Friday, July 30, 2010

Gearing up for August

I am busy here at Shadows Central gearing up for the fabulous month of August.  Why is August such a special month you ask?  Well for one thing it is my Birthday Month!  August also has the honor of a Friday falling on the 13th.  Oooh, now time to celebrate!

My house ravens are collecting pretty things and wrapping them in black paper and red ribbons.  This promises to be so much fun!  I am hosting a very special event, Friday the 13th Week at From the Shadows, and I have some very special giveaways for you.

These are just some of the fabulous giveaway items to look forward to!

We also have some amazing authors visiting us in August so be sure to check back throughout the month.  More details on Friday the 13th Week coming soon.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Guest Author Interview: Kristie Cook

Please welcome today's guest author Kristie Cook.  Kristie is the author of Promise (Soul Savers, book 1) which releases tomorrow July 30th!

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

When I was in the third grade, we were studying Paul Bunyan and other tall tales. We were assigned to write a short story. Mine was about a brother and sister who were touring a cave with their parents and became lost. The gnomes who lived there befriended them and helped them find their way out. I was the only one in my class to get an A on the assignment and that’s when I fell in love with writing.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

Well, that first story, Gnome Cave, written at 8 years old, was urban fantasy. LOL I grew up loving A Wrinkle in Time, Bedknobs and Broomsticks and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Through my tween and teen years, I was more contemporary, yet edgy – from Judy Blume to Stephen King. I guess the outbreak of paranormal stories over the last 5-10 years rekindled my interest – as well as my husband’s love for the Syfy channel. LOL I enjoy writing it because you can go beyond the boundaries of the real world and anything is possible, as long as you can make it believable. On the other hand, it can be challenging because you are essentially making your own rules – and you have to remember not to break them.

EJ:   If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?

  Wow, that’s a hard one. I’ve always wanted to be a pilot, so I would love being able to fly on my own. I’d also like to be able to swim in the deep blue ocean without having to come up for air. Telekinesis is cool, but I think telepathy could be scary – some things people actually say are bad enough, I don’t think I want to know what they’re thinking (except for my herd of teens – I’d love to know what’s going on in their minds!). Right now, though, with everything going on in my life, I’d really like the ability to stop time. Then I would get all the housecleaning done, emails taken care of and even do some writing while everyone else is on hold, then I can put the world back into motion and actually be a part of it.

EJ:  Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.

The Soul Savers series has everything that people love right now – supernatural and mythological creatures (just about all of them, as well as my own made-up ones), battles, a little mystery and suspense, and romance and love (all different kinds) – however, the premise is unique. Promise has a lot of romance and supernatural fights, but Alexis, the main character, is just starting to learn who she is, so there aren’t as many creatures as there are in the following books. This story is basically a prologue for the series – it introduces the main characters, how they came together and some of the mythology of the world I’ve created. It takes place nine years ago, whereas the rest of the series is in present day. It’s a kickoff to the whole epic story of the battle for human souls.

EJ:  If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?

  Ha! I have definite pictures in my mind, but they are really composites of a couple actresses/actors. But…I wouldn’t say anyway. Part of the fun of reading is creating your own visions. I prefer to give a few attributes to get you started – hair color, eye color, build, height – and then let you decide what “Mr. Beautiful” means to you, for example. My image could be very different than yours and you might not like mine so much. I want you to love him! I want them all to belong to you, the reader! I mean, I think we all agree that seeing a movie based on our favorite books can totally change the flavor, simply because the characters don’t look like what we imagined. And it’s really bad when you haven’t finished all the books in the series and now you have a pre-made image of a character, instead of making him or her your own. I don’t want to do that. In fact, I’m still debating on whether there will be any faces in the book trailer…which I need to get to work on so I’ll shut up here and let you get back to what you were doing, too.

Thank you, E.J., for hosting me. These were fun questions to ponder and answer. I hope you all enjoy Promise and the rest of the Soul Savers series.

Thank you Kristie for joining us here today at From the Shadows!

Promise (Soul Savers, book 1) by Kristie Cook.

Alexis Ames has a life full of promise…but not all promises can be kept.

