Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we get to highlight the upcoming books that we just can't get our hands on yet, but really wish we could!

Personally, I haven't posted a WoW pick in a while, but this one deserves some attention! I've just finished reading City of Bones as part of a book club read, along with Mel at He Followed Me Home and Melissa from My words and pages. I'm anxious to get into City of Ashes then City of Glass pretty quickly now. But, there's more to the story!! City of Fallen Angels continues the tale of the Shadowhunters and their perilous lives.

This great world that Cassandra Clare has created has left me wanting more. My plan is to have City of Ashes and City of Glass finished just in time for the release of City of Fallen Angels on April 5, 2011. I'd better get started...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Review: Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

The community of Cryer’s Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany’s empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on... until Kendall's boyfriend Nico also disappears, and also without a trace. Now the town is in a panic. Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall notices something that connects Nico and Tiffany: they both sat at the same desk. She knows it's crazy, but Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk, dreaming of Nico and wondering if maybe she, too, will disappear...and whether that would be so bad. Then she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk from someone who can only be Nico. Can he possibly be alive somewhere? Where is he? And how can Kendall help him? The only person who believes her is Jacian, the new guy she finds irritating...and attractive. As Kendall and Jacian grow closer, Kendall digs deeper into Nico's mysterious disappearance only to stumble upon some ugly—and deadly—local history. Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

There is something to be said about not reading a book blurb. In discussing Cryer's Cross with Mel at He Followed Me Home, I was explaining to her how freaked out this book made me. Whether it's just my general chicken-ness for certain spooky scenarios or because of my different perspective as a result of knowing nothing going into it, we couldn't actually decide. Either way, this book was creepy (to me)!

Having read all of Lisa McMann's book to date, what I find refreshing about her writing is that she can get her ideas across in such a concise way. Her novels are short but this in no way hampers the story. There's a distinct detachment from the characters and storyline but at the same time, you still feel the intensity of what's going on. I think for me, it's this hard to pin-point factor that makes reading a Lisa McMann novel so compelling.

My foray into the story started off with about ten pages the first night; by the second, I had finished the book! I love a novel that can keep your attention like this. I had to find out what happened to Nico, I had to find out who the "we" were, and I had to find out if Jacian was capable of smiling, ever! For me, the sign of a good story is most felt when you walk away from the book but are left with something that makes it memorable. Cryer's Cross did just that, though what it has left me with is a compulsion to double check my door locks before bedtime. Thanks to Lisa McMann for another successful novel (and a little OCD of my own :-p )

Giveaways and Preorder Info

So far, it's been a good year at My Ever Expanding Library for giveaways. Well, the fun continues today with 2 more books that are coming out in paperback next week. I'm happy to offer a copy of each of Bite Me by Christoper Moore and Horns by Joe Hill. To enter, you must have a US or Canadian mailing address and you must be a follower of my blog. Just leave a comment below with your contact info and telling me which of these awesome books you'd like to win (only one winner per book):

I reviewed Bite Me last year, when it releases in hardcover, you can read my review here. I'm a huge Christopher Moore fan but find it interesting how well he put voice to a teenage girl...just saying ;-) I'm wishing I had a cat like Chet. He seems like alotta fun too.
The city of San Francisco is being stalked by a huge shaved vampyre cat named Chet, and only I, Abby Normal, emergency backup mistress of the Greater Bay Area night, and my manga-haired love monkey, Foo Dog, stand between the ravenous monster and a bloody massacre of the general public.

Whoa. And this is a love story? Yup. 'Cept there's no whining. See, while some lovers were born to run, Jody and Tommy were born to bite. Well, reborn, that is, now that they're vampires. Good thing theirs is an undying love, since their Goth Girl Friday, Abby Normal, imprisoned them in a bronze statue.

Abby wants to be a bloodsucking fiend, too, but right now she's really busy with other stuff, like breaking in a pair of red vinyl thigh-high Skankenstein® platform boots and wrangling her Ph.D.-candidate boyfriend, Steve (the love monkey). And then there's that vampire cat Chet, who's getting bigger and smarter—and thirstier—by the minute. Abby thought she and Steve could handle the kitty cat on their own, mais non . . .

Before you can say "OMG! WTF?" Tommy and Jody are sprung from captivity, and join forces with Abby, Steve, the frozen-turkey-bowling Safeway crew, the Emperor of San Francisco and his trusty dogs Lazarus and Bummer, Abby's gay Goth friend Jared, and SF's finest Cavuto and Rivera to hunt big cat and save the city. And that's when the fun really begins.

I haven't read Horns yet, but will hopefully have a review to offer shortly:

Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a pair of horns growing from his temples.

At first, Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who had been raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.

Once, the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed. But Merrin's death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. Nothing Ig can do or say matters. Everyone it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone that is, but the devil inside. . . .

Now Ig is possessed of a terrible new power—a macabre talent he intends to use to find the monster who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. It's time for a little revenge . . . it's time the devil had his due . . .

If you just can't wait to find out if you've won, Harper Collins has a special order for pre-orders. Here's what they have to say:

The first 1000 people to preorder Joe’s latest novel and then email with proof of purchase will receive a specialized bookplate from Joe – he’s been signing and doodling all sorts of creations on bookplates for days now! For more information on this giveaway and the rest of Joe’s books, visit and follow Joe on Twitter @joe_hill.

