Category Archives: Paranormal Book Review

Being a Gothic Romance Author

Thursdays Bite

a paranormal blog

 

It’s early but I’m focused on fall and my mind is turning to Halloween. Ghosts and witches and haunted houses. It helps that I have a new Gothic romance out, Ghosts of Christmas PastWhat makes a Gothic romance author? What makes Gothic different from other types of paranormal romance? I blogged about Gothics and Gothic Romance a few months ago (you can check it out HERE and HERE), but today I’m thinking of the suspense element that all Gothic romance authors need in their books.

Gothic is suspense.  There might be a missing wife, a rumor of the hero being a murderer, or a smuggler. The most famous Gothic romance is Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier.

rebecca by daphne du maurier“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again… I came upon it suddenly; the approach masked by the unnatural growth of a vast shrub that spread in all directions… There was Manderley, our Manderley, secretive and silent as it had always been, the gray stone shining in the moonlight of my dream, the mullioned windows reflecting the green lawns and terrace. Time could not wreck the perfect symmetry of those walls, nor the site itself, a jewel in the hollow of a hand.”

Rebecca opens slowly, but you know from the very beginning, that something dark is approaching. Look at all the words in this paragraph that hint of the dark story to come. First of all we are in a dream state, where anything can happen. Then Du Maurier uses “unnatural growth” to remind us of the danger of untamed nature. And, when we are talking about Gothics, nature implies natural desires—sex. Here, she subtly lets us know that Manderly has gone wild and the dangers of seduction are rampant. To even dream of Manderley is to take a risk.

She moves on to “secretive and silent”. There is nothing more dangerous than a secret, and of course all secrets must be kept silent. We are already anticipating, wondering what is the secret that this place holds. Why shouldn’t we visit it, even in a dream? And how dangerous can it be?

Then she backs off the dangerous sensuality of the estate, recalling it as a lovely place, a jewel with perfect symmetry. But even at the end she let’s us know by using the word “hollow” that while it is lovely, it still has a darkness about it.

If you haven’t read much Gothic, then Rebecca is the place to start. It isn’t fast paced, like my modern Gothic romance, Ghosts of Christmas Past. Nor will you find the intensity of a modern romance. The attraction between the heroine and her husband is implied. His control over her is suspect. He is rich and older and has secrets that they don’t talk about. Rebecca has a dark suspense that is reminiscent of the Victorian Era. And, even though it’s set in the 20th century we are drawn back to a past where huge estates held ghosts and darkness.

Have you read Rebecca? Or any of Daphne Du Maurier’s works? Did you know there is a contest named after her held by the Kiss of Death Mystery and Suspense chapter of Romance Writer’s of America? The Daphne Du Maurier award is a prestigious and difficult to win award for the best in mystery and suspense romance. What do you think is the best thing about the opening to Rebecca? Does it make you want to read the book?
Okay, it’s still summer, but here in Colorado it’s been cool and rainy this week. School has started, and fall flowers are out in the grocery store, so I’m thinking fall. I’m also scheduling my guests for September through November on my new Whimsical Wednesdays Guest feature (check the calendar HERE), and working on scheduling my fall events. This October I’ll be celebrating The Dark Huntsman’s birthday in October, so look for all kinds of fun then, and I’ll be guest posting all over the internet, so check back here to keep informed. Check out my NEWS page for the calendar of events and what’s coming up this season as well as updates on my progress on Broken Mirror.

Author Bio:

jessica aspen, authorJessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email please go to: http://eepurl.com/zs4Sj

 

Author web links:  

Website: http://jessicaaspen.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759763.Jessica_Aspen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaAspen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAspenAuthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicaaspen/

Join the Jessica Aspen mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways.  When I send you an email, there’s always something in it for you! http://eepurl.com/zs4Sj

 

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Filed under Ghosts of Christmas Past, Gothic Romance, Paranormal Book Review, Thursdays Bite

Paranormal Ritas Rock!

Thursdays Bite

a blog for the paranormal in all of us

Love romance? Love paranormal, fantasy, or time-travel romance? The Romance Writers of America Rita Award Finalists are out and for the first time ever any book that scored 90% or better is a finalist. That means that there are a lot of terrific paranormal romances to choose from.

Here are the list of finalists. Happy reading!

Paranormal Romance

the burning sky by sherry thomasThe Burning Sky
by Sherry Thomas
HarperCollins Publishers, Balzer & Bray
Donna Bray, editor

Caged Warrior
by Lindsey Piper
Pocket Books
Lauren McKenna, editor

Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar
by Lexi George
Kensington Publishing Corp., Brava
Alicia Condon

The Devil’s Heart
by Cathy Maxwell
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books
Lucia Macro, editor

diamond dust by vivian arendDiamond Dust
by Vivian Arend
Samhain Publishing
Anne Scott, editor

The Firebird
by Susanna Kearsley
Sourcebooks, Landmark
Deb Werksman, editor

Heart of Obsidian
by Nalini Singh
Berkley Publishing Group, Berkley Sensation
Cindy Hwang, editor

His Clockwork Canary
by Beth Ciotta
Signet
Jhanteigh Kupihea, editor

Immortally Ever After
by Angie Fox
St. Martin’s Press
Monique Patterson, editor

shadowdance by kristen callihanShadowdance
by Kristen Callihan
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Alex Logan, editor

Skies of Gold: The Ether Chronicles
by Zoë Archer
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Impulse
Amanda Bergeron, editor

Teardrop
by Lauren Kate
Random House Group, Delacorte
Tamar Schwartz, editor

Witch Bound
by Eleri Stone
Carina Press
Gina Bernal, editor

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Filed under Paranormal Book Review, romance, Thursdays Bite

Black Magic Rose Cover Reveal

black magic rose by jordan k rose
Jordan K. Rose is revealing her amazing cover for her new book Black Magic Rose. Check it out!
Is it possible to reduce the amount of workplace violence in an organization run by vampires and werewolves? Sofia Engle, the new Employee Relations Manager at Cader House Hospital is about to find out, and she may not like the answer, or the series of firsts she experiences: first human employee at Cader House, first day tardy, first kiss with a dead guy. Well, maybe kissing the dead guy wasn’t the worst of it after all.
For nearly 600 years Dragomir Petrescu has fought for The Alliance. As one of the most skilled warriors the Alliance has ever seen he’s killed a lot of people and won many difficult battles. But his newest human adversary is turning out to be a worthier opponent than any he’s met. Just the scent of her disarms him, never mind her endless policies and silly ideals about civility.
Can he possibly keep her safe from Alliance enemies, hospital employees and himself? The term Employee Relations is about to have a whole new meaning.
Jordan K. Rose
Romance in the Shadows
The Demon Mistress available on Amazon, Kobo
Demons and Deep Dish Pizza available on Amazon, Kobo
Demons and The Dark Roast available on Amazon, Kobo
Perpetual Light available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo
http://www.jordankrose.com

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Filed under guest post, Moonday mania, Paranormal Book Review, Vampires, Werewolves and the Fae

Tell Me Where You Discover Christmas Paranormal Reads

Thursdays Bite

a holiday blog and a poll for you

I know Thanksgiving is just around the corner for us Americans and I know you may not be ready for the shopping and the decorating, but the holiday season is coming!  Like many of you my fall has been crazy and due to work, family stuff (its all good, just busy),  and wanting to focus on Prince By Blood and Bone  I have shelved my spicy, new adult, xmas paranormal novella. Sigh. But I don’t want to be left out of the paranormal, holiday romance book scene altogether! So today, I decided to share other authors paranormal romance Christmas stories, while I dream of spooky houses, ghosts, and decorating Christmas trees with sugar plums. And I want to know where you find your holiday reading so please fill out the poll at the bottom. Poll closes in a week!

I love Jessa Slade’s Marked Souls series. It’s dark, sexy, and  so convoluted it  appeals to smart readers. Books that make you think and turn you on are first on my list so I’m starting off with Jessa’s Christmas Novella The Darkest Night.

THE DARKEST NIGHT 
A Marked Souls Novella 
Wishing you a wicked Christmas… 
Possessed by an angelic entity, Cyril Fane fought rampant evil and the pain of more private losses with a fiery golden sword…until he was beaten and left for dead by a malevolent force. Now exiled from his divine brethren, he reluctantly joins the Chicago league of talyan—immortal warriors possessed by repentant demons—as his only chance to reclaim his sword and his place in the holy sphericanum. 
Bella McGreay, mysterious mistress of the Mortal Coil night club, has also danced around an uneasy affiliation with the talyan. She has secrets of her own to keep, and as the days shorten toward the winter solstice, shadows are deepening all around. Even as she barricades herself against the joys—and terrors—of the Christmas season, she’ll have to decide whether the shadows or her secrets are more dangerous. 
Bella and Cyril have good reason to fear evil when an old enemy returns to torment them and the Chicago league. But only together will they find a way to the light after the darkest night.

ice gods by helen scott taylorI just loved this cover. It’s so winter holidayish and sensual, it makes me want to open up this book and read. But the author didn’t add much description, so I’m not very sure what the plot is going to be about. Anything about the Norse gods always intrigues me, not only am I a Thor fan (who isn’t?), but I also love Neil Gaiman’s book, American Gods. I haven’t read this author yet, but given the subject and the cover and the 99cent price tag, I’m willing to give it a shot.

ICE GODS

by Helen Scott Taylor

A trip to Iceland to find her father turns into a nightmare when she is transported to the icy palace of Valhalla and lands in the middle of the Ice Gods family feud. Odin’s son has loved and protected her from afar. Now she is in his world, he can finally make her his.

And last, but not least, ML Guida’s A Vampire’s Christmas Wish. ML is my critique partner and we have very different styles and paranormal directions. And this book is very different from her typical  pirate vampire series that is set in the 1600s. But despite it not being pirates I had fun reading and critiquing this fast paced Christmas suspense novella. Oh, and it still has the vampires!

a vampire's christmas wish by ml guidaA VAMPIRE’S CHRISTMAS WISH

by ML Guida

Master vampire, Janus Morano, has searched for centuries to find his lost soul mate. When he finally discovers his true love on Christmas Eve in Hawaii, she doesn’t know him, doesn’t remember her previous life, and doesn’t want him. Janus must get her to remember him and their love, but nothing comes easy with Deirdre Hahn. 
Deirdre is drawn to the mysterious dark stranger, but she came to Hawaii with Brandon Delaney, to heal their broken relationship. Brandon has promised to never beat her again, bending over backwards to be Prince Charming. But the promise is broken. 
Deirdre escapes Brandon’s clutches and her only hope is the mysterious dark stranger. Janus vows to help her but soon she discovers his dark secret. He’s a vampire…a vampire searching for her. 
Now Deirdre is caught between two desperate men. Not sure who to trust. In order to save her future she must accept her past and when her Hawaiian vacation falls apart and she’s kidnapped, she must learn to trust Janus or die on Christmas. 

While we spend most of the holiday season shopping and cooking and planning the big day, take some time for yourself. Pour a glass of wine, unwrap the special box of chocolates, and open a book. And don’t forget to review it afterwards. A lovely review is the best Christmas present an author can receive.

Where do you find your holiday reads? I’d love to know. Do you look on Goodreads? Do you look at what your friends read? Do you Google, or search on Amazon and Barnes and Noble?

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Smorgasbord of 99 Cent Books on the Book Lover’s Buffet

book lover buffet header

Introducing the Book Lovers’ Buffet. Load up, you won’t gain a pound!

The Buffet’s “Bouquet of Books” sale opens today May 1, 2013. But you need to hurry, it will close on May 3rd. That means you only have a few days to load up your e-reader wit more than 175 ebooks, all reduced in price to just 99 cents!

Save in categories such as Young Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense, Erotic Romance, and more!

PLUS, visit the website to win gift cards to your choice of online retailers. $400 in gift cards up for grabs!

Titles from popular authors such as:

  • Gemma Halliday
  • Angie Fox
  • Jenna Bennett
  • Amanda Brice
  • Jennette Marie Powell
  • Clover Autrey
  • Carly Carson
  • E. Ayers
  • Genevieve Jourdin
  • CJ Lyons
  • Renee Pace
  • Sophia Knightley
  • Tori Scott
  • Meredith Bond
  • Emily Ryan-Davis
  • Anthea Lawson
  • Diana Layne
  • Lindsey Brookes
  • Gina Robinson
  • McKenna Chase

And many, many more, including some killer paranormal authors like:

bewitching you by viola estrella

Bewitching You by Viola Estrella

The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers by Angie Fox

The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers by Angie Fox

dragon rider's gift by kh lemoyne

Dragon Rider’s Gift by KH LeMoyne

So check it out and stock up on your summer reading before summer actually gets here!

Hosted by Indie Romance Ink.

 

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Filed under Book Sales, Paranormal Book Review, self publishing, Supernaturals

Chase Me

Thursday’s Bite Book Review

chase me by tamara hogan

Jumping into a series can be a serious error on a reader’s part, but not so with Chase Me, the second book in Tamara Hogan’s Underbelly Chronicles. A complex sci-fi mixed with paranormal much like Nalini Singh, Hogan has managed to come up with a fresh paranormal universe that fulfills our desires for a fast-paced sexy read.

Vampires, werewolves, sirens and more;  supernaturals crashed to Earth on an alien spaceship thousands of years ago. Human’s are blissfully unaware of the powers of the aliens that have now adopted our world as their own and live among us. This particular story is of the cross-species romance between a valkryie and a werewolf and is supercharged with romantic and sexual tension that will have you turning pages fast.

Oh, yeah, there is an external plot about the discovery of a mysterious alien box that they think is from their ancestors original crash landing. I won’t go too deep into the plot, except to say that it flows fast and furious and I enjoyed every page.

 I’m expecting to go find her first book in the series, Taste Me, and enjoy it just as much. Taste Me won a Daphne Du Maurier award, was a Golden Heart Finalist and has won multiple Prism Awards. If you are looking for a new author and a new series to read, head on over to Tamara Hogan, you won’t be disappointed.

What kind of books are you starting off the New Year reading? Have you set a new goal to whittle down your TBR pile? My goal is to read more. More of just about everything. What’s yours?

Hop on over to Wendy Ely’s blog HERE tomorrow and say Hi! I’ll be hanging out over there with a post on the New Year.

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Bacon, Booze and Books: What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank

Thursday’s Bite

a paranormal blog with style

There was a wonderful discussion on the RWA PRO loop about re-blogging,  pros and cons, of course. I love re-blogging, and here is one example why:

Bacon, Booze and Books: What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank.

via Bacon, Booze and Books: What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank.

(This is via David Gaugran’s blog Let’s Get Digital, and Why You Should.)

Love the idea of the book, would love to have written this blog myself, and now I can show you exactly why all of the above is true. Hop on over to the blog and check out the book and add it to your TBR pile. It’s on my Christmas list!

Next week the lovely Lia Davis will be on my blog, so check back on  for a taste of Lia and her delicious covers.

Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop

Coming December 14th! Prizes galore!

On Friday, December 14th, we start the Holiday Gifts of Love Bloghop. Prizes available, so take the weekend and hop around the Holiday blogs for fun, prizes, and of course to discover new authors. I know you all will have book money to spend after the holiday’s, now’s the time to figure out where to spend it!

Just in time for the holidays I  have the release date for Snow and the Seventh Wolf, the second book in the Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods series. It will be available from Passion in Print on January 15th, and on the other websites (Amazon, B&N, All Romance)about two weeks after. Getting excited to see Seth’s story on sale!

And I’ll be finishing the third book this month, soon to be sent off to Passion in Print. WOOT!

(Don’t you love the snow? Thanks, WordPress Elves!)

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Filed under Bloghops, Paranormal Book Review, Thursdays Bite, writing craft

Oracle’s Moon by Thea Harrison is now one of my Favs!

Thursdays Bite

paranormal book review

Oracle's Moon by Thea HarrisonI picked up Rita Award Winning Thea Harrisons latest Oracle’s Moon at the Colorado Romance Writer’s romance lover’s tea, and boy am I glad I did. I now have a whole new author to catch up on. I love when I find a author who has a bunch of books already written and waiting for me. And who is a fantastic writer. Don’t forget that part.

Thea’s world building is deep, and her characters deeper. I love the way she layers story questions throughout her book, leaving me little bread crumbs to follow that had me turning page after page and finishing this book in two days. TWO DAYS!

Lately it’s take me a month to read a single book. Not this one.

A true alpha male and a strong yet vulnerable heroine. She even put kids into the story in a realistic way, and did it so they enhanced the story. I’m hooked! I gave it five stars on Goodreads and I will be hopping on to add stars all over the internet. I’m a fan!

Warning! This is a great interview with Thea, but it contains a few spoilers if you haven’t read the series. Loved it anyway!

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Filed under Paranormal Book Review, Supernaturals, Thursdays Bite

The Taker, a slow turning screw

Thursday’s Bite

a paranormal blog book review

the taker by alma katsuOne of the free books at RWA Nationals was The Taker, by Alma Katsu. Given the fantastic cover you can see why I had to read it first. But it wasn’t what I expected.

The cover, the blurb, it all said paranormal romance. Or maybe urban fantasy with romance being a central theme, but after starting it I knew, this wasn’t a romance. Or at least, it shouldn’t be billed as one. There is a romance throughout, but there is no happy ending. And I pretty much knew there wouldn’t be a happy ever after right from the begining. Rather than saying it’s a romance, I’d say it’s a gothic in the tradition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. And since I’m a Dracula fan, I found the book fascinating.

The Taker jumps from modern day scenes to scenes over two hundred years  in the past, and further back than that. It tells the story of Lanore, a star-crossed lover who desires only one man, and whose intense pre-occupation with achieving her desire leads both of them into a life of eternal debauchery.

Is there a romance?

I don’t think so. Is it romantic to have one person so obsessed by the other that she is willing to do anything to preserve their love? What if her love isn’t returned? To me, romance requires love on both sides, and while Lanore may be deluded into thinking that there is love on Jonathan’s side, he only comes across as selfish and callow.

But despite that, I found myself unable to put the book down. It drew me in with that slow build that a traditional Gothic has. Not a Gothic romance, but a true Gothic, set in a house of horrors with the dark master and the mystic feel. There is a slow build of feeling that something horrible is going to happen, even after the worst has occurred.

One of the very interesting things is how Katsu works in Dracula, without referencing the book, the characters, or even the time period. Katsu uses just enough common themes from the Dracula legend for the reader to know that she means Dracula. The story references a similar area of Europe, there are  scared villagers, and the scary man in the castle. All of these plus the pacing and long drawn out story bring Bram Stoker’s work to mind.

Would I recommend The Taker?

That depends what you are looking for. I love Victorian Gothics. Old horror. Edgar Allen Poe. I also love the slow pacing and implied action that characterize these books. If you love traditional stories of the supernatural, are not looking for romance, and want a very well written book. Then yes, I’d say read The Taker. My only complaint was that I felt the end was less than satisfying. I wanted the  screw to turn and twist. But maybe that’s in the second book.

Do you read Victorian books? What about Gothic romances of any type? Do you love the slow build of The Turn of the Screw? What is your favorite book over one hundred years old?

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Filed under Book Trailers, Paranormal Book Review, Thursdays Bite

The Dead Series is Reborn From the Ashes

Thursdays Bite

A PARANORMAL BLOG

dead awake by lizzie t leafOne of my fellow Colorado Romance Writers, LizzieT. Leaf has been writing romance for several years. Lizzie has a terrific dry sense of humor and is known for her “humor with heat”. Some of her first books became the very popular Dead Series, that has been out of print for awhile. I read Dead Awake under it’s first incarnation and I’m excited to say it will be available July 21st from MUSA Publishing, and will be followed soon after by Dead FaintDead Hunter, and Dead Memory.

Lizzie will be a guest on Paranormal Freebies on August 17th, but if you want to know more, definitelyjoin Lizzie on the Rising From the Ashes Blog Tour kicking off July 9th. For dates and locations check out Lizzie’s Blog HERE . Prizes available.

Dead Awake

After a night of passion Deb Stein wakes up to the scent of pine and the discovery her life has changed forever. Now instead of the glare of paparazzi flashbulbs, she’s in the spotlight as Dovey Divine, who takes it off for a room full of lusting strangers. Her goal now is revenge on the man who turned her into one of the living dead. 

Aaron Lowell’s one night stand left him consumed with guilt in taking his partner to the dark side. He knows she’s out for blood…his…and he can’t blame her anymore than he can forget her.

dead faint by lizzie t leaf

Dead Faint

Billie Joyce’s life-time dream of visiting New York City comes true, but the life changing experience is totally different than what she anticipated.
The blonde angel who saved her from death is one of the living dead and now, so is Billie Joyce. Problem is, she faints at the sight of blood. To make things more frustrating, she has to contend with a man who can find nothing right with her. Of course, he would have to be the one who creates more sensations in her body than she ever had when she was alive.
Marcus fights his attraction to the lavender eyed beauty who talks like she stepped out of My Fair Lady. After all, he’s no Henry Higgins, plus he got over the sex thing centuries ago. Besides, as the new King of the Vampires, who has time for women?

Dead Hunter

dead hunterArie Anne Hews is a trained vampire hunter out for the kill. A chance meeting with the hated beings has Arie in turmoil. Especially, when handsome Dr. Jonas Nickels is on the scene.

Jonas Nickels has no desire to be involved with a mortal, but can’t resist the dark-eyed beauty. Even if he is on her hit list.

Family secrets tinged with evil make an impossible path for star-crossed lovers.

Dead Memory

dead memory by lizzie t leafDiscovering an unconscious man who may be vampire, in the neighbor’s yard leads werewolf Tawny Howls down a love path that’s not going to make her father happy. She senses this man is different, but that doesn’t stop her attraction. Werewolves and vampires are traditional enemies, and it doesn’t help when he remembers nothing about his prior life. 

Awakening to find a beautiful woman hovering over him, he remembers nothing of his past life. When Tawny decides to call him David, he’s fine with the name and the attention he receives from his nurse. But why does the scent of the prey she hunts excite him more than the food she cooks? 
Can the strong attraction between a shifter and a vampire overcome years of distrust for each other’s species? Will the discovery of his true identity ensnare them in a battle that endangers their lives, in an effort to save mankind from Demon rule?

Let me know if any of you are familiar with Lizzie’s writing. Do you like snarky heroines put into hysterical situations? Do you read funny paranormal? What funny paranormal authors have you read besides Lizzie’s books and what do you like about them?

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Filed under Bloghops, Paranormal Book Review, Vampires