Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Daughter of the Sword - Steve Bein

Daughter of the Sword by Steve Bein

Daughter of the Sword

Mariko Oshiro is not your average Tokyo cop. As the only female detective in the city’s most elite police unit, she has to fight for every ounce of respect, especially from her new boss. While she wants to track down a rumored cocaine shipment, he gives her the least promising case possible. But the case—the attempted theft of an old samurai sword—proves more dangerous than anyone on the force could have imagined.

The owner of the sword, Professor Yasuo Yamada, says it was crafted by the legendary Master Inazuma, a sword smith whose blades are rumored to have magical qualities. The man trying to steal it already owns another Inazuma—one whose deadly power eventually comes to control all who wield it. Or so says Yamada, and though he has studied swords and swordsmanship all his life, Mariko isn’t convinced.

But Mariko’s skepticism hardly matters. Her investigation has put her on a collision course with a curse centuries old and as bloodthirsty as ever. She is only the latest in a long line of warriors and soldiers to confront this power, and even the sword she learns to wield could turn against her. 

Editorial Reviews


"Steve Bein's Daughter of the Sword is a strikingly original saga blending contemporary thriller and historical fantasy. Enthralling ... A noir modern Tokyo overwhelmed by the shadows of Japanese history. The research is convincing, the touch light. A compelling multifaceted vision of a remarkable culture, and a great page-turner."--Stephen Baxter, author of Stone Spring
"A sharp and superb urban fantasy, Daughter of the Sword is the perfect melding of skillful prose, fascinating characters, and compelling story. Steve Bein effortlessly combines history and legend with a modern procedural in a book that will have you staying up late to finish it."--Diana Rowland, author of Sins of the Demon

"Steve Bein's Daughter of the Sword really captured my imagination. The interweaving of historical Japanese adventure and modern police procedural, Tokyo-style, caught me from two unexpected directions. A tight read, lots of great tension, and epic stakes."--Jay Lake, author of Green and Mainspring

About the Author

Steve Bein teaches Asian philosophy and Asian history at the State University of New York, Geneseo. He holds a PhD in philosophy and holds four degrees of black belt, having studied both philosophy and martial arts for about twenty years each. His short fiction has appeared in Asimov'sInterzone, and Writers of the FutureDaughter of the Sword is his first novel.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fury of Fire - Coreene Callahan

Review: Fury of Fire by Coreene Callahan

A clandestine race of half-dragon, half-humans known as dragon-shifters lives among us. Bastian, leader of the Nightfury dragon clan, is sworn to protect humankind at all costs. For him, honor and duty always come first. When the clan dictates he take a human mate to sire a son, he falters, aware that for a human to birth a dragon-shifter she must die. Myst, the woman given into his care, is the most extraordinary he's ever met, and though he can't bear the thought of harming her, he is bound by duty. Myst loves her life in the human world, but Bastian has captured her heart in an instant of electric connection. But Bastian and his warriors are in the middle of a deadly battle with the Razorback dragon-shifters, intent on killing every Nightfury clan member ? and the humans they protect ? the fate of their world and ours hangs in the balance.
Series: Dragonfury Book 1

I have read a great number of PNR books, but this was my first book with dragons! Yep, you heard me dragons! But not some ugly monsters, with large teeth and red eyes that breathe fire, Fury of Fire had some very beautiful dragons, the kind you would want to be rescued by, if you were locked in some filthy tower! In other words they were hot and definitely worth the read. Fury of Fire was a non-stop roller coaster ride of action, suspense, mystery, humor and sizzling romance! It was different and fun and I found myself hooked to its every word! An overall enjoyable read. 

I adored the characters in this book! They were so funny that I found myself laughing at every little joke they said! Humor is always a plus in a PNR book, especially with all the action-y stuff going on. The heroine, Myst, is one tough chick! She looses a patient, saves an unborn baby, gets taken by a dragon, has a bullseye on her back - but despite all that she still has enough energy left to spout off witty remarks. I loved her sense of humor! And I was very happy when she finally took that leap of faith with Bastian - I maybe be biased here, cause I really wanted that HEA - but  it took courage nonetheless and I admired Myst for that. As for Bastian, he was just pure sexy alpha male! I loved his protective instincts when it came to Myst and his sweet side was an added bonus. But when he gets jealous, Oh boy, *fans self* you will get weak in the knees! That's not to say, he didn't have flaws. He did, but that's what made him an enjoyable and real character. 

The romance in the book, is a puzzle to me. I was a little confused by the end of the book, as to how Bastian and Myst "truly" love each other. With the way the story progressed, the "I love you." at the end seemed rushed. So, I didn't really get that special feeling between the two characters. But other than that, Bastian and Myst's relationship was sweet and very hot.

The one major thing I had an issue with was Myst and her freak out session over being pregnant with Bastian’s child. I just thought it was odd and childish, especially considering she’s been having sex with the man for how long?? - you'd think it was at the very least a possibility. I got she was upset but crying, telling Bastian to stay away and then fleeing as if your life is in danger, was a little too much. And the worst thing, after she drives off, she realizes that Bastian was being "reasonable" and had good reason not to tell her about how she got pregnant!?? For a character that has a strong, humorous personality, this did not fit her. Ms. Callahan could have handled that situation a bit better.

