Monday, June 30, 2008

Grimspace by Ann Aguirre

Grimspace Book CoverGrimspace, Sirantha Jax book 1 by Ann Aguirre

Read a summary and excerpt here.

Category:Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. (A-,B+,B)
Flame Height: 5.5" out of 9"

I’m not a big fan of futuristic sci-fi, but I love Ann Aguirre’s characters so I was curious about Grimspace. After a preponderance of uber-positive buzz, it was the following statement by Jane of Dear Author, a fellow Urban Fantasy fan, that finally made up my mind to add this book to my Constant Cravings list:

The writing is evocative and as someone who really isn’t a fan of a) space travel books and b) first person present tense, this book worked for me on nearly every level.
It must have been fated, because soon after that, I won a copy of Grimspace from Ann.

This book made me analyze WHY I’m not much of a fan of futuristic sci-fi in general, yet DID enjoy a few isolated stories, including Grimspace. After all, I get completely involved with endless airings of every episode of every Star Trek (except Enterprise, even though it did star the always enjoyable Scott Bakula), and I devoured Star Wars (the original three). So I started to wonder WHY I shy away from READING futuristic sci-fi.

I think, first and foremost, it’s because most FSF portrays a world that is bleak, oppressive, depressing, and hopeless. And for the most part, Grimspace is no exception. The heroine, Sirantha Jax, is a real downer, who's often not even very likeable, even to the other characters-- although I did think her toes got pretty close to the line of winning over one too many characters by the end (Velith). In fact, EVERY character is decidedly unlikeable at some point(s) in the story!

BTW, Kudos to Ann for NOT succumbing to an affectation that so many other writers seem to think is a requirement for all FSF--- the dreaded Ph’Ucked up (mis)use of Ap’Ostrophies for names! GAK! I HATE that naming practice! Thank you, Ann, for resisting it! Although, to be perfectly honest, I could have done without the preponderance of “frags” (as in “What the frag”).

I also have to mention that Ann uses the unusual First Person Present Tense POV in Grimspace, which I have to admit, took me a while to get used to. There’s nothing wrong with it, but I don’t recall ever before reading a book that employed it, and I am also VERY used to First Person Past Tense, so it took me a while before I no longer found it jarring. For example, I would normally expect “I didn’t look at him. Instead I stared out into straight space…” but Ann chose to write “I don’t look at him. Instead I stare out into straight space…” See the difference? As I said, nothing inherently wrong with it, but it’s worth noting.

So how did Grimspace end up in my Peanut M&Ms category? For the same reason I’ve enjoyed ANY futuristic sci-fi in movies, TV, or other books—the CHARACTERS! Somewhere along the way of reading this book, I realized that I was “seeing” this story and these characters in three dimensions in my head. And, for me, THAT is the secret to writing ANY type of story.

As one would expect in a story that can best be described as FUTURISTIC URBAN FANTASY, Ann crafts considerable world building. However she doesn’t let the “special effects” play a larger role than her characters. She’s painted a richly detailed backdrop, but it only serves to enhance the story the characters are living.

I know that many Grimspace reviews have focused on a detailed character analysis of Sirantha (deservedly so and, for me, leaving her companions to live as a “regular” person for the first time in her adult life is a particularly poignant part of the story), but it is the ENTIRE cast of characters and Sirantha’s interactions with them that make this story so interesting.

I mentioned above that these characters aren’t always likeable and don’t even like each other all the time. They also screw up and say and do stupid things. They don’t always choose to do what we may think of as right, and they don’t always know just the right thing to say. In fact, through much of the story Sirantha’s motivations are particularly self-serving. Ann could have written them as self-sacrificing, idealistic, swashbuckling heroes and heroines, but it is the flaws that brought them to life for me. In addition, the cover gods definitely smiled on Ann because holding that cover picture of Sirantha in my head made her all the more “real” to me.

Wanderlust Book CoverThere’s a satisfying resolution at the end of Grimspace. But I suspect that when Wanderlust releases on August 26th, we’ll learn that the happiness of that ending is short lived and Sirantha and company will discover that their new reality is far from a happily-ever-after.
Piquant Opines: DA (Jane), Keishon (AvidBookReader), DA (Guest Review, Phyl), Azteclady (Karen Scott), Shannon C, Tumperkin, DR, Kmont, Let's Gab (Anne)

Have you read this book? Feel free to review or link to a review in the comments. Even if you don't agree!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

An Upcoming Event of World Changing Significance

Sieze the Night Book CoverHmmmm... what is the significance of Sherrilyn Kenyon and St. Martins Press giving away free ecopies of Sieze the Night (Valerius and Tabitha's story) to "prepare for Archeron, the biggest event in Dark Hunter history" (release date August 5, 2008)?

Archeron Book CoverWhy that particular book from her backlist? Are there clues to Archeron in it? Do we need to read/re-read as a suggested prerequisite to Archeron? If so, does that mean I didn't have to endure all that confusing Greek/Roman/Sumarian pantheon shit in the more recent books to understand Archeron?! DAMN!

Anyway, get your free ebook download of Sieze the Night here.

And just to make sure we realize what a truly once-in-a-lifetime event Archeron's release is, the book even has a website completely seperate from all SK's other websites--

Creative Fangirl Wanted

Good Gravy! Is it time for school to start back up yet? I've been invaded by demon spawn and their minions and can't seem to accomplish anything but running Mom's Taxi Service! GAK!!!

So just a quick note about an email from author Jean Johnson's Yahoo group before I head off for cheerleader carpool pickup followed by dentist appointments for the two youngest spawn:

Greetings, Mob of Irate Torch-Wielding Fans!

The Sword Book CoverI am attempting to surf 'the wave of the future'...which seems to be
YouTube book-promoting videos. Unfortunately, my videography skills
were trained to use in-studio equipment...not at-home computer
software. (This was back when "multimedia" was a brand-new class at
BCC, *mumble*teen years ago.)

The Wolf Book CoverSo I'm looking for someone who might be interested in putting
together one of those book-promo vids seen on YouTube and so forth,
something to promote the novels in The Sons of Destiny series. I
don't have the skill to do it myself, let alone the software, etc.,
but I'm willing to consult on possible ideas and themes...and I'd
definitely like final approval, since this is meant to be a
promotional piece for my works.

The Master Book Cover(Which means I'm willing to negotiate a remuneration of some sort;
discussion of just what that means will be jointly and reasonably
decided by me and the people I eventually pick...and I may end up
picking more than one person for this task, since this is about
promotion, not competition.)

The Cat Book CoverThis offer will be held open for a few weeks, to give everyone a
chance to submit their skill levels and video ideas.

The Storm Book CoverPlease EMAIL me at either or Include your name, your email address,
your experience, a couple of ideas for "book-trailer videos", and if
you have samples of any previous video works you have made, by all
means, include the links to them!

Thanks for any help in this endeavor,

Rydan's story-- The Storm-- September 2, 2008 *swoon*

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Blame... er... Thanks to Holly

Holly over on Book Binge started this voluntary meme a couple of weeks ago. Since then, I've been meaning to post this but never got around to it. My bad.

Now I must finish cleaning and organizing my office ::shudders:: and it may be DAYS before I finish. Of course with my luck lately, I'll probably end up back in the hospital from all the dust induced sneezing fits. Where're those Sons of Destiny cleaning spells when you need them?!

Contemporary, Historical, or Paranormal?

Paranormal, paranormal, paranormal-- probably 80% of what I read, and I'm including fantasy in that group. Followed by historical. Contemps, not so much. And the contemps I do read tend to be m/m.

Hardback or Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback?

My credit cards prefer mmp, but really, it doesn't matter all that much. If I want the book bad enough, I'll buy it. Although there are some series I only buy as audio books. And a couple of series that I buy as hardback, paperback, audio book AND ebook! Obsessed? Who me?

Heyer or Austen?

This may get me kicked out of Romancelandia, but I've never read either one.

Amazon or Brick and Mortar?

Amazon for research, but I honestly prefer the immediate gratification of brick and mortar.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?

Waldens when I have time to hoof the mall. It has more of a hometown type of feel. Otherwise Borders just because we don't have any other bookstores around here.

Woodiwiss or Lindsay?

I read both long ago. And while I no longer read either one, I guess I have to answer Lindsay just because I used to read more of hers.

First romance novel you ever remember reading?

I don't remember the first true romance novel. But I can point to Little Women as the likely source for my love of historical romance.

Alphabetize by author Alphabetize by title or random?

Since I'm trying to get organized, depending on where they are shelved, stacked, etc., they are a mix of random, alphabetized by author, and/or grouped by author.

My goal is to get them set up by author, then by published date, or in the case of an author with multiple series, published date within each series.

I'm also toying with the idea of organizing by genre (my definitions of them anyway), then author. That way I can select a re-read based on what I'm in the mood for.

Keep, Throw Away or Sell?

As far as I know, I have every single book I've ever bought as an adult, and quite a few of the ones I had as a kid, too. I'm going to TRY to weed a few out as I get organized. Keyword there is TRY, cuz I know damn well I'll start reading each one again just to make sure I want to give it away. But TOSS it? ACK!

Read with dustjacket or remove it?

I prefer to leave them on. They usually get a bit tattered, but then again, I'm one of those people that dog-ears pages *collective gasp all over Romancelandia*, so pristine isn't one of my priorities.

Sookie Stackhouse or Anita Blake?

Anita Blake

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?

Since many authors write little mini-cliffhangers at the end of chapters, I seldom am able to stop there. So I usually stop mid-chapter.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?

"Once upon a time..." Odd that a paranormal reader would say that? Not really when you consider I also love the dark fantasies so much.

Crusie or SEP?

Never read SEP, read a few Cruisies which helped me come to the conclusion that contemps just aren't my flavor.

Buy or Borrow?

Buy-- I'm a hoarder.

Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendation or Browse?

All three, I tend to research books.

Tidy ending or Cliffhanger?

Tidy ending. I LOVE epilogues. Even with series, I prefer that there is a mini HEA or summary-- some kind of "winding down" at the end. Having said that though, a cliffhanger is not a deal breaker by any means.

Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading?

Anytime, anywhere. I pick up a book and I'm gone.

Series or standalone?

Both. Although I have to admit that, after reading a good standalone, I often hope that the author turns it into a series, or at least a trilogy.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?

My answer used to be A Gentleman's Wager by Madelynne Ellis (Black Lace). But, with its recent re-release and with Black Lace being more readily available over here, I think readers on this side of the pond are now discovering just how remarkable AGW is.

So I'll have to go with Across the Sea by Irene Maillol. Her first and only book, not perfect, but in this epic erotic fantasy saga she managed to instinctually use techniques, such as POV shifts, that even more experienced authors have muddied up.

Since this is a voluntary meme, I'm not tagging anyone. But feel free to answer here or, if you answer on your own blog, let me know in the comments.

Monday, June 16, 2008

But That Doesn't Explain Carson Kressley

Madame Butterfly has a link up to a very interesting article about the brains of gay men and heterosexual women being wired in a similar fashion, while those of lesbians and heterosexual men are also similar to each other.

Fascinating to think where these preliminary studies might lead.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Chocolate Fondue with Angel Food Cake

funny dog picturesEver wonder what your blog looks like to search engines? Well, the how-could-I-survive-without-him Peter Chen at Blogger Tips and Tricks found a site that can show you! Key your URL in at SEO Browser. Default display is "Simple" but click on "Advanced" in the upper right corner for more detailed info. It looks like search engines probably aren't too happy about all the special characters I use around here. But the good news is that I can pop anything I want into scroll boxes and the search engines will still find the content!

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real.jpgLast month, Jane at Dear Author highlighted some upcoming e-ink ebook readers from Astak. They should be available in a basic 5" size shortly, then later on this year, a 6" and 9" size with wifi and bluetooth should be released. Of particular note is the price range of the Astak devices- the 5" will be under $200!

Now here's why I've been keeping an eye on these Astak devices-- they are multi-format!
OS system: Win CE5.0
Language support: English, Spanish, Deutsch, French, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese
Format Support:
E-Book formats: TXT, PDF, RTF, HTML/CHM
Image formats: BMP, JPG, GIF
Sound formats: MP3

Note that even though the 6" and 9" size both run on Windows CE, there is no mention of Microsoft Reader or .LIT support. So last week I emailed Astak with a plea to offer .LIT fans a vision-friendly alternative to our PCs and PDAs. And to my surprise, I not only received an answer from Robert (Bob) Barry, Director, Global Bus. Development, but they are forwarding my email to TPTB at Microsoft.

