Category Archives: Michelle Maddox

[COVER ART] Dead If I Do – Tate Hallaway & ManuscriptCat

Tate Hallaway has revealed the American cover art for her fourth Garnet Lacey novel, Dead If I Do. Can’t help but think that if Garnet was a real person, her Body Mass Index would be too low and she’d be hospitalised. Seriously, she’s twiggy. Or am I alone with this opinion? Anyway, the book will be released in May 2009.

This is one of Michelle Maddox/Rowen’s cats, Spike, lying on one of his human’s manuscripts and looking totally pleased with himself. But still nowhere near as happy as the turtle with a strawberry. I have no idea where Jennifer Armintrout found that photo, but it does make you realise that compared to that turtle, we are all miserable.

My Top 10 Books Published in 2008

Weekly Geeks is doing a thing where everyone compiles their own list of the best books they’ve read that were published in 2008. Admittedly, my list kind of skews to the ones I’ve read more recently, because I remember them better. So hard to pick just 10. But here there are:

Michelle Maddox
Dorchester SHOMI (US: 29th July 2008)

THREE. Kira Jordan wakes up in a pitch-black room handcuffed to a metal wall. She has 60 seconds to escape. Thus begins a vicious game where to lose is to die. TWO. The man she’s been partnered with – her only ally in this nightmare – is a convicted mass murderer. But if he’s so violent, why does he protect her? And stranger still, what is it behind those haunted sea-green eyes that makes her want to protect him? ONE. No one to trust. Nowhere to run. And the only hope of survival is working together to beat the COUNTDOWN.

Mary E. Pearson
The Adoration of Jenna Fox
US: Henry Holt & Co. BYR (29th April 2008); AU: Allen & Unwin Children’s (February 2009)

Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn’t remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?

Stephenie Meyer
The Host
Hachette (US, UK, AU: 6th May 2008)

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn’t expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind. Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves – Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body’s desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she’s never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.

Rachel Cohn
You Know Where to Find Me
Simon & Schuster (US: 4th March 2008)

First cousins Laura and Miles grew up like sisters. Miles thought of Laura as the golden one – smart, beautiful, rich, and popular – while Miles considered herself the unwanted one – an unattractive, underachieving outcast. Laura’s suicide shatters Miles and leaves her feeling completely alone, and sets Miles on a dangerous downward spiral. But in the strength Miles finds in herself and in those she didn’t believe cared about her, she is able to rebuild her life in unexpected ways.

Jes Battis
Night Child (OSI, Book 1)
Penguin Ace (US: 27th May 2008)

Tess Corday soon realises that there is not going to be anything ordinary about this case. Not the lab results on the cause of death. Not Mia Polanski, the teenage girl living at the address found in the vamp’s pocket, who may well be in thrall to a demon. And certainly not Lucian Agrado, the necromancer who is liaison to the vampire community. Agrado is supposed to be part of the solution, but Tess suspects he might be part of the problem. Under pressure from her boss, Tess is trying to go by the book on this one. But when Mia reaches out to her, she risks her career to help the girl. And finds herself in the middle of a paranormal conspiracy that will change her life forever. Or possibly end it…

Kristopher Reisz
Simon & Schuster Pulse (US: 19th February 2008; AU: 17th April 2008)

Daniel Morning seems perfect – handsome, charismatic, intelligent. But living up to everyone’s expectations has cost him the right to make his own decisions. The urge to shatter those expectations is beginning to gnaw at his insides. Then Daniel meets Misty. She’s smoky, rebellious, tender…and much more. She decides to let him into her pack of outcasts – and in on their little secret: She and her friends have learned to shape-shift, and have been prowling the night as wolves. Daniel soon falls in love with the primal sensation of shifting, just as he’s falling in love with Misty. The freedom to follow his most basic instincts is like nothing he’s ever felt. But Daniel will slowly come to realise that such freedom comes at a price…

Jeri Smith-Ready
Wicked Game (WVMP Radio, Book 1)
Simon & Schuster Pocket (US: 13th May 2008)

