Interview with Jill Archer, Author of Dark Light of Day

 

Jill Archer is the author of Dark Light of Day, an urban fantasy about a law student who is training to represent demons.  I think the premise is brilliant!  I don’t know what’s scarier – lawyers or demons! (Just kidding!)  Jill dropped by the virtual offices to introduce herself and to chat about her new book.

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

[Jill Archer] Eclectic night owl who loves Sour Patch kids, Twizzlers, organic salads, Vitamix smoothies, my Keurig coffee brewer, wine, books and movies.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Dark Light of Day?

[Jill Archer] In a nutshell, Dark Light of Day is about Noon Onyx, a first year law student who is being trained to represent demons. But the story’s as much about Noon’s magical and romantic struggles as it is about her academic ones. I should also mention that, even though the book is considered "urban fantasy," the setting is not contemporary. The story mostly takes place in New Babylon, a city with a circa 1900′s technology level that was built on top of the ancient battlefield of Armageddon in a country called Halja.

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

[Jill Archer] Noon Onyx is very loosely inspired by the librarian Evelyn "Evie" Carnahan from the movie, The Mummy.

I used to be a lawyer. A few years ago, I was at a writer’s group event and sat next to a librarian during one of the lunches. We each commiserated with the other about how dull we felt our day jobs were, a feeling each of us couldn’t believe the other had. It led to a discussion about Evie’s character and I got the idea to see if I could somehow create a similarly bookish lawyer character who lived in some sort of "otherworld."

Around the same time, I came across my old copy of Scott Turow’s ONE L ("the turbulent true story of a first year at Harvard Law School") and thought, "Hey, how cool would it be to write a story about a first year law student who is being trained to represent demons?"

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?

[Jill Archer] Weaving together the sub-plots. Dark Light of Day has fantasy, romance, and mystery elements. I tried to tie the sub-plots together with common themes, motifs, and/or plot nexuses.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Noon?

[Jill Archer] Strong, smart, and kind

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Ari would never have in his pocket?

[Jill Archer] A cell phone, a match, and a flower. (No boutonnieres for Ari either!)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Noon’s single most prized possession?

[Jill Archer] Despite her privileged background, Noon’s not that into material possessions. She does love her collection of high necked sweaters, cloaks, and wraps though because they allow her to hide the telltale "demon mark" of a waning magic user.

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

[Jill Archer] My love of nature, forests, and flowers helped me to create two of the main types of magic in the book: waning magic, the dark, destructive, fiery magic that’s used to control demons, and waxing magic, the soft, creative, nurturing magic that’s used to grow gardens and heal people. The idea evolved from my fascination with the duality of nature’s forces (forest fires versus summer blooms, tsunamis versus spring rains).

Other creative influences: demons and deities from around the world, Christian mythology, pagan holidays, even legal concepts. I played fast and loose with all of them. I tried to be respectful of my sources, while at the same time staying true to my primary goal, which was to write an entertaining story. I thought it would be interesting to create a world within which the traditional sides of bad and good were more muddied than they are in our world.

I’ve also been influenced by other authors. I admire writers such as Lois McMaster Bujold, S.M. Stirling, Colleen McCullough, Naomi Novik, and Elizabeth Peters. I would never, and could never, emulate their style, but just reading their work and knowing there are writers out there writing such fantastic novels influences me to put out the best work that I can. When I read the work of someone I admire, it’s an invigorating feeling!

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

[Jill Archer] An idea, a computer, and coffee. :-)

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

[Jill Archer] The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan. Last summer, I attended a writer’s workshop presented by him and Simone Elkeles. It was tearfully funny, but the point is the moment David described that book, I knew I would like it. I left the session and went straight to the temporary bookstore that had been set up in the hotel for the conference and bought it. When I finally read it, I didn’t just like it — I loved it.

I love that the story is told out of order. I love that it’s not told in chapters but in dictionary entries like "kerfuffle" and "cocksure." I love its ending, its humor, and its honesty. But most of all, I love how the reader has to work a little to get it. It’s not a story that’s spoon fed to you. And yet, it’s very light and easy to digest. You can read it in a night if you want or easily before bed over the course of a few. It was in my TBR pile for a year, but it was worth the wait.

If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien. My fourth grade teacher read it aloud to the class that year and I was hooked from that point on. What a story! I just read it to my kids this past year and then we all watched the movie. So fun!

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

[Jill Archer] I like to hike and bike, although I don’t have as much time to do those things as I would like. Of course, I love to read. I also love to watch movies and, occasionally, TV (I’ve been known to go on a streaming binge if I find a series I particularly like). I love to hang out with friends and family. We take a lot of day trips. My husband is a recreational pilot and we have a small Cessna that we fly around in on the weekends.