That makes it win-win all around, right?! I will draw winners using on March 16, 2011. Good luck and happy reading :-)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Review: Highland Heat by Mary Wine

I usually offer the book description here, but that was posted with my interview of Mary Wine, so I'll just get into my review now:

From the moment of my birth, the "differences" between the Scottish and the English have been impressed upon me, to no end. And although I'm born and bred of lowlanders, the loyalty, pride, patriotism, however you wish to name it, is in every Scot on the planet! So, it was interesting for me to see these ideals put into print by Ms. Wine. Truly, with the number of times she refers to the highland credo, I think we may be sympatico in our heritage.

The conflict (and I use this term due to the hotheadedness of the heroine) between the main characters, Deirdre and Quinton, is introduced early. Like a slow tease, we feel their pull towards each other. In my mind, though, I was thinking, "Get to it already!!" But, with all things, the more you have patience, the greater the reward, right?

Highland Heat is a great peek into a tumultuous time in Scotland's history, highlighting clan differences and political struggles well. For fans of historical fiction, this definitely has it merits. While the English/Scottish factor has its place in the story, it isn't as big a part of the story as the struggles between the clans themselves. Being the backdrop to the romance, this adds a great dimension, making you feel the seeming utter hopelessness of Deirdre's future, as a woman in a "man's world".

Kudos to Mary Wine for creating a strong female role, that was willing to risk her life rather than submit, but also for an equally singleminded male character that could go toe-to-toe with such a woman. Highland Heat is a great read featuring the boldness of the Highland man and the stubbornness of the Highland woman, which when combined creates an unstoppable force.

Interview with Mary Wine, author of Highland Heat (and giveaway!)

Today, I'm very pleased to welcome Mary Wine for a little Q&A session about her new book, Highland Heat, why we love highlanders, and various other topics. I have to say, I think this was the most fun I've had as I read through Mary's answers. It's funny when you have certain expectations, but are pleasantly surprised by reality. Curious? Well read on and see what I mean!

Jackie: Can you tell my readers a little about what to expect in Highland Heat?

MW: A scorching love story. These are the two who refused to bend in the two previous books. I could see them moving closer to one another but they are both independent. When I write a historical…I like to show just how strong the women where during these periods. Banish the idea of fainting maidens, you won’t find those in my books.

J: What is it about Highlanders that makes them so interesting to read about? Or, for that matter, to write about?

MW: Ah Highlanders….what an amazing people. Rome failed to conquer them. The Vikings settled among them. They live on land that is as beautiful as it is harsh. Their music is soul inspiring…what’s not to love? Mix in the lore and legend and it’s a wonderful place to write a book in.

J: You are a historic costumer. What time period(s) do you create costumes for? (Note: I’d love to add some pictures of Highland costumes, if available)

MW: I do Elizabethan, reign of Elizabeth the first, Victorian 1880, medieval, colonial and just about anything else I have a reason to make up a suit for. At the moment I’m working on an 1885-90 because I’m launching a Steam Punk saga. It really comes down to needing a dress for some event. I’m on the hunt for fabric for Tudor era gown too…

J: While you write different romance novels, spanning past, present and future, can/would you pick a favorite and why?

MW: My favorite is normally the one I’m working on, right after I get finished with it because normally during the process I’m ready to strangle my hero. Quinton was defiantly one of those but I love Highland Heat. I wanted to write Deidre’s tale but I knew it was going to be a challenge.

J: What is more difficult to write fighting scenes or the romantic interludes?

MW: Neither…at least for me. I’m a second degree black belt in Tae kwon Do. I get stuck between those scenes, when I need to move my characters around and all I want to do is jump ahead to the action…lol.

J: Have you visited the Scottish Highlands? If so, can you tell us a memorable experience?

MW: Not yet but I did have the opportunity to have lunch with a wonderful Scottish Highlander. It’s the truth that I met him in a bar, which was once a famous brothel. I was in Alaska and heard his brogue, turned around and there was a Highlander, off to see the wilds of Alaska like I was. He was a wonderful man, yes, he plays golf. For formal night aboard ship, he’d brought along his kilt and I had my Victorian bustle gown…they said formal but didn’t give a year mind you. We had a wonderful time in our finery.


Ruined, Betrayed and Banished…

As brave as she is impulsive, Deirdre Chattan’s tendency to follow her heart and not her head has finally tarnished her reputation beyond repair. But when powerful Highland Laird Quinton Cameron finds her, he doesn’t care about her past—it’s her future he’s about to change.

But It’s Never Too Late for Redemption…

From the moment Quinton sets eyes on Deirdre Chattan, rational thought vanishes. For in her eyes he sees a fiery spirit that matches his own, and he’ll be damned if he’ll let such a wild Scottish rose wither under the weight of a nun’s habit…

With nothing to lose, Deirdre and Quinton band together to protect king and country. But what they accomplish alone is nothing compared to what they can build with their passion for each other…


Mary Wine is a multi-published author in romantic suspense, fantasy and western romance; now her interest in historical reenactment and costuming has inspired her to turn her pen to historical romance. She lives with her husband and sons in southern California, where the whole family enjoys participating in historical reenactments. For more information, please visit

As a special treat, thanks to Danielle at Source Books, I have 2 copies available as a giveaway, of Highland Heat. To enter, just leave a comment below with your e-mail info to contact if/when you win. You must be a follower to enter and it's open to US and Canadian addresses only. I'll draw for the winners on March 15, 2011 (so entries no later than midnight on the 14th). Good luck!

And thanks again to Mary for stopping by! It was a great pleasure.
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