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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rue Volley Series

Excerpt from Blood and Light

Chapter 17...entitled "Tuning Fork"

This is one of many favorite exchanges that occurred between Rue Volley and Joshua Barrington in my first book in the series I am writing. Joshua is trying to teach Rue how to "bond" with her blades so that she will become a warrior like him and as usual the situation goes crazy on her, as it always does. Rue is still trying to accept and learn how to be a protector...aka" Vampire", for all intense purposes. This is three pages of chapter 17 and I hope you enjoy it....who knew that fighting with a blade could feel so good:)~Rue

I gripped my blades and grumbled. He was toying with me now. I'm gonna knock him out. I pressed my hand against the ground and his trail opened up to me...swirling in black color. I flashed forward and I scanned the trees and everything around me. All of a sudden the trail ended and I skidded to a stop. I looked up and rolled out of the way as Josh dropped down from a tree above me. I pushed myself up and left one leg extended as I raised my head to look at him. He flashed towards me and I flipped my blade in my hand and rose up, hitting him in the side as he passed me by. He groaned and skidded to a stop behind me and I spun around. He rubbed his ribs.

"God I wish that you would stop doing that." he said.

"I could have hit you in the "you knows." I said as I looked down his body.

He laughed. "The 'you knows'...I like that."

I smiled and flashed towards him, he twisted his body and I missed him, I almost ran into a tree. I stopped and jerked my head, to move the hair out of my face. He stood there and turned the blades sideways in his hands.

I looked at him and grinned. "You ready to do this for real?" I asked him.

He looked me up and down and grinned. "I'm ready to do all kinds of stuff with you."

"Shut up." I said as I came at him.

He stood his ground and our blades hit, light flashed off of them and my heart started to beat harder in my chest. We stood there, face to face, with blades glowing.

He leaned towards me. "You are getting me hot." he whispered.

I yelled out and slid my blades downward, the metal made a slicing sound as I went down...I ran under him, between his legs and then kicked him in the butt, as I kicked my leg out behind me. He stumbled forward and turned around biting his lip.

I stopped and laughed at him. "Smooth." I said.

He flipped his blades into the ground and they hummed like a tuning fork as they swayed back and forth. He closed his eyes and held his hands out, palms up. I watched as black color started to swirl around his blades, it went upward...almost like a tornado in slow motion. He opened his eyes and his pupils looked black as night. I watched in wonder. I need to know that trick. He placed his hands out over both of his blades as they shot out of the ground and into his hands. A trace of black mist trailed behind them and started to roll around his feet.

"Now I am centered." he said to me.

I gripped my blades tightly in my hands, I suddenly got the feeling that I had not seen him battle for real yet, although I knew this was for sport. He took a stance with me that I had seen from him before. His heartbeat slowed, his breathing slowed, and the glow on his blade pulsated with each breath that he took.

"Okay, I need to know how to do that." I said as I relaxed my hands. He grinned at me.

"I told you that it is all in how you focus. The blades are an extension of you, they feel as you do...if you are not focused, they will not serve you."

I looked down at my blades and then threw them at the ground, they laid there on their sides. I looked up at him and he walked towards me.

"Pick them up." he said kinda forceful.

I leaned down and saw that his feet were right next to mine. I stood up and felt a humming in my body. I think I blushed, but I couldn't tell. He walked behind me and I felt the heat coming off of him. He reached around me from behind and put his hands on mine. I looked down at my blades and he raised my hands just slightly and flipped them towards the ground. I let go and both of my blades stuck out from the ground with that tuning fork hum coming from them, like his had. He held onto my hands and rubbed his thumbs across my palms, I took a breath, a little staggered...I didn't mean too. I felt his breath on the back of my neck. He held my hands out at my sides and placed them palm up.

"Close your eyes." he said calmly. I closed them.

"I want you to feel the metal, cold and hard...listen to the song they are singing to you...it's only for you."

I slowed my breathing and focused on the metal, and it's song. My heart slowed, I could see color swirling behind my eye lids...blue, with traces of silver. He let go of my hands and backed away from me.

"Now look, Rue."

I opened my eyes and saw blue swirls coming out of the ground around my blades, it snaked upward. I opened my mouth and breathed it in, it tasted like honey in my mouth.

"Now place your hands over them and call them to you. You don't have to say it out loud, they will hear you."

I placed both my hands out, palms down over my blades and I called to them. They shot upward and I felt them slip into my hands...for the first time. They felt like they had a heartbeat...my heartbeat. I held them up and watched the blue color swirl on the blades and around my wrists, it felt like a cat rubbing against me while it purred. I grinned as I looked up at Josh, who stood there with no expression on his face.

"Did I do it right?" I asked.

"Yes...you did. I shouldn't be surprised that you got it on the first try, you are a quick study." He said as he leaned down and turned his blades in his hands. He came at me in a flash and I instinctively spun around, bringing my blades down to my sides. His blade struck mine and I felt an adrenaline rush go through me, unlike any I had ever had. My heart fluttered. he flashed to my ear.

"Feels good doesn't it?" he whispered.

I nodded as he brought his blades up in a blur and I brought mine up to counter him. I sucked in my breath as the metal clashed together. My body hummed and my breathing staggered.

"You need to calm down." he said.

I lowered my head and closed my eyes. I felt like I had just been kissed. I raised my blades and looked at them. I saw my reflection in the metal and my eyes swirled light blue and white. I lowered it and looked at him.

"I feel funny." I said.

He laughed. "Of course you do...fighting with your blades is a seductive experience."

I ran at him in a flash and every move he made, my blades came down and hit his. I started to gasp after the sixth hit and I stopped. I staggered back from him and gripped my blades. I reached up and wiped the sweat from my forehead. He came at me and I countered his every move, with each hit I started to make noises and he stopped. I stood there panting and my eyes felt glossy. I didn't know what I was feeling, but I loved it. He grinned.

"I think you are enjoying this too much." he said.

I flashed at him and suddenly I felt a tremor in my body, I fell to my knees and gasped. I threw my head back and then fell to the ground.

"Oh my God!" I yelled out.

He ran to me and knelt down. I kept my head down and tried to breath. I don't know what just happened, but it was the best feeling in the entire world. Well, I kinda know. I kept my head down, realizing that the embarrassment was coming. I peeked up at him, my face flush.

"I think that I just..." I whispered.

"Holy shit." he said as he touched my back.

I stood up and stumbled, then backed away from him.
"Don't touch me...not right now." I said.

"Listen Rue...it's okay, I should have warned you to control yourself. I just didn't think that you would, ya know...have an orgas.."

"Shut up Josh!"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (54)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the amazing Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week, participating bloggers will make a post about a book whose publication they're eagerly awaiting.

This week, I'm featuring Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber.
 The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

New York City, 1882. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart's latest obsession is a painting of the handsome British Lord Denbury. Something in his striking blue eyes calls to her. As his incredibly life-like gaze seems to follow her, Natalie gets the uneasy feeling that details of the painting keep changing...

Jonathan Denbury's soul is trapped in the gilded painting by dark magic while his possessed body commits unspeakable crimes in the city slums. He must lure Natalie into the painting, for only together can they reverse the curse and free his damaged soul.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cover Trends (16)


Cover Trends is a feature here at Braintasia Books where I discuss aspects of book covers that I've seen recently that seem to be popping up in a lot of books. Sometimes they're good, sometimes they aren't, but they're all getting quite common. These book covers tend to only represent YA, UF, and PNR since those are the genres I read, and as such, the covers I see.

This week's trend is PDA. Yup, public displays of affection. I can go either way with this one, because sometimes they're cute, other times they're weird, and still other times, they're just completely over-the-top. So, yeah, if done right I really like this one, but if done wrong, I really dislike it, so I consider this one of the riskier trends because when you fail, you fail bad.


 What do you think of this trend?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

REVIEW: Awaking by Madeline Freeman

 Morgan Abbey’s life is about to change.

Just weeks before her senior year is set to begin, a mysterious stranger approaches Morgan with information that has far-reaching ramifications. First, the psychic ability she believes she has just been pretending to have since middle school might actually be real.

Second, her mother, who disappeared abruptly and completely almost a decade ago, might still be alive.

Morgan finds herself in the drawn into a centuries-old struggle involving a group of people who quietly coexist alongside the common people of the world. This shadowy group believes it is time for them to reclaim their former positions of power—and they believe Morgan is the key.

But when the time comes, will Morgan be able to do what it takes to reunite with her mother and fulfill her destiny?

Book: Awakening by Madeline Freeman
Release Date: October 8, 2010
Format: eBook
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Young Adult
Series: Naturals, #1
Obtained: As part of a book tour
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (4 Zombies)

I've recently read a string of not-so-great indie books, and Awaking was a great change. It was refreshingly entertaining and well-written and has effectively restored my faith in indie authors. Thank you, Madeline Freeman :D

Morgan was an awesome main character, and I loved reading her story, even though not a whole lot happened for about the first 3/4ths of the book (probably my biggest complaint). She was realistic, not catty, and very human.

Something that's bothered me a lot about the past few indie books I've read is that the dialogue is very stiff and formal sounding, not at all like how normal (or not-so-normal) teenagers talk, and that was continuously pulling me out of some otherwise quite good stories, which I really really really hated. Awaking, thank god, didn't run into this problem at all, as far as I can remember. I was beginning to think that it was an unbreakable trend!

While Awaking isn't fast-paced or action-packed, it's definitely a cute, interesting, very entertaining read, and a great way to spend one of the few remaining summer afternoons.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

REVIEW: The Cowboy and the Vampire by Kathleen McFall and Clark Hays

Reporter Lizzie Vaughan doesn’t realize it, but she has 2,000 years of royal Vampiric blood coursing through her veins. Neither she nor Tucker, her cowboy lover, has any idea that Julius, the leader of the undead, has a diabolical plan to reign over darkness for all eternity—with Lizzie at his side.

Lizzie battles for her life—and her soul—as she and Tucker find themselves caught up in a vampire war, pursued by hordes of Julius’ maniacal, bloodthirsty followers.

Who will be left standing when the sun rises?

“Deliciously dark.”—BOOKLIST

Check out the book's website at www.cowboyandvampire.com.

Book: The Cowboy and the Vampire by Kathleen McFall and Clark Hays
Release Date: October 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Series: Standalone
Obtained: As part of a book tour
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (4 Zombies)

It took me almost two weeks to read The Cowboy and the Vampire, and the terrible part was that it wasn't because I didn't enjoy it. I did. The problem was that the cover and title combined to make it impossible to read in public. No way was I about to strut my stuff all over campus carrying this monstrosity. So, unfortunately, the book stayed at home and I read a whole lot of non-fiction about television writing when I would otherwise have been reading this.

Lizzie and Tucker were a really cute couple, and I think that they worked really well together. I loved reading about their story, and how their relationship progressed over the course of the book, even when they were apart.

The supporting cast was great, and I thought that the little character guide at the beginning was a really cute idea, and it worked amazingly with this particular book. My favorite part, though, was how the characters' speech reflected their backgrounds. Tucker, being a cowboy and all, had shitty grammar and used many southern colloquialisms, but not to the point of sounding unrealistic. It made the characters' voices easier for me to imagine as I read.

If you're looking for an exciting, fun, and romantic book with a few paranormal goodies, then The Cowboy and the Vampire would be a great choice.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (53)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the amazing Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week, participating bloggers will make a post about a book whose publication they're eagerly awaiting.

This week, I'm featuring Crave by Melissa Darnell.
 Savannah Colbert has been shunned all her life by the kids of the Clann. And when she undergoes some drastic changes after a strange illness, Savannah learns secrets about the group and about herself—dangerous secrets. For the Clann are powerful magic users, and Savannah herself is half Clann and half vampire—a forbidden, unheard of combination. Falling for Clann golden boy Tristan Coleman isn't just a bad idea—it could be deadly if anyone finds out. But her attraction to Tristan—and his to her—isn't something either of them can resist for long.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cover Trends (15)


Cover Trends is a feature here at Braintasia Books where I discuss aspects of book covers that I've seen recently that seem to be popping up in a lot of books. Sometimes they're good, sometimes they aren't, but they're all getting quite common. These book covers tend to only represent YA, UF, and PNR since those are the genres I read, and as such, the covers I see.

This week's trend is BIG FONTS. This is another trend that I really like. Big fonts tend to create a statement for me, and they really stand out, especially with blockier letters.


 What are your thoughts on this trend?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

REVIEW: The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan

Mae Crawford’s always thought of herself as in control, but in the last few weeks her life has changed. Her younger brother, Jamie, suddenly has magical powers, and she’s even more unsettled when she realizes that Gerald, the new leader of the Obsidian Circle, is trying to persuade Jamie to join the magicians. Even worse . . . Jamie hasn’t told Mae a thing about any of it. Mae turns to brothers Nick and Alan to help her rescue Jamie, but they are in danger from Gerald themselves because he wants to steal Nick's powers. Will Mae be able to find a way to save everyone she cares about from the power-hungry magician's carefully laid trap?

Book: The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan
Release Date: May 18, 2010
Format: E-book
Genre: Young Adult
Series: The Demon's Lexicon, #2
Obtained: Purchased
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (5 Zombies)

Sorry for the crappy cover image. That was the best I could find D: Oh, well. And I don't think that that's Mae on the cover, because obviously Mae has pink hair. According to Jamie, she has flamingo hair. The cover model, quite simply, does not. Maybe this is Sin?

Speaking of Sin, the next book is going to be from her point of view, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. Sin is all fine and dandy as a friend to Mae and maybe Nick, but as the main character? I'm just not sure I like her well enough. Or at all, come to think of it.

I do, on the other hand, really like Mae. She was an awesome MC, even if I was a bit sad to see Nick go. I can't wait to see how their relationship resolves itself, though I'm not sure how complete the picture will be with Sin telling the story. That is, unless Nick and Sin end up together, which would just be wrong. Maybe Sin and Alan? I'm not entire opposed to that. And while we're picking couples, I'd just like to add that I am totally shipping Jamie/Seb, although I wouldn't be terribly unhappy with Jamie/Gerald. (BTW, Gerald's parents must have been evil to name him that.)

I LOVE LOVE LOVED how Nick and Mae's relationship progressed in Covenant. It was so sweet and dangerous and not-quite-right in the most beautiful way. Nick is so socially awkward and wonderful! And hilarious! Let's not forget that Nick is made of funny. As is Jamie.

Jamie is, in fact, probably the funniest YA character I've ever read. He makes me laugh at two in the morning, when I really shouldn't be laughing, considering I live with three other people who all go to sleep at decent hours. Yay for me! I keep everyone up late at night while I laugh hysterically! Or would that be early in the morning? Whatever.

Mae is just awesome. She is kick-ass without knowing how to do . . . well, anything at all. Hm. Well, I assume she knows how to dye hair, unless someone else is doing it for her. Also, she can dress herself. But that's about it! And she still manages to be wonderful! How does this happen? Possibly because, much like Nick and Jamie, she is freaking FUNNY! I can't get enough of these funny people!

But Covenant is certainly not all humor. There are scenes where people cry! And kiss! And fight! (Nick is quite good at fighting.) There is sibling love and sibling hate and lots and lots of angst, with a bit of bad weather thrown in! It's all good fun ;) There is even some hand-holding action that is quite good.

If you want to get in on some of this funny/angsty/wonderful-ness, then you must make haste to your nearest bookstore (or book-selling website) and BUY IT BUY IT BUY IT. Now. Or Nick will stab you in the liver.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (52)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the amazing Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week, participating bloggers will make a post about a book whose publication they're eagerly awaiting.

This week, I'm featuring The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen.
 Would you kill to make the world a peaceful place?
Zed is an agent from the future. A place where all of the world's problems have been solved. No hunger. No war. No despair.

His mission is to keep that way. Even if it means ensuring every cataclysm throughout history runs its course, especially one just on the horizon.

Zed's mission will ensnare the lives of a disgraced former spy named Leo; a young lawyer, Tasha, grieving over the loss of her brother; Sari, the oppressed employee of a foreign diplomat; and countless others. But will he finish his final mission before the present takes precedence over a perfect future? One that may have more cracks than he realizes?

The Revisionists is a literary tale of action and intrigue that puts a fresh spin on today's global crises, asking questions about the nature of history and the future, and our own roles in shaping them.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

REVIEW: In the Shadows by Julieanne Lynch

“In The Shadows”, the first of The Shadows trilogy, is an urban fantasy of vampires and the supernatural, and much, much more. In the shadows you will find lust and passion, battles for power and for blood, and death and fear around every corner. In the shadows you are carried away to an unknown future. Your destiny awaits, and you are no longer who you thought you were. You have a thirst, for blood perhaps, but a thirst for very much more than that.

Giselle was a normal girl with an attitude common to most girls of her age. Her family might not have been perfect (whose is?) but she loved them, and her future looked bright. She had an awesome best friend and a steady boyfriend, but how could she possibly have been so wrong about someone she loved? And how could she have been prepared for the darkness and for what she was to become?

Book: In the Shadows by Julieanne Lynch
Release Date: July 20, 2011
Format: eBook
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Young Adult
Series: Shadows Trilogy, #1
Obtained: As part of a book tour
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket1/2 (3.5 Zombies)

I debated for a while on whether I wanted to give In the Shadows 3 or 4 zombies, but finally decided on 3.5 because, despite the awesome world and some really great characters, I couldn't quite get over the slightly awkward writing.

Giselle was an awesome main character, much more realistic than most, and not some kick ass, impossible to relate to Valkyrie. She was really fun to get to know and I can't wait for the next book in this series.

The only problem I had with In the Shadows was the writing itself. Sometimes, the dialogue could get extremely awkward-sounding, and that pulled me out of the story somewhat. The characters had a stiff, too-formal way of speaking at times that could've easily been avoided by throwing in a few contractions and some less than perfect grammar that normal teens use, but it wasn't too huge of a deal.

If you like vampires and sexy page-turners, then In the Shadows is a book that I would definitely recommend, although it is not for young teens and tweens because of the sex scenes and more mature topics.

Monday, September 12, 2011

REVIEW: The Ghoul Next Door by Lisi Harrison

Cleopatra de Nile:

New pet snake
Has Deuce-the hottest guy in school-wrapped
Herve Leger bandage dress, strappy gold platforms

Cleo was the queen bee of the RADs, the normies, and everyone in between at Merston High. But now it's "Frankie this" and "Melody that" . . . these new girls sure know how to get her lashes in a tangle. When Cleo lands a Golden Teen Vogue photo opp for her friends everything seems to be back on track...until they bail to be in some film . . . Frankie and Melody's film! Can't a royal get some loyal?

Frankie Stein:
Frankie lost her head over Brett once and vows never to do it again. Not that she has a choice. Bekka is clinging to her guy like saran. But when Brett comes up with a plan that could help the RADS live freely, sparks fly. And Bekka will stop at nothing to put out their flames. Even if it means destroying the entire monster community.

The clock is tick-tick-ticking away. Melody has a serious deadline to save her boyfriend, Jackson, from being exposed by the vengeance-seeking Bekka. But Cleo is making it royally difficult for the normie while threatening her acceptance into their exclusive group. A group that melody suspects she has more in common with than she even thought.

Book: The Ghoul Next Door by Lisi Harrison
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Young Adult
Series: Monster High, #2
Obtained: From the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (4 Zombies)

The Monster High books are in no way deep or challenging, but they're always a lot of fun and a quick read. While The Ghoul Next Door wasn't quite as good as it's predecessor, Monster High, it was still a nice light, fluffy read to get my mind away from some of the darker stuff I've been reading lately.

TGND stars Cleo, Frankie, and Melody from the previous book, and I'm really glad that, while Harrison chose to add Cleo's POV, she didn't take away those of Frankie and Melody, who I had really enjoyed in the first book. Frankie will eternally be my favorite. (I hate picking favorites, but she's just awesome, other than her Justin Bieber love. Hate that kid.)

The plot was slightly unbelievable in points, but since this is a series I go to for its fluff, I didn't really mind. It's hard to find anything at all believable in these books, but they're adorable and I don't care. I wouldn't recommend these to anyone looking for anything amazingly emotional and action-packed, but if you just want something fun to reset your pallet, this series is a great place to look.

Friday, September 9, 2011

REVIEW: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong.

Book: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Format: Paperback ARC
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Young Adult
Series: Mara Dyer, #1
Obtained: From the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (5 Zombies)

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was so unexpectedly awesome, there are no words. It was just awesomesauce. I loved it so much I just want to go up on top of my roof and scream, "I LOVE MARA DYER NOAH SHAW!!" Yeah, Mara so does not win in that contest.

Mara Dyer kind of thinks that she's crazy. And, at first, so did I. I can't tell you whether she is or isn't, but I went back and forth until the end when I found out for sure one way or the other. Some Ouija board said that she was going to be the cause of her friends' deaths, and then they all died, so she's understandably a bit mentally unstable.

So, her family packs up and moves and she goes to this really awesome school in Florida (can you say "humidity"?), where she meets the aforementioned amazingly sexy Noah Shaw, WHO IS FREAKING BRITISH. Enough said. (Seriously, he is British. St. Claire is British. All the sexies are British. That accent! *dies*)

So, basically the plot is is she or isn't she crazy with lots of awesomeness and swoony-times thrown in for good measure, and if you don't read it you will die, so go pick up a copy as soon as it comes out. DO IT.