Fool for Books Giveaway Hop–Win Children of the Underground by Trevor Shane!


Welcome to my Fool for Books Giveaway Hop.  This hop runs April 1 to April 7 and is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.  You can win lots of new reads, so click here for a complete list of blogs participating in the hop.

Thanks to NAL, I am giving away a copy of Children of the Underground by Trevor Shane! This is the second book in the Children of Paranoia series.  I love the cover.

About the book:


Even if you have choices, sometimes you only have one worth making.

The war had been raging for as long as anyone could remember. The secret, endless war between two opposing sides—one good, one evil. Neither side knows which is which; it is kill or be killed in an invisible conflict where assassination is the weapon of choice.

When she was just seventeen, Maria was pulled into this secret war and they killed her lover and stole her child. Now they are telling her to go home. To ignore what she knows is going on in the shadows all around her. They told Maria to forget all she’d lost. The trouble is, some things simply can’t be forgotten.

Now, with a loose-cannon killer at her side, Maria is going to do whatever it takes to get back what belongs to her. And that means starting a war of her own

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The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves–Maybe It’s Spring? Finally??


The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba of The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  This is a weekly meme where we can share news of the week and highlight new books received.

It’s finally starting to warm up around here, so I am optimistic that it will eventually be warm enough to be considered “spring.” Probably not until summer, but, oh, well.  Had a few hectic days this week.

My lease was up on my Jeep, so I got a new car.

This is a lease, too, and it was a little cheaper than my Jeep, so score! It’s a better vehicle, in my opinion, and it has SYNC and some other high tech stuff that I haven’t figured out yet.  I like that the car is lower to the ground, because it’s easier to get the puppies in and out of it.

This is Pixie.  I bought her last year, after realizing that Blondie, no matter how much I wanted her to be the horse for me, never would be.  She didn’t want to be a saddle horse, or a show horse, so I finally decided we would both be happier if she went somewhere that she didn’t have to work so hard.  Pixie is a 5 year old Morgan, and I don’t believe she’s been shown under saddle yet, so this year will be a learning experience for both of us.  She is still very green, but she’s honest and wants to please, and I am so happy with her.  More to follow.

Here is Poppy at Sonic.  Since it was so nice yesterday, I convinced Dean that we all needed to go to Sonic for some ice cream.  The puppies were a bit apprehensive at Sonic because with the warm weather there was a lot going on, but they were both so well behaved. 

There was a lot for Bumble to look at while we ate our ice cream at Sonic.  When we got home, they both crashed, exhausted from their outing.  LOL.  We’ll go to the Car Hop next time and get fried Oreos.

Check out my current contests!  See the Contest Widget on the Sidebar to enter!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews to share new additions to our library.  Click here to learn more about it.

New Arrivals at the Café:

Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan

Coyote Winds by Helen Sedwick (Thank you, Helen!)

Getting Real by Ainslie Paton

Riding on Air by Maggie Gilbert

Bitter Seeds (Milkweed) by Ian Tregillis (2.99!!)

Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Once a Bad Girl by Jane O’Reilly

The Last Gladiatrix by Eva Scott

A great big thanks to the publishers for their continued support!

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Interview with Sherri L Smith, Author of Orleans

Please welcome Sherri L Smith to the virtual offices today!  Sherri is the author of the recently released ORLEANS, as well as Flygirl.  She very graciously agreed to chat about her books and let us get to know her better.  Check out what she has to say!

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

[Sherri L Smith] I am a writer who likes to eat chocolate chip cookies.

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

[Sherri L Smith] ORLEANS is set in a not-to-distant future in the former city of New Orleans.  After a series of man-made and natural disasters give rise to the deadly Delta Fever, the U.S. Government builds a quarantine wall from Florida to Texas and abandons the region to its fate.  In old New Orleans, now called Orleans, the survivors have gone tribal.  The story follows Fen, a sixteen-year-old girl in this world, as she tries to save the life of a new born baby.

