Interview with Kira Brady, Author of Hearts of Darkness and Giveaway!

Today, Kira Brady, author of Hearts of Darkness, is visiting the blog.  Let’s ask her a few questions about her new release, and then you can enter for a chance to win Hearts of Darkness!

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

[Kira Brady] Author of apocalyptic PNR set in a gritty alternate Seattle. Knitter. Crafter. Hiker. Vintage dress enthusiast. Tea drinker. New mum.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Hearts of Darkness?

[Kira Brady] Hearts of Darkness is an apocalyptic paranormal romance set in a modern day, grizzly Seattle where two shape-shifting races fight in secret for control to the Gate to the Land of the Dead. The Kivati seek to protect the Gate, the Drekar to destroy it. When human Kayla Friday arrives in Seattle to ID her sister’s body, she doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but she’s quickly forced to join forces with a mercenary werewolf to find a key her sister died protecting. Hart will stop at nothing to earn his freedom from the cruel dragon-shifter he serves, no matter what gorgeous human gets in his way. As they race to stop the Gates from falling, they risk everything—even their hearts—to stop the world from total destruction.

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

[Kira Brady] I took a ghost tour of Pike Place Market and Butterworth Mortuary and learned all about the city’s scandalous start and the ghosts that still haunt the streets. I was inspired by a quote from Chief Seattle in which he says, “These shores will swarm with the invisible Dead of my Tribe. The White Man will never be alone. Let him be kind and just to my People, for the Dead are not power­less. Dead, did I say? There is no death, only a Change of Worlds.” It brought to mind a city plagued with ghosts from a cracked gate between the Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead. As for the two shape-shifter races, the Kivati and Drekar were inspired by the mythology of two of the major cultural populations in early Seattle—Native Americans and Scandinavians. There is a legend that Thunderbirds fought and killed giant reptilian monsters, which fit in perfectly with the idea of the Drekar dragon shape-shifters. The characters are all people who belong in both worlds and neither, each searching for a place to come home to. Hart jumped from my imagination fully formed. I’ve always loved werewolves and anti-heroes with a hidden heart. Kayla took more time, but I knew she represented those blind to the magic in the world. Through the Deadglass, her eyes are opened.

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

[Kira Brady] Tenacious, loyal, rational.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Kayla would never have in her purse?

[Kira Brady] A gun, a flask, and a condom.

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

[Kira Brady] “Uprising” by Muse

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

[Kira Brady] His Mother’s necklace.

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

[Kira Brady] The fantasy novels I read as a kid. I loved the survivalist books where kids were stranded in the wilderness and had to hack it out alone. I also loved books about dragons and the fierce as nails heroines who weren’t afraid to ride them.

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

[Kira Brady] A big chunk of distraction-free time, tea, my computer.

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

[Kira Brady] Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

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

[Kira Brady] I guess I’d have to say the Disney version of Peter Pan, which I had memorized at three. I’ve always loved reading.

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

[Kira Brady] Read, hike, and make crafts with my toddler.

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

[Kira Brady] Website: kirabrady.com

Twitter: @kirabrady

Facebook: FB.me/kira.brady

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

GIVEAWAY TIME!!

Just fill out the widget to enter for your chance to win Hearts of Darkness.  Earn extra entries by following.  US/UK/Canadian addresses only.

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Didn’t win? You can order Hearts f Darkness from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below.

Interview with Jane Goodger, Author of The Mad Lord’s Daughter and Giveaway!

 

Romance author Jane Goodger dropped by the virtual offices to chat about her new release, The Mad Lord’s Daughter.  And she brought along a copy of When A Duke Says I Do for one of you to win!

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

[Jane Goodger] An incessantly cheerful, incurable romantic who loves the idea of creating a world where love is true and forever.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Mad Lord’s Daughter?

[Jane Goodger] The Mad Lord’s Daughter is about a forbidden love that isn’t really forbidden but must maintain the façade of being forbidden to protect the heroine. It’s not as complex as it seems! Merideth is the illegitimate adopted daughter of the Earl of Braddock’s reclusive brother. When the brother dies, the Earl goes to great lengths to protect his niece’s parentage so she can marry well—even though she is not related by blood to his family. He enlists the help of John, his loyal and trustworthy son, to help Merideth navigate her first season and find her a suitable husband. To maintain the façade that Merideth and John are first cousins, they, of course, cannot marry. Which is truly tragic, because the two fall madly in love with each other.

