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The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

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Book Reviews - What Do You Look For in a Review?

I've been thinking about book reviews lately. I'm trying to figure out what makes a really good review. First and foremost, I believe that a reviewer should express an honest opinion about a book. Second, I want to know a bit about the book, but not too much. I don't like spoilers.

I also think that certain basics should be included: 1) story POV; 2) main characters, and 3) genre or genres.

Is it necessary to have a rating system - 1 to 5 stars, for example? Should the covers be mentioned?

What do you think? What do you look for in a review?

And because I'm in a good mood, I'll give away to one commenter the first 2 books of Diana Rowland's Kara Gillian series:


Book Reviews - What Do You Look For in a Review?When Homicide Detective Kara Gillian finds traces of arcane power on a body, she quickly realizes that this is no ordinary murder. The serial killer known as the Symbol Man is a nightmare that Beaulac, Louisiana thought had ended three years ago, but now he's back for an encore and leaving every indication on the flesh of his victims that he is well-versed in demonic lore.

However, Kara is a Summoner of Demons, and may be the only cop on the city's small force who can stop the killer. Able to see and interact with a world most people can't, Kara must draw on her skills as a police officer and master of the arcane to stop the Symbol Man from killing again and possibly summoning something even she can't control.

But with a demonic lord of unearthly beauty and power haunting her dreams, and a handsome yet disapproving FBI agent dogging her waking footsteps, she may be in way over her head....



Book Reviews - What Do You Look For in a Review?The serial killer known as the Symbol Man has been dealt with, the demonic lord Rhyzkahl is no longer invading her dreams, and Detective Kara Gillian is doing her best to get her life back to normal after being kind of dead for a while.


Unfortunately, there's little about Kara's life that is ever normal or simple. As a skilled summoner of demons, she's hoping to use her arcane abilities to retrieve her aunt's essence and restore it to her body. But when Kara discovers that FBI Agent Ryan Kristoff is somehow known to the demonkind--and not in a good way--old doubts surface and new problems emerge. Moreover, her investigations into the deaths of several seemingly unrelated victims reveal disturbing links to the arcane, with unsettling similarities to her own situation.

But matters get more complicated when she discovers other links between the victims, leading her into a morass of political corruption. And it doesn't help that Rhyzkahl has asked her to be his own summoner, a commitment that could have quite a few advantages and plenty of pitfalls. Politics--whether among humans or demons--is a dangerous game with very high stakes, and Kara is learning that lesson the hard way.


The particulars - The giveaway is open to all humans on the planet earth. Get your comments in by March 16, 2010 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time. If you tweet the giveaway, we’ll put your name in for the tweet as well. You can tweet as much as you like, but it only counts once. If you also mention the giveaway on Facebook, we’ll add your name again. You can mention it on Facebook a zillion times, but you only get one extra entry. Mention it on your blog and you get another entry. So you can get your name placed in the receptacle a maximum of 4 times (comment, tweet, FB mention, blog mention). Provide us links in the comments so we know that you tweeted or Facebooked or blogged about it.

And for the curious, here is a picture of the receptacle that we use:

Book Reviews - What Do You Look For in a Review?

Anton Strout Giveaway & Rob Thurman Giveaway - Results

The winner of the Simon Canderous series by Anton Strout plus the Department of Extraordinary Affairs mug and pin plus lifesavers is Amanda Leigh.

The winner of the first 4 Cal Leandros books by Rob Thurman is lightk.

Please contact TheQwillery at gmail with your snail mail address.

A big thank you to everyone who participated!  Look for another giveaway in a couple of days or perhaps even tomorrow!

Interview with Anton Strout and Goodies

Welcome to The Qwillery! Today's guest is Anton Strout, the author of the Simon Canderous series.

TQw: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Anton: Probably my lack of pants. No, wait… scratch that. Hmmm… I’d probably say the various ways in which I can work. Like, I know some people who can only work in silence at home on their machine in their office with no distractions. I can do that, too, but only at a certain point in the process when I’m deep in a continuity pass on the manuscript. I rough draft by hand on my commute into the city, an hour in and an hour out. I then tend to watch tv while entering those words into the computer, where I make a first editorial pass. A lot of time I find the distractions help me pull details out of the ether to fill in scenes, characters and descriptions. Hopefully I’m not watching a Seinfeld marathon when that happens…

TQw: Who are some of your favorite writers? and who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Anton: I think I wanted to write because of Douglas Adams. It was such a lovely mix of humor and the fantastical that I wished I could do that too. And although I see him knocked a lot, Stephen King has been an inspiration, especially when it comes to writing the darker scenes. I admire his ability to slap down a character and totally have you get them in seconds. If I could take his blood, bottle it drink of his powers I would, but I think I’d only end up pissing his wife off…

TQw: What inspired you to write your first novel?

Anton: Well, my first novel is something I wrote when I was 17. It was hands down a rip off of the Frank Miller era of Daredevil and I just thought it would be fun to try. And it was. Years later when I looked at it, I think I bled from my eyes at how bad it was. Like straight up fan fiction. It was set in New York even, when the only time I had been there was on a class trip to see A Chorus Line. My New York back then was laughable to read, and not in the good laughable way either.

TQw: Will you or have you written any books/stories about other characters in the Simonverse?

Anton: I have written several short stories that are out in various anthologies that tie in to the Simonverse. In The Dimension Next Door, I have a story concerning the necromantic activities of one Benjamin Franklin, which is referenced several times throughout my books as a historical fact recorded in their archives. There’s also the tale of head archivist Godfrey Candella and the loss of a special pet in Zombie Raccoons & Killer Bunnies. I consider these to be like DVD extras that give a little more insight into the rich history of both the Department of Extraordinary Affairs and the Fraternal Order of Goodness. There are some other stories I’d like to tell from other perspectives, but right now I’m focused on writing the books that are selling.

TQw: What types of music do you listen to? What music does Simon like?

Anton: I’m all over the place. If I’m writing I like a nice background loop of music. It frees up another part of my brain to get writing. For that, I usually use some Philip Glass or some techno or electronic. The Matrix soundtrack works quite well. My favorite band to listen to personally are The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones… I like some good punk guitar with a horn section behind it. I even have a book about an old ska band that I’d like to get sold, but I haven’t had time to get back to it with all the success of the Simon series… boo hoo. Poor me, right?

As to what Simon likes, I think he likes a lot of music that comes from the downtown New York scene. You can’t live in SoHo and not be caught up in the local music.

TQw: Who would you pick to play Simon in the Simon Canderous TV series should there ever be a series?

Anton: After seeing him on SNL, I actually think Zach Efron would make a good Simon. Also an old college friend of mine, Kevin Shinick, would be fun to see in the role. He’s a writer for Robot Chicken now, but some people may remember him as Commander Kevin on the PBS game show Where In Time Is Carmen SanDiego? At this point, I’d just love to see it come to television. Given the popularity of Law & Order: Special Everything Unit and CSI, I think a paranormal cop show would be a hit out of the part.

TQw: Why did you set the series in New York City?

Anton: The honest answer is that I am inherently lazy. I live and work there, so to me researching my books is as simple as stepping out of the door. Also, it’s an amazing place. There’s so much life to it, so much personality. It’s hard to imagine that there’s not a ghost, zombie or vampire lurking in every dark shadow… and believe me, there are a LOT of dark shadows there.

TQw: Do you and Simon have anything in common?

Anton: In many ways, I think I’d try to laugh my way through the daily horrors he has to contend with, but I am also a far bigger coward than he is.

The one thing we have in common is probably the hypoglycemia he experiences after using his powers. His blood sugar drops rapidly from his psychometric visions, and as a diabetic, I am prone to dealing with that same sensation from time to time.

TQw: What's next?

Anton: Just as book three in the series, Dead Matter, drops, I have to turn in book four. I also owe a few short stories to some anthologists out there. I also have some other ideas I’d like to develop—some adult, some YA—but I need to sit down and actually find the time to flesh them out. As far as future books set in the Simonverse, only sales on books three and four will tell if there will be more.

TQw: Thank you for being with us at The Qwillery today!

Now for the goodies! One commenter will win

1) All three Simon Canderous books, which have been signed by Anton:
 
Interview with Anton Strout and GoodiesWelcome to the Department of Extraordinary Affairs Other Division- New York's answer to the underfunded world of paranormal investigation. It’s a job caught up in red tape, memos, and office politics, but its becoming par for the course for recent recruit Simon Canderous. After a life of petty crime and twenty four years of watching his power of psychometry—the ability to divine information solely by touching an object—destroy any chance of a real relationship, he’s joined the forces of Good hoping to gain some control. But when the mysterious ghost of a recently dead woman shows up at the Lovecraft Café, he and his mentor must figure out how she fits into a nefarious plot involving the cultists rights movement, a large wooden fish, and the forces of Darkness crushing on him.

 
Interview with Anton Strout and GoodiesIt's hard to catch a break when you're the woefully underfunded Department of Extraordinary Affairs's lone psychometrist. In the aftermath of a nefarious plot by some lowdown, dirty cultists, Simon's hoping New York City's paranormal scene will stay quiet for awhile...but the uncanny has an uncanny knack for ruining Simon's day. When a Hudson River booze cruise sails into port full of bodies--drained of blood, no less--Simon thinks he may soon be hearing a lot of the dreaded V word (vampires), as well as the dreaded P word (paperwork). And if things weren't hectic enough at the DEA, his girlfriend is studying technomancy a little too closely with her boss, his mentor seems to be hiding something from him, and a dangerous flame from his criminal past has blown into town and threatens to make his life a living hell unless he helps her out with one last art heist. Oubliettes, living statues, Illinois gypsies, more zombies that you can shake a retractable steel bat at... it's all just another day at the office for Simon Canderous. 


Interview with Anton Strout and GoodiesWhen the paranormal raises its otherworldy head in New York City, the Department of Extraordinary Affairs executes a flawless, stick-the-landing smackdown. That’s the idea anyway, and Agent Simon Canderous can usually count on help from his mentor, Connor Christos. But Connor’s left Simon to handle a double case load as he cashes in on five years worth of saved vacation time. Simon suspects that Connor isn’t Club Medding so much as Club Deading it up—investigating the disappearance of his long lost brother.

Simon especially needs Connor when the spirit populace of Manhattan is shaken and stirred by someone intruding on their well-deserved R.I.P. But Connor’s relentless ghost whispering has sent him off the deep end; he’s haunted every night by visions of his brother’s ghost at his window. Simon’s partner may be going crazy—or worse, maybe he’s not...

Dead Matter has received 4 1/2 Stars and was a TOP PICK! from RT Book Reviews (March 2010).

2) An official Department of Extraordinary Affairs Mug:


Interview with Anton Strout and Goodies

3) An Official Department of Extraordinary Affairs Pin:


Interview with Anton Strout and Goodies

and 4) Lifesavers!


Interview with Anton Strout and Goodies


So here is what you have to do to have the chance to win all those goodies: leave a comment. Names will be placed in a receptable of our choice and one pulled out to win the goodies. But wait! You can get more entries! If you tweet the contest, we’ll put your name in for the tweet as well. You can tweet as much as you like, but it only counts once. If you also mention the contest on Facebook, we’ll add your name again. You can mention it on Facebook a zillion times, but you only get one extra entry. You can also get an entry for mentioning it on your blog. So you can get your name placed in the receptacle a maximum of 4 times (comment, tweet, FB mention, blog mention). Provide us a link in the comments so we know that you tweeted or Facebooked or blog mentioned.

Please note this giveaway is only open to those of you with a US mailing address.

Contest ends on March 7th at 11:59 PM Eastern Time.

You can find Anton as his internet home Undead Approved, on Facebook and Twitter and at The League of Reluctant Adults.

Book Buying Etiquette and Have A Chance to Win Some Books by Rob Thurman

Please note date change for book buying - starts the 2nd of March and ends the 7th of March.

Ok, readers. If you want to help the authors that you love, like or simply tolerate. If you want them to keep writing their books. If you want to help them make a bestseller list ... please don't buy an author's book way ahead of its release date. Buy during the release week, on the release date and in the following 2 or 3 weeks. For example, if a book is released on Tuesday, February 23, books bought starting on Sunday, February 21 will be included in all the zany calculations that some bestseller list makers use. Others calculate from the official release date. I can't explain how each of the bestseller lists are determined because it's arcane (paranormal even) and different for each list, but I do know that buying out of the release window hurts and does not help authors. Of course if you can't get the book in the first 2 or 3 weeks buy it when you can, just don't buy it EARLY. It's best to buy it on the release date and soon after.

And now a giveaway to illustrate buying during the initial release period:

Buy a copy of Roadkill, the 5th Cal Leandros book, by Rob Thurman between the 2nd and 7th of March, 2010. Email a copy of your dated receipt to TheQwillery aht gmail daht com. If you submit a receipt you will receive 10 entries.

and/or

We'd love for you to buy the 5th book, but you can also leave a comment explaining why you would like to read the Cal Leandros series. Leave a comment and get 1 entry.


Book Buying Etiquette and Have A Chance to Win Some Books by Rob Thurman

So to recap:

1) Buy Rob Thurman's Roadkill between March 2 and March 6, 2010.
2) Email a copy of your dated receipt to The Qwillery by March 8th, 11:59 PM Eastern Time.
3) Good for 5 entries.

and/or

1) Leave a comment telling us why you'd like to read the Cal Leandros series by March 8th, 11:59 PM Eastern Time.
2) Good for 1 entry.

All entries will be placed in a suitable receptacle and one drawn to receive the first 4 Cal Leandros books.

Please note this giveaway is only open to those of you with a US mailing address.

Cal Leandros Books 1 -4:

Book 1 - Nightlife
Book Buying Etiquette and Have A Chance to Win Some Books by Rob Thurman
Welcome to the Big Apple. There's a troll under the Brooklyn Bridge, a boggle in Central Park, and a beautiful vampire in a penthouse on the Upper East Side---and that's only the beginning. Of course, most humans are oblivious to the preternatural nightlife around them, but Cal Leandros is only half human.

His father's dark lineage is the stuff of nightmares---and he and his entire otherworldly race are after Cal. Why? Cal hasn't exactly wanted to stick around long enough to find out.

He and his half brother, Niko, have managed to stay a step ahead for four years, but now Cal's dad has found them again. And Cal is about to learn why they want him, why they've always wanted him: He is the key to unleashing their hell on earth. The fate of the human world will be decided in the fight of Cal's life....

Book 2 - Moonshine
Book Buying Etiquette and Have A Chance to Win Some Books by Rob Thurman
After saving the world from his fiendish father's side of the family, Cal Leandros and his stalwart half brother, Niko, have settled down with a new apartment and a new gig-bodyguard and detective work. And in New York City, where preternatural beings stalk the streets just like normal folk, business is good.

Their latest case has them going undercover for the Kin, the werewolf Mafia. A low-level Kin boss thinks a rival is setting him up for a fall, and wants proof. The place to start is the back room of Moonshine, a gambling club for non-humans. Cal thinks it's a simple in-and-out job. But Cal is very, very wrong.

Cal and Niko are being set up themselves-and the people behind it have bites much worse than their barks...

Book 3 - MadhouseBook Buying Etiquette and Have A Chance to Win Some Books by Rob Thurman
Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother, Niko, aren't exactly prospering with their preternatural detective agency. Who could have guessed that business could dry up in New York City, where vampires, trolls, and other creepy crawlies are all over the place?

