Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tantalize - Book Giveaway

How would you like to win a copy of Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith? If you haven’t already met Quincie Morris and enjoyed an evening at Sanguini’s, now’s your chance!

Candlewick Press has been kind enough to share two beautiful hardcover copies to give away. From now until midnight October 31st stop by and tell us what your plans are for Halloween for a chance to win. To double your odds, share the title and author of your favorite paranormal read. Be sure to check back on November 1st for the winners!

Be sure to scroll down to learn more about Ms. Leitich Smith and Tantalize!

Happy Halloween!

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Interview - Cynthia Leitich Smith

Darque Reviews welcomes Cynthia Leitich Smith:

Hi Cynthia! Thank you for sharing your time with Darque Reviews. We’re looking forward to getting to know you, and learning more about your current and upcoming books.

CLS: Thanks so much! It's an honor to talk to you.

To begin, can you tell us how long you’ve been writing, and when you knew that getting published was a goal you planned to pursue?

CLS: I majored in news/editorial and public relations at the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas and continued on to complete a J.D. at the University of Michigan Law School. My intent was to become either a reporter covering the courts or a media law professor.

As much as I enjoyed my legal studies, the language of the law was a tad ponderous. As a reader, I returned to youth literature for clarity and poetry and humor.

Shortly after graduation, I decided to write for kids and teens. That was twelve years ago.

My first children's book was Jingle Dancer (Morrow/HarperCollins, 2000). I've since published three more books for children, and Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007) is my first novel for the upper-level young adult audience, though I've previously published short stories for teens.

Your most recent young adult story, Tantalize, published by Candlewick Press is just fabulous. Can you tell us where you got the idea for this story?

CLS: During college, I worked as a waitress, and the idea of a restaurant as a stage—thematic décor and menu, staff in costume/uniform, mood music and lighting—intrigued me. I knew I wanted to write a novel with that backdrop.

More recently, I'd decided to write the kind of book I enjoyed most as a reader, Gothic fantasy. To prepare myself, I revisited the classics, including Bram Stoker's Dracula. I took note that Stoker, who was Irish, had cast a Texan, Quincey Morris, as one of Van Helsing's original vampire hunters.

That inspired me to bring the mythology "home" in a sense to Austin. I crafted my own Quincie (with a gender flip) and decided that her family restaurant would be my central setting.

Tantalize has been so well received by teens and adults alike, will you be continuing the story of Quincie Morris with a sequel?

CLS: My next novel, tentatively titled Eternal, will be set in the same universe but feature different characters. However, I am interested in revisiting Quincie and pals thereafter. These would be companion books rather than a more linear series format.

Can you tell us what you’re working on now?

CLS: I'm working on a revision for Eternal and short stories for two different YA anthologies, one to be published by Candlewick and another to be published by Little, Brown. I also have a gothic graphic (comic-book format) novel in the works.

Do you work on multiple projects, or is it easier to work on one at a time?

CLS: I don't tend to work on two novels at once, but I can work on a prose novel and a shorter or very different project like a picture book or short story. Novels require a fair amount of cooling between drafts (or while waiting to hear from an editor), so that in-between time is well suited to picking up another manuscript.

Writing with a younger audience in mind, is it difficult for you to write the steamier scenes?

CLS: I focus on the story and let the character tell it in his or her voice. Young adults are a sophisticated audience. Most teens are already reading books marketed to grown-ups, too, and our readership includes college students and twenty-somethings.

That said, books in the YA category tend to have a strong moral center, perhaps even more so in fantasy, and we're (or at least I'm) still hovering within the PG13 range.

Much of your previous writing utilizes your Native American background, was it more difficult to write without that influence in Tantalize?

CLS: When I began writing, I took the typical advice: write what you know. For me that meant stories of small-town people from the mid-to-southwest, including Native families.

As I've grown as I writer, I've begun to branch out and take more chances. Like Quincie, I live in Austin and have a history of working in a restaurant and am independent and ambitious. So, a lot of me can be found in her story, too.

What genre do you enjoy reading most, and is more of your reading for pleasure or for research?

CLS: Gothic fantasy, followed by contemporary realistic fiction.

Most of my reading is for pleasure and to "keep up" with the industry, though I adore research (and tend to overdo it).

In addition, I run a large youth literature resource site (www.cynthialeitichsmith.com) and popular youth literature-related blogs, so I'm always looking for new titles and voices to highlight.

Quincie has some very unique friends and acquaintances in Tantalize. If you had the ability to turn into any one of them, which would you choose, and why?

CLS: I don't know that they're friends exactly, but I'd choose the werecat. I have four bossy felines of my own, and just once I'd like to show them how cool of a kitty I could be.

Before we say goodbye, is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

CLS: I'm having delicious heaps of fun writing spooky stories, and it's a thrill to have entered the vibrant horror fiction community.

Thanks so much for joining us, it’s been a pleasure. :)

CLS: Thank you!

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Please visit Cynthia Leitich Smith’s website, here:

Cynthia’s blogs can be found here:

Visit Candlewick Press, here:

Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Cynthia Leitich Smith
Candlewick Press
February 13, 2007
ISBN# 978-0-7636-2791-1

After the death of her parents, Quincie Morris grew up fast. Still a teen attending high school, she and her Uncle Davidson run the family restaurant that Quincie has inherited. In order to survive and compete with other local restaurants, they’ve just finished having it renovated. The new restaurant, Sanguini’s, will have a menu and atmosphere geared towards vampires.

Their brilliant new plan suddenly takes a dangerous turn when Vaggio, the chef and long-time family friend, meets with a tragic end. Mourning his loss, and just weeks away from Sanguini’s opening, Quincie and Davidson set out to find a new chef and train him to play a believable vampire. Not an easy task, but once Quincie puts her mind to it she’s not about to back down. By the time she’s done with Bradley, the flirty new chef, he’ll be the most convincing vampire ever.

Quincie’s best friend, Kieren, is leaving soon, because his werewolf side needs to find a pack. When Kieren becomes a suspect in Vaggio’s murder, Quincie’s life begins to spin out of control. She’s loved Kieren for years, but now she has to face the fact that the beast within him could very well have done the deed. With Uncle Davidson preoccupied with his vampire wannabe girlfriend, Quincie turns to Bradley for friendship. In a moment of clarity, she’ll realize that life as she knew it no longer exists and there may be no turning back now.

Tantalize is an enchanting paranormal romance. Quincie leads a complicated life for a young woman, and her support system of friends and family is rapidly dwindling. Through it all her heart is with Kieren, the half-werewolf of her dreams, even when her trust in him falters. With an intriguing murder mystery to capture the reader’s attention, Ms. Leitich Smith fuels her captivating tale with a heavy paranormal influence and a sweet first time love. The action flows from the start and doesn’t let-up before the shocking end. Without a doubt, this is a creative story you won’t want to miss, and an author that both teens and adults will be hoping to see more from in the near future.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Unmanned by Lois Greiman

Lois Greiman
Bantam Dell
October 30, 2007
ISBN# 978-0-440-24362-5

Psychologist Christina McMullen thinks she’s living a cautious life until a handsome stranger shows up at her door and is shot before her eyes. Lieutenant Jack Rivera is soon by her side, but that won’t stop the bullets from flying. Rivera’s investigation shows that the deceased, Will Swanson, had a list of aliases and a record that went with it. He could easily have enemies of his own, but they can’t be sure who the intended target was.

When Christina’s brother, Pete, shows up for a visit, things take a turn for the worse. Pete’s wedding is quickly approaching, and his pregnant fiancée has no idea the trouble he’s in. It seems that Pete has upset a few people along the way, and the hit that someone is so intent on completing could just as easily be aimed at him. Christina sets out to help Pete clean up his mess of a life, starting with a large gambling debt, but the danger continues to show up at every turn. If they don’t discover the cause of the trouble soon, there may not be a wedding.

Unmanned is non-stop action and suspense. McMullen and Rivera can’t catch a break when it comes to having a relationship, but that doesn’t stop them from trying. Someone seems to want the doctor dead, and Rivera’s doing his best to prevent that from happening. Ms. Greiman spices up this entertaining and amazingly fast-moving suspense with witty banter and enough sexual tension to scorch the pages. A mystery with plenty of suspects to keep even the cleverest of readers guessing to the end.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Monday, October 29, 2007

On the Loose by Tara Janzen

On the Loose
Tara Janzen
Dell – The Bantam Dell Publishing Group
October 30, 2007
ISBN# 978-0-440-24384-7

Rydell was convinced that Irena Polchenko died six years ago, but seeing is believing, and now he’s quite sure that he was wrong. C. Smith Rydell is a Special Defense Force operative on assignment when he’s pulled out of his current situation to baby sit Honey York. His job is to keep her safe while on tour, which wouldn’t turn half so crazy if Honey didn’t have a mission of her own. One that’s foolish enough to cost both of their lives.

Honey York has already met her escort, just a few months ago when Rydell saved her life. Now she’s going back with a smuggled delivery and she’s heading to the Campos Plantation in El Salvador to make it. Alejandro Campos may not be the most upstanding citizen, but he’s the right guy to go to without getting in any deeper with the guerillas.

Honey’s sister, Julia, isn’t far from their destination, and one way or another she plans to get her away from the deadly guerilla leader, Diego Garcia, and out of the country as well. Getting away with their lives won’t be an easy task, but with Irena hot on their trail to end Rydell’s life, their odds just got worse. Their forty-eight hours are counting down.

On the Loose is the start of a spin-off from the Crazy series. C. Smith Rydell and Honoria York-Lytton are forced to team-up on a mission to make a delivery, retrieve information, and grab Honey’s sister on the way out. They just have to stay alive long enough to do it. The tension builds as Ms. Tanzen pens a tantalizing tale of dangerous adventure, and steamy romance. On the Loose is a fast-moving suspense that keeps readers wondering who will survive to walk away.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Friday, October 26, 2007

Disconnection by Erin Samiloglu

Erin Samiloglu
Medallion Press
June 2005
ISBN# 978-1932815-24-5

For Sela Warren, an evening out at the Black Kitchen begins a spiral into a dark and dangerous place. With a murderer on the loose, New Orleans has become a dangerous place to be, especially for a young woman out alone. When her friend, Mandy, bails on her, but leaves her phone behind, Sela grabs it for her absent minded friend. The phone rings, and Sela thinking it’s Mandy, she answers it. The caller is actually Chloe Applegate, the most recent victim of the Fishhook killer.

Sure that what’s happening can’t possibly be real, and not wanting to deal with it, Sela does her best to get rid of the phone and stop the confusing calls from a woman who should be dead. Soon Sela’s involved in the murder investigation, and Detective Kline thinks she knows more about Chloe’s murder than she’s letting on. As life becomes more dangerous, not even her new love interest, Dean, can be trusted, and Sela finds herself in a fight to stay alive.

Disconnection is a murder mystery that slides into a chilling horror. Sela is a young woman with some larger issues than most, but when faced with helping a deceased woman she’s pushed beyond anything she dreamed possible to endure. Ms. Samiloglu pens a twisted tale of supernatural evil with new romance, a touch of racism, and a group of religious zealots to stir up the conflict. A Fast-moving story, with plenty of action, suspense, and violence to keep fans entertained.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Lick of Frost by Laurell K. Hamilton

A Lick of Frost
Meredith Gentry, Book 6
Laurell K. Hamilton
Ballantine Books – Random House
October 23, 2007
ISBN# 978-0-345-49590-7

Meredith Gentry is a half-human, half-faerie heir to the Unseelie throne. Queen Andais, has demanded that her son, Prince Cel, and niece, Princess Meredith, compete for the honor of being heir. The one who conceives a child first will rule the Unseelie court. Unlike most of the faerie population, Merry with her mixed background is still human enough that any assassination attempts could easily leave her dead. With the protection of her Aunt’s appointed guard and consorts, Merry and her men have left their life at the Unseelie court and returned to Los Angeles to stay alive and continue the race to conceive.

When several of her guards find themselves wrongfully accused of a crime against one of the Seelie, Merry finds herself up against a lifelong enemy. The political fallout from her adversary is bound to send shockwaves through all of faerie, and Merry suddenly finds herself in a position she never thought possible.

A Lick of Frost is the sixth book in the Meredith Gentry series. Merry’s quest to secure the Unseelie throne advances by leaps and bounds as she fights to survive another day. Secret plots, dangerous adventure and sizzling romance pave the way in Ms. Hamilton’s well-drawn and faerie filled world. The many twists and turns will entertain with a touch of wild magic and leave fans eagerly awaiting more in this extraordinary series.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Monday, October 22, 2007

Foundling by D. M. Cornish

Monster Blood Tattoo, Book 1
D. M. Cornish
Speak – Penguin Group USA
September 6, 2007
ISBN# 978-0-14-240913-8

Being forced to endure a name that causes him endless grief, Rossamünd Bookchild hasn’t let unpleasant introductions dissuade him from his goals in life. His days at Madam Opera’s Estimable Marine Society for Foundling Boys and Girls have come to an end when a Mister Sebastipole offers Rossamünd a job as a lamplighter. Having been provided with the paperwork he’ll need, Rossamünd must prepare himself to make this journey on his own.

With his meager belongings in tow, Rossamünd sets out to reach High Vesting where he’s agreed to report for his new job. His journey has a rocky start when he boards the wrong vessel and learns his first of many dangerous lessons. Taking an opportunity to escape, he continues his trek on foot until meeting Europe, a monster-fighter, and her box-faced driver, Licurius. More danger filled adventure follows Rossamünd as he travels the Half-Continent to his destination. A lamplighter’s life could prove to be not nearly as dull as Rossamünd may have once feared.

Foundling is the first book in the Monster Blood Tattoo trilogy. Written to suit young adults, Rossamünd’s travels will also entertain adults who enjoy an adventurous coming of age tale. Splendidly detailed and illustrated with monsters of all shapes and sizes, D. M. Cornish pens the brave journey of a young man with little worldly experience. This is a well-built fantasy full of action and suspense. The story ends with a fabulous glossary, maps and additional illustrations that further enhance the experience and encourages readers to return for the next of Rossamünd’s adventures.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Plans for Halloween?

Any special plans for Halloween? In between taking the kids trick or treating, giving out candy to all of the neighborhood ghosts and goblins, and generally eating enough candy to last through the year….be sure to stop here at Darque Reviews for a special treat. With many thanks to Candlewick Press, I have two lovely hardcover copies of Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith to giveaway. On October 31st I’ll have a review posted, an interview with Ms. Leitich Smith, and two chances for you to win a copy of her young adult/dark fantasy romance, Tantalize. In the meantime, here’s the blurb to whet your appetite:




Quincie Morris has never felt more alone. Her parents are dead, and her hybrid-werewolf first love is threatening to embark on a rite of passage that will separate them forever. Then, as she and her uncle are about to unveil their hot vampire-themed restaurant, a brutal murder leaves them scrambling for a chef. Can Quincie transform their new hire into a culinary Dark Lord before opening night? Can he wow the crowd in his fake fangs, cheap cape, and red contact lenses -- or is there more to this earnest face than meets the eye? As human and preternatural forces clash, a deadly love triangle forms, and the line between predator and prey begins to blur. Who’s playing whom? And how long can Quincie play along before she loses everything? TANTALIZE marks Cynthia Leitich Smith’s delicious debut as a preeminent author of dark fantasy.

Are you predator or prey?

Tempting, right?
You can visit Cynthia Leitich Smith at her website, here:
Visit Candlewick Press, here:

Friday, October 19, 2007

An Interview with Lilith Saintcrow

Hi Ms. Saintcrow! Thanks so much for taking the time from what must be a very busy schedule to spend it with Darque Reviews. We’re looking forward to getting to know more about you, your future writing plans, and your Dante Valentine series.

LS: Thanks for having me.

To start things off, can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and what influenced you to choose it as a profession?

LS: I've been writing ever since fifth grade, I think. I entered a novelette in a fiction contest and won second prize. I suppose I did it just to see if I could; and there was also the thing I think every nascent writer goes through: finishing a book that is somehow unsatisfactory, and thinking "Gee, I could make that end better, I know I can." So before you know any better, you set out to do so...and the bug has bitten. As for choosing it as a profession, it didn't quite happen like that. I've been many things in my life--bank teller, insurance company slave, bookstore manager/clerk, massage therapist, etc. I wrote all through that, every day, just because I couldn't stop. When we moved to Vancouver before my son was born I didn't want to rebuild my massage therapy business from scratch, so I was just knocking around and decided, well, I've had this book ( smoke, now published as Anna Beguine) written for a couple years, why don't I revise it and see if it's any good? That started a long process of learning about rejection, again and again, sort of feeling my way around and submitting the manuscript several places. Finally Linda Kichline at ImaJinn Books took a look at the book and, while it wasn't quite for her, was very game about it. So I wrote her a book to spec (Dark Watcher, first of the Watcher series.) At that point I fully expected more rejection, but instead Linda came back with a list of revisions that would have to be done if I wanted the book published. I thought, "This can't be happening" and wrote back, "Sure, that sounds reasonable." And she offered me a four-book contract.So I had a very circuitous route to getting published, and with each book since then I've thought, "This can't be happening. Lightning can't strike twice." I never set out to be a professional writer; I didn't even think it was possible. It just wasn't on my radar, writing was more of an embarrassing personal habit I never told anyone about. Taking the plunge and sending the manuscript out was one of the scariest things I've ever done.

Writing a book from beginning to end is a long process that you’ve been through many times now. Do you still enjoy writing as much as you did when you published your first book?

LS: Oh, absolutely. Maybe "enjoy" isn't the word. I am helpless to stop writing. If I don't write during the day I feel unsettled and unsatisfied and restless at night. The fact that I have deadlines and a outlet for the books is new and heartstopping, and each time I finish a book I have a sort of snapback elastic reaction to that much sustained mental and creative effort brought to fruition. When I write, though, I feel very much as if I am doing what I was designed and built for--the way a cheetah, I imagine, feels when it's running. Or a racecar feels on the track. There's a sense of speed and of doing what I was made for that is, quite frankly, one of the best feelings in the world.

The fourth book in your Dante Valentine series, Saint City Sinners, will be released by Orbit Books in November and the fifth book, To Hell and Back, in January 2008. I’ve read that this will wrap up this series. Do you feel that everything you wanted for Dante has been realized?

LS: It's funny, if one of the main characters in the first book hadn't utterly disregarded my plans for him the series would have been only three books long. But as soon as the demon Japhrimel grew wings and fell in love, I knew what the entire series was going to be. I knew what each book involved and where the story was going, I even knew the ending line of the fifth book. I don't know if everything I wanted for Dante has been realized. Part of being a writer is seeing your work in print and thinking, "my God, I could have done better." If you don't look at something you wrote six months ago and see how it could be made better, you're not growing as a writer. So there's a certain amount of dissatisfaction once a book is finished and past the page proofs. There are certain things I would have done differently, but by and large I feel I did what the series needed. I think it's a good bit of work, and I'm proud of it.

Can you tell us what you’re working on now, and do you have plans for a new series?

LS: Well, right now I'm working on the third book of a new series. Orbit Books bought the first two books in the Jill Kismet series, about a modern-day exorcist/hunter--when things go bump in the night, Jill bumps back. Hard. The first two books, Night Shift and Hunter's Prayer, are due out in the next two years and I'm working on the third, tentatively titled Redemption Alley. Kismet is a much harder-edged character than Dante, and a little bit more of a whole person, which is a challenge to write.Fans of the Steelflower series will be happy to know I'm also working on Steelflower's Song, the second book in the series.

Do you work on more than one project at a time?

LS: I usually flip between two or three books while I'm working--a main project that's taking up most of my time, a book that's near completion and bubbling along, and sometimes a third work-in-progress that I'm just "noodling" with for my own personal enjoyment. I can't settle down to one book at a time, it feels too much like work.

Who are some of your favorite authors, and have your tastes in reading changed since you became an author yourself?

LS: My all-time favorite author is Tanith Lee. I think she's just amazing; every time I read something of hers I'm just blown away by the sheer craft she puts into everything. I'm also a big fan of history--I reread Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire constantly. I also am a big Stephen King fan, and I reread Jane Eyre and Sleeping With The Enemy at least once a year. They're my comfort books.My taste in reading has changed a little in the past five years. I give a book ten pages and if it doesn't hook me, I'm gone. I'm reading a lot for craft now, to peer under the hood and see how other authors solved some of the intrinsic problems of the written form. I read less for pleasure nowadays--but when I do get a book that makes me forget to look under the hood, what pleasure! Recently I read Chelsea Cain's HeartSick, and I was pleasantly surprised; I didn't look "under the hood" once.

When your writing schedule and family life allows for some free time just for you, what do you like to do with that time?

LS: Read. Seriously, that's what I do. I also go for walks or bike rides; physical activity helps keep everything going smoothly. I like going to see films, I love to knit, and I've recently taken up baking. But I rarely have free time just for me. When I do get it, I generally end up curling up somewhere and reading something I don't have to think too much about. I suppose it's the mental form of comfort food.

If you could live anywhere you chose without any pesky obstacles to stop you, where would it be, and why?

LS: Paris. I need at least six months to go through the Louvre, five years to get to know the Biblio, and the food's good, not to mention the history everywhere in the city and the fact that one can get almost anywhere in Europe by starting out there. I'd visit Rome but I wouldn't stay; I'd take a trip through Italy. Come to think of it, I also wouldn't mind living in Hawaii. I need to learn to surf before I die, it's on my list. And I like the idea of a slower pace for a few years.And while I'm dreaming, I suppose I wouldn't mind spending a couple years in Japan. But given my druthers, I think I'd love living in Paris.

Before we go, do you have any last thoughts you’d like to share with your readers?

LS: Just that I am grateful for the chance to tell stories and floored every day that people seem to like them. That's the best gift I could hope for, and I get it every day from my readers. Thank you so much!

It’s been a pleasure. Thanks again for sharing your time and giving us a little peak into the life of Lilith Saintcrow.

LS: Thanks for having me. I've enjoyed being here.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Be sure to stop by and visit Lilith Saintcrow’s website at:
You can find out when her books will be released at:

Saint City Sinners by Lilith Saintcrow

Saint City Sinners
Dante Valentine, Book 4
Lilith Saintcrow
Orbit – Hachette Book Group USA
November 1, 2007
ISBN# 978-0-316-02143-2

Dante and Japhrimel continue their hunt for demons as they’ve been forced by Lucifer to agree to. Though Japh is a Fallen, he has been granted his demon powers for their task, and as his hedaira, Dante has been given a portion of those powers to draw on as well. When Dante receives a message from her old friend Gabe, she heads back home to Saint City and finds herself drawn into a murder investigation. Feeling the guilt of not telling Gabe that Japh was alive, Dante admits the truth and is stunned to learn that her friend has been keeping some big secrets herself. Secrets that some people would kill to keep hidden.

As Dante directs her energy towards finding a murderer, the attacks on her life continue and her relationship with Japh is further strained. She refuses to hunt Eve with the other demons, and as far as Lucifer is concerned Eve is at the top of his list. Japh has his own agenda, and whatever it is that he’s sneaking around to accomplish, he’s not sharing it with Dante.

Revenge is the fuel that pushes Dante along through her search for the killer, but her lack of food, sleep and Japh’s demon touch are beginning to slow her down. For someone in her position, a fraction too slow could mean the difference between life and death. The loyalty of those around her are now in question and the love that Japhrimel pledged when he became her Fallen is becoming a distant memory. If Dante doesn’t watch her step, Lucifer may just win at his own game.

Saint City Sinners is the fourth book in the Dante Valentine series. Dante’s days and nights are filled with promises to keep, jobs to be done and revenge to be fulfilled. Now, if she can just stay alive long enough to complete each of them she may finally get her life back, or maybe not. In a futuristic world filled with dangerous beings, Ms. Saintcrow skillfully adds another layer to her tale. The characters are rich in detail and the storyline continues on its own unique path of magical death and destruction. Readers will be eagerly awaiting the next book after the spine tingling ending in this installment. The final showdown is bound to be dark and deadly.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Host by Faith Hunter

Enclave Series, Book 3
Faith Hunter
ROC – Penguin Group (USA)
November 6, 2007
ISBN# 978-0-451-46173-5

Forced to leave her home in the New Orleans Enclave, Thorn St. Croix settled in for a new life in Mineral City. While not all of her neighbors are happy to find that she’s actually a neomage, the majority have accepted her and consider her their town mage. Thorn has protected the humans from the Darkness living under the Trine, but the Dragon won’t stay contained for long.

Cheran Jones is a metal mage that claims to have been sent to discuss the Flames and the prophecy proclaimed when Thorn and her twin, Rose, were born. It’s soon learned that there’s a whole lot more to Cheran and his plans than he reveals, and he could very well be a danger to Thorn and those she protects. Thorn is now taking on the role of Consulate General to whom Cheran has been sent to establish relation, forcing him to follow proper protocol or risk incident.

The Darkness has effectively trapped the town of Mineral City and a new battle rages in the war of Light and Darkness. Thorn may be the town’s best hope in combat, but she’ll need all of the help she can get if they have any hope of surviving.

Host is the third installment in the Enclave series. Thorn’s strengths, and the weaknesses for those she cares about, are put to the test as she battles the Darkness once again to save the town of Mineral City. In the setting of a post-apocalyptic world, Ms. Hunter pens an intense tale of the battle between good and evil. Not having read the first two books in this series I was pleasantly surprised to find that while there is so much going on, Ms. Hunter takes the time to provide detail on her characters and their relationship to Thorn, making it fairly easy to catch up. With fast paced action and the possibility of more romance, this is an enjoyable read with an alluring magical touch.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning

Fever Series, Book 2
Karen Marie Moning
Delacorte Press
October 16, 2007
ISBN# 978-0-385-33916-2

With the unsolved murder of her sister fueling her intentions, Mac flew to Dublin, Ireland to do some investigating of her own. Finding that she has the gift of being a sidhe-seer came as a surprise when Mac realized that the creatures she was seeing on the streets were not seen by the people around her. Then she met Jericho Barrons, a man who’s more than human but doesn’t appear to be one of the Fae, and her life became more dangerous. Barrons is seeking the Sinsar Dubh, one of the dark Hallow said to contain the deadliest of all magic. Mac’s talents enable her to sense not only the Fae, but their relics as well. A very handy talent for Barrons to keep around, and a good reason for him to ensure she stays alive.

As Mac continues to seek revenge on the Lord Master for her sister’s death, more of the Fae and their associates want a piece of her. V’lane, a Prince of the Seelie Court, is still searching for the right enticement to convince Mac to help him with his own search. Derek O’Bannion, is sure that Mac killed his brother Rocky and is now a double threat having become the Lord Master’s new right hand. Death seems to be stalking her each night, standing within his billowing robes and threatening her with a dark future of despair. Mac’s not a quitter and she’s prepared to fight against anything they throw her way. She won’t stop until she’s seen the Lord Master pay, or she’ll die trying.

Bloodfever is the second book in the Fever series. Mac is a passionate young woman, bound by her personal vows to see her sister’s death avenged and she has two men offering to protect her. Choosing the wrong man to trust could mean her life. With the magical influence of the Fae lending a strong layer of fantasy to her tale, Ms. Moning pens an action-filled adventure for her characters. Moving on at a slow, but even pace, the potentially explosive chemistry continues to build. A thrilling continuation of the Fever series that clearly leaves the story open for much more to come.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Gossamer Hall by Erin Samiloglu

Gossamer Hall
Erin Samiloglu
Medallion Press
October 1, 2007
ISBN# 978-1932815-89-4

As a young boy Juan Fuentes discovered he had a special talent. He could ‘make’ things with just a thought, a gift that disturbed his mother to the point that she sent Juan to live with his Nana. Ten years later he is grown, hiding his talent and attending Brookhaven College where he’s taking a night class with Dr. Killian Hastings, in Gossamer Hall. The professor is an expert on the nineteenth century murderers, Mack “Mad” Maron, and his cousins. He has something very special in mind for this evening’s class, but little does he know that things won’t go nearly as planned.

What Hastings wants from Juan is the map, because somehow he knows that Juan is capable of making it. What he gets instead is Mad Maron and his accomplices, all ready for a little retaliation for their deaths and willing to make sure that everyone inside Gossamer Hall pays the price. As the night wears on earth quakes begin toppling the building a section at a time, the students are trapped and the undead corpses of Maron and his henchmen begin picking them off one at a time.

Gossamer Hall is suspense filled horror. For Juan Fuentes and the others within Gossamer Hall, their night class is about to turn into a dark and deadly lesson. Ms. Samiloglu creates a nightmarish combination of greed and the darker side of paranormal for her characters, and adds a bit of romance to soften the harshness of death. This is a fast paced horror that has a number of surprises along the way. While there is of course violence, the blood and gore facet of the story was much less shocking than I had expected. The author relied on the past and present fears of her characters, and used it as a perfect tool to add detail and to keep readers firmly engaged. The story ends with a bizarre twist that will leave readers with even more to think about.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Wicked Lovely
Melissa Marr
Harper Collins - Teen
June 12, 2007
ISBN# 978-0-06-121465-3

Aislinn has grown up with many rules to live by, especially when it comes to the faeries living amongst them that most humans don’t see. Her grandmother has done all she can to protect her and to teach her every way to guard herself. For years Aislinn has been able to follow those simple rules, but now she’s being stalked by the very beings she has been taught to ignore. It seems that the Summer King is in desperate need of a Summer Queen and he thinks Aislinn is the one. Trouble is, he thought the girls before her were the one as well. She’s confided in Seth and he’s stayed by her side, but keeping him safe from the faeries is becoming increasingly difficult. If Aislinn doesn’t make a choice soon she could lose everyone she cares about, but there’s a greater danger if she doesn’t agree. The Winter Queen will continue her cruel reign of power and all living things will suffer.

Donia tried her luck decades ago and now she spends her days and nights as the winter girl, cold and isolated from the warmth of the Summer King. She still cares for him and when it comes to doing the job she agreed to do, her influence could be what changes life for the faeries.

Keenan, the Summer King, has been searching for his queen for nine centuries. Bound by their rules, he’s been stuck in this game with his mother, the Winter Queen, who’s made it difficult to find his queen and increase his power. While not easy to kill, it isn’t impossible and the Winter Queen knows that when Keenan rises in strength she’ll pay the price for her cruelty to everyone around her.

Wicked Lovely is a fabulous fantasy read. Aislinn is a teen trying to live a normal life and wants nothing to do with the faeries that’ve set their sights on her, least of all Keenan. Ms. Marr has penned a well-imagined tale with romance, adventure and many twists and turns to keep the reader riveted throughout. Creatively sweet and immensely seductive, this world of faeries is one that readers will be eager to visit again.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Holidays Are Hell - Anthology

Holidays Are Hell
Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Marjorie M. Liu & Vicki Pettersson
Harper Collins
November 1, 2007
ISBN# 978-0-06-123909-0

Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison: It’s the solstice and Rachel takes her brother, Robbie, up on a bet. If she wins she can join the I.S. with his support, if she loses she’ll go to the West coast with her brother and continue schooling. Things don’t quite go according to plan.

Run, Run, Rudolph by Lynsay Sands: Jill finds herself changed and pursued by a madman who wants to use her as a guinea pig. With Nick by her side, Jill will have to make use of her new abilities in order to escape the deranged scientist’s clutches and stop him from ever doing it again.

Six by Marjorie M. Liu: Six is an undercover government agent when she teams up with Joseph, a necromancer. Their separate goals become one and together they plan to stop the terrorist cell that has ties to vampires. Surviving unscathed may not be so easy.

The Harvest by Vicki Pettersson: Having already passed on her chi, Zoe returns to the zodiac agents of Light as a mortal. Surprised and wary of her arrival, they allow her to explain. She needs their help to save innocent lives from the Tulpa and the zodiac Shadows. Zoe knows that their only chance of success is as a team.

Holidays Are Hell is an anthology of four entertaining urban fantasy tales that are a fun visit with favorite characters, and the chance to meet new ones. Fast action, dangerous adventure, a touch of humor and some steamy romance make it well worth the read. If you’re already a fan of any of the series that are represented you’ll love getting the back-history on these characters, and if you’re new to them it’s a wonderful place to start.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Missing by Sarah Langan

The Missing
Sarah Langan
Harper Collins
September 25, 2007
ISBN# 978-0-06-087291-5

In the peaceful town of Corpus Christi, Maine, things are about to change. Lois Larkin takes her fourth-grade class on a field trip to the neighboring town of Bedford to observe an ecological disaster. In the spring, a fire in the paper mill had destroyed Bedford, and the woods that surrounded it began to die. On their way back to the school Lois realizes that they’ve left a boy behind, and a search party begins looking for James Walker.

While in the forest, James has unleashed a virus that systematically changes the people it touches into ravenous, zombie-like creatures who are next to impossible to stop. As the town dwindles in life and is outnumbered by the flesh-eating remains of the former population, a handful of survivors take a stand. The nights are long and the darkness is hungry, only the craftiest will live to see another dawn.

The Missing is horror at its shocking best. Lois Larkin is about to take control of her future in a surprising way, and she’ll take Corpus Christi along for the cold dark ride. The bloodcurdling action, terrifying suspense and vivid characterization in Ms. Langan’s dark tale will leave readers uneasy come nightfall. Hair-raising, and like any nightmare it will linger long after you’ve reached the end.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Juno Books - Dancing With Werewolves Contest

You all know how I love this book, so click on over there and see if you can win!
See details below:

Juno Books (http://www.juno-books.com/) is celebrating Halloween and the release of DANCING WITH WEREWOLVES by Carole Nelson Douglas (http://juno-books.com/dancing_with_werewolves.html) with THE [Dancing With] WEREWOLVES QUIZ

Participant could win:
-- An Autographed copy of DANCING WITH WEREWOLVES by Carole Douglas
-- The Wolf Man: The Legacy Collection (DVDs of: The Wolf Man /
Werewolf of London / Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man / She-Wolf of
London) from The Universal Monster Legacy Collection Series
-- Stand in the Fire - a live album (recorded in 1981) by Warren
Zevon [remastered and recently re-released] featuring (what else)
"Werewolves of London"

All they need to do is provide the name of the book or story and the
author of the ten werewolvian literary excerpts and email the
answers to info@juno-books.com with the subject WEREWOLF CONTEST.
Deadline is October 30. Winners will be announced on Halloween.

A don't miss our ALBINO VAMPIRE COCKTAIL PAGE (http://juno-books.com/albino_vampire_cocktail.html
albino_vampire_cocktail.html) -- it's delicious.

You can also download a a PDF of The Dancing With Werewolves
Bookmark (http://juno-books.com/dww_bookmark.pdf) as well as one
(http://juno-books.com/blood_magic_bookmark.pdf) for BLOOD MAGIC by
Matt Cook ("http://juno-books.com/bloodmagic.html).

Taken by the Night by Kathryn Smith

Taken by the Night
Brotherhood of Blood, Book 3
Kathryn Smith
Avon Books – Harper Collins
November 1, 2007
ISBN# 978-0-06-124502-2

It’s been ten years since Jack the Ripper terrorized London, and the Maison Rouge has just lost two of it’s prostitutes to a murderer who’s killing women in a similar manner. The house is in mourning when Saint arrives to see Madeline, the Madam of Maison Rouge, and her daughter Ivy is determined to find the killer. Ivy has grown into a beautiful woman since the last time Saint saw her, and being raised to think that her father cast them aside has given her reason not to believe in love.

Saint is a centuries old vampire and able to gather information with little interference. Ivy wants the impossible, to be by his side for every step of the investigation. It’s not long before Saint fears that Ivy herself may be a target for the killer. The murdered women all have something in common, something Ivy is a part of as well, but finding the link that connects them isn’t quite as easy as they thought. As each day passes Saint grows closer to Ivy and finds his possessive nature emerging. That’s a dangerous place for Saint to be, but future plans will have to wait because they’re all in danger until the madman is apprehended.

Taken by the Night is the third installment in the Brotherhood of Blood series. Ivy has little reason to fall in love and tries desperately to hang on to her convictions, but Saint is no mere mortal and soon has Ivy’s carefully constructed walls crumbling. With a great blending of mystery and paranormal, Ms. Smith creates an intriguing historical romance full of dangerous action and sizzling passion. Taken by the Night can be read as a stand-alone story, but readers would most likely have the benefit of more character history by reading the previous books.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Last Noel by Heather Graham

The Last Noel
Heather Graham
Mira Books
November 1, 2007
ISBN# 978-0-7783-2525-3

It’s Christmas Eve and the O’Boyle family has gathered together for the holiday. A storm is raging outside when the doorbell rings, and not wanting anyone to freeze they answer the door. The realization that they’ve made a grave mistake comes when they find themselves held at gunpoint by the two men they’ve invited into their home. Their only hope is that Kat, the daughter who was out of the room and hid, can escape and get help. Until then, they’ll have to follow orders and bide their time as peacefully as they can, because these men have made it clear that they’ll shoot Skyler if her husband or family steps out of line.

Out in the freezing snow is a third man unconscious in the car that the armed men have crashed into a snow bank. In her desperate attempt to escape, Kat finds him there and the recognition shocks her. Craig Devon is someone she dated in college and though things ended badly, she can hardly believe her eyes. The storm is too fierce to survive in, and at Craig’s urging she retreats back into hiding. All the while Kat is hoping that an earlier attempt she made to contact the police made it through. Quick thinking may be the only thing that can save them now.

The Last Noel is a tension filled suspense. Hiding when the felons enter their home is the best Kat could do at the time, and now she’ll do anything she can to see her family safe; even if it means having to trust the man who broke her heart. Ms. Graham creates an intriguing psychological thriller that will keep readers in suspense until the last chapter is read. A well-penned and realistic storyline that makes it nearly impossible to set down.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Blood Magic by Matthew Cook

Blood Magic
Matthew Cook
Juno Books
September 1, 2007
ISBN# 978-0-8095-7200-7

After finding her twin sister murdered, Kirin leaves her life behind and soon joins the battle against the Mor. The vicious Mor are creatures who know nothing but death and destruction to every human they encounter, and for Kirin they’re helping to strengthen her ability to use blood magic. It’s difficult being a female in combat, but Jazen Tor becomes special to Kirin and during their time together she feels more than the vengeance coursing through her veins.

Often seen as an abomination for creating her sweetlings, the dead she raises to fight by her side, Kirin has little acceptance among the people she encounters. Then she meets Lia Cho, a powerful woman with a gift of her own, and for the first time has someone by her side who doesn’t view her as a monster. There will always be those like Brother Alto who see evil when they witness her blood magic, but Kirin will continue her fight against the Mor to live another day.

Blood Magic is dark fantasy that at times crosses the line into horror. Kirin has seen and caused more than her share of death and destruction, but the battle against the Mor rages on. Set in a fast pace of alternating timelines, Mr. Cook builds a strong world for his heroine’s dangerous journey and fills it with dark magic, fatal combat and just a touch of love to encourage hope. Compelling, dark and most certainly deserving of a sequel.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Vampire Shrink by Lynda Hilburn

The Vampire Shrink
Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist
Lynda Hilburn
Medallion Press, Inc.
October 1, 2007
ISBN# 978-1-933836-23-2

Kismet Knight is a Denver psychologist in her own quiet practice when life as she knows it takes a sharp turn. She’s not one to believe in things that go bump in the night, but by the time she finishes her first session with a teen named Midnight, Kismet is intrigued by the girl’s belief that vampires exist.

Meeting Devereux, an 800 year old vampire, is an experience all its own. Kismet can’t quite shake the feelings that bombard her when he’s near, but that alone won’t convince her that his existence is only possible through the ingestion of blood. Then a would be client shows up at her office nearly drained of blood and Kismet finds herself involved in one blood related nightmare after another.

FBI profiler Alan Stevens has been following the trail of a murderous vampire that has led him right to Denver, and to Kismet’s front door. Dedicated to finding the monster, Alan sticks close to Kismet as she becomes its next target. Alan’s obsession with finding the killer will keep him from staying in Denver, but before he leaves he’s going to make sure Kismet knows exactly where he stands.

The Vampire Shrink is the first book in the refreshing Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist series. Kismet lives her life blissfully unaware that vampires share her world until she meets Devereux, and now there’s no going back. Ms. Hilburn pens a deliciously sexy and easily believable vampire tale. Vivid characterization, a touch of mystery, and a ton of passion, make this alternate Denver a place that readers will be looking forward to visiting again.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

When Ghosts Speak - Hachette Group Sweepstakes

If you’ve ever thought you may be sharing your home with an earthbound spirit, now’s your chance to find out. Hachette Book Group is running a When Ghosts Speak Sweepstakes to win a one hour phone consultation with Mary Ann Winkowski, the author of When Ghosts Speak and consultant for Ghost Whisperer on CBS. Just click, or copy and past the web address below for the official rules and entry information: http://www.hachettebookgroupusa.com/contests/whenghostsspeak.html

I’ve recently had the pleasure of reviewing When Ghosts Speak and now have a whole new outlook on who may be taking up residence with us here at home. *shiver* Good luck in the sweepstakes! :)