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

[Sherri L Smith ] My mom was a New Orleans native and Katrina survivor.  The initial idea for the story came from my experience in getting my mother out of New Orleans after the storm.  Fen popped into my head one day and just started talking.  I left myself a voicemail with her words, and went from there.

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

[Sherri L Smith] Strong, loyal, fierce.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Daniel is never without.

[Sherri L Smith] His datalink, even when it can no longer help him.  How many of us carry around cell phones long after the batteries have died?  It’s like a security blanket.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Fen’s pockets?

[Sherri L Smith ]Paper money, lipstick, cell phone.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Fen’s greatest regret?

[Sherri L Smith] Not being able to save her tribal leader, Lydia.

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

[Sherri L Smith] Other books, my dreams, people’s personal stories.

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

[Sherri L Smith] A computer or notebook and pen, a cup of tea, a snack.

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

[Sherri L Smith] Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made by Alan Eisenstock, Eric Zala and Chris Strompolos.  I went to film school with Eric, but it wasn’t until years later that I found out he and his best friend from childhood had spent a decade of their lives remaking “Raiders of the Lost Ark” shot for shot.  They started at the tender ages of 11 and 10.  This book tells the story of that adventure.  It’s incredible, honest, and very funny.  I’ve seen the movie—it will make you cheer.  So will the book.  The “how will they do that?!” factor is insane.  (how do 10-year-olds make a giant rolling boulder?)  What surprised me the most was the wraparound story.  Eric and Chris are from Ocean Spring, Mississippi.  The book starts in the aftermath of Katrina.  It really struck home for me, seeing the destruction and then traveling into their childhood to learn exactly what these ruined houses once were, and how they formed the foundations of their lives. That was an unexpected angle that brings such bittersweet depth to an otherwise raucous romp.  Well, there’s more heart strings being pulled than that.  Suffice it to say, it was wonderful.  Definitely check it out.

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

[Sherri L Smith] Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White.  I read it over 100 times as a kid.  I know I read little books before that, but Wilbur and Charlotte are burned into my memory as true friends.

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

[Sherri L Smith] When I’m not writing, I like to read.  A lot.  And I love to travel.  I like to cook.  I bake a lot of cookies.  Oh, and let’s not forget sleep.  I love that.  To sleep, perchance to dream! 

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

[Sherri L Smith] You can find me through my website, and my blog, The Middle Hundred (  I’m also on Twitter, @sherri_l_smith, and there’s a Facebook page where updates are posted.  But don’t try to contact me through Facebook.  I’m generally too busy writing to check it.  I do respond to email if I can.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

[Sherri L Smith] Thank you, Julie!  It was fun.

You can purchase ORLEANS or any of Sherri’s other novels from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below:

About the book:

First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And the Wall.

After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct… but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.
Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.
Sherri L. Smith delivers an expertly crafted story about a fierce heroine whose powerful voice and firm determination will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page

Review A Bride by Moonlight by Liz Carlyle


Title:  A Bride by Moonlight

Author: Liz Carlyle


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:


Passion and secrets simmer behind the elegant façade of Victorian London in another deliciously intriguing novel featuring the dangerous men of the mysterious St. James Society. Royden Napier, Baron Saint-Bryce, is tall, dark, and ruthless—and on the hunt for a dangerous beauty . . . On the eve of her escape to the Continent, bold, beautiful Lisette Colburne accepts a proposal she dare not refuse: masquerade as the future bride of the steely-eyed Royden Napier and help him solve his most dangerous case. Soon Lisette is in even greater danger—of losing her heart to the one man with the power to destroy her . . .

Estranged from his aristocratic family, the enigmatic Napier has forged a reputation as Scotland Yard’s most relentless police commissioner. He’s vowed to bring Lisette to justice—but with every forbidden kiss and every tantalizing touch, he finds himself becoming less convinced of her guilt . . . and more certain he must have her. But when danger touches Lisette, can he save her?


This is the first time I’ve read a book written by Liz Carlyle.  After I finished it, I immediately wanted to read The Bride Wore Pearls, which features Lazonby and Anisha, two of the secondary characters from A Bride by Moonlight.  I enjoyed Carlyle’s writing style, and I’m always up for a good historical romance, which in the case of this title is Victorian England. While I have a few quibbles about the pacing of this book, I did like the characters immensely, especially Napier. Lisette was harder for me to warm up to, but considering all the baggage she has been dragging around since the death of the father and her sister, that was understandable.

Lisette blames Lord Lazonby for the deaths of both her father and her sister.  Having returned to London from the States, where she was raised by her aunt and uncle, she has dreamed of only one thing – revenge!  She has drawn comfort and strength from the thought of getting back at Lazonby, for plotting to make him suffer as painfully as she has.  He stole everything from her, and she is going to collect her pound of flesh.  When attempts to reason with, and then bribe, the straight-laced assistant police commissioner, Napier, fail to propel him to arrest Lazonby, a man he considers the vilest of criminals, she sets out to destroy Lazonby’s life by herself. 

A murder forces them together two years later,  and Napier believes that Lisette might be the murderer, but in a switch of loyalties, she and Lord Lazonby are now providing air-tight alibies for each other.  Napier is skeptical, to say the least, and he’s determined to get to the bottom of both the murder and his two chief suspects’ sudden friendship.  Before he gets far into his investigation, he discovers that he is now the heir of a prosperous estate.  Estranged from his father’s family for his entire life, he has no interest in getting to know his grandfather, Henry Tarleton, Viscount Duncaster, or any of his other relatives, better.  He is forced to visit the estate to investigate the suspicious death of his uncle, though.  In an attempt to foil the matchmaking machinations of his scheming aunt, and to keep Lisette right where he can see her, he forces Lisette to pose as his betrothed.  Once he arrives at Burlingame, he begins to question everything he  believed about both his family and Lisette.

I loved Napier.  What a hottie.  He’s analytical and capable, and he doesn’t give a fig about his inheritance.  He loves his job with the police, and has no intention of giving it up.  His superiors aren’t going to give him a choice about the matter, though, and he is urged to do his duty and take up his rightful position in society.   Though Napier is also stubborn and can be harsh, he also has a heart.  He treated Lisette coldly, though respectfully, at the start of the book, but by the end, he was the first to accept that his feelings for her had changed, and that he couldn’t live without her.  I loved that about him.  Once he realized how he felt, he also realized that he had to tread carefully.  Lisette’s drive for revenge left her twisted and emotionally fragile, and he was terrified of pushing her away from him. 

Once I understood Lisette, I liked her, too.  She is so strong and so fierce, and she won’t let anyone hurt her again.  Losing her family, and then being shuttled off to America, away from everything she had ever known, almost destroyed her.  Her aunt and uncle only agreed to take her in because they were paid to do so.  As time passed, causing Lazonby’s downfall kept Lisette going.  All of her dreams, all of her emotions, were cast aside for her all consuming need for revenge.  I believed that Lisette was ruthless enough to murder a man in cold blood, just as Napier did, and that made her a very interesting heroine, indeed!

The romance between Napier and Lisette developed slowly and realistically, given their mutual suspicion of each other.  As they spent more time together, though, it was obvious that they were a perfect match.  They complimented each other, and gave strength to each other.  Their attraction was unrelenting, and after they got to know each other better, their mutual respect made the romance work for me.  They still didn’t trust each other, and they were keeping big, big secrets from each other, but with the foundation of respect they had built, I knew that they could overcome all of the other obstacles in their lives.

The mystery is fun and I didn’t see the major plot twist coming.  My one quibble with A Bride by Moonlight is that it felt too long, especially near the end. 

Grade: B

Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours

About the author

A lifelong Anglophile, Liz Carlyle cut her teeth reading gothic novels under the bedcovers by flashlight. She is the author of over twenty historical romances, including several New York Times bestsellers. Liz travels incessantly, ever in search of the perfect setting for her next book. Along with her genuine romance-hero husband and four very fine felines, she makes her home in North Carolina.