Turns out, Astak DOES want to include .LIT support but Microsoft works very slowly in deciding who they grant licenses to and hasn't given Astak either a yes or no answer yet.

Now, here's what I don't understand: Right now, the e-ink ereader leaders are the Sony eReader and Amazon's Kindle-- both use proprietary formats and are not compatible with .LIT (unless the files are run through a converter). As far as I know, there are no e-ink devices that are compatible with .LIT. So wouldn't you think that Microsoft would realize that, if they wish their Microsoft Reader software and .LIT file format to remain relevent, they should ENCOURAGE companies with e-ink products to use the Microsoft format?

Yes, there are now UMPCs that are the size of a trade paperback, and they do have the advantage of being back-lit, but I have to admit that it's time for me to think of easy on the eyes, easy on the wallet, and easy to use devices. I have seriously cut back on ebook reading because it's getting harder to read from my PDA, the damn screen is just too small and the letters not sharp enough. So it becomes a trade off between font size and the amount of words that can fit on a page at any one time. Not to mention that every single problem I've ever had with any PDA has been problems with the PDA and my desktop "talking" to each other. Eliminating the PC from the equation by instead using a direct download device sounds like a less frustrating idea for me. And reading entire books on my desktop or laptop? UGH! Only if I'm desperate.

So my fingers (and toes) are crossed hoping that MIcrosoft will decide that they want to continue to support Microsoft Reader and .LIT files. The only way that I see that they can accomplish that is to allow e-ink ereaders to use their products.
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see more dog pictures

see more dog pictures

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Your Ice Cream Personality:

You are an incredibly modest person. You don't feel comfortable bragging about yourself... or even receiving complements.

You are incredibly cautious. You rather miss out on something than make a mistake. No one would ever call you wild... but they would call you responsible.

You are a somewhat open minded person, but deep down you're fairly conservative. You don't like trying new things very much. And if you do find something new you like, you stick with it.

You tend to have a one track mind. You prefer not to multitask.

You are a serious and contemplative person. You definitely do your own thing in life.

That is eerily spot-on in this stage of my life. I have a feeling that my answers may have been a bit different in my younger days.

Friday, June 13, 2008

WOOT! I've Been Published! (sorta)

At Love's Command Book CoverAt Love's Command, Brothers in Arms book 4 by Samantha Kane


Go Buy... er... Go ORDER, cuz it's already temporarily sold out at Amazon.

And while you're at it, go ahead and get books 1 through 3 (book 3 is available only as an Ellora's Cave ebook)

The Courage to Love Amazon- Love Under Siege Ellora's Cave- Love's Strategy

A quick glimpse at my index will show how much I ADORE this Crème Brûlée series. So why am I bringing it up again? Well, I have been honored and thrilled every time an author links to and/or quotes one of my reviews on their site. But Samantha Kane recently informed me...
"Btw, did you know my publisher used a quote from your review in the front of the print version of AT LOVE'S COMMAND? I've been meaning to tell you that. . ."


Sam didn't say, so I'm assuming it's the same one she's now quoting on her site:
Samantha Kane is a shining example of the gems offered by ePubs at their very best...At Love’s Command deserves to be front and center on the mass market new releases display at every major bookstore...I can summarize this book, indeed this entire series, in one word… exquisite. The Good, the Bad, the Unread and Cubie's Confections

UPDATE: In the comments for this post, Sam left the actual quote used:
When I first read the previous books in this series, they immediately landed on my all time favorites list. [...]But as much as I loved those previous books, they almost pale in comparison to At Love's Command. [...]Samantha Kane is a shining example of the gems offered by ePubs at their very best. [...]I assert that At Love's Command deserves to be front and center on the mass market new releases display at every major bookstore. I can summarize this book, indeed this entire series, in one word...exquisite.

See my index for the full review and reviews of all the Brothers in Arms series.

What makes this even more of a thrill is that I know a lot of reviewers try to write in a way that makes it easier for authors and publishers to grab short quotes. I'd make myself crazy trying to do that--- I have enough trouble just trying to express my thoughts in a semi-coherent way, not to mention trying to keep my review shorter than the book itself! So the fact that both Sam and Ellora's Cave found something worthy in something I wrote makes me all kinds of happy.

Oh Yum!- A Lady in WaitingBTW, check out the latest Ellora's Cave release by Samantha Kane-- Oh Yum!- A Lady in Waiting. Regency Cougar! RAWR! You go girl!
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My Fair Captain And a huge THANK YOU to Lisabea-- I won a copy of My Fair Captain by J.L. Langley (available at Samhain, Fictionwise, or in print at Amazon)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Chocolate Fondue Served with Fruits and Nuts for Dipping

The Host Book Cover You know I don't read YA... ever. I've got a house full of teens and I read to escape them, not read about MORE of them. GAK! So, while I've not been tempted in the least to read Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series, I have to admit that the universal glowing praise of it has left me curious to read something of hers. So when other bloggers started getting excited about The Host, I was hoping that this adult themed book would meet everyone's high expectations.

According to KateBabs, it didn't just meet those expectations, it exceeded them! Read Katie's loving review of The Host on Ramblings on Romance (just be warned that the site isn't completely IE7 friendly).

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Also on Ramblings on Romance, KristieJ gave me a fun trip down Memory Lane thanks to YouTube. Is there some conspiracy lately making sure I am constantly reminded of how old I am?
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I recently noticed a couple of hits on my Statcounter coming from Thom Blum so I wandered over to check it out. Turns out I was Runner-up for Blog of the Day!! WOOT! Tossing Roses

I lost out to The Erotic Fantasy of Skye... which seems fair to me. Only trouble is that the Thom Blum site has some "The webpage cannot be found" bugaboos so I can't give you the permalink to the actual post, you'll have to scroll down to May 14th, 2008. I also can't leave a comment and thank them because I get the same message. Oh, and a warning: the site is sooooo not work safe!!
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Well, it's started. Remember last week when I said I didn't have too much to bitch about yet in the aftermath of Amazon's acquisition of both Brilliance Audio and DUN DUN DUUUN Let the Jerk-Around-Our-Customers games begin! I have been touting Audible's $9.99 per year membership as the best deal around. Ten bucks and you get member pricing on any of their audio products. In fact, it's easy to get back the ten bucks just in the savings on one audio book.

Well, Madame Butterfly decided to join Audible and couldn't find the $9.99/year deal, only the monthly plans. So she contacted them and it turns out they are no longer offering the $9.99 deal to new members!!! Now the lowest priced plan they have is $14.95/month (includes one audio book credit) or $149.50/year (includes 12 audio book credits). That's just WRONG! And they damn well better offer it to me again when my membership comes up for renewal. I usually listen to one and maybe part of a second audio book each month because I only listen when I am doing certain types of work where I can set my brain on automatic pilot. Some months it's an Audible book, some months it's a Brilliance audio book. Now, if they are eventually going to offer ALL Brilliance audio through Audible, then the monthly plan will work for me, but if not, then it's going to piss me off royally.
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I'z in TRUBUL NOW! I had a Borders itch last night that could not be ignored. But I was still kinda proud of myself--- I DID buy several of my Insatiable Lusts, but I only bought TWO of my Constant Cravings wish list books. In the past, a trip to Borders would mean that every available book on my lists would have come home with me. But since I only had a couple of coupons and $5 in Borders Bucks, I think I restrained myself admirably.

The Cat Book CoverJohnson, Jean - The Cat: Sons of Destiny 5 (Berkley Trade)

Touch of Twilight Book CoverPettersson, Vicki - The Touch of Twilight - Sign of the Zodiac 3

Weddings from Hell Book CoverShayne, Frost, Garey, Smith - Weddings from Hell, anthology (I am such an anthology slut!)