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

[Jane Goodger] Through my research on illegitimacy, I found that society in the 1800s was extremely intolerant of illegitimacy—far more than most romance novels depict. Most of my stories begin with the hero, but this book started with my heroine. I thought, “What if a young woman had been completely isolated from society, and then was thrust into her first season totally unprepared?” Merideth at first was a fleeting thought in When A Duke Says I Do. She was simply a means to bring two characters from that first book in the series together, but then she became the focus of The Mad Lord’s Daughter. I’m so glad she did, because she is one of my favorite heroines!

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

[Jane Goodger] Naïve, kind, cheerful.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Melissa would never have in her boudoir?

[Jane Goodger] A cat, mendacity, or a man other than John.

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

[Jane Goodger] “She’s Got a Way” by Billy Joel

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

[Jane Goodger] His relationship with his father.

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

[Jane Goodger] That’s a tough one. I really don’t know where all this stuff comes from! Maybe genes passed on from my Mom?

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

[Jane Goodger] Time. Coffee. That’s it!

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

[Jane Goodger] To Love a Thief by Julie Ann Long.

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

[Jane Goodger] The Secret Garden was the book I read as a kid that introduced me to the excitement of the written word. I loved the idea of being transported to another world and another time. My mother found the book—an American first edition—left behind in a house she moved into as a little girl. She found it magical and shared it with me when I was old enough to read it. I thought it was just as magical.

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

[Jane Goodger] I’m extremely busy. I have a part-time job and an editing business, plus three kids, a husband, a cat and a dog. If I can squeeze in a half hour for myself, I grab my Kindle Fire and read.

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

[Jane Goodger] My website is best: www.janegoodger.com. I’m also on Face book, but don’t spend too much time there. I don’t know how people find the time for all that updating!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can order The Mad Lord’s Daughter from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below.

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY TIME!

Ready for your chance to win a copy of When A Duke Says I Do?  Just fill out the widget below.  Earn extra entries for following. US shipping addresses only, please.

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Review: The Seduction of Phaeton Black by Jillian Stone

 

 

Title: The Seduction of Phaeton Black

Author: Jillian Stone

Publisher:  Brava

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

In the gaslit streets of Victorian London, phantoms rule the night, demons dance till dawn, and one supernatural detective dares to be seduced by the greatest power of all. . .

He’s The Man With The Magic Touch

A master of deduction, seduction and other midnight maneuvers, Phaeton Black is Scotland Yard’s secret weapon against things that go bump in the night. His prodigious gifts as a paranormal investigator are as legendary as his skills as a lover, his weakness for wicked women as notorious as his affection for absinthe. But when he’s asked to hunt down a fanged femme fatale who drains her victims of blood, he walks right into the arms of the most dangerous woman he’s ever known. . .

She’s The Devilish Miss Jones

Pressing a knife to his throat–and demanding he make love to her–Miss America Jones uses Phaeton as a willing shield against the gang of pirates chasing her. As deadly as she is, with a derringer tucked in her garter, Miss Jones is not the vampiric killer he’s been staking out–but she may be just what Phaeton needs to crack the case. As the daughter of a Cajun witch, she possesses uncanny powers. As a fearless fighter, she can handle anything from Egyptian mummies to Jack the Ripper. But when an ancient evil is unleashed on the world, she could be his only salvation. . .or ultimate sacrifice.

 

Review:

The Seduction of Phaeton Black is like An Affair with Mr Kennedy on steroids.  I have to admit that I was a little leery before I started reading Jillian Stone’s latest release.  How could it live up to my high expectations?  I loved Mr Kennedy, a sexy romp with a Scotland Yard detective who could easily give Remington Steel or James Bond a run for their money.  He is gifted in everything that he does; he’s a magnificent rider, a crack shot, and can hold his own in a fist fight.  Best of all, he’s a wonderful lover and partner.  Guys like Mr Kennedy don’t exist in  real life because the pressure of being that perfect would quickly cause a seizure.  Cassie had me pulling my hair out a few times, because for such an intelligent lady, she could be so dumb, but Zak needed  to be a hero, and a woman with more common sense wouldn’t have needed rescuing.

