Tuesday, May 29, 2012

On Research--that thing I do

Some people may think I'm obsessive. Or Obsessive/Compulsive, to put a clinical moniker on it. I'm not, not diagnosed anyway. But I totally, completely, and thoroughly LOVE researching. Not that icky Biology, Chemistry, science-y stuff, but the live in the library, get a pile of books, find a quiet place, read until you are blind and then dig into the Internet and read some more type of research. I LIVE to do that.  I could probably spend the rest of my life happily living in a dark set of book stacks in a library if I had to. If the world ended, I would be like that guy in the old Twilight Zone episode (1959): "Time Enough At Last" where Burgess Meredith finds himself alone with his books after a nuclear war (but I would avoid the ending--if you have not seen this one, go get the NetFlix and just watch it, it's good). I love books, reading, and especially research.

I love microfilm, microfiche, vertical files, archives, and everything else connected with the science of research. I find it relaxing. No kidding.

So, here's what I spent my Memorial Day, four-day weekend doing. Working on my novel. I found myself deep in the one place I never expected to find information on the stuff I'm working on. Ancestry.com. Yeah, the genealogical site. Turns out that you can research a town, find a block you want to put a story, you can find the neighbors (if it's before 1930) and you can get names for characters. Oh yeah. Fun reads. And, when you find something you want to read up on, hit the search engines (and not just Google, hit the more minor ones, you find all sorts of stuff stuck in corners that the Google people put way down on the bottom of the million+ hits they put up by the "sponsors". Hit the libraries on the college campuses from your computer and get book information. Sometimes, if the book is old enough or new enough, you can find it online in it's total glory. Yes, you CAN read books online for free. Project Gutenberg is one of those places. A lot of universities are also scanning books in the public domain and in their archive sections. It rocks for researching things.

Newspapers are another thing to go look for. Most libraries have periodical sections. Do you need to know what types of cars were out in the era you're working on? Go look at magazines. What do you need for a steampunk? You need to find things that will be changeable into a Victorian era story. Go look through the newspapers for ideas of crime in London, Paris, or Rome. Or New York. Find those items they sell in the newspapers on sale days and figure out how to "punk them" into something else. Go look at Popular Mechanics, which started publication in 1902. Popular Science was founded in 1872. You can get the librarian to find old magazines for you and she can help you dig them up.

How do you organize all this wonderful research you're digging up? What do you do with the great stuff you are finding?

THAT is a blog for another time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Preview- Gena Showalter's Angels of the Dark

This is coming up in July and I LOVE her Lords of the Underworld series. The angels show up in those and I fell in love with them then. Now they have their own series. Check out this preview, and then, if you have not read the Lords series, go get it and read. Then, start the Angels series when it comes out. I HIGHLY recommend it, I love them.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Guardian by Gillian Joy

Hannah inherits the role of Guardian from her mother when she is burned as a witch in Salem in the 1600’s. The Guardian keeps the Crudelitas, those supernatural beings in the human world like vampires, werewolves, witches, warlocks, and the like, from harming the humans or each other. Wielding great power, she is able to kill with energy alone, talk from great distances into someone’s head, and project herself into a familiar place from a distance. 

But she can also give her heart to someone, experience loss by death, and frustration. She has those who love her enough to follow her, wait for her, and to die for her. She fights her feelings for two of the Crudelitas, believing she should never be with them in love. Will she ever find someone that will fulfill that spot for her?

Meantime, the one who ordered her mother’s death is still alive after 300 years, there is chaos brewing in the Crudelitas society, and someone is looking for her to kill her. She doesn’t have long to find who is behind all of the trouble before she believes she will die and the next Guardian will take over.

I really loved this book. Gillian Joy has given The Guardian a lot of plot twists and turns, several changes to the story and it kept me guessing how she was going to end it. She really packed in the surprises, I would think I had her story figured out and then “Surprise!” she would have Hannah or one of the other characters do something that would completely change what I thought would happen. While Hannah has a love life, it wasn’t graphic so the book is suitable for teens as well as adults who want a great story. And the next in the series, Forever, is out so you have the chance to keep going on Hannah’s adventure.

5 Stars: a wonderful read, good for adults and teens both.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Eternal Kiss of Darkness special ebook edition

Oh boy. If you've never read Jeaniene Frost's yummy vampires, she's giving you a SWEET chance to pick up the first of the Night Huntress World books at a great price AND get the first three chapters of the newest of the World novels, Once Burned, at the same time. I LOVE this series and I cannot wait for Once Burned to get here.

Here's the site with the info: http://jeanienefrost.com/2012/05/eternal-kiss-of-darkness-special-ebook-edition-and-contest/

Go, what are you waiting for, an engraved invitation???

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Marta Szemik-Two Halves and Marked: A Two Halves Novella

Two Halves by Marta Szemik
Marked: A Two Halves Novella by Marta Szemik

Marta Szemik’s Two Halves centers around Sarah, the adult child a vampire father she has never met and a human mother who died soon after giving birth to her when the hungry baby vampire bit her mother and she bled to death. Raised by her aunt, she has fought the vampire side of her physiology with serums made from orchids. She blames her father for the fact that she had the vampire’s traits that made her kill her mother. 

She is friends with Xander and Mira, a brother and sister that have been in her life in their little town since she was small. They have grown up together and she and Mira share secrets and stories like most friends do. Xander sometimes looks at Sarah with eyes of a young male regarding a good looking young female. 

William is Sarah’s balance. His mother is human, his father a vampire. William was raised as a vampire by his parents and taught the skills he would need as he grew. He also grew to know he would eventually meet up with Sarah and they would have a very specific destiny, one that would place both of them in great danger and on a collision course with some of the most powerful beings of the underworld.

Sarah dreamed of William, nightmares and erotic dreams both. One of the nightmares awakens her senses and starts to show her a future of fear, demons with glowing orange eyes, burning buildings, and other things. And then she meets the man of her dreams, William, who tells her they have to run, that the demons are after her. And as much as she is drawn to him, they cannot come together because each time they try; they are electrocuted by a strange force within their bodies. So they have to try to work together while wanting to be more than friends. 

Two Halves was a very good tale of vampires, shape shifters, witches, warlocks, demons and conspiracies planned and conducted. William and Sarah are very loveable and the plight of their love and not being able to be together is very well done. Her descriptions of places was so clear, I could see it in my mind without a problem. The story flows well from Sarah to the shape shifters and back again, between the underworld and the forces lined against them. The characters are well imagined and well defined; I was actually caring what happened to them. 

Two Halves is marketed as a Young Adult book and I can see that teens and young adults would like the book. But it’s not restricted to just the youth, anyone who likes a good fantasy story with a lot of imagination.

Marked: A Two Halves Novella

I picked up this novella after I read Two Halves because I wanted to see what more was being told about the characters. This one is about Xander, the shape shifter who is the friend of Sarah. The story is really a prequel to Two Halves, telling the story of Xander and Xela, the witch. Unlike witches, who are given their destiny at birth with the mark of either the sphere of underworld or the water mark of the good keepers of the main beings (humans, vampires, and warlocks), shape shifters are marked when they make their decision on their path. 

Xander is anxious to make his decision, he is very tempted to follow Xela into the underworld because he has come to love her. But his twin, Mira, is in love with Eric, a man who has a watermark and who knows they have to make their own decision. Xander wants to make his twin happy but he also wants to be with Xela, who promises him her love, her body, and to help rule, all he has to do to gain the sphere like hers is kill. 

I wish I had read this one first because it would have made Two Halves a bit clearer. Yes, the novel will stand along without the novella but the story of Xander, Mira, Eric, and the others in Marked actually set the events of the novel up and explain some of the story in a way that make things a lot clearer. I would love to see Marked added to Two Halves in subsequent printings of the novel because it is so much a part of it.

Review written for GoodReads Read 2 Review

My Long Review of Lover Reborn by JR Ward

The review I posted earlier was the one I did just after the book came out. I promised I would wait to write a longer review until the book had been out awhile to give everyone a chance to discover it on their own without a reviewer bias. Here's the longer review. I've not changed my mind...I LOVE this book.

JR Ward has surpassed herself with Lover Reborn. Tohrment is still mourning his beloved wife, his shellan, Wellsie and their unborn child. He has been living at the mansion with the other brothers but he is a thin, broken shadow of the vampire he was, he has not come back to the leader he was and has not moved forward from what happened. He is stuck, being in the world of the living but living as one of the dead. His only real living is in death, in going after and killing the Lessers, the enemies of their people, those who killed his beloved. That is the only thing he does with any life, any feeling. And that feeling is revenge, vengeance, as if killing enough of them would bring his beloved back to him. 

And he fears sleep. He is seeing her in his dreams but she is not happily in the Fade with their son, she is trapped in a cold world between life and afterlife, calling out to him to save her, breaking his heart again and again. He does not know what it is or what to do. He goes to Lassiter, the fallen angel who found him and brought him back, who tells him that he must give Wellsie up, learn to love again so that she is released to go on to the Fade where she belongs.

And that is the one thing that Tohr has sworn he can never do. He has sworn to mourn her forever. And by that oath, he has doomed her, their son, and possibly them all.

Unknown to Tohr, there is one female housed in the mansion with the strength, the knowledge, and the love to be able to free all of them, someone who has been seen but really unseen all this time by her own history and pain. When they come together, unexpectedly, they clash and fight the inevitable as they both seek to find their way through their pain.

All the while, there is a new group of soldiers, lead by Xcor, seek to get rid of the king, Wrath, and the Brotherhood and take over. John-Matthew and Xhex are trying to make their mating work, and living apart trying to figure out how to fight together and still live together. The rest of the cast of characters weave in and out of what is probably the best of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books to date. 

There are the usual Lessers to be hunted, Glymera to be pacified, new characters come to challenge the status quo in Caldwell NY in over the one year of this 600 pages of pure action and emotion. The book had been looked forward to by the multitudes of Black Dagger fans world wide for a whole year and JR Ward did not disappoint. 

I found myself laughing, screaming at the characters; ok, screaming at Tohr more than once; having to put the book down and walk away to think, sit up until all hours of the night reading, and, in the end, I probably went through a box of tissues and scared the beejees out of my dog as I cried and howled in pain in sympathy. I don’t remember ever crying as hard as I did in Lover Reborn.

It's a 5-star roller-coaster of a ride but one that will have you wanting to re-read it almost immediately. And we already have a promise that the next one, a whole year from now, is the story of Qhuinn and Blaylock! I can hardly wait! I adore the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Charlayne Elizabeth Denney, Tigris Reviewer