Monday, September 30, 2013

The View From Monday - September 30, 2013

It's the last Monday in September. One of my favorite months starts tomorrow and not only Halloween takes place in October. Tomorrow is the 5th Anniversary of The Qwillery, but more about that tomorrow.

I started reading Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon (St. Martin's Press, September 3, 2013) on Friday and finished it on Sunday (there were many interruptions). It's the 23rd novel in her Dark-Hunter series and the print book is 848 pages long. It's substantial when you hold it. But I didn't buy the print copy even though I will eventually. I picked up the eBook. Today the eBook on Amazon costs $7.99; the print book costs $16.46. At Barnes & Noble the print book costs $16.78 and the eBook also cost $7.99. However on Friday, when I was in B&N with my Nook the eBook cost $6.49. Of course I bought the eBook.  I do need to check one chapter against the print copy because it seemed to end abruptly with no transition to the next chapter. That could just be a formatting issue with the eBook and it would make more sense when I look at the book. Sometimes that does happen.

I enjoyed Styxx. Like Acheron, the first part of the novel is set in ancient times. And like Acheron, the second part of the novel is set modern times. If you are familiar with the series, you know why these 2 novels would mirror each other like that - Acheron and Styxx are twins. It's a good series and fairly consistent so I would recommend you start at the beginning. However, you probably could jump in with Styxx, Ms. Kenyon gives you enough information to make sense of what is going on. Or start with Acheron to get the flip side of Styxx's story. I know that I will be going back to a couple of the previous novels to see how certain events where depicted in them from their different viewpoints. I'm fascinated that Ms. Kenyon was able to so effectively weave so much of her Dark-Hunter history into this novel and have it make sense. She's either got very, very good notes or an eidetic memory.

Styxx is a very good novel. It's well written, but again like Acheron, is heartbreaking and it can be difficult to read about some of the things that happen to Styxx. It is brutal at times so stay away if abuse in the extreme is a hot button for you. I was really pleased to finally get to the modern era section of the book and away from the incredible physical harshness of the first part of the novel. You really get to see Styxx's character in this novel and come to understand him. If anyone in the series deserves an HEA it's Styxx.

Some pieces of the series fall into place during the novel, which I liked immensely, but there is more to come. There are still unanswered questions and things happening that will require the Dark-Hunters' attention.

Just some quick thoughts on Styxx!

There are a few books out today. Look for the October 2013 Release list later in the week. (Yes, I'm going to be a bit late with it!)

September 30, 2013
Book of Iron Elizabeth Bear F
Jewels in the Dust Peter Crowther UF - Collection
The Volatile Amazon (e) Sandy James FR - Alliance of the Amazons 4
Heavy Metal Heart (e) Nico Rosso PNR - Demon Rock
Tales of Majipoor Robert Silverberg SF
How the World Became Quiet: Myths of the Past, Present, and Future Rachel Swirsky F
Ice Red (e) Jael Wye SFR - Once Upon a Red World 1

e - eBook

F - Fantasy
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
UF - Urban Fantasy

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Melanie's Week in Review - September 29, 2013

Hello! Autumn decided to surprise us this week with some gorgeous weather which allowed me to sneak in a bit more outside reading time on my lunch breaks. I fear that is all over until next June (if we are lucky, this is English weather). Anyway onto what I was reading.

I finished off Cracked by Eliza Crewe (Strange Chemistry, Nov. 5, 2013) and LOVED IT! This is the first in the Soul Eater series and I can hardly wait for the next book to come out. The more I thought about it the more I decided it was definitely YA UF. If you go purely by the book summary it could be adult UF but the heroine (or anti-heroine) Meda is in her teens and towards the end it reads more like typical YA novels I have read before. Meda however, is not your typical teenage heroine. She is part demon and rips people to pieces in order to eat their souls. Needless to say she isn't terribly likeable at first but has all the funniest lines in the book. There was several places where I got all 'LOLy' and doing that on public transportation can lead to a lot of weird looks. I had a few of the more hilarious comments bookmarked and went back and read them afterwards and still thought they were funny after a second reading. I even have a new favourite word that Meda uses in the book which is "hangry" when you get angry from being hungry. Tee hee.

Meda finds out that she is more than just a soul eating, violence craving monster and teams up with a group of 'templars' in training teenagers to try to eradicate her own kind. Nothing is ever straight forward and Meda discovers more about herself than she bargained for. There are some quite sad parts of this book, as well and demonstrates Crewe's ability to create a well rounded character that had me cringing at the gruesome scenes where Meda literally 'lets rip', laughing at her sarcasm and reaching for a tissue during some rather touching moments towards the end (don't want to give you any spoilers!). This is a great start to the series and if you like YA then this is a must read.

I also read Perdition by Ann Aguirre (Ace, August 27, 2013). I read and reviewed Bronze Gods that Aguirre wrote with her husband but I haven't read any of her solo novels. If Perdition is anything to go by then I am going to get buying a few. I will be writing a full review so keep your eyes out for it.

I started to panic that I had only read two books this week and wouldn't have anything to tell you so I was very naughty and bought some more. I bought and read Priceless by Shannon Mayer. It is about a young woman with exceptional talents at finding lost children. Her sister was kidnapped when she was young and the guilt has driven her to use her skills to rescue other missing kids. When a child is kidnapped on the same day in the same park as her own sister she discovers this is more than just a coincidence. The heroine Rylee is pretty kick ass. She is friends with a witch, has a werewolf as a pet, a troll makes her brownies and she fancies an FBI agent. I thought the book was OK. I had it finished in a day which means it was fairly easy to read but maybe not as challenging with the plot as it could have been.

I also bought King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence and Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas. I  read the first books of both these series last year and decided I was overdue in buying the next books. Hopefully, I will get a chance next week to get them read and tell you what I thought of them. But until then I wish you a good week ahead and Happy Reading!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Our Most Excellent Genre Adventure, Part 1

On Friday, Sept. 20, Trinitytwo and I headed into New York City for Our Most Excellent Genre Adventure. The goal was to visit genre related stores.

