Saturday, August 31, 2013

'This Star Won't Go Out' Teaser

On Thursday, Publishers Weekly sent me an e-mail with the subject line "John Green and Esther Earl: Lives Connected by Words." It's a teaser for the book This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Work of Esther Grace Earl, with additional writing by Esther's parents Lori and Wayne Earl and an introduction by John Green.

Esther, diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she was only 12, passed away from the disease at the age of 16 in 2010. She's the real-life inspiration for Hazel Grace in John Green's The Fault in Our Stars.

The title is a play on Esther's name, which is the Persian word for "star." She was named after the Biblical Queen Esther.

The e-mail took me to a page of Scribd (the website for uploading and reading e-books, many of them free) with a sample of the book to download. I can't share the link because the link won't work for anyone else's computer. The sample is only 11 pages long. It contains:

- Childhood photos of Esther from 2000 and 2003, showing her bright blue eyes

- Lori and Wayne's introduction, writing about who Esther was as an individual and some of her diary-keeping habits. They write, "She loved words, felt their power and believed in the magic of story."

-A photo of Esther reading a Judy Blume book in 2009, and another of her using a laptop inside Boston's Children's Hospital after she became ill

-Esther's drawing of colorful flowers on a black stalk, underneath a blue sun

-A facsimile of a note written in Esther's own handwriting, to her parents on their anniversary. It reads, in part:

"Parents, I love you two. So much. I am so lucky to have such amazing people raising me. Because...really, I wouldn't be who I am today if not for the love and care of you two. Please realize that you  are amazing. I thank God that He blessed us with two such loving people.

"Cancer is hard. I wouldn't have made it this far if it weren't for my family. Thank you, very much, for being here for me. It makes it seem less hard."

I'm very excited for this book. I want to get to know this young aspiring writer who lost her life too soon. I want to read her words and understand her life from her point of view. I never made a blog post with my review of TFIOS, and part of that was because I was so shocked by how good the book was, I couldn't articulate anything other than, "This is really, really, really good and you should just read it right now." That Esther Grace inspired the goodness is the very reason I want to read her very own words. I want my life to be connected to hers by words.

It might break my heart - TFIOS sure did. I cried, and then I dropped the book, and then I called it a stupid book because it made me cry and drop it. But when that happens, you know a piece of literature has seeped into your heart because it deserved to. Heartbreak or no, I must read TSWGO. Esther Grace Earl didn't have a long life on earth, so now she'll live in readers' hearts.

This Star Won't Go Out is available for pre-order on Barnes and Noble and Amazon now, and will officially be published on January 28, 2014.

Another book release I am eagerly awaiting:

...and, of course, Allegiant by Veronica Roth (October 22, 2013). The same actress, Shailene Woodley, will play both Hazel Grace and Tris Prior at the movies. If you follow John Green on Tumblr, you'll see he is currently fangirling over the filming of his book. 

P.S. You can add John Green and his brother/fellow writer Hank Green to the list of cool people from Indiana

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In Which I Yarnbomb My Blog (Amigurumi)

I haven't had much time for reading or blogging this week. On Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, I had a ton of cleaning to do to the apartment underneath mine, getting it ready to show to a potential renter. I probably spent a total of 12 hours vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing, and sorting items to keep or donate to charity - and the guy was a no-show. I'm glad the apartment's clean, but now I'm a day behind on my writing and editing. (Still, I make time to blog.)

Late-summer chaos is contagious, apparently: I popped in to The Vintage Apple and found that the chaos has eaten the weekly Oh How Pinteresting! link-up, which will now be monthly link-up on the first Wednesday of the month, starting September 4. Which is cool with me - I still wanted to show you a thing today.

(You'll see some pre-written Halloween posts pop up on odd Wednesdays in October - just pretend like I knew Oh How Pinteresting! was going to a monthly format and I did them on purpose anyway.)

Here's the thing. Laura Keykens is a self-proclaimed nerdy girl, and she has a Pinterest board of nothing by amigurumi. Said board covers all kinds of subjects knitted in colorful yarn, and many of these subjects overlap with my nerdish obsessions interests. I like this almost as much as Isabelle Disraeli's fictional character ship-fest.

