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)

Review: ZOM-B by Darren Shan


Title: ZOM-B

Author: Darren Shan

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

When news reports start appearing of a zombie outbreak in Ireland, B’s racist father thinks it’s a joke– but even if it isn’t, he figures, it’s ok to lose a few Irish.

B doesn’t fully buy into Dad’s racism, but figures it’s easier to go along with it than to risk the fights and abuse that will surely follow sticking up for Muslims, blacks, or immigrants. And when dodging his fists doesn’t work, B doesn’t hesitate to take the piss out of kids at school with a few slaps or cruel remarks.

That is, until zombies attack the school. B is forced on a mad dash through the serpentine corridors of high school, making allegiances with anyone with enough gall to fight off their pursuers.


Spoiler free!

This is the first Darren Shan novel that I have read (I have read some graphic novel adaptations previously), and despite some reservations, I enjoyed it very much.  ZOM-B kept me happily entertained on a flight to OKC; it’s a fast read, with blistering action and compulsively readable prose.  I gobbled this up in just a few hours, and was disappointed when I reached the last page, because this one comes to a painful, screeching halt.  It has no ending, just one of those annoying To Be Continued on the last page.  While I now feel invested in the series and will be on board for the next volume, I worry that the next book won’t work for me as well.  This one hit at the right time; with Halloween looming, I was in the mood for something scary, and being trapped on a plane for was few hours, I needed something to occupy my time and keep me from wallowing in boredom.  ZOM-B did that; in spades.  I don’t know if I will feel the same way, or have the right circumstances, when ZOM-B Underground hits stores February of next year.

B is a high school student, and after hearing reports of a zombie invasion in an Irish town, B’s father laughs the news off as a hoax.  When B’s mother voices her concern, her husband reacts violently, silencing her fears.  B isn’t sure what’s going on, but if the videos and the pictures of rotting dead people viciously attacking and eating helpless people is true, B doesn’t know what to do.  When the zombies show up at school, chaos erupts.  Only those brave enough, and willing to do anything to survive, will live through the massacre.  Will B make it out of school alive?

B is a hard character to like.  After years of trying to fend off his father’s abusive attacks, both on B and on B’s mother, B is exhausted.  Playing along with his father’s racially biased views in order to avoid beatings, B comes across as just as bigoted and narrow-minded as his dad.  While he tries to deny his prejudice, because, hey, he has a black friend, it’s hard to ignore the things B says and does.  The intolerance towards other cultures is a strong theme in the book, but it is so heavy-handed that at times it didn’t work for me.  It grated on my nerves.  Yes, B’s dad is a bully and a jerk, but I didn’t need to be reminded of that every other page. 

B has a lot to deal with at home as his father’s temper often flares out of control.  When news of a zombie plague hits the news, everyone laughs it off as an elaborate joke.  When B’s worst nightmare comes true and the zombies overrun  school, it seems as though the world is ending.  Only quick thinking and brutal reactions keep B and a small handful of students alive.  The zombies are relentless, and B’s little group is shrinking fast.  One after another is picked off and eaten by the ravenous zombies.  Soon, it’s everyone for themselves.  While the small group is forced to work together, it is painfully obvious that the peace will only hold as long as it is mutually beneficial.  If tossing a student or two to the zombie mob will buy the more ruthless survivors a reprieve from a painful death, so be it.  The group dynamics  were always shifting, which made the read even more suspenseful, because you never knew when someone would be sacrificed or eaten by the zombies. 

This is a fun, fast, gory read, right up until that dreaded, hated, To Be Continued.  I like a little more closure to my books, but as this is the first in a projected 12 book series, I guess I need to get used to running into a lot of brick walls.

Grade:  B/B-

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Roxanne Snopek, Author of Three River Ranch and Giveaway!

Roxanne Snopek is celebrating the release of her new book, Three River Ranch.  Please welcome her to the virtual offices today!

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

[Roxanne Snopek] Artistic, driven, solitary, peacekeeper, INFP + a dash of OCD & ADHD. Also, Scorpio Sun/Moon/Mercury/Neptune, so stand back when I get mad.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Three River Ranch?

[Roxanne Snopek] It’s a romance for people who don’t like reading romance! At least, that’s what reviewers are saying. It’s the story of two ordinary people with good but wounded hearts, who want to save the world and end up rescuing each other.

