This Month's Sound

I love music.  Always have.  I like scouring the net looking at and listening to all the new sounds that artists' put out.  I'm constantly amazed by it. Here are some tunes I've been listening to this month...

**I never ever EVER steal from artists (bands or writers).  Everything posted here was either a free download provided by the band, or from my own music library.**

"Restoration" by THE ACORN

Might be my favorite song this month:
"Listen Heartbeat" by CASSIS ORANGE

I can't help but like this song...it gets my toes tapping and shoulders a shaking
"Schizophrenia" by JUKEBOX THE GHOST

Even though Pitchfork gave Tapes-n-tapes new album a mediocre score, I really like the single they've put out.
"Freak Out" by TAPES 'N TAPES

"Magic Fingers" by HANDS

"How to Pass The Time" by ATLAS SOUND

Couple of great tracks this month at Daytrotter.com from OkGo 
"White Knuckles" by OK Go

"I Want You so Bad I Can't Breath" by OK Go

One of my favorite low-fi/indie-pop groups SayHi is in the process of releasing their latest album "Um, Oh Oh"  and they gave a free preview of the entire album on Paste.  So listen to the single below and if you like what you hear go check out the whole album on Paste then let your wallet have a little fun.
"Devils" by SAY HI

And I leave you with a couple new beach-band redo 60s pop songs.  (i know there's a ton out there this past year+, but I think these are interesting)

"Marathon" by TENNIS


Coming Up...

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you had a great past week, and an even better weekend.  This week was super mellow, just the way I like it.  We had some friends down from LA on Thursday so it gave the hubs and I an excuse to get out and explore our new neighborhood.  We went to this awesome mexican restaurant, El Camino, and I came home and wanted to paint my back porch bright pink and string skull lights around the backyard....hubs asked me to sleep on it. We spent last night in our old neighborhood with friends, cooking and catching up. It was a great way to spend a Saturday night.  

I can't believe that it's already February in a day-ish.  And you know what February is?  The beginning of Girl Scout Cookie month.  *whispers* I already bought two boxes last night from my friend's daughter.  My theory is, if I catch it early then I'll burn out quick and wont be able to even look at a red box of peanut butter goodness soon.  But today is not that day...I've already had 2 cookies with my coffee this morning.  Here's what's coming up...


Cant wait...

Each year I'm granted installments of all my favorite series, and of course I'm always looking forward to those.  But I'm just as excited, if not more so, when completely new series/books are being released.  Here are a few that have been on my radar.

Kevin Hearne
Iron Druid Chronicles #1
Pub Date: April 19th
Del Rey

Atticus O'Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old--when in actuality, he's twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he's hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power--plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish--to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

*This series is slated for a quick release this Spring, with Hounded in April, Hexed in May and Hammered in June... LOVE quick release series*


Review- Shadowfever

Karen Marie Moning
Urban Fantasy
594 Pages
Fever Series #5
Delacorte Press

   MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever.
   Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister’s murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.
   What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh—a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King, containing the power to create and destroy worlds.
   In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves.
Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman haunting her dreams? More important, who is Mac herself and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card?
    From the luxury of the Lord Master’s penthouse to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac’s journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and to make a choice that will either save the world . . . or destroy it.


Review- Red-Headed Stepchild

Jaye Wells
Urban Fantasy
325 pages
Sabina Kane #1
Chapter 1
Orbit Books

In a world where being of mixed blood is a major liability, Sabina doesn't really fit in. And being an assassin - the only profession fit for an outcast - doesn't help matters.  But she's never brought her work home. Until now.

Her latest mission is uncomfortably complex and threatens the fragile peace between the vampire and mage races.  As Sabina scrambles to figure out which side she's on, she uncovers a tangled political web, some nasty facts about her family, and some unexpected new talents.  Any of these things could be worryingly life changing, but together they could be fatal...


Coming Up...

This past week was a great week, and I feel like it passed in a flash. I lost 16 hours on Tuesday b/c I was in a Shadowfever trance and then Wednesday the monthly Bunko night, then Thursday and Friday were spent looking for a new job and putting the finishing touches on the new house in order to get ready for our housewarming party we had Saturday... and yesterday was divided between the couch and my girlfriend's lawn chair nursing a few HOTDs.  Pfew, good week!  Here's what's coming up...


Peeler Cheerleaders

If you've been visiting the site at all this week, you might be aware that I'm a new Jane True ubber fan.  But I don't think it's enough to simply tell you how much I enjoy her.  So, I gathered up some of my fellow fan-girl squad members in order to make it abundantly clear. 

And because I want more members in our squad I'll be giving away a copy of Tempest Rising, the first in the Jane True series, to one lucky commenter.  

  • Contest ends Jan 31st at midnight (pst)
  • US & CA only 
  • Book available in digital or physical format
  • Your comment is your entry (you're welcome to make fun of me)
  • Followers of this blog get 2 entries
  • Winner will be announced here Feb 1st, so be sure to come back.

**Big, big thanks to my friend Marc for helping me with this project. Without you this wouldn't have been possible.


Review: Tempest's Legacy

Nicole Peeler
Urban Fantasy
368 pages
Jane True #3
Orbit Books

Jane True has become proficient in basic magics, confident in herself and her abilities, and happily rooted in Rockabill. Her life is still divided between her supernatural brethren and her human friends and family, but it’s a division she maintains with very little trouble.

Everything changes, however, when Anyan brings Jane news that will force her to confront her dichotomized existence – supernatural females are being murdered, or have simply disappeared.

Jane and Anyan must embark on a desperate search to find out who is abducting these women, and how Jane can be protected from them. Aiding them is Jane’s former flame, Ryu. But can his stated motivations be trusted? And who are the mysterious figures dogging Jane’s and Anyan’s footsteps if not minions of Jarl?

Eventually, the trio stumble upon a secret so huge that it threatens to disrupt the tenuous traditions keeping humanity safe from the supernatural community that has, up until now, been content to lurk in the shadows.

Will they uncover the truth in time to save Jane’s friends? And just how far will Jarl go to protect his secrets?


Review- Tracking The Tempest

Nicole Peeler
Urban Fantasy
348 pages
Jane True #2
Orbit Books

Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and Ryu - Jane's bloodsucking boyfriend - can't let a major holiday go by without getting all gratuitous. An overwhelming dose of boyfriend interference and a last-minute ticket to Boston later, and Jane's life is thrown off course.

Ryu's well-intentioned plans create mayhem, and Jane winds up embroiled in an investigation involving a spree of gruesome killings. All the evidence points towards another Halfling, much to Jane's surprise...


Shhhh... we're reading

For the love of all things that are good and holy, today is finally Shadowfever Day.  We will be back tomorrow with a regular post.  Happy Reading.


Review- Twice Bitten

Chloe Neill
Urban Fantasy
355 pages
Chicagoland Vampires #3
Chapter 1
NAL/Penguin Usa

Shapeshifters from across the country are convening in the Windy City, and as a gesture of peace, Master Vampire Ethan Sullivan has offered their leader a very special bodyguard: Merit, Chicago's newest vampire. Merit is supposed to protect the Alpha, Gabriel Keene-and to spy for the vamps while she's at it. Oh, and luckily Ethan's offering some steamy, one-on-one combat training sessions to help her prepare for the mission.

Unfortunately, someone is gunning for Gabriel, and Merit soon finds herself in the line of fire. She'll need all the help she can get to track down the would-be assassin, but everywhere she turns, there are rising tensions between supernaturals-not least between her and a certain green-eyed, centuries-old master vampire.


Coming Up...

This past week has been a little uneven. I think its finally hit me that I can't just hop on my cruiser and bike to my girlfriends' houses. {which use to be down the street} But then on the other hand, I'm starting to really fall in love with my neighborhood.  We had breakfast at this amazing local cafe Cardomom, who make all their own bread and buy local produce etc. We also went to our local farmer's market for the first time because it was GORGEOUS here on Thursday and I really loved the purveyors.  Came home with heirloom tomatoes, beets, navel & blood oranges, and local goat cheese.  So there's one part of me that was like a kid in a candy store {or a book-y in a bookstore} and another part that was a little sad this week.  But I've made it through. LOL

It's a good day..

Ok, so you know how I listed my favorite books/series' from 2010?! Well, I was informed that one of my favs Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between is currently on sale for ¢99  Please please please go and purchase this title  *bats eyelashes and stares at you all longingly*  Author, JA Saare has a unique and fresh voice and her heroine, Rhiannon still pops up in my dreams from time to time.  Wait, did I just say that?!  

But don't wait too long, we're not entirely sure when this will change back, and then you'll just be mad at yourself.... see I'm really just doing you a favor.



