Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Teaser Tuesday #36 - Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

It is HERE! If you see the last couple of posts I've been writing, they revolve around the latest book by Ilona Andrews:  Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, Book 5). This is from Chapter 3, Location 570 (yes, the numbers are always more than page numbers) on my Kindle.
Andrea paused, her hands on a bloody rag.
"What do you mean, fainted?"
"Took a dive. Kissed the pavement. Swooned like a Southern belle after her first kiss. Had a dreadful case of the vapors."

I am SO excited to read this - and highly recommend you pick up this series if you haven't read it yet. Skip the first two books and start from the Third,and keep going! My reviews of Magic Burns and Magic Bites(Book1) is here.
You can click here for an Excerpt of Magic Slays from Ilona's website.
P.S. I had some trouble getting my head out of this book and putting the quote out here, instead of continuing to read! 
Teaser Tuesdays is hosted at Should Be Reading.

Teaser Tuesdays
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When does amazon deliver?

Today is the 31st of May, and I was expecting Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews to turn up in my Kindle this morning. Having charged, wifi-d and readied the Kindle, needless to say it didn't come. Maybe that is 'cause my Kindle is registered in the US?
So I waited.
It is now 30 min past 12 AM EST, shouldn't the book turn up soon?
*fervently hopes*
I can only imagine that the Amazon folks are making this hard on purpose.
When I buy from www.baen.com they are awesome and email all the requested formats to my mail id as many times as I want.
Interestingly, this is my first Amazon pre-order. I usually just buy from my Kindle once the book is released, and the book downloads that very minute. It is all very exciting to see, I assure you *grins*.
Dear Gods of Amazon, Send me the book already.
Thanks much,
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Monday, May 30, 2011

Ilona Andrews and Magic Slays

The book I've been blabbering about here is finally releasing TOMORROW!
Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, Book 5)*Squeeee*
Incredibly excited - my amazon account tells me it is "pre-ordered and will be delivered to your Kindle on May 31st, 2011".
I did an excellent job of forgetting about it all of last week (something I thought would be the only way to stay sane this month), but I can't help being an excitable fangirl today!

Anyone else waiting for a book?
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1)A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Grade: B+
A Discovery of Witches starts off promisingly - the academic Dr. Bishop is the last descendent from a famous line of Bishop witches (One of her Bishop ancestors was the first witch executed in the Salem witch trials).
However, after her parents died when she was a child, Dr. Bishop refused to use or study magic anymore, and instead chose History as her field of specialization. She stumbles across an ancient tome during some research - one that was lost for over a hundred years. Soon, the other creatures - Daemons, Witches and Vampires, start stalking her, hoping to discover how Dr. Bishop found this magickal manuscript.

The story is really fresh and interesting, but had several unnecessary digressions. I enjoyed all the scenes where we meet Dr. Diana Bishop's family, her kooky house in the States, the ghosts. Good world building, and a pretty awesome ending!

What's not to Like, You ask?:
*sigh* A fantastic opportunity to talk about an academic approach to magic analysis, rules was laid aside in favor of some soppy romance with a brooding vampire (Matthew). Harkness goes into a very tired vampire storyline, and I had a tough time swallowing how this strong woman was saying lines like: "When I pulled the door open, Matthew stood outside looking like the prince in a fairy tale, tall and straight." 

Good stuff: Plenty of info on famous historical books, and 15th-18th century goings on. I'm a nerd, so I found this cool, but ended up a little irked that Matthew seemed to have met everyone while accumulating a dozen degrees.
View all my reviews
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Friday, May 20, 2011

Book Blogger Hop #22:

It's time for another Book Blogger Hop, courtesy of Crazy for Books! (Came back from Malaysia just in time for this week's Hop)

Book Blogger Hop

"If you were given the chance to spend one day in a fictional world (from a book), which book would it be from and what would that place be?"
Fictional world? The world of Discworld, of course! I'd pick Ankh Morpork for the city :)

*update* I realized from comments below that some haven't read Terry Pratchett's fascinating Discworld books yet. So: Ankh Morpork is a city-State, with an Unseen University, a brave, multi-specied City Watch and fantastic, nosy residents. 