In steps Phaeton Black.  I admit that it took me a while to warm up to this guy.  He is rather juvenile and thinks with his crotch instead of his brain.  Probably because most people thinks he nuts due to all of the paranormal sightings he has, but still.  He showed an appalling lack of discretion and caution, but I did finally start to appreciate his character.  He’s a flirt and a player, with no plans of ever getting shackled to one woman.  He doesn’t want kids, either, because he’s afraid that they will be as messed up as he is.  After the death of his mother when he was a young lad, his father had no patience for Phaeton or his supernatural abilities, and quickly packed him off to boarding school.  Poor guy.  I guess an emotional blow like that will warp anyone, especially a guy who sees all of the scary things that go bump in the night.  Best to just pretend to not see them at all.

When America Jones takes him hostage in a dark alley, Phaeton is quick to turn the tables on the desperate lass.  Even though he’s the one held at knife-point, he is quick to take advantage of the situation.  This is the only part of the story that I didn’t like.  I wanted Phaeton to be noble.  He wasn’t.  He was a cad at best, and a sex offender at worst.  Yuck.  Not sexy, not worthy of high regard, and it took almost the entire book for him to redeem himself in my eyes. 

I enjoyed the world building here, and found the addition of paranormal beasts to Victorian England fun and interesting.  Well, not fun for Phaeton, but certainly entertaining for me.  This guy is oozing with supernatural abilities, but because he has repressed them and never learned how to use them, he finds sightings of supernatural creatures disturbing.  America embraces her gifts, and she longs for Phaeton to do the same.  It’s not healthy to suppress  all of that power, and it puts him at a distinct disadvantage when the beasties are on the prowl for a new victim to snack on.  Phaeton’s association with Dr Exeter, a mysterious meddler with powers that give Phaeton pause, slowly convinces him look at his own abilities in a new light.  I am extremely hopeful that between America and Exeter, Phaeton will learn how to develop his gifts without worrying about how others perceive him.   After getting into trouble with his superiors at Scotland Yard, and his father’s rejection, though, I understand his reluctance to do that.

The pacing faltered near the end, but otherwise I had a hard time putting the book down.  I loved America and Exeter, and once Phaeton’s questionable charms finally wore me down, I liked him, too.  It just took a lot longer because he has so many flaws and weaknesses.  Once he started thinking with the head on his shoulders, and not the head in his pants, I did find him much more likeable, and now I can hardly wait for his next adventure.

Grade:  B, leaning to a B+

Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours

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Interview with Brigid Kemmerer, Author of Storm

Brigid Kemmerer is the author of Storm, the kick off to her Elemental series.  She stopped by the virtual offices to introduce herself and her new series, so see what she has to say about her books.

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

[Brigid Kemmerer] I keep trying, but it reads like a haiku. Let’s just say I’m a writer with a book about 4 brothers. :-)

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

[Brigid Kemmerer] Storm follows Chris, who, at 16, is the youngest Merrick brother. He can control the element of water. When he meets Becca, she’s saving him from getting beaten up in the school parking lot. Chris’s life is full of action and adventure and paranormal excitement—but at its root, it’s a story about family, and brotherhood, and standing up for yourself.

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

[Brigid Kemmerer] Storm is told in alternating points of view from Chris and Becca. It took me a loooong time to find the voice for a teenage boy. Once I stopped worrying about how all boys think, and just started trying to channel Chris, it all fell into place.

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

[Brigid Kemmerer] Three things he would never have?

Tadpoles, orange slices, and pencil shavings. (Honestly, the list is infinite.) Three things I’d expect him to have? A pocketknife, a matchbook, and a dog biscuit for Casper.

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

[Brigid Kemmerer] I draw inspiration from everywhere. I once wrote a book about the son of Apollo running a music store in downtown Baltimore, and I came up with the idea after playing Rock Band for two weeks with my husband one winter. But my greatest literary influences are probably a mix of Jodi Picoult, Simone Elkeles, Sophie Kinsella, Charlaine Harris, and JR Ward.

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

[Brigid Kemmerer]  Coffee, something to sit on (the floor works), and my laptop.

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

[Brigid Kemmerer] It’s a toss-up between I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella and Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.

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

[Brigid Kemmerer] I love hearing from people! Twitter works, @brigidkemmerer, or email to brigidmary@gmail.com. If you’re shy, feel free to lurk around my website at www.brigidkemmerer.com.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank  you!

 


Elemental (eBook novella) and Storm are available now!  You can also preorder Spark, the next book in the Elemental series, from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below:

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

BRIGID KEMMERER was born in Nebraska, though she grew up living all over the United States, from the desert in New Mexico, to the lakeside in Ohio, and several stops in between. She eventually settled near Baltimore, Maryland, where she now lives with her family. Brigid is a member of RWA. She began writing in high school, when she started developing stories about four brothers causing a ruckus in the suburbs. Those brothers are the same boys living in the pages of The Elemental Series, so in some ways, Brigid has had four teenage boys taking up space in her head for the last seventeen years.

Review: My Own Worst Frenemy by Kimberly Reid

 

Title:  My Own Worst Frenemy

Author: Kimberly Reid

Publisher: Dafina

ISBN: 978-0758267405

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Straight outta the Mile High City, Chanti Evans is an undercover cop’s daughter and an exclusive private school’s newest student. But Chanti is learning fast that when it comes to con games, the streets have nothing on Langdon Prep.

With barely a foot in the door, fifteen-year-old Chanti gets on the bad side of school queen bee Lissa and snobbish Headmistress Smythe. They’ve made it their mission to take Chanti down and she needs to find out why, especially when stuff begins disappearing around campus, making her the most wanted girl in school, and not in a good way. But the last straw comes when she and her Langdon crush, the seriously hot Marco Ruiz, are set up to take the heat for a series of home burglaries–and worse. . . . 

Review:

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I first picked up My Own Worst Frenemy.  While I occasionally found protagonist Chanti grating, I also found her likeable, capable, and intelligent.  Maybe too smart for her own good, because she couldn’t keep herself, or her mouth, from getting her in trouble.  While watching each new disaster play out, I kept wondering how on earth she was going to clear herself of each new mess she tumbled in.  Usually face first, with plenty of embarrassment and the eminent threat of expulsion from her new prep school, and worse, a trip to jail!  Chanti keeps herself very busy getting herself out of these situations, and each new hurdle kept the pages turning.

After being in the wrong place at the wrong time during summer break, Chanti’s mom, a no-nonsense undercover cop, decides her daughter needs to be in new surroundings.  Separated from her friends, Chanti finds herself enrolled at Langdon Prep, a school across town for rich kids.  Kids jarringly different from herself, and kids who don’t hesitate to mock her scholarship and her humble background.  As Chanti tries to fit in with kids she has absolutely nothing in common with, she finds other trials to overcome.  A series of thefts has suspicions aimed firmly in her direction, as well as the two other scholarship kids at Langdon.  Determined to clear her name, and maybe hook-up with cutie Marco, Chanti finds herself in a lot more trouble than she bargained for.

I have to admit, when I first met Chanti, I didn’t like her.  She is a smart aleck, and she thinks she is a lot more street savvy than she actually is.  Then I learned that her bravado is all a front, and that she would really rather run from a confrontation than engage in one.  To keep herself from looking like a coward, she meets adversity head on.  I started to admire that trait, because I think I would have rolled over and given up a few times if I had been presented with the same challenges as Chanti.  I also started to appreciate her flaws, and her acceptance of them, as the story unfolded.

What Chanti is good at is noticing things.  She also never backs down from a challenge.  Having observed her mom in action, Chanti can’t help but mimic some of her mom’s detective skills.  It’s almost genetic.  She can’t help noticing things, and many times, it’s noticing things that get her into trouble.  She is curious about everything, and is always trying to understand other people’s motivations.  This trait annoys pretty much everyone she meets, because she can’t help but grill them about – well – everything. 

As the charges against Chanti increase, so does her desperation to discover the real thief.  As her life hurtles out of control, Chanti tries desperately to reconcile her old life and her old friends with her new life at Langdon Prep, where it looks as though she will never fit in.  The pages starting turning with increased velocity as Chanti’s troubles magnified.  Once I got involved in the plot, I gobbled this book up in an afternoon.  This is a fun read for fans of contemporary dramas, with a mystery thrown in for good measure.  I felt that the romance elements needed to be stronger, and I’m hoping that Chanti and Marco’s relationship will be further developed in the next book.  I also hope that Chanti’s mom, Lana, will be a little more active in her life; no wonder Chanti keeps getting herself into mischief!  It’s not like her mom is home to keep her on the straight and narrow.  

Grade: B

Review copy provided by {Teen} Book Scene


My Own Worst Frenemy is available in both print and digital formats: