Future paranormal release excerpts and giveaway winner

It’s Lent and my Catholic guilt definitely extends to my recent abandonment of my blog, so despite the 60 hour work weeks and lack of a personal life I’m forcing myself to write ONE post a week. And this one is full of good news, well at least for 2 people: a lucky winner from my giveaway….and for me as I found some excerpts of upcoming series releases I’m highly anticipating!

First things first, from www.random.org/ the winner of Jill Marie Landis’ new book Heart of Stone is…


Congrats, lady, please email me your snail mail address!

So…moving on from an inspy-Christian-Western-historical-romance to vampires, telepaths, boarding school, Russia, psychics, shapeshifting Changelings and futuristic worlds is an odd segue, but no one can argue that my reading tastes aren’t eclectic! 

Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series totally grew on me (i have a half written blog about how the first book REALLY didn’t work for me but i already had the second from the library and it was a 3 day weekend so I read it for the heck of it anyway and i’m SO GLAD i did, Rose Hathaway is so fabulously cool *ahem* i should really finish writing that blog post huh? i def have a lot to say ) ANWAYS I’m very excited for the release of the fifth book in the series Spirit Bound this May. Check out the summary below and you can find the excerpt here. I’ve already read it 4 times in anticipation! (obviously this is all slightly spoiler-y if you haven’t read the previous books!)

Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong…

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s—and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can’t wait for their real lives beyond the Academy’s iron gates to begin. But Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri, and he’s out there, somewhere.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and she knows in her heart that he is hunting her. And if Rose won’t join him, he won’t rest until he’s silenced her…forever.

Cue the *DUN DUN DUNNNN* music!


Secondly, I’m still going strong with the Sookie Stackhouse series, but if her romantic life doesn’t get straightened out soon…well I can’t say I’ll be looking forward to the books quite as much. I am just not a love triangle-unresolved-romance type of reader. It repels me like lemon juice does to fairies *fist-bump to other Sookie lovers for that inside joke*

Book 10, Dead in the Family is released May 4th. As an Eric+Sookie fan I highly enjoyed the excerpt but also really hope that we learn more about Sookie’s cousin’s secret baby who is also a telepath and he was totally skipped over in the last book! Summary below:

After enduring torture and the loss of loved ones during the brief but deadly Faery War, Sookie Stackhouse is hurt and she’s angry. Just about the only bright spot in her life is the love she thinks she feels for vampire Eric Northman. But he’s under scrutiny by the new Vampire King because of their relationship. And as the political implications of the Shifters coming out are beginning to be felt, Sookie’s connection to the Shreveport pack draws her into the debate. Worst of all, though the door to Faery has been closed, there are still some Fae on the human side-and one of them is angry at Sookie. Very, very angry…

I think that calls for more DUN DUN DUNNN music, these saummaries really don’t mess around with leaving you on the edge!


Last but DEFINITELY not least is *tamping my squeeing fangirl side down* Nalini Singh’s July 2010 release Bonds of Justice, 8th in her Psy/Changeling series. Now I have to be totally honest that after reading the first 7 books in the series I noticed a personal proclivity towards the books with at least one Changeling as part of the couple, and the 6th book with TWO changeling’s finding true love? *fanning self* well no WONDER Branded by Fire was one of my top reads in 2009!

But Bonds of Justice follows a character from a previous book, Max who’s in Enforcement and has slightly more psychic skills than other average humans, and a new type of Psy, a J-Psy (j for judicial? something?), who’s working with him on a case.

Totally spoiler free (this series is a slow-buildup with different H/H each book so there are rarely spoilers) summary below and excerpt here.

Max Shannon is a good cop, one of the best in New York Enforcement. Born with a natural shield that protects him against Psy mental invasions, he knows he has little chance of advancement within the Psy- dominated power structure. The last case he expects to be assigned to is that of a murderer targeting a Psy Councilor’s closest advisors. And the last woman he expects to compel him in the most sensual of ways is a Psy on the verge of catastrophic mental fracture.

I just love finding excerpts, it makes the wait for the next release just a teensy bit easier to bear. What about you, do you like reading excerpts months before a book comes out, or is it more frustrating or too spoilerish?


Heart of Stone, by Jill Marie Landis GIVEAWAY and review

  • Title: Heart of Stone
  • Author: Jill Marie Landis (author website here)
  • Published: March, 2010
  • Pages: 312 pages (trade paperback)
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Standalone or series: The first her new Irish Angel series. The next one, Heart of Lies, doesn’t have a release date just yet that I could find.
  • Why I read it: The publisher contacted me, and I remembered seeing it on KB’s future releases post so I thought I’d give it a try!
  • Source: Publisher – one copy for me and one copy for YOU to win!

She had the darkest of pasts. And he had everything to lose by loving her. Laura Foster, free from the bondage of an unspeakable childhood, has struggled to make a new life for herself. Now the owner of an elegant boardinghouse in Glory, Texas, she is known as a wealthy, respectable widow. But Laura never forgets that she is always just one step ahead of her past. When Reverend Brand McCormick comes calling, Laura does all she can to discourage him as a suitor. She knows that if her past were discovered, Brand’s reputation would be ruined. But it’s not only Laura’s past that threatens to bring Brand down—it’s also his own. When a stranger in town threatens to reveal too many secrets, Laura is faced with a heartbreaking choice: Should she leave Glory forever and save Brand’s future? Or is it worth risking his name—and her heart—by telling him the truth?

Before I even cracked the cover I did a little research because I had a feeling Heart of Stone was more of an “inspirational” or “Christian” romance novel and I had never read one before. I just wanted to make sure I had the right expectations going into the reading, because no one likes to pick up a glass of pop thinking its a Diet Coke and really it’s root beer. You know what I mean? I was interested to find the answer right on Ms. Landis’ website where she shared, “In recent years, as market demands turned to tales of vampires, erotica, and hotter, sexier historical romances, I turned to writing Inspirational Western Romances… I truly feel like I’m back in the saddle again, working on stories that are a joy to write. The two books I’ve just completed…are very much like my early Western, Americana historical romances. These new books are chock full of memorable characters, the emotion my readers have come to expect, page turning plots, and the requisite happy ending. They are also books that can be savored and shared by mothers, grandmothers and teens alike.”

After finishing Heart of Stone I agree wholeheartedly! I’m so glad to dip my toes in this new-to-me sub genre, it was indeed a nice break from some of my more usual, lusty and action packed, reading affairs. Heart of Stone was sweet, but still serious; heart-warming with a side of heart-wrenching angst; Christian, but not preachy.

The best part for me was the heroine, Laura Foster, previously known as Lovie Lamonte. She was complex, intriguing, a bookworm (!), and goes through such character growth, I loved being in her head.

Sailing away from the Potato Famine didn’t stop her parents from passing away as soon as Lovie and her three younger sisters settled in the poor district of New Orleans. Her horrible uncle immediately sold 11 year-old Lovie and one of her sisters into prostitution where they were separated on their first night. The story opens about 20 years later, Lovie made enough money to escape that life and is now living a as respectable widow Foster but has never stopped searching for her sisters. She has an unshakably sad view of herself – although she has built a new life for herself she sees it all as false and hasn’t forgiven herself or truly moved on from her past that was, of course, in no way her fault.

Told from both her and Brand’s point of view we get an idea from the very beginning of how rigidly Laura holds herself apart from people, and how she thinks of herself. On page 31 Brand starts to make his interest in her known:

The answer to Brand’s question [to call on her] was simple: his intent might be innocent, but she was not. He was a preacher, she was a whore. If he knew attending Sunday services was simply a part of her new persona and had nothing to do with faith, he wouldn’t be asking at all.

Laura is so harsh on herself, but as we learn more about Brand’s empathy, forgiving nature, that he’s also made big mistakes, and his views on faith we start to see that her assumption of him could be very wrong.

Another thing I love is when the characters really show us, really explain what attracts them to the other. Especially in a situation like Brand’s and Laura’s where the book starts with them already knowing each other and him already attracted to her. On pg 73 he’s thinking about what draws him to her,

Granted, Laura was lovely, but there was something more, something haunting about her. He’d noticed the first Sunday she walked into church. Since then he’d found there was so much more to her than her lovely countenance. There was a wistful sadness about her despite her strength…Her isolation made him want to introduce her to another way of life – a life full of love, laughter, and family.

He doesn’t want to “save” her in any sense, but love her, and bring her the joy he knows she’s missing.

I felt the “inspirational/Christian” part was more a background theme due to Brand’s position as Reverend, and Laura coming to forgive herself and find peace from her past life. The characters did not sleep together at all, there was a teensy bit of kissing, and a little lustful thinking, but it was implied that the rest was all being saved for after they got married. At some points I felt it was a little overt, Brand kept saying it was God’s plan and that He brought them together and when Laura runs away to spare Brand’s reputation she just happens to meet someone who recommends she read the Bible and later she finds a copy and thinks it’s a “sign.” The only other thing that didn’t 100% work for me was that I wasn’t really sold that an entire town (minus one family) would be totally accepting of Laura’s past and even Brand’s secret that comes to light.

I’m very pleased with my first foray into this sub-genre, but the strong and interesting Heroine and detailed setting in post Civil War Texas were my favorite parts and will have me coming back for more Jill Marie Landis!

I am happy to be able to give away ONE COPY of Heart of Stone to a lucky commenter! Please leave a comment on this post to be entered the drawing. This giveaway will end Sunday, March 21st at midnight.

Phoning it in Vol II

Still super busy at work, and STILL READING THE SAME BOOK FOR THE PAST 7 DAYS! Yes, all caps was necessary there, it hasn’t taken me 7 days to read one book in donkey’s years (especially one under 350 pgs!).

But here are some things going on that were too long for me to talk about in Twitter (yes, ive been on a lot recently even though i havent been blogging or blog hopping) so this is a bit longer than my last phoning it in post.


I’m all about diverse ways to enjoy the wonderful city we live in, but can’t believe I only just found out about the lecture series at The Smithsonian! I found it while looking for upcoming speaking events  with Greg Mortenson as I’m so moved while currently reading his first book Three Cups of Tea. (I may or may not have gotten very teary eyed and covered in goosebumps several times while reading it on the metro this morning). He’s coming to one of these Smithsonian events, but it was all sold out so I decided to look at a few of the others. It’s so funny because it’s so diverse! They have Laura Bush one week, then How To Write a Romance novel with Kathleen Gilles Seidel another week, directly followed by “Rome’s Deadliest Enemy: The Life and Legend of Mithradates (here is the list I was looking at).

Then I followed the NSFW link on the Smart Bitches today about waxing and bedazzling your vajayjay (vajazzling trend alert!), and they have a DC location called STRIPPERS! (i googled “strippers dc” to see if i could find a link, but gave up right away. you can imagine why ;)

I’m nothing if not open minded, so doesn’t morning at a Smithsonian lecture followed by a vajazzling session sound like a nice way to spend a Saturday in our nation’s capital?


Conversation with hubby during the Oscars…

Hubby: Wow, that girl, Zoe or whatever, got a lot darker, I guess she’s been tanning?

Me: Ummm, she’s always looked like that. I had such a crush on her in Center Stage.

Hubby: No I just saw her on a episode of The Office, she looked way less black.

Me: *puzzled face, trying to figure out what he’s talking about*

Me: *eureka face combined with outright laughter* Oh my God! That is a totally different person! Rashida Jones!


What is with people having NO MANNERS today? I feel like I’m watching society disintegrate before my eyes. Hubby and I went to the Rangers/Capitals ice hocky game on Saturday night and took the metro. It was pretty empty, only about 10 people in our car, one of whom was a 20-something girl playing a very loud video game on her phone with no headphones. The couple in front of her turned around and started an all out shouting match about turning it down/off. The last few lines of the argument were the best (or worst depending on your POV):

Video game: *doodle-doo dying noise*

Angry woman: *sarcastic voice* Oh that’s too bad, sounds like you lost. Will you shut up now?

Video game girl: I’m gonna spit in ya face!

Angry woman: I’d like to see you try!

Hubby and I: Thank God our stop is next!

Then during the national anthem at the game, right in the first few lines, the singer took a breath and during that brief second of quiet some jerk-Rangers-fan shouted “Let’s go Rangers!” to which some equally jerkish person responded “Shut the fuck up, douchebag!” I mean COME ON this is the NATIONAL ANTHEM.

Don’t even get me started on Kanye setting a trend for rudeness on stage. That lady at the Oscars made me boiling mad, regardless of her reasons, she still interrupted him (during the acceptance speech for Best Short Documentary) and was totally ungracious. Video here.

I know I sound like an 80-year-old cranky lady, but especially living in the city I feel like I see rude, rushing, selfish people all day.


I promised hubby I would get some good housecleaning done while he was away during the day on Saturday. He came back hours later to see nothing cleaned and me wielding a dust-rag at empty bookshelves and piles of books cluttering up the whole room. We had a slight disagreement about whether rearranging bookshelves counted as cleaning. I mean I was dusting the books AND the shelves, and they looked much prettier once all the books of the same height and all my series were together!

So that is what’s up with me! I’m vowing I will finish Three Cups of Tea tonight. Too many books on my TBR are calling my name, and I even have 2 overdue library books that I’ve yet to read!

February 2010 Reading List and a personal rant

I’m not the best guess-timater. Like sometimes when I’m putting statistics together at work it’s not until I get to the very end and I see the result, that I go, “Really?! I didn’t think it would be that high!” Or I pick a mixing bowl out and it’s only when I’ve already added 95% of the ingredients that I realize it’s way too small and they won’t all fit.

That’s what happened with this months reading list, as I typed them up yesterday I was totally shocked at how many books I read in February.

I expected it to be half as much and that’s where the personal rant comes in. I’ve worked 11 hour days or more at my recruiting job for the past 3 weeks. I haven’t cooked dinner in 3 weeks and I haven’t been home before 9pm in 3 weeks. The 2 hour commute each day definitely helped with my reading during that time, but overall it’s been a tough three weeks!

 Hubby is convinced I’ll get fired if I ever talk about my job on here (I did slip one TMI post about crazy candidates and employees by him!) but I’m totally overwhelmed. As much as I love my job, love being all nosey and doing interviews, making job offers, filling positions with the *right* person who I totally picked and making managers happy here, and just networking and making connections with people, I’m definitely suffering with all these 55-60 hour work weeks.

And there isn’t an end in sight, we used to have two recruiters in my office, but due to the economy our hiring slowed down and when the other one left for grad school last year they decided not to replace her. Now things are picking up again BIG TIME. All the positions that were put on hold in 2008-2009 were all approved at once at the beginning of this year and my head is about to explode just looking at the numbers that I am singlehandedly supposed to hire all by myself in the next few months.

Right now we are in the middle of our Spring on campus recruiting with information sessions, presentations, career fairs and interviews at 25 different schools. I coordinate it all and travel to some.

*heaving huge sigh* I just had to vent a little. Because not only are hubby, the mutt, and my TBR getting neglected but so is this here little lusty reading blog. And if I have a choice between reading a book, or blogging or blog hopping I will totally read a book.

So that is why I haven’t been around much, won’t be in the future, but still have a pretty respectable February reading list: 9 books total, made up of 1 YA fantasy, 1 contemporary horror/fantasy, 1 contemp romance, 5 historical romance, and 1 paranormal.

February 2010

  1. Leviathan, Scott Westerfield A-
  2. Don’t Tempt Me, Loretta Chase, B+
  3. Prince Charming, Julie Garwood B+ (possibly unfair weighted or curved grade as it was one of the first romances I ever read and holds fond old skool memories)
  4. The Lost Lord, Mary Joe Putney B
  5. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, Laruen Willig B
  6. Blue Eyed Devil, Lisa Kleypas B- (Her contemporaries just really don’t work nearly as well for me as her historicals.)
  7. Love Letters from a Duke, Elizabeth Boyle B-
  8. Succubus Blues, Richelle Mead C+
  9. Under the Dome, Stephen King DNF

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Leviathan

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Published: October 2009

Pages: 448 pages (hardcover)

Genre: YA Fantasy

Standalone or series: The first and only published book in a new series. The next one, Behemoth, will be out in October 2010.

Why I read it: Oh the Book Smugglers of course *grinning* who else? (Their awesome review is here)

Source: The library

First things first, I have no knowledge of this “steampunk” business but thoroughly enjoyed this adventurous tale of two teens from opposing nations on the precipice of war. I loved the story and the language. It certainly wouldn’t be the same without the steampunk elements, but in terms of my reading preferences I could take it or leave it. Just personally I don’t get all excited about imaginative machinery possibilities or fabricated animals.

It was definitely cool, but other people will geek out over steampunk way more than me. I was more all about the adventure, action, and the heart of the story. Two teenagers destined for great things during war-time! Ahhhh the classic YA fantasy set up :)

And the heroine is disguised as a boy to stow away in the British (air) Navy! *closing eyes in bliss* I just love those spunky disguised heroines!

The language piece of this world building was so awesome with made up phrases, expressions, machines and animals such as the Monkey Luddites vs Darwinsits, fabricated animals vs Clankers, and I’m trying to introduce “barking” into my vocabulary, as in “you’re barking mad, hubby!”

While (supposing I was part of this world) ethically I’d be fine with fabricated animals made from spliced, combined, and twisted DNA strands, I definitely sympathised with some of the Monkey Luddites’ reactions to the “fabs” where I got a little nauseous at the descriptions of dogs with 6 legs, flying on the tentacles of a giant hydrogen filled octopus, and walking through the inside of a flying whale with skin, bones, and mucus all around you.

This was my best read in all of February coming in at an A-, and my first time reading anything by Mr. Westerfeld. I will absolutely be picking up the next installment in this series (from the library at the very least, the $20 price tag is a bit steep!) and am excited to read more about Prince Aleksandar and Airman (girl) Deryn Sharp.