Review- Friday Night Bites

Chloe Neill
Urban Fantasy
357 pages
Chicagoland Vampires #2
Chapter 1
NAL/Penguin Usa

Back Cover:
You'd think headlines like that would have provoked the fine citizens of the Windy City to take up arms against us blood-sucking fiends.  instead, ten months later, we're enjoying a celebrity status reserved for the Hollywood elite--fending off paparazzi, who are only slightly less dangerous than cross and stake-wielding slayers.  Don't get me wrong.  Joe Public isn't exactly thrilled to be living side by side with the undead, but at least they haven't stormed the castle... yet.

All that will change once they learn about the Raves, mass feeding parties where vampires round up humans like cattle and drink themselves silly. Most civilized vampires frown on this behavior--but that doesn't make good copy for the first-time reporter looking to impress his high-society family.

So now my "master"--centuries-old yet gorgeously well-preserved Ethan Sullivan--wants me to reconnect with my own upper-class family and act as liaison between humans and vampires...and to keep more unsavory aspects of our existence out of the media.  But someone doesn't want people and vamps to play nicey-nice--someone with an ancient grudge.


Winner Winner

Thank you to everyone who participated in my Holiday Giveaway.  The winner was selected randomly and is:

"Book of choice is always my favorite kind of giveaway. Thanks for the contest. "

Jen please email me your book choice and address info. TheSpinecracker(at)gmail(dot)com

Congratulations! And thank you to everyone who commented, I wish I could buy you all gifts. :)

Snippets and other good stuff

JA Saare gave us a snippet of the upcoming Renfield Syndrome. (release date and cover still unknown) This is available through her website, but thought I'd mention it here as well.  In case you're unfamiliar with the works of Ms Saare, feel free to read my review of Dead Undead or Somewhere in Between and then definitely carve out some reading time for it.  You wont be sorry. 


Review- Fantasy Lover

Sherrilyn Kenyon
Paranormal Romance
337 pages
Dark Hunter Series prequel
St. Martin's Press

Being trapped in a bedroom with a woman is a grand thing. Being trapped in hundreds of bedrooms over two thousand years isn't. And being cursed into a book as a love-slave for eternity can ruin even a Spartan warrior's day.

As a love-slave, I know everything about women. How to touch them, how to savor them, and most of all, how to pleasure them. But when I was summoned to fulfill Grace Alexander's sexual fantasies, I found the first woman in history who saw me as a man with a tormented past. She alone bothered to take me out of the bedroom and into the world. She taught me to love again.

But I wasn't born to know love. I was cursed to walk eternity alone. As an ancient Greek general, I had long ago accepted my sentence. Yet now I have found Grace-- the one thing my wounded heart cannot survive without. Sure, love can heal all wounds, but can it break a two-thousand-year-old curse? 


Cha Cha Changes

I'm aware that New Year's Resolutions are old-hat at this point, but I basically lost a week so it kinda feels like Jan 2nd to me...

There are quite a few things that I want to accomplish this year. Cure Alzheimer's, open up my own bakery, play the drums like John Bonham.  Oh wait!  I've stumbled into my dream world again.  Here are some things I've been thinking of and some changes you'll notice this year at The Spinecracker

  • There will be a new segment once a month called "Dare Me".  I'll ask a literary friend to pick a book that they Dare Me to read, something that's maybe a little outside my comfort zone....and every once and a while maybe I'll get to repay the favor.
  • Because of this new segment, I will no longer be hosting a Book of the Month discussion. 
  • I'm going to try and fool around with my layout a little bit this year, get the site looking like what I see in my head, and function the way I need/want it to.  Any input/suggestions/critiques you can give me would be invaluable. 
  • I'm really trying to ramp up my reading this year.  I'm trying to shoot for 3 books a week. We'll see if that's laughable thinking.
  • And lastly, another monthly segment.  Before books for me, there was music.  I was obsessed. I'm still totally into it of course, but since starting the reading blog I've neglected scouting out music like I use to.  So I'm trying to bring both of my obsessions onto the same page.  I'll be creating a post once a month where I talk about my favorite music from the month.  I hope it doesn't scare anyone away.

I hope that you've liked what you see around here, and I hope that you'll continue to stick around with me in 2011.  


Coming Up...

*PHEEW*  I am officially moved in to our new house, albeit we're dodging cardboard boxes, when we make our way to the kitchen, but we're here and I can finally catch my breath. Apologies for being slow on responding to comments and for the lack of web/email/twitter presence the past week+. I hope this week will be back to normal -if that's ever possible.

