Monday, April 30, 2012

Orlind by Charlotte English



Synopsis
War has broken out between the humans of the Seven Realms and the long-lost draykoni race. Llandry’s home city is under attack, its defenders scrambling to find a way to fight the draykon enemy. The outcome of the conflict seems certain – until the draykoni vanish. Where could they have gone, and why? 
Lady Eva Glostrum is convinced that this means bad news. The Lokant sorcerer Krays is still at large, and his mysterious projects centre on her world – and the draykoni. Could he have something to do with their disappearance? If so, why? And what will it mean for the Seven Realms when the draykoni come back? 
As Llandry fights to defend her home, Eva sets out in pursuit of Krays. Determined to learn the truth, she’ll go to any lengths to prevent him from damaging the Seven. Her quest will take her right into the heart of Krays’s Library – and there she will uncover another long-kept secret.

Review:
I have kind of been a massively huge fan of this series for a while now. Charlotte English is one of those authors that I truly believe give the world of indie publishing a great name. She's a diamond in the rough, the real deal, in fact I remember thinking when I read the first book "how is this book not published the traditional way?" Her books are edited fantastically, written in a manner than lets you know she put tons of time and effort into crafting a great experience for the reader, and this latest book is no exception to that. And seriously talk about some amazing artwork that brings the book to life! 

The series has progressed really well, and so with this book being the final book, I'm not sure exactly how I expected it to end, but in true Charlotte fashion it ended just right. First and foremost before you read this review, read the other two books, because it's really impossible to talk about this book without giving away a lot of the previous two. 

For me the second book was pretty much setting the stage for the culmination of events that take place in this book. The war that you felt was coming has finally started. And all the big players from the previous books are going to play huge roles. Llandry and Eva for me are the two main characters in the series, and their evolution throughout the first two books shines through in this third book amazingly. 

When I look back and read about what Llandry was like in the first book, it's amazing the transformation she goes through, both emotionally as well as of course with the transformation to a Draykon. But really she started off as a girl who was more than willing to hide behind her parents to a woman who can start on her own two feet a world she probably could have never imagined. 

Eva on the other hand, a woman in her own right when the series began, really finds out what is important to her. From early on in the series it was pretty clear to me that Eva was secure in who she was as a person. But even though she was a powerful woman in her own right at the beginning, she found herself in situations that required her to "rise to the occasion" so to speak. It's in this situations that we find Eva becoming more than I think she ever thought she could be. Although it's kind of my opinion that the last thing Eva ever expected was to find herself in love, so that is an evolution of the character I really enjoyed following along with. 

Charlotte does a fantastic job and bring this series to a close. The book had more love and romance than the first two, but it all felt so organic to the characters. More over Charlotte still has the ability to surprise me throughout the course of a book, which let me tell you never gets old. When the book was finished a felt satisfied with how everything all ended, and was happy to have traveled this journey along side all the characters. 

It goes without saying that I would recommend this book to just about anyone, seriously give this series a shot, you won't regret it. 


Overkill by Steven Shrewsbury


Synopsis
A great flood once wiped clean the earth, destroying everything upon it. Before the deluge, in a time now forgotten, the world was a place of warriors and witches, conflicts between kingdoms, and, until their extermination, dragons. 
In this world, men may live centuries, fallen angels have begotten terrifying spawn, and sometimes, the best hope can be found in a brothel. 
In the land of Transalpina, a new religion spreads, and important men are dying mysteriously, slain by what can only be the fire of dragon breath. Summoned by the Queen Garnet, the legendary warrior Gorias La Gaul returns to the place where he once saved the queen's young granddaughter from treachery and enslavement. The Princess Nykia is gone, and soon others may try to claim the throne. The queen has little choice but to turn to the only man who ever told her no. 
With the aid of one of the queen's elite guard, the battle maiden Alena, and the young palace servant Orsen, the old mercenary will face pirates and traitors, monsters and foul magic in the quest to find the missing heir and learn the truth behind the disconcerting murders. 
Deliverance will come for Gorias La Gaul, but for now there are women to love, secrets to discover, and killing that needs doing.

Review:
I gathered from some information online that this is the second book taking place in this setting, and I have to say I am not surprised. This book was well crafting and interesting from the beginning, so it would make sense that the author would have a book before this one, and it's probably as good as this one is. 

For those of you who follow my reviews, my biggest complaint recently is that not every book has a strong beginning. This book did not suffer from that at all. I think that this is really important, especially for a book like this, because it has so much more to establish with the reader than with a book that takes place in this world in modern time. By having this book start off so strong, it made me invested in the book, it's setting, and it's characters, all the more, which in turn made it easier for me to latch on and understand the world building aspects all the better. 

This is definitely a book that is not short on the action front, so if you are looking for a slow and steady boring ride than this is not your book. There are a lot of unexpected events that happen within the book, which makes it even more fun for the reader, because it keeps you guessing. 

One thing some books heavy on the action sometimes get wrong, is not breaking up the action. A book with all action is like a sandwich with no bread. I was glad to find that this book did have a little bit of humor in it to break up the heavy pace of action. And there is even a bit of "romantic" elements within, which both I think balance the book out pretty well. 

Character wise, I think that Gorias is a pretty interesting character to follow along. He has his own personal code that he follows, which is basically what drives him within the story. he is one of those main character guys who is macho in every sense of the word. He is a strong and pretty ruthless character, but thankfully there are some other aspects to him that make him more than just the muscle of the story, and more of a well rounded character. 

Overall, I think this book would be easily enjoyed by anyone who liked epic fantasy. The world building is pretty good, as are the characters. I don't think this book should go out to the YA crowd, but anyone else with an interest in fantasy should check out this book. 


Amy Lignor Guest Post



“Angels That Dare to Be Different”

The various interpretations of angels in fiction have been extremely fun to read. In fact, I was one of the readers most excited when the ‘winged ones’ came along and gave the ‘fanged ones’ a run for their money. Although I’m a fan of the ‘fallen’ in the YA world, I always wanted my angels to be different - something new and special that hadn’t been seen before. Enter, Emily & Matt.

Knowing that this ‘appearance’ on this fantastic site is the conclusion of the blog tour, I’m filled with everything from honor to humility to excitement for all the amazing bloggers and readers who accepted the angel/warrior team into their lives. So when I was asked to talk about how this particular ‘angelic interpretation’ came along, I wanted to make sure that I absolutely summed up The Angel Chronicles as best I could. (Before I come along to bother you all with Book II J)

Angels are one of the most difficult paranormal characters to write - simply because of what agents and publishers refer to as, “religious overtones.” For quite a long time angels were frowned upon, because the literary world believed that readers wouldn’t accept anything that had to do with divinity. I was younger when I wrote this book so that particular view upset me, for the simple fact that Emily and Matt are not about religion.

