John is a long, tall Texan (very, very tall) born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. Educated at Grinnell College in the great state of Iowa, he considers Iowa his second home state, and keeps on good terms with both by eating barbecue AND corn. When he's not watching way too much sci-fi/fantasy TV or reading similar books (or working, obviously), you can usually find him reading the news or playing video games. John currently lives in Austin, Texas, where he works as a lawyer and author.
I'd like to welcome John back to Moonlit Dreams and thank him for taking the time to stop by and answer a few questions for me. I first met John via Twitter when he was slinging his latest fantasy legal thriller Atticus for the Undead. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, reviewed it HERE, and thought and interview with the author would just be icing on the already yummy cake. So here we go...
CHRISTINE: Everyone has their own story. How did you stumble into a writing career?
JOHN: Well, I'd been making serial short fiction and running RPGs for years. And then I noticed that for several weeks in a row, the episode plots on one of my favorite shows were very similar to things I'd just done in the serial I was working on at the time. So I thought, "Huh, maybe I can play in the big leagues."
As everyone knows, the economy is awful, so I figured I had nothing to lose.
CHRISTINE: What would you say inspires you the most when you are developing a new story line?
JOHN: I once heard another writer say that, when you're a writer, everything is inspiration. That's basically how I feel -- the most random things will inspire me. Like the book I released last month, Atticus for the Undead, came to me when I was reading Seanan McGuire's novel Feed, which is about the politics of a post-zombie-apocalypse world. And then I thought, "Next thing you know, they'll be putting one on trial or something… Hey! That's it!"
CHRISTINE: What are the best and worst parts of establishing your own writing career?
JOHN: The best part has been connecting with other writers. If you want to meet a group of people who will restore your faith in humanity really quickly, talk to some writers -- they really are an extraordinarily friendly, welcoming, helpful group of people. For example, when I was writing Atticus, I reached out to a couple of published (or soon-to-be-published) authors and asked if they'd read the book and say something on their websites if they liked it.
One of them, Angela Scott (author of soon-to-be-released Wanted: Dead or Undead, by the way) not only took time out of her own writing projects to read the book, but also wrote me a very long, detailed e-mail with her comments on the book (most of them were gushing, which was a huge boost to my ego), and then she did a blog post about it on release day. Pretty extraordinary stuff, and she's far from the only one.
I've even been able to talk to some of my fiction-making heroes -- for instance, Jane Espenson, a screenwriter who currently writes for Once Upon A Time. When she answered one of my Tweets for the first time, I don't think I came off of Cloud Nine for a week.
The hardest part has been building my platform. I didn't go into this with any illusions that it would be easy, but even so, I've been struck by how hard it is to get people to notice that you exist. Some days I'll have sixty or even a hundred visitors on the blog, but not sell a single book. I guess it's a good thing I have a healthy ego, or at least a hard head.
CHRISTINE: Some people outline their books, some don't ... tell us about your writing process - how do you get from idea to completed novel?
JOHN: I definitely don't -- or I do, but only in a very general way. One of my biggest flaws as a writer is that I tend to get ahead of myself -- I get caught up in whatever idea I'm excited about that day, and am in such a rush to take it to the exciting conclusion that I leave the audience behind. A lot of times, I end up leaving things like believability behind, too. The problem with detailed outlines is that it gets hard to write point six if you get to point five and realize that there's no way the main character would behave the way you thought he would when you wrote the outline.
So I come up with the broad strokes at the outset, and then write chapter by chapter. After each chapter, I have my trusty team of beta readers review what I've written and get detailed feedback on whether I'm hitting the desired emotional notes, whether the characters feel believable, stuff like that. This also makes the editing process a lot easier because, by the time I get to the end, I know I'm not going to need to re-write whole scenes -- I've already re-written them, often multiple times.
CHRISTINE: Were you inspired to write by a particular author. If so, who and why?
JOHN: I was inspired to write by a screenwriter, actually -- Joss Whedon. I think his work has taught me more about the craft of fiction than any other single writer. If I have even a tenth of his talent at the end of my writing career, I'll be very happy.
CHRISTINE: What is your educational background?
JOHN: I was a Bachelor's in political science, followed by a law degree. I loved fantasy the whole time. So now I write fantasy books about lawyers. Go figure.
CHRISTINE: When did you start writing and what inspired the attempt?