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

[Jill Archer] I have a website and blog through WordPress, which people can find at www.jillarcher.com. I blog about books, movies, interesting people I’ve met, day tripping in our little Cessna, and miscellaneous things I find interesting. Although it’s time consuming, I enjoy blogging. I like to write shorter pieces on a variety of topics just to keep things fresh and I love connecting with other people who have blogs on subjects that interest me. Recently, I experimented with a summer romance guest blog series and that’s been tons of fun! I’m also on Twitter (@archer_jill) and Facebook.

I appreciate your interest in Noon Onyx and Dark Light of Day. Thank you, Julie, for interviewing me for Manga Maniac Cafe. Best wishes and happy reading to you and your readers!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Dark Light of Day can be pre-ordered from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below:

Cover Shot! The Merchant of Dreams by Anne Lyle

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?

I haven’t read The Alchemist of Dreams by Anne Lyle, but it is in my TBR.  With the next book in the series, The Merchant of Dreams, set to release in December, I have a little bit of time to catch up.  I love the covers for these; the lighting and poses of the characters make me want to snap these right up.

 

 

Exiled from the court of Queen Elizabeth for accusing a powerful nobleman of treason, swordsman-turned-spy Mal Catlyn has been living in France with his young valet Coby Hendricks for the past year.

But Mal harbours a darker secret: he and his twin brother share a soul that once belonged to a skrayling, one of the mystical creatures from the New World.

When Mal’s dream about a skrayling shipwreck in the Mediterranean proves reality, it sets him on a path to the beautiful, treacherous city of Venice – and a conflict of loyalties that will place him and his friends in greater danger than ever.

Interview with Katie L Carroll, Author of Elixir Bound

Katie L  Carroll is the author of Elixir Bound, a recently released YA fantasy.  Katie L Carroll dropped by the virtual offices to introduce herself and chat about her book. Check out what she has to say.

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

[Katie Carroll] Mother, writer, editor, collector of signed books.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Elixir Bound?

[Katie Carroll] Katora Kase is next in line to take over as guardian to a secret and powerful healing Elixir. Now she must journey into the wilds of Faway Forest to find the ingredient that gives the Elixir its potency. Even though she has her sister and brother, an old family friend, and the handsome son of a mapmaker as companions, she feels alone.

For it is her decision alone whether or not to bind herself to the Elixir to serve and protect it until it chooses a new guardian. The forest hosts many dangers, including wicked beings who will stop at nothing to gain power, but the biggest danger Katora may face is whether or not to open up her heart to love.

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

[Katie Carroll] This story all started when my younger sister, Kylene, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 16. In her short life, she inspired so many people to be readers by sharing the Harry Potter books with them. I wanted to give her a fantasy adventure. The story actually turned out to be more about me than her, but it was my way of mourning my sister. I’m working on a second story in the same world as Elixir Bound, and I think this one is going to be more about Kylene!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Katora?

[Katie Carroll] Stubborn, independent, brave.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Katora would never have in her pocket?

[Katie Carroll] Tissues (because she would never admit to crying), lipstick (make-up isn’t practical for a farmer), or a cell phone (there are no cell phones in Katora’s world!).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Katora had a theme song, what would it be?

[Katie Carroll] Regina Spektor’s song “Hero.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOQ3R3MNcv8

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

[Katie Carroll] My greatest creative influences are writers Lois Lowry, J.K. Rowling, Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green, Melina Marchetta, Donna Gephart, David Almond, Kristin Cashore, Tamora Pierce…there’s too many to name all the authors that have influenced me. I’m sure I’ve left out some big ones here. Musically I’m inspired by Our Lady Peace, Fuel, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, and lots of classic rock bands. My favorite artist is Vincent Van Gogh.

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

[Katie Carroll] Really the number one thing I need is my brain…I do a lot of writing in my head before I even sit down with my laptop, which I guess would be the number two thing I need. Number three would definitely be time!

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

[Katie Carroll] I would have to say The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. I feel like that book took thoughts right from my head and put them into words better than I ever could.

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

[Katie Carroll] My mom used to read to us when we were little. I can remember having such a sense of awe listening to the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

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

[Katie Carroll] I love hanging out with my 1-year-old son and my husband. I also play a little soccer, take walks to the beach, and read, read, read.

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

[Katie Carroll] Readers can visit my website and blog at www.katielcarroll.com. I’m also on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/katie.carroll.12139 and Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/KatieLCarroll.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can order Elixir Bound from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below.

Interview with Tammy Falkner, Author of A Lady and Her Magic and Giveaway!