Please leave a comment in Bryan's guest post below, he is giving away lots of swag and $50 Amazon gift cards!
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bryan Cohen Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Let's welcome Bryan to e-Volving Books. Just leave a comment with your email id below to enter the Giveaway!

The Happy Writer
By Bryan Cohen

Writers get a bad rap. We are often portrayed as brooding, secluded types with sullen faces and alcohol problems. There have obviously been some famous writers who were riddled with depression like Poe and Hemmingway. Is it inevitable that writers must go to some of the dark places they write about? In addition, even if you aren’t a successful writer, can you still be a happy one?

During my sophomore year of college, I met my real-life acting guru, Joan Darling. Joan talked a lot about how some actors get stuck within some of their acting choices. An actor playing a sad role or a junkie role might get depressed from continually accessing those dark parts of himself. While a writer might not go through the exact same process as the actor, writers still access some pretty heavy stuff personal or otherwise to get words onto the page. If the writer or actor cannot pull himself out of the muck, depression, anger and hate can consume him. The cure, as Joan put it, was getting back to zero.

Before and after a scene or performance, Joan recommended that we try a relaxation exercise. When heading into a scene, this helped us to be more in the moment while acting. After a scene, the exercise was meant to shed the feelings and memories we had been accessing for two main reasons. One reason was so that the emotions didn’t affect our later scenes and we could start fresh when our characters returned. Another reason was to give our brains a rest from these emotions so they didn’t take over. I believe that this can be directly applied to writing, and to ensure mental health a writer should engage in relaxation practices after every writing session.

But what if you’re struggling with writing and before you even put pen to page you’re a generally unhappy person? Joan always said that as you work on relaxation you can build it up like a muscle. The same is true in practicing happiness. Many people assume that they will be happy if they become successful. All too frequent drug issues and divorces among the rich and famous prove that success does not breed happiness. Happiness is something that you have to train independently of your success. It comes from gratitude, taking responsibility, helping others, living healthily, and the support of friends and family. It does not come from circumstances like winning the lottery or getting a book published.

By employing relaxation techniques after dealing with the heavy stuff in writing and life and by utilizing happiness exercises to raise your emotional set point, a funny thing happens. Those who are trained in relaxation and happiness are not bogged down by everyday problems. This gives them free reign to take on opportunities that might have been lost if they were mired in their own pity and negativity. In short, a happy writer tends to become a successful writer, as opposed to the other way around.

Research techniques in relaxation and happiness (which I discuss a bit in Writer on the Side and Sharpening the Pencil) and incorporate them into your life. With these tools at your disposal, you can write the saddest stories in history and still be the happiest person at seeing them succeed.
Bryan Cohen is giving away 100 personalized writing prompts to one giveaway entrant chosen at random during the blog tour. Personalized prompts are story starters that cater specifically to a writer’s subject matter, strengths/weaknesses, etc. Cohen will create the prompts to cater exclusively to the winner. He is giving away free digital copies of his book The Writing Sampler to everybody who enters, which includes excerpts from each of his four books on writing. The book contains essays, writing prompts and tips and tricks to enhance your writing skills. In addition, for each of Cohen’s books that reach the Top 500 on Amazon during his blog tour, he will add a $50 Amazon gift card to the drawing (up to six $50 cards in total)!

To enter, simply post a comment to this blog post with your e-mail address. Entries will be counted through June 2nd, 2011.

Bryan Cohen is a writer, actor and comedian from Dresher, Pennsylvania. Since graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill he has written four books (1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More, 500 Writing Prompts for Kids: First Grade through Fifth Grade, Sharpening the Pencil: Essays on Writing, Motivation, and Enjoying your Life, and Writer on the Side: How to Write Your Book Around Your 9 to 5 Job), several plays (Something from Nothing and Chekhov Kegstand: A Dorm Room Dramedy in Two Acts) and he was the head writer for an un-produced Web series (Covenant Coffee). His writing and motivation website Build Creative Writing Ideas has had over 100,000 visitors since it was founded in December 2008. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Follow Bryan on Twitter @buildcwideas.
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Monday, May 16, 2011

Review: The Deadliest Bite by Jennifer Rardin

Why I picked it up:
I picked up the first Jaz Parks Urban Fantasy/Vampire book a while ago, and read a couple of books before I got a little bored.
Having noticed that the final book in the series (Book 8) was out, and on NetGalley, I decided to complete the series and then review it in toto.

Series Summary:
Jaz and Vayl are secret agents in the US Govt, assassinating who they are told to. Jaz is a spunky female assistant assassin (tongue twister!), while Vayl is the vampire, eternally hunting for his long-lost sons.
Over the first couple of books, they make friends with a Seer, a genius inventor, and an angel, amongst others. Jaz grows more powerful over the books, and new elements about the world they are in come to light - a battle between good and evil, the zone where Ghosts reside, and fake "Sensitives". We see some military action, as both Jaz and Vayl work for the CIA, while fighting their growing attraction for each other.

What I liked about The Deadliest Bite:
This is a definite "last book". Lots of ends are tied up and I saw a huge improvement in the writing flavor from the first. I thought this might be a trite vampire love story, but the characters are really strong and fiercely written and saves the book from falling into a stereotype.

So many incidents/scenes in a book make it a little hard to remember what happened in the previous books, and so I'm left with a vague recollection of the earlier novels. Some of the technology (like Jaz's mechanical, smart, transforming cat) is too far-fetched for me to swallow, even in if it is military funded.

Aside: Very sad to note that the author passed away so early in her life.
This series is a SOLID B+, and Great when read separately with breaks between the novels.

I would recommend it to:
Ilona Andrews fans, Katie MacAllister readers, vampire novel readers :) *like, duh*
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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Bryan Cohen Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Bryan Cohen is giving away:
To the winner:
100 personalized writing prompts to one giveaway entrant chosen at random during the blog tour. 

To Each participant:
He is giving away free digital copies of his book The Writing Sampler to everybody who enters, which includes excerpts from each of his four books on writing.

In addition, for each of Cohen’s books that reach the Top 500 on Amazon during his blog tour, he will add a $50 Amazon gift card to the drawing (up to six $50 cards in total)!

He is HERE at E-Volving Books on May 19th, so be sure to pop back in to win!

P.S: What is a personalized writing prompt, you ask?
Personalized prompts are story starters that cater specifically to a writer’s subject matter, strengths/weaknesses, etc. Cohen will create the prompts to cater exclusively to the winner- Wow.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Teaser Tuesday #35: Simon Green's Something from the Nightside

The quote from Something from the Nightside, Chapter 3:
The only thing that moves faster than the speed of light is gossip in the Night-side. Still, the crowd was much as I remembered. Boys, girls, and a few others, all looking for a good time. Business as usual on the dark side of the city. Up on the street, they spilled out of the train station, sniffing freedom and opportunities on the crisp air, and scattered into the endless night, hot on the trail of their own salvations and damnations.
Mini Review:
Simon's novel is a racier, lighter version of China Mieville's The City and The City. This is the first novel in a series that I believe is at least 9 books out. There are no rules to his universe in the book, unlike the precise magic-worlds of L.E. Modesitt's. So now you know who Simon writes like, and who he doesn't write like. 
The fans of Neil Gaiman's city under London book and mini-series would appreciate the baseline behind Something from the Nightside. This is a hidden world, hidden beneath London as we know it. The story is a twisty-turning one, with plenty of unexpected plot characters - a fun, light read while traveling.

What's in your hands/reading device of choice today?
Teaser Tuesdays is hosted at Should Be Reading.

Teaser Tuesdays
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Monday, May 9, 2011

The new Kindle with ads

The latest version of the Kindle has been available for a month now, cheaper than ever. The caveat? It comes with ads.
I've spoken about this earlier here, but I wanted to check if there is a blog reader who has tried the new Kindle out. Is the $20 price cut worth it?
I know the ads are only when WiFi is on, and probably related to what an ebook reader would want to see.
Is this an acceptable trade off - what say You?

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bryan's Blog Tour - this month!

1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and MoreThe very talented Bryan Cohen's blog tour is this month, and will be coming to e-Volving books on the 19th of May!
Bryan is the Author of 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More
Bryan wears several different hats - author, playwright, producer and more!
We'll get to see a guest post by Bryan, AND Win some books, and personalized writing prompts!
More details next week.
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