JOHN: I started writing as soon as I got my first computer, way back in middle school.
CHRISTINE: Why did you choose to write in the fantasy genre?
JOHN: Because I think that with fantasy you have more opportunity than maybe any other genre to love the story you're telling, because literally anything is possible. You can mix gritty, serious themes with wacky, outlandish touches and make the reader believe it. I mean, really (SPOILER ALERT), what other genre would let you write about a capital murder trial and have one of the characters turn someone into a frog in the middle of the book?
CHRISTINE: Do you feel that people don't take you as seriously because you write fantasy?
JOHN: People who read fantasy take me seriously. That's what I care about.
CHRISTINE: What is your secret to finding that perfect blend between fantasy and reality?
JOHN: I'll quote Joss Whedon. "The two things that matter the most to me in the work that I do: Emotional resonance and rocket launchers." That sums it up. The fangs and the claws and the magic talismans and the steampunk pirate ships are all window dressing. If the beating heart of your story isn't something that resonates with your readers' real lives and feelings and experiences, then your story probably isn't going to get very far.
CHRISTINE: On that note, let us all take a moment to bow down to Joss Whedon before continuing on. :)
CHRISTINE: Alright, now that we've paid our respects... What is plot development like for you? Do you start out with the ending and work your way back in order to figure out how to string the plot twists along or do you have some other method to your madness?
JOHN: I work out my characters first. My plot is always centered around developing the characters, so I use the backstories I've created for them and the psychological needs I've identified for them to create the plot twists.
CHRISTINE: Tell us about Atticus for the Undead. How long did it take to write? What was your inspiration for the book?
JOHN: Atticus grew out of the fact that I'd been wanting to write a legal thriller for a long time. I'm a lawyer in the day job, so it seemed like the logical thing for me to do. But I didn't have an idea that inspired me until I was reading Feed. After that, the jump from the campaign trail to the courtroom was easy to make.
Once I had the idea, I threw the whole book together in about 3 months time. There was very little research involved, believe it or not -- I've kept the most random bits of legal trivia in my head from law school and my practice experience so far, so I just found ways to throw them in.
CHRISTINE: Do you have plans to release more books in the near future? If so, tell us about what you have in the works.
JOHN: The book I can talk about is The Void, Book 2 in The Weaver Saga. (Incidentally, as I write this, book 1 is free here with coupon code BY83E.) It picks up about three months after Weaver left off, and basically deals with the psychological consequences of the first book while also advancing the overall plot. The three main characters -- Alex, Moira, and James -- all lost something in the events of Weaver. The Void is about them dealing with that while also fending off the zombie apocalypse. Pesky thing, that.
There are some other things in the works, but they're all classified at the moment.
CHRISTINE: If you could live within the pages of your book, would you? Why or why not?
JOHN: Oh, probably not. I'm a pretty mean God -- I wouldn't want my fate dictated by me.
CHRISTINE: Are you a dog or a cat person?
JOHN: Both! My father is a life-long dog lover and he passed the trait on to me. Cats are the big tragedy of my life -- I'm crazy about them, but I'm also horribly allergic to them. I think they're my worst allergy.
If I could get one wish from a genie, it would be to be able to spend long periods around cats and still be able to breathe.
CHRISTINE: One final question, and this is probably the most important... Do you suffer from delusions of grandeur - I mean - are you secretly planning on taking over the world (like the rest of the writers out there)?
JOHN: Now, the question is, would I tell you if I was?CHRISTINE: John just happens to be the first person to ever answer that question here who knows how to keep a secret! ;) Now we know who the real contender for world domination is!
FOLLOW JOHN ONLINE!
Google+: As himself
Scout Donovan is a girl who believes in rules, logic, and her lifelong love of Charlie Hagan. Alex Cole believes in destiny, magic, and Scout. When Alex introduces Scout to the world of Shifters, men who change into wolves or coyotes during the full moon and Seers, women who can see your most private thoughts and emotions with a mere touch, the knowledge changes everything and everyone Scout thought she knew.
Destiny Binds was a fantastic YA Paranormal read. I have been made aware that it is to be the first in a trilogy, which is good because I was left with a lot of questions in the end.
While I was left with questions, it should be known that this book could still be a stand alone. It has a definitive end to it. I absolutely loved the story and the reality of it (I know paranormal and reality don't go hand in hand - bear with me)as it's rare to find an author willing to stray from the happily ever afters. Perhaps there is a happily ever after waiting at the end of the trilogy, just not at the end of this book.
That being said, it was worth reading every single page! The characters were endearing, and the plot intriguing. I can't wait to have my questions answered, and to find out how things will eventually turn out. I find myself torn about what I am hoping for with the future of this series. That in itself is the hallmark of a really good story. The author pulled me in and now I don't want to let go!
Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.
The series, overall, gets a 5-Star review.
The Iron King, for me, started out as a cross between The Labyrinth and The Never Ending Story. I honestly wasn't sure I would like it because of that. I am VERY happy that I stuck with it though as it quickly grew into a story all it's own. Kagawa did a fantastic job describing the settings, and the story came together in my mind as if I were watching it play out on the big screen. Frame after frame came alive in fluid motion as the characters of the book struggled with their quest and learned more about themselves and one another.
The Iron Fey series captivated me and upon reading the first book in the series I went ahead and bought the rest, because I knew I wouldn't be able to stop reading until the end.
Meghan Chase used to be an ordinary girl...until she discovered that she is really a faery princess. After escaping from the clutches of the deadly Iron fey, Meghan must follow through on her promise to return to the equally dangerous Winter Court with her forbidden love, Prince Ash. But first, Meghan has one request: that they visit Puck--Meghan's best friend and servant of her father, King Oberon--who was gravely injured defending Meghan from the Iron Fey.
Yet Meghan and Ash's detour does not go unnoticed. They have caught the attention of an ancient, powerful hunter--a foe that even Ash may not be able to defeat....
An eBook exclusive story from Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series.
I know there are readers out there who still shun e-books, but you will absolutely hate yourself for not going to check out the e-book exclusive content that is Winter's Passage. It takes place in the time between The Iron King and The Iron Daughter. I'm warning you here, you don't want to miss out on these little tidbits.
Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.
I was immediately drawn back into the series and left breathless with each chapter. The imagination that went into the creation of this world, the characters inhabiting it, and the amazing adventures that were had was astounding. Once I finished this book I immediately dipped right into the next, because I had to know... how it would all end.
My name is Meghan Chase.I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.
This time, there will be no turning back.
This series was supposed to end here, with the Iron Queen...
I LOVED this book, but I am so thankful that the author/publisher chose to continue on.
Let me just say, I had to grab some tissue for this installment of The Iron Fey series, so be prepared. You have been warned. I was seriously heartbroken by the end, and no, I won't spoil it and tell you why. Kagawa proved she could elicit a great deal of emotion with her writing. She already had me laughing, sitting back and worrying for the characters, but with The Iron Queen, she had my heart breaking for them. I love a book that can take me on that kind of journey and leave me so invested in the characters, that I simply can't help but feel their plight.
I couldn't put this book down once I started, nor could I stop there when I hit the last page. I honestly don't think I got a whole lot of sleep after this book because I just dove right into Summer's Crossing from here, hoping to find out... well, read the damn books and you'll see what I was hoping to find out! ;)
Now Ash has granted one favor too many and someone's come to collect, forcing the prince to a place he cannot go without Puck's help—into the heart of the Summer Court. And Puck faces the ultimate choice—betray Ash and possibly win the girl they both love, or help his former friend turned bitter enemy pull off a deception that no true faery prankster could possibly resist.
An ebook exclusive novella from Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series.A Midsummer's Nightmare? Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Summer Court prankster, King Oberon's right hand, bane of many a faery queen's existence—and secret friend to Prince Ash of the Winter Court. Until one girl's death came between them, and another girl stole both their hearts.
Summer's Crossing was another e-book exclusive, and a must read. While the mini-books aren't necessary for the overall story, you really are missing out if you choose not to read them.
Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.
Unless he can earn a soul.
To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.
Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.
With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.
To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.
And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.
The absolutely perfect ending to this Faerie Tale! I was so enamored with the characters, the setting (a character in its own right), and the story line. You will not be disappointed when you get to the end of this book, this series. If my recommendation doesn't send you out to grab copies of this fantastic fantasy adventure, maybe the trailer for the final installment will help convince you... Enjoy!
The Iron Fey Series is published by Harlequin Teen. Be sure to check out some of the other fabulous books that they have available! I've previously reviewed Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz and I will be reviewing The Soul Screamers series very soon.
You can also find out more about Julie Kagawa and her books on her website, or check out The Iron Fey website.