Recovering con artist Ciara Griffin is trying to live the straight life, even if it means finding a (shudder!) real job. She takes an internship at a local radio station, whose late-night time-warp format features 1940s blues, ’60s psychedelia, ’80s Goth, and more, all with an uncannily authentic flair. Ciara soon discovers just how the DJs maintain their cred: they’re vampires, stuck forever in the eras in which they were turned. Ciara’s first instinct, as always, is to cut and run. But communications giant Skywave wants to buy WVMP and turn it into just another hit-playing clone. Without the station – and the link it provides to their original Life Times – the vampires would “fade,” becoming little more than mindless ghosts of the past. Suddenly a routine corporate takeover is a matter of life and un-death. To boost ratings and save the lives of her strange new friends, Ciara re-brands the station as “WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” In the ultimate con, she hides the DJs’ vampire nature in plain sight, disguising the bloody truth as a marketing gimmick. WVMP becomes the hottest thing around – next to Ciara’s complicated affair with grunge vamp Shane McAllister. But the “gimmick” enrages a posse of ancient and powerful vampires who aren’t so eager to be brought into the light. Soon the stakes are higher – and the perils graver – than any con game Ciara’s ever played…

Eve Kenin
Hidden (Northern Waste, Book 2)
Dorchester SHOMI (US: 1st July 2008)

Tatiana has honed her genetic gifts to perfection. She can withstand the subzero temperatures of the Northern Waste, read somebody’s mind with the briefest touch, and slice through bone with her bare hands. Which makes her one bad-ass chick, all right. Nothing gets to her. Until she meets Tristan. Villain or ally, she can’t be sure. But one thing she does know: he has gifts too – including the ability to ramp up her heart rate to dangerous levels. But before they can start some chemistry of their own, they have to survive being trapped in an underground lab, hunted by a madman, and exposed to a plague that could destroy mankind.

Michele Lang
Dorchester SHOMI (US: 26th February 2008)

THERE’S A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN…And her name is Talia Fortune. Her mission: capture the cyber outlaw, Kovner, a man who knows she is more than just a sheriff – Talia is also a woman, with a woman’s desires. Scion of the Fortune family and primary shareholder of the mega-conglomerate FortuneCorp, she is the Hand of Fate…or at least of the Home Office. With the power to punish, she’s been sent to Fresh Havens – a corporate off-world colony run by her uncle. But the colony is full of hidden danger. Sabotage, deception, destruction…it will take every ounce of Talia’s strength and courage, fighting skills honed in the Amphitheatre and knowledge learned at the Academy, just to survive. Her ability to love and trust will be sorely tested, especially in the clutches of her quarry, the Outlaw of Fresh Havens, her cyber-lover and now her enemy. He and the answers lie in the Gray Forest, in a reality beyond the bubbledome, the Grid, and everything she’s ever known. Her future lies in…NETHERWOOD.

Marta Acosta
The Bride of Casa Dracula
Simon & Schuster Pocket (US: 16th September 2008; AU: 1st October 2008)

Milagro De Los Santos is having serious problems planning her wedding to fabulous Oswald Grant, M.D. Her future in-laws loathe her, her dog just died, and Oswald’s family has a genetic anomaly that makes them crave blood. Then her extravagant best friend hijacks the role of wedding coordinator, and the secretive Vampire Council assigns conniving Cornelia Ducharme to guide the couple through the ancient vampire marriage rituals. To top it all off, Milagro’s career is on the skids. She’s reduced to ghost-writing the memoirs of a loony little man who claims to be a shape-shifter. And why does Cornelia’s decadent, way too attractive brother, Ian, always show up whenever Milagro is away from Oswald? When a series of accidents interferes with wedding plans, Oswald worries that Milagro is cracking under the pressure. Is she just paranoid, or is a hidden enemy trying to make sure Milagro doesn’t wed the un-dead?

Random Stats
Books published by Dorchester SHOMI:
Books published by Simon & Schuster: 4
YA fiction: 3
Futuristic: 5

P. D. Martin & Meme

Australian crime novelist P. D. Martin came to my local library today for a speaking session. I still feel like one of the few writers out there who’s never had a dream inspire any writing. Basically my dreams are faff, odd thoughts throughout the day that somehow come together in a weird combination…but nothing story-worthy. What makes P. D.’s back story of Body Count stand out, however, is that even between little breaks between the three dreams within four hours, each picked up where the previous one left off. But my subconscious is nowhere near that advanced πŸ˜‰ Anyway, photographic evidence is at my Flickr – I’m not posting it here as I looked rather dopey. Dopier than usual πŸ˜‰ I hadn’t had any sugar-free cola yet, and I needed my fix…