Review: Redemption Erica Hayes and Giveaway! Win a Kindle Fire!





Title:  Redemption

Author: Erica Hayes


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:


Japheth the Tainted is on the hunt for a mysterious demon vampire. But meeting her face-to-face might disarm his warrior spirit—and spark an unquenchable passion with apocalyptic consequences.

As a fallen angel, Japheth is determined to make his way back to heaven by staying pure and slaying hellspawn. With a new scourge of vampires unleashed by a blood-drinking demon, the Prince of Thirst, there’s plenty to be done. But Japheth is after one vampire in particular—the one they call the Angel Slayer.

Rose Harley never wanted to be a vampire, but the Prince of Thirst can turn even the kindest soul into a soldier of hell. Feeling abandoned by God, she stalks the West Village taking revenge on his angels—until she meets her match.

When Japheth and Rose encounter each other, the battle is fierce and charged with desire. But when they discover a common enemy—the Prince of Thirst himself—they form a dangerous alliance that could either cost them their eternal lives, or spark a love more powerful than heaven or hell


I don’t read many paranormal romances, and I’m not sure why.  I enjoy them on the odd occasion when I do pick them up, and Redemption was no exception.  This is the second book in Erica Hayes’ The Seven Signs series, and I didn’t have much trouble figuring out what was going on, even though I haven’t read the first book, Revelation (which has a zombie virus, so I will be reading it, hopefully soon!).  The series features the war between angels and demons and the prophesied end of the world.  I enjoyed how the angels were portrayed in this story; just because they are angels didn’t mean that they were “good.”  What was even better; Japheth, a Tainted angel, is working tirelessly for his redemption, so he can return to Heaven.  His fellow Tainted behave like fraternity boys; drinking, chasing women, and partying in between missions slaying demons and hellspawn, and trying to stop the Apocalypse from happening.

Michael is in charge of the angels, and he’s a ruthless jerk.  I hated him.  He’s power hungry and cruel, and he doesn’t hesitate to sacrifice his angels if it will fulfill his ambitions.  He sends Japheth to kill Fluvium, the Prince of Thirst, and recover the vial of wrath in his possession.  Japheth doesn’t know why Michael cast him out of Heaven.  He’s always been brave, righteous, and dedicated to serving God.  All he wants is to be let back into Heaven.  He lives a life a purity, distaining pleasures of the flesh, and obeying orders to the letter.  What does he get for his sacrifices?  A never ending hard-on and no sense of humor.  Poor guy.

Rose Harley is Japheth’s unlikely match.  Like Japheth, she’s been tricked, and now she’s a vampire, the slave of Fluvium.  He’s ordered her to steal Japheth’s soul, or he’ll throw her into Hell.  Terrified of the never-ending agony of Hell, Rose is determined to carry out his commands.  She’s killed angels aplenty – they don’t call her Angel Slayer for nothing.  When the two meet, however, they both discover that they have clearly met their match.  They are both fierce warriors, they are both driven to carry out their mission at all costs, and they both have preconceived notions about the other that are wrong, wrong, wrong.  Circumstances have fooled them both, and robbed them of their dreams.  Rose has lived through the horror of being a demon lord’s plaything, and Japheth is the casualty of another’s powerful ambitions.

I enjoyed the world building in Redemption.  I loved how the lines between the hellspawn and the angels blurred, leaving me wondering who was good and who was truly evil.  There is a large cast of characters, and I want to know more about several of them, both angels and demons.  I’m sure they’ll be back for future installments of the series.  What I really want is to see the characters I dislike meet their comeuppance.  There are several who deserve the wrath of both heaven and hell.

The pacing is blistering.  After all, Japheth is racing to complete his mission and put a stop to the Apocalypse, all at the same time.  He’s saddled with Rose, a vampire he doesn’t trust, but is forced to rely on.  He has nothing but contempt for Rose, and he won’t even consider that there might be more than he realizes about her turning into a vampire.  Nope, she’s hellspawn scum, and the sooner he finishes his mission, the sooner he can put an end to her cursed life.  Nice guy!  Maybe he’s not so righteous after all?