Wicked Game Book CoverSmith-Ready, Jeri - Wicked Game (Pocket Trade)

Lover Enshrined Book CoverWard, JR - Lover Enshrined - Black Dagger Brotherhood 6

Walk on the Wild Side Book CoverWarren, Christine - Walk on the Wild Side - The Others, book 5

The truth is that I wasn't sure what I was going to be in the mood for, so I figured I better cover all my bases. Trouble is that the haul included multiple hits of book crack. So, what did I end up reading? I couldn't decide between The Cat and Lover Enshrined, but I figured that I probably better read LE before any enjoyment I might get from it gets spoiled all over Romancelandia. Well, with The Cat sitting beside me as backup, I opened LE and BAM! I discovered that The WARDen sure didn't waste any time grabbing us by the (metaphysical) balls and yanking us into this one!! Although I have to admit that I'm glad of one spoiler I read--- this is more Urban Fantasy than Romance because Phury and Cormia's relationship is not the main focus of LE. YEAHYEAHYEAH!! Cuz, seriously, Cormia is without a doubt one of the most boring, TSTL, doormats I've ever encountered. And also YEAH! It's been confirmed that Xhex is John Matthew's mate.
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Linda Hogan and Charlie HillAnd my final thoughts before I go back to LE diving... I just have to add that at least the objects of my pervy old broad fantasies cougarness are of full legal age! I mean, I realize that 19 year old boys are the sexual equivalent of Energizer Bunnies, but DAYUM, the same age as her kids?! Why didn't Linda Hogan just adopt if she wanted to raise another one?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

HAH! You Ain't Woman Enuff to Steal My Man!

For JenB as proof of my prior claim:



And, yes, that's me in my wa-a-a-ay younger (and skinnier) days. Aren't you luvin' the 70's hair and clothes?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thumbs Down, Thumbs Up

funny cat pictures & lolcats - Your problems are irrelevant to Technical Support-catSo here it is the morning of June 5th and I have barely STARTED my end of month work crunch. Our server died last week, and after receiving assurances that the field engineer would be available to install a new one last Friday, we paid the extra hundreds to have it shipped second day air. Well, Friday morning comes, new server is delivered, and FE decides that he doesn't feel like starting the install on a Friday. WTF? Needless to say, we already informed the company that we WILL be deducting the second day air fees from their invoice.

So he shows up Monday, doesn't finish till Tuesday afternoon, and I FINALLY start working on end of month. Yesterday, we had graduation Mass for our 6th grader, then went to lunch. I came home, signed into the server, worked for a bit and... we're down again. By then it's 5:30 so you KNOW the field engineer isn't going to return my call! I'm pretty sure it's the modem, which means we'll have to wait for them to ship us another one. He SAYS he'll be here today to check it out, but this guy has a long history of not showing up when he says.

AAARRRGGGHHH!!! I am soooooo far behind now! So if I disappear for several days, just 'member that I iz not ded, I iz bizzy, k?

And dammit! I have books to buy!! But I don't dare buy them now, cuz it will KILL me not to be able to take the time to read them!

Oh, and now that work has also put a screeching halt to my TBR diving, maybe I can do a few commentaries before I dive back in. It's just that I've had this insatiable urge to read, Read, READ and only felt like stopping a couple of times to write about what I've read.

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Wicked Game Book Cover In the meantime, I want to spotlight a book I recently learned about...

Jeri Smith-Ready guest blogged over on The Bradford Bunch about the research and worldbuilding she did for her new book Wicked Game. Well, by the time I got to the bottom of the post, I KNEW this new take on vampires was going on my Constant Cravings wish list.

From Amazon:
From Publishers Weekly
Newbie marketing intern Ciara Griffin lands a job at WMMP, a station threatened with being sold to Skyware, a giant communications conglomerate, unless ad revenue picks up. A former con artist with a canny way with people, Ciara soon learns that the DJs are undead and specialists in the musical eras in which they were turned into vampires. One of them, Shane McAllister (turned in 1995), is really hot and dangerously tempting. In order to attract more listeners, Ciara promotes a new marketing strategy and the Sherwood, Md., station becomes 94.3 WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock and Roll, exploiting the fang factor (which no listener takes seriously) for profit. It works, until an ancient vampire cult wants to pull the plug. Also playing in is The Control, an equally ancient paramilitary group created to protect good vampires and kill bad ones. Smith-Ready's musical references are spot on, as is her take on corporate radio's creeping airwave hegemony. Add in the irrepressible Ciara, who grew up in a family of grifters, and the results rock. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Kresley Cole, New York Times bestselling author of DARK NEEDS AT NIGHT'S EDGE
An addictive page-turner revving with red hot sex, truly cool vampires, and rock 'n' roll soul.