Take, for example, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

And Harry Potter. (Note to self: you have two Pinterest boards of nothing but Harry Potter, but you've never done a Pinterest post exclusively about The Boy Who Lived. You should do that.)

And The Hunger Games.

And The Simpsons.

And Tard the Grumpy Cat.

And Loki.

And Lady Gaga.

And even Jane Eyre. Repinning this with the misspellings intact wasn't easy for me, but I persevered.

I personally have no knitting or crocheting skills whatsoever, but I admire the crafty people who do. I don't personally own any amigurumi, either. Somehow, I don't think my husband would appreciate me carrying around a Spiderman doll all the time like I did when I was 3, or going to bed with a stuffed Loki and calling it Tom.

Do you have a favorite amigurumi character?

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Friday, August 23, 2013

New From Erotica Author Fierce Dolan: The Fangirl's Dream

Have you ever had a crush on an actor from TV?

Personally, I'm really bad about this - I seem to have a different TV crush for every day of the week. Jim Caviezel, I'm looking in your direction. It's a common fantasy in our super-media-connected world; we see these beautiful faces on our screens so often, we feel like we know these people, almost like we could reach out and touch them. But what if a fangirl's biggest fantasy came true? That's the premise behind Fierce Dolan's latest creation, The Fangirl's Dream, available now for Kindle form Decadent Publishing.

The official blurb, from Amazon: "He’s a fangirl’s dream… Siler Dunham would do anything to have Farraj Reza, hero of the smash network TV drama, "Endangered." Every week she tunes in to watch him calculate the rescue of fellow bus crash survivors trapped deep in the jungle by a ruthless drug lord. 

A federal public defender with a penchant for saving the unsavable, she can’t resist his sad story, or his badass charm. When she seeks a matchmaking service to meet him, their one night stand isn't what she expected. 

Forced to choose between unbridled lust and compassion, Siler must forgo her fantasy... or mustn’t she?"

As of this morning, The Fangirl's Dream was #26 on Amazon's Multicultural and Interracial Romance chart. It has three reviews, and they're all 5-star reviews. The U.S. price is $1.99.

Add The Fangirl's Dream to your Goodreads to-read list:

 Find Fierce Dolan online:
Facebook - - @FierceDolan - Google+ - Goodreads - Amazon - Pinterest - Tumblr - Website -

Thursday, August 22, 2013

'Insurgent' by Veronica Roth

My book storyAbout two months ago, I had a 15% off coupon for Barnes and Noble. I used it to buy the paperback of Divergent. You can read my review of Divergent here

I read it. I loved it. I decided to set my copy free and sell it to Powell’s Books. It makes me happy to think that everybody wins: Barnes + Noble made a sale, I got to read the story, and now Powell’s will earn a small profit, and another person gets to enjoy the book without paying the full price.

Did you know you can sell gently used paperbacks to Powell’s even if you don’t live in Seattle, and they pay the shipping?

I went to the post office on August 1st to mail Divergent and a couple of other books to Seattle. The post office is a block from the library, which happened to have a copy of Insurgent waiting for me. Nice synchronicity there.

On August 1st I was celebrating Lughnasa, so while on my walk to the library I went to the coffee shop for the traditional feast of blueberries and grains (and also a coffee smoothie). 

Now I'm finished with the book. Today it goes back to the library. 

My book review:

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm going to go ahead and give this book 5 stars because, taking it on its own terms, I don't see how it could get any better. My two favorite things about Divergent were how Tris Prior is a strong heroine who grows and continuously becomes stronger and braver, and the way Veronica Roth's writing keeps the reader on the edge of her seat throughout that thrill ride of a novel. This sequel has those characteristics, except now Tris is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, so the "woman versus herself" conflict intensifies - and the stakes have been raised to the tenth power.

People Tris thought were dead turn out to be alive, people who Tris thought were allies turn out to be traitors, and certain snakes in the grass turn out to have surprising advantages. It's another heart-pounding installation in an adrenaline rush trilogy, and the jaw-dropper of an ending doesn't exactly let the reader relax and kick back until the release of Allegiant.

Allegiant comes out on October 22.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Oh How Pinteresting! Wednesday: Elmore Leonard Appreciation Post

One of the great prose artists of American literature, Elmore Leonard, passed away on the morning of Tuesday, August 20, 2013. Leonard was born in New Orleans in 1925 and later adopted Detroit as his home. His short stories, screenplays and novels were heavily inspired by the writing style of Ernest Hemingway, although Leonard accused Hemingway of using humor too sparingly. Leonard's crime noir style became a staple of U.S. popular culture, inspiring everything from a Quentin Tarantino film to a classic Western to the TV series Justified.

Leonard in 1989. Creative Commons photo.
This Oh How Pinteresting! Wednesday pays tribute to Leonard's prolific career - highlights, in my opinion. Feel free to share in the comments what your favorite Elmore Leonard works are.

I've never seen the classic movie adaptation of Leonard's short story (which he spelled "Three-Ten to Yuma").

The 2007 remake, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, is so much more than a Western. It's just a flat-out great story about a father who will go to any length for his family.

I read Rum Punch so long ago that I don't really remember if I liked it or not.

I do harbor a certain affection for Quentin Tarantino's characteristically over-the-top movie based upon Rum Punch, which is Jackie Brown.

Ms. Pam Grier is not only one of the most beautiful humans you will ever lay your eyes on, but she's also a genuinely good person who loves animals. You can follow her on Twitter. She's a loving, supportive, positive person and, really, there's nothing not to love about her.

I'm not going to lie to you - I ship these two so hard every time I watch this movie (and I've seen it at least five times). If I recall, the book has a sex scene between them, which the movie does not, and this made my heart very happy when I read it.

The only other Leonard novel I've read (well, listened to as an audiobook in this case) is Tishomingo Blues. Supposedly, it was Leonard's personal favorite.

This one was published in 2002. I remember really liking it. It was witty and funny in the noirish way that Leonard's works usually are and just really entertaining.

Surprisingly, I've never seen Out of Sight, which is unusual because I'm one of those rare people who loves almost all the movies Jennifer Lopez is in.

This is the short story collection that Justified in based on. I've never seen the show, but my dad is a big fan, and he's also read the book.

I wonder if Netflix has Justified. I'll need a new TV obsession soon, now that I've watched all the episodes of Orange Is the New Black and the True Blood season (and possibly the entire series) is over.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Movie Review: The Host

When I read Stephenie Meyer's novel The Host (book review here), it didn't quite work for me either as a romance or as a science fiction movie. Still, I consider seeing the movie based on a book something of a reward for having read that book, so I was excited to see the film version of The Host. I missed it in the theater, but I watched it at home last night.

