Monday, August 30, 2010

Primal Instincts series review

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books; 1 Original edition (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373773676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373773671
  • Purchase Information:

Hi there back again after a bit of an absence, sorry Jo-Anne.
I’m reviewing the Primal Instinct series by Rhyannon Byrd which I have now finished. These are the first three.
The first book is called Edge of Hunger which begins with the eldest of the Buchannan siblings who come from a long line of mythical creatures know as the Merricks. Their blood line remains dormant in the siblings until the sudden release of an ancient enemy bring on the awakenings of the Merrick inside each of the them.
As only one Merrick is awakened per release the first is the eldest brother Ian, who ran away from home as soon as he was able.
Ian never believed in his mother’s obsession with their ancestry and never looked back when he left, leaving his younger brother and sister to deal with their mothers increasing delusions about what they are.
When a beautiful and mysterious women tracks Ian down claiming to have had a message from his now deceased mother Ian is very suspicious and more that a little irate at being dragged into his past, something he’s worked damn hard to forget.
But along with the Merrick bloodline comes certain gifts and Ian’s is precognitive dreams. Ian sees himself as his Merrick form, but in order to release the beast he must take the blood of a women as they are in the throes of passion. The beautiful and mysterious Molly has centre stage in his dreams.
Frightened by what he is to become and not willing to put Molly in any danger Ian does everything he can to keep his beast contained and his growing desire for Molly bottled inside as well. But when the enemy who is hunting him kills an ex lover to taunt him Ian has no choice but to give in to the passion burning between them to enable the beast to be free.
Going in search of an ancient cross believed to be a talisman against the enemy know as the Casus, as well as a weapon to kill them, Ian and Molly meet up with a group known as the Watchmen. They are a group of shape shifters from ancient clans who have all but died out and who monitor the awakenings of the Merrick around the world but do not interfere with them. So with time running out for Ian, as the Casus whose coming for him increases his attacks, Ian must do what he never thought he could and become the beast inside.
I was hooked on this story from the beginning as it is quite dark and gritty at times, something you can really sink your teeth in to. The main characters are great together Molly is a real softness to Ian’s hard exterior and as she gradually breaks through until you see Ian’s vulnerabilities and strengths.
The others characters in the book are fantastic with a heavy dose of sarcasm and great one liners you just get caught up in the lives of all of them. There are also some pretty hot and heavy scenes as well, but that’s what I also love about these books, and you know you do too!

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin Books; Original edition (May 2009)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0373773994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373773992

Purchase Information:

The next book in the series is called Edge of Danger and centers on the next sibling to awaken which is Saige Buchanan. Saige has always believed in her mothers stories and has been diligently searching for the crosses know as dark markers aided by a set of maps she found with the first marker and also aided by her special gift in which objects she touches speak to her. Saige is unaware that her brother Ian has already gone through his awakening first. She is also unaware that Ian has sent a Watchman to find her and bring her back to the protective walls of the Watchman compound, kicking and screaming if necessary. Saige can feel her Merrick getting closer to the surface everyday and when Michael Quinn shows up she starts to feel it even more. There’s something about the rugged Watchman that she doesn’t trust but can't seen to get enough of either. So together they make the trek back to the Watchman compound in Colorado. While hot on their heels is the Casus determined to get his hands on her. Killing an wakened Merrick will give it the Casus the strength it needs to release others of its kind from the holding ground where they have been imprisoned by the Merrick. The Casus does whatever he can to stop them from reaching the compound as well as finding anymore markers. But as Saige is determined to keep the impossibly gorgeous Quinn out of danger she inadvertently gets captured. In doing so, she managed to learn a few things about the impending release of more of the Casus and a group that is now helping the Casus with their plan for their own twisted agenda. Quinn manages to rescue her, although much to his frustration she seems to get herself into trouble whenever he turns around. Not to mention the fact that he can’t quite keep his hands off her. Due to his own animal instincts and tendencies he’s determined to keep her at arm’s length, but is finding that a lot harder than he thought it would be. So as they fight their attraction for one another and evade a deadly enemy Saige must give into to her darker side before she loses not only her heart but also her life and those she loves.
I absolutely love this series as I said, it has a great story line that draws you into a different world of old gypsy beliefs and shifters and of creatures trying to exist in a world where they are hunted and persecuted for what they are. The characters are wonderful. Quinn is this alpha male who has a witty sense of humor is as sexy as hell but is scared of his feelings for Saige as the possessive nature of his shifter breed can be extremely overwhelming. And Saige just takes it all in stride not realizing the effect she has on him.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books; Original edition (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373774230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373774234
  • Purchase Information:
  • Amazon
  • Amazon UK 
  • Book Depository