Outside of Forbidden Planet

Our adventure began at the doors of Forbidden Planet. Speaking for myself, Trinitytwo, I hopped out of the car and was immediately excited by the window dressing. Gremlins, Terminators, and Hellboy, Oh my! I knew this was my kind of place. We entered this store of enchanting treasures with smiles from ear to ear; there was just so much see. I think we both wandered about aimlessly for some time just drinking in all the new and intriguing wonders around each nook and cranny. I was especially drawn to the myriad of T-shirts from immensely popular subjects to the obscure. There truly was something for every genre fan. Another area of interest was the action figure section. Gremlins, X-Men, Aliens, and even Freddy Krueger adorned the shelves. I was like the proverbial kid in a candy shop, I even took the opportunity for a photo op with Princess Leia. I bought myself a couple of goodies (Wonder Woman T-shirt and Pins, Star Wars Pins) but the majority was for my son, a lover of horror and sci fi. Forbidden Planet has genre games, books, journals, comics, collectibles, including magnets, mugs, earbuds, and adorable statuettes. I can't begin to describe the fabulous Marvel and DC character statues or even try to cover the contents of my fantastic journey through Forbidden Planet. Let's just say, like the Terminator, "I'll be back."

Qwill and Trinitytwo are happy to be at Forbidden Planet!

I (Qwill) wasn’t sure what to expect at Forbidden Planet. I knew that they have comics and genre items, but I was almost overwhelmed by the sheer amount of wonderful plushes, statues, Doctor Who items, T-shirts and more. I think I could spend hours (and a lot of money) there. One of the highlights for me was the wonderful and knowledgeable staff. Special thank to Saskia and Pam. Forbidden Planet has something for every genre lover and even if you didn’t know you were looking for something you will find it here. I bought a few things that were not on my must buy list. In addition to many comics, trade paperbacks and books, there is an incredible amount of collectibles from Avatar to Portal and more. I picked up some gorgeous Totoro plushes for my kids and wished I had bought a few more. I’ll use that as an excuse to visit Forbidden Planet again. In addition, I got my son a box of Portal Turrets, Series II (fortunately they are small and unarmed) and a cute little Android vinyl figure. I did get myself a superb Gojira (Godzilla) T-shirt and restrained myself from buying much more as New York Comic Con is next month and I'm sure there will be a lot of genre items I will want to get there.

 Some of the stuff at Forbidden Planet

Just to clear up a misconception that I had, Forbidden Planet in NYC is not affiliated with Forbidden Planet in London, UK though both stores are genre hubs.

Forbidden Planet is located at 832 Broadway in New York City. We both recommend it!

After Forbidden Planet, we made a very quick stop at The Strand bookstore (next door to Forbidden Planet) which has over 18 miles of new and used books. I picked up a very fun carry bag featuring a retro SF book cover.

In Part 2, we’ll tell you all about the fabulous time we had at the Jekyll and Hyde Club - food, horror, and a palm reader that blew our minds! And in Part 3, we’ll share our visit to the wonderful Enigma Bookstore in Astoria, Queens.

Note: We've only shared a few pictures of Forbidden Planet and as soon as I decide whether I like Flickr or Picasa web albums better, there will be many more photos for you to see (should you so desire).

Friday, September 27, 2013

Interview with Eric Lundgren, author of The Facades - September 27, 2013

Please welcome Eric Lundgren to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Facades was published on September 12, 2013.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Eric:  Hey, it’s great to be here. Thanks for inviting me.

TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

Eric:  I think it was about age seven or eight. One of my first works was a piece of Indiana Jones fan fiction. My mom read to us a lot but I was not a huge solitary reader as a kid. Mostly I was into sports. My dramatic ideal was one of those NFL films reenactments with Steve Sabol narrating the action. Slow-motion, dramatic voice over. Tight-pantsed men in moments of consequence.

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

Eric:  I still write first drafts in longhand in spiral notebooks sometimes, which probably qualifies as a quirk by now. I’ve always liked the process of typing something I’ve written out, so that the typing process also becomes the first stage of revision.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Eric:  A pantser, I think! Maybe because this was my first novel, I really had to feel my way around the form and write a lot of stuff that did not make it into the final product. It took me a long time to see what the shape was and what belonged in there, because it’s not a conventionally plotted novel, exactly. It got to the point where I had this mass of material and I was basically doing surgery in a dark room, excising and shifting stuff around until it felt right.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Eric:  There’s a quote from Thomas Mann that I really like: “The writer is one for whom writing is difficult.” The whole process is hard for me, although I love to work on the small problems, like particular sentences or descriptions, and am easily terrified by the big-picture things. When writing, I spend a lot of time trying to ignore or block out the global, so I can focus on the local. Like a person with bad eyes trying to do a crossword while walking down a busy street, or something.

TQ:  Describe The Facades in 140 characters or less.

Eric:  After his opera singer wife disappears, a man searches for her through a crumbling Midwestern city that becomes a treacherous emotional landscape.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Facades?

Eric:  Boredom with the kind of fiction I’d been writing previously. I wanted to do something less realistic, more fantastic and whimsical, a book that would be fun to write and would exploit the potential of the fictional form. Living in St. Louis was a big inspiration, as was a lot of stuff I was reading at the time, like Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Facades?

Eric:  Probably not enough. I read biographies of the philosopher Wittgenstein and the architect Victor Gruen, who was the real-life model for my character Bernhard (whose buildings include an avant-garde assisted living home and a labyrinthine mall). I did a little bit of research on opera but mostly relied on what I knew; I wasn’t too concerned with making the opera stuff super-realistic (that would be odd, wouldn’t it?)

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Eric:  I had the most fun writing the character Vollstrom, who is a resident of that assisted-living home. His voice came to me right away and it was great fun to write a character so over-the-top. The most challenging character to write was Molly, my protagonist’s missing wife. It’s always tough to write an offstage character who has to be portrayed through her absences.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in The Facades?

Eric:  There’s a scene in which Norberg, the protagonist, attends a parent-teacher conference night at his son’s high school that goes strangely awry. One of my favorite scenes, and I was pleased to know that my dad, who taught high-school German and Spanish for 40 years, also thought it was among the best.

TQ:  What's next?

Eric:  Right now I’m just eager to get back into the trenches of writing. That place where you’re just completely engrossed by the project and breathing the air of an imagined environment.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Eric:  It was my pleasure.

The Facades

The Facades
Overlook, September 12, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 272 pages

Along the streets of the once-great Midwestern city of Trude, the ornate old buildings lie in ruin. Shrouded in disappointment and nostalgia, Trude has become a place to "lose yourself," as one tourist brochure puts it: a treacherous maze of convoluted shopping malls, barricaded libraries, and elitist assisted-living homes.

One night at Trude's opera house, the theater's most celebrated mezzo-soprano vanishes during rehearsal. When police come up empty-handed, the star's husband, a disconsolate legal clerk named Sven Norberg, must take up the quest on his own. But to discover the secret of his wife's disappearance, Norberg must descend into Trude's underworld and confront the menacing and bizarre citizens of his hometown: rebellious librarians, shifty music critics, a cop called the Oracle, and the minister of an apocalyptic church who has recruited Norberg's teenage son. Faced with the loss of everything he loves, Norberg follows his investigation to the heart of the city and through the buildings of a possibly insane modernist architect called Bernhard, whose elaborate vision will offer him an astonishing revelation.

Written with boundless intelligence and razor-sharp wit, The Facades is a comic and existential mystery that unfolds at the urgent pace of a thriller.

About Eric

Photo by Gena Brady
Eric Lundgren was born in Cleveland and grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he turned to reading as a survival method in the winters. He studied at Lewis & Clark College and received his MFA from the Writing Program at Washington University, where he was awarded a third-year fellowship. His writing has appeared in Tin House, Quarterly West, The Quarterly Conversation, and The Millions. The Facades is his first novel. He works at a 100-year-old public library in St. Louis, where he lives with his wife Eleanor and their two cats.

Website  ~  Twitter @eplundgren

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Interview with Jan DeLima, author of Celtic Moon (Celtic Wolves 1) - September 26, 2013

Please welcome Jan DeLima to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Celtic Moon was published on September 24, 2013.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Jan:  Thank you for inviting me.

TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

Jan:  I have always been a prolific reader with an overactive imagination. Becoming a writer was inevitable, although it took me longer than most authors to realize it. The idea to write my own story didn’t come to mind until my college years. Children and work required my time for a while. Family has always come first in my life, so it wasn’t until my children started school that I began to pen my first novel and found the perfect creative outlet. Five books later I wrote Celtic Moon.

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

Jan:  I’m not sure if I’m all that quirky, although my family may have a different opinion. J If I get bored with a scene that I’m writing I will toss it without regret. I figure that if I’m bored writing it, readers will be bored reading it. I like to keep the story moving forward. Also, I can't write on a cluttered desk. My area needs to be organized.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Jan:  I am a plotter, but my characters tend to have personalities of their own and don’t necessarily follow the path that I have chosen for them, naughty creatures that they are.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Jan:  Not letting ideas for future books distract me from my current project. I have an entire romantic suspense series plotted out with very pushy characters who want to be heard, but they are just going to have to wait until I’m finished with the third book in this series!

TQ:  Describe Celtic Moon (Celtic Wolves 1) in 140 characters or less.

Jan:  A fantasy romance of Celtic lore that is set in modern day, where honor and love prevails over evil but not without consequences.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Celtic Moon?

Jan:  At the time I worked in the cataloging department of my library when a book on Celtic artifacts came across my desk. It reviewed findings and theories of Celtic beliefs from Celtic art, with depictions of men shifting into wolves. Intrigued, I dove into researching Celtic mythology and found more material than I could possibly imagine on wolves and shape shifting. Let's just say my paranormal writer's radar was dinging loudly. Once the research started my characters demanded a place in this magical world.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Celtic Moon?

Jan:  I have been very fortunate with this aspect because I have worked in an amazing library for over a decade, so my research material was literally at my fingertips—and it was extensive. My series is based on actual human history and their folklore, with some terminology derived from medieval manuscripts. However, I worked very hard to weave the history into my character’s voices and actions, and not to inundate my story with historical references. I am a character driven writer, and I can assure you that my characters quickly took control of this ride.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Jan:  My easiest character to write was Sophie, my heroine, because she's a mother of a teenager, something that I have personal experience with. The most difficult would be the Guardians, my antagonists, because they are truly cruel and their actions were not easy to write.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Celtic Moon?

Jan:  The first scene that comes to mind is when my heroine returns to her son’s father. Dylan and Sophie are married but have been separated due to some brutal circumstances. They are forced to reunite for the sake of their son, and the scene where they see each other again for the first time in fifteen years was so much fun to write.

TQ:  What's next?

Jan:  My Celtic Wolves series has a pretty strong romance theme. Each book in the series focuses on the love story between a new set of characters, but the fantasy story is continual. I am currently finishing up the second book in the Celtic Wolves series, which is Luc and Rosa’s story. Luc is Dylan’s younger brother, also known as the Beast of Merin. Readers get to meet Luc throughout Celtic Moon, and Rosa makes a brief but significant appearance toward the end. I knew who Rosa was, and what her motivations were going to be, but I fell in love with her voice in the very first chapter of book two. I will be starting Elen and Cormack’s story soon, which will be the third book in the Celtic Wolves series. Elen and Cormack are major characters throughout the series. Their personal journeys were interesting to write in the earlier books and I cannot wait to finally get these two characters together!

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Jan:  Thank you for having me.

Celtic Wolves

Celtic Moon
Celtic Wolves 1
Ace, September 24, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Like father, like son…

Sophie Thibodeau has been on the run from the father of her son for more than fifteen years. Now her son, Joshua, is changing, and her greatest fears are about to be realized. He’s going to end up being just like his father—a man who can change into a wolf.

