology do pretty well on Kickstarter and have heard of other webcomic artists get their projects funded the same way. But to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure I could successfully raise enough money for the project. It wasn’t a question of whether the project itself was good because we had all the confidence in it. Nathan and I talked it over and we decided we didn’t have much to lose by trying. Kickstarter does streamline the rewards and pre-ordering process and there seems to be a great community of backers already comfortable with being a patron of the arts.   

[Manga Maniac Café] What’s the first word that came to your mind when you reached your campaign goal?

[Laurianne Uy] "MA~~!" (In my head, that sounded exactly like Fran Drescher.) I think my mom and my sister backed us that night when we were this close to getting funded. Haha, it would have been cool if strangers did it for us but they must have wanted the honor (and gotten a bit impatient).

[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Laurianne Uy] Oh, that’s a good one. Let’s see. The Disney golden years (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin), Friday night cartoons (Spider-Man, X-men and Batman the Animated Series) because I was banned from watching TV on weekdays , CLAMP manga, Joss Whedon’s writing. It’s kind of all over the place, isn’t it? 

[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Laurianne Uy] A comfy booth (because Nathan and I usually solve story problems in coffee shops so we’re not tempted to get up and check e-mail), paper for recording those sessions, and of course, Microsoft Word.

[Manga Maniac Café] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Laurianne Uy]  The Fault in our Stars. It’s not a comic but the writing and the characters are just so brutally honest. It destroyed me but I loved it so much for doing that. I have this weakness for stories about mortality and dying. It doesn’t matter if it’s a movie, TV show or comic, I will cry my eyes out if I care about a character, they know they don’t have much time left and they’re struggling with that burden. Nathan makes fun of me for it because I’m so predictable now. He eyes me from the side and prepares the tissue box. 

[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Laurianne Uy] I can’t remember if I picked this up myself or if it was given to me but the first book I remember owning was Nancy Drew: The Quest of the Missing Map. I must’ve not cared about continuity (Vol. 19? It’s okay!) or the garishly pink cover because there was a map involved! Buried treasure! I loved mysteries and Nancy was a pretty awesome gal. Looking back, she was my proto-Buffy. I was a super shy kid and felt pretty helpless all the time. She could do all these things I couldn’t. My parents forked over a lot of money to the Carolyn Keene estate. 

[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Laurianne Uy] I draw! I guess I should hand in my artist card if I don’t say that first. Lately, I’ve been challenging myself to draw more complex illustrations and using more copics. It’s hard to experiment with more expensive tools but I do want to get better at them. I also watch a lot of TV drama and try to soak in good writing through osmosis. When I read for fun it’s either the latest Terry Pratchett novel, a graphic novel I picked up from the library or a non-fiction bestseller. 

[Manga Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?

[Laurianne Uy] I blog every week on my website at Laurbits.com. If you’re not into RSS or bookmarking the site, I also have a monthly newsletter you can sign up for so my updates and posts arrive in your inbox. I’m all over your social networks as Laurbits on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Deviantart so you can always hang out and catch up with me on there. 

Thank you so much for having me, Julie. :)

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!

Purchase links coming soon!

Review: The Flowers of Evil Vol 1 by Shuzo Oshimi

 

 

Title: The Flowers of Evil Vol 1

Author:  Shuzo Oshimi

Publisher:  Vertical

May Contain Spoilers

 

Review:

ZOMG!  I feel a bit guilty for enjoying this tale of blackmail as much as I did.  In a moment of complete stupidity, shy, timid Takao steals the gym clothes of the girl he is crushing on.  Little does he know that this one lapse in judgment will bring about his downfall.  Witnessed by Nakamura, the weirdest girl in his class, she threatens to rat him out to their classmates if he doesn’t do everything she demands.  As he spirals deeper in to misery, Takao is at his wit’s end.  How does he get Nakamura to leave him alone, without being outted as a perv in the process?

I haven’t laughed this much in a long time.  I couldn’t help myself.  Poor Takao is such a wimp.  And an idiot to boot.  I hope those clandestine sniffs of Saeki’s t-shirt and shorts were worth the pain and embarrassment that this  hapless middle-schooler is destined to suffer.   Nakamura is one tough cookie, too!  She is relentless, and she won’t let Takao get away with anything now that he’s under her power.  I felt so bad for him!  He’s like a little puppy that keeps getting whacked with a newspaper.  And darn me, but I kept laughing at all of his discomfort. 

Even as his relationship with Saeki, she of the enticing gym clothes,  blooms, his dealings with Nakamura keep bringing him nothing but trouble.  His friends are rapidly ditching him because he’s too busy dancing to Nakamura’s tune to hang out with them, and his mother is fit to be tied because of his strange behavior.  I fear that Takao will need serious therapy sessions if this continues much longer.  I am eager to read more of this series, because I’m curious to see where it goes.  

Grade:  B+, leaning towards an A-

Review copy provided by publisher

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Vacation Reads Giveaway! Win A Long Way From You by Gwendolyn Heasley

Welcome to my  Vacation Reads Giveaway,  hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and The Bookish Mama.  This hop runs from July 19 to July 25, and you can win lots of new reads.  Click here for a complete list of blogs participating in the hop.

I am giving away a finished copy of  A Long Way From You by Gwendolyn Heasley.  This is a quiet, reflective book, perfect for a lazy summer afternoon! 

 

Entering is easy! Just fill out the widget.  Earn extra entries for following on Twitter, subscribing to my emails, or Tweeting about the giveaway.  Easy, Huh?!  US shipping addresses only.

You can follow me here for extra entries:

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