I was tempted to ask what US agent she previously had, and who the one who sold her books internationally is, but figured that was too nosy. (Yes, who knew I had manners after all? πŸ˜‰ ) Because I do like to know which agents to avoid. I don’t always feel the need to know the reasons why, but just the names are enough to settle my thirst for wisdom. I can has restraint πŸ˜‰

And since I was tagged by the fab Becky (who totally needs to stop letting her sisters read her books before she does πŸ˜‰ )…

Three categories of books. 3 MUST Read Books, 3 Keep Your Eyes on These, and 3 Look For These Soon. Keeping with the theme, I am going to tag at least 3 bloggers. (But I ain’t doing that.) They should put these same lists on their blog but SUBTRACT one book from each list and ADD one of their own. Then they should tag at least 3 more bloggers. Since this is Book Buzz…please keep your lists to titles released in 2007-2009. Put an asterisk next to your addition.

3 Must Read Books:
Duma Key – Stephen King
Black Swan Green – David Mitchell
*The Adoration of Jenna Fox – Mary E. Pearson

3 Keep Your Eyes on These:
Stalking Susan – Julie Kramer
The Keepsake – Tess Gerritsen
*Countdown – Michelle Maddox

3 Look For These Soon:
When Will There Be Good News? – Kate Atkinson
The Fire – Katherine Neville
*Pride – Rachel Vincent

“Peter, what are you doing to my ear?!”

Jordan Summers
Red (Dead World, Book 1 – Mass Market Paperback)
Tor (US: 4th November 2008)

War is brewing in a near-future world where murder is all but unheard of and the existence of creatures known as the Others has yet to be proven. In the end, one woman will face her fears to stand and fight. Gina Santiago is a member of an elite tactical team in charge of protecting the world. She’s devoted her life to apprehending the most heinous criminals that prey on society – and now she’s after the worst one yet. On her own, with no backup, the trail takes her to a dusty, tight-knit town on the fringes of society, where everyone’s a suspect. Even the sexy sheriff, Morgan Hunter, isn’t telling her everything. The closer Gina comes to finding out the secret of this sleepy little town and its big, bad sheriff, the more scared she gets – because she’s beginning to realise that she has a secret, too. A secret that will change her life…and make her the killer’s next prey.

This sounds terrific – me want! And there are sequels coming: Scarlet in June 2009, and Crimson in June 2009. Yay for futuristic fiction!

Speaking of which (from Leah Hultenschmidt):

AMY RENCH – Fallen Rogue, a debut novel for the SHOMI line about an Olympic swimmer whose athletic dreams are dashed when she’s accidentally injected with a top-secret serum that suddenly gives her psi powers. Now the only man she can trust is the one who’s been sent to eliminate her. Coming in Fall 2009.

Fall = September/October/November. Anyway, I’d love to get in touch with Amy Rench, but I can’t seem to find her on the Internet. But I’ve seen a photo of her with Michele Lang and Michelle Rowen/Maddox, so hopefully those ladies – or you, dear reader – will be able to find Amy for me. Just send her to and tell her to drop me a line. Please, and thank you if you can help.

You know how I get particularly silly just before bedtime? Happened again last night. I was watching the Bring Me My Hookah! gals chat about promise rings, which made me recall a particular Family Guy episode. So my brain kept giggling with the line, “Peter, what are you doing to my ear?!” Oh well, at least I went to sleep with laughs πŸ™‚

What someone typed into Google to get to my WordPress: What to do with an angry inner child. Sorry, dude; can’t help you – I haven’t got my own angry inner child under control yet πŸ˜‰

[INTERVIEW] Michelle Maddox/Rowen

(Author photo from here.)

Meet Michelle Maddox, author of futuristic novel Countdown (Dorchester: 29th July 2008). Let’s learn…

Kira Jordan wakes up in a pitch-black room, handcuffed to a metal wall. She has 60 seconds to figure out how to escape. Thus begins a vicious game where to lose is to die. The stranger she’s been partnered with β€” her only ally in this nightmare β€” is a convicted murderer. But if he’s so violent, why does he protect her? And worse yet, what is it behind those haunted sea-green eyes that makes her want to protect him? No one to trust. Nowhere to run. And the only hope of survival is working together to beat the COUNTDOWN.

Tez Miller: You are the third consecutive Canadian author I’ve interviewed. What is about you Canadians that makes me like you? πŸ˜‰
It’s probably our patriotic love of back bacon and hockey.

Hell yeah, I love bacon… I’m convinced that Canada is my spiritual home. Is there anywhere in the True North in which it doesn’t snow?
I don’t think Vancouver gets much snow, but they get a lot of rain. And we only get snow part of the year – that’s the part of the year that sucks. There’s a joke that in the Toronto area, which is where I’m from, we have two seasons: Winter and Construction.

Do you have a spiritual home? (You shouldn’t, because Canada’s freaking ace, dude!)
Canada’s great. If I had a spiritual home…I’ve always dreamed of living on the beach in Santa Barbara. Well, not on the beach but in a really great beach house. I love being by water and I love the ocean even though the closest body of water I have is Lake Ontario. I pick Santa Barbara because I used to really love the soap opera of the same name.

Being Canadian has some disadvantages in the publishing industry: you may not be able to afford all the conferences or trips to meet your agent and editor, and such. How do you cope with these? And what are the advantages to being based in Canada in an American publishing world?
The advantage of being Canadian used to be that the American dollar was worth a lot more, so any advances or royalties would automatically be worth 20-30% more. Unfortunately ever since I started making money from US sources the dollar is at par so I whine about that a great deal. Wah. On the other hand, travel is cheaper because of the dollar. Most of my correspondence is through email so that hasn’t been a barrier at all. Now all my vacations are writing-related. I’m seeing many parts of the US that I never would normally have visited, and it’s a tax write-off!

Tax write-offs, woot! Okay, enough with the Canadian talk…for now πŸ˜‰ You also write under the name Michelle Rowen. What are the pros and cons of your separate writing identities?
The pros are that I can take things much darker and sexier than I have with my Rowen books without shocking my current readers. Not that I’ve done anything too shocking, but when you’re switching from a fledgling vampire who is having a hard time with her love life, to a street thief who is fighting for her very survival, it might be a tad confusing. There aren’t really any cons other than the fact I have to maintain two websites πŸ™‚

Your Maddox work seems more up my alley. Does that bother you, or are you just pleased that I’m interested in any of your fiction? πŸ˜‰
I don’t know…should it bother me? πŸ™‚ My Maddox work will be harder-edged speculative and thriller-type fiction. If that’s what you like as opposed to light, humorous paranormal romance, then it’s great that I have something to offer you. However, all of my stories come from the same imagination so there are crossover elements – some humour makes its way into my thrillers, and some suspense elements find their way into my paranormals. I enjoy writing both sides of my personality and would ideally hope that if a reader likes one name, they might give the other a shot.

Judging from your blog, you seem to be a serial bridesmaid. What makes everyone choose you – looking fabulous in formalwear, making great speeches, etc? And is there any best way to inform a bride when her choice of gown for her maids is a dodgy colour or not a good cut?
I’ve been maid of honour three times and a bridesmaid once. So I wouldn’t exactly say that’s excessive πŸ˜‰ I don’t do public speaking, so that’s out. I’m ridiculously tongue-tied when it comes to speaking in front of a crowd. I guess a few of my close friends and my sister have recently gotten married, that’s the only reason I’ve been in a lot of weddings lately. And
I am known for my honesty – sometimes to a fault. If I hate the bridesmaid dress colour I will say so. Perhaps sometimes I should keep my mouth shut. LOL

You live with two beautiful kitties. Have you ever presented them with your books, and if so, did the cats approve? (Felines tend to be harsh critics, and can be almost impossible to impress sometimes.)
Spike, my older black cat enjoys MaryJanice Davidson and Charlaine Harris and has tried my books but isn’t that thrilled with them, although he tells me that they’re “okay”. Sammy, my youngest, only reads magazines or shorter fiction.

Do you write in silence, or do you need some kind of sound, whether it’s music, TV or otherwise?
I need complete silence. I’m very easily distracted. Also, anything shiny will take my focus off my work. But when I get into the writing and get into the “zone” a train two feet away probably couldn’t distract me.

Are you an outliner or seat-of-the-pants writer?
I outline and do a great deal of pre-writing before I begin a new book. I’ve tried to “pants” a book and ended up with one bit fat mess. Having an outline, even if it’s very vague, is like a security blanket I can cling to and suck on if things get difficult – and they always do.

And it’s particularly great when you sell on proposal. What published works of yours (particularly Michelle Maddox’s) can we look forward to in the future (near and/or far)?
I’m working on a follow-up proposal to Countdown right now. Thriller ideas don’t come to me as readily as paranormal ones, so I need to be patient and coax them out of hiding. The one I’m thinking about involves a cyborg and a lot of running for the heroine’s life. And no, it actually isn’t inspired by the Terminator πŸ™‚ Well, maybe kinda. I do intend on doing many more books under that name if I have the chance. Over in Michelle Rowen’s neck of the woods, I’m finishing up the fifth and final book in the Immortality Bites vampire series, working on my first romance (a light paranormal…no way!) for Harlequin Blaze, and I have another deal for more light paranormal romance that is just being finalised now. So I’m very busy!

Aha, that last one must be the “big news” I’ve been hearing about – nifty πŸ™‚ In which foreign countries/languages would you most like to be published?
All of them! LOL! I will be published in German next year, but other that that I think it would be cool to be translated into Chinese or Russian. French would also be great since I know a little (very little) of that language.

Thanks for dropping by, and have a lovely day! πŸ™‚

Relevant Links

You can purchase Countdown online from: Amazon, Amazon CA & Amazon UK.

June Reads

Ill Wind – Rachel Caine “…fresh ideas no one else seems to be writing about…melding physics with metaphysics to create the ultimate urban fantasy read.” Buy

The SΓ©ance – Heather Graham

Countdown – Michelle Maddox “…that very rare kind of book: a thriller that is genuinely thrilling. This is action-packed, non-stop adventure, combining the physiological, psychological and technological in a story that grabbed me immediately and didn’t let go.” Buy

Third Degree – Greg Iles “Greg Iles is a fantastic thriller writer, with complex characterisations, interesting information, and thought-provoking scenarios…An engrossing read set in the timeframe of just one day, Third Degree should not disappointment fans, and will hopefully bring in new readers.” Buy

Sliver of Truth – Lisa Unger: The author’s Beautiful Lies was an interesting novel of a life built on lies. However, this companion novel takes things too far. The FBI, CIA, going from America to the UK, involving the Albanian mafia…it just seemed over the top, and thus didn’t engage me as a reader.

Bound to Love Her – Esri Rose “…social commentary involving the environment and real estate…this novel has something to say – which a lot of stories don’t…Fans of Tate Hallaway’s novels should enjoy this.” Buy

Midnight Brunch at Casa Dracula – Marta Acosta “Mil is sparky, with a sense of adventure, humour and – most importantly – an affable personality…the Casa Dracula series is more than just another vampire tale…plenty of social commentary, with a smart but not toffy intelligence.” Buy

The Action Heroine’s Handbook – Jennifer Worick & Joe Borgenicht

Blood Price – Tanya Huff “Originally published in 1991, Blood Price holds up well 17 years later…the novel has an important role in the history of urban fantasy in fiction.” Buy

Oh My Goth – Gena Showalter “…interesting enough to read it in basically one sitting.” Buy

Red Handed – Gena Showalter “…focuses on what’s dearly missing in teen fiction…and showcases fabulous world-building that I can’t wait to read more about.” Buy

Blacklisted – Gena Showalter “For fabulous world-building, how power corrupts, and thoughtful issues, look no further than Blacklisted for a novel with surprising depth.” Buy

You can still check lists of stuff published in June or will be published in July. And if you want to look further into the future, see my Reading Wishlist.

Thanks for voting in my poll, and keep ’em coming.

July 2008 Releases

In case you missed them, check June 2008 Releases. I accidentally forgot to list some titles, unless they were on the May page. Anyway, those extra books are below, as well as the July 2008 Releases. For titles even further in the future, check my Reading Wishlist.

Jeaniene Frost, Terri Garey, Maggie Shayne & Kathryn Smith
Weddings from Hell
HarperCollins (US: 1st June 2008)

Some marriages are made in heaven… Some are not. What happens when “the happiest day of your life” turns into a nightmare? Forget the drunken best man or the bridesmaid dresses from the ’80s…none of these wedding day disasters can compare to a cursed bride determined to make it down the aisle, or a vampire who is about to disrupt your wedding. Join New York Times bestselling authors Maggie Shayne and Jeaniene Frost, USA Today bestseller Kathryn Smith, as well as Terri Garey in four unforgettable tales of unholy matrimony…where the grooms are dark, dangerous, and mostly dead, and to love and cherish till death takes on a whole new meaning.

Vicki Pettersson
The Touch of Twilight (Signs of the Zodiac, Book 3)
HarperCollins (UK: 2nd June 2008)

Joanna Archer has won the trust of the Light Zodiac, and issued a challenge to the Shadows, but in doing so has made herself and those she loves a target. The shadows are stalking her human lover who believes Joanna to be dead. She is powerless to help him, for in doing so she will have to reveal her identity and put the entire city in peril.

Stephenie Meyer
New Moon (Twilight, Book 2)
Hachette (UK: 4th June 2008)

For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is more dangerous than Bella ever could have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of an evil vampire but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realise their troubles may just be beginning…

Lilith Saintcrow
Night Shift (Jill Kismet, Book 1)
Hachette (US: 24th June 2008; UK: 3rd July 2008)

Jill Kismet is a dealer in dark things and demon slayer, and it’s her job to patrol the nightside. In the cold pre-dawn, Jill is called in to assess the aftermath of a particularly savage cop-killing. Under the haunted eyes of the forensic techs, Jill picks up the stench of hellbreed and something else – something dangerous and tainted. But this makes no sense as hellbreed always work alone, distrusted even by their own kind. Jill’s a Hunter, trained by the best, but she’s in over her head. Welcome to the night shift…

Kelley Armstrong
The Summoning (The Darkest Powers, Book 1)
HarperCollins (US: 1st July 2008); Hachette (UK: 3rd July 2008)

My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again. All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don’t even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost – and the ghost saw me. Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won’t leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a “special home” for troubled teens. Yet the home isn’t what it seems. Don’t tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It’s up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House…before its skeletons come back to haunt me.

Eve Kenin
Hidden (Northern Waste, Book 2)
Dorchester (US: 1st July 2008)

Tatiana has honed her genetic gifts to perfection. She can withstand the subzero temperatures of the Northern Waste, read somebody’s mind with the briefest touch, and slice through bone with her bare hands. Which makes her one badass chick, all right. Nothing gets to her. Until she meets Tristan. Villain or ally, she can’t be sure. But one thing she does know: he has gifts too – including the ability to ramp up her heart rate to dangerous levels. But before they can start some chemistry of their own, they have to survive being trapped in an underground lab, hunted by a madman, and exposed to a plague that could destroy mankind.

Patricia Briggs
Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson, Book 1)
Hachette (UK: 3rd July 2008)

Mechanic Mercy Thompson is woken at 3am by a vampire calling in a favour. He has to deliver a message to a fellow undead and needs a witness that won’t be noticed – and Mercy’s shapeshifting abilities make her the perfect candidate. But the assignment turns into a bloodbath and Mercy attracts the attention of not just a powerful vampire, but the even more powerful demon possessing him. She can count on the supernatural community for protection – and alpha werewolf Adam would like her to rely on him in other ways too – but when it comes to being proactive, she’s on her own.

Cassandra Clare
City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, Book 2)
Walker (UK: 7th July 2008)

With her mother in a coma and her father hell-bent on destroying the world, Clary is dragged deeper into New York’s terrifying underworld of werewolves, demons and the mysterious Shadowhunters. Discovering the truth about her past was only the beginning, now Clary must save the world from her own father the rogue Shadowhunter Valentine. With two of the Mortal Instruments at his command, Valentine is assembling an army of demons to wage war on the council of Shadowhunters and destroy them once and for all. As the battle begins, Clary must face her darkest fears and come to terms with her feelings for a boy she wishes wasn’t her brother.

Trisha Telep (ed.)
The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance
Running Press (US: 8th July 2008); Robinson (UK: 28th July 2008)

Paranormal romance is a supernatural force to be reckoned with. Packed with a menagerie of werewolves, shape-shifters, and assorted demons, its undisputed king is none other than our favorite centuries-old bloodsucker-the vampire. Let the biggest and brightest names in the paranormal romance business show you the bewildering array of complex vampire codes of conduct, dark ritual, and dating practices, as they chat up the locals and engage in the most erotic encounters you will sink your teeth into this side of un-Death. These ain’t your mother’s vampires! In a quickly expanding genre, here are 30 short stories of hot blood and inhuman passions.

Michelle Maddox
Dorchester (US: 29th July 2008)

THREE. Kira Jordan wakes up in a pitch-black room handcuffed to a metal wall. She has 60 seconds to escape. Thus begins a vicious game where to lose is to die. TWO. The man she’s been partnered with – her only ally in this nightmare – is a convicted mass murderer. But if he’s so violent, why does he protect her? And stranger still, what is it behind those haunted sea-green eyes that makes her want to protect him? ONE. No one to trust. Nowhere to run. And the only hope of survival is working together to beat the COUNTDOWN.

Cat with Books

(Images from here.) Manny with various books, including:

Gena Showalter’s Awaken Me Darkly, Enslave Me Sweetly & Savor Me Slowly
Liz Maverick’s The Shadow Runners & Wired
Eve Kenin’s Driven & Hidden
Kay Austin’s Time Transit
Michelle Maddox’s Countdown
Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight & The Host
Richelle Mead’s Succubus Blues, Vampire Academy & Succubus on Top

The Future is Bright

I suddenly realised today that futuristics are becoming my new favourite genre. We’re talking 5-star books. I still like urban fantasy, of course, but it’s just not wowing me enough to be 5-star. 4-star, yes. Maybe it’s because futuristics are new and exciting to me, and I’ve simply read too much UF. I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because futuristics are more believable, so I connect with them more.

I was going to do this at the end June, but what the hell, I’ll do it now.

5-Star Books Tezzy’s Read in 2008
Elizabeth Flock’s But Inside I’m Screaming (women’s fiction)
Erica Spindler’s Dead Run (thriller)
Mary E. Pearson’s The Adoration of Jenna Fox (young adult, futuristic)
Stephenie Meyer’s The Host (futuristic)
Rachel Cohn’s You Know Where to Find Me (young adult)
Michelle Maddox’s Countdown (futuristic)

I highly recommend all of these books. And as you can tell by their genres, three out of those six books are futuristics.

So now’s the time for you to bring out the A+ books you’ve read so far this year. What are their genres? Are you surprised? Have you learned anything new about your favourite kind of books?

OnePlusYou Quizzes and WidgetsThis rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
* hell (13x)
* dead (9x)
* death (6x)
* sexy (4x)
* dangerous (2x)
* zombie (1x)
Mind you, they don’t count “feck” as a swear, but I do. Also, they didn’t count “secksy”.

[REVIEW] Countdown – Michelle Maddox

Michelle Maddox
Dorchester Shomi (29th July 2008)

Countdown is that very rare kind of book: a thriller that is genuinely thrilling. This is action-packed, non-stop adventure, combining the physiological, psychological and technological in a story that grabbed me immediately and didn’t let go.

The Great Plague twenty-five years ago caused havoc, and Earth hasn’t been the same since. It’s no wonder that everyone who survived is itching to catch a shuttle Offworld. Like Agent Orange, the Great Plague led to birth abnormalities: including Kira Jordan being born with psi abilities. But they’re only low-level…or are they?

Since her family’s murder when she was fifteen, Kira’s been doing whatever she can to survive, including thievery. But never have the consequences of pick-pocketing been so dangerous. Against her will, she’s a contestant in a twisted game where to lose is to die, and even if she passes the first level there’ll still be more danger to come.

Convicted of rape and nine counts of murder, Rogan Ellis is assigned as Kira’s partner. If they go more than ninety feet away from each other, their cranium implants will kill them both. Not so much dog-eat-dog as kill-or-be-killed, Kira and Rogan must team together to fight civilians, other competitors and the head honcho of this horrendous game. The very fate of humanity is at stake, and technology has life itself in a death grip.

Captivating from the get-go, Countdown will lure in much more readers than just the romance audience it’s targeting. The futuristic genre is producing some of the best fiction around, and Michelle Maddox has a big hand in it. For those of you who haven’t connected with alter-ego Michelle Rowen’s humorous paranormals, Countdown will reel you in. I’m desperately hoping there’ll be more Maddox novels in store – set on Earth, Offworld or otherwise. This is fascinating stuff.