Tammy Falkner is the author of A Lady and Her Magic, a new release from Sourcebooks.  Tammy stopped by the virtual offices to introduce herself, and she brought a copy of her book for one of you to win!

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

[Tammy Falkner] Sports mom (the one with the cow bell), wife of almost 20 years, hopeless romantic

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about A Lady and Her Magic?

[Tammy Falkner] Sophia Thorne is a faerie on a mission. She’s been sent to help the daughter of the Duke of Robinsworth. But there’s magic at play that draws the two of them together again and again. He’s not of her world, and she can’t stay in his. So, what’s a faerie to do when the Unpardonable Errors keep her away from the one she loves? Luckily, the reclusive Ashley is stronger than she ever dreamed, and he takes matters into his own hands in trying to win her heart.

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

[Tammy Falkner] I like magic and paranormal. I have always wanted to write about faeries, and decided to stick them in the middle of Regency England and find out what happened! I had a lot of fun with them in this time period.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Sophia?

[Tammy Falkner] Fearless, faithful, and determined.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Ashley would never have in his pocket?

[Tammy Falkner] One thing Ashley would never carry in his pocket is faerie dust. It has been known to combust in untrained hands. Regency men didn’t travel with pockets full of things like other eras, so I can’t think of much else. He WOULD have a handkerchief. And maybe a miniature of his daughter, Anne.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Sophia’s single most prized possession?

[Tammy Falkner] Her faerie dust.

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

[Tammy Falkner] Most definitely my parents. My dad and I sit at the dinner table and talk about faeries and how much trouble I can get them into. And my mom chimes in occasionally to tell us when something is really not working. I also get a lot from my kids. They can get into some of the most astonishing scrapes.

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

[Tammy Falkner] Quiet, Diet Dr. Pepper, and a dog at my feet. I usually have a cat behind my head, too, but I can ignore that.

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

[Tammy Falkner] Scandal Wears Satin by Loretta Chase

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

[Tammy Falkner] The “Only” series by Elizabeth Lowell.

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

[Tammy Falkner] I am the quintessential sports mom. I am at all the games, all the matches and I sit on the bleachers and embarrass my children. That’s what they’re for, right? We also take the family out on the boat a lot and do some skiing and tubing.

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

[Tammy Falkner] On Facebook, Twitter @tfalkner, and on my website: www.tammyfalkner.com

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

GIVEAWAY TIME!

For your chance to win a copy of A Lady and Her Magic, fill out the widget below.  You can earn extra entries by following!  US addresses only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Didn’t win? You can purchase A Lady and Her Magic from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below.

A LADY AND HER MAGIC BY TAMMY FALKNER – IN STORES SEPTEMBER 2012

Rules Are Made to be Disobeyed…

Sophia Thorne is new to the Regency’s glittering high society, which resembles her magical homeland only insofar as both places are filled with ridiculous rules. Which means no matter where she goes, she’s bound for trouble…

And Scandals Are Meant to be Shocking…

The Duke of Robinsworth has flaunted and shocked society for years. In a moment of fateful mischief, Robinsworth encounters the enchanting and distinctly scandalous Sophia. Between her streak of magical mischief and his penchant for scandal, they’re about to take rule-breaking to a whole new level…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As half of the Lydia Dare writing team, Tammy Falkner has co-written ten books, including A Certain Wolfish Charm and In the Heat of the Bite. A huge fan of Regency England, her new series explores the theory that the fae can walk between the glittering world of the ton and their own land. Tammy lives on a farm in rural North Carolina with her husband and a house full of boys, a few dogs, and a cat or two. For more information, please visit http://www.tammyfalkner.com and follow her on Twitter, @TFalkner.

Interview with Candace Havens, Author of Take It Like a Vamp and Giveaway!

 

Candace Havens is the author of Take It Like A Vamp, a new release under Entangled Publishing’s Covet line.  Candace stopped by the virtual offices for a chat, and she brought along a present! One of you can win a digital copy of Take It Like A Vamp!  Find out how after the interview.

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

[Candace Havens] I’m awesome and freaky busy. That’s how my assistant describes me. :)

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about Take it Like a Vamp?

[Candace Havens] Nick and Casey are neighbors in a hi-rise condo development that he owns. They’re best friends, who are secretly in love/hots with each other. That friendship develops into something more. There are supernatural councils, nasty witches and a lot of other fun stuff involved that make things tough on the couple. It’s light, fun and I hope it makes you laugh out loud.

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

[Candace Havens] My publisher mentioned she needed a vampire book. I told her I don’t write vampires. She said she’d love a friends to lovers story and pow! The whole story was in my head and I started telling her about it. I wrote it in four days.

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

[Candace Havens]  Loyal, friendly and curvy.

[Manga Maniac Café] What are three things Nick would never have in his bedroom?

[Candace Havens] Evil witches, bad wine and anyone who wasn’t Casey.

[Manga Maniac Café] If Nick had a theme song, what would it be?

[Candace Havens] In Love With A Girl, by Gavin Degraw

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

[Candace Havens] Hmmm. That’s tough. I think books in general and other authors. From Nancy Drew when I was a kid, to Jodi Thomas, one of my early mentors. I’ve been really lucky that way.

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

[Candace Havens] Big bottle of water. Tunes. And my dogs, Harley and Gizmo. I know that’s four, but the dogs are kind of a pair even though one is a Great Dane and the other is a Japanese Chin/Maltese.

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

[Candace Havens] Gosh, I’ve been really lucky with my picks. I guess the last one is Seducing Cinderella by Gina Maxwell. Love her hero in that one.

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

[Candace Havens] Nancy Drew.

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

[Candace Havens]  I covet sleep, but it never happens. I’m always writing. I do write about TV and Film, so that’s fun. Some day, I’d like to take a vacation to Paris where I don’t have to worry about anything except where I want to eat, shop or go next.

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

[Candace Havens] I am everywhere. (smile) My website is www.candacehavens.com I’m @candacehavens on Twitter and Candace Havens Author on Facebook. I’m also on Google plus, tumblr, myspace and probably social media sites I’ve forgotten. I’d love to hear from you guys, and thanks so much for letting me hang out.

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!

GIVEAWAY TIME!!

Fill out the widget for a chance to win a digital copy of Take It Like A Vamp.  Earn extra entries for following.  Open Internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Didn’t win? You can order Take It Like A Vamp from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below.

About Candace Havens:

Bestselling author Candace Havens has written six novels for Berkley including, Charmed & Dangerous,Charmed & Ready, Charmed & Deadly, Like A Charm, The Demon King and I and Dragons Prefer Blondes. Her books for the Blaze line at Harlequin include Take Me If You Dare, She Who Dares, Wins, Truth and Dare, and The Model Marine. She is also in the anthology Spirited, and the proceeds go to help literacy. In addition to Take It Like A Vamp, she has the steampunk novels Iron Demon (Oct. 2012) and Iron Blood (April 2013) from the Maisy Clark series debuting with Entangled Publishing.

Her books have received nominations for the RITA’s, Holt Medallion and Write Touch Reader Awards. Model Marine is a National Readers Choice Finalist. She is the author of the biography Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy and a contributor to several anthologies. She is also one of the nation’s leading entertainment journalists and has interviewed countless celebrities including Tom Hanks, Nicolas Cage, Tom Cruise, George Clooney and many more.

Her entertainment columns can be read in more than 600 newspapers across the country. Candace also runs a free online writing workshop for more than 2000 writers, and teaches comprehensive writing class. She does film reviews with the Dorsey Gang on New Country 96.3, and is the President of the Television Critics Association.

Author Website: http://www.candacehavens.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CandaceHavens

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/116617.Candace_Havens

Review: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

 

Title: Spell Bound

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Publisher:  Disney Hyperion

Also available in digital:

Spell Bound (Digital)

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.
Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium.  Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

Review:

I have been waiting with a great deal of anticipation for the final book in Rachel Hawkins’ Hex Hall series.  I found the first book rather predicable, but Demonglass kept me on the edge of my seat.  I hated the cliffhanger ending! How could you do that to me?  I was finally onboard with Sophie and her acidic personality, and then – WHAM!  We ran into a brick wall of “See you later!”  Ugh!

Anyway, a copy finally came in at the library, so I hustled over to pick it up.  On my lunch break.  Even though I couldn’t read it until after work.  I dove into the book as soon as I arrived home, and after that uncomfortable few moments of trying like heck to remember what happened in the previous book, and who all of the characters were, I was in!  There is such a loss of momentum when you have to wait for over a year to read the next book in a series, and most of the time, they don’t work as well for me.  When I am in the reading zone provided by a book, I am also in a particular frame of mind at that place in time.  Sometimes I don’t get it back.  Sometimes I no longer click with the protagonist.  Sometimes I discover, with dismay, that I don’t even like the protagonist anymore.  While she hasn’t changed in the year and a half since we last met, I have.  I am a different person, and there have been times when I have outgrown a series or cast of characters, and I am always bummed when that happens.