There were also the other Nightfury clan members. Rikar, Wick, Venom and Sloan. Without a doubt, I gave my heart away to Wick. He was the silent bad boy, that every girl falls for and my favourite. I can’t wait for his story! I also liked Forge, an ex-bad guy and am looking forward to his story too! All the secondary characters were very enjoyable and they were a nice aspect to the story, overall. 

Thanks to Literary Love Affair

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Out of My Mind - Sharon Draper

The wonderful Sharon Draper visited us today to share her wisdom and love of books. Below is her latest novel.

Out of My Mind
Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory. Her head is like a video camera that is always recording. Always. And there’s no delete button. She’s the smartest kid in her whole school—but NO ONE knows it.

Most people—her teachers and doctors included—don’t think she’s capable of learning, and up until recently her school days consisted of listening to the same preschool-level alphabet lessons again and again and again. If only she could speak up, if only she could tell people what she thinks and knows. But she can’t. She can’t talk. She can’t walk. She can’t write.

Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind—that is, until she discovers something that will allow her to speak for the first time ever. At last Melody has a voice . . . but not everyone around her is ready to hear it.

From multiple Coretta Scott King Award winner Sharon M. Draper comes a story full of heartache and hope. Get ready to meet a girl whose voice you’ll never, ever forget.

1. Why did you choose to write a work about a disabled child?
What if you were brilliant but could not communicate? I've often wondered about what's really going on in the mind of a person who cannot share their thoughts. I have a pretty good idea, because I have a daughter who is disabled. I'm pretty sure she's really smart, but I'm her mom-of course I'd want to believe that. So I created Melody-not as a portrait of my daughter, but as a character who is truly her own being. Melody has spunk and determination, and a great sense of humor. She has dreams and hopes like we all do.

2. Do you think readers will feel sorry for Melody? What did you do to avoid that?
As I wrote the story, I was fiercely adamant that nobody feel sorry for Melody. So I tried very hard to make her unforgettable-someone you would never dare feel sorry for. Lots of people have worse difficulties in their lives. As readers embrace the story, I hope that they will cheer for her!

3. How do you think Melody's physical limitations affect her outlook on life? The way others see her?
Kids with disabilities are just like their peers. They want to be accepted, to have friends, to be included in the social life of the school. Melody understands the pain of being ignored and overlooked, and I've given her a voice to show her humanity. She represents all those young people, who have feelings as well as dreams. I wanted to give those kids, who are often treated as if they are invisible, a chance to be heard, to be seen as the individuals they are, not the machines they ride in, or the disability that defines them.

4. In Out of my Mind, you address a number of issues such as social bias against disabled individuals, medical difficulties, as well as physical obstacles like stairs and bathrooms and eating. How is Melody a representative of the world of the "differently-abled?"
I think Melody would not like being made the representative of any group. Melody yearns to be recognized and appreciated as an individual. I think that's the whole point of the novel. It's important to remember that each person who has to deal with the world differently is not a group, but a person--just one person, trying to do his or her best in a world that might be very difficult to navigate.

5. What kind of research did you do for this book?
The story of Melody is fictional, of course, but is based on the reality of thousands of intelligent children and adults who are trapped inside uncooperative bodies. I've read dozens of books on disabilities, worked with handicapped children at a local summer camp, and spent untold hours trying to unlock the secrets hidden in my own daughter's mind. When a fictional character is created, the author has the power to allow any dreams to be achieved, and to allow triumphs as well as tragedies to occur. This novel has been carefully edited it for accuracy of fact as well as sincerity of spirit.

6. Why is the character of Mrs. V important to the novel?
Everyone needs a mentor, a life coach, someone to champion them on to success. Mrs. V fills that role in the novel. Sometimes it's hard for parents to give their children everything that is needed in life. Mrs. V is that person who goes above and beyond what is required of her because she sees potential in Melody, and because she loves her. We all could use a Mrs. V in our lives.

7. What is the role of music in Out of my Mind and in Melody's life in particular? 
Melody can "hear" colors, and "taste" music. The artistic side of her shows a deep understanding of the necessary mingling of art and music to create words and images and ideas. Melody's love for music helps her, even soothes her when her life gets too overwhelming. Music gives her expression in a world where she is unable to express almost everything.

8. No racial description is given to any character in the novel. Why did you choose not to mention Melody's racial or cultural heritage?
Her race is not important. Melody's difficulties far supersede any racial or cultural problems she might encounter. She is purposely made generic because I wanted the reader to see her as a unique individual that could be anyone's child. Actually, when she first gets the Medi-Talker, and she discovers that it comes in many different languages, she realizes that children like her exist all over the world.

9. Melody's character in Out of my Mind is a survivor in spite of serious difficulties. What do you think readers can learn from Melody's life? What does the novel say about love?
I think Melody's strength comes from love. Even though she is frustrated, silenced, and unable to do the things she longs to do, she has an unbelievably positive spirit. Love gives her the strength to make it though each day, and to look forward to the future.

10. What statements do you make through the actions of the children at Melody's school? 
Melody simply wants a friend. She longs to be like the other kids at her school. She is overjoyed when it looks like Rose will be that friend. It hurts and angers her when kids like Claire and molly make fun of her. And it devastates her when she realizes she'd been left behind on purpose. I think the portrayal of the children, and the teachers in the story as well, give a realistic portrayal of the reality of how people treat the disabled in social situations. From the people in the mall, to the doctors who should know better, human beings are often unkind, sometimes rude, but occasionally just plain wonderful.