I can't believe that we have a little over a week left until the release of Shadowfever! I have had my hardback on order since last Spring, but you better believe that if my copy is not on my doorstep on Jan 18th, that I'll be downloading the e-version on my handy ipad. (Yes, I am that much of a junkie)  So, I'll be re-reading Dreamfever to prepare for this momentous event, and so that I can participate in the discussion hosted by SmexyBooks, this coming Thursday the 13th.  I had so much fun at  FictionVixen's Faefever chat; I learned so much.  So today I cracked open Dreamfever... I wonder if I'll get nothing done until I finish it, like I did they last time I read it?  

Here's what else is happening

Books In:

Kristin, my friend who runs MyBookishWays, is a huge Jaye Wells fan.  I've seen the books out there for a while, but for a million reasons have never actually cracked one open.  Well that's changing soon.  Kristin sent me one of her extra copies of Red-Head Stepchild {didn't I say she was ubber-fan} and I can't wait to start it. 

I found a copy of Vicious Circle by Linda Robertson on Goodreads Swap. And I've been neglecting my local bookstore, Mysterious Galaxy, so I had to show them some love this week. I purchased Killbox by Ann Aguirre and Black Wings by Christina Henry.

I start my re-read of Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning today. I'll be reading Tracking the Tempest and Tempest Legacy by Nicole Peeler this week as well. 

Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Friday Night Bites & Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill 

What are you getting into this week?


Review- Archangel's Consort

Nalini Singh
Urban Fantasy
352 pages
Guild Hunter Series #3
Berkley/Penguin Usa

Elena and Raphael have come home from the Refuge, back to New York.  Only the weather starts going haywire signaling the awakening of one of the ancients.  All indicators point to the ancient being Raphael's mother and the fear now is, if it is in-fact his mother will she be as crazy as she was before she went to Sleep. Will she still have little voices in her head telling her to kill her son, before he can out rule and over-throw her.    

Since discovering the Guild Hunter series a few months ago, I have been eagerly anticipating the release of the 3rd book in the series, Archangel's Consort.  Elena and Raphael easily became one of my favorite hero/heroine combos with their challenging personalities and the unique situations they find themselves in.  Fans of the duo will not be disappointed.  Unfortunately for me, and this is hard for me to even type, there was a little bit too much Elena and Raphael time.  Fans are asking themselves "and why is that a problem?!"  Well, it all felt a little been there done that before. I didn't feel like the story was paced like I've come to expect and felt like there was a little too much filler, coupled with a lag in character development. In my opinion, Archangel's Kiss, the last book in the series, was the perfect book for Raphael and Elena to test the terms and limitations of their new relationship, so I think I was expecting something different this time.  And maybe that was my problem; expectations are never fair.  Their coupling still remains intriguing and the time they spend together is fun and always appreciated.

When the action does kick in the story doesn't stop. Readers will find themselves on the edge of their seats anxious for answers. I just wish the action would have come a little sooner in the story.  At the end of the book I was happy with the progress that was made, and am looking forward to what's next, including Dimitri's story {due out late 2011}.

Bottom Line:  Fans of the Raphael and Elena will enjoy the one-on-one time, but action/plot fans will be left a little flat.

3 stars


Review- Some Girls Bite

Chloe Neill
Urban Fantasy
341 pages
Chicagoland Vampires Series #1
NAL Trade/Penguin Usa

Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn't exactly glamorous, but it was Merit's. She was doing fine until a rogue vampire attacked her. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker and this one decided the best way to save her life was to make her the walking undead.

Turns out her savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now she's traded sweating over her thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan "Lord o' the Manor" Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four-hundred- year-old vampire, he has centuries' worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects her gratitude and servitude. But an inconvenient sunlight allergy and Ethan's attitude are the least of her concerns. Someone's still out to get her. Her initiation into Chicago's nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war and there will be blood.

You know when you start reading a new book and you just know you're going to like it. Just know that the book you have in your hands is going to be exactly what you need, do exactly what you want {which is to entertain the hell out of you}?  Well, that's exactly how I felt when I started Some Girls Bite. 

This was a sit down and don't get up until it's done kind of book.  The pacing is perfect, making the reader never want to put it down.  It's the perfect mix of action, character development, world-building, and series set-up.  The story is a touch easy, but you really don't mind it because of how entertaining it is.

Merit is one of those characters you find easy to relate to.  She's smart and funny and hugely self-assured.  Merit has been fighting against the reigns of her father's world her entire life. So when she's turned into a vampire and informed that she'll have to serve a master, refer to him as "leige", it's completely justified for her character to push against that model.  Every aspect of Merit's character fits, and I think it would be hard to find a reader who didn't like her.  

Actually all of Neill's characters are well-developed even with the lack of back-story.  From Malory, Merit's fun-loving room-mate turned sister figure.  To Ethan, the mysterious master vampire who pushes all of Merit's buttons.  And even Merit's grandfather, who runs a mysterious supernatural police, every character's place in the story just works.  Looking back on the series opener, I can't think of one character that I don't want to know more about.  I'm anxious to discover each of their histories one by one.  

Bottom Line: A fun new world of vampires that really hooks you in with it's exciting mix of characters

4 stars


Review- Street Magic

Caitlin Kittredge
Urban Fantasy
326 pages
Black London Series #1
St. Martin's Press

Her name is Pete Caldecott. She was just sixteen when she met Jack Winter, a gorgeous, larger-than-life  mage who thrilled her with his witchcraft. Then a spirit Jack summoned killed him before Pete’s eyes—or so she thought. Now a detective, Pete is investigating the case of a young girl kidnapped from the streets of London. A tipster’s chilling prediction has led police directly to the child…but when Pete meets the informant, she’s shocked to learn he is none other than Jack. Strung out on heroin, Jack a shadow of his former self.  But he’s able to tell Pete exactly where Bridget’s kidnappers are hiding: in the supernatural shadow-world of the fey.  Even though she’s spent years disavowing the supernatural, Pete follows Jack into the invisible fey underworld, where she hopes to discover the truth about what happened to Bridget—and what happened to Jack on that dark day so long ago…

Every once and a while a book comes long that leaves me unsure of myself at book's end.  Did I enjoy the story? Check.  Did I enjoy the protagonists? Double check!! Did I enjoy the world that I was living in whilst reading it? Another check.  So what gives, then?  No freakin idea.  

Kittredge's new world of magic and magic wielders has me extremely intrigued.  She paints a London I've never seen before and I've already purchased the next in series so that I can spend more time in it.  Kittredge's main characters Pete and Jack have the makings of one of the most original duos I've come across in a while.  But like I said, I'm not entirely, 100% on board just yet.  Kittredge writes them perfectly though and doesn't load the story with unneeded sexual tension and instead focuses on our introduction into not only their version of London, but the characters themselves.  Both characters are dark and mysterious and all-together interesting. 

The story was original and well planned, but the delivery had a few too many lulls to keep me up all night.  The story ends exactly were I wanted it to be and like I mentioned I've already purchased the next book because I kinda have to know what happens next. 

Bottom Line: Fans of dark and gritty will love Kittredge's London and will be left wondering what's going to happen next.

3 stars  


Virtual Book Club- Some Girls Bite

I had been hearing about The Chicagoland Vampires for far too long, and I'm happy to finally understand what all the fuss is about.  I for one, loved the series opener. Some Girls Bite was an extremely fun, fast-paced book and it had a great blend of characters.  I'm a fan!

This discussion hosted by myself & Vampire Book Club is leisurely and stays active all day, so feel free to comment whenever suits you.  I have a couple of topics/questions I wanted to raise, but please jump in with any thoughts or questions of your own. And the folks at VBC will be jumping in with their thoughts in the comment section below

Also, Chloe Neill was kind enough to give away some Chicagoland goodies to one lucky commenter.  The winner will be drawn randomly from a comment made today before midnight and announced tomorrow here at The Spinecracker.  

(If you've read through the series, and not just this first book, please try to answer according to the knowledge we received in this book alone.)

  • I found it interesting, and maybe a little suspicious, that Merit's grandfather runs the "supernatural police" and I kept getting some strange vibes from her father as well.  Am I alone in thinking that one of them is going to turn out to be "other"?  ...might explain for Merit's quick uptake on her new vampire abilities.
  • OK, any thoughts on the super-secret vampire liaison for Ombud?  I can't explain why, but I have this weird feeling that it's Ethan.  I'm not sure why he would do this for Merit's grandfather but like I said it's a feeling.
  • Did I miss it, or did we find out Merit's first name?  
  • So, I have to know everyone's preference: Are you Team Ethan or Team Morgan?  I'm Ethan all the way.  Merit & Morgan?!  No way. Sounds too much like Mork & Mindy.
  • I loved the history teasers about Catcher & Ethan.  I can't wait to find out how and why they know each other so well.  Think Catcher has a sordid history much? :)


Happy New Year

Today welcomes us into 2011.  Let's treat it well.   

Have a great year