But now there's a new arrival in the Big Apple. A malevolent evil with ancient powers is picking off humans like sheep, dead-set on making history with an orgy of blood and murder. And for Cal and Niko, this is one paycheck they-re going to have to earn...if they live long enough to collect it.

Book 4 - Deathwish
Book Buying Etiquette and Have A Chance to Win Some Books by Rob Thurman
Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother, Niko, are barely getting by with their preternatural detective agency when the vampire Seamus hires them. He's being followed, and he wants to know by whom. But the Leandros brothers have to do more than they had planned when Seamus turns up dead (or
un-undead).

Worse still is the return of Cal's nightmarish family' the Auphe.
The last time Cal faced them, the Auphe were almost wiped out. Now they want revenge. Cal knows that before the Auphe get to him, they will try to destroy everything and everyone he holds dear. Because for the Auphe, Cal's pain is a pleasure.

And they're feeling good.


*******

The covers alone should make you want to read these books!

Rob Thurman can be found on Twitter, her website and LiveJournal.

********

More Rob Thurman Contests plus (will be updated)

Rob Thurman is giving a sneak peak at the 6th Cal Leandros book if you purchase Book 5! Details here.

Rob Thurman is Dame for A Day at Deadline Dames. Books will be given away. Check it out here.

Cat and Muse Interview: Jezebel interviews Cal Leandros and Robin Goodfellow!

Contest at Mark Henry's Blog for a chance to win original  Mark Henry Snark Art!

Save Amanda Feral !!!

And the winners are.....
Irwirum/Larena and Jacabur2008!

Please send your snail mail address to The Qwillery at theqwillery aht gmail daht com so that The Qwillery can send you a MMPB of Happy Hour of the Damned and a cute Zombie Devil Duckie!  Thank you to everyone!

Remember -- Battle of the Network Zombies is out today.




As part of the Save Amanda Feral movement, The Qwillery invited some of Mark Henry’s peers to blurb about him or the Amanda Feral series. Some were entirely speechless, others not so much:


"Mark Henry is a loveable, incorrigible scoundrel who tells the best damn stories about the worst damn people. His vampires, werewolves, zombies, and demons are fundamentally horrible, yet you root for them anyway -- which is truly the mark of a master, in my not-so-humble opinion. The Amanda Feral books are much, much funnier than hell."  ~ Cherie Priest


"If picking best friends from the dead were a team sport, and I was the captain (of course I'd be the captain)--I'd choose Amanda Feral to be on my team. She's like my fashion savvy, fabulous, designer shoe-wearin' twin. Only not... because well, you know, she has that eating people habit I can't seem to break her of. So maybe we're more like fraternal twins than identical..

Ahem... but if I were dead--she'd be my homeslice. Amanda Feral rocks!" ~Dakota Cassidy


"Mark Henry is the king fu master of snark." ~ Mario Acevedo


"Mark and I are Twitter addicted.On the flight home from Dragon Con 09 we decided to share an online service on our only charged electronic device - my iPod. Well, as you can imagine, it was a twitter blizzard and we got so confused that Mark tweeted as me and I tweeted as him..Things were said by him (as me) that I may never live down (so dirty). Maybe that is a good thing.

It was like the Hanukkah of iPods even though my battery said it was going to shut off it never did..not until we landed...only with Mark Henry can you have Twitter miracles. He's a good friend and mentor...and a dirty dirty perv."  ~Synde Korman, League of Reluctant Adults Moderator


"Mark who?" ~Nicole Peeler


"Mary Henry writes the most filthy-minded, vomit-inducing, mind-exploding zombie fiction you'll ever read. You'll laugh until you pee your pants, but you'll join the rest of us fools who soiled our underwear and ended up on the floor curled into the fetal position. Those weekly visits to the shrink won't stop you from picking up more Amanda Feral adventures, either. Go on, addict, enjoy the crack that is Happy Hour of the Damned. I'll see you in group. (Don't talk about your mother. We all know it's Mark Henry's fault.)" ~Michele Bardsley


Only Mark Henry can make zombies sexy! Read Amanda Feral or he will send his uberstyilsh, diabolical creations after you!"   ~Molly Harper


"Hey Mark--where's the Dragon King?" ~Jeanne Stein


"Mark Henry needs to be stopped. He's been brainwashing us with his preternatural mind control skills. Otherwise, how could we possibly find books filled with zombies, fashion and explosive diarrhea jokes funny?

Because of Mark's books, I, myself, have experienced the shame of spontaneous oral incontinence in public. That's why I started a new group called Team Beige. Team Beige is for people who prefer their comedy only mildly amusing and always politically correct. We prefer puns over cutting wit. We prefer political correctness over boundary pushing. And for the love of all that's holy, we never ever enjoy reading about zombie sex. Or sex at all, for that matter.

If you haven't read Mark's books (Happy Hour of the Damned, Road Trip of the Living Dead or the forthcoming Battle of the Network Zombies), I suggest you run out now and buy copies for yourself and all your friends. How else will you be able to fully understand the scope Mark Henry's depravity? Don't hesitate, friends: Team Beige needs you today.~Jaye Wells


Finally, a photo of Mark Henry courtesy of Rob Thurman:


Mark 'Hung Like a Woolly Mammoth' Henry will come to your porch and shake his sweet angel ass if you save Amanda! Or, if that's not your thing, Mark Henry and his sweet angel ass will *not* show up on your porch and respect your restraining order if you save Amanda!

~Rob Thurman

(Photo by FeyCreations)








The Qwillery is giving away 2 copies of the Mass Market Paperback of Happy Hour of the Damned each with an adorable Zombie Devil Duckie.





So here is what you have to do to have the chance to win a copy of the novel and a duckie: leave a comment. That’s it. We’ll put all the names in a hat or some other suitable receptacle and pull two out. Ok, we’ll make it more interesting – if you tweet the contest, we’ll put your name in for the tweet as well. You can tweet as much as you like, but it only counts once. If you also mention the contest on Facebook, we’ll add your name again. You can mention it on Facebook a zillion times (which would probably cause everyone to unfriend you), but you only get one extra entry. So you can get your name placed in the receptacle a maximum of 3 times (comment, tweet, FB mention). Provide us a link in the comments so we know that you tweeted or Facebooked.

The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth. Contest ends at 11:59pm Eastern Time on Monday, February 22, 2010.


The Amanda Feral Series:

Happy Hour of the Damned

Road Trip of the Living Dead

Battle of the Network Zombies
(releasing February 23, 2010)


You can find Mark Henry at his website and at The League of Reluctant Adults. You can join the Glamazombies (his Yahoo Group) here.

Click to join markhenry

Click to join markhenry

We like them all so... a poll to pick the winners - Come Hell or High Water by Michele Bardsley

Michele Bardsley and I like all of the pictures submitted in the contest, and we can't decide. So we're going to have a poll to decide who wins. That's right YOU get to decide! All of the entries are below. Vote by number for your favorite. The top two vote getters will receive signed copies of Michele's Come Hell or High Water. The voting is open until 11:59 P.M. Eastern Time on Saturday, February 13, 2010. Here are the wonderful entries:


One
We like them all so... a poll to pick the winners - Come Hell or High Water by Michele Bardsley



Two
We like them all so... a poll to pick the winners - Come Hell or High Water by Michele Bardsley



Three
We like them all so... a poll to pick the winners - Come Hell or High Water by Michele Bardsley



Four
We like them all so... a poll to pick the winners - Come Hell or High Water by Michele Bardsley



Five
We like them all so... a poll to pick the winners - Come Hell or High Water by Michele Bardsley



Six
We like them all so... a poll to pick the winners - Come Hell or High Water by Michele Bardsley


Vote in the poll at the top right. And now you know why we can't decide! Thanks for helping us.

Win a Signed Copy of Come Hell or High Water by Michele Bardsley

DEADLINE EXTENDED TO 11:59 P.M. EASTERN TIME ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 31, 2010!