The third book is called Edge of Desire which focuses on Riley Buchanan. Riley has been helping his brother Ian and his sister Saige since their awakenings and their arrival at the Watchman compound. With Riley’s own impending awakening he is more than a little on edge and with a rouge Casus on the loose, hell-bent on destroying the Buchanan family, it’s even more pressing that they find as many Dark Markers as they can. No pressure!
Riley sets off with Watchman associate Kellan Scott to the small town of Purity Washington, where Saige believes the next marker is buried. But things go from bad to worse for our boy Riley when he comes face to face with the only woman who has ever meant anything to him, but who he left broken hearted some 13 years ago, with good intentions of course. Riley, knowing what was to come, had no intentions of ever getting Hope Summers involved in his frightening world, not if he had anything to do with it.
Hope wasn’t happy to see Riley either, some pie throwing might have been involved, but the feelings she had for Riley, which she learned to bury a long time ago come flooding back. Although there’s something different about him that she can’t quite place. He tells her that an old family heirloom is buried somewhere on her property and he desperately needs to find it, she is a little sceptical, but she goes on a little faith and agrees to let Riley and Kellan stay.
But Riley’s Merrick is hungry, and Riley has to struggle to keep himself together because he knows that if he lets go and gives in to the one woman he has ever wanted, it’s all over for him. But Hope's not making it easy for him and you can’t really blame her either.
As he spends more time with Hope he learns of her tragic past and can’t help but blame himself for not being the man she needed. The Casus are catching up to them and the bodies start mounting. Riley knows it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable happens and his Merrick gets out. Will the darkness overtake him or will Hope be his light at the end of the tunnel?
Riley never sees his Merrick as the good being that it is and thinks that he’s this dark monster that once released, will go on a killing spree. So there’s always a hard tone to his character, which I loved but for some reason I couldn’t get into this one as much as the others and I’m not sure why. But anyway, Hopes character I found a little needy and you just wanted her to grab Riley and give him a good slap and say I’m right here what are you waiting for! but that’s maybe what I would have done.
Hope you enjoy this series, I give it 4/5.

I highly recommend this series for anyone who enjoys a great juicy paranormal romance.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Interview with Marianne de Pierres


Welcome to Strange Candy Reviews, Marianne! It's great to have you here.
Hi Jo-Anne, thanks for inviting me to visit!

                                                                                                                                                                          SCR: Can you tell us a bit about yourself Marianne? Where did you grow up?
I’m a country girl from Western Australia who grew up on a farm reading pulp westerns and boys own adventure stories. I spent an unhealthy amount of time day dreaming that I was an action hero. At eleven I went to boarding school in Perth, and then on to Curtin Uni to study Film and TV. Then I fell in love with an engineer and spent ten years living in Paraburdoo. I didn’t begin writing seriously until I moved to Queensland fifteen years ago.

SCR: Do you have a favourite holiday spot?
Not really. Anywhere the family is together creates a happy memory but I have loved summer holidays on North Stradbroke Island.

SCR: For those who haven't read your books, could you give us a little description about them?
I’m a fairly versatile writer who swings between various sub genres of SF, crime and young adult fantasy. I love science fiction but I could never see myself writing one kind of book forever. My first SF series was post-cyberpunk, my next was space opera. I’ve also written humorous crime and have a dark YA fantasy coming out next year.

SCR: Did you always know you wanted to write science fiction?
When I was younger I wanted to write whatever I happened to be reading. I guess I spent a lot of years immersed in reading SF as an adult, so it seemed a natural progression.

SCR: Was it a genre you read when you were younger?
I started reading SF when I was in my twenties, quite late really, but my love for the genre grew and grew, until, for a period, it was all I read. Recently my tastes have broadened again, and my bedside table is piled with a variety of titles.

SCR: Your Parrish Plessis character is a pretty tough chick. How did she come about?
I started thinking about her character in about 1997. At the time there weren’t a lot of SFP (strong female protags) in SF, and urban fantasy was just a glimmer in Laurel K Hamilton’s eye. Most importantly I wanted to put her in an Australian setting to let her do her thing.

SCR: I really like your impression of futuristic Australia. Was there a lot of planning involved?
Thank you! I always plan a bit, but I do find too much structure constricting. I did ask myself lots of questions about what things had changed in my futuristic version of Australia and what things had stayed the same. My planning was born from those two simple questions.

SCR: Do you have any routines when you write? Do you have certain rules you follow when you write?
I write first draft right to the end even if it’s horrible, then I go back and starting the beautifying process. I don’t tend to write out of order, as some authors do. Other than that, it’s a case of hanging on for dear life.

SCR: Are there any authors out at the moment that you are really enjoying, or do you have a favourite book?
As I said, my bedside table is a mixture of authors and genres. Right now it’s harbouring, among other books, Feed by Mira Grant, Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay, The Wind Up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, Unholy Magic by Stacia Kane and The Reversal by Michael Connelly.

SCR: Has an interviewer or fan ever asked you a question you didn't know how to answer?
Yeah, a few times on panels. Sometime you just have to own up you don’t know!

SCR: If you could write a biography for anyone past or present who would it be and why?
I only do fiction :)

Marianne de Pierres is the author of the acclaimed Parrish Plessis and Sentients of Orionscience fiction series. The Parrish Plessis series has been translated into eight languages and adapted into a roleplaying game.
Marianne is an active supporter of genre fiction and has mentored many writers. She lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband, three sons and three galahs. In 2011 her first young adult dark fantasy novel will be published. Marianne also writes humourous crime series under the pseudonym Marianne Delacourt. Visit her websites at and

Thank you Marianne for stopping by.

Leaving a comment on this post can give you an extra entry into my 100 follower giveaway that starts next Wed Sept 1st!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Forbidden Launch Party

To help celebrate the release of Forbidden, Christina Phillips's debut Roman/Druid Ancient Historical Romance from Berkley Heat, she's holding a launch party with lots of amazing authors and fabulous giveaways! In addition, Christina's giving away a signed copy of Forbidden to one lucky person who helps spread the love. All you have to do is mention the party (you can copy and paste this blurb), being held from 1st to 6th September at You can Tweet about it, blog, Facebook, MySpace or anything! And then drop her an email at ChristinapPh @ gmail dot com (no spaces) to let her know. Please put Forbidden Launch Party (or something similar) in the subject line. The winner will be drawn for that on Monday 6th September. 

I read an excerpt of this on Christina's website and it's sooooooo good! Watch the trailer to see how many fantastic prizes she's giving away.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Planning 100 follower giveaway

I hate being sick. But it now means I've read 4 books that require reviews. It has also given me planning time for my 100 follower giveaway. I have decided to giveaway books by Australian authors. The contest will run from September 1st to October 1st. Exact details will be up this time next week. This is the list of books the three winners will get to choose from:
*Girl Saves Boy by Steph Bowe (debut YA author)
*Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James (debut YA author)
*Burnt Snow by Van Badham (debut YA author)
*Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
*Nylon Angel - Parrish Plessis book 1 by Marianne de Pierres
*Dark Space - Sentients of Orion book 1 by Marianne de Pierres
*The Death Trust by David Rollins
*The Zero Option by David Rollins
*Shadowfae by Erica Hayes
*Night's Cold Kiss by Tracey O'Hara

(I'm still trying to figure out how to make a button, though.) 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

We have a Winner!

The winner of Chris Morphew's The Phoenix Files: Arrival is Mary Ann!

I have sent you an email and you have three days to reply or another winner will be chosen. Thank you all who participated.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Girl Saves Boy by Steph Bowe review

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: The Text Publishing Company (August 30, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 192165659X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1921656590
Sasha Thomas has a problem or three. He has a terminal disease. His mother's dead. And his father has hooked up with the art teacher.

It's all too much.

But a boy wanting to drown himself doesn't know what he's in for when a girl called Jewel Valentine fishes him out.

Jewel? She has her own troubles, but from the moment this girl saves that boy, life means something different for the pair of them, something funny and sad and always unexpected, not too far away from falling in love.

Amazon            The Book Depository
Amazon UK       

I received this book from the authors publicistGirl Saves Boy is a beautiful and amazing book. I can't believe Steph Bowe is only 16. This is a book I would associate with someone twice her age.

Sasha is very sick, his mother died a year ago and his father has made some new life choices. I fell in love with his character. He's funny, charming and has a tendency to emancipate garden gnomes. Jewel is a little broken after her own family tragedy. She hasn't been living life for ten years. She's always on the rim, never being a part of anything. Then these two collide when Jewel fishes him out of a lake. They're never the same again. Their friendship and maybe something more blossoms and it's such a pure and lovely relationship to watch grow. They both come to understand things about themselves and each other. Sasha's friends are interesting minor characters. Little Al is 6'2 and a child prodigy. He could be the next Albert Einstein. True Grisham is very career focused and has her life planned out perfectly. True wants to be a journalist. She won't let anything get in the way of her dream. Not even when someone confesses their love for her. 

Girl saves Boy is a story about growing up, first loves, life's hard lessons and the heartbreaking tragedies we all have to face. I laughed and cried while reading it, and could relate to some of the things that happened. Steph Bowe has created a fantastic debut. It's funny, poignant, captivating and just a little heartbreaking.

I think Steph Bowe is going to have a great fantastic career ahead of her, and I can't wait to see what she writes next. 5/5
    Check out Steph's blog.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I need help!

So I am getting closer to the big 100 followers, and I am having trouble with what I should do. Can anybody help me out? How do I make a button? What should be the limit on the prizes? I would appreciate any advice from those who have been through this already. 


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Deaths Head by David Gunn reviews

Death’s Head 

Few survive the cage. Fewer still live to face the whipping post. But insubordinate son-of-a-bitch Sven Tveskoeg does. As this ex-sergeant in the Legion Etrangere feels the first lash fall, he sees the desert tribes attack - and watches them slaughter his comrades before his comrades can kill him…

Rescued from certain death, Sven joins the tribes. However his ruthless skills have come to the attention of an elite special ops force, the infamous Death’s Head.

They want Sven to help them out with a little ‘local difficulty’. He knows he’s a pawn in a dangerous game - and pawns have a habit of being sacrificed. But Sven’s nobody’s sacrifice. And even a pawn can checkmate a king…

Death’s Head Maximum Offence 

Lieutenant Sven Tveskoeg’s genetic makeup is only 98.2 percent human.

The remainder is non-specific and could explain his enhanced healing abilities, superior strength and sociopath ic tendencies. A badass soldier with a hair-trigger temper and a moon-sized chip on his shoulder, these qualities would condemn a man in any decent society.

Luckily, Sven doesn’t live in a decent society. He lives in the empire of the tyrant OctoV: part machine, part boy, part god and all evil. Sven’s unique qualities have brought him to OctoV’s attention and earned him a commission in the Death’s Head, the elite corps dedicated to killing and dying for the greater glory of - you guessed it - OctoV.

Now Sven and his Aux squad are heading for the artificial world of Hekati. A citizen of the U/Free (an empire not only vaster than OctoV’s but also technologically superior) has gone missing and Sven and the team must find the poor, lost soul. But on Hekati, nothing and no one can be trusted. Somebody wants Sven dead, too.

Death’s Head Day of the Damned 

Lieutenant Sven Tveskoeg is a killing machine whose DNA marks him out as less - or perhaps more - than human.

He’s survived everything a hostile universe can throw at him, but it’s not luck that’s kept him alive for so long. A lucky man wouldn’t be picked out of obscurity to serve in the army of his Emperor, the machine-human hybrid OctoV.

Now Sven and his squad of misfit auxiliaries are in the empire’s capital for a bit of R and R. But the emperor is missing and what begins as civil unrest soon becomes civil war as riots turn to slaughter. And behind the scheming that threatens to topple OctoV is, of course, the U/Free, a galaxy-spanning empire with the technology of gods and the morals of school children.

As anarchy takes over, Sven could just stay low and do nothing. But when has he ever done anything that sensible?

The Death’s head books are a cross between Rambo, Terminator and Commando! With a little Starship Troopers thrown in. There’s three different warring factions. The Uplifted, who are humans infected with a mechanical virus which turns them into half human/half machines. The Octovian Empire is run by a fourteen year old part machine part boy and self proclaimed Emporer with a God complex, called OctoV. Then there’s the U/Free, who are the most technologically advanced and supposed mediators of the other two barbaric nations. They make sure if you’re fighting a war, then you’re fighting according to the rules. The lead Sven Tveskoeg is seven feet tall and has a metal forearm and hand. Plus, he not quite human. We meet Sven being released from a cage only to be whipped to death. He punched two higher ranking officers, which carries a death penalty. Obviously, he doesn’t die. A marauding tribe of ferox (furred, humanoid beasts with claws and armor plating) slaughter his whole battalion and then take him with them. It seems it’s going to take a grenade strapped to his back to kill him. Might not even then. He’s rescued from the desert planet and inducted into the Death’s Head, a special forces unit in the Octovian Empire. OctoV has an ulterior motive, but you’re never sure (and neither is Sven) why he has been chosen. Sven is given orders and he follows them. Sven has a dry wit and violent tendencies, but is a man who keeps his promises. He uses whatever he can to his advantage, even if that means fellow soldiers. He rescues a girl he was sent to kill, after meeting her parents in a prison, and her mother asks Sven to keep her safe. He gathers his own team of soldiers he calls the Aux, after they’ve all been conscripted into a war they don’t want to fight. He pretty much tells them if they follow him, he’ll keep them alive. Which he does. They become pretty loyal to him. He sometimes wonders if it was worth it. He is proud of them though. Sven doesn’t take crap from anyone, makes few friends, but is utterly faithful to those he does. I like the way he looks out for the Aux and other people he comes across. The Aux are interesting side characters, who all have a skill Sven utilizes as much as possible. I love the addition of his SIG-37 with full AI, who has some of the best lines in the books. The banter between man and gun can be quite funny. Sven often threatens the gun when it tells him something he doesn’t like. Sven learns things about himself that he finds quite surprising, but I never found them not fitting with his personality. He doesn’t let you know everything about him, and even his Aux can get quite shocked when they learn something new. It’s not until the third book that you find out why OctoV has taken such an interest in Sven. OctoV has seen something in him that will change the course of history as they know it. So many things he’s done have paved the way for this new era that’s still quite ambiguous. I was pretty annoyed at the ending of book 3. The next chapter in Sven’s life is going to be huge and I can’t wait to find out what happens next. As yet I have been unable to find out anything about the fourth book and it’s driving me a little crazy. 

The Deaths Head books are violent, graphic, chock-full of action and sometimes a little outrageous. One of my favorite quotes from a review on the back cover is ‘So damn exciting you’ll need oxygen afterwards’ FantasyBookCritic. I think they sum up the series really well. Definitely 5 out of 5.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Follow Friday (Saturday)

Follow My Book Blog Friday With Parajunkee
(okay, so for me it's technically a Saturday, but you get the idea.)

To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host Parajunkee and the featured blogger, today it's Nymfaux. Then anyone else you like.
Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky Thing.
Grab the button and make a post so that anyone visiting can comment.
If someone comments and follows you, don't forget to comment and follow back.

Please enter my current giveaway to win a signed copy of The Phoenix Files: Arrival.

Spotlight on Australian Authors Chris Morphew

Australian YA author Chris Morphew was kind enough let me interview the main characters from his books The Phoenix Files. So please welcome Jordan, Peter and Luke.

What is it like to live in Phoenix?
 “Well, the first six months were good. Phoenix is actually a pretty sweet town, apart from all the death and destruction. But, yeah, the whole impending doom thing is a bit of a party killer.” – Peter
“You know... It’s actually kind of hard to remember life being any other way. It’s only been a few weeks, but everything here is so constant. It’s like there’s not even time to remember what normal life is supposed to be like.” – Jordan

You seem to have stumbled onto a pretty bad situation. How has it affected you guys?
“I think it’s messed with all of us pretty badly. We’re not sleeping. I’m scared all the time. And, you know, I guess it’s probably character-building or whatever, but that’s not exactly at the top of my priority list right now.” – Luke

If you were in a different situation, do you think you would still be friends?
“Dunno about Luke, but obviously my animal magnetism would be pretty irresistible to Jordan in any context. We’re like Romeo and Juliet. I mean, minus all the suicide and stuff.” – Peter
“Jordan, for sure.  Peter... I don’t know. I guess I’d hope that, in a different situation, Peter would be a different kind of person. I don’t think Phoenix brings out the best in him.” – Luke

Luke, how does it feel to know your dad's outside Phoenix? I guess you miss him quite a bit?
“Yeah, it’s – I mean, it was hard enough when I knew he was still out there. When I knew he was alive. Now I just – I don’t know. I don’t know what to think. And I guess that’s the worst part. The not knowing.” – Luke

Is it easy to concentrate while you're in school, with everything you've learned?
“It’s not easy to concentrate on anything. But it’s not like we have a choice. If we’re not at least seen to be keeping up appearances at school, then – Let’s just say Calvin doesn’t need much of a reason to come after us.” – Jordan
“I am concentrating at school exactly as much as I was concentrating before all this started.” – Peter.

Jordan, how does your mum being pregnant make you feel with everything going on?
“At first, it was okay. Well, not okay, but I could deal with it. It was something normal to deal with for a change, at least. But nothing in Phoenix ever stays normal. Not for long. I just hope we can all keep alive long enough for that to even be an issue.” – Jordan

Peter, you seem to be quite good with electronics. How'd that come about?
“I dunno. I mean, I was born in the last twenty years. And I have a brain. But also, back before Phoenix, Dad used to be a mechanical engineer, and he pretty much lived on the computer, so I guess that’s probably part of it too.” – Peter

What's up next for the three of you?
“If the last couple of months are anything to go by, I reckon we’re in for a bit more terrified running through the bush, probably followed soon after by our sudden and untimely deaths.” – Peter
“We’ll do what we've been doing all along. Keep fighting. Keep looking for a way out. Yeah, there’s every chance Peter’s right and we’ll all end up dead, but until that happens – What else can we do?” – Jordan

Thanks guys for taking the time to answer my questions. I really hope everything works out for you.

For a chance to win a signed copy of the first book in the series 'The Phoenix Files: Arrival,
please answer this question.

'What would you do if you knew world was going to end?'

Giveaway ends Saturday  21st August.
You don't have to be a follower but it's appreciated.