This is one of those rare cases where a movie is better than the book. All the scenes of waiting around for some action to happen are neatly condensed into a scifi movie that isn't boring. It's a good-looking movie, pretty much the way it looked inside my head (except I thought that Healer Fords was an American Indian man), and the musical score by Antonio Pinto is gorgeous. If you're not familiar with the plot, here's a brief summary: the Earth has been conquered by a species that calls itself the Souls. They're symbiotic, living inside human bodies. The human personality disappears - usually. When Wanderer arrives on Earth, she finds herself bonded to the body of a young woman named Melanie, but Melanie refuses to disappear without a fight. The two share a body, and Melanie leads Wanderer to a small surviving group of symbiote-free humans, including Melanie's Uncle Jeb and Aunt Maggie, her younger brother Jamie, and Melanie's lover Jared. Because Wanderer shares her body, Melanie's relationship with the other humans is complicated. One man, Ian, attempts to kill Wanderer, but then ends up having feelings for her (which makes Melanie jealous). Wanderer uses the Souls' advanced medical knowledge to heal Jamie when he almost dies from an infection, then teaches the humans to nonviolently remove Souls from their human hosts, leading to increased peace between the band of humans and some of the Souls. Melanie Stryder and Wanderer are played by Saiorse Ronan. The last thing I saw her in was Hanna, in which she played a modern young warrior woman, which was pretty awesome. I've also seen her in two literary adaptations, both of books I haven't read - Atonement (the love story you watch when you want to weep your eyes out) and The Lovely Bones. Ronan was born in 1994, so she's still only 19, but she's grown into a very beautiful woman. I guarantee you that by 30 she will be a legendary red carpet beauty. Jared is played by Max Irons, who was in Red Riding Hood (loosely connected to Twilight in that it was directed by Catherine Hardwicke like the first Twilight film, and it featured Billy "Charlie Swan" Burke) and who is the son of Jeremy Irons. (Anagrams of Max Irons that might describe his personality include Arson Mix, Soar Minx, As In Mr Ox, and Ram In Sox.) I have the same problem with Melanie and Jared's romance in the movie as I had in the book - I just don't feel that there's a lot of passion or heat there, except in one brief scene in which Jared remembers kissing Melanie and sees his memory in a dream. Max Irons is very pretty to look at, though. He is an English model as well as an actor, so think young Rupert Everett. (I say this knowing full well that Rupert Everett has aged extremely well and is, in fact, sexier now than he was at 25.) My feels reside more with Ian and Wanderer - he falls in love with her personality, not her physical body, although he does find her silvery, wispy natural form to be beautiful. (It's one of the most touching scenes of the book; in the movie, Ian is depicted holding another Soul, not Wanderer.) Ian is played by Jake Abel, who was in I Am Number Four (with Teresa Palmer from Warm Bodies) and the Percy Jackson movies as well as appearing in The Lovely Bones. It would be a nice symmetry if Abel and Ronan had played love interests in that movie, but while Ronan played the main character Susie, Abel had a small role as Susie's best friend's boyfriend. (He has one major scene - mistakenly thinking Susie's dad is attacking his girlfriend and beating Susie's dad with a baseball bat, badly injuring the dad's knee.) The stubborn Seeker who pursues Wanderer beyond what is normal for the cooperative-minded, peaceful Souls is played by German actress Diane Kruger. I may remember her from such films as Troy (in which she played Helen), the two National Treasure movies, and Inglourious Basterds (the film in which I discovered the beauty that is Michael Fassbender). She's a character you love to hate, but Kruger plays this character beautifully. The Seeker has a secret - she's fighting a losing battle with the human whose body she inhabits, and she can't stand her own perceived weakness for not being able to conquer the supposedly inferior human mind. She gets her interplanetary comeuppance. I was a little disappointed in the book - I gave it three out of five stars - but the movie was better than I expected it to be. Unless you're a hardcore Stephenie Meyer fan, you can probably skip the book safely and see the movie. It doesn't suck. Four out of five stars.
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Hollywood Classics Title Index to All Movies Reviewed in Books 1 - 24 by John Howard Reid. $0.99 from Another essential book for a film buff's library, this one is packed with information and reviews. Some of the entries are quite extensive. JHR provides all the information you need, including complete cast and production staff. I find JHR's information invaluable. I like to read not only who acted in a movie, but who made it, both top-billed and lesser mortals. -- Ross Adams in DRESS CIRCLE mag.

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

YA Mystery/Paranormal Review: 'Dead Is Just a Dream' by Marlene Perez

This is the eighth book in the Dead Is series overall, and the third one in which the protagonist is Jessica Walsh. When we last saw Jessica in Dead Is a Killer Tune, she and her sister viragos (town-defending women warriors) had to solve the mystery of the bizarre behavior of Battle of the Bands contestants during Jessica's freshman year of high school. Just a Dream opens at the end of summer, with Jessica becoming a sophomore. It ends in early November, at a Day of the Dead celebration. 

This year's strange occurrences include a ghostly, red-eyed white horse stalking the town at night, a creepy clown who comes into town with the circus, an artist whose paintings give people nightmares, and a new art teacher with a marionette obsession. People die and appear to have been scared to death in their dreams - a nod to the Nightmare on Elm Street horror film series that Perez acknowledges by having one of the characters sing a song from the movies. 

A ghostly horse associated with the night and bad dreams, the Mara, rings a bell for me. Looking back over some of my previous blog posts, I realized I'd written about the Mara when I wrote about the Welsh goddess Rhiannon (she of the awesome Stevie Nicks tune). Known as Mare to the Irish, the goddess was said to ride through people's dreams as a white horse, bringing inspiration. Inspiration isn't nightmares, though, so I'm guessing the association with bad dreams comes from Christians saying, "Mare isn't a goddess, she's a demon." 

If you look up Mare in Wikipedia, whoever has written the article says nothing about Celtic legend, defines the folkloric terms as "an evil spirit or goblin in Germanic folklore which rides on people's chests while they sleep, bringing on bad dreams" and cites the 13th-century Ynglinga Saga (a work by Snorri Sturluson, an Icelander who serves as an important source of Norse mythology*) as a source for this Germanic etymology. 

That sleep paralysis and night terrors are caused by evil spirits is not a folk belief that has died out, by the way. You can, for example, go to YouTube and watch videos by Christian evangelists such as Chris White who explain sleep paralysis not in terms of neurological activity in the human brain, but in terms of "the demonic realm." Personally, I went to Roman Catholic schools from kindergarten through bachelor's degree, and although we believed in as many as six impossible things before breakfast, we also used science as the tool for understanding the natural (but not the supernatural) world. I don't quite get the mentality of religious belief that can't co-exist with 21st century medical knowledge - but that's just my worldview.  I have my spiritual and folkloric beliefs, but I open them in a different window than my scientific knowledge. 

The Mara, in Perez's telling, is a shapeshifter, sometimes a scary horse and sometimes a frightened little girl with wild hair. If your childhood included reading Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz (spookily illustrated by Stephen Gammell when I bought them; newer versions were illustrated by Lemony Snicket collaborator Brett Helquist), then you may remember the story "A New Horse." It's about a magical bridle and a witch who uses it to change people into horses, riding them at breakneck speed all night and returning them, exhausted, in the morning. Schwartz's footnotes say similar tales can be found worldwide, but that this particular version comes from rural Kentucky. 

Look back at the Wikipedia entry for Mare, and you'll see the rural Kentucky folk tale closely mirrors what the Norse peoples believed: 

"The mara was also believed to 'ride' horses, which left them exhausted and covered in sweat by the morning. She could also entangle the hair of the sleeping man or beast, resulting in 'marelocks,' called marflator mare-braids or martovor mare-tangles in Swedish or marefletter and marelokker in Norwegian." 

...which explains why the little girl has such wild, umkempt hair in Dead is Just a Dream

The other book that comes to mind when I read about the Mara is The White Witch of Rosehall by Herbert G. de Lisser. I've never been to Jamaica, but apparently if you go there, you'll find numerous copies of this novel, first published in 1929, for sale at all the tourist stops. The real Rose Hall is a plantation in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and the legend that forms the basis for the book regards a haunting by an Anglo-Irish witchcraft and Voudun practitioner named Annie Palmer. In de Lisser's novel, Annie commands the specter of a demonic horse. 

But back to the book at hand. 

In the acknowledgments, author Marlene Perez thanks the Houston Teen Book Con. Apparently someone asked her what she is afraid of, and "This book is the answer." It does have a certain creepiness factor that makes this volume a little more suspenseful than the last one, which offered very few surprises. 

The mysteries here still aren't very tough to crack - this series has always had more of a light, breezy paranormal tone than a hardcore mystery novel tone, after all - but I found myself liking this one a little better than Killer Tune. Maybe it's because the horse, the bizarre paintings, the weird puppets, and the eerie clown are more interesting and original than a Pied Piper retelling. 

As I've come to expect from this series, there's also a romantic wrinkle: Jessica faces a solid month of loneliness when her boyfriend Dominic announces he'll spend December touring with his band. She also faces competition when Dominic's ex-girlfriend Tashya comes to town - and Dominic's mother (also a virago) seems to prefer her to Jessica. 

