Saturday, October 30, 2010

Character Interview & Giveaway: Rand and Sinjin (H.P Mallory)

Welcome to Strange Candy Reviews, gentlemen. How are you both?

(Sinjin sits on the couch next to me and Rand takes a seat