Don’t worry, though! That didn’t happen with Spell Bound.  While some of the plot points didn’t work for me, I still enjoyed Sophie’s occasionally grating personality.  Her coping mechanism is to get sarcastic, and I actually liked when she was blasting out snarky comments, or better yet, making unfiltered inner commentary about whatever person happened to be pissing her off.  I didn’t like the back and forth between Archer and her fiancée, Cal, but heck, I usually never like all of the romantic triangles cluttering up YA PNR these days.  It is the one trope that drives me batty, and the one that I find the least interesting.  The resolution to this one was a cop-out, with Sophie not making a decision so much as having it made for her.  I don’t want to reveal any spoilers, so I’ll just say UGH!  Sophie gets off guilt free, and I didn’t like that.  I felt that it belittled her emotional conflict and her feelings for both guys was also trivialized. 

Moving on, I love the action in the these books.  Sophie has to always be on her toes, ready to fight for her life.  She also has to be ready to fight for the lives of her friends, and now, her family.  In this supernatural war, there are many casualties.  Sophie is under so much stress to ensure the safety of her loved ones that I’m surprised she didn’t lose all of her hair from the stress.  Worse yet, she didn’t have her powers, because they had been locked away by the villains at the end of the last book!  Her father’s powers had been completely and forcibly ripped from his body.  Sophie was running on empty, and ouch!  it wasn’t easy for her to escape from all of the danger she repeatedly found herself in.  That is one of her traits that I admire most about her character; Sophie has an innate ability to think well under pressure.  While she may lack the common sense to keep her out of danger in the first place, once she’s in it, she is able to stay relatively calm, examine the situation from every angle, and find a way to get her out of trouble without getting killed.  That she is ready to sacrifice her life when the stakes get so high that I would have crumbled into a ball of black despair, is another reason why I enjoyed Sophie, and these books, so much.

All in all, Hex Hall was a fun series, and now that they are all out, I recommend that you give them a try.  Each book was better than the last, and all of the characters, especially Sophie and Elodie, are likeable.

Grade:  B+

Review copy obtained from my local library 

Micro Review: Hearts of Fire by Kira Brady (Novella)

 

Title: Hearts of Fire

Author: Kira Brady

Publisher: Zebra

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

In the prequel to a stunning new paranormal series, one woman’s desire for a forbidden man will spark a centuries-long supernatural conflict–and a love nothing can destroy.

She’s the heiress to Seattle’s most powerful shifter clan. Her destiny is as controlled and certain as moonrise. However, from the moment Alice Corbette encounters the man known as Brand, she will defy all constraint and break every rule to make this dragon-shifter hers. Brand is determined to repay the clan leader he owes his life to. But one taste of Alice’s exquisite spirit will make him question his loyalty–and plunge them both into the middle of a ruthless power play. Their only chance at freedom is a gamble that could risk the future of humans and shifters alike. . .

20,000 Words.

Review:

This teaser novella worked its magic to get me totally invested in the release of Hearts of Darkness, the kickoff to Kira Brady’s Deadglass series.  The world building is fascinating, and the chemistry between Alice and Brand zinged from the pages.  The ending was like hitting a brick wall, though, and left me more than a little frustrated, because I wanted more. NOW!

  The first novel hits stores in August, and it’s at the top of my wish list.

Grade:  B/B-

Review copy provided by publisher

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Cover Shot! Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal

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?

OMG I love this cover! Shades of Milk and Honey floated right under my radar because I find that cover drab and dull, but this cover is gorgeous!  So pretty!  Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal will be in stores 2013

The magical book that might result if Jane Austen’s Emma were set against the Luddite uprising in the Year Without a Summer

Up-and-coming fantasist Mary Robinette Kowal enchanted fans with award-winning short stories and beloved novels featuring Regency pair Jane and Vincent Ellsworth. In Without a Summer the master glamourists return home, but in a world where magic is real, nothing—even the domestic sphere—is quite what it seems.

Jane and Vincent go to Long Parkmeade to spend time with Jane’s family, but quickly turn restless. The year is unseasonably cold. No one wants to be outside and Mr. Ellsworth is concerned by the harvest, since a bad one may imperil Melody’s dowry. And Melody has concerns of her own, given the inadequate selection of eligible bachelors. When Jane and Vincent receive a commission from a prominent family in London, they decide to take it, and take Melody with them. They hope the change of scenery will do her good and her marriage prospects—and mood—will be brighter in London.

Once there, talk is of nothing but the crop failures caused by the cold and increased unemployment of the coldmongers, which have provoked riots in several cities to the north. With each passing day, it’s more difficult to avoid getting embroiled in the intrigue, none of which really helps Melody’s chances for romance. It’s not long before Jane and Vincent realize that in addition to getting Melody to the church on time, they must take on one small task: solving a crisis of international proportions.

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