No spoilers, but the ending is somewhat bittersweet. At this point, I don't know whether or not Perez intends to continue the series. I hope so, because if this ending is the very end, it doesn't seem quite definitive. Also, Jessica is really growing on me. Daisy got five books as the heroine, and I kind of hope Jessica gets the same. 

You can preorder Dead Is Just a Dream now. The official release date will be September 3, 2013. 

Disclosure: I received an advance reading copy of this book through Amazon's Vine Program. I was not compensated for this review in any way other than the free book. The review represents my own honest opinion.  I am an affiliate and if you buy this book or any product after clicking through the above link, I will receive a small commission of a few cents. 

*Much, much more about Norse mythology will go into my upcoming Mabon (autumnal equinox) posts. 

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Shift by Madison Dunn. $8.99 from

I'm not sure why it happens, but when I focus just right, I can slow time. Things around me become lighter somehow, and I almost feel the tiny particles of energy spinning inside of them. The thing is, having the ability to transform the world around you isn't all it's cracked up to be -- especially when you are running from the Valencia without any deodorant.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Love, Lust and Zombies (New Work To Look Forward To)

Way back in March 2012, I watched Person of Interest, went to bed and had a dream about zombies. I wrote about it here.

Then I turned the dream into a short story.

It was originally intended for Coming Together: Hungry For Love. It did not make the final cut, although editor Sommer Marsden wrote, "Yours was a hard one for me because I enjoyed the story and I liked your writing, but the zombies, if you read very carefully, are really backdrop to the tale you tell." That particular anthology, she wrote, needed more "in your face" zombie characters.

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Then I submitted that short story to the Cleis Press anthology Love, Lust and Zombies, being edited by Mitzi Szereto. You may remember Mitzi Szereto from such books as Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts and In Sleeping Beauty's Bed.

I just found out yesterday that Mitzi accepted my story, titled "Wild Ones." Yay!

This is my second short story to land in a Cleis Press title. I wrote "Soaked" (based on a true story) in Best Lesbian Romance 2010.

Now, on an unrelated note, today is also Madonna's 55th birthday, so I made a playlist of some of my favorite Madonna songs.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A-Z Book Challenge (Nicked From The Book Chewers)

On Tuesday, I participated in the A-Z Book Survey. Then I stumbled across the A-Z Book Challenge, which is slightly different. This blog prompt, initiated by The Book Chewers, asks participants to list one book they've read from for each letter of the alphabet.

A - The Art of Disappearing
B - The Book Thief
C - The Catcher in the Rye
D - Dandelion Wine
E - Every Demon Has His Day 
F - Frankenstein
G - Go, Mutants!
H - The Hobbit
I - Isis (Douglas Clegg)
J - Juliet Immortal
K - Kiss Crush Collide
L - Lord of the Flies
M - The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat and Other Clinical Tales
N - Nine Stories (J.D. Salinger)
O - On the Road
P - Pretty Birds
Q - Quidditch Through the Ages
R - The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events)
S - The Scarlet Letter
T - To Kill a Mockingbird
U - Ultimate Blogs: Masterworks from the World Wide Web
V - Violin (Anne Rice)
W - Walden

Z - Zen Guitar (Philip Toshio Sudo) 

I couldn't think of any for X or Y. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Oh How Pinteresting Wednesday: Back to School Tips

Since my nieces Eira and Lydia are headed back to school today, starting the fourth and second grades respectively (just like Bart and Lisa Simpson!), today's Oh How Pinteresting! will be on a Back to School theme.

Start each day with a wholesome breakfast.

It's important to have high-quality school supplies, and preferably, ones that won't get confused with anyone else's.

The right accessories will really help you get in the school spirit.

Reading isn't just for school hours! Read for pleasure at least 20 minutes every day.

Be sure to pack a nutritious lunch.

Remember that math does, in fact, have many real-life applications.

Find the perfect spot to get a little homework done.

Finally, keep in mind that if you don't apply yourself...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A-Z Book Survey (Nicked From Somewhere Between the Pages)

I found this fun book survey at Somewhere Between the Pages, and it was created by The Perpetual Page-Turner.

Author you've read the most books from: Charlaine Harris, probably, since I read the entire Sookie Stackhouse series

Best sequel ever: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Currently reading: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Drink of choice while reading: at home, coffee; at a Starbuck's, tropical green tea

E-reader or physical book? Both

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school: Augustus Waters

Glad you gave this book a chance: The Hunger Games

Hidden gem book: Master by Colette Gale

Important moment in your reading life: Finishing the first draft of The Smell of Gas, because once I knew I could finish writing a book, I knew I could write whatever I wanted to read that wasn't written yet

Just finished: Hotter Than Hell by Jackie Kessler

Kind of books you won't read: I generally don't read hard science fiction or high fantasy, and I'm not much of a mystery reader either - but I'll give any genre a chance if there's a particularly well-written example

Longest book you've read: probably From Here to Eternity. It's 860 pages (and worth every second of the time it takes to read)

Major book hangover because of: The Count of Monte Cristo

 Number of bookcases you own: One free-standing, two built-in

One book you have read multiple times: Wuthering Heights

Preferred place to read: Comfy spot on the couch

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you've read: "Tell all the Truth, but tell it Slant/Success in circuit lies..." ~ Emily Dickinson

Reading regret: I waited too long between each of the His Dark Materials books. If I'd known how great The Amber Spyglass is, I'd have read them one right after another

Series you started and need to finish (all books are out in series): the original Vampire Diaries series, the ones actually written by L.J. Smith. I have one more to go.

Three of your all-time favorite books: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass, Little Women, Slaughterhouse-Five

Unapologetic fangirl for: Harry Potter

Very excited for this release more than all the others: Deborah Harkness's third All Souls Trilogy book

Worst bookish habit: reading in the bathroom

X marks the spot (the 27th book from the top left of your shelf): The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History by John Ortved

Your latest book purchase: Hm, my last few acquisitions were freebies, so I think my last actual purchase was of three Nalini Singhs at the discount book store

ZZZ-snatcher (the last book that kept you up way late): Lover at Last by J.R. Ward

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Excerpt: ESCAPE FROM OBSESSION by Dixie Lynn Dwyer ( #Menage #Erotica )

It's a hot summer, and it will be even hotter while you read Dixie Lynn Dwyer's erotic book, Escape from Obsession published by Siren Publishing, Inc., where she is a top-selling erotic romance author: Escape from Obsession reached #1 on the Siren Book Strand.

Dixie Lynn Dwyer has been writing erotica for many years. This is her 12th book and she just keeps writing. Her books sizzle; each one of them makes for great summer fun or a hot read to warm you up during those lonely and long winter months.

Gia Marie Giselli has heard very little about menage relationships. With her fear of men, and battle wounds from her past, she's nearly blindsided by three brothers, who want exactly that: a menage relationship with Gia.

Escaping from a bad relationship in NYC, she flees to Texas and meets up with the three brothers: Garrett, Wes, and Gunny McCallister. Three gorgeous hunks who are interested in getting to know her better. But her fear of men, and their capabilities, stands in the way of opening up her heart.

As they try to convince her that this relationship is serious, some jerk from work attempts to assault her, making all her fears of men resurface.

When they finally get through that incident, Gia's past reemerges. Can the McCallisters keep her safe and convince her that true love and compassion don't come in the form of fists, control, and fear?
Be careful when you touch the book, it may sizzle.

Excerpt: “I can show you some more pictures,” he whispered then took out a key and unlocked the door. They entered and he turned on the light. It was an office.
She looked around the room and could see the pictures.
“A commando, huh? That’s really dangerous right?” she asked, and her voice hitched in her throat as he wrapped his arms around her waist and held her gaze with a very serious one. He walked her backward as she held on to his forearms.
“Very dangerous. But I enjoyed it.”
Her back hit the wall and she knew he was going to kiss her. Surprisingly she wasn’t afraid but hungry. She wanted to taste his kiss and she got her wish as he moved one hand off her waist and above her shoulder to the wall behind her. He used his thumb to trace her lower lip.
“You’re special, Gia. I love being with you and talking to you. I’m not exactly a friendly person you know.”
“You? Not friendly? As I recall you were pretty friendly that night I first came into Casper’s. You didn’t even joke about my club soda drink.”
He smiled, those dimples peeked at her, and her heart soared.
He ran a finger along her cheek and pressed his body firmly against hers. She felt his hard muscles and his cock against her belly. Her pussy wept with need, suddenly feeling so swollen, and it was sensational.
“You broke my heart when you didn’t come back to visit.”
She took a deep breath and released it.
“I’m kind of quiet and like to keep to myself, too.”
“Not anymore,” he said then leaned forward and kissed her softly on the lips.
She relished in the moment of their first kiss. Smooth, deep, and sexy, he explored her mouth while his hands roamed her body.
She was hesitant to reciprocate as he deepened the kiss then turned her so that he was pressed against the wall. She wondered if he sensed her hesitation and was giving her the power to control how far this went, but then his arm wrapped around her waist tightly as he held her head, devouring her moans. She ran her hands up along his muscular arms then down to his trim waist. She felt his large hand slide across her ass then squeeze her cheek as he pulled her closer. Then she felt the second set of hands and she gasped.
“It’s me, Gia. Don’t be scared.” Wes massaged her shoulders as Garrett eased up his hold to allow Wes to explore her body, too. She felt the heat of Wes’s chest against her shoulder blades and his firm, hard thighs against her ass. He was tall. They both were. But when he moved the palm of his hand under her camisole and touched her skin, she pulled from Garrett’s mouth.
“Oh God, Wes, please, this is too much.”
Wes took her mouth with his and devoured her words. Being wedged between them like this was overwhelming and then came the flashbacks. Antonio and Valdere. Both men pressing against her, trying to remove her clothing.
She pulled from Wes’s lips and pressed her hands hard against Garrett. She managed to part from them and stepped back, nearly tripping as she covered her mouth.
“Gia, what’s wrong?” Garrett asked and it was Wes who pulled her into his arms. He held her and she tried to steady her breathing.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I totally panicked.”
“Why, baby? Did you think we would go too far or hurt you?” Wes asked.
She pulled back and tried to hide the fear and tears in her eyes, but by both men’s facial expressions, they could tell she was scared.
“I need to go. I told you that I needed things to go slow. It’s my fault. I thought I was ready.” She bolted for the door just as it opened. There stood Gunny. He was wearing his uniform and he looked concerned as he absorbed her expression then looked at his brothers.
“What’s wrong?” He stepped forward and closed the door. “What the hell happened? What did you two do?”
She placed her hand against Gunny’s chest.
“They didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just me. I thought I was okay. I just need to go. Bye,” she said then exited the room.
She said good-bye to Sammy and her friends and headed out. As the night air hit her skin, she felt how truly hot and turned-on she still was. She was enjoying their embrace, their kisses, and oh Lord, their touch. She wanted their hands everywhere, yet the flashback ruined it all. Fucking Antonio. Even now, he rules my world and maintains the power to control me and keep me from happiness.

* * * *

About the author: Dixie Lynn Dwyer grew up in the South -- New Orleans. She is one of six children born to Patrick and Lynn Dwyer. She is a combination of both Irish and a true Southern belle. With a name like Dixie Lynn Dwyer it's no wonder why people are curious about her name. Just as her parents had a love story of their own, she grew up intrigued by the lifestyles of others. Her imagination as well as her need to stray from the straight and narrow made her into the woman she is today. To see all of the other books written by the author, please visit Dixie Lynn Dwyer. The books are all just as red hot as this one. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wear All the Fantasy Outfits!

Fashion meets literature in these pins. Or, to put it another way, fictionista meets fashionista. 

They're mostly from Polyvore, DisneyBound, and WaNeLo. I've never used any of those websites. Do you use them?  

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland:

Harry Potter:

The Chronicles of Narnia:

Comic Book Heroes:

The Simpsons:

Which one's your favorite?

Would you actually wear any of these?