Though he took a while to warm up to, I did come to like Japheth.  His fall from grace was only possible because he couldn’t see the evil in those he served.  He was the ideal warrior – fighting for the faith he believed in with all his heart, making his betrayal that much more bitter.  It takes him a long, long time to come to terms with what he believes his fellow angels should be, and the reality of what they are.  I wouldn’t want to have to trust any of these guys, because I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them.

The action is intense, and the sparks between Japheth and Rose are blinding.  As they begin to trust each other, their attraction for each other blazes out of control.   If only Japheth wasn’t trying to stay so pure! 

Redemption is a fun, action-packed romp through a nightmarish vision of the Apocalypse, where the lines between good and evil aren’t all that clear.  The romance between Japheth and Rose, two strong and noble characters who have had their faith and trust shattered, is hot and steamy and will leave you believing in their HEA.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours


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More about the book:

The Seven Signs, Book 2 by
Erica Hayes

Publisher: Berkley Sensation

ISBN: 978-0425258385

Number of pages: 330

Cover Artist: Kris Keller

Paperback: Amazon BN Book Depository

Ebook: Amazon BN iTunes

About the Author:

Erica Hayes was a law student, an air force officer, an editorial assistant and a musician, before finally landing her dream job: fantasy and romance writer.

She writes dark paranormal and urban fantasy romance, and her books feature tough, smart heroines and colourful heroes with dark secrets.

She hails from Australia, where she drifts from city to city, leaving a trail of chaos behind her. Currently, she’s terrorizing the wilds of Northumberland.

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop – Win After The Snow by S D Crockett!


Welcome to my Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop.  This hop runs fromMarch 29 – April 5 and is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Read Now Sleep Later.  You can win lots of new reads, so click here for a complete list of blogs participating in the hop.

I am giving away an ARC of After the Snow by S D Crockett, though if you live in the Midwest, I don’t think it will ever stop snowing this year!

About the book:

Fifteen-year-old Willo was out hunting when the trucks came and took his family away. Left alone in the snow, Willo becomes determined to find and rescue his family, and he knows just who to talk with to learn where they are. He plans to head across the mountains and make Farmer Geraint tell him where his family has gone.

But on the way across the mountain, he finds Mary, a refugee from the city, whose father is lost and who is starving to death. The smart thing to do would be to leave her alone — he doesn’t have enough supplies for two or the time to take care of a girl — but Willo just can’t do it. However, with the world trapped in an ice age, the odds of them surviving on their own are not good. And even if he does manage to keep Mary safe, what about finding his family?

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Cover Shot! The Thousand Names by Django Wexler

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 Thousand Names by Django Wexler looks awesome!  It has  cross-dressing!  And muskets! And magic!  The cover is pretty cool looking, too.

In stores July 2013


Enter an epic fantasy world that echoes with the thunder of muskets and the clang of steel—but where the real battle is against a subtle and sinister magic….

Captain Marcus d’Ivoire, commander of one of the Vordanai empire’s colonial garrisons, was resigned to serving out his days in a sleepy, remote outpost. But that was before a rebellion upended his life. And once the powder smoke settled, he was left in charge of a demoralized force clinging tenuously to a small fortress at the edge of the desert.

To flee from her past, Winter Ihernglass masqueraded as a man and enlisted as a ranker in the Vordanai Colonials, hoping only to avoid notice. But when chance sees her promoted to command, she must win the hearts of her men and lead them into battle against impossible odds.

The fates of both these soldiers and all the men they lead depend on the newly arrived Colonel Janus bet Vhalnich, who has been sent by the ailing king to restore order. His military genius seems to know no bounds, and under his command, Marcus and Winter can feel the tide turning. But their allegiance will be tested as they begin to suspect that the enigmatic Janus’s ambitions extend beyond the battlefield and into the realm of the supernatural—a realm with the power to ignite a meteoric rise, reshape the known world, and change the lives of everyone in its path.