Dylan Black has been hunting for Sophie since the night she ran from him—an obsession he cannot afford in the midst of an impending war. Dylan controls Rhuddin Village, an isolated town in Maine where he lives with an ancient Celtic tribe. One of the few of his clan who can still shift into a wolf, he must protect his people from the Guardians, vicious warriors who seek to destroy them.

When Sophie and Dylan come together for the sake of their son, their reunion reignites the fierce passion they once shared. For the first time in years, Dylan’s lost family is within his grasp. But will he lose them all over again? Are Joshua and Sophie strong enough to fight alongside Dylan in battle? Nothing less than the fate of his tribe depends on it…

About Jan

Jan lives in Maine with her husband of twenty years and their two teenage sons. Unlike many authors, Jan didn't pen stories at an early age but has always been a dedicated reader. She loves stories and storytelling. It wasn't until after her children entered school that she began writing. Raised in a military family, she lived in different countries such as Thailand and Germany, but home base has always been Maine. She brought a mixture of all her experiences to her first published novel, blending castles and Celtic lore with the wild nature of her home.

Website  ~   Twitter @delimajan  ~  Blog  ~  Facebook  ~  Pinterest  ~  Goodreads

The Giveaway

What:  One commenter will win a signed copy of Celtic Moon (Celtic Wolves 1) from Jan.

How:  Leave a comment.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on October 5, 2013. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Interview with V.E. Schwab, author of Vicious - September 25, 2013

Please welcome V.E. Schwab to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Vicious was published on September 24, 2013.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

V.E.:  Thank you so much for having me! Crazy that the time has finally come.

TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

V.E.:  As an only child with a vivid imagination, I’ve been creating fictional worlds—of which I am queen, or God—and populating them for as long as I can remember. I’ve never been great at living in the real world, but I’m ace at making up my own. As for the writing part, I started putting stories on paper when I was in middle school, and then transitioned to poetry in high school. In college I toyed with poetry, non-fiction, screenplays, short fiction, before finally trying my hand at a book, just to see if I could. Luckily (in retrospect), that book didn’t sell, but my next one did. I simply haven’t stopped since. Though, in truth, I can still see myself trying my hand at other forms. It’s a dream of mine to write for comic books and movies. Maybe one day ;)

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

V.E.:  Like, in my writing? Or while I’m writing? In my writing, I always try to sneak in “half-” as in “half-rotted.” I have no idea why, but the phrasing always shows up. As a writer, I end up perching on the least comfortable furniture in the house, Gollum-style, when I’m plot-stuck. I’m pretty sure I mutter to myself as well.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

V.E.:  I’m a connect-the-dots-er. Before I seriously start writing a book, I come up with the 5-10 plot points/moments that must be there for the book to be my book. Sometimes they are twists and sometimes they are gasp moments and sometimes they’re very quiet beats, but they’re vital to the story I want to tell. Once I have those, I let myself find my way between them. This gives me enough freedom to discover plot without wandering too far from my charted course.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

V.E.:  The beginnings. And the endings. And the middles.

In truth, I think the most challenging thing has been getting better, because as you get better, you get worse. Worse at handling the fact that you still have to write something before you can make it better. You become more aware of what you’re doing, but you still have to get through the messing up part, and the going astray part, and the stumbling. And the self-awareness…I can tell when something’s wrong before I know how to fix it. I can predict which things people will like, or be frustrated with, or miss. Too many voices in my head.

TQ:  Describe Vicious in 140 characters or less.

V.E.:  Two pre-med students discover the key to superpowers--near-death experiences--and set out to create their own abilities. It doesn't end well.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Vicious?

V.E.:  I’ve always loved hero and villain culture, specifically the anti-hero that exists in between the classic two. I knew I wanted to write a villain lead (we all know the phrase, “Every villain is the hero of their own story”) and I wanted to play with the idea that there are no heroes and villains in the world, only people with labels put on them, by themselves or someone else.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Vicious?

V.E.:  I did a lot of medical research. The whole foundation for supernatural powers in VICIOUS is this idea that under the right circumstances—the threat of imminent demise--a permanent chemical shift could take place in a person. Eli, the book’s antagonist, claims that it’s equal parts mind and body, the mental state as important as the physical. It becomes as much about psychology as physiology. But the physiological aspects are key, especially when it comes to the bringing people back part. I consulted EMTs and medical professionals, and did a lot of research on adrenaline, various modes of death, and which of those modes one could feasibly revive from, especially with household or hospital-stolen equipment.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

V.E.:  Victor was the easiest. My editor and I joke that Victor is my sociopathic supervillain alter ego. He lives inside my head with perfect clarity. Eli on the other hand is a much more emotional character, the product of a traumatic religious upbringing. He has a serious sense of being “burdened with glorious purpose” to borrow Loki’s phrase, and was much more challenging.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Vicious?

V.E.:  Ooooohhh, that’s hard. I honestly think Eli and Victor’s death scenes (that’s not a spoiler, they both kill themselves fairly early in the book in an attempt to generate abilities) are my favorite. Which is pretty sick, I guess, but I am intensely proud of both. ☺

TQ:  What's next?

V.E.:  So many things. I’m in the middle of a YA series about a library of the dead (the second book, THE UNBOUND, hits shelves in January). I’m writing a set of three Middle Grade books about a Doctor Who-esque guardian angel—EVERYDAY ANGEL--that kicks off next summer. And I’m working on an adult fantasy set in three Londons—one you know, two you don’t—full of cross-dressing pirates and thieves and bad magic and sadist kings.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

V.E.:  Thank you so very much for having me!


Tor, September 24, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages
Adult Debut

A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

About V.E. Schwab

V.E. Schwab is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing, Schwab has a penchant for tea and BBC shows, and a serious and well-documented case of wanderlust. Vicious is her first adult book.

Website  ~  Twitter @veschwab ~  Facebook  ~ Blog  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Interview with Elliott James, author of Charming (Pax Arcana 1) - September 24, 2013

Please welcome Elliott James to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Charming, Elliott's debut novel, is published today. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Elliott a Happy Publication Day! You may read Elliott's Guest Blog - Hare Extensions - here.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Elliott:  Thank You.

TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

Elliott:  If you mean on my own free will and time, I’d have to say around the 7th grade, probably because this was when I was discovering writers like H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Roger Zelazny. I guess you could say that puberty and Fantasy Horror struck at the same time in my life. Assuming that puberty and Fantasy Horror are, in fact, two different things.

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

Elliott:  In regards to my writing habits, probably that I prefer to write early in the morning (as in 5.a.m. while I’m freebasing coffee) or at night out on my porch sipping cider. I seem to like being right on the edge of sleep, I don’t know why.

       As to my writing style, it’s probably my inability to keep my often inappropriate sense of humor from poking up like a weed or a whack-a-mole. Sometimes I find it actively frustrating. I mean, I’ll be trying to build suspense and having to fight down an impulse to make some irreverent comment about anal warts. Not that I would know how to make a reverent comment about anal warts. Perhaps you should make that a writing challenge.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Elliott:  Both, and that’s not me evading or trying to have it both ways either. I plot and create backgrounds for my characters and research, and as soon as I actually start writing it all goes awry pretty quickly. But I think I would have a hard time writing if I didn’t have a structure to rebel against.

       But just to prove that I am capable of a definite answer, I will say that I’m not a last minute packer, I’m an over-packer who has to jettison things later. If that wasn’t clear, some people underwrite and then go back and flesh everything out later, and some people overwrite and then have to go back and chainsaw their work down into something manageable. I’m one of the latter.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Elliott:  Those still points between pivotal scenes where it’s like the story stops to take a breath. Often this is where the most interesting bits are, but these are also spots that readers will sometimes skim over to get to the next plot development. These are the places where it’s really hard for me to find a balance between adding texture, moving the plot along, and being self-indulgent.

TQ:  Describe Charming in 140 characters or less.

Elliott:  A modern day descendant of Prince Charming, bitter, pursued, cursed, is led by love to stay and fight an evil new vampire queen.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Charming?

Elliott:  The truest and simplest answer is that I enjoyed it. But I also address that question somewhat in my guest blog.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Charming?

Elliott:  Mostly I researched myths and fables and had a lot of fun doing it. It’s hard to research one thing in isolation though. While I was researching werewolves I also started looking into Jungian psychology. While I was researching vampires, I looked into several theologies. When I was researching the Fae, I read a lot of history. While I was researching fortune tellers, I read a lot of palms. Buh dum bump. Rim shot. Hello? Is anyone still out there? Is this thing on?

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Elliott:  I’ve actually answered this question in an interview that’s going to be in the back of the book, and just saying the same thing or cutting and pasting seems lame, so if you don’t mind, I’m going to approach it from a different angle.

       At some point in grad school, I read Virginia Woolf talking about Jane Austen – I think it was in The Common Reader –and Woolf was commenting about how Austen’s characters had a sense of great depth even though you saw very little of them on the surface. I think at one point Woolf implied that part of this was that Austen was an astute observer who often met people who had greater opportunities for life experiences than she did. There are always parts of other people’s personalities that are formed by experiences we never see, but the effects of those experiences, the character formed by them, tend to show consistently through small, seemingly trivial details. I think Woolf meant that Austen realized this and made it one of her great strengths as a writer.
I believe Woolf also implied that Austen had a much greater understanding of her creations than she ever showed in detail, and because of this her creations always spoke and acted in a way that seemed true even if they only showed up in a few scenes of seemingly little importance. Please feel free to read The Common Reader and argue with me or correct me if you think I’m misremembering or simplifying or whatever, because I probably am. But in any case, that idea stuck with me when a lot of things from grad school thankfully did not.

       I’m not saying I succeed, but I at least try to reach some kind of understanding of where my characters are coming from before I start writing them. Sometimes that understanding of a character deepens as I go along, but very rarely (in my vast experience as the author of one debut novel) has that understanding contradicted my original idea.

       All of which is to say that there was one character in particular, Stanislav Dvornik, who was both easy and hard to write, and for the same reason. Stanslav is a type of psychic called a kresnik, and he is aging, bitter, burned out, and secretive by nature and by choice. So writing someone as a closed off enigma is kind of easy. But giving that character a sense of texture or depth can also be difficult, especially when the narrator of the story has a tendency to dismiss or not bond with that other character.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Charming?

Elliott:  I guess, y’know, that one that I like a lot….

       Seriously, I like different scenes for different reasons. Romantically, there’s a scene with a first kiss that I like. I try to play off the contrast between the stereotype of Prince Charming as this kind of romantic pretty boy and the ruthless, pragmatic monster hunter who I’ve envisioned. I mean, part of the joke of Charming is that John Charming isn’t charming at all, or at least not smooth and urbane. Then there’s another contrast between this hardened survivor and the disconcerted idiot he becomes when he walks ass backwards into true love and doesn’t know how to handle it. That was fun.

       In terms of action, there’s a back alley confrontation that I l choreographed like a movie scene. I mean I literally used a real location, physically walked through it, then made little figures out of twist-ties and worked out where each person would be at each point as if I were recreating a crime scene or something. I think it reads a little differently than most action scenes.

TQ:  What's next? (in which an author shares whatever he'd/she'd like to share)

Elliott:  Well, I have this bad case of anal warts…no, stop! Just kidding! I’m working on the sequel to Charming right now. I’m thinking of calling it A Law for the Wolf in reference to that Kipling poem “The Law for the Wolves,” but there are two factors to consider: one is that this might be some kind of copyright infringement for all I know. The other is that it’s entirely possible that my editor is better at coming up with titles than I am. She came up with Charming and I like it because it works on a lot of different levels.

       I’ve also got the beginnings of an idea for another John Charming short story (I’ve written four) that I’m thinking of calling “Dog Gone” because I keep coming across all of these legends and myths about big demonic black dogs. Did you know that the Son of Sam claimed to have seen a big black dog that told him to commit murders? There’s also the popular story about Robert Johnson claiming to see a big black demonic dog at the crossroads although that’s inaccurate. Robert wrote a song about hellhounds on his trail which was actually about Tommy Johnson, another blues singer who actually did claim to have met a supernatural being at the crossroads. Not sure that’s the note I want to end on, but the French, English, Scandinavians, and Romans all apparently sacrificed black dogs because they thought their spirits would guard places or ceremonies in their afterlife. I think that’s fascinating and disturbing. So naturally I want to write about it somehow.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Elliott:  Thanks for inviting me :)


Pax Arcana 1
Orbit, September 24, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

John Charming isn't your average Prince...

He comes from a line of Charmings -- an illustrious family of dragon slayers, witch-finders and killers dating back to before the fall of Rome. Trained by a modern day version of the Knights Templar, monster hunters who have updated their methods from chainmail and crossbows to kevlar and shotguns, he was one of the best. That is-- until he became the abomination the Knights were sworn to hunt.

That was a lifetime ago. Now, he tends bar under an assumed name in rural Virginia and leads a peaceful, quiet life. One that shouldn't change just because a vampire and a blonde walked into his bar... Right?

And short stories:

Charmed I'm Sure
Orbit, August 15, 2013
eBook, 75 pages

This is the first in a series of short stories by debut author Elliott James. The first of his novels, Charming, will be out in September 2013.

When Tom Morris encounters a naked man walking along the interstate with no memory of how he got there, the smart thing to do is drive away. The only problem is, Tom Morris has secrets of his own. Like the fact that he comes from a long line of witch finders, monster slayers, and enchantment breakers, or that his real name is Charming. John Charming.

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls
Orbit, September 17, 2013
eBook, 75 pages

This is the second in a series of short stories by debut author Elliott James. The first of his novels, Charming, will be out in September 2013.

Nothing with the Cunning Folk is ever free. When John Charming goes to Sarah White for help with a minor ghost problem, he soon finds himself dealing with a restless spirit on a completely different scale. And the last thing you want to be when hunting a water spirit is out of your depth...

Pushing Luck
Orbit, October 15, 2013
eBook, 75 pages

This is the third in a series of short stories by debut author Elliott James. The first of his novels, Charming, will be out in September 2013.

Trying to make money off the grid, John Charming discovers an underground poker tournament where the hors d'oeuvres are made of human flesh and the players are gambling with much more than their money. All bets are off.

Surreal Estate
Orbit, January 14, 2014

[cover forthcoming]
This is the fourth in a series of short stories by debut author Elliott James. The first of his novels, Charming, will be out in September 2013.

The line between reality and dream is never entirely clear under the best of circumstances...and when John Charming finds himself being hunted through a nightmare house, it is far from the best of circumstances.

About Elliott

An army brat and gypsy scholar, ELLIOTT JAMES is currently living in the blueridge mountains of southwest Virginia. An avid reader since the age of three (or that's what his family swears anyhow), he has an abiding interest in mythology, martial arts, live music, hiking, and used bookstores. Irrationally convinced that cellphone technology was inserted into human culture by aliens who want to turn us into easily tracked herd beasts, Elliott has one anyhow but keeps it in a locked tinfoil covered box which he will sometimes sit and stare at mistrustfully for hours. Okay, that was a lie. Elliott lies a lot; in fact, he decided to become a writer so that he could get paid for it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The View From Monday - September 23, 2013

Happy Monday.  Fall is upon us here. It's cooled down, but it's not too cold. It's time for apple picking! I hope that you pick up some terrific books this week.

I'm not going to say much about the latest kerfuffle regarding authors, reviews, bloggers, types of blogs, etc. Let me just say that The Qwillery is my blog. I will post the sorts of things that I want to post. Finally, authors are welcome to post comments at The Qwillery and engage in polite discourse. And politeness is something I expect of everyone.

This is a very full release week with many debuts. You may find a printable PDF shopping list for this week's genre releases here.

There are 7 debuts this week:

Celtic Moon (Celtic Wolves 1) by Jan DeLima;

Charming (Pax Arcana 1) by Elliott James;

The Spirit Keeper by K. B. Laugheed;

A Cold Season by Alison Littlewood (US Debut);

Harrowgate by Kate Maruyama;

Vicious by V. E. Schwab (Adult Debut);

Sleepless Knights by Mark Williams (US Debut); and

The Scroll of Years (Gaunt and Bone 1) by Chris Willrich.

And from formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

Corroded (St. Croix Chronicles 3) by Karina Cooper;

Shadow's Curse (Imnada Brotherhood 2) by Alexa Egan;

The Plague Forge (The Dire Earth Cycle 3) by Jason M. Hough;

All is Fair (Split Worlds 3) by Emma Newman; and

Prince Thief (Tales of Easie Damasco 3) by David Tallerman.

September 23, 2013
Corroded                               Karina Cooper SP/HistF - St. Croix Chronicles 3

September 24, 2013
Doctor Who: Cyberman Bust and Illustrated Book
SF - Doctor Who
War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches Kevin J. Anderson (ed) SF - Anthology
Torchwood: Another Life (h2tp) Peter Anghelides SF - Torchwood
Chasing the Shadows (ri) Keri Arthur UF - Nikki and Michael 3
Torchwood: Exodus Code John Barrowman
Carole E. Barrowman
SF - Torchwood
The Daylight War (h2mm) Peter V. Brett F - The Demon Cycle 3
The Incrementalists Steven Brust
Skyler White
The Lost Stars: Tarnished Knight (h2mm) Jack Campbell SF - Lost Stars 1
A Calculated Life Anne Charnock SF
Doctor Who: Sting of the Zygons (ri) Stephen Cole SF - Doctor Who
Doctor Who: The Krillitane Storm (ri) Christopher Cooper SF - Doctor Who
King Breaker Rowena Cory Daniells F - King Rolan's Kin 4
Celtic Moon (D) Jan DeLima UF - Celtic Wolves 1
Betrayer (tp2mm) Aaron Dembski-Bowden F - Warmhammer: Horus Heresy
Shadow's Curse Alexa Egan PHR - Imnada Brotherhood 2
Doctor Who: Hunter's Moon (h2mm) Paul Finch SF - Doctor Who
Autumn Whispers Yasmine Galenorn UF - Otherworld 14
Soul of Fire Laura Anne Gilman UF - Portals 2
Deep in Crimson Sarah Gilman PNR - Return to Sanctuary 2
Let the Dead Sleep (h2tp) Heather Graham Su/M - Cafferty & Quinn 1
The Night Is Forever Heather Graham PNR - Krewe of Hunters 11
Midnight's Temptation: Part 3 Donna Grant PNR - Dark Warriors
Doctor Who: The Slitheen Excursion (ri) Simon Guerrier SF - Doctor Who
Peaches for Monsieur le Cure: A Novel Joanne Harris F - Chocolat Trilogy 3
The Small Hand and Dolly Susan Hill Gh
A Study in Silks Emma Jane Holloway SP/M - Baskerville Affair 1
The Plague Forge Jason M. Hough SF - The Dire Earth Cycle 3
Bound by Night Larissa Ione PNR - MoonBound Clan Vampire 1
Charming (D) Elliott James UF - Pax Arcana 1
Pirates of the Outrigger Rift
(Kindle e serial)
Gary Jonas
Bill D. Allen
Carrie (ri) Stephen King H
Doctor Sleep Stephen King H - Salem's Lot 2
'Salem's Lot (ri) Stephen King H - Salem's Lot 1
The Spirit Keeper (D) K. B. Laugheed R/Mystical
The Dark Need (Kindle e) Stant Litore
Lee Goldberg
Williams Rabkin
H - Dead Man 20
A Cold Season (D - US) Alison Littlewood H
Torchwood: Trace Memory (ri) David Llewellyn SF - Torchwood
The Dead Run Adam Mansbach UF
Harrowgate (D) Kate Maruyama H
Freedom's Challenge (e 1st) Anne McCaffrey SF - Catteni 3
Star Trek: The Fall: The Crimson Shadow Una McCormack SF - Star Trek
Father Gaetano's Puppet Catechism: A Novella (h2tp) Mike Mignola
Christopher Golden
Seven Forges James A. Moore F
All is Fair Emma Newman F - Split Worlds 3
On Midnight Wings Adrian Phoenix UF - Maker's Song 5
Torchwood: Into The Silence (ri) Sarah Pinborough SF - Torchwood
Doctor Who: Winner Takes All (ri) Jacqueline Rayner SF - Doctor Who
Doctor Who: The Deviant Strain (ri) Justin Richards SF - Doctor Who
Mirror, Mirror J.D. Robb
Mary Blayney
Elaine Fox
Mary Kay McComas
R.C. Ryan
FT/R - Short Stories
The Hungry Dead: Midnight and Escape from the Living Dead John Russo H
One Lucky Vampire Lynsay Sands PNR - Argeneau 19
Vicious (D - Adult) V. E. Schwab Superheroes
Still Life with Shape-Shifter (h2mm) Sharon Shinn PNR - Shifting Circle 2
A SEAL Wolf Christmas Terry Spear PNR - Heart of the Wolf 12
Phoenix Rising (tp2mm) Ryk E. Spoor F
Stonecast Anton Strout UF - Spellmason Chronicles 2
Prince Thief David Tallerman F - Tales of Easie Damasco 3
Empire of the Blood: Omnibus Gav Thorpe F - Empire of Blood Trilogy
Hunter of Sherwood: Knight of Shadows Tony Venables F - Hunter of Sherwood 1
Kiss of Death Debbie Viguie PHR - Kiss Trilogy 3
Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion: Razor's Edge Martha Wells SF - Star Wares
Sleepless Knights (D - US) Mark Williams F
The Scroll of Years (D) Chris Willrich F - Gaunt and Bone 1

September 25, 2013
The Windsor Faction: A Novel                              D. J. Taylor AH

September 28, 2013
Swarm Lauren Carter Ap
Voyage of the Fox Rider (ri) Dennis L. McKiernan F - Mithgar
The Mallet of Loving Correction                         John Scalzi Collection from Whatever

D - Debut
e - eBook
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint
tp2mm - Trade to Mass Market Paperback

AH - Alternate History
Ap - Apocalyptic
F - Fantasy
FT - Fairy Tale
Gh - Ghosts
H - Horror
HistF - Historical Fantasy
M - Mystery
PHR - Paranormal Historical Romance
PNR - Paranormal Romance
R - Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SP - Steampunk
UF - Urban Fantasy

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Melanie's Week in Review - September 22, 2013

I will start this post off with a mini apology. I am later than I normally like to be writing my WIR. I have gotten back into playing a game on my Xbox called Dragon Age Origins which I have played before. My best friend and I were talking about the newest game in the series to be released in 2014 which got me reminiscing about my favourite characters. I thought I would re-play the first hour or so and I am now 6 hours into the game and back to being obsessed! Extremely naughty as stuff I need to get reviews aren't happening as quickly as they should.

Enough of that though...onto books. I have had another excellent week of reading. I was minding my own business on Twitter when I saw a tweet by J.T Geissinger saying her latest release Edge of Darkness was on NetGalley. If it was possible to  to trip racing to NetGalley then I think I would have. I had the book downloaded and started reading about 5 minutes later. I have been enjoying this series and this book was no exception. I am going to be reviewing it so not in a position to say too much here. Keep your eye out for it though as I have lots to say!

I also had a little delivery through my letterbox in the form of Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire.  This continues the October Daye series and finds one of our favourite heroines back to risking life and limb. I really enjoyed this installment and perhaps more than the last. In previous books October has been almost as obsessed with drinking coffee as she is with fighting baddies. In fact when I think back that is what I remember about the story rather than what 'really' happened. In Chimes at Midnight October loses her coffee obsession and this lets the plot shine though. There is lots more of Tybalt who I really like as a character,as well as The Luidaeg. McGuire is a great storyteller and even more so that she can switch between different genres so successfully. I absolutely loved The Newsflesh trilogy written under her Mira Grant pseudonym. Chimes at Midnight is another great book in the series with chases, near death experiences and a lot of plot development.

I am ending the week reading Cracked by Eliza Crewe which I am LOVING! I will also be reviewing this one but what I can say it is HILARIOUS. I am going to have to restrain myself and not quote all the funny lines. I am not sure but I think it is YA but there is a lot of blood, guts and swearing. Maybe it is 'funny' genre?

I thought it was quite interesting reading a number of tweets and blog posts about book reviews and reviewers this week. One that I thought was very interesting was on Ilona Andrews' blog. They (not sure if it was Ilona or Gordon who wrote it) were discussing how readers interpret their books differently....differently to how they thought they had written it. They also talked about negative reviews and reviewers in general. I find it interesting how book reviews seem to be more 'volatile' than other types of review - restaurant reviews, theatre reviews, movie reviews. I find this odd. I have made decisions not to watch a movie if it got poor reviews but seldom use reviews to decide whether or not to read a book. I wonder why this is? Do we put more value into book reviews than other types and that is why people tend to comment more to negative reviews? Chuck Wendig tweeted that he doesn't read reviews which I also thought was interesting....and maybe a tiny bit disappointing as a reviewer. Whether I like a book or not I value the fact the author can do ...or did do something I haven't and likely ever to, which is to write a book. I did have to force myself not to read all the comments or I wouldn't have gotten anything else read. I am sure the topic will come up again on Twitter again soon.

I better finish this off so I can get it posted so that's it for me folks, until next week Happy Reading,

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Review: Blood Warrior (The Dragon Kings 2) by Lindsey Piper

Blood Warrior
Author:  Lindsey Piper
Series:  The Dragon Kings 2
Publisher:  Pocket Books, July 30, 2013
Format:  Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9781451695922 (print)
Review copy:  Provided by the Publisher

The Dragon Kings, an ancient race of demons, were once worshipped as earthly gods. Centuries later and facing extinction, their survival is challenged when a madman renews his clan’s tradition of ritualized murder.

For decades, Tallis of Pendray has been visited in dreams by a woman who tempts him to fulfill a sacred prophecy. He devotes his life to the cause, until her violent demands destroy his family. Now he wants revenge.

To her devoted followers, Kavya of Indranan is a peaceful savior. But believing Kavya responsible for his deadly dreams, Tallis kidnaps her on the eve of a vital truce within her warring clan. During the ensuing chaos, her bloodthirsty brother attempts to kill her, certain the sacrifice will transform him into a dangerously powerful telepath.

Tallis safeguards Kavya—who shares little but a name in common with his avowed enemy. Their impassioned flight leads them to the Scottish Highlands, where Tallis is held liable for his crimes. He’ll do what he must to protect Kavya and the iconic message of harmony that could ensure the survival of the Dragon Kings . . . as much as her love could heal his jaded heart.

Melanie's Thoughts:

Blood Warrior starts not long after the end of the first book in the Dragon Kings series, Caged Warrior. Tallis Pendray, having fled the scene of the rescue of his niece Nan in book 1, has found the one woman he has been searching decades for. The goddess known as 'The Sun' has been visiting him for twenty years through his dreams, influencing him to kill several of his own kind. He was in fact, involved in the murder of Nan's human husband in Caged Warrior. Tallis decides to take matter into his own hands by seeking retribution on the one person who has controlled his life. No one is more surprised than Tallis when he finds himself on the run the run with the lovely goddess Kavya, protecting her from the brother who wants to her dead.

More is revealed about the history of Tallis, his family and the dragon king race. Through Kavya we come to learn about the powers of the Indranan race and of the Pendray through Tallis. It reminded me a tiny bit of gaming characters where you pick a race and have a main power or skill - the Pendrays are berserkers, Indranans are telepaths, Maleforneys channel lighting and added into this mix are the half breeds like Nan who have multiple powers from both parents. A theme throughout both books is that the dragon kings as a species are dying out.  I couldn't really understand was why this was happening as there was really no explanation as to why the dragon kings had become infertile. Nan, from Caged Warrior, had obviously had a child with a human so I wasn't entirely sure why more weren't doing the same.

The plot is fairly fast paced with a journey starting in India and ending in Scotland. The environment seems to be cast as an alternative character, moving quickly from a tempestuous snow storm to bleak, barren wilderness. Piper uses the weather and landscape to mirror the mood between the two lead characters to good effect. Missing from the story however is any further development of the Aster plot which I think is a bit disappointing.  Aster is a strong antagonist but the plot of this story seems to side track him in favour of Kavya's equally evil brother.

Overall, Blood Warrior is more your traditional PNR with the virginal, misunderstood Kavya and the handsome, rebel in the form of Tallis. While I thought there wasn't enough history in Caged Warrior but liked the fact there was a strong female lead, in Blood Warrior it was the exact opposite. There is much more detail about the the different races but Kavya is much more the 'femme fatale'. Although saying that I have to appreciate any woman who can traipse through a snow storm in India in no more than a sari and slippers and still look gorgeous! There is a lot more happening in this instalment but it seems to end rather abruptly.

I am fairly conflicted about this series. On one hand I like Piper's world building and the history/folklore surrounding the dragon kings but I just don't like the characters that much themselves. I want something compelling that makes me want to cheer them on even though I may not agree with what they are doing. Apart from Tallis the other characters are a bit bland. Even the lovely Kavya is a tad one one dimensional. I am looking forward to book three which will feature 'The Pet' from book 1 and the Giva who is the leader of the dragon kings. From reading the introductory chapters of this third book I get the feeling that Piper has been slowly building the plot and the character development for future books in the series...or at least I hope that is the case. The Dragon Kings series has a little of something for everyone but not consistently over the first two books. While they are definitely PNR Caged Warrior focuses more on the plot, especially of the Asters, while Blood Warrior reverts more back into traditional PNR. If like me, you were looking forward to this plot developing then tread carefully as Blood Warrior doesn't develop the overarching plot. Blood Warrior is solid PNR and sometimes everyone needs a little happily ever after!