My angel/warrior team came from a dream (I know, it sounds hokey but it’s true). I ‘found them’ at a time when I thought that all of that stuff - ‘up there’ - was a load of bunk. I was thirteen, I had had enough, and my grandfather had been taken away from me. Matt, a teenager who came from an extraordinary place, appeared in my world, and it had nothing to do with ‘who’ he believed in or ‘where’ he came from; in fact, I always met Matt in a library that looked like the NYPL…only a little sunnier.

Matt was a boy who really wanted a chance to live, love, fight, and have fun with it all. And when I decided to write his lives, I really didn’t want to place him in the ‘accepted’ place in literature; I wanted him to be like any other teen who does have a home with a family who loves him. Yes, the home has more cool magical stuff in it, but it’s still home.

I even thought that the names Michael and Gabriel should be changed to Frank and Jesse, if it made people feel better. Because the book, itself, is just about two teenagers - not about some political argument. You see, the training pit was cool; the Lightning Room was awesome; the brothers and friends who play cards, race horses, and have fun - all of this had to be there. I wanted them to be in period costumes and have a sense of humor, and I thought that taking these fantastical factors away in order to be ‘accepted’ was wrong. So Emily and Matt received the home I saw in my imagination - with that incredible library being the number one place they went to when they needed a bit of ‘alone time.’

Emily needed to be strong and, like her author, got more than a bit confused and mad at this supposedly ‘great world’ when she experienced the heartache, pain, and power of love and loss. I truly believed that it would be interesting for one of the main characters to have the hardest time believing in anything.

Matt - well…Matt’s that guy who wants to be the hero and just enjoy life. But he has no idea that fun and freedom come with a cost, until he’s faced with losing a love he never even thought he had.

In the end, the world of Emily & Matt had to be different. It had to really show the fact that these were two very normal teenagers who faced very normal problems - they just had abilities that helped AND got in the way when all was said and done. For each adventure this angel/warrior team will find themselves up against bad guys, hard decisions, humor and confusion, as they desperately try to make sure they keep each other in the process. Love does bloom, but this, again, is no ordinary love triangle. No one is perfect - that’s impossible. So readers will soon see even more ‘out-of-the-box’ twists where Emily’s heart is concerned. And, hopefully, they’ll continue to love this new world where anything can, and does happen.

Until Next Time, Everybody!
Amy

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Charlotte English Short Story

So today is day 3 of the build up to the review of Charlotte English's brand new novel Orlind, and I love her writing and her books, so I was so happy to be able to post a short story by her! So without further ado here it is:


Sigwide and the Bokren Birds

The black-scaled drauk was at least twice the size of Sigwide, but the little grey orting wasn’t fazed. He squared off against his scaled and clawed opponent, growling deep in his small soft-furred chest.
The drauk ignored him. It continued its advance on the one remaining bokren bird, sending the dim-witted creature into a noisy panic. Irked by this lack of consideration, Sigwide gathered his round little body into a crouch and prepared to charge.
Ynara Sanfaer stood watching the development of this little three-way battle, suffering some indecision. Egora was one of a small flock of six bokren birds she had owned, the only one still living after a spate of drauk attacks. The bird was as dense as a stump, of course, but with her jaunty red feet and wings she was a rather attractive thing. And she laid wonderful eggs. Ynara would prefer not to lose her as well.
Sigwide, on the other hand, had been her daughter’s beloved pet for the last eleven years and was completely irreplaceable. And just now he was intent on impaling himself on the drauk’s spiked tail.
It wasn’t much of a choice. With a sigh, she stooped and scooped up the orting. Sigwide fought, as she had expected; she was obliged to use both hands to keep him from jumping free, and in that instant the drauk struck. The bokren squawked and struggled, feathers flying; then its neck snapped between the drauk’s strong jaws and it fell silent.
Ynara thought briefly about rescuing the corpse - at least the poor stupid beast would make good stew - but a glance at the drauk’s wicked claws changed her mind. Gripping the wildly struggling Sigwide a little harder, she opened her wings. With a small jump she was airborne and wending her way up to the top of the broad-capped glissenwol tree in which her family lived.
The house was built inside and around the trunk in a motley collection of wooden-walled rooms. A wide balcony hung near the top, sheltered and kept dry by the overarching glissenwol cap. Ynara landed here and stepped into the house, releasing Sigwide with some relief.
‘Ow,’ she muttered, inspecting the red scratches now striping the honey-brown hue of her skin.
She found her husband and daughter in the kitchen, sharing a bowl of tea. Sigwide ran straight to Llandry and climbed her leg, his fur bristling as he chattered out his rage. Llan’s eyes travelled from the enraged orting to Ynara herself, taking in the new wounds.
‘Don’t tell me,’ she said. ‘He still thinks he’s an orboe.’
Ynara dropped into a chair with a sigh. ‘He’d need to be at least that size to take on a drauk and win. But he keeps trying.’
Aysun grunted his disapproval. ‘Wild beast needs to learn manners. And sense.’
‘He’s all right, Pa,’ said Llandry, hugging Sigwide close. ‘He’s never seriously injured himself.’
‘Only other people,’ Aysun replied, casting a meaningful look at Ynara’s bleeding arms.
Llandry winced. ‘Sorry, Ma.’
Ynara shrugged. ‘They’ll heal. My poor Egora will not, however.’
‘Not only stupid, but wholly ineffectual as a guard as well,’ Aysun commented. At Llandry’s reproachful look, he softened the sting of his comment by reaching over and tickling the orting’s belly.
‘Your alarm device was wholly ineffectual, too,’ Ynara retorted.
‘Ah... it didn’t go off again?’
‘It did, but far too late. By the time I reached the ground, the drauk already had Egora cornered. I couldn’t have rescued her without getting sliced up by the thing myself.’
‘It’s meant to scare the thing away,’ Aysun muttered, his blond brows drawn together. ‘I’ll work on it.’
‘No. That’s enough. I can’t watch any more of my poor birds get butchered by the drauk population of Glinnery. As long as we live so close to the woods, it’ll always be a problem.’
‘You sure, Ma? If Pa built a cage, they’d be safe.’
‘And imprisoned. That’s no solution, love.’ Llandry’s face - so like her own, with her grey eyes, honey-coloured skin and dark black hair - was anxious and sad as she looked at her mother. She was a worrier, that girl, and seemed to feel every little hurt of her mother’s ten times over.
Ynara smiled reassuringly and squeezed Llandry’s hand. ‘It’s all right, love. I’ll miss the birds, but we can go back to getting our eggs from the market.’
Llandry nodded dubiously. She looked at her father. ‘I’m sure we could come up with something better. Right, Pa?’
Aysun looked straight at Ynara and grinned. It was one of those boyish grins, full of mischief and fun; it looked no less natural on his tanned and lined face than it had twenty years ago when they were both young.
It was the sort of grin that gave her mixed feelings. Anticipation, because it usually meant he was about to do something fiendishly clever and amusing. And trepidation, because sometimes his fiendishly clever plans went horribly awry.
‘Don’t get carried away,’ she said warningly. But the remarkably similar expressions on her husband and daughter’s faces told her the warning was futile.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Charlotte English Guest Post



What Makes a Heroine Strong?