Win a Signed Copy of Come Hell or High Water by Michele BardsleyCome Hell or High Water is the 6th book in the Broken Heart series by Michele Bardsley. To celebrate its release I'm going to give away 2 signed copies! Michele is graciously providing the signed books and has sanctioned the contest. So here is what you do:

Send a creative photo of any or all of the books in the Broken Heart series* to theqwillery aht gmail dot com. Photos of e-readers displaying one of the Broken Heart books are also acceptable as long as we can see the book title! You can be in the photo or not. Just please make sure that no books are harmed in the making of your photo!  You have until 11:59 P.M. Eastern Time on Sunday, January 24, 2010 to submit a photo. Only one photo per person please. All photos will be posted here at The Qwillery. The photographer retains all rights in the photograph except the limited right that lets me post it here into eternity.

Photos will be judged on creativity, composition, and clarity by Michele Bardsley and me. Judging will be totally subjective. Anyone residing on the the planet Earth may submit a photo.

*The Broken Heart series:

I'm the Vampire, That's Why
Don't Talk Back To Your Vampire
Because Your Vampire Said So
Wait Till Your Vampire Gets Home
Over My Dead Body
Come Hell Or High Water

Happy shooting (of photos)!

Please feel free to post any questions you may have about the contest.

Two Books That I Really Like - Soulless by Gail Carriger and Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler

Recently I had the pleasure of reading two books that I really enjoyed, thought were very well written, and would recommend without reservation. I'm so enamored with these 2 books that I will be giving away a copy of each: one commenter will be picked for Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler and one commenter will be picked for Soulless by Gail Carriger.

You may ask, why did Qwill like these books so much? Okay, you might not ask but I'm going to tell you anyway. First, both books are unusual. Second, both books are beautifully written with the authors displaying a command of the English language that I find admirable. Third, the world building was very well done. Fourth, the main character in each book, both females, appealed to me. Fifth, the books satisfied me even though both left lingering questions. (Gail - what's up with the octopi? Nicole - I hope we get more of the back story for the dog.)

I'm not going to delve deeply into plot, characters, or machinations because I am not writing full reviews of the books and I do not want to spoil even a bit of the stories.



Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate 1)
by Gail Carriger

Soulless is the 1st book in the Parasol Protectorate series. Soulless is a steampunky comedy of manners with werewolves and vampires and more set in Victorian London. Oh my. The leading lady, Alexia Tarabotti, does not give in to the confines of Victorian England, which leads to some humouros and dangerous situations. Miss Tarabotti a preternatural - no soul. Her preternatural ability negates those of the supernatural. Let's just say that there is something mysterious afoot. Steep a cup of your favorite tea, get comfy, and enjoy a great read.


Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate 2) will be released in March 2010.

Gail Carriger's website is here.



Tempest Rising (The Jane True Series 1)
by Nicole Peeler

Tempest Rising is the first book in the Jane True Series. Jane is not your typical Urban Fantasy heroine. She's much more accessible in my opinion. She's also half-Selkie! Tempest Rising is set in Rockabill, Maine, where Jane has grown up under difficult circumstances the root of which are slowly revealed in the novel. There are quite a few unusual paranormal beings in this book plus several of the more common. I enjoyed reading about Jane and the denizens seen and unseen in Rockabill. This is a book that you can really dive into!

Tracking the Tempest (The Jane True Series 2) will be released in July 2010.

Nicole Peeler's website is here.


Qwill's Qwestion: What were some of your favorite books for 2009? [Leave a comment by midnight November 29, 2009; I'll let you know who gets the books on November 30, 2009]

Book Reviews - What Do You Look For in a Review?Interview with Anton Strout and GoodiesBook Buying Etiquette and Have A Chance to Win Some Books by Rob ThurmanSave Amanda Feral !!!We like them all so... a poll to pick the winners - Come Hell or High Water by Michele BardsleyWin a Signed Copy of Come Hell or High Water by Michele BardsleyTwo Books That I Really Like - Soulless by Gail Carriger and Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler

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