11. What would you like your young readers to get out of reading Out of my Mind?
I want them to say, "Wow! That was great! That book made me think, and it made me realize that all human beings are more alike than different. I never knew what is was like to be handicapped-I learned to think differently." I want them to embrace this novel and pass it along to their friends and their parents and teachers

12. What do you want readers to remember about kids like Melody?
Melody is a tribute to all the parents of disabled kids who struggle, to all those children who are misunderstood, to all those caregivers who help every step of the way. It's also written for people who look away, who pretend they don't see, or who don't know what to say when they encounter someone who faces life with obvious differences. Say hello!

13. What does this novel say about truth?
I think all great stories emerge from deep truths that rest within us. But the real truth of a story often can be found in places that not even the author has dared to explore. And sometimes readers can discover some truths about themselves as well. This novel speaks for those who cannot speak. It should remind us of the humanity in us all.
Out of My Mind
Hardback   $16.99
Paperback   $6.99
Chapter 1:
    I'm surrounded by thousands of words. Maybe millions.
    Cathedral. Mayonnaise. Pomegranate.
    Mississippi. Neapolitan. Hippopotamus.
    Silky. Terrifying. Iridescent.
    Tickle. Sneeze. Wish. Worry.

Words have always swirled around me like snowflakes--each one delicate and different, each one melting untouched in my hands.

Deep within me, words pile up in huge drifts. Mountains of phrases and sentences and connected ideas. Clever expressions. Jokes. Love songs.

From the time I was really little-maybe just a few months old--words were like sweet, liquid gifts, and I drank them like lemonade. I could almost taste them. They made my jumbled thoughts and feelings have substance. My parents have always blanketed me with conversation. They chattered and babbled. They verbalized and vocalized. My father sang to me. My mother whispered her strength into my ear.

Every word my parents spoke to me or about me I absorbed and kept and remembered. All of them.

I have no idea how I untangled the complicated process of words and thought, but it happened quickly and naturally. By the time I was two, all my memories had words, and all my words had meanings.

But only in my head.

I have never spoken one single word. I am almost eleven years old.

Divine Healing Hands - Master Sha - Amazon Top 3

Book Description

September 11, 2012
Humanity and Mother Earth are suffering.Divine Healing Hands are given in this special time.
Serve humanity. Serve Mother Earth.
Millions of people are suffering in their spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical bodies. Millions of people have challenges in their relationships and finances. Millions of people are searching for spiritual secrets, wisdom, knowledge, and practical techniques in order to fulfill their spiritual journeys.
For the first time, the Divine is giving his Divine Healing Hands to the masses. Divine Healing Hands carry divine healing power to heal and to transform relationships and finances. Dr. & Master Zhi Gang Sha is a chosen servant, vehicle, and channel of the Divine to offer Divine Healing Hands to the chosen ones. Master Sha has asked the Divine to download Divine Healing Hands to every copy of this book. Every reader can experience the amazing power of Divine Healing Hands directly.
In this tenth book of Master Sha’s bestselling Soul Power Series, readers will also be deeply moved by the many heart-touching stories of divine healing and transformation created by this divine treasure. To receive Divine Healing Hands is to serve humanity and the planet in this critical time. The purpose of life is to serve. Learn how you can receive Divine Healing Hands.
Answer the Divine’s calling. You can make a difference on a scale beyond comprehension and imagination.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Master Zhi Gang Sha is a soul leader, an extraordinary healer, and a divine servant. He was trained as a conventional medical doctor and a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine. The founder of the Institute of Soul Healing and Enlightenment and of the World Soul Healing, Peace and Enlightenment Movement, he is a grandmaster of many ancient disciplines, including tai chi, qi gong, feng shui and the I Ching. Master Sha is also an expert in the most advanced cellular healing science now occurring in China. In the West, he is involved in breakthrough research on the effects of spirit on the human system. Master Sha was named Qigong Master of the Year at the Fifth World Congress in Qigong. In 2006, he was granted the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission Award for his humanitarian efforts. His Soul Power Series reveals soul secrets, wisdom, knowledge, and practices to transform every aspect of life. Visit www.DrSha.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Divine Healing Hands: What, Why, and How
WHEN YOU READ any of my books you could realize that in every book, in every chapter, and in every teaching I always explain what, why, and how.
What? “What” is the concept. The concept must be clear and precise. Science, academics, business, and every part of life should have a clear and precise concept. Otherwise, readers and students will not grasp the meaning. To write a book is to share teachings and practices with readers. To give readers a very clear concept is the direction for all the teachings, secrets, wisdom, knowledge, and practical techniques I have shared in all of my books.
Why? “Why” means why do people need to learn this or practice this? It includes the power and significance of what I am teaching. This is service oriented. If I share a secret or some special wisdom, knowledge, or practical technique, or if I offer any kind of service, you must understand why I am doing it. Does this service benefit you? If there is no benefit, why do I need to share it? Why do you need to do it? Therefore, why is very important in all of my writings and teachings.
How? “How” refers to the method or technique to accomplish a goal. If I teach or offer any service, how do you do it? How can you carry out the methods and strategies? In my Soul Power Series the how includes practical techniques for healing, rejuvenation, and transformation of relationships and finances, as well as of every aspect of life. Techniques are very important. The Divine Forgiveness Practice is an example.
To teach or achieve anything in your life there are two parts: theory and practice. Theory and practice are yin and yang. Yin and yang are opposites but united. They complement one another. To accomplish anything you must include both yin and yang. You cannot accomplish your task or goal by using only yin or only yang.
I am extremely blessed that the Divine has chosen me as a servant, vehicle, and channel for humanity and the Divine. The Divine has given me the authority to offer permanent divine treasures to humanity. Divine treasures carry divine power to heal and transform all life, but recipients must practice in order to receive the benefits. This belongs to the how.
In summary, my teaching is based on what, why, and how. I teach da Tao zhi jian (pronounced dah dow jr jyen), which means the Big Way is extremely simple. The simplest wisdom and techniques are the best. Simple is powerful. I am the servant of humanity. I love simplicity.
Billions of people need healing.
Billions of people need transformation of relationships.
Billions of people need transformation of finances.
Billions of people need rejuvenation.
Billions of people need to purify their souls, hearts, minds, and bodies.
Billions of people need to increase their intelligence.
Billions of people need to open their hearts and souls.
Billions of people need to apply love, forgiveness, compassion, and light to transform themselves, humanity, Mother Earth, and all souls.
Billions of people need to join hearts and souls together to transform Mother Earth’s transition and to bring love, peace, and harmony to humanity, Mother Earth, and all universes.
Complexity cannot serve billions of people and all souls. Simplicity is the way to serve billions of people and all souls.
I am a servant of humanity and countless souls. Ever since I wrote my first book the Divine has guided me that simplicity is the key to service. What, why, and how is the way to write, teach, and serve every aspect of my life. What, why, and how is the way to serve every aspect of your life.
What Are Divine Healing Hands?
Divine Healing Hands are God’s soul hands. God creates his new soul hands and transmits them to the chosen ones through the service of a Divine Channel (one of my Worldwide Representatives or me). Chosen one means a person who has gone through the process of applying for, receiving approval by Divine Guidance, and registering to receive Divine Healing Hands.
The Divine chose me as a servant of humanity and the Divine in July 2003 and gave me the honor and authority to download or transmit permanent divine treasures to humanity. In 2011 about twenty of my Worldwide Representatives, who are also Divine Channels, received the honor and authority to download Divine Healing Hands. If you are not a Divine Channel, you cannot download Divine Healing Hands to others. To download Divine Healing Hands is an honor beyond words, comprehension, and imagination. Divine Channels are divine presence on Mother Earth. They are divine servants to represent the Divine to serve humanity, Mother Earth, and all souls.
The Divine Healing Hands treasure created by the Divine is hundreds of feet high and hundreds of feet wide. Once the Divine Healing Hands treasure is downloaded to a chosen one, it takes two or three days for the divine treasure to shrink to a condensed size, which is two or three times the size of the recipient’s hand.
After one receives Divine Healing Hands, the recipient receives proper training from a Divine Channel to become certified as a Divine Healing Hands Soul Healer.
When a Divine Healing Hands Soul Healer offers a soul healing blessing, the Divine Healing Hands treasure will come out from the Divine Healing Hands Soul Healer to serve the recipient. Divine Healing Hands Soul Healers can offer soul healing blessings in person and remotely. They can offer healing blessings one on one or to a group of people. There is no limit to the number of people who can receive soul healing blessings from Divine Healing Hands.
Why Do Divine Healing Hands Work?
Why does a person become sick? Sickness is due to soul mind body blockages.
Soul blockages are bad karma. Karma is the record of services from one’s previous lifetimes and this lifetime. Karma is divided into good karma and bad karma. Good karma is accumulated from one’s good service offered in all lifetimes, including love, care, compassion, sincerity, honesty, generosity, kindness, integrity, purity, and more.
Bad karma is accumulated from the mistakes one has made in all lifetimes, including killing, harming, taking advantage of others, cheating, stealing, lying, and more.
As I noted in the introduction, there is a karmic law in Heaven:
Good service brings rewards.
Bad service brings lessons.
This law applies to all souls in all universes. There is an ancient saying: Heaven is most fair. No good deed goes unnoticed. No bad deed goes unnoticed.
The Divine chose me as a servant of humanity and the Divine in July 2003. The Divine gave me the honor and authority to offer Divine Karma Cleansing and Divine Soul Mind Body Transplants to humanity.
What is Divine Karma Cleansing? Divine Karma Cleansing means the Divine offers divine forgiveness by paying one’s spiritual debt and clearing one’s bad karma.
When one has bad karma, one could learn lessons in any aspect of life, including health, relationships, finances, business, children, and more. There is only one way to self-clear bad karma: serve others unconditionally. To serve others is to make others happier and healthier. To serve unconditionally is to serve without asking for or expecting anything in return.
If one has heavy bad karma it could take thirty to fifty years of unconditional universal service in one lifetime to remove the bad karma and to be forgiven. It could take many lifetimes of unconditional universal service to remove one’s heavy bad karma.
Bad karma is spiritual debt. It must be paid. How is it paid? Normally it is paid by learning one’s karmic lessons—blockages in one’s health, relationships, finances, business, and any aspect of life. Divine Karma Cleansing means the Divine gives his virtue, which is spiritual currency, to pay one’s spiritual debt. This is divine generosity. If one has bad karma, there are dark blockages inside the body. When the Divine offers virtue, the darkness will leave the body. The darkness is the root cause of sickness, broken relationships, financial challenges, and more.
I and my more than twenty Worldwide Representatives, who, like me, are also divine servants, vehicles, and channels, have offered tens of thousands of Divine Karma Cleansings for humanity. We have received thousands of heart-touching and moving soul healing stories and soul healing miracles from Divine Karma Cleansing. In the last three years, nearly one thousand heart-touching and moving stories have been video recorded and posted on my YouTube channel, YouTube.com/zhigangsha. I encourage you to view some of them. In addition, you will read stories related to Divine Healing Hands throughout this book. Divine Healing Hands blessings can remove bad karma little by little.
In one sentence:
To clear soul blockages is to remove the darkness inside the body.
The second cause of sickness is mind blockages, which include negative mind-sets, negative beliefs, negative attitudes, ego, attachments, and more. Millions of people have all types of mind blockages.
The third cause of sickness is body blockages, which are energy and matter blockages.
In ancient spiritual teaching a human being has three internal treasures: jing qi shen. Jing is matter. Qi (pronounced chee) is vital energy or life force. Shen is soul.
Jing qi shen is soul, mind, and body. To remove soul mind body blockages is to remove blockages in jing qi shen. Soul mind body and jing qi shen are different ways to express the same thing. “Jing qi shen” is the ancient term. “Soul mind body” is the new term for the Soul Light Era.
Why do Divine Healing Hands work? In one sentence: <...

Ever since a near-death-experience on the operating table, seventeen-year-old Arianne Wilson can see dead people. Just as she’s learned to accept her new-found talents, she discovers that the boy she’s had a crush on since freshman year, Niko Clark, is a Reaper.

At last they have something in common, but that doesn’t mean life is getting any easier. All while facing merciless bullying from the most powerful girl in school, Arianne’s world is turned upside down after Niko accidentally reaps the soul of someone she loves. This sends them both into a spiral that threatens to end Arianne’s life. But will Niko break his own Reaper’s code to save her? And what would the consequences be if he did?

Reaping Me Softly scheduled to release October 30, 2012. Right before my favorite holiday in the whole wide world. So mark your calendars now!

Make Reaping Me Softly your Halloween read!

Thanks to Kate's blog for the review


Monday, September 10, 2012

The Mark of Athena - Rick Riordan

Book Description

October 2, 2012 10 and upHeroes of Olympus (Book 3)
In The Son of Neptune, Percy, Hazel, and Frank met in Camp Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Camp Halfblood, and traveled to the land beyond the gods to complete a dangerous quest. The third book in the Heroes of Olympus series will unite them with Jason, Piper, and Leo. But they number only six--who will complete the Prophecy of Seven?

The Greek and Roman demigods will have to cooperate in order to defeat the giants released by the Earth Mother, Gaea. Then they will have to sail together to the ancient land to find the Doors of Death. What exactly are the Doors of Death? Much of the prophecy remains a mystery. . . .
With old friends and new friends joining forces, a marvelous ship, fearsome foes, and an exotic setting, The Mark of Athena promises to be another unforgettable adventure by master storyteller Rick Riordan.

Annabeth is terrified. Just when she’s about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon masthead, Leo’s fantastical creation doesn’t appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.

And that’s only one of her worries. In her pocket Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving demand: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close— the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?

Annabeth’s biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he’s now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader, but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brain by her side.

Narrated by four different demigods, The Mark of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices, and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare. . . .

In The Son of Neptune, Percy, Hazel, and Frank met in Camp Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Camp Halfblood, and traveled to the land beyond the gods to complete a dangerous quest. The third book in the Heroes of Olympus series will unite them with Jason, Piper, and Leo. But they number only six--who will complete the Prophecy of Seven?

The Greek and Roman demigods will have to cooperate in order to defeat the giants released by the Earth Mother, Gaea. Then they will have to sail together to the ancient land to find the Doors of Death. What exactly are the Doors of Death? Much of the prophesy remains a mystery. . . . With old friends and new friends joining forces, a marvelous ship, fearsome foes, and an exotic setting, The Mark of Athena promises to be another unforgettable adventure by master storyteller Rick Riordan.

More About the Author


Rick Riordan is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the Kane Chronicles, and the Heroes of Olympus. He is also the author of the multi-award-winning Tres Navarre mystery series for adults.

For fifteen years, Rick taught English and history at public and private middle schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Texas. In 2002, Saint Mary's Hall honored him with the school's first Master Teacher Award.

While teaching full time, Riordan began writing mystery novels for grownups. His Tres Navarre series went on to win the top three national awards in the mystery genre - the Edgar, the Anthony and the Shamus. Riordan turned to children's fiction when he started The Lightning Thief as a bedtime story for his oldest son.

Today over 30 million copies of his Percy Jackson, Kane Chronicles, and Heroes of Olympus books are in print in the United States, and rights have been sold into more than 35 countries. Rick is also the author of The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones, another #1 New York Times bestseller. In 2011, Rick received the Children's Choice Book Award for Author of the Year.