When Alexis Ames is attacked by creatures that can’t be real, she decides it’s time she learns who she really is, with or without the help of her mother, who guards their family’s secrets closely. After meeting the inhumanly attractive, multi-talented Tristan Knight, however, Alexis retreats behind her fa├žade of normalcy…until she discovers he’s not exactly normal either. Then their secrets begin to unravel.

Their union brings hope and promise to her family’s secret society, the Angels’ army, and to the future of mankind. But it also incites a dangerous pursuit by the enemy – Satan’s minions and Tristan’s creators. After all, Alexis and Tristan are a match made in Heaven and in Hell.

For more information about Kristie please visit her website.  For more information about Promise and the Soul Savers series please visit the book website where you can read the first two chapters of Promise for free!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tyger Tyger Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to the winner of our Tyger Tyger International Pre-Order Giveaway!

Kwesifriends from Sweet Reads is our winner!

I use for all giveaway drawings to ensure fairness.  An email will be sent to the winner and a copy of Tyger Tyger will be pre-ordered from the Book Depository.  Congrats!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Guest Author Interview: Abra Ebner

Please welcome today's guest author Abra Ebner!  Abra is the author of numerous books including Feather, Guardian, Raven, Knight Angels: Book of Love, and Parallel.

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

Abra:  Two years ago. I didn't like my job a whole lot, so I started writing to pass time (I know, bad ethics). Now, though, I'm glad I did it.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

Abra:  I've always loved the imaginary. I've written books that were true to the rules of science and society, but they're simply not as fun. Paranormal allows me the freedom to whimsically change my mind at any given moment.

EJ:  If you could be any paranormal, or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?

Abra:  Flying. Everyone says it but it's true. I love hawks, and have quite a few that live by my home. I love to watch them spiral together on an updraft. It's romantic.

EJ:  Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.

Abra:  My newest release was a culmination of all the things I've always wanted out of a book. I've written it to flow like a soap opera, allowing the reader to decide who their favorite character is instead of naming one main character. To me this is also freeing because at any given time, any one character's story could become more interesting to me as the writer, making my job exceedingly more enjoyable.

EJ:  If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?

Abra:  If I take Knight Angels as an example, I'd cast:
Haley from Paramore as Emily
James McAvoy as Max
A young Rachel McAdams as Jane
and (ha ha) Prince Henry as Wes...

Odd, I know. But that's what I came up with.

 Knight Angels: Book of Love by Abra Ebner.

When I think of death, I don’t see what everyone else does. There’s a soft whisper when you find it, and a voice telling us that everything will be okay. We never die alone, because they are always there watching over us, protecting us, and guiding us. They are silent, like a simple gust of wind, but it is in that wind that our world can change.

Mine did.

When the accident happened, and my father died, I was there. I saw them. I can’t remember their faces, but I know they weren’t human. There were two—one was the murderer, and one was my knight. I was spared. Ever since, the nightmares of death haunt me.

Somewhere deep inside, I know that I should have died.

Thank you Abra for joining us here today at From the Shadows!

If you would like to learn more about Abra Ebner and her books, please visit her website.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Book Review: Early to Death, Early to Rise

Early to Death, Early to Rise (Madison Avery, book 2) by Kim Harrison.

Madison Avery's dreams of ever fitting in at her new school died when she did. Especially since she was able to maintain the illusion of a body, deal with a pesky guardian angel, and oh yeah, bring the reaper who killed her to his untimely end. Not exactly in-crowd material. It's amazing that her crush, Josh, doesn't think she's totally nuts. Now Madison has learned that she's the dark timekeeper, in charge of angels who follow the murky guidelines of fate. Never one to abide by the rules, she decides it's time for a major change to the system. With the help of some unlikely allies, Madison forms a rogue group of reapers who definitely don't adhere to the rules of the heavens. But as she grapples with the terrifying new skills that come with being a timekeeper, Madison realizes she may not be prepared for what lies ahead—unless she gets some seriously divine intervention.

Don't fear the Reaper?  Madison Avery may be dead but that doesn't stop her from trying to do the right thing. Accompanied by her angel and reaper friends, Madison tries to change a system she doesn't believe in while struggling to learn her new timekeeper powers and stay out of detention.  As an insanely huge fan of Kim Harrison's The Hollows urban fantasy series I had high expectations for her new Madison Avery series.  Harrison doesn't disappoint.  While this series is young adult it has all the telltale elements we have come to love from this author; a strong female heroine, wry humor, and an amazingly vivid paranormal filled world.  Early to Death, Early to Rise is a fantastic young adult urban fantasy novel filled with endearing characters.

I recommend Early to Death, Early to Rise to readers of young adult, urban fantasy, paranormal romance,  and especially to fans of Kim Harrison's The Hollows/Rachel Morgan series.

Source: This book was provided by the author or publisher for honest review.

Early to Death, Early to Rise on Amazon.
Early to Death, Early to Rise on Goodreads.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Book Review: Crescendo

 Crescendo (Hush, Hush, book 2) by Becca Fitzpatrick.

Nora should have know her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.  The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?

Thrilling young adult romance and spine tingling paranormal suspense at its best.  Crescendo is a fabulous sequel to Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush.  Nora walks a knife edge of danger, her heart pulled into one of the hottest YA relationships, while thrust into a world filled with terrifying fallen angels, nephilim, and other supernatural evils.  A dark supernatural secret society is at work in the shadows and Nora is in a race for her life and for the truth.  Will Nora be able to face the past and find the strength to survive the future?  Fitzpatrick's Crescendo is a must read for fans of paranormal romance and urban fantasy.

I highly recommend Crescendo to readers of paranormal romance, young adult, paranormal suspense, urban fantasy and especially to fans of Hush, Hush.

Visit my review of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick here.

Source: This book was provided by the author or publisher for honest review.

Crescendo on Amazon.
Crescendo on Goodreads.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Guest Author Interview: J.C. Marino + Giveaway!

Please welcome today's guest author J.C. Marino!  J.C. is the author of Dante's Journey and is currently working on Everything but the Face and Air.

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

I have to confess, I really don’t remember when I started writing.  As long as I can remember, I was always trying to tell a story… either in drawings, verbally or writing.  I still remember being 19 years old and bugging my roommate (in the military) to read this story or that one that I’d just finished.  It wasn’t until I moved to LA that I actually took classes in it and realized that writing is as much a “craft” as it is an “art”.  So, officially, I would say that I started writing in 1990 (when I moved to LA).  But that was screenplays.  Luckily, I had a day job, or else I’d be on the street corner with a cup in my hand.  Around the year 2000, I switched to novels.  I figured if no one was going to read my stories, I might as well write the ones I want.  With screenplays, the writer is stuck with all these limitations.  A screenplay written on spec by an unknown writer needs to be about 110 pages long and structured a very particular way (even if it hurts the story you’re trying to tell).  Plus, a screenplay isn’t self-contained.  It’s part of an ensemble.  You need a director, producer, editor, actors, etc, to make it work.  A screenplay is only a blueprint for a movie.  With novels, the writer gets the last say in everything… the characters, the story, the theme, etc.  Plus, it’s a self-contained story.  You can make it as long as you want and add the subplots needed for the story.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

This particular story (Dante’s Journey) is set in the afterlife, but I wouldn’t say it was the paranormal aspect that attracted me.  Growing up, I was more of a movie buff than a reader.  I would watch anything listed as science fiction.  Two movies I loved were “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “The Thing” (the originals – not the remakes).  TV show-wise, “Outer Limits” and “The Twilight Zone” were big with me (again, the originals – not the remakes).  It wasn’t until I got hooked on “Combat!” that I realized it wasn’t so much the scifi aspect that I found fascinating, but the human condition.  Outsmarting Nazis in WWII or outsmarting aliens on Mars… there’s really not much of a difference, writing-wise.  That’s just setting.  It’s the human reactions and interactions where the real writing comes in.

Don’t get me wrong, the paranormal aspect of this story is fascinating.  Dante’s Journey is about the human condition.  It just happens to be set in Hell.  The main character’s (Joe Dante) journey is internal and spiritual.  But it’s personified by the external setting of Hell (Hell being the original Dante’s Inferno).

EJ:  If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?

  Hmmm… I would love to heal people with one touch.  Why?  I guess it would make me feel better to ease other people’s pain.