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

[Roxanne Snopek]  I love cowboys, so Carson was just a natural character to write. But instead of a traditional riding-the-range kind of guy, I made him a conservationist with a passion for saving the wild mustangs. The setting and world of Three River Ranch came alive for me as soon as I had this tiny bit, and the rest sort of evolved… a bit like a photo coming into focus.

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

[Roxanne Snopek] Authentic. Resilient. Selfless.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Carson would never have in his bathroom?

[Roxanne Snopek] Hm. Great question. He doesn’t buy aerosols. He doesn’t use products that have been tested on animals. Also, no harsh cleaning products! He’s a baking-soda-and-vinegar kind of guy.

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

[Roxanne Snopek]  “Born to be Wild”

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

[Roxanne Snopek]  Well, she loves her dog, Mistral, although she argues vehemently that animals are companions, not “possessions.” So, as far as inanimate objects, she has a crimson wrap that she wears to go out with Carson. The rich color and fabric are flattering, even for a pregnant woman!

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

[Roxanne Snopek]  Naturally, I’m a voracious reader and have been all my life. So books and writers, probably. There’s a book by the late Madeleine L’Engle called “Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art” that touched me deeply about a decade ago. Stephen King’s “On Writing” is just great, even for non-writers. Barbara Kingsolver’s “Poisonwood Bible” is the kind of book that, in my ideal life, I’d have the skill and wisdom and heart and maturity to write.

Then, of course, there’s Allie Brosh and her blog Hyperbole and a Half. Probably the funniest stuff I’ve ever read. A true outside-the-box thinker, a hilarious writer and artist. Go there. You won’t be sorry.

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

[Roxanne Snopek] Quiet. A non-sticky floor. Matrimonial cake. (I always order this if I’m in a coffee shop, but no one makes it like my mom…. dates…. oatmeal….mmm.)

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

[Roxanne Snopek] I just finished “Don’t Say a Word” by Barbara Freethy and it was great! Suspenseful, fast-paced, great mix of romance and thriller.

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

[Roxanne Snopek]  “Hurry Home Candy” by Meindert DeJong and “Jennie” by Paul Gallico. Both are stories of animals lost and in need of rescuing, which explains one aspect of my writing. And both end well, which explains the romance, I suppose. I don’t mind crying in a book, but I cannot bear unhappy endings. Oops. You said one book. Oh well…

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

[Roxanne Snopek]  I love to play in the dirt, making stuff grow if I can, pruning it or digging it out if I can’t. I like hiking through crunchy leaves with my dogs. I dabble in painting from time to time – big, splashy canvases that I stencil quotes on. I enjoy baking, but my doctor says I have to lay off starches, dang it. Also, I love to watch TV (can I admit that??) Right now I’m totally into The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Castle and am about to start watching Sons of Anarchy. I was a staunch ER fan before it ended, and St. Elsewhere before that. I LOVED Firefly. Big Bang Theory cracks me up and I still happen onto the occasional Friends episode I haven’t seen.

Oh, and I *love* Bikram yoga. Yoga of all kinds, really, but something about the heat really works for me.

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

[Roxanne Snopek]

Facebook: RoxanneSnopekAuthor

Twitter: @RoxanneSnopek


[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!


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You can order Three River Ranch from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the link below.


More about the book:

Needing a fresh start from her two-timing fiancé, Aurora McAllister answers a realtor’s ad for a guesthouse on the beautiful, serene Three River Ranch. She shows up at Three River tired, heartbroken, and with no one but her trusty Labradoodle as a companion.

Cowboy Carson Granger has enough trouble in his life without adding a woman and her dog to the mix. There’s the untamed mustang he’s prepping to release into the wild, not to mention his father’s crazy will, which stipulates that if Carson wants to fully inherit Three River, he’ll need to find a bride. Carson wants nothing to do with love and especially not a marriage of convenience. But he soon realizes Rory, and everything she represents, might just be exactly what he needs.

Sometimes love arrives on your doorstep when you least expect it…

More about the author:

Roxanne Willems Snopek is an award-winning freelance writer of everything from corporate newsletters to personal essays. Author of the Amazing Stories series of true life animal adventures, she now focuses on fiction. Snopek grew up in Saskatchewan and now lives in British Columbia.