Strong heroines have been somewhat in fashion for a while. And so they should be! The days when fantasy protagonists were almost always male, and ladies were relegated to performing minor support roles in scanty clothing, are (hopefully) long gone and good riddance to that.

But it’s possible that the strong heroine has become something of a cliché. I sometimes get the impression that “strong” has to mean “warrior” in many cases, and if a girl isn’t wearing armour and killing people she isn’t really tough enough. I’m throwing no rocks at girl fighters here – they can be fantastic and they frequently are. But they can also come across merely as honourary men, their sole difference from their male counterparts being their physical anatomy. What about female heroines who aren’t fighters? The ones who don’t wear armour, who don’t walk about armed to the teeth, who don’t kill people? Can they still be considered as strong fantasy heroines?

In addition to all this, we fantasy fans do seem to love an underdog to root for. Heroes – male or female – are very likely to be orphans, street kids living in poverty, fallen angels, that kind of thing. And I love that, too, but I also think it can be an easy way out. Style a heroine as an orphaned street child living in poverty and she has plenty to fight against – lots of ways to prove her toughness.

What about the rest of it? Women with stable families, women with wealth or social power, women with intellect and mental strength rather than physical prowess? Even worse, what about women who have unfashionable weaknesses – shyness, fears, anxiety, phobias? Can these ladies still fill the pages as sufficiently strong female icons? I think yes. I wonder why there aren’t more of them in fantasy.

For the Draykon Series I picked two somewhat unconventional heroines. Eva is an orphan (okay, one concession to tradition there…), but she’s a mature woman nearing her 40th year and a socially powerful woman. She has money and status – but that doesn’t make it much easier for her to deal with the challenges she’s obliged to face. Mostly it is her intelligence, calm rationality and courage that will carry her through. Personally, I find those to be fine qualities to aspire to.

Llandry on the other hand is much younger – about twenty years old – with two loving parents (even if they are a bit overprotective) and a stable home. Her personal demon is extreme social anxiety. She’s terribly afraid of people, which means that even normal life is hard for her – let alone finding herself at the centre of a growing crisis. This can be controversial. It’s tempting to interpret people like Llandry as weak, feeble – anything but strong. But in truth, a girl like Llandry must find so much more courage on a day-to-day basis than someone who lacks all those fears, just to keep up with everyone else’s idea of a normal life. Put her in the middle of a crisis and that just gets worse.

Strength isn’t about being fearless, and it isn’t about having no weaknesses. Strength isn’t solely about having extreme personal circumstances to overcome, either. Personally I’m intrigued by heroes (of both genders!) who are closer to the sort of people I know – and the sort of person I am. I’ve always cheered for characters like Fanny Price in Mansfield Park; she’s often criticised for being feeble, but she’s the timid, easily frightened girl who found the courage to stand up to her terrifying guardian when he tried to force her into a marriage she didn’t want. It takes so much more sheer bravery to do something like that when you’re afraid. It takes none at all to do it when you have no fears.

I’m impressed by real courage and I like to see it depicted in literature – and not necessarily displayed by axe-wielding heroes in armour. I intend to keep dreaming up heroines who aren’t fighters, but who find the grit to fight through every challenge they encounter. It gives me hope that the rest of us can do it, too, whatever we’re faced with.

What do you think? Are warrior heroines (or heroes!) more believable in the role of strong, iconic protagonist? Are they easier or harder to relate to? Do characters with fears and phobias intrigue or frustrate you?


The Bridge of Deaths by M.C.V. Egan


Synopsis
On August 15th 1939, at the brink of World War II, an English plane crashed and sunk in Danish waters. Five deaths were reported: two Standard Oil of New Jersey employees, a German Corporate Lawyer, an English member of Parliament, and a crew member for the airline. Here is a conceivable version of the events.

Review:
This book has a pretty interesting idea. I mean I can't tell you how many times I sat in history class and wondered what really happened. What were the people really like, sure I knew the big picture of things but a lot of times you never find out what happened to the individual person. This book explores what it would be like to have the opportunity to do just that. 

I don't want to sound like a broken record, but the beginning of this book was also a little bit on the slow side for me. Which has been a bit of a problem for me lately. I think there was a little bit too much build up to get to the meat of the book. And it just took a little bit longer for me to get on board with the characters. 

I don't think this book really fits into my normal urban fantasy book, mostly because it doesn't really have any of the typical elements or supernaturals you see in that genre. But it was a nice change of pace for me. I loved the history element, and that you as a reader are able to recognize some of the people and places that are talked about in the book. And on top of that it felt a little bit like unraveling a mystery, which is something I always enjoy. 

The past life regression and hypnosis is an interesting approach to take for the characters to try and find out information. It's not quite science fiction, but you also kind of wonder, could it really work? 

Also you can seriously tell that the author has done an insane amount of research, like dissertation amount of research. And there are some times when reading the book where the information did become a bit of an overload. It was sometimes hard to keep all of the information straight, so you might want to be a little bit aware of that fact. 

Overall the characters were fun to read and the premise was pretty good. I do want to say I think this book will appeal to people who like history and investigating the events of the past, those people will for sure get a kick out of this book. If you are looking for something light and fluffy then this isn't your read, but if you want something to make you think, maybe this is your book. 


Foundation for the Lost by Scott Rhine


Synopsis
No good deed goes unpunished. 
A Kabbalah magician, Aaron Walker has devoted the last hundred years of his life to his Foundation, a charity that helps widows, orphans, and the stranger in the land. It doesn't get much stranger than the Lost: male witches who don't have parents to train them in the arts. Now, corporate wizards are trying to kill him, and he has no idea why. 
With a handful of former students, he hops from one hidden enclave of cultural magic to another, hoping to survive long enough to contact the witches of New Salem. But the assassins don't scare Aaron as much as the price the witch Rose demands for her aid--to father a child. To keep his magic and save the world, he must remain a virgin. Merodak, the demon, offers a way out but he’s a pathological liar with a twisted sense of humor.

Review:
I think one of the more interesting things about fantasy books in general is they explore a lot of ideas that a lot of novels do not. In particular I always find it interesting when a novel decides to take on the subject of religion. Religion always has the ability to be a hot button topic, and when you put it in an urban fantasy setting, I think it has the ability to be even more of a hot button topic. But that being said almost every urban fantasy book I have read that touches on the subject of religion has always been well written, thought provoking, and respectful, and the same can be said for this book. 

A warning to those of you out there who don't like books that are on the longer spectrum of things, this book is a bit of read, and does take a little while to get through. It is a good book though, so if you like a longer book (like I do), then you will probably enjoy reading this one. 

Even though the book is on the longer side, it does not mean that it is slow in pace. The book maintains a pretty good pace throughout the entire thing, including the beginning (beginnings have been my biggest complaint lately so I wanted to mention that). 

I think part of the reason why the book has such a good pace to it, is that the plot is actually pretty complex. There is a lot for Aaron, the main character, to figure out as things go along. Nothing is really what it seems, and as he has never had a problem like this before, there is a lot of work going into resolving what is happening. An easy thing to do with a complicated story line is confuse the reader, most of the time by giving them too much information all at once and not letting the reader adjust to changes or new additions. I felt like the author skillfully avoided this, but giving the reader just enough information, and leaving the reader wanting to know more. 

While the book at times can be a bit on the heavy side subject matter wise, the author also added some enjoyable humor and romance to break up the heaviness, which I appreciated. I think this a good urban fantasy book, and to be honest I think more of my guy friends would be a fan of this book than my girls. But that doesn't mean girls can't enjoy it, after all I liked the book! So think about giving it a try! 


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Draykon Character Interviews!


Over the next couple of days I will be posting a lot about Charlotte English and her Draykon series, which I love. All leading up to the review of her new book Orlind! At the bottom of this post you can find links to other sites, all dealing with Charlotte English and her book release (there's some fun stuff at the other end of these links). 

So for day 1, we did a short character interview, with questions for both Llandry and Eva, two women who kick butt in their own right! 


Llandry

What is your favorite part about being a Draykon?
Not feeling afraid anymore! It’s hard to feel threatened when you’re so much bigger than everyone else, and wielding full draykoni powers on top of that. Unless you’re facing another draykon, of course…

Trying to find a place for yourself in your new form has been challenging, what is the hardest part about being this new version of you?
Adjusting to the physical changes was hard at first, though I’m used to that now. I don’t fall out of the sky anymore! At the moment I’m struggling with finding my place now that I’ve changed. Some people are actually afraid of me, which can hurt. I mean, it’s nice not being the frightened one but I don’t want to be intimidating my own people.

How has Sigwide been coping with your new identity?
He’s unfazed. He barely seems to realise that I’ve changed. Pensould says that I haven’t changed in essentials; I’m still me and Siggy responds to that more than my outer appearance. Isn’t that interesting, that you can recognise and value somebody based on the way their personality feels rather than how they look? I wish more people worked that way.

Eva

You seem to have found yourself pulled in many different directions in the past, do you ever see yourself settling down in one place?
Hmm. I’ve spent most of my life in Glour and honestly I’m enjoying the opportunity to put aside those responsibilities and see more of the world (and beyond!). But I do place a high value on home comforts. The question is, will I still want to make my permanent home in Glour City once all this is over? At the moment I don’t know.

Your ability with animals is truly amazing, do you have a favorite animal you have worked with?
Rikbeek and I have been partners for a long time, of course, and I wouldn’t be without him for the world. However, he can be hard to live with. If only he wouldn’t bite so much…! Secretly I would love to work with animals like Bartel, my shortig hound, a bit more often – they’re a little more docile and certainly sweeter-natured.

There is so much mystery surrounding the events of your world right now, do you think the people are prepared for the things to come?
No, I don’t think we are. The return of the draykoni will have a considerable impact on the Seven Realms and at present it is hard to predict how relations between draykoni and humankind will turn out – especially when there’s currently the threat of outright war. As for the Lokants, who knows? Even I can’t feel sure of their real motives. I only hope it will be possible to minimise the potential damage while we work through these problems.


Links
E-Book Apothecary (blog doing a series of events for Orlind)

Blooded by Amanda Carlson


Synopsis
Jessica McClain was born the only female in an all male race. The only problem is-she's no wolf. Called a curse, a witch and the Daughter of Evil by the superstitious wolves, Jessica decides to fight for her freedom, at age nineteen, the only way she can-in the ring. 
When she's brutally attacked right after her fight, is it enough to finally earn her freedom off Compound, or will she be forced to endure the hatred even longer . . .

Review:
So excited about this new author! She fortunately came into my life through another author I love, Amanda Bonilla (who also has great taste in books), so I was super excited about reading this novella. And I have to say that after reading the novella I am totally excited about her full length book! 

The concept is actually pretty cool. But to start I should mention that this series is primarily made up around werewolves (yay), but Carlson offers her own unique take to werewolves. There are no females. I really like this about the book, I think it makes her main character Jessica, all the more strong. Sure she doesn't have all the skills that a werewolf has, but in order to survive in this world she was born into she had to be strong emotionally and let me tell you she is quite tenacious. Something I happen to love about Jessica. 

This novella is just the perfect amount of the action and information to make you really want to read a full length novel. Literally after reading the last words within the novella I thought to myself, "holy cow, the "blank" has hit the fan and I wanna see what happens to her next!". On the plus side I have scene Carlson's release schedule so we won't have to wait long for her books to come out, and I do mean books, plural. 

The novella is only about 20,000 words so you really only get a glimpse of the world that Jessica lives in. But I want to point out that the one thing I was pretty excited about when I was reading the novella was that the world does not only contain werewolves. I love it when you have a whole world of different kinds of supernaturals. I can't wait to see how they are all going to come together and interact with the character of Jessica. 

So long story short, I think Amanda Bonilla was right, this series is going to be a big hit with the werewolf loves out there. I would recommend this novella to anyone, it's a quick read, but it's a fun and oh so very action packed novella, so go pick it up!