But, I would also like the ability to change my shape and look like anyone I want.  Why?  Well, I’d need it to get in and out of places in order to heal people anonymously.  I mean, what good is a superpower without a secret identity?  Plus, come on… what guy wouldn’t want to go out on a Saturday night wearing Brad Pitt’s face?

I never said I wouldn’t use my powers for fun.

EJ:  Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.

  A previous reviewer of the book pretty much hit the nail on the head… the book spends as much time on Joe’s internal spiritual journey as it does on his outer journey through Hell.

In fact, Joe’s inner journey mirrors his outer one, but in the opposite direction.  The deeper he goes into Hell, the worse it gets, yet the more he’s forced to look inward to ultimately question his place in regard to God.  I think it’s a very unique book as it doesn’t rely on swords, sorcery or magic, but rather the human condition within the extraordinary situation of one man finding himself in Hell.  I think the reader will see certain aspects of themselves in Joe (or even some of the other characters) and question their own place in the world, as well as their possible place in this particular afterlife.  A basic belief in most world religions (most certainly Christianity) is that no one is perfect.  Joe doesn’t realize this at the beginning of his journey.  I want the reader to look at the Inferno and say “Heck, I could end up in THAT ring.”

Plus, it’s a fun book.  It’s light enough to keep the reader smiling, yet heavy enough to keep them thinking, guessing, and even philosophizing.

EJ:  If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?

I don’t believe that there’s a novelist out there that doesn’t ask this question and think of certain people when writing these characters.

Dante’s Journey is an epic-level adventure, so I could spend ten-plus pages on who would play what character.  Some characters are in the novel only for a chapter, but his/her appearance is key to Joe Dante’s story.

I always thought that Matt Damon would make an excellent Joe Dante.  It’s funny but it took me a long time to write Dante’s Journey.  When I first started the book, I wrote it with Bruce Willis in mind.  But the evolution of the story and characters made me reevaluate who would be better.  Matt Damon is physically correct for the role.  He’s originally from the Boston area.  And he’s a great actor.  He can be action-oriented, deep, or both.  And Joe’s character requires that.

As for Virgil, even though I describe him as a younger man, I have to go with Johnny Depp.  The man’s middle name is “Mystery”.  That’s what would be needed for Virgil.

As for the Angel… I originally thought of Robert DeNiro.  But now… I have to go back with Bruce Willis.  The Angel is tough… funny… and a soldier.  I can’t think of a role where Bruce Willis wasn’t at least two of those three.

Thank you J.C. for joining us here at From the Shadows!  To learn more about J.C. Marino and his books, please visit his website.

Now for the giveaway!

** Dante's Journey Giveaway! **

To enter leave a comment on this post with your email address.  This giveaway is for US mailing addresses only (sorry! J.C.'s Goodreads First Reads giveaway is international).  You do not have to be a follower to enter (though I always appreciate a follow!).  Giveaway ends Friday August 6th at Midnight EST.  

Dante's Journey is a fabulous urban fantasy read!  A hard-boiled trip to Hell.  Visit here to read my review.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Book Review: Dante's Journey

Dante's Journey by J.C. Marino.

A flash of light and Detective Joe Dante steps through. No longer on the cobblestone streets of 1961 Boston, Joe finds himself in a horrifying new world--Hell itself. Joe was in hot pursuit of his family's killer, drug lord Filippo Argenti, when both were killed, and isn't about to let a little thing like death slow him down. So, with a healthy dose of New England stubbornness and the help of a mysterious guide, Virgil DiMini, Joe must evade angry demons, and search ever-lower through the rings of the original Dante's Inferno in hopes of finding justice for his wife and children. However, Joe will soon discover that behind every sin lies a secret and each secret revealed could land Joe in an eternity of hot water... VERY hot.

A hard-boiled trip to Hell.  J.C. Marino deftly brings a new voice to the urban fantasy genre.  Have you ever picked up a book and enjoyed a character from the very first page?  That was my reaction to Joe Dante.  I was grinning from ear to ear at the witty dialogue that flowed every time Joe opened his mouth.  Dante's Journey has all the twists, turns, and suspense of a mystery thriller, the bones of a philosophical classic, the nightmare creatures of science fiction and fantasy, the grit of noir, and the paranormal chills of urban fantasy.  There is something within the pages of Dante's Journey for every reader to enjoy.

I recommend Dante's Journey to readers of fantasy, paranormal fiction, sci-fi, mystery thrillers, and especially to fans of gritty urban fantasy.  Fans of Butcher's Harry Dresden and Thurman's Leandros brothers will enjoy reading Joe Dante's adventure to Hell.

Source: This book was provided by the author or publisher for honest review.

View the book trailer for Dante's Journey here.

Check back tomorrow to enter my Dante's Journey Giveaway and learn the answers to your burning questions as E.J. interviews guest author J.C. Marino. 

Dante's Journey on Amazon.
Dante's Journey on Goodreads.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Book Review: Wicked Girls

Wicked Girls: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials by Stephanie Hemphill.

Wicked Girls is a fictionalized account of the Salem witch trials based on the real historical characters, told from the perspective of three young women living in Salem in 1692—Mercy Lewis, Margaret Walcott, and Ann Putnam Jr.  When Ann’s father suggests that a spate of illnesses within the village is the result of witchcraft, Ann sees an opportunity and starts manifesting the symptoms of affliction. Ann looks up to Mercy, the beautiful servant in her parents' house. She shows Mercy the power that a young girl is capable of in a time when women were completely powerless. Mercy, who suffered abuse at the hands of past masters, seizes her only chance at safety. And Ann’s cousin Margaret, anxious to win the attention of a boy in her sights, follows suit. As the accusations mount against men and women in the community, the girls start to see the deadly ramifications of their actions. Should they finally tell the truth? Or is it too late to save this small New England town?

A haunting tale of the dark side of human nature penned in a refreshingly unique style.  The first thing readers should know before reading Wicked Girls is that it is written entirely in verse.  As a poet myself I find it encouraging to find a new hardcover release in this style though some readers may be put off by the cadence and structure of this novel.  I highly recommend browsing through a copy in your local bookstore.  I found the rhythm of Hemphill's words pulled me deeper into the time and place of this novel for a unique reading experience.  While many of the characters are unlikeable their selfishness and greed for power illuminated the inequality of the time.  An interesting read for those interested in the Salem Witch Trials and a refreshingly different reading experience.

I recommend Wicked Girls to readers of historical fiction, young adult, and paranormal fiction.

Source: This book was provided by the author or publisher for honest review.

Wicked Girls on Amazon.
Wicked Girls on Goodreads.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Guest Author Interview: Louann Carroll

Please welcome today's guest author Louann Carroll!  Louann is the author of the paranormal, sci-fi, urban fantasy new release Gemini Rising.

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

  Writing has always been my passion. In Gemini Rising Kate begins to write because she can't sing. Well, that's why I started writing. I'm an alto, and altos never get the good parts. I wrote my first children's book Journeys, the Adventures of Leaf, when my kids were small. The book turned into a series that eventually  included my grandkids. Journeys is published through Galde Press, but the others I self-published because most of the books are special only to my family. However, I continue to get orders from people who love the book(s). If interested you can view them here.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

  My middle son is psychic as is my niece. I was very young when my son was born and he was just four the first time he saw an angel. There wasn't an Internet, his doctor told me he had an active imagination, and his teachers thought it was cute. When he started talking to people in graveyards (we were visiting my father-in-law) I really flipped and started talking to my family. My sister sees relatives that have passed over and my mother had a few episodes. They kept it from me, hoping I would never have to deal with it.  Me? I've had a few out of the body experiences, but I've never seen a ghost or a vision.

I write paranormal because the subject fascinates me. So many people thing it is a load of hogwash, but it isn't. Besides, I love world building, and creating my own characters with diverse personalities. It is probably the only thing I will ever write, because it has had such a huge influence in my life.

EJ:  If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?

I like to write about it, but after seeing my family and my son, I don't think I'd want to experience it on a daily basis. Too stressful. However, I do like to fly. During my out of the body experiences I have flown and it is a wonderful experience and it is one I have far to seldom. It generally only happens when I am stress free and content with my life. 

EJ:  Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.

  Gemini Rising is is a paranormal, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic romance. I love to read and spend my time reading books of all genres. When I ran out of books I loved, I wrote one I would want to read. Because I am an amateur archaeologist, geologist, and believe it or not, physicist, I combined all the elements I loved into one story. Here is a synopsis:

Over 5,000 years ago, Sumerian cuneiform tablets warned future civilizations of the planet Nibiru.

Kate Kelly, wife of famous archaeologist Jason Kelly, follows her husband to Sedona, Arizona with her son Ryan to assist in the uncovering of an ancient Anasazi village. During her passage across the states, a large comet appears overhead, clouding the skies with red dust. Some say the comet is icy residue left over from the big bang. Others say it heralds the end of times. Kate isn't sure though she detests the bloody red skies and miserable dust that follows her from San Francisco to Sedona.

Within days nightmares begin, within weeks, the first signs of a coming maelstrom appear. A UFO flies overhead, computers spit out nonsensical sentences, and Kate meets an ancient Anasazi woman, named Woman Who Walks With Light. Noah, an alien light being sent to assist Earth is drawn to Kate, and Bel, his superior, has known for eons that Kate Kelly will be the chosen human to record the final collapse of Earth's greatest civilization. Attracted and bound to her by previous lives, Noah is assigned to Kate. Soon they become the conduit through which humanity is reborn and together they witness a new Earth coming to power in a galactic age.

EJ:  If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?

Tom Cruise, because he is who he is and Kate Hudson, because she's the perfect Kate. Gemini Rising would make an awesome move. I can see the special effects even as I sit here pounding away on the keyboard answering your questions. If my cousin Casey Sander sees this (he's an actor), I want him to know he would have been my first choice--if we were 15 years younger. Darn, how age does creep up on you.

Gemini Rising by Louann Carroll.

Over 5,000 years ago, Sumerian cuneiform tablets warned future civilizations of the planet Nibiru. Every six thousand years the tenth planet crosses Earth's solar system spreading death and destruction. During its latest crossing Kate and Ryan Kelly learn to survive a post-apocalyptic Earth.

Sent to help sustain Earth, Noah, a member of the intergalactic counsel, joins with Kate, the chosen recorder of the end of days. One woman, and one offworlder collide with the ambiguous Light becoming humanities salvation. Out of tragedy is born a love that forever changes mankind.

Thank you Louann for joining us here today at From the Shadows!

As an aside, I would like to mention that I have witnessed the psychic abilities of Louann's niece (mentioned in the interview above) and she is incredibly gifted.  If interested in an online or phone reading check out her website.  She was lovely to work with.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

From the Shadows Makeover!

Grab your black eyeliner and nail polish, From the Shadows is having a makeover! 

With the help of blog design genius Parajunkee, of Parajunkee Design and Parajunkee's View, From the Shadows is getting a makeover today.  Please be patient as changes are made and let me know what you think of the new look.

If you would like a lovely little accessory for your blog, I now have a From the Shadows button you can grab from the right sidebar.

Book Review: Vacations from Hell

Vacations from Hell by Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Claudia Gray, Maureen Johnson, and Sarah Mlynowski.

Life's a beach . . . and then you're undead?
In this must-have collection, five of today's hottest writers—Libba Bray (A Great and Terrible Beauty), Cassandra Clare (City of Bones), Claudia Gray (Evernight), Maureen Johnson (13 Little Blue Envelopes), and Sarah Mlynowski (Bras & Broomsticks)—tell supernatural tales of vacations gone awry. Lost luggage is only mildly unpleasant compared to bunking with a witch who holds a grudge. And a sunburn might be embarrassing and painful, but it doesn't last as long as a curse. Of course, even in the most hellish of situations, love can thrive. . . .  From light and funny to dark and creepy, these stories have something for everyone. You definitely won't want to leave this collection at home!

Paranormal vacation stories that range from amusing to terrifyingVacations from Hell is bound to leave you giggling one minute and give you goosebumps the next.  Vacations from Hell is a collection of short stories by five talented paranormal authors.  Whether you are in the mood for a cute YA vampire tale, tropical terror, or a chilling tale of blood and curses Vacations from Hell will satisfy your hunger for the paranormal... in bite size pieces.  A perfect companion for your Summer vacation!

I recommend Vacations from Hell to readers of paranormal, young adult, fantasy, urban fantasy and especially to fans of paranormal short stories.

Source: This book was purchased by me for review.

Vacations from Hell on Amazon.
Vacations from Hell on Goodreads.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Book Review: The Language of Trees

The Language of Trees by Ilie Ruby.

Echo O'Connell knows that the summer holds its secrets. They are whispered in the rustling trees, in the lush scent of the lilacs, in the flurry of the mayflies batting against the screen door, and in the restless spirits that seem to clamor in the scant breezes on hot evenings. It is in summer that she returns home to Canandaigua, to confront these spirits, both living and not, and to share a secret with her first love, Grant Shongo—a secret that will forever change the lives of many people in the town and put to rest the mysterious disappearance of a little boy more than a decade earlier. 

Grant, a descendant of the Seneca Indians who call this place "The Chosen Spot," has also come back to face his past. After a broken marriage, he has moved into his childhood home, a lake house that has withstood happiness and tragedy. He knows the spirits of the past must be dealt with—that of the little boy who disappeared all those years ago; the boy's sister, who never overcame the loss; and the love Grant still has for Echo. But before the healing must come the forgiveness. . . .

A town drowning in guilty secrets and the hopes of the living while haunted by the spirits of the dead.  The residents of Canandaigua Lake have all experienced tragedy before but some families seem especially cursed.  A melancholy tale of loss and redemption, The Language of Trees is a story of how the lives of these families are intertwined like the branches of trees grown close together and how their inseparable destinies hold sorrow and hope.  Ilie Ruby blends Seneca myth and tradition with a tragic modern tale in a way that is at once haunting and beautiful.  The Language of Trees is filled with vivid imagery and lyrical prose that will remain with the reader long after turning the last page.

I recommend The Language of Trees to readers of paranormal fiction, mysteries, psychological suspense, romance, ghost stories and especially to fans of paranormal suspense.

Source: This book was provided by the author or publisher for honest review.

The Language of Trees on Amazon.
The Language of Trees on Goodreads.

Visit From the Shadows August 2nd as E.J. interviews guest author Ilie Ruby!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Guest Author Interview: Vianka Van Bokkem

Please welcome today's guest author Vianka Van Bokkem!  Vianka is the author of numerous paranormal novels including Twin Vampire Witches, The Angel Vampire, Witchy Wizardly Woods, Vampire by Day Werewolf by Night, and My Handsome Vampire.

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

Vianka:  I have been writing since I was in High School. My girlfriends asked me to make love poems for their boyfriends all the time, lol. It wasn’t until I was laid off from my job that I started writing my first novel on February 2010 since I had a lot of free time.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

Vianka:  I’ve always been fascinated with the paranormal. I enjoy watching movies and reading about vampires, werewolves, demons, sorcerers, warlocks, witches and a lot of other cool paranormals.

EJ:  If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?

Vianka:  I would love to be a modern vampire who is a member of a group consisting of kick ass supernatural beings whose mission is to protect the world and the underworld, lol.

EJ:  Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.

Vianka:  My Handsome Vampire: Falling in Love has quite a few different characters besides from vampires, like ghosts, demons, werewolves, a warlock and a sorcerer, Yargo from Planet Water a few Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, a vampire hunter and even a few fairies. All my main characters know about potions and spells because Nailah the Egyptian Vampire Sorcerer teach them. I thought a mix of my favorite paranormals was going to be fun and it was. I enjoyed writing about them very much.

EJ:  If your book My Handsome Vampire: Falling in Love were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?

Vianka:  I would cast actress/singer Selena Gomez as Ruby Kennedy and My Chemical Romance lead singer Gerard Way as Ulysses Anderson because they were my inspiration.

My Handsome Vampire (Falling In Love, book 1) by Vianka Van Bokkem.

A 17 year old girl who is killed by a vampire named Lucas on her way to see her two best friends Laura and Alain does not crossover and takes a ghost form. She soon meets a handsome vampire named Ulysses who is trying to save a young boy's life from Lucas. 

Thank you Vianka for joining us here today at From the Shadows!

For more information about Vianka Van Bokkem and her books, please visit her website.