Perhaps the greatest unexpected gift to romance readers this year has been Thea Harrison's Elder Races books. The May series starter, Dragon Bound, received a coveted Gold RT review and the subsequent stories continue to wow readers. These paranormal romances include passion, mystery and a delightful mix of truly unique characters. Within the pages of these books, Wyr creatures, immortal beings from the magical lands of an alternate universe, are sometimes treated like gods and in other cases feared for the devils they can become.
Fan-favorite paranormal erotica author (and the winner of RT's 2010 Career Achievement Award for erotica) Kate Douglas shares some inside information about her wolves and other "sexy beasts" with RT's Elissa. Find out how the Wolf Tales series grew because readers loved it so much, the many different ways the author thinks about romantic love and how she incorporates this into her writing. Plus, Douglas shares why she loves pushing the limits in erotica and discusses how far the genre has come since her career's beginning.
Looking to add a few books to your TBR pile? In our newest column "If You Like ... You'll Love" RT staffers and reviewers will pick one new read and then suggest three other books that hold the same appeal. Today we look at Allie Harrison’s Hide and Seek.
Author Allie Harrison penned her first novel in 1993. The award-winning Dream a Deadly Dream was followed by two more books before the author took a decade long break from publishing. Then, in 2008, Harrison returned with Blood in the Moonlight a story that delved into the world of paranormal romance. The author has since published two more books and collaborated on a third. However, it is with the newly reviewed Hide and Seek that Harrison truly showcases her skills. This tale pairs the talented psychic Tess Fairmont with coroner Dr. Michael Adams. Tess is able to touch the dead (or living) and see their last moments. But will Tess be seeing her own demise when she stumbles into the crosshairs of a serial killer or will the Michael be able to help keep her out of trouble?
RT reviewer Karen Sweeny-Justice says, “Harrison scores with a tale that combines elements of the paranormal and suspense genres into a good old-fashioned whodunit. The heroine is a fully developed and realized character readers will root for; the widowed hero is a doctor who cares deeply for the bodies entrusted to his morgue; and the contemporary setting and secondary characters flesh out the storytelling. More than Ghost Whisperer meets Quincy, M.E., this compelling narrative makes for a page-turner readers won’t want to put down.”
Trees are trimmed, candles have been located, presents are wrapped and meals are planned. (Or if you’re like us, they haven’t yet, but by the time people are expecting holiday cheer, everything will be done.) After all of your hard work it’s time to get yourself a gift and what better than some terrific steampunk holiday stories? The newly released anthology A Clockwork Christmas contains four short stories that will certainly get you in the mood to celebrate. You can buy the e-collection from Carina Press, or purchase any of these tales individually. And because we know you don’t have a whole lot of spare time right now, we’ve broken down each story in the quartet so that at a glance you can see which of these terrific short stories might be right for you.
Title: “Crime Wave In A Corset”
Author: Stacy Gail
Setting: Boston at the turn of last century
I admit it, I am a total sucker for short stories. I love that the happily ever after between characters can blossom in only a few pages. It is almost an instant gratification that, as readers, we can read a whole love story in under an hour. However, not all short stories are created equal. The condensed format makes them very difficult to write. There is so much to pack into a few pages that a lot of the time readers can feel cheated, like we missed out on fundamental world building or character development. But every once in a while, a short story is so well crafted, so well written that we just can’t forget it. That’s the way I feel about Marjorie M. Liu’s “Six” from the 2007 anthology Holidays Are Hell.
“Six” begins in the back room massage parlor in the heart of Shanghai. Our heroine, Six, is there working undercover for Squad Twelve, an elite secret military force. She’s investigating the murder of the Foreign Minister’s wife. Unfortunately, this puts her in the middle of some seriously intense trouble — something paranormal that her training has not prepared her for.
Daybreak concludes the futuristic paranormal series co-written by Ann Aguirre and Carrie Lofty under the pen name Ellen Connor. The tale reunites childhood friends Pen and Tru from Nightfall, which Morgan and Whitney Dished about several months ago. But will these all-grown-up characters be able to forge a new (adult) relationship in this harsh world or are they doomed to failure like the society that they are products of?
Morgan: “Let’s read Daybreak,” you said. “We have to read Tru’s story,” you said. And innocent ole me thought it a great idea. Until Tru shows up in the story.
Whitney: Okay, he is a bit different from how we left him at the end of the first book in the Dark Age Dawning series. But, in his defense, Tru was only a teen in that story ...
Morgan: Yeah, and he is grown up to be a complete jerk!
It’s that time of year again, when you’ve got to make a list and check it twice to figure out what you’re going to get your loved ones. But don’t worry, we’re here to help with options for each type of person on your list. Today we bring you our top suggestions of what to get for the hard to gift-to paranormal romance and urban fantasy enthusiast …
The community of paranormal and urban fantasy enthusiasts pretty widely agrees that at some point in our future a zombie takeover will occur. When these undead overlords come to take over it is not a matter of surviving the epidemic, but adapting to their new flesh-eating society. Before the tide turns against the living, arm your loved one with the Zombie Survival Aptitude Test, which will predict who will be able to adapt — and who will just be a casualty during the coming war. (If you think your giftee will score well on the test, then help them kick it up a notch by learning the grave crawling creatures' language with the educational text How To Speak Zombie.)
However, if you want to ring in the holidays with tidings that are a little less grim, we suggest that you gift your loved one some romance of the written variety. Raise their spirits with a special box set from one of the heavy hitters in paranormal romance. This could include Nora Roberts’ Key Trilogy box set, an urban fantasy collection of Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, or the immensely popular J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood box set. Or opt for an audio collection like Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Coffin Box Set that includes three of the author’s Dark-Hunter books.
If e-books are more your loved one’s style, then don’t worry we’ve got you covered with these six sets. Topping our list are Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld Bundle, which features the first four books in the series and Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed Bundle, that includes eight e-books. We also suggest Richelle Mead’s Dark Swan Collection, Kate Douglas’ DemonSlayer Bundle, this two-for-one set of Jade Lee’s DragonBorn books and the Yours for Eternity e-collection with digital reads from Hannah Howell, Kaitlin O’Riley and Alexandra Ivy!
Each month RT Book Reviews’ editors award the RT Seal of Excellence to one book that is not only compelling, but stands out from the more than 250 books reviewed in that issue and on the website.
So which novel won the December 2011 RT Seal of Excellence and what other titles were contenders for the Seal this month?
Here's your hint: This tale of love and paranormal creatures is positively on fire!
BLOG UPDATE 12/4/2011: Late last week we reported that Judi McCoy, who had been hospitalized since the end of November, was awake and responding. Sadly, this is not the case. A note on her Facebook page reads: “Judi is still in a coma, but does open her eyes frequently. Readers, fans, and fellow-authors are asked NOT TO SEND ANY FLOWERS OR WELL WISHES to Judi at this point, as she will not realize what has come to the hospital for her.”
With our new column Adventures in Self-Publishing, we bring you at look at this ever-expanding market: going in-depth to see what types of titles readers can find, sharing special extended reviews and getting the how-to of self-publishing, straight from authors who are doing it on their own.
Today, Marsha Canham tells us how she and five other fan-favorite authors who have traditionally been print published, decided to release their own e-anthology, Masters of Seduction. Learn how this group of writers came together for the project, why they believe it makes e-book history and how you can get your hands on this new anthology!