Poseidon's Children by Michael West


Synopsis
Man no longer worships the old gods; forgotten and forsaken, they have become nothing more than myth and legend. But all that is about to change.
After the ruins of a vast, ancient civilization are discovered on the ocean floor, Coast Guard officers find a series of derelict ships drifting in the current—high-priced yachts and leaking fishing boats, all ransacked, splattered in blood, their crews missing and presumed dead. 
And that’s just the beginning. 
Vacationing artist Larry Neuhaus has just witnessed a gruesome shark attack, a young couple torn apart right before his eyes….at least, he thinks it was a shark. And when one of these victims turns out to be the only son of Roger Hays, the most powerful man in the country, things go from bad to worse.
Now, to stop the carnage, Larry and his new-found friends must work together to unravel a mystery as old as time, and face an enemy as dark as the ocean depths.

Review:
It seems like lately I have had a lot of books to review that have fallen under the mythology themes. And this book proudly enters it into the list. I'm actually a little bit on the surprised side that I enjoyed the book as much as I did, and that's not because the book isn't good, it's because the book borders on that like between horror and urban fantasy. I love urban fantasy, but horror is just not my thing (I'm a big wimp, I won't even go see scary movies). So when I started to realize this book had a bit of the horror genre in it, I was a little nervous but I stuck it out and I was happy that I did. 

I do have to say my only real complaint with the book was that the beginning was a bit on the slow side. I know writing a beginning to any book, or series involves a lot of set up by the author to put the infrastructure in place, so it's actually pretty common for me to find that a book starts a bit on the slow side. I will say that even though it starts off slow, it does pick up as the book goes on. 

One of things I appreciated about the book though was I think that there is a character out there for everyone. This book has a lot of characters in it, so you are pretty much guaranteed to find someone you like within, someone you can identify with and want to know more about. And the characters all compliment each other pretty well, which I think is a pretty nice achievement by the author, especially with a cast as large as it was in this book. 

I do really like that the book has a good pace. Once the book gets going it really doesn't stop, it keeps the reader interested in the plot throughout the entire thing. It does a really good job of making you want to know what is going to happen next. And the suspense factor in the book is also pretty good too, but I think that is a common element with the horror genre. 

The book is a really quality read. The writing is good, the plot line is solid, the characters are well formed and easy to identify with. I like any book that makes me think, and makes me think I know what is going to go on next and then have the author completely surprise me. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys urban fantasy or horror. But if you are like me and you avoid horror at all costs, I think you might want to give this one a try, because it really is a great molding of the two genres. 


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pantheons by E.J. Dabel


Synopsis
On the streets, they call fifteen year old orphan Isaiah Marshall the “Indestructible Diamond”. Isaiah is the leader of the “Redrovers”, a group of teenage misfits consisting of his friends Jeremy, Monty, and Pipsqueak, but when they trespass into “Kaliber Academy” to get even with the arrogant Jason Ollopa, they are in way over their heads.
Isaiah is thrown into a world where the democratic Olympians, war-mongering Norse, Gothic Celts, firstborn Egyptians, the enlightened Hindu, the animal-like Aztecs, the martial artist Asians, the intelligent Babylonians, the great spirits of the Native American Indians, and the fierce Finnish will war against one another for the greatest of all prizes: the Dominion.

Review:
Here we are with another YA novel, which is something I am super surprised to say I have started to enjoy the genre. And to be honest I was pretty excited about this book because I love the who Greek mythology thing, in fact it was the Greeks who made me minor in history. So long story short I love books with Greek themes, they are just so much fun and entertaining. 

I have to say that thing I enjoyed the most about the book were the characters. They are really well thought up, really well developed by the author to the readers, and in general it is easy to really like them. As a reader I enjoyed the characters, I wanted to know what was going to happen to them next, and I wanted them to come out on top in the end. I love when I read a book and I really get into the characters. 

I have to say that I also really enjoyed the way that the Greek mythology was written about. It gave you a substantial information on a level that would be on par for a young adult book as well as interesting enough for adult readers to stay interested. I think when you have a history like Greek mythology an author can easily over complicate things and do a lot of "info dumps" but I was very happy to say that this was not the case in this book; the information was revealed in an organic way to the characters and plot. 

I really want to note that the writing in this book is really good. I had this idea about young adult books, that a lot of the authors seem to almost dumb down their writing, but this author didn't do that. The writing is really good and I really appreciate that. Not only is the writing good though, I think it is exceptionally good for young adult readers, because the author explores a lot of really great themes for young people. There is a lot in this book having to do with coming of age, and being able to understand the responsibilities that entails. 

Between the Greek mythology and the quality writing, I have to say I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys young adult books, but especially to young adults looking for a book to read. I think if you are an adult reader this book can be enjoyed all the same as well, so check it out. 


Rapture by Renee Field


Synopsis
Mermen aren't real. That's what biologist Jamie Winters thinks until a gorgeous Greek god enters her life and drowns her, forcing her to rapture into a Siren. Used to logic, she can't quite come to terms with Seth Cutter's magical undersea realm or the fact that he's a macho Titan.
Being a Siren causes Jamie's hormones to go into overdrive, which isn't good when she realizes that's exactly what Seth was hoping for. Sure, the sex is out of this world, but she's not about to change her character.
As Prince of the North Seas, Seth is used to having his commands followed. A decade of exile on land was easier than having to deal with the sexy-as-sin Siren who tips the scales of his existence and doesn't listen to one word he says.
They must overcome their prejudices to recover stolen relics that are key to the undersea kingdom, stop a deadly plague and destroy an underwater diva who wants to rule the roost. Are they two souls destined for each other or will the Fates decide otherwise? Seth knows firsthand, Fate can be a bitch.

Review:
I have to say that this subject matter is not the norm for me, I tend to roam freely in the land of magic, vampires, and werewolves. So when a book comes along that wants to tackle a different group of paranormals, I tend to get pretty excited about it. After all everyone wants fresh take on the genre they like to read, after all it keeps things from getting repetitive. 

Generally speaking the book was an enjoyable read. Especially as the book moves on past the beginning, the characters start to feel more organic, and as a reader you can kind of get behind them and their individual stories more, and therefore the book is more enjoyable. I do have to say I wish we reached this point a little bit earlier in the book, because in the beginning I did feel like it started out to slowly. I think for me the fact that it was a unique idea/a topic I hadn't read before made me give the book more latitude, so the beginning wasn't too  bad for me. 

I do have to say there were a couple of problems with the book in my eyes. And honestly they are some of the same issues I have with several other books. To start off, sometimes I really didn't understand the characters, one minute I did and everything felt fine and organic, and then the next minute a switch would flip the character would have a completely different emotional response to something and I was left feeling a little confused. I think the author could have clued me into the characters reasoning, or maybe put in more build up to be emotional shifts, but that was one of the issues I had. 