You'll find a longer summary when you read her Bradford Bunch guest post. And trust me-- it's worth a read!

So then, down in the comments, Jeri mentions that she has a website for the radio station, WVMP, and you can click on the DJs to hear music that would have been on their playlist. BUT WAIT! If that's not cool enough, over on Jeri's website, she has the exact playlist as mentioned in the books. Cool, huh? So instead of buggin' the hell outta me when she mentions a song in the book that I don't know or don't remember, she's set up what is, in effect, an interactive book. I can play the songs as I'm reading and really get caught up in the atmosphere of the story!

Well, by the time I went to both sites and played around with the music associated with the story, I had decided that Wicked Game needed to be moved up to my Insatiable Lusts booklust list!

Yeah, it could be gimmicky hype, but from the buzz I'm reading, Jeri Smith-Ready has the writing chops to back it up. Oddly enough, I didn't start to research Wicked Game until AFTER I had moved it up to must-buy status! But I remembered that Ann Aguirre (who received some great news... and found a new pen she loves) had posted about it, and a quick search found a whole lotta positive buzz around the time of its release in May.

I think I must have seen the word "vampire" and my eyes skated right past any other words in any of the reviews. The fact is, I've been reading paranormal romances and urban fantasy for a looooong time, so what seems different and new to someone with less reading time in those genres may seem been-there/done-that to me. It's rare for me to see the word "vampire" and work up any enthusiasm for a new-to-me author. But Jeri's post and comments on The Bradford Bunch really DID make me sit up and take notice.

Monday, June 2, 2008

And the Award for Best Aural Performance Goes To...

PhotobucketThe Audio Publishers Association (APA) hosted The Audie awards for excellence in audio books on Friday, May 30, 2008 in Los Angeles at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. The Audies® are the audio industry's equivalent of the Oscars.

The following are just some of the categories of finalists and winners. For a complete list, visit AudioFile Magazine. As of the time of this post, the APA has not listed the winners, but I would assume they will do so soon. UPDATE: Here's the official Audie Award news release from the APA (opens as a PDF-- and I just fixed the link)

Beyond the Highland Mist, by Karen Marie Moning, narrated by Phil Gigante, published by Brilliance Audio (see commentary)
Consequences, by Penelope Lively, narrated by Josephine Bailey, published by TantorMedia, Inc.
Everlasting, by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, narrated by Xanthe Elbrick, published by HarperAudio
On Tall Pine Lake, by Dorothy Garlock, narrated by Anna Fields, published by BBC Audiobooks America
Sugar Daddy, by Lisa Kleypas, narrated by Jeannie Stith, published by Brilliance Audio
♥2008 Winner:
Natural Born Charmer, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, narrated by Anna Fields, published by HarperAudio

The Draco Tavern, by Larry Niven, narrated by Tom Weiner, published by Blackstone Audio Inc.
The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, by Jack Finney, narrated by Kristoffer Tabori, published by Blackstone Audio Inc.
Marion Zimmer Bradley's Ravens of Avalon, by Diana L. Paxson, narrated by Lorna Raver, published by Tantor Media, Inc.
Selections from Dreamsongs 1: Fan Fiction and Sci-Fi from Martin's Early Years: Unabridged Selections, by George R.R. Martin, narrated by Claudia Black, Mark Bramhall, Scott Brick, Roy Dotrice, Kim Mai Guest, Kirby Heyborne and Adrian Paul, published by Random House Audio
♥2008 Winner:
Dune, by Frank Herbert, narrated by Scott Brick, Simon Vance and a full cast, published by Macmillan Audio

Daddy's Girl, by Lisa Scottoline, narrated by Barbara Rosenblat, published by HarperAudio
The Judas Strain, by James Rollins, narrated by Peter Jay Fernandez, published by HarperAudio
No Time for Goodbye, by Linwood Barclay, narrated by Christopher Lane, published by Brilliance Audio
The Secret Servant, by Daniel Silva, narrated by Phil Gigante, published by Brilliance Audio
What the Dead Know, by Laura Lippman, narrated by Linda Emond, published by HarperAudio
♥2008 Winner:
Heart-Shaped Box, by Joe Hill, narrated by Stephen Lang, published by HarperAudio

Dune, by Frank Herbert, narrated by Scott Brick, Simon Vance and a full cast, published by Macmillan Audio
I Am America (And So Can You!), by Stephen Colbert, narrated by Stephen Colbert with Paul Dinello, Kevin Dorff, Greg Hollimon, Evie McGee, David Pasquesi, Allison Silverman, Brian Stack and Jon Stewart, published by Hachette Audio
The Word of Promise™ New Testament Audio Bible, narrated by a full cast including Jim Caviezel, Louis Gossett, Jr., Richard Dreyfuss, Marisa Tomei, Stacy Keach, Ernie Hudson, Terance Stamp, John Heard, John Schneider, Chris McDonald, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and Luke Perry, published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Hollowville: A Ghost Story, by Mary Jane Hansen, music composed by Will Severin, narrated by Bruce Dern, published by NYS Theatre Institute
♥2008 Winner:
Inspired By … The Bible Experience: Old Testament, narrated by Angela Bassett, Cuba Gooding Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker and many more, published by Zondervan

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale, published byRandom House Listening Library
I Am America (And So Can You!), by Stephen Colbert, narrated by Stephen Colbert with Paul Dinello, Kevin Dorff, Greg Hollimon, Evie McGee, David Pasquesi, Allison Silverman, Brian Stack and Jon Stewart, published by Hachette Audio
Inspired By … The Bible Experience: Old Testament, narrated by Angela Bassett, Cuba Gooding Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker and many more, published by Zondervan
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick, narrated by Jeff Woodman, published by Scholastic Audio
♥2008 Winner:
The Chopin Manuscript, by various authors, narrated by Alfred Molina, published by International Thriller Writers

Book CoverCongrats to all the nominees and winners! When Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Natural Born Charmer started showing up on a whole lot of Best Of... audio book lists, often as the ONLY Romance entry (don't get me started on Romance being ignored by so many audio sites!), I had a feeling it might end up as the Romance winner this year.

PhotobucketBut anyone that has been around this blog KNOWS what a Phil Gigante fangirl I am. He completely deserved to be nominated (note that he scored nominations in two categories- Romance and Thriller/Suspense) and had my vote for the win. Actually, the fact that he was nominated for what is considered to be the weakest of Karen Marie Moning's Highlander books, and had not quite hit his own stride in the series, but STILL earned a nomination, speaks for just how damn talented he is.

Book Cover Hell, next year they are going to have to make up a new category just for the his entire body of work on the Highlanders!! I'm telling you, they should just give Phil the Audie now for Kiss of the Highlander alone! Have any other storytellers (he's more than a narrator) had a whole new word coined just to describe their performance? Nope, only our Phil gives multiple eargasms with his Aural Pleasures!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

In other audio book news...

♥ Back in February, I expressed some concern over Amazon's purchase of, particularly in light of their purchase of Brilliance Audio the previous May (see Amazon is Scaring Me).

Well, I guess I can't really bitch too much about it (yet) because Brilliance Audio productions are now showing up at Audible and, unlike Brilliance Audio's AudioBookStandDL, I can download them well below list price with my Audible member pricing!!

Book CoverFor example, Audible has just added all of Laurell K. Hamilton's unabridged audio books to their library. Download LKH's The Harlequin (unabridged) from AudioBookStandDL and you'll pay (on sale right now) $29.95; Amazon has the CDs for $29.15; download it from Audible for $32.87 or member priced for $23.01. So WOOT for THAT change! But it still concerns me that Amazon has control over such a large portion of the audio book market.

Book CoverBook Cover ♥ Everywhere I turn lately, I'm running into reviews and buzz about From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris, her newest Sookie Stackhouse book. So, since narrator Johanna Parker has made Sookie an auto-buy audio-only series for me, I decided to set Phil G. and KMM's The Immortal Highlander aside temporarily **GASP- Oh no she di'int!** so I could listen to From Dead to Worse and could stop trying to avoid reading spoilers about it.

I really need to figure out a way to listen to two audio books at once-- I DO have TWO ears after all.