When fifteen-year-old Jacob Lau is pulled from the crumpled remains of his mother's car, no one can explain why he was driving or why the police can't find his mother's body. A beautiful and mysterious neighbor offers to use her unique abilities to help him find his mom. But in exchange she requires Jacob to train as a Soulkeeper, a protector of human souls. He agrees to her demands, desperate for any clue to the mystery of his mother's disappearance. But soon Jacob finds himself trapped in a web of half-truths, and questions her motives for helping him.
This is definitely a series I will be able to get into. The Soulkeepers had a great cast, rich settings, and a very interesting story line. To top it off, it was also very well written. I think the crowning achievement for this book was the fact that it was told from a male perspective. It was a refreshing change of pace from all the other YA Paranormals out there who focus on the girls instead.
I highly recommend The Soulkeepers to YA Paranormal fans. You won't be disappointed.
Don't miss WEAVING DESTINY, Book 2 in The Soulkeepers Series, available now!
Find other awesome young adult novels at DarkSide Publishing, www.darksidepublishing.com, from authors Karly Kirkpatrick, Megg Jensen, and Angela Carlie.
The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.
Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.
I definitely connected with the characters and their plight in the wake of a crazy killer virus and its aftermath. The world was a brutal one where beauty was found in stolen moments between the harsh realities that crept up around every corner. Carey definitely did a fantastic job conveying the emotions, the setting of the time, and the desperation that revolved around the main character. Despite my not being thrilled with the ending, the book was definitely worth the read.
While eve was superbly written, and a tragically beautiful story, I was left wanting. I understand that eve is to be part of a trilogy, so I look forward to finding out where the story will eventually take the characters.
To find out more about the trilogy check out the The Eve Trilogy website,
Zoë Merrick leads a less than ordinary life. Late one evening, she crosses paths with a man who brutally attacks her. In one shattering instant--a stranger with a knife alters the course of her future.
Unconscious and covered in blood, Zoë is found by a man named Adam. She undergoes a physical transformation, and strange new abilities begin to surface. Without hesitation, he takes her under his wing and an unexpected friendship forms between the two. Unable to return to her former life, Zoë feels lost.
Serendipity leads her to Justus. He is handsome, arrogant, and not entirely human. Justus gives her the truth she has longed to hear--that she is a Mage. He offers her answers and protection, as a young Mage cannot survive on their own. Forced to trust him, she must come to terms with accepting her new life and identity.
When her immortal freedom is threatened by the one man who has a right to claim her, Zoë learns the price of freedom...and the value of loyalty.
Holy shit, was this a good book!
I was riveted to this book, compelled to continue reading, and disappointed that it had to ever come to an end. There were a few typos that I only mention because unfortunately they were in important places. The type said "should" when it was supposed to say "shouldn't". EASILY overlooked once you realize the mistake, because this book was otherwise FLAWLESS! Spectacular plot, sexy, dangerous, and incredible characters made for extremely good reading. Sterling is what adult fantasy is all about. You get that harder edge, the reality of being a grown up where everything doesn't always work out the way you want it to, and the hot guy you drool over isn't necessarily the one that goes home with the girl. I had forgotten my love for the more adult versions of paranormal, because I hadn't come across anything new that I liked in a while.
Sterling is definitely unique in its telling, beautifully written, mesmerizing, and will leave you with an insatiable appetite for more. Dannika Dark is an amazing story teller. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in The Mageri series.For more info on the series and/or Dannika Dark, check out her website!
When sixteen-year-old Jensen Meadows finds herself caught in the middle of an ancient faerie war, she soon learns that faeries aren't made of sparkly goodness. They're vicious. And worse, they're after her. With the help of Liam Casey, she delves into their world to find her missing sister and begins to suspect that her whole life has been nothing more than a faerie tale.
But maybe some truths should never be revealed...
5-Stars for the Shimmer Trilogy
Being that Shimmerspell is a novella it was a quick read, but highly entertaining. I love the detail that the author put into the world of the Fae and its inhabitants. Upon finishing the book I had to go grab the next two in the trilogy.
YA-Paranormal enthusiasts and Faerie/Fairy lovers everywhere will enjoy this story.
Jensen hoped she’d never need Shimmerspell again, but now someone is stalking her, someone who claims to be the Lady of the Lake. To make matters worse, witches and dragons have come out to play. And Jensen must figure out how to harness her power and accept her destiny before she ends up losing everyone she loves.
limerick did its job. The characters, the settings, and the story line were all just as alluring as the first with a promise of greater things to come in the final installment. Spencer's writing style pulls you in and refuses to let go. If you haven't already gone out and grabbed a copy of Shimmerspell, do yourself a favor and make sure you get all three books from the start. :)
Now that Jensen's dirty little secret is out, the King of the Seelie Court has ordered her capture. So if she wants to remain the master of her destiny, she must place her trust in an unexpected ally and do the one thing no one else has done before—locate Merlin's bones. Because in the game of Light versus Dark, whoever controls his bones, controls the fate of the Summer Kingdom.
oathbound, the final installment in the Shimmer Trilogy, wrapped everything up perfectly. That said, I feel like I am having to let go of an addiction. It's hard to walk away from the world the author created, the characters that she so lovingly nurtured, and the words that seemed to spring forth from the pages of their own will. I definitely look forward to reading more from Kimberly Spencer. She is a very talented author, and definitely one to keep your eyes on in the future.
*Commenting on this blog entry will enter you to win a copy of the omnibus edition (the complete trilogy) e-book. If you've already read the trilogy, enter to win for a friend! :D Congratulations to D.F. Matthews for winning the omnibus edition of The Shimmer Trilogy! Your e-book has been mailed to the e-mail address you provided!
What's a girl to do when meeting The One means she's cursed to die a horrible death?
Life hasn't been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Conner, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she's irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.
But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can't stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma's been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.
Spellbound was a beautiful tale of tragic love and selfishness, redemption and selflessness all in one well written little package. This is probably the 4th young adult story I have read, this month alone, that deals with love through lifetimes, soul mates, and reincarnation. Despite the fact that I have read so many with similar themes, this story had a very fresh take on things. It was a fast paced read that I finished in a few hours (I devour well written fiction - sometimes too quickly for my own good).
Spellbound was yet another fantastic YA paranormal romance that I highly recommend to readers of the genre. I already added the follow up to Spellbound to my TBR list for 2012. I can't wait to see what Shultz does with the next story.
Book 1 of the Netherworld Series by Michelle Muto
Grief-stricken by the murder of her twin, Keely Morrison is convinced suicide is her ticket to eternal peace and a chance to reunite with her sister. When Keely succeeds in taking her own life, she discovers death isn’t at all what she expected. Instead, she’s trapped in a netherworld on Earth and her only hope for reconnecting with her sister and navigating the afterlife is a bounty-hunting reaper and a sardonic, possibly unscrupulous, demon. But when the demon offers Keely her greatest temptation—revenge on her sister’s murderer—she must uncover his motives and determine who she can trust. Because, as Keely soon learns, both reaper and demon are keeping secrets and she fears the worst is true—that her every decision will change how, and with whom, she spends eternity.
I found Michelle Muto through Twitter back in the spring, and I quickly snatched up her first book, The Book of Lost Souls. I was very impressed with it and reviewed it here. While informing Michelle about the review, we got to talking, and she hinted around about a much darker book that she was working on. She definitely peeked my interest, and I have to say it was well worth the wait. Because boy oh boy, can this lady write! I highly recommend both books to lovers of YA Paranormal, but for clarification purposes, here's what I thought of that darker book she was hinting about months ago...Dark and exquisitely beautiful!
My first impression upon opening this book was: Best first chapter in a novel - Ever! Michelle Muto hooked me from word one and kept me gripped until the end. This is a beautifully written dark tale of life, death, and everything that comes after. It was absolutely mesmerizing.
This is hands down, one of the best books of 2011! From the opening chapter that all authors should learn from, to the bittersweet ending, Don't Fear the Reaper will keep your heart on edge as you continue to turn the pages.Check out Michelle Muto's website and find out more about her books: http://michellemuto.wordpress.com/TWITTER: http://twitter.com/#!/MichelleMutoFACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Michelle-Muto-Author-Page/154882381238003
In October 2011 - I wrote a blog entitled: Forget the Vampires, Angels Are Taking Over. Since then I have been bouncing back and forth between Angels and Vampires with a few witches thrown in for good measure. From Becca Fitzpatrick's hush, hush series to Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires and back to angels again with Wormwood by D.H. Nevins. It wasn't enough. I have been on a reading rampage lately. A trip back to K.A. Tucker's Casual Enchantment Series filled with vampires and witchcraft followed by more beautiful fallen angels in Laurne Kate's Fallen Series, have left me breathless over the past month. And these are all titles I have read since that Halloween blog post about Angels and Vampires.
I find myself sometimes wondering what exactly the allure is, and then as if I always knew, the word magic comes to mind. The unknown. The fantasy element, that all of these books have in common, comes down to a person's belief in something beyond what they think they know. It takes these characters on journeys and through trials and tribulations far removed from what us mere mortals can bare. They are beautiful fantasies, wrapped in a magic that draws the reader in and catches hold, enticing us to keep turning the pages.
I suppose over the next few months I will be able to do a similar blog about werewolves, faeries, and mermaids that are now adorning my shelves, and while they all have a special place in my imagination - there's something extraordinary that continues to draw me back into the world of vampires and angels. Maybe it's the startling similarities between good and evil. Perhaps it's the fine line they walk between morality and hedonism. No matter what it is, that initially draws me in, I have to give the authors credit where it's due. The writing is phenomenal! The stories are captivating! The characters are are endearing and stick with us at night when we close our eyes to sleep.
And as with sleep all good things must come to an end. As 2011 closes and makes way for a bright and shiny new year, I am going to throw down my top choices in both Vampire and Angel books...
I find it extremely difficult to do an official "top ten" style list, because every time I try to place a numbered order to this list, I end up arguing with myself. So, in an effort to get this list written I'll start with one of my favorite vampire series:
- The Morganville Vampires Series by Rachel Caine - there are currently 11 books available in this series with a new one coming in May 2012. These are the perfect YA Vampire books and a must read for any YA paranormal romance fan.
- Casual Enchantment Series - K.A. Tucker - Evangeline is a human thrust into a world of vampires and magic. Her story is tragic, beautiful, and captivating. The first book, Anathema, is available now. The 2nd book, Asylum, will be available in early Jan. 2012.
I have so many more vampire novels waiting to be read on my Kindle shelf already, as well as my book shelf. But these are my top picks for this past year. All of these series have had a recent release, and are well worth starting from the beginning if you haven't read them yet.
- The House of Night Series by Kristin and P.C. Cast - There are currently 9 books in this series. It is an awesome, new take on vampires and magic. If you haven't checked them out yet, you should!
- The Vampire for Hire Series by J.R. Rain - A more adult vampire novel series with an interesting lead character in Samantha Moon. I fell in love with this series when it first came out and J.R. Rain is definitely on my favorite author list!
- The Anita Blake Series by Laurell K. Hamilton - always a favorite, although I have to admit, I prefer the earlier books in the series. And this one is definitely for adults!
My top picks for angel/nephilim based books are as follows:
- hush, hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick. I dare anyone not to fall in love with Patch! Seriously, these books keep you on the edge of your seat, heart beating wildly, worried for the characters and what their outcomes may be. Beautifully written. Fans of YA Paranormal Romance must have this on their shelves.
- The Gifts Trilogy by Patria Dunn-Rowe - This trilogy was an awesome story, with an incredibly cool back story woven in for good measure. I fell in love with these books when I first picked them up at the beginning of 2011, and then I was lucky enough to befriend the author. Anyone who loves YA Paranormal / Romance will not regret picking up this trilogy
As with the vampires, I have numerous e-books waiting in the wings on my shelves to be read. There aren't enough hours in the day to get through them all. By this time next year (assuming the world doesn't end before then) I am sure both of these lists will grow by leaps and bounds! Until then, you've got my top 5 in both categories for 2011 - now get busy reading! And don't be shy... I'd like to hear what everyone else's favorites for this year were.
- Fallen Series by Lauren Kate - I actually picked up Fallen, the first book in the series a few years ago, but I re-read it recently and then continued on through the series. Again YA Paranormal Romance readers will fall hard for the epic love story that is woven through the pages.
- Wormwood by D.H. Nevins - While I would say this is a more adult novel, it is still appropriate for YA readers too. It is an amazing post-apocalyptic tale involving nephilim, oh and yes, there's a little romance too! :) Oh, and a 2nd book is in the works!
- Ariel by Gabriel Madison - This was a fantastic, in depth YA Paranormal that I definitely count among my favorites. I have also heard there will be a follow up to the book - and I can't wait!