I also have to say that while I enjoy paranormal romance (and I really do, the genre has grown on me over the years), I think some of the sex in the book could have been cut done. The reason why I say this is, to some extent I felt like some of the scenes weren't organic to the characters and were just padding to the book (or giving the reader what they want). For me though I need the intimate scenes to make sense to the characters, to feel organic. Also the first couple sex scenes were bordering on the cheesy line, but as the book got going the scenes felt more organic and less cheesy. 

Overall, I think if you are in the market for a new paranormal romance, that is heavy on the romance then you should try out this book. Also I think you have to give the author props from going against the "industry norm" and picking subject matter that not everyone would be familiar with. So if you want something new and fresh you should try out this book.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Forever Freed by Laura Kaye


Synopsis
A heart can break, even one that no longer beats.I stalk my new neighbors, a single mother and her child, drawn by the irresistible scent of their joy and love. I crave their blood, starved for some healing respite from my ancient grief. Now to lure them into my grasp.But they surprise me. Little Olivia accepts me without fear or reservation-talking, smiling, offering innocent affection that tugs at my long-lost humanity. Her mother, Samantha, seeks me out when she should stay away, offering sweet friendship, and calling to the forgotten man within me. They lure me instead.Ah, Dio, Lucien, run and spare them while you can...

Review:
So to begin, I would like to say that this book is a little bit on the difficult side to get into. The beginning doesn't just grab your attention like some other books too. And while I did try to figure out why it didn't grab my attention, I really could not figure out a legitimate reason why. The writing isn't bad, and the characters aren't confusing, it just didn't seem to jump out at me. Although it might be that I didn't really identify with Lucien, who the entire story is told from. 

I have to say that I did enjoy the fact that Lucien is not your everyday main character, even though I think that might have played a role in why it took longer for me to get into the book. He's kind of a tortured soul, he doesn't really like who he is, but at the same time can't help that he has the desires that come along with being a vampire. He has a really terrible past so he is pretty isolated to start off with, another reason why I think it took longer to get into his character. 

And in the beginning, the beginning of the relationship to be more specifically, you as the reader really get the sense that Lucien is more stalker than anything else. Now I think I have a lot of problems with characters who kind of fall in love with the object of the obsession, it often comes off a little bit on the creepy side for me, but this relationship was able to move a beyond that initial creepy vibe. 

I do have to say that in the end the romance is worth it, and honest the book is more about romance than anything else. Sure there is a plot behind it all, but if you don't get into the romance then I don't think you will be able to get into the book. But if you are a person that enjoys romance, I think this will be a good book for you to read, especially since it has the unique factor of being told from the male point of view and not from the female. 

Overall I think the book is an okay read, especially if you are just in it for the romance. If you are going to look at the book critically however I think you are going to find a couple of things that might nag at you. I felt like there were certain things, plot elements, that are brought up and not addressed within the book or are wrapped up in a way that didn't feel organic. I felt like while there was romance the was some issue with getting to know the characters. And I think my biggest issue is that I think because the book took so long to get started it ended up having a rushed feeling at the end.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang


Synopsis
Six months ago, Abby Sinclair was struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Now, she has an enchanted iPod, a miniature unicorn living in her underwear drawer, and a magical marketplace to manage. But despite her growing knowledge of the OtherWorld, Abby isn't at all prepared for Brystion, the dark, mysterious, and sexy-as-sin incubus searching for his sister, convinced Abby has the key to the succubus's whereabouts. Abby has enough problems without having this seductive shaper-shifter literally invade her dreams to get information. But when her Faery boss and some of her friends vanish, as well, Abby and Brystion must form an uneasy alliance. As she is sucked deeper and deeper into this perilous world of faeries, angels, and daemons, Abby realizes her life is in as much danger as her heart- and there's no one she can trust to save her. 
Review:
I have seen this book in the book store numerous times, and the book cover has always grabbed my attention. I love the cover art on this book, and I'm not really sure why, so when I received this book for review I was super excited. 

To start off the book takes a little while to jump into. It's one of those books that has a really complex world, and jumps right into it from the very beginning. I think I could have done with a little more explanation, because the beginning was a tad bit hard for me grab on to. 

That being said the world is delightfully complex. I like a world that is complex, because even though it is hard to write the first book, where the world building all essentially takes place, it leaves so much available for future books. I also like that once I thought I had everything all figured out about the world a new element or two would be introduced. 

I really like Abby, the main character. She is way over her head in what is going on with all the OtherWorld politics. But the thing I think that I enjoy the most about Abby, is that she is not one of those girls who just sits around a mopes at all of the bad things that have come her way, she fights for herself. I have to also say the other thing that I like about Abby is she has some "supernatural" power, but it's not something that she can really use to fight, but she's smart. 

I love all of the other side characters as well. They are all pretty well thought out. They are mysterious when they need to be, deceiving when they need to be, and all around just enhance the story. I appreciate all of their interactions with Abby. As well as the authors ability to make the reader really believe the words that are on the page. 

I also found some of the cultural references really amusing along the way. I love the enchanted iPod that plays anything you could want to listen to. And I particularly liked that in the middle of a fight scene a conversation took place about World of Warcraft, which made me giggle (maybe because I used to be a WoW player). Either way the cultural references were a good touch. 

I think if you like intricate worlds in your urban fantasy books, with tons of different types of "supernatural" characters, then this is definitely your book. I think in general most people who enjoy urban fantasy would enjoy this book, as well as the character Abby. And besides who can resist a miniature unicorn?


Nukekubi by Stephen B. Pearl


Synopsis
From ancient times nukekubi have haunted the land of Japan. Living as men by day, these beasts slip their heads free of their flesh at night and go in search of human prey. These hapless souls are driven into a terrified madness that results in their death.
Ray McAndrues, a modern-day wizard, must neutralize a nukekubi that is feasting on the people of Toronto. He is aided by Cathy, a sorceress of numerous charms, and Toshiro and Kunio, two, Japanese, martial artists who have made hunting nukekubi their lives' work.
As the quest plays out, questions arise. Who is hunting who? How can you slay the beast that stalks the night without slaying the man who walks the day? What is the strange, millennia-old connection that binds Ray to the beast, and will it help or hinder the quest?

Review
I was actually pretty interested in this book when it came across my desk for review. And the main reason why is because it involved Japan, a place where a lot of people I know have moved to and lived for quite sometime. The culture and history is very fascinating and to be honest I have only ever heard good things about the place. 

I have to say the concept is a pretty original one of an urban fantasy book. Most of the time when you pick up an urban fantasy book you expect to see a vampire or werewolves, or one of the other many different types of supernatural beings. So it was certainly refreshing to see an interesting and unique concept in a book. 

The pace of the book is pretty good, the author had to be able to introduce a new group/supernatural being in this book that most people aren't familiar with, so I think that had to do with some of the slower parts of the book. While some small parts of the book didn't have fantastic pacing, the story line behind it was good enough to continue keeping your interest. 

I thought the characters were pretty nice as well. I think this characters in this book work more as an ensemble than anything else. I wonder if some of the secondary character would have been as good without the other ones. I guess what I mean by that is they compliment each other more than anything else. 

I do also want to mention that the writing is really good as well. I felt like the author had a good control of language and sometimes as a reader we take that kind of thing for granted. But when I writer had  good control of language it's easier to fall into the story and really enjoy the plot of the book. 

I myself thought the plot was pretty good as well. I thought the pace was good (as mentioned earlier), revealing just enough of the plot to keep you interested, but not so much as to give everything away. I enjoyed following along with the characters, and I really wanted everything to work out for all of them. 

Overall, I have to say that this book was a pretty solid book. I think just on the unique premise alone, I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Urban Fantasy, after all a change of pace can be the perfect thing for readers. If you are looking for something more like paranormal romance I'm not sure this would be the best book for you, but anyone who likes urban fantasy should enjoy reading this book, like I did. 


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Hole Behind Midnight by Clinton J. Boomer


Synopsis
Royden Poole is having a very bad day. Follow the Hole Behind Midnight into a world of oracles and monsters, kings and usurpers ... follow it into the 25th Hour. A darkly comic postmodern urban fantasy crime/mystery noir/pulp tale-of-suspense-and-magic-and-cursing, this is a story of the 25th Hour.

Review
First and foremost this book has a really cool concept. The 25th hour is something I think all of us have wished for at one time in our life, so that's a really interesting elements alone. And while having a good concept is half the battle sometimes, a good concept doesn't matter much if it isn't executed well; Boomer executed this book amazingly well. 

First and foremost I have to say the book works for me on a lot of different levels. I love the humor in the book. I'm one of those people who enjoys all kinds of humor, but I also enjoy the sarcastic or dark humor above all else. I have to say that this book was deliciously humorous for me. 

The main character is a bit of an jerk but because the book is written from his point of view, you as the reader understand him and his actions. And I feel like I have know a lot of this "type" of guy in my life, and I love 'em all. So it was easy for me to like the him, and pull for him. I also have to say, that most of the books I review are urban fantasy books told from a woman's point of view, so this was a refreshing change of pace for me, and I was equally impressed at how much I like the character compared to the "norm" of character I am used to. 

I thought the world building in the book was fantastic, well thought out, and actually quite complex. When you have a complex world to present to a reader it can get tricky with not confusing them. But Boomer did a great job, I think the overall tone of the novel helps the reader along, you are so already along for the ride and so immersed in the book that nothing ever felt inorganic or too confusing. 

The pace of the book is spot on, it moves at the perfect pace for the reader. And more than that it encompasses so many different topics, that just about anyone who picks up this book can find something in it that they can identify with, or a topic they would like to see in a book. 

I myself know a lot of people who would love this book. The sense of humor alone I think would have a lot of my friends enjoying this book. But more than that I think people, even people who don't necessarily know a lot about the genre or even like the genre could find something in this book they enjoy. I do have to say if you are not a person who enjoys certain explicit language or that type of language offends you, then this isn't your book. But as long as you don't fall into that category, if you are looking for a book to read, then I without a doubt recommend this book to anyone. 


Cycles by Lois D. Brown


Synopsis
She remembers things that never happened.
She's a stranger in her own home.
She always knew she was different.
She just didn't know why.
Until now.

Renee Beaumont is about to die . . . again.

Review
I am sure I have said it about a million times now, but YA books are not my favorite type of book on the planet. But lately this view of mine has been challenged. I have had the opportunity to read a lot of really quality YA books, with writing that has seriously impressed me. I personally love it when a YA author uses language that doesn't talk down to people just because their young, I think it makes a younger person learn and it makes the book more enjoyable for adults. Thankfully this book is one of the YA books I have enjoyed. 

I think one of the things I enjoyed the most about this novel was the pacing of it. You get brought into the novel very quickly and the situations introduced make it so much easier to get into the book and to care about the characters. I think a dramatic beginning in a book makes the reader want to read more, they want to find out what happened, why it happened, and how the character is going to respond. This was done really well in this book. Renee, the main character was in an accident in the beginning of the novel that required her to have a blood transfusion. That starts the plot off for Renee and the rest of the characters. 

The book had a bit of a mystery element to it, with Renee and Sam (her best friend) trying to figure out why her neighbor had some of her blood (the same blood used to save her after her accident). I think the mystery element works exceptionally well in this book, especially if I were a younger reader. Any book that makes a person think or try to figure out what is going on/what is going to happen next is a book I like. 

I spent most of the time with this novel wondering what was going to happen next, and trying to piece the puzzle together in my own head. I was glad that when I thought I had things figured out or created my own theory to the situation a curve ball would make me rethink things. 

I also thought the characters were really well done. Renee and Sam are easy to like, easy to pull for, and in general identify with them. I do think that maybe they would have been older judging by their maturity throughout the book, but other than that I thought they were both good characters. 

I have to say once more I liked this YA book, and I would recommend it for anyone who enjoys reading YA, or anyone who wants a little bit of a non-conventional mystery to sink their teeth into. It was really a fun read. 


Monday, April 16, 2012

TASTE Sneak Peek!


Over the past couple of weeks I had the great privilege of both getting to know the author of Taste, Kate Evangelista, as well as reading the book. This is by far one of my favorite YA books I have ever read, it's written so intelligently and the plot is just fantastic. I can't wait to review it for the site once it comes out, but until then I get to give you this sneak peek!

Synopsis:
At Barinkoff Academy, there's only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.

Trailer:


Author Website: www.kateevangelista.com
Twitter: @KateEvangelista

Click to read an except, and if you want a secret third except look for a link in this post that doesn't belong!

Legions by Karice Bolton


Synopsis
As the magical holiday season is disrupted with an afternoon of horror, it becomes apparent that the Legions have begun their uprising around the globe, and Ana does her best to stay strong even though her world has been shattered. It is up to Ana to find the strength within and not fall prey to the dark side as she begins her chase to reclaim what’s rightfully hers. 
Realizing that Ana’s visions alone are not enough to protect them, her family begins her training immediately before she is targeted once more. The Legions will not quit until they get what they want, and they have made it clear that mortals will not be spared, leaving Ana little time to figure out what it is the demons are after.
As Ana balances her time between chasing after her destiny and spending her time relearning how to fight demons, she learns something about her past that could change why she’s fighting for anything at all. Clues continue to unfold in the form of yellowed letters she finds from Athen buried within an old Tudor home; and her future is signaled in a lone, white rose left for only her to see giving her the strength to persevere. She is determined to not give up faith that she will have it all once more.

Review
I read and reviewed the first book in this trilogy, called Awakening, which was an interesting book with a pretty big romantic story line. The first book ended with a huge cliff hanger, so if you haven't read the first book and you don't want to be spoiled then you should wait to read this review until you read the first book. 

I enjoyed the idea of someone searching to find his soul mate and doing whatever it took to find that person, I mean what girl wouldn't want that to happen to her? So when the cliff hanger happened in the first book, I really wanted to see what was going to happen next. Now that I am done alluding to the cliff hanger, I'll just tell you what it is, Ana's (the main character in the book) soul mate Athen, who had been searching for Ana in the first book ends up in the same position that Ana was in, reborn and having no idea who he really is. 

While I understood why Ana would have a huge reaction to losing her mate so soon after being reunited with him, I don't think it should have gone on as long as it did. I felt like Ana did more wallowing instead of acting, which for me made the plot kind of stall out a little bit. However Ana does have one thing really working in her corner more than anything else, she has visions. She had these visions in the first book, so it makes sense that the more time that past the more her visions would come into play. 

I did appreciate the backstory given in this book as opposed to the first. I have to say that in the first book it was so much more emotion driven, especially on the part of Ana. And since you were primarily thinking about her and her situation, you really only got the basics about the world that she lived in, or rather had lived in prior to remembering who she really was. So with this book, while Ana is on a similar journey, she has already remembered who she was, therefore you get way more back story on the people involved and the issues they face. 

Overall I think this is a good sequel to the first book, although it did have a few problem. There was the initial issue with Ana's reaction, but there were also some issues with the editing of the book. If you are one of those people who pick up on every little mistake in a book, then it might get a bit old for you. But overall I thought the plot was pretty good, and it was in line with the first book, so if you enjoyed the first book you will most likely enjoy this book as well. And if you like stories about angels you might want to check out this series as well. 



A Note: The newest version of this book does not have the same editorial mistakes.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Lizzy Ford Guest Post



What makes an urban fantasy or paranormal romance series a bestseller?

Every once in awhile, I take a step back and look at what I’m doing in order to decide how to proceed.  I do tons of mental gymnastics, to include gauging my target audience’s reaction to my latest release, refining my marketing strategies or simply role-playing my next series. I constantly challenge myself to write better, market harder and learn from other writers.
Defining what made an urban fantasy/paranormal romance series more likely to be successful, however, was an exercise inspired by an episode of the Simpsons!  Earlier this year, the Simpsons ran an Oceans-11 spoof targeting the young adult fiction market. Led by Lisa Simpson, a gang of the characters decided to boil down the common traits of every bestselling young adult fiction novel. Their score: write their own novel based off these factors, sell it for a million dollars to the publishing industry and go their separate ways with their cash.
After I stopped laughing, I started thinking … there’s really something to this type of exercise! So I turned my analytical mind onto a market closer to my own: The urban fantasy and paranormal romance market.  I analyzed the tons of books I’ve read over the past few years – since paranormal and urban fantasy exploded – and came up with five common traits below that all prolific and highly successful series seem to share.

1. STRONG female lead.  This seems like a no-brainer, but as I went through all my books, I was struck by just how different the female leads in great UF and PNR books are.  The UF female leads are normally in their mid-20s to mid-30s. They’re different, scarred – and special in a way that has complicated their lives.  They are not the dewy, doe-eyed, unsuspecting heroines of historical romance.  In fact, the women in bestselling PNR and UF series start off more like … well, more like us.

2. Healthy cliffhangers.  There are two types of series: those telling a continuous story of one couple, and those detailing the love of multiple couples in the framework of a much larger struggle.  Both kinds of series – that are generally considered successful – have had healthy cliffhanger endings. By healthy, I mean the adventure was over at the end of the book.  But the journey of the hero and heroine to face whatever evil or darkness threatens the world continues in the series. At the end of each book, the world still held mystery, promise and the potential for more surprises.  These kinds of books catalyze a reader’s imagination.  They made me want to know MORE.  

3. A greater purpose. The worlds of PNR and UF are similar in that they are usually pretty hostile.  The external struggle the heroine and hero face is not usually something they can solve.  Rather, they need each other to survive it.  Unlike other subgenres of romance, there is less likely to be a mild misunderstanding that keeps two people apart.  If anything, the successful UF heroine and hero fight hard - and against external factors - to stay together, help the other and make their world a better place.

4. True love is eternal.  This is a no-brainer, except that eternal means more in a UF or PNR romance than any other subgenre of romance.  Romance between immortals, undead, shape-shifters, were-creatures and humans are all possible when the restriction of time is removed.  It’s understood that love between a vampire and a human is forever, and strong UF series emphasize the ability for a couple to face obstacles without losing it and placing their love above even their own lives.  It makes sense.  I mean, eternity is a long time for things to go wrong!

5. Not every character has a happy ending.  This isn’t your mama’s Harlequin.  Not everyone ends up learning the lesson s/he should have or finding true love.  UF and PNRs are normally a bit grittier than other subgenres of romance, and those series willing to tread to the deep end and reflect reality seem to have an even wider appeal. Series that skip the fairytale endings for something a bit more bittersweet are pretty hot.

What do YOU think?  What are other traits awesome series share?





About Lizzy

Lizzy Ford is the self-publishing phenom and of the sweet paranormal romance series: "Rhyn Trilogy" and "War of Gods" series; and the young adult fantasy trilogy, “The Foretold,” all of which launched in 2011.  She has also authored multiple single title young adult fantasy and paranormal romances. Lizzy's books have reached the bestseller lists on both Amazon US and Amazon UK in multiple categories. Widely considered a freak of nature by her contemporaries for her ability to write and publish a new book every 30-45 days, Lizzy attributes her success to a team that consists of her editor, graphics artist, I.T. Sherpa, and her rabid readers. 

Lizzy released ten books in 2011 and intends to release another ten in 2012, including launching two more series. Lizzy’s books can be found on every major ereader library, to include: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Sony and Smashwords. She lives in southern Arizona with her husband, three dogs and a cat. 

Links to Lizzy online: