Friday, February 26, 2010

Tales of an Extraordinary Girl--Gena Showalter


  • Publisher: HQN Books
    Subject: Fiction : Romance - Paranormal
    Publication Date: October 2009

Earth, Wind & Fire aren't just a band anymore . . .

Twenty-four-year-old barista Belle Jamison dreams of a better job and a decent love life. Until a crazy scientist spikes her mocha latte! Suddenly Belle can wield the four elements - earth, wind, fire and water - with only a thought. Coffee too hot? No problem. Hair in need of a blow-dry? Done.

Gorgeous government agent Rome Masters has been sent to neutralize Belle. But he's not the only one after her. Together they must outrun the rogue agents on their trail and find a way to control her powers. There's just one problem: the sparks Belle and Rome generate are even hotter than the ones flying from her eyes-and with her future on the line, now is the worst possible time to fall in love...

  • My thoughts:

I have never been a big fan of first person POV. However, Gena writes such an engaging tale that you forget the POV and laugh over Belle's antics and drool over Rome. Yah, I'd like to make that Cat purr.

This is a fun pararomantic romp that had me laughing in more than one place. I really like Belle, she's a hoot. It's not all fun and
games, though, there are major bad guys, murder, kidnapping attempts, unexpected fire, rain, and wind popping up everywhere, a guy who can become electricity and travel through electrical lines, a fun empath sidekick whose young male bravado is endearing. The whole story evolves around an ordinary girl--well sorta--and her unexpectedly being given powers she had no idea existed much less knows how to deal with. Moral: never leave your Mocha Latte unattended.

I really enjoyed this story and it's almost comic book overtones, loved the wit and humor. I haven't read the next one but as soon as I can get my hands on it, I will.

  • And speaking of the next in the series...


Publisher: HQN Books
Subject: Fiction : Romance - Paranormal
Publication Date: February 2010

Belle Jamison is finally starting to feel like a normal girl again. Her job as a paranormal investigator is going well, she's learned to control her supernatural abilities (mostly) and she's just gotten engaged to Rome Masters, the ultra-sexy operative who once tried to neutralize her!

But planning a wedding is never easy, especially when the bride keeps accidentally torching her dress, the groom returns from a dangerous mission with selective memory loss and the man responsible now wants Belle for himself. With Rome's ex determined to win him back and a new band of supervillains on the horizon, it will take all Belle's powers—plus a little help from her trusty empath sidekick—to save the day, salvage the wedding and prove that true love really does conquer all.

I had the chance to chat a bit with Gena about this series.

  • Tell me a bit about Belle. I cracked up when I read her resume and the interview she had and she's definitely a bit of a scatterbrain.

Tragically, Belle’s crazy apple didn’t fall too far from her creator’s tree. The resume is true to – God, I can’t believe I’m admitting this -- my life. Well, my old life. For years, I couldn’t hold down a job, was often fired or quit within just a few weeks, and never finished anything I started. Writing changed that for me, and I developed terrible OCD (now I can’t start anything without obsessing until I finish) But the scatterbrain part . . . I hang my head in shame. Classic “what did I do with that?” Gena. The hair trigger emotions . . . shame . . . spiraling . . .

  • You create an organization to handle those who are enhanced, like Belle, what's the deal with them?

I wanted a place where enhanced humans (and even non-humans) could congregate, study, train, learn to fight/use their powers, and learn to hunt those abusing their powers. Yet I also wanted PSI (Paranormal Studies and Investigations) to be a place that was grounded in some kind of reality -- like the FBI – so that readers could relate.

  • What do you like about your hero? What makes him sexy?

Rome Masters . . . dreamy sigh. I love me an alpha hero. And he’s definitely alpha. Strong, assertive, brave, willing to die for his family. Horribly, if necessary. He’s protective, not afraid to laugh, stubborn, sarcastic, and when he loves, he loves with his whole heart. There’s no other woman for him. Belle’s his one and only. Now, always. Nothing could tempt him away from her.

  • What was your favorite scene in Playing With Fire?

When Tanner shoots a bad guy with his eyes closed, and Belle tasers Rome. I had so much fun writing that scene. I chuckled the whole time.

*snork, oh that was funny.

  • What's coming from the pen of Gene Showalter in 2010?

In May, I have Into the Dark, featuring three short stories (two of which are written in the Lords of the Underworld world, and one in the Atlantis world) as well as a bonus Lords of the Underworld guide.

In June, I have The Darkest Passion, featuring Aeron, keeper of the demon of Wrath. His heroine is the angel sent to kill him. In July, I have The Darkest Lie, featuring Gideon, keeper of the demon of Lies. His heroine is a woman possessed by the demon of Nightmares. She claims to be his wife, but he can’t remember wedding – or bedding – her. Also in July is The Bodyguard, an anthology with the incredible Cherry Adair and Lorie O’Clare (my story features a man who can control shadows).

In August is the reissue of Intertwined. And in September is the sequel, Unraveled.

Oh, and I can’t forget my next alien huntress tale, Ecstasy in Darkness, featuring a vampire hero who can manipulate time and the agent in training who’s supposed to lock him up. That book will hit stores sometime in late 2010.

  • Good Grief! When you say obsessive about writing you aren't kidding.

  • I will tell you I'm a fan of yours and I've read several books in different series. You are one of the few authors I will pick up on name alone because of the quality of your writing. Your books are always a good read. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.


Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 25 books, ranging from white-hot paranormal romances set all over the world (and even in some places that do not technically exist), sexy contemporary novels and other-worldly young adult novels.

You can visit with Gena on her website. She loves to hear from her readers.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Legend Of The White Wolf, Terry Spear--REVIEW

Legend of the White Wolf

By: Terry Spear

Werewolf Series, Book 4
Sourcebooks, Inc

Mass Market
Price: $6.99

Publication Date: February 2010

  • His Wild Side Comes Out With a Vengeance…

    Is She The Hunter Or The Hunted…

In this fourth in Spear's werewolf series, Private Eye Cameron MacPherson and forensic scientist Faith O'Malley are both on quests that lead them into the world of magical wolves, mystery and murder.

Cameron arrives in wintry Maine to search for his partners in his P.I. business who are late returning from a hunting trip, and runs into Faith, there to locate her ex-boyfriend who stole her father’s research. But Cameron and Faith instantly are attracted to one another and keeping their business on a strictly professional level doesn't have a snowball's chance of succeeding in a toasty fire-warmed cabin, the couple snowbound and the setting perfect for an unplanned tryst.Together, the two tumble into an icy world of mayhem where myth, legend, and reality merge, changing their lives forever.

"The vulpine couple's chemistry crackles off the page, but the real strength of the book lies in Spear's depiction of pack power dynamics, as well as in the details of human-wolf interaction."

Publishers Weekly

Arctic Wolf in Full Winter White

My thoughts:

Anyone who knows me, knows I love animals. God knows, I have enough of them, including the privilege of having had Micah, a grey wolf, from pup to death (12 years). My favorite animal is the Wolf and the Cougar. My mother says I always told wolf stories and my favorite one was where I could drink a magic potion and become one.

So, when I had the chance to review Terry Spear's Legend Of The White Wolf, I jumped at the chance. One of the main reasons is I know Terry makes it a point to accurately portray wolf behavior. I've read many of the articles she's written about her research. This is not an easy task when writing werewolves. It's all too easy to fall into what everyone else has done rather than make your own world. Terry makes a very believable world and her wolves and the pack dynamics are very accurate.

I hadn't had the chance to read the other books in her series although they were on my To Be Read list. I came in on this series with her fourth book. No worries as it stands alone. There some reoccurring characters, but Terry skillfully introduces them so you know who they are without scratching your head and going, huh?

Terry captured my interest in the first page and I read this book in one sitting. She writes a Romance with a real bite to it and it is a fast paced, exciting story with a hefty dose of action, suspense and mystery. You have disappearing people, murder, kidnapping, questions as to who's behind it all. Is it the wolves or a strange group of so-called hunters? What's with Cameron's missing friends and Faith's faithless boyfriend? Who's chasing Faith on snowmobiles the hunters or the pack and why?

What's different about this book is one, the Wolf pack doesn't hide in this story but lives in the open among the community. There are some who have no real idea of who or what they are, but many do, including some of the local Indians. Two, both the hero and the heroine are fully human when they begin this adventure. Both tough and skilled in their respective fields. They each have their own agenda and it leads them straight into the world of Mythical creatures with consequences that will change them both forever.

I liked both Cameron and Faith. The sparks between them are fun and build expectation for the romance. Some secondary characters I really liked was Gavin, Cameron's partner and Leidoff (Oh yah, I'm looking forward to his story, yum).

