This Month's Sound

I love music.  Always have. I like scouring the net looking for 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...


DARE Review: Every Dead Thing

John Connolly
480 pages
Charlie Parker #1
Chapter 1
Simon & Schuster

Haunted by the unsolved slayings of his wife and young daughter, and tormented by his sense of guilt, former NYPD detective Charlie Parker is a man consumed by violence, regret and the desire for revenge. But when his ex-partner asks him to track down a missing girl, Parker embarks on an odyssey that is to lead him to the heart of organized crime; to an old black woman who dwells by a Louisiana swamp and hears the voices of the dead; to cellars of torture and murder; and to a serial killer unlike any other, an artist who uses the human body as his canvas and takes faces as his prize, the killer known only as the Traveling Man.


Coming Up...

If you're wondering why the site was so quiet last week, it was because I went out of town. A couple of my girlfriends and I went to Pismo Beach for an extended weekend, and I just got home late yesterday. We packed in so much fun stuff, it was tough coming home.  


Review: Queen of Shadows

Dianne Sylvan
Urban Fantasy
389 pages
Shadow World #1
Chapter 1

Back Cover:

Spread throughout the dark corners of our world lies the Shadow World, a society of vampires that feeds off the living. In Austin, Texas, one woman’s madness will drive her into a world that few people ever see – or even know exists…

Shortly after she picked up a guitar, Miranda Grey conquered the Austin music scene with a newfound ability to psychically manipulate her audience’s emotions. But as her powers outgrow her control, her mind is increasingly invaded by haunting secrets and overwhelming sadness. Unable to look anyone in the eye, Miranda is fast approaching the edge of insanity – with no one to catch her fall…

When he outlawed killing humans, David Solomon ignited a civil war among Austin’s vampires. As Prime of the South, his sympathy for mortals angered the old guard who refuse to control their violent urges. David has his hands full with the growing insurgency, but he takes in a broken-down woman, a musician in need of supernatural guidance. Little does he know that Miranda Grey has the power to change his world as well…


Review: Black Wings

Christina Henry
Urban Fantasy
295 pages
Madeline Black #1
Chapter 1

As an Agent of Death, Madeline Black is responsible for escorting the souls of the dearly departed to the afterlife. It's a 24/7 job with a lousy benefits package.

Maddy's position may come with magical powers and an impressive wingspan, but it doesn't pay the bills. And then there are her infuriating boss, tenant woes, and a cranky, popcorn-loving gargoyle to contend with.

Things start looking up, though, when tall, dark, and handsome Gabriel Angeloscuro agrees to rent the empty apartment in Maddy's building. It's probably just a coincidence that as soon as he moves in demons appear on the front lawn. But when an unholy monster is unleashed upon the streets of Chicago, Maddy discovers powers she never knew she possessed. Powers linked to a family legacy of tarnished halos.

Powers that place her directly between the light of Heaven and the fires of Hell...


Coming Up...

I had one of the worst reading slumps last week. I would start a book and by about page 50 I'd be looking at my book shelf, thinking about what else I could read... even if the book had a pretty good start.  I have never had it so bad. Nothing could "restart" me! Eventually I spent 2 whole days doing other things besides reading. I took up drumming, found a solution to that whole Lybia crisis, and stopped Japan's nuclear reactors from being the next Chernobyl. What? Oh, I'm dreaming again.  No honestly, mostly I spent a couple days scouring the web for music.  But it got me thinking.
Do you do anything special when you're in a slump?  I'd love to know your tricks.

This coming week is very exciting.  Two of my girlfriends and I are heading to Pismo Beach, for a girl's weekend!  We're taking the train up there, and I haven't taken a train since I was 18, so be expecting a lot of tweets on Wednesday about that experience.  So yeah, I leave on Wednesday and get back on Sunday, so the site is going to pretty quiet while I'm gone.  


Act Now!!!

As we're all aware, there has been a catastrophic event in Japan. What's important is for us not to forget that that country is still dealing with enormous amounts of grief and struggle and heartache. Here are a few ways that you and I can combine our love of all things literary with the relief efforts.

Calling all you writers!  The League of Reluncant Adults has put together 2 AMAZING critique groups, better knowns as Team Claw & Team Fang.  Making up the groups are authors such as, Stacia Kane, Kevin Hearne, Nicole Peeler, JF Lewis, Carolyn Crane, Diana Rowland, the list goes on. {Get the full list of each team here}

Here's an opportunity to get a whole slew of professionals to read and help you with your work. To bid on Team Fang click here.  To bid on Team Claw click here.

Author, Richelle Mead has a TON of signed books from herself and some of her literary friends up for auction.  But HURRY, a lot of them will expire as soon as this is posted.  

Authors For Japan, is a website where authors have indexed a HUGE list of things that they're auctioning off for relief efforts.  Stop in and see if something there takes your fancy.

AReCafe wants you to know that
 100% of the sales made from the erotic anthology 'Coming Together: Special Hurricane Relief Edition' , will go to the American Red Cross.  So if you're looking for something smutty fun to read, why not download it? 

As always, you can donate directly to the Red Cross.  Even, $2 donated by 25% of the American population would be 153 MILLION DOLLARS... and that's only 25% of the population giving just $2 each!  

**Let us not ever forget that we share this same planet. We're all linked by the same human strand; it connects us all.  
I encourage you to do whatever you can. 


Review: Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs

Molly Harper
Paranormal Fiction
355 pages
Jane Jameson #1
Pocket Star


Maybe it was the Shenanigans gift certificate that put her over the edge. When children's librarian and self-professed nice girl Jane Jameson is fired by her beastly boss and handed twenty-five dollars in potato skins instead of a severance check, she goes on a bender that's sure to become Half Moon Hollow legend. On her way home, she's mistaken for a deer, shot, and left for dead. And thanks to the mysterious stranger she met while chugging neon-colored cocktails, she wakes up with a decidedly unladylike thirst for blood.

Jane is now the latest recipient of a gift basket from the Newly Undead Welcoming Committee, and her life-after-lifestyle is taking some getting used to. Her recently deceased favorite aunt is now her ghostly roommate. She has to fake breathing and endure daytime hours to avoid coming out of the coffin to her family. She's forced to forgo her favorite down-home Southern cooking for bags of O negative. Her relationship with her sexy, mercurial vampire sire keeps running hot and cold. And if all that wasn't enough, it looks like someone in Half Moon Hollow is trying to frame her for a series of vampire murders. What's a nice undead girl to do?


Review- Once Upon a Time in Space

Heather Massey
Sci-Fi Romance
DL first 3 chapters 
Red Sage Publishing

Earth is dying. Nick Venture, the last living descendant of Christopher Columbus, embarks on a dangerous mission to find a new planet and save humanity. This places him on a collision course with Raquel Donovan, the deadliest space pirate in the galaxy.

Raquel lives for one purpose: revenge against a horrible demon from her past. When an attempt to hijack Nick’s starship backfires, Raquel becomes his protector in order to avoid capture by the tyrannical Space Defense Corps. Nick and Raquel are irresistibly drawn to one another despite the forbidden nature of their attraction. But the conflicted pirate’s deepest secret could tear the couple apart even as humanity’s time runs out… 


Miss March Centerfold

It was a tough call, but our centerfold for this month is none other than the beautiful and bodacious Jane True!  Jane is a selkie, who lives in Rockabill, Maine.  She loves swimming, cooking, and works at her local bookshop.  


Winner Winner

Thanks to everyone who checked out CT Adams' Behind The Pen.  The winner of Demon Song is:

Becca Watson

Congratulations Becca.  Please email me thespinecracker(at)gmail(dot)com when you have a sec. 

Review: Darkness Dawns

Dianne Duvall
320 pages
Immortal Guardians #1
Chapter 1


Once, Sarah Bingham's biggest challenge was making her students pay attention in class. Now, after rescuing a wounded stranger, she's landed in the middle of a battle between corrupt vampires and powerful immortals who also need blood to survive. Roland Warbrook is the most compelling man Sarah has ever laid hands on. But his desire for her is mingled with a hunger he can barely control. . .

In his nine centuries of immortal existence, no woman has tempted Roland as much as Sarah. But asking her to love him is impossible--when it means forfeiting the world she's always known, and the life he would do anything to protect. . .


Coming Up...

So, this past week was pretty eventful. First off, I posted my first article over at Heroes & Heartbreakers, called "Dark Romance".  I had such fun discussing my latest obsession and I hope you'll take a quick sec and give it a read. While you're there, take a look around the site. There are some great sneak peaks, funny posts, and lots more to discover.  

I also received a couple of pretty awesome job leads late last week, and there's one of them I'm especially excited about.  I'm trying not to get too bouncy yet because all I've had so far was a phone conversation, but I'm suppose to meet them at their headquarters soon, and that's where the real palm sweating can begin. Anyway, it's making me feel slightly better about things in that department.  Wish me luck!


Review: Naked in Death

Romantic Suspense
320 pages
In Death #1
Berkley Mass Market

Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer. In over ten years on the force, she's seen it all - and knows that her survival depends on her instincts. And she's going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, an Irish billionaire - and suspect in Eve's murder investigation. But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and it's up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about - except the addictive hunger of needing his touch.


Heros & Heartbreakers

Did you know that Macmillan launched a new website on Valentines Day? Heroes and Heartbreakers is a community website featuring daily content for serious fans of the romance genre in all of its forms.  Not everyone can understand the desire to argue for thirty minutes about Dain vs. Derek, to challenge the casting for the latest Jane Austen movie, or to debate whether the True Blood love triangle worked better on paper or on TV.

Heroes and Heartbreakers understands the woot! and the squee! of all of that.  Add in the original short stories and excerpts from upcoming romance novels, and it’s like a romance enthusiast’s paradise (the kind with extremely attractive men bringing you umbrella drinks).

Like their science fiction/fantasy sister site, Tor.com, they are publisher-neutral in their selection of books, authors and materials for coverage and discussion. They don’t play favorites because they think a real romance community site should be all-inclusive.  

I'm so excited about teaming up with them to discuss my thoughts about romance in the Urban Fantasy, Paranormal and Sci-Fi books that I love. My first article talks all about something new I'm seeing {and loving} called "Dark Romance".  Please stop by and say hi.


Review: First Grave on the Right

Darynda Jones
Urban Fantasy
320 pages
Charlie Davidson #1
Chapter 1
St. Martins Press

Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “"go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.  


Coming Up...

I've decided to move this segment to Monday mornings instead of Sundays because of a couple reasons. A)I forget to post them b/c Sundays are basically lounge day at this house and it'll be 1 in the afternoon and I'll think "Crap I forgot to write that up" and 2) I think I have a better shot at you guys actually seeing it if I post it on a weekday ... you guys are super quiet on the weekend. Hope this works better for us both. 


I Double-Dog Dare You...

This month's DARE is courtesy of my friend Kristin at MyBookishWays. Kristin chose Every Dead Thing by John Connolly, and she says:

John Connelly's novels are very dark noir, with a hint of the supernatural, and are more firmly in the suspense genre than anything else. I thought it might be an interesting change from paranormal or urban fantasy. Plus, he's one of my absolute favorite authors, and I never hesitate to pimp him.

Kristin, I accept! 

(This is actually the UK cover, but it kinda scares the shit of me, so I'm using it.)

E V E R Y   D E A D   T H I N G

Winner of the Shamus Award for Best First Novel, 1999

An L.A. Times Book of the Year, 1999

Haunted by the unsolved slayings of his wife and young daughter, and tormented by his sense of guilt, former NYPD detective Charlie Parker is a man consumed by violence, regret and the desire for revenge. But when his ex-partner asks him to track down a missing girl, Parker embarks on an odyssey that is to lead him to the heart of organized crime; to an old black woman who dwells by a Louisiana swamp and hears the voices of the dead; to cellars of torture and murder; and to a serial killer unlike any other, an artist who uses the human body as his canvas and takes faces as his prize, the killer known only as the Traveling Man.


Behind The Pen: with 1/2 of Cat Adams (+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...

I've read and loved the Blood Singer series by Cat Adams. The series is filled with vibrant characters and un-guessable plots. So naturally I began to wonder "Who are these brilliant writers?"  "What are they like?" I was thrilled when they agreed to answer my questionnaire. 


Review: Demon Song

Cat Adams
Urban Fantasy
382 pages
Blood Singer #3
Chapter 1

In a world where magic is real and the supernatural is almost normal, bodyguard Celia Graves has survived a vampire attack which made her a half-vampire and awakened her latent Siren abilities. She’s battled a Siren Queen to the death and twice faced down a demon that wants to kill her--slowly. She’s also had her heart broken--twice--by her old flame, magician Bruno DeLuca.

Perhaps the worst thing was the discovery that Celia’s life has been warped by a curse laid on her during childhood--the cause of everything from the death of her little sister to the murder of her best friend the same night that Celia became an Abomination.

An ancient rift between the demonic dimension and our own--sealed during the destruction of Atlantis--begins to open, threatening to loose all the demons of hell on humanity (including the one personally bent on destroying Celia). Celia’s hellish recent experiences have given her the unique combination of abilities needed to close the rift. But to overcome the curse, which nearly guarantees her failure, she’ll need to join forces with people she no longer trusts...and put people she has come to care about directly in harm’s way.


Winner Winner

Thanks again to everyone who stopped by to check out the Jaye Wells interview that Kristin and I did.  The winner of Green-Eyed Demon is

Melissa (Books and Things)

Congrats Melissa! I just know you're going to enjoy it as much as I did! Email me when you have a sec.  thespinecracker (at) gmail (got) com

*Winner was chosen using Random.org

Review: Nightshade

Michelle Rowen
352 pages
Nightshade #1
Chapters 1&2
Berkley Sensation

Jillian Conrad never believed in vampires-until she was unwillingly injected with a serum that was supposed to act as a deadly poison to them. Now, tormented half-vampire Declan Reese wants her blood to destroy the undead kingdom. Unfortunately, the serum has also made her blood irresistible to all vampires-including Declan, whose desire for Jillian is more than mere hunger.