The Cephalopod Coffeehouse: August 2013

I’ve joined up with The Armchair Squid‘s once-monthly book review to link with other bloggers and offer suggestions of the best books read in the course of the month. We’re linking blogs on the final Friday of each month and each bringing you  the ‘Best of our Best’ just in case it strikes your fancy.

For my selection this month I’m discussing two novellas I found to be surprisingly good, the first two episodes in the Deadly Liaisons serial by Leigh Wilder.

Maybe it’s me, but when I hear of vampire erotica that’s ‘gayer than Twilight’ I get the giggles something fierce. I just had to bite… 😉

First up:  DRAIN ME DRY

See, I’ve read erotica. And I’ve read vampire. And I read a ton of romance. I’ve even read homoerotic tales…and I never expected this to work.

But it so did.

I really loved how Wilder created compassionate, and passionate, characters here. The setting is alt-history, small-town Pennsylvania where vampires exist openly and are allowed to feed, but not kill or turn a victim into a vampire. (Spoiler: um, yeah, sometimes either or both happens…)

Jamie is a nineteen y/o human with homoerotic desires, but has never tested himself. He’s also very insecure, undersized, and regularly abused by his alcoholic father. His Taco King job sucks and he’d like to die, but he’s too timid to kill himself. Working with a vampire, Jamie concocts a plan to have a vampire drain his blood. Reluctantly, his co-worker gives Jamie the name of a place where such a plan can become a reality.

Damian is THE vampire. The eldest of all vampires in town, he’s slumming in a blood den when Jamie approaches him, struck by Damian’s beauty.

Jamie wants this beautiful ‘angel’ to suck the life from him, but Damian realizes that Jamie’s something rather special. The result is a very well-written, tender interlude. Though it is a short read (this is the first of a serial) the end is satisfying for the reader as well as the characters.

Soon as I finished DRAIN ME DRY I downloaded Episode 2, ADDICTED TO THE BITE.

In this second episode, Damian and his Jamie-boy are back.
After one night in Damian’s bed, Jamie wants more. Especially now that his abusive father has been sorted. He is not happy to learn that he can’t be Damian’s steady lover…mostly because Damian must feed more regularly than Jamie’s body can withstand.
Damian, as head vampire, is prevailed upon to find a serial drainer–a vamp who has killed two young men in as many nights by sucking every drop of blood from their bodies. Law enforcement is on his case about the murders, meanwhile the Daybreakers, humans who hate vampires, plot to destroy Damian’s club.

Jamie, out to prove that he can survive frequent bleedings, meets a strange vampire in Damian’s club and get caught in the Daybreakers strike…

This episode moves quickly. While building upon the first story, its plot stands alone as well. Definitely more here than biting and screwing, and I’m intrigued to read on.

Next month I’ll get the linky-links for my fellow Coffeehousers–so hopefully you’ll check those out Sept 27th!

Cover Reveal–40 NIGHTS by Stephanie Parent

Forty Nights (Neima’s Ark #2)
Release Date: September 2013
Cover Designed by: 
Najla Qamber Designs
Summary from Goodreads:
Neima, her family, and her grandfather Noah have found themselves trapped aboard an ark as a great flood destroys all life in the world. As their time aboard the ark lengthens, food begins to run out, wild animals grow restless, and family tensions become as much of a threat as the flood outside. In the second and final installment of Neima’s Ark, the stakes are higher, the conflicts are greater, and Neima finds herself facing a choice as impossible as the destruction all around her.


Forty Nights is a continuation of the story begun in Forty Days, and it’s recommended that you read Forty Days first for the best experience. Forty Nights does, however, contain a character guide to refresh readers’ memories. The Neima’s Ark series is a historical, feminist reimagining of the story of Noah’s Ark rather than a religiously oriented one, and the novels are best suited for readers who are comfortable with new interpretations of biblical stories.
Book One:
(Linked to Goodreads)
Forty Days is currently FREE!  Get your copy!
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About the Author
Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block’s WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.

***Author Links***
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ABERRANT Book Blitz and GIVEAWAY!!

Aberrant (Aberrant )
Release Date: 04/17/13
Summary from Goodreads:
In the future Dystopian society of Cabal, the government instills equality for all and offers its citizens the perfect system. There is food, shelter and jobs for everyone. The one requirement is to follow the rules without question, including the government’s match in marriage and “The Day of the Chosen”, a lottery that randomly selects families to conceive children as natural means hasn’t existed in generations. Following her eighteenth birthday, Olivia Parker accepts her requirement to marry her childhood best friend, Joshua Warren, and is eager to start her work assignment and new life when it all comes abruptly to an end as she’s arrested and thrown in prison. The only crime committed, her existence. Olivia is unlike the rest of the world born not from “The Day of the Chosen.” The truth haunts the government and puts her life in grave danger as one simple fact would destroy the perfect system.

With Joshua’s help, Olivia breaks free of prison and is forced on the run. Together they set out to find the promised rebel town in search of a new home and new life together. Their situation seems less than promising as they reach the town of Haven. New rules and customs must be adhered to in order to stay. Leaving would mean most certain death in the large expanse of the Gravelands. Time is running out as the government mounts an attack to destroy Olivia and bury her secret with her. Thrown into a world unlike their own, they must quickly adapt to survive.

Available from:
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About the Author
Ruth Silver first began writing poetry as a teenager and reading heaps of fan fiction in her free time. She has written under three unique pseudo names and penned well over a hundred stories.


She attended Northern Illinois University in 2001 and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Communication. While in college she spent much of her free time writing with friends she met online and penning her first novel, “Deuces are Wild”, which she self-published in 2004. Her favorite class was Creative Writing senior year where she often handed in assignments longer than the professor required because she loved to write and always wanted to finish her stories.

Her love of writing, led her on an adventure in 2007 to Melbourne, Australia. Silver enjoys reading YA novels and sharing her favorite books with other readers. She runs her own book blog and also enjoys photography and traveling.
Her favorite YA genre is a mix of Dystopian & Fantasy which is evident in the upcoming release of her latest book, Aberrant. Slated for release April 2013 by Lazy Day Publishing, it is the first in a trilogy.

***Author Links***
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***GIVEAWAY***

1 signed paperback of Aberrant (US only)
3 scrabble tile necklace charms & signed
bookmark (INT)
3 bottlecap keychains & signed bookmark (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz
Organized by:

Thrilled by POLTERGEEKS

Poltergeeks (Poltergeeks, #1)In POLTERGEEKS by Sean Cummings, Julie Richardson’s life as a teenage witch is complicated.

First, Julie’s mom is always ragging on her to make sure her potions are smite-worthy and her hexes rock.

Then, Julie’s pool of potential friends is small because it’s damn hard hiding her innate witch powers. Too many times odd stuff ‘just happens’ around her. Good thing she’s known Marcus, her BFF, forever. He’s a handy punching bag for the football players, but he’s brilliant and super loyal. And, Marla’s goth, so… yeah. Julie’s not fantastically popular.

Still, she’s a good witch, and that’s how she gets into trouble:  helping others.

After removing a poltergeist from a neighbor’s home, Julie and her mom sense a new malevolent force in their area. Marcus wants to help, despite not being a witch, because, well, he’s secretly crazy about Julie. When another poltergeist attacks the high school, Julie, her mom, and Marcus must rescue Marla. And that’s when Julie’s good deed goes punished.

Julie’s mom gets hexed with a killing curse, Endless Night, and Julie has two days to wake her from a coma before her body succumbs.

To save her mom’s life, Julie and Marcus team up to find Hudibras, the practitioner responsible for the attacks. In the midst of the hunt, Julie meets the ghost of her father for the first time. Alive he’d been a Shadowcull, an agent of coven justice, but he was murdered when Julie was young child. Julie receives his bracelet, which couples with her amulet to magnify her natural powers, and takes her place as the next Shadowcull.

Now, all Julie needs to do is smoke out Hudibras, save her mom, and decide if Marcus is The One. Tick, tock.

I really loved POLTERGEEKS. The relationship between mother and daughter is spot-on. Impulsive, irrational at times, and eager to take on too much responsibility to prove she can handle it, Julie is every bit fifteen. Her selflessness and emotional awareness are admirable in equal parts. Julie is resourceful and decisive, and I love that in a YA heroine. She met Hudibras on her terms and, despite the shock of betrayal, Julie kicked serious ass. Julie is likeable and grounded, for being a witch with exceptional power. She and Marcus make a great team, and the budding romance between them is done with a light touch—particularly as Julie can’t focus on Marcus while also fighting to save her mom’s life.

Just so we are clear, the language in this one is probably PG-13. Still, I hear 9 year-olds who curse more at the park, so I’m gonna let it go. YMMV.

Look for a review of the sequel, STUDENT BODIES, next week.

You can get POLTERGEEKS in all the usual places:

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If you’ve read POLTERGEEKS, let me know your thoughts in the comments! 🙂

 

Cover Reveal! The Portrait of Dulce Garcia

The Picture of Dulce Garcia (The Coven #1)

Release Date: Fall 2013
Summary from Goodreads:
Dulce Garcia, star of The Coven, would rather spend her days sketching dresses. Instead, she works to support her family and dreams of one day becoming a fashion designer. After Teen Vogue declares Dulce, “The Hottest Teen in America,” she is stunned by how amazing she looks in their photo.

At sixteen, Dulce feels the pressure to stay youthful in Hollywood. When Dulce’s prop Book of Shadows gets destroyed, she substitutes her favorite Victorian Anthology, opened to Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and says her spell during the shoot over the anthology. Afterwards, in her trailer, she discovers that she has transformed into her Teen Vogue picture, and her real body is
completely airbrushed. Can she break the curse or will she remain locked forever in a picture?


Finalist—Young Adult Category of the 2011 RWA Stiletto Contest!
Finalist—Young Adult Category of the 2011 RWA Launching A Star Contest!
Finalist—Young Adult Category of the 2011 RWA Heart of the Rockies Contest!

About the Author

Alana Albertson is the former President of both Romance Writers of Americas’s Young Adult and Chick Lit chapters and the founder of Academe Advantage, a college admissions & test preparation company. Alana Albertson holds a Masters of Education from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Stanford University. A recovering professional ballroom dancer, Alana currently writes contemporary romance and young adult fiction.
She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, two young sons, and four dogs. When she’s not spending her time needlepointing, dancing, or saving dogs from high kill shelters through Pugs N Roses, the rescue she founded, she can be found watching episodes of House Hunters, Homeland, or Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team.


***Author Links***
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EMPATH–Now Available

Empath (The Flawed Series, #1)I had a chance to read the advance copy of EMPATH by Becca Campbell and really found it to be excellent.

I will feature a full review later in the blog tour–but this book is available now.

What I can tell you right now:  if you liked The ANGEL EYES trilogy by Shannon Dittemore or the IN YOUR DREAMS series by Amy Martin, you will love EMPATH.

Here’s the Goodreads synopsis:

Supernatural empathy isn’t a gift, it’s a curse. Anywhere she goes, Jade’s emotions are replaced by those of the people around her.

Jade grew up in a suburb of Colorado Springs, protected from other people by her parents. Now she faces college—and the world—with nothing to shield her from unwanted feelings.

When Cam, a classmate with a major crush on her, unintentionally hijacks her emotions, Jade struggles to keep from being carried away in feelings of attraction. When Ethan, a psychopath with a thirst for fear, fixates on her, the emotional impact could be lethal.

Caught in a deadly trap, Jade must untangle the emotions and find a way to use her empathic curse to overcome this killer or be overcome by him.

And, frankly, this is only the barest inkling of the plot. Jade encounters several people with gifts that draw her in a way she has never known before. Good thing this menagerie is equipped for the cause, because Becca J Campbell really offers quite a punch in this thriller.

About the Author:

An avid lover of stories that tiptoe the line between fantasy and reality (even when they plunge off one side or the other), Becca J. Campbell looks for new angles on bridging the gap between the two. She holds a special place in her heart for any story that involves superpowers or time travel. Her passion is defying the limits of her own creativity.

Becca’s journey into writing began as many of her other creative endeavors do – by daring herself to try something new. The question “what if I wrote a novel?” and some hastily scribbled notes on a church handout were the inspirations that jump-started her first book. Since then, she has written half a dozen additional novels and several shorter works.

As the wife of a musician and mother of three young boys, Becca’s life is never dull. Whether it is writing, painting or knitting, she enjoys making stuff that wasn’t there before. You can catch up with her in the usual ways:
Author Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Amazon

I look forward to sharing my review here in a few weeks!

In the meantime, you can pick up EMPATH here:

US Versions:

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UK Buyers!

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 (paperback copies coming soon!)

Cover Reveal! HOTHOUSE FLOWER

Hothouse Flower
Release Date: February 2014
Summary from Goodreads:

Ryke Meadows, meet Daisy Calloway … she’s all grown up.

Twenty-five-year-old Ryke Meadows knows he’s hard to love. With a billion-dollar inheritance, a track-star resume, and an alpha-male personality—he redefines the term likable asshole. But he’s not living to make friends. Or enemies. After months helping his brother through rehab and sobriety, he just wants to free climb three of the toughest mountains in Yosemite without drama or interruption.
And then he receives a distressed call from a girl in Paris—a girl that he has never been allowed to have.
Daisy Calloway is eighteen. Finally. With her newfound independence, she can say goodbye to her overbearing mother and continue her modeling career. Next stop, Paris. Fashion week begins with a bang, and Daisy uncovers the ugly reality of the industry. She wants to prove to her family that she can live on her own, but when everything spirals out of control, she turns to Ryke to keep her secrets.
As Daisy struggles to make sense of this new world and her freedom, she pushes the limits and fearlessly rides the edge. Ryke knows there’s deep hurt beneath every impulsive action. He must keep up with Daisy, and if he lets her go, her favorite motto—“live as if you’ll die today”—may just come true.
Standalone New Adult Romance: recommended for readers 18+ for mature content

About the Authors
Becca Ritchie is a carnivore of pop culture, television, film and of course YA and NA books. While in college, she worked at The CW television network and put her vampiric knowledge to good use, blogging about hit series and swooning over actors’ abs. When she’s not blogging, she writes novels and has teamed up with her twin sister for their New Adult novel ADDICTED TO YOU. Available July of 2013.
Krista Ritchie is the mind behind popular trading website YA Book Exchange and created Nawanda Files, a book blog that also features books into movies news. When not pouring over entertainment news and the newest releases, she spends her time conducting research in a genetics lab. She’s happy to join forces with her sister, harnessing their twin powers to produce the first in a New Adult series.
Becca’s Links:
Krista’s Links:
GoodreadsTwitter


Cover Reveal Oranized by: