DARE Review: Glass Houses

Rachel Caine
YA Lit
239 pages
Morganville Vampires #1
Chapters 1 & 2

College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life, but they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood


This Month's Sound

I love music.  Always have. I like scouring the web looking for and listening to all the new sounds that artists put out.  I'm constantly amazed by it. Here's what this month sounds like...

*** I never ever EVER steal from artists (bands or authors). Everything posted her is either a free downloaded provided by the artist or from my personal music library***


Winner Winner

Thank you to everyone who stopped by the "Behind the Pen" segment with Suzanne McLeod. The winner of The Cold Kiss of Death is:


Please email me, thespinecracker (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address.  And thank you again to Ms McLeod for stopping by with your funny answers and providing us with an awesome giveaway.

Review: Thorn Queen

Richelle Mead
Urban Fantasy
374 pages
Dark Swan #2
Chapter 1
Bantam Books

Eugenie Markham is a shaman for hire, paid to bind and banish creatures from the Otherworld. But after her last battle, she’s also become queen of the Thorn Land. It’s hardly an envious life, not with her kingdom in tatters, her love life in chaos, and Eugenie eager to avoid the prophecy about her firstborn destroying mankind. And now young girls are disappearing from the Otherworld, and no one—except Eugenie—seems willing to find out why.

Eugenie has spilled plenty of fey blood in her time, but this enemy is shrewd, subtle, and nursing a very personal grudge. And the men in her life aren't making things any easier. Her boyfriend, Kiyo, is preoccupied with his pregnant ex, and sexy fey king Dorian always poses a dangerous distraction. With or without their help, Eugenie must venture deep into the Otherworld and trust in an unpredictable power she can barely control. Reluctant queen or not, Eugenie has sworn to do her duty—even if it means facing the darkest—and deadliest—side of her nature…


Review: Tangled Threads

Jennifer Estep
Urban Fantasy
384 pages
Elemental Assassins #4
Chapter 1
Pocket Books


I’d rather face a dozen lethal assassins any night than deal with something as tricky, convoluted, and fragile as my feelings.
But here I am. Gin Blanco, the semi-retired assassin known as the Spider. Hovering outside sexy businessman Owen Grayson’s front door like a nervous teenage girl. One thing I like about Owen: he doesn’t shy away from my past—or my present. And right now I have a bull’s-eye on my forehead. Cold-blooded Fire elemental Mab Monroe has hired one of the smartest assassins in the business to trap me. Elektra LaFleur is skilled and efficient, with deadly electrical elemental magic as potent as my own Ice and Stone powers. Which means there’s a fifty-fifty chance one of us won’t survive this battle. I intend to kill LaFleur—or die trying—because Mab wants the assassin to take out my baby sister, Detective Bria Coolidge, too. The only problem is, Bria has no idea I’m her long-lost sibling . . . or that I’m the murderer she’s been chasing through Ashland for weeks. And what Bria doesn’t know just might get us both dead. . . .


'The 99 page test'

My latest article posted over at Macmillan's Heros & Heartbreakers where I talk about the art of the 99 page test.  Never heard of it?  Don't know what I'm talking about?  Then click through the icon below.

While you're there take some time to explore the site, if you haven't already.  They have exclusive first looks, original short stories from some amazing writers, and funny post from some of your favorite book bloggers like Wicked Lil Pixie (aka Natasha Carty) and Larissa's Bookish Life (aka Larissa Benoliel) to name just a couple. 


Winner Winner

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to read Kevin Hearne's hilarious answers to my 'Behind the Pen' questionnaire.  The winners of Hounded are:

Nina La Fountaine
Ella Gray

Congrats to the winners.  Please email me thespinecracker (at) gmail (dot) com with your shipping address. 

Behind The Pen: with Jennifer Estep (+giveaway)

I love interviews. But I find the artists behind the stories equally intriguing, and I think they deserve as much limelight as their characters.  So here, instead of a list of questions about the story, the plot, or the characters, I ask authors the same 11 questions about themselves and hopefully get a glimpse behind the pen...

Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassins series was one of the very first Urban Fantasy series I found when I really started getting into UF, way back in Feb 2010.  The series is so much fun with it's bad-ass heroine Gin Blanco, and her evil arch nemesis, Mab Monroe. If you haven't checked out this series yet, you really must. The fourth book in the series, Tangled Threads, will be out next Tuesday, April 26th. Make sure you pick up a copy.

Q1: What is the last book you read?
Right now, I’m reading The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal. It’s about a princess who finds out that she’s not really a princess after all.

Q2: If you were stuck on a desert island, what book would you like to have with you?
I’d love to have all the books by Donald Westlake. As Westlake, he wrote the Dortmunder books, which are really funny comic crime capers. As Richard Stark, he wrote the Parker books, which are about a thief who always gets the job done. That way, I could laugh or read a dark, gritty thriller, depending on my mood.

Q3: What is your favorite swear word?
Black-hearted sons of bitches. I know it’s more of a phrase, but I like it ;-)

Q4: What is your biggest pet-peeve?
People who don’t keep their promises or are late for an appointment. If you say you’re going to do something or be somewhere, you should do your best to meet those obligations.

Q5: What quality do you most like in a man?
A sense of humor.

Q6: What quality do you most like in a woman?
A sense of humor.

Q7: What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?
I’d love to try something really quirky and cool, like being an ice cream taste-tester or a screenwriter.

Q8: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I’ve always wanted to visit Alaska, so I would say there, although I imagine that I’d get tired of the snow and cold very quickly. LOL.

Q9: What inspires you?
Everything. Books, movies, TV shows, new stories, the people around me, a beautiful photograph. Anything I read, see, or hear about can spark a story idea.

Q10: If you could be one person (dead or alive) for a day who would you be?
Hmm. I’ll say someone really rich like Bill Gates so I could transfer a few million dollars over to the real me. LOL.

Q11: Mac or PC?
PC, since that’s what I use every day. Maybe someday, I’ll branch out and try a MAC. LOL

Thank you Jennifer for answering my laundry lists of questions.  And because Jennifer is so generous, she'll be giving away a copy of her upcoming release, Tangled Threads, to one lucky winner.  Here's how that'll work:

  • Your comment is your entry
  • If you follow this blog you receive an extra entry
  • US & CAN only
  • Contest ends next Thursday, April 28th at midnight (pst)
  • Winner will be announced here shortly after that


Behind The Pen: with Suzanne McLeod (+giveaway)

I love interviews. But I find the artists behind the stories equally intriguing, and I think they deserve as much limelight as their characters. So here, instead of a list of questions about the story, the plot, or the characters, I ask authors the same 11 questions about themselves and hopefully get a glimpse behind the pen...

Suzanne McLeod's Spellcrackers.com series is so intricately plotted, the minute I finished with The Sweet Scent of Blood, the first book in the series, I just had to know more about the artist behind the story. So delighted that she agreed to answer my questionnaire... although I'm choosing to ignore the answer to the first question, because I'm so jealous I could spit. :P
The series' second book, The Cold Kiss of Death, US release date is next Tuesday, April 26th, and if you've yet to start this series here's the perfect chance.  (giveaway details after the interview)

Q1: What is the last book you read?
Ooh, this is where I make you all jealous if you’re a fan of Ann Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax  series like me *g*. I’ve just read Aftermath, which is book 5, and doesn’t release until September this year! See, told you you’d all be green-eyed with envy!

Q2: If you were stuck on a desert island, what book would you like to have with you?
Umm, can I cheat and say my Kindle? I bought it for Mr. Mc at Christmas, and then . . . Well, I had to buy him another for his birthday a month later, as the poor soul never got to use it once I got my sticky paws on it. It was love at first read. *strokes Kindle* But if I had to pick one book . . . oh, maybe a compendium of Charlaine Harris’, or Ilona Andrews’ stories, or . . . nope, too difficult to choose just one : -D

Q3: What is your favorite swear word?
Depends on who’s listening. If no one is, and I’ve stubbed my toe or something equaaaally paaaainful, then I’ll quietly drop the F-bomb, otherwise it’s usually a polite sh—ugar *looks innocent*.

Q4: What is your biggest pet-peeve?
Links that promise one thing, but in fact lead you somewhere else. Not so much spammy links, but those that take you to a home page on a site, and whatever it is that enticed you to click isn’t easy to find, be it a review, a picture or a recipe. (Hmm, bet you can guess this has just happened to me ... *grumps*)

Q5: What quality do you most like in a man?
I daydreamed . . . er, sorry, considered this question very seriously for quite some time. I mean there are lots of qualities I like – GSOH, loves animals, patience, isn’t afraid of spiders, looks like George Clooney (opps, now I’m sounding like a dating site!) . . . but in the end I realised that what I really like in a man, and a woman, comes down to chemistry. Either we gel or we don’t :- )

Q6: What quality do you most like in a woman?
Cheating here: See above answer! (Though, y’know, it might be a bit odd if a woman looked like George Clooney *g*)

Q7: What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?
Ooh, well, I’ve tried a variety, like retail, bookkeeper, and electrician, but I’ve always wanted to be a saxophonist and be part of a group. Trouble is I’m tone deaf, can’t read music, and my attempts at playing the recorder would leave anyone weeping.

Q8: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Somewhere where it’s T-shirts and shorts weather all year round, with a private beach, a warm sea, an infinity swimming pool, oh, and an assistant. *dreams*

Q9: What inspires you?
Deadlines! Oh, and being evil to my characters! Lol! But on a more serious note, anything can end up as inspiration: TV, films, a walk, dreams, books, blog posts, *cough* Wikipedia *cough*, and more . . .

Q10: If you could be one person (dead or alive) for a day who would you be?
Umm, I’m never very good at these type of questions, as I’m sort of happy being me, but on a good day. *slaps self for being cheesy*

Q11: Mac or PC?
PC, definitely. I like the look of Macs, but they scare me silly *g*

Thanks to Suzanne for answering my list of questions.  
And because Ms. McLeod is so very nice she's giving away a copy of her upcoming US release, The Cold Kiss of Death, to one lucky commenter. Here's how that'll work:
  • Your comment is your entry
  • If you follow this blog, you receive 2 entries
  • Contest is International through Book Depository
  • Ends Monday April 25th at midnight (pst)
  • Winner will be announced shortly after that here.


Early Review: The Cold Kiss of Death

Suzanne Mcleod
Urban Fantasy
352 pages
Spellcrackers.com #2
Chapter 1

All Genny wants is to live the quiet life and to do her job at Spellcrackers.com but there's her tangled personal life to sort out first. She's being haunted by ghosts who want her help. Her witch neighbours want her evicted. Genny's sort-of-Ex - and now her new boss - can't decide whether he wants their relationship to be business or pleasure now he knows all her darkest secrets. And then there's the queue of vampires all wanting her to paint the town red - how long will it be before they stop taking 'no' for an answer and Genny's life becomes even more complicated? But when one of her human friends is murdered by sidhe magic, Genny is determined to find the killer. Her efforts to find the real murderer lead her to some of the most dangerous and seductive fae - but her search is hindered by the vampires, who have their own political agenda. Then when all the evidence points to Genny - she's the only sidhe fae in London - and she's named the main suspect; it's not long before she's on the run - and not just from the police - but from some of London's most powerful supernaturals.


Behind The Pen: with Kevin Hearne (+Giveaway)

I love interviews, But I find the artists behind the stories equally intriguing, and I think they deserve as much limelight as their characters.  So here, instead of a list of questions about the story, the plot, and the characters, I ask authors the same 11 questions and hopefully get a glimpse behind the pen...

Kevin Hearne's new Iron Druid Chronicles is one of Del Rey Spectra's most anticipated releases this Spring, and after reading the first book, Hounded, I can understand why.  His writing is fresh, his characters are three dimensional, and his world of Druids, goddesses, and funny Irish wolfhounds is original and extremely entertaining.  I couldn't have been happier when Mr. Hearne agreed to answer my list of questions.  

Q1: What is the last book you read?
Truthseeker by C.E. Murphy. It had a Monty Python allusion in the first ten pages so I was hooked.

Q2: If you were stuck on a desert island, what book would you like to have with you?
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The struggle (and the necessity) to affirm one’s unique identity in the face of a society that favors uniformity—that’s catnip to me.

Q3: What is your favorite swear word?
I rotate among a series of ass- prefixes. Right now I think “asskitten” is pretty funny…which probably indicates my dire need for therapy.

Q4: What is your biggest pet-peeve?
Spammers. They’re fucking asskittens.

Q5: What quality do you most like in a man?
OK, I’m just going to point to the Old Spice Guy.

Q6: What quality do you most like in a woman?
I like braaaains. Most of my friends are women and most of them are smarter than me. I never get bored when I talk to them because they have a wider conversational range than the majority of men I know. Sports and cars and stuff are great, don’t get me wrong, but once you’ve exhausted sports and cars and stuff, you have to say good-bye to your guy friends and find a woman to talk to.

Q7: What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?
Type design. I am SUCH a font snob. I once spent a whole week drawing nothing but lowercase double-story g’s. The week after that I became obsessed with ffi ligatures.

Q8: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Gah. I’m not well-traveled—a condition I hope to ameliorate—so what I say now might change in a year or two. Right now I’d say southwestern Colorado—a place in the San Juan Mountains. The kind of place Sam Elliott talks about in those commercials, using that virile voice of his. Actually, scratch that. You know what I want? Wherever I live and wherever I go, I just want Sam Elliott to narrate it. “When Kevin first came to this land,” he’ll rumble in a smoky basso profundo, “he stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Corrupt politicians exploded under his benevolent gaze. Spammers went sterile and the people loved him. They named their children after characters in his books and they gave him gourmet tamales. Microbrew draughts fountained from the earth in the wake of his passing, and everyone agreed that life was generally better when Kevin was around. I guess you could say Kevin has serious issues to imagine a scenario like this, but because it’s me, Sam Elliott, saying it, it’s warm and manly and all-American, and you can’t think of anything more charming or desirable than whatever it is I’m talking about right now.” Yeah, that’s what I want.

Q9: What inspires you?
Trees. My wife. Letters to a Young Poet. A finely crafted beer. Sam Elliott’s voice, clearly. And music! Yngwie Malmsteen and Six Parts Seven when I’m writing everyday scenes, DragonForce for battles. When I turn on the DragonForce, muthafuckas gonna die.

Q10: If you could be one person (dead or alive) for a day who would you be?
William Bloody Shakespeare. To have that facility, that skill with language—well, I’d have to change my shorts first, and then I’d go to’t. I’d write a play called No, It’s Too Perilous.

Q11: Mac or PC?

After reading Mr. Hearne's answers here, you can probably see why I consider Hounded one of the funniest books I've read recently. A great big thank you to Kevin!  So happy to have you stop by.

Jessica, thank you so much for inviting me to chat!

Del Rey was generous enough to offer up 3 copies of Hounded to 3 lucky commenters.  Here's how that'll work:
  • Your comment is your entry
  • Followers of this site get 2 entries
  • US/CAN only
  • Contest ends next Thursday, April 21st at midnight (pst)
  • Winner will be announced Friday, April 22nd


Early Review: Hounded

Kevin Hearne
Urban Fantasy
289 pages
The Iron Druid Chronicles #1
First 50 pages
Del Rey Spectra

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.


Review: Song of Scarabaeus

Sara Creasy
354 pages
Scarabaeus #1
First 3 Chapters

Trained since childhood in advanced biocyph seed technology by the all-powerful Crib empire, Edie's mission is to terraform alien worlds while her masters bleed the outlawed Fringe populations dry. When renegade mercenaries kidnap Edie, she's not entirely sure it's a bad thing... until they leash her to a bodyguard Finn - a former freedom fighter-turned-slave, beaten down but never broken.  If Edie strays from Finn's side, he dies. If she doesn't cooperate, the pirates will kill them both.  

But Edie's abilities far surpass anything her enemies imagine.  And now, with Finn as her only ally as the merciless Crib closes in, she'll have to prove it or die on the site of her only failure... a world called Scarabaeus.


Coming Up...

I've been having a rough few days.  Saturday night one of our friends died from an accidentally fall while camping in the desert, and I still can't really wrap my head around it.  I've never dealt with the emotions of an unexpected death of someone close to me before.  Death is always sad, and I've had to deal with the "circle of life" a few times, but there are different emotions you feel {at least that I'm feeling} when out of the blue, someone is taken from your life.  It's just so unfair.  It's helping me to remember to live life the best way I know how, and to tell the people around me that I love them. But I'm sad.

Even with a heavy heart, I'm feeling better this morning.  I actually read a book yesterday afternoon and, believe it or not, it helped.  So, thank you Kresley Cole for taking my mind off things for a few hours.  And now I'm up to date on the Immortals After Dark series. Yesterday I also detailed my car for 2.5 hrs and that baby is so clean you could eat off it. Basically, I'm trying to stay busy and take my mind off it's own thoughts.  

I have a few exciting posts coming up that I wanted to share with you so you remember to come back and check them out.  Tomorrow, I'll be posting my review of the Sci-fi book, Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy. Thursday I'll post my review of Hounded by Kevin Hearne, and Friday will be Mr Hearne's "Behind the Pen" interview and there will be a giveaway with the interview, so be sure to come back for that one.  Trust me, you'll want to win this book!

I plan on reading A LOT this week, but not really sure what just yet.  I'm currently reading The Cold Kiss of Death by Suzanne McLeod.  Here are the other books at the top of my TBR pile at the moment:
Thorn Queen by Richelle Mead
Iron Crown by Richelle Mead
Master of None by Sonya Bateman  *whispers* did you know its a free read at Pocket After Dark?
Children of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy

Hope you all have a great week, and don't forget to remind the people in your life that they matter; that they're special to you. 



I Double-Dog Dare You...

This month's DARE is courtesy of my friend Carrie.  Carrie is my literary soul-mate, my guru if you will, and her library is my Mecca (those shelves are stacked 3-deep yo!) Sometimes I can be found sitting in front of it, cross-legged, rocking back and forth, chanting. She has to kindly inform me that I'm scaring her child. 

Our tastes of books may not always be exactly the same, but our tastes of red wine definetly are.  She has been in this game long before me so when she talks about a book, series, author etc., I listen.  Carrie I heart you.


Review: Cry Wolf

Patricia Briggs
Urban Fantasy
294 pages
Alpha & Omega #1
Chapter 1
ACE books


Anna never knew werewolves existed until the night she survived a violent attack and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she'd learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. But Anna is that rarest kind of werewolf; an Omega. And one of the most powerful werewolves in the country will recognize her value as a pack member;and as his mate.


Review: Storm Born

Richelle Mead
Urban Fantasy
361 pages
Dark Swan Series #1
Chapter 1


  Eugenie Markham is a powerful shaman who does a brisk trade banishing spirits and fey who cross into the mortal world. Mercenary, yes, but a girl's got to eat. Her most recent case, however, is enough to ruin her appetite. Hired to find a teenager who has been taken to the Otherworld, Eugenie comes face to face with a startling prophecy--one that uncovers dark secrets about her past and claims that Eugenie's first-born will threaten the future of the world as she knows it.

Now Eugenie is a hot target for every ambitious demon and Otherworldy ne'er-do-well, and the ones who don't want to knock her up want her dead. Eugenie handles a Glock as smoothly as she wields a wand, but she needs some formidable allies for a job like this. She finds them in Dorian, a seductive fairy king with a taste for bondage, and Kiyo, a gorgeous shape-shifter who redefines animal attraction. But with enemies growing bolder and time running out, Eugenie realizes that the greatest danger is yet to come, and it lies in the dark powers that are stirring to life within her...


Coming Up...

Apologies in advance if what I'm about to say is going to piss off the people that are still getting snow out there, but this week was the hottest week of the year here.  It was in the 80s for a couple of days!  Since we don't have AC I spent a couple of days this past week doing nothing but reading underneath the 1 fan we have in the house. It's gonna be a hot summer if this was a little taste of what's ahead.