Legend is well written and kept me turning the page. Terry writes hot sex (get out your fans, ladies because you’ll need one) and gives a satisfying ending.

Simply put:
  • I loved the book and it's one that will be sitting in my personal library and soon joined by the rest of the series.

I have two copies of Legend to give out to commenters today. It's well worth the commenting to receive one!


As soon as she reached her room, she struggled to get the key card to work, then gave the door a shove. The room was dark and cold. She fumbled for the light switch, but when she turned on the lamps, the bedcover wasn’t pulled back from the pillow, nor was a gold foil-covered chocolate waiting for her either. And of course the ice bucket was perfectly empty. She wondered if Cameron got the special treatment because he was a big tipper, or just an incredibly smooth-talking hunk.

She sighed and rolled her bag next to the bed, then headed back for the door. She might as well get this over with before she finally settled down for the night.

Glancing at her watch, she hadn’t realized how late it was already. Probably too late to order anything from the kitchen. But if she ate at this hour, the food would most likely just sit like a lump in her stomach when she went to bed anyway. She knocked on Cameron MacPherson’s door.

While waiting for him, she closed her eyes and yawned. Man, she was ready to skip the shower and just collapse in bed.

The door squeaked opened. Wearing only a pair of stone-washed jeans that looked incredibly soft, no shirt, and his feet bare, Cameron smiled, but he hadn’t brought her parka to the door. He looked every bit as sexy as when he was wearing only a towel.

“Are you sure you don’t want to have a bite with me?” He motioned to the tray on the table.

The old werewolf movie with Jack Nicholson was playing on the television, and by the sound of the growling, she envisioned he had shapeshifted and was fighting the bad wolf, if she recalled the movie correctly.

She gave Cameron a tired smile. “Under other circumstances, maybe. I left my parka here?”

“You look like you could use a meal and the kitchen’s closed by now.” His voice, deep and pleasing, sent little chills of expectation through her.

But she resisted the temptation and held out her hand for her coat. “Thanks, but I’m fine.”

He retrieved her coat and gave it to her, his hand brushing hers in a sensuous way, which made her skin heat again. She thought he looked a little wistful that she’d stay and keep him company, but she figured if she did, she would melt right under whatever spell he seemed to cast over her. It wasn’t like her to be that attracted to a guy she’d just met. She glanced down at his hand, no wedding ring. When her gaze returned to his, he was smiling broadly.

Usually a lot less obvious than that when she was scrutinizing a man’s marital status, although he might be married and just not wear a wedding ring, she felt her skin heat even more. “Thanks,” she quickly said before she made any more of a fool of herself, turned around, and left his room. But as soon as she reached her door and slipped her hand in her jeans pocket, she realized she didn’t have the key.

Terry Spear is an award-winning author of urban fantasy and medieval historicals. She also writes true-life stories for both teen and adult audiences. She is the author of Winning the Highlander’s Heart and The Vampire in My Dreams (young adult). Spear lives in Crawford, Texas.

A retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry Spear has an MBA from Monmouth College. She originally hails from the West Coast but now makes her home deep in the heart of Texas.

You can find Terry at the following places: Terry Spear's Website

Wickedly Romantic Blog

Casablanca Authors Blog

Fierce Romance Blog


Shifter Romance Blog

Monday, February 22, 2010


The Highlander’s Sword

By: Amanda Forester

Price: $6.99
Publication Date: March 2010

A quiet, flame-haired beauty with secrets of her own…

Lady Aila Graham is destined for the convent, until her brother’s death leaves her an heiress. Soon she is caught between hastily arranged marriage with a Highland warrior, the Abbot’s insistence that she take her vows, the Scottish Laird who kidnaps her, and the traitor from within who betrays them all.

She's nothing he expected and everything he really needs...

Padyn MacLaren, a battled-hardened knight, returns home to the Highlands after years of fighting the English in France. MacLaren bears the physical scars of battle, but it is the deeper wounds of betrayal that have rocked his faith. Arriving with only a band of war-weary knights, MacLaren finds his land pillaged and his clan scattered. Determined to restore his clan, he sees Aila’s fortune as the answer to his problems…but maybe it’s the woman herself.

My thoughts:

I have always loved Medievals, particularly by authors such as Roberta Gellis, Catherine Coulter, and Jude Deveraux. In today’s world, big fat Medievals are a thing of the past. Now everything has to be fast paced, spare in narrative, must happen in a short period (like a few weeks or even a few days) of time. In my opinion, the current style comes up short in showing the rich splendor of the times. I always have the feeling half the story is missing because I only get a condensed section of life and time.

I’ve sampled several Medievals, Scottish in particular, and have been left with a feeling of hmm, Scottish you say? Medieval? Or characters with contemporary attitudes dressed in medieval clothes spouting their lines in a Scot Brogue. Sorry, not good enough. Not one, have I read of late, is on my keepers’ shelf—my personal library. Until now.

So, it was with some skepticism I picked up Highlander’s Sword. Amanda Forester must have had some of the same ideas I had when reading the current fare of Medievals because her story is a good tale. Granted, it doesn’t span several months as did some of the medieval family sagas of old but I wasn’t left with a feeling of a half told story.

One of the things I liked (and one of my bug-a-boos) was it was historically accurate, both facts and mores of the time. Nowhere did I get the feeling of contemporary characters dressed in costumes.

Ms. Forester was able to pack a lot of story in her book. It kept my interest from beginning to the end and I was sorry it was over. Nicely paced, good dialog, an intriguing suspense, lots of conflict to resolve both between the two main characters and within the secondary characters as well.

Lady Aila’s parents have a nice side story, as does one of my favorite characters, Chaumont. I like Chaumont, he’s a warrior, he’s funny, Mr. Fashion plate, after all he is French, and he’s a ladies man. I love the close relationship between him and Padyn MacLaren. Ms. Forester skillfully shows that relationship by way of dialog—lots of razzing, but there is no mistaking the deep love, trust, and friendship between these men. MacLaren is more understated than his friend, but he’s a savvy man, excellent warrior, he could care less about how he looks and is all the more attractive for it. He makes the heart go pity-pat. Especially Lady Aila’s.

Aila is well a well-crafted character, true to her time. She’s strong, capable, well educated as she was destined to be a director or mother superior, of a Priory. She’s also a hoot. She has a way of quoting scriptures, and in more than one language, both to calm herself and to find answers. Sometimes she uses them to confound others. I laughed more than once over the way she handles things and lordy can she ride like the wind. She’s full of surprises. And totally unaware of her beauty, which is also fun.

There is a hidden villain in the story, who has an agenda of his own. That bit is deftly weaved into the story, and steps up the tension through out until the denouement. A few surprises there too.

Overall this was a very good read. I was very impressed with this debut. If you like Medievals, I suggest you hop a fast destrier and get thee to the nearest book store and snatch it up.


Aila entered her father’s solar with some difficulty, her feet growing heavier with every step. Confirming her fears, MacLaren stood next to her father. The two imposing men stared at her, saying nothing. This could not be good. Her father folded his large arms across his massive chest and turned to MacLaren.

Aila was struck at the change in MacLaren. She had known him years ago when he had been a friend to her brother. The warrior now before her hardly resembled the braw, cocksure young man who had left Scotland to fight the English in France. He looked older, his slate eyes cold. A red scar carved a wicked path from the corner of his left
eye down to his chin.

“Well?” demanded her father.

MacLaren looked her up and down in a manner that brought heat to her face.

“Aye, I’ll have her.”

Aila’s mouth dropped open, and she stared at one then the other. MacLaren frowned and turned to Laird Graham.

“Ye’ve no’ told her then?”

“I’ve told no one,” replied her father. “Watch yer back, laddie. I warrant there will be some what will take offense to yer marriage.”


Amanda has two videos on this book, She calls them the Dueling Duo as she's trying to decide which one to use. One's humorous, from Chaumont's viewpoint and the other plays it straight. You can cast a vote for which of the two you like.

Also we have two books available for two commenters today.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Amanda Forester holds a PhD in clinical psychology and a Masters degree in theology. As a psychologist, she has worked as a clinical researcher and a university instructor (what they call you when they don’t want to give you tenure). None of which has anything to do with writing romance novels. After trying for many years to stop the internal storylines floating around her head, she finally gave up and wrote one down. Now when she is caught daydreaming and talking to herself she can just say, “I’m plotting a scene for my next novel,” which sounds so much better than, “I’m hallucinating and responding to internal stimuli.”

Amanda lives in the Pacific Northwest with her officer and a gentleman husband and their two remarkably active, naturally brilliant children. They share their home with two fiendishly destructive cats and one lazy dog.

The Highlander’s Sword is Amanda’s first novel, so she would greatly enjoy hearing from readers.