Rick Riordan now writes full-time. He lives in San Antonio with his wife and two sons. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Shadow's Edge - J.T. Geissinger

Book Description

 June 12, 2012
Deep within the primeval forests of southern England, a race of beautiful, savage shape-shifters lives hidden from the everyday world. Bound together by ancient bloodlines and a ruthless code of secrecy that punishes traitors with death, the Ikati send their leader Leander on a mission to capture one raised outside the tribe before she can expose their secret. When Leander tracks the unsuspecting outsider to Southern California, the hardened warrior is prepared for a fight—but not for the effect the sensual young beauty has on his heart.Jenna spent her childhood in hiding, on the run from someone—or something—her parents refused to discuss. She trusts no one, not since her father’s mysterious disappearance, not since her mother’s sudden death, and definitely not since she began exhibiting strange, superhuman abilities. When handsome, enigmatic Leander appears, promising answers to the mysteries that shroud her past, she knows she shouldn’t trust him either. But their connection is undeniable, and as powerful as the enemy hell-bent on destroying every one of their kind…

Editorial Reviews


Night Owl Reviews Top Pick -  "Oh wow, what a great story! I was hooked from page one! Ms. Geissinger did a fantastic job of blending danger, romance, a strong female lead, and a strong alpha. The chemistry between the two is hot...The ending left me wanting more, more, more!"

The Romance Studio 5/5 Hearts
 - "...just an incredible world. The story is utterly engrossing...I loved the story, the characters and the world so much."

The Romance Reviews 5/5 Stars
 - "Romance readers looking for a healthy dose of spice with great sexual tension will love how it is portrayed in this story. The author has definitely proven her worth in the romance genre by seamlessly blending paranormal and fantasy elements. I couldn't have been more impressed by this debut novel."

The Jeep Diva 5/5 Stars
 - "I loved it...this book will draw you in until the last page and leave you wanting more!"

A Bookworm's Haven 5/5 Stars
 - "I would highly recommend this book to any lover of paranormal romance. It is one I stayed up long past the time I should have gone to bed because I just had to know what was going to happen. I cannot wait for the next installment in this series!"

From the Back Cover

Fans of Laurell K. Hamilton and Karen Marie Moning will be captivated by this edgy, sensual new paranormal series about an ancient dynasty of shape-shifters locked in a centuries-old battle for power, and the dangerous attraction between their leader and the woman who may be the downfall of them all.

"If they ever find you ... run" is a lesson her mother had repeated to Jenna over and over again, but when 'they' - the beautiful, graceful and dangerous shape shifting Ikati - do find her, Jenna decides to ignore her urge to flee in order to finally get the answers to the questions that have haunted her for her entire life. And that decision and those answers - and the sensual enthralling Leander who knows all of Jenna's secrets - will change Jenna forever.

I really enjoyed Geissenger's debut novel and Night Prowler series starter. It's not that the story itself is incredibly original but there is at times an almost lyrical quality to the writing that I found captivating. And I liked that Jenna who decides to go with Leander even though he is likely an enemy, doesn't immediately allow her hormones to overrule her distrust of him - which heightens the sensual tension between them - and I liked that it was her decision to hold herself back with silence and determination that drew out that tension instead of the more common device that many authors use of throwing in some external interruptions in to achieve the same result - that type of device which shifts the decision to 'fate' instead of 'choice' often makes me loose respect for the heroine. I am a shape shifter fan, so another thing that I really liked about the story was the way that Geissinger shows how different the Ikati's senses are from those of our mere mortal ones, my favorite scene involved wine tasting - which I know sounds odd - and was a very effective demonstration of that difference.

My only nits with the book were that the wrap-up of the story, especially in the last couple pages, kind of lost steam. However that nit didn't dim my enjoyment of Shadow's Edge so I will definitely read Morgan's book, Edge of Oblivion due out October of 2012, to find out what happens next in the world and I hope to get more of an interesting secondary character who definitely had my sympathy in this story - though, while Geissinger says that she has a book planned for Christian, it is not one of the next two currently in the works.

After finishing Shadow's Edge I am still not clear exactly about the UF/PNR balance of the series since, even though it lacks the first person voice of UF and Jenna and Leander's story seems fairly settled, there is still a lot to learn about the consequences of certain discoveries mean for Jenna. And while I am not sure what role the past pair will play in the future, I am hoping that the Night Prowlers ends up being one of those one-couple-per-book series that evolves into more of an ensemble effort as the overall arc of the series progresses.

ARC via Amazon Vine released 6/26(less)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Light Between Oceans - M.L. Stedman

Book Description

 July 31, 2012
The debut of a stunning new voice in fiction— a novel both heartbreaking and transcendentAfter four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.
Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.
The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2012: Tom Sherbourne is a lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, a tiny island a half-day's boat journey from the coast of Western Australia. When a baby washes up in a rowboat, he and his young wife, Isabel, decide to raise the child as their own. The baby seems like a gift from God, and the couple's reasoning for keeping her seduces the reader into entering the waters of treacherous morality even as Tom--whose moral code withstood the horrors of World War I--begins to waver. M. L. Stedman's vivid characters and gorgeous descriptions of the solitude of Janus Rock and the unpredictable Australian frontier create a perfect backdrop for this tale of longing, loss, and the overwhelming love for a child. --Malissa Kent


“An extraordinary and heart-rending book about good people, tragic decisions and the beauty found in each of them.”—Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief

“M.L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans is a beautiful novel about isolation and courage in the face of enormous loss. It gets into your heart stealthily, until you stop hoping the characters will make different choices and find you can only watch, transfixed, as every conceivable choice becomes an impossible one. I couldn’t look away from the page and then I couldn’t see it, through tears. It’s a stunning debut.”—Maile Meloy, author of Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It

“M.L. Stedman, a spectacularly sure storyteller, swept me to a remote island nearly a century ago, where a lighthouse keeper and his wife make a choice that shatters many lives, including their own. This is a novel in which justice for one character means another’s tragic loss, and we care desperately for both. Reading The Light Between Oceans is a total-immersion experience, extraordinarily moving.”—Monica Ali, author of Brick Lane and Untold Story

"Irresistible...seductive...a high concept plot that keeps you riveted from the first page."—Sara Nelson, O, the Oprah magazine

“Haunting...Stedman draws the reader into her emotionally complex story right from the beginning, with lush descriptions of this savage and beautiful landscape, and vivid characters with whom we can readily empathize. Hers is a stunning and memorable debut.”Booklist, starred review

“[Stedman sets] the stage beautifully to allow for a heart-wrenching moral dilemma to play out... Most impressive is the subtle yet profound maturation of Isabel and Tom as characters.”Publishers Weekly, starred review

“The miraculous arrival of a child in the life of a barren couple delivers profound love but also the seeds of destruction. Moral dilemmas don’t come more exquisite than the one around which Australian novelist Stedman constructs her debut.”Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“This heartbreaking debut from M L Stedman is a gem of a book that you'll have trouble putting down”Good Housekeeping

“This fine, suspenseful debut explores desperation, morality, and loss, and considers the damaging ways in which we store our private sorrows, and the consequences of such terrible secrets.”Martha Stewart Whole Living

“As time passes the harder the decision becomes to undo and the more towering is its impact. This is the story of its terrible consequences. But it is also a description of the extraordinary, sustaining power of a marriage to bind two people together in love, through the most emotionally harrowing circumstances.”—Victoria Moore, The Daily Mail
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.

The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel.

The Fault in our Stars - John Green

The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green

"Luminous.” -Entertainment Weekly
“A smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance.” -Kirkus, starred review
"A blend of melancholy, sweet, philosophical, and funny. Green shows us true love…and it is far more romantic than any sunset on the beach.” -New York Times Book Review
“One doesn’t like to throw around phrases like “instant classic” lightly, but I can see The Fault in Our Stars taking its place alongside Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret in the young-adult canon. Green’s book is also a good example of why so many adult readers are turning to young-adult literature for the pleasures and consolations they used to get from conventional literary fiction.” -Time
“Green writes books for young adults, but his voice is so compulsively readable that it defies categorization. The Fault in Our Stars proves that the hype surrounding Green is not overblown.” -NPR
“A pitch-perfect, elegiac comedy…it will linger long and hard in the minds of teens and former teens.” -USA Today

Book Description
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Zoo - James Patterson

New York Times Bestselling author James Patterson has outdone himself in this one as he delivers an incredible, horrifying science fiction tale that has you on the edge-of-your-seat in the very beginning. A scary, chilling story about animals going insane as they escape their prison cages and become the masters, while all of mankind run for their lives. The animals want to get out and as they do, the thrilling nightmare begins with intense suspense on every page. The author takes the reader through a lion ambush in Africa as we are introduced to a young Biologist with a not-so-good reputation and that's only for starters in this bloody, suspenseful story made for the Big screen. Jackson Oz begins to dread and fill with fear as brutal attacks take over entire cities in terrifying violence. Chaos and destruction continue on the war between man and beast. This is a full-speed thrilling roller-coaster ride that has you hooked in the first chapter. Impressive, mesmerizing, and highly entertaining. Recommended for all thriller, science fiction, and fantasy lovers. One of Patterson's Best!

Book Description

 September 3, 2012
Once in a lifetime, a writer puts it all together. This is James Patterson's best book ever.

For 36 years, James Patterson has written unputdownable, pulse-racing novels. Now, he has written a book that surpasses all of them. ZOO is the thriller he was born to write.


All over the world, brutal attacks are crippling entire cities. Jackson Oz, a young biologist, watches the escalating events with an increasing sense of dread. When he witnesses a coordinated lion ambush in Africa, the enormity of the violence to come becomes terrifyingly clear.


With the help of ecologist Chloe Tousignant, Oz races to warn world leaders before it's too late. The attacks are growing in ferocity, cunning, and planning, and soon there will be no place left for humans to hide. With wildly inventive imagination and white-knuckle suspense that rivals Stephen King at his very best, James Patterson's ZOO is an epic, non-stop thrill-ride from "One of the best of the best." (TIME)

Editorial Reviews


"When it comes to constructing a harrowing plot, author James Patterson can turn a screw all right."-- New York Daily News

About the Author

JAMES PATTERSON is one of the best-known and biggest-selling writers of all time. He is the author of some of the most popular series of the past decade - the Alex Cross, Women's Murder Club and Detective Michael Bennett novels - and he has written many other number one bestsellers including romance novels and stand-alone thrillers. He lives in Florida with his wife and son. James is passionate about encouraging children to read. Inspired by his own son who was a reluctant reader, he also writes a range of books specifically for young readers. James has formed a partnership with the National Literacy Trust, an independent, UK-based charity that changes lives through literacy. In 2010, he was voted Author of the Year at the Children's Choice Book Awards in New York.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Angelfall - Kindle Top 10

Book Description

 August 28, 2012  14 and up  8th and up
It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back. Anything, including making a deal with Raffe, an injured enemy angel. Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco, where Penryn will risk everything to rescue her sister and Raffe will put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Ee’s gritty debut, which stars a heroine with backbone, angels of the apocalypse seek revenge against humans for killing the Archangel Gabriel, and street gangs have taken over Silicon Valley. Seventeen-year-old Penryn lives with (and cares for) her wheelchair-bound sister, Paige, and their paranoid schizophrenic mother. While attempting to escape their apartment to find safety, Paige is kidnapped by an angel. At the moment of the abduction, Penryn meets Raffe, an angel whose wings have been cut off by the angels who take Paige. Hoping Raffe might know where Paige is, Penryn reluctantly nurses him back to health, and the two join forces, traveling to the angels’ “aerie” in San Francisco to recover Paige and repair Raffe’s wings; along the way, they are captured by a dangerously anarchic army of the human resistance. Smartly conceived details (for example, there’s a bounty on angel body parts, turning them into a commodity) feel fresh in this apocalyptic romance that’s sustained by well-developed characters, atmosphere, and strong writing. Ee leaves plenty to discover in a planned sequel. Ages 14–up. Publisher's Weekly August 2012

About the Author

San Francisco-based author, SUSAN EE, has degrees in physics, math and law, none of which helped her when she sat in front of a blank screen to write a story. So she proceeded to study creative writing through the Iowa Writers Workshop, Stanford, and Clarion West. Her stories have been in Realms of Fantasy and the anthology The Dragon and the StarsAngelfall is her debut novel.
In the beginning, it starts with a single feather drifting slowly down from the sky. When 17-year-old Penryn sees this simple sight, she is filled with incredible dread, because this lovely, floating, ephemeral thing is an unlikely sign of terrible things to come.

Six weeks after a devastating attack on earth, the world has been torn apart by a war between angels and humans. Caught up in a battle she doesn't understand, Penryn watches in horror as an angel named Raffe is cornered and brutally stripped of his wings. In trying to help, she antagonizes one of the perpetrators and is forced to watch as her wheelchair-bound little sister is taken away. Penryn angrily demands that Raffe provides information and assistance in finding her sibling, and the two natural enemies must work together to outwit danger at every turn.

If you've been searching high and low for a worthy successor to The Hunger Games, the wait is finally over. Susan Ee's stunning debut novel is the perfect combination of post-apocalyptic YA + cannibals + badass angels + kickass heroine, and it blew me away with its perfectly paced blend of action, story, and emotional tension. Penryn is a fantastic heroine, a whip-smart, funny girl who happens to be awesome in combat. I also found her interactions with her schizophrenic mother to be very touching, and it's impossible not to admire how her desperate resolve to find her sister never falters. As for Raffe...who the hell thinks of writing an agnostic angel? Brilliant! And so intriguing. Raffe is clearly hiding secrets, but it's impossible not to be drawn to him anyway. His relationship with Penryn develops slowly and naturally as they struggle to find shelter and to survive in bleak circumstances (yeah, they eat cat food at one point), all against a bleak backdrop of a war and all kinds of unspeakable horrors.

Readers who are uneasy with more gruesome books should be warned that there are some pretty intense scenarios, although they are tastefully (view spoiler) done and mostly appear in aftermath, rather than in present action. For my somewhat twisted sense of humor and enjoyment of creepy visuals, it was exciting to find an author who writes such dark and vivid imagery, however, and I'd say that if you're someone who's comfortable reading zombie books, you'd probably be okay with what happens here. Not that I didn't want to run around screaming when Penryn and Raffe happen upon the...things hanging in trees, mind you. But that's all part of the fun.

I have a few minor quibbles, mostly about Penryn's failure to ask and demand enough answers, as this seemed completely out of character for someone who grits her teeth and cool-headedly calculates whether she can keep someone alive long enough to be of use to her. It was frustrating and implausible that in such forced intimacy, a girl like this wouldn't have mercilessly hounded the information out of her traveling partner. I also wish we'd learned a bit more about the war and about the ghoulish experimentations that were going on, although you can certainly put some of that down to my general impatience to read the rest of this 5-part series. My quibbles are far outweighed by my rampant enthusiasm over this book, however, as the action-packed story, sharp and funny dialogue, macabre touches, unforgettable characters, and well-researched angelology all make for an incredible read. The twists and turns in this story are superbly done, and even if you happen to guess one of the major plot points that will have a major effect on the future books, it's not going to matter. And that's the mark of a book that can and will be read again and again.

I'd strongly recommend this book for: readers who were mesmerized by the grim beauty of The Reapers Are the Angels, zombie enthusiasts who enjoyed the spectacular first half of Ashes, people who loved the creepiness of Anna Dressed in Blood, anyone who was drawn to the idea of evil angels in Angel Burn, skeptics who thought that chick in Aftertime should have spent more time thinking about her daughter, action junkies who enjoyed the fight scenes in Divergent and Blood Red Road and Legend but wanted a little more substance, anyone who liked Daughter of Smoke and Bone, anyone who expected more from Smoke & Bone. And finally, anyone who appreciates a truly original and exciting story. Period.

This review also appears in The Midnight Garden.

About the Book

Buy this book NOW! It's only 99 cents as an ebook at the moment for Kindle andNook, and may also be read on your computer or Smartphone. If you're undecided even after seeing all the phenomenal reviews of this book, you should read the first 5 chapters on the author's website. Update: the book is also available for purchase as a paperback from Amazon.

And believe it or not, this book also happens to be self-published. I'm not sure why Susan Ee decided to go the indie route with this book, but I'm quite sure it was by her choice and her design. Regardless of whether you read it now or whether you read it later when it's available as a print book, I can't imagine that most readers won't have a tremendous time with it. This is an author worth supporting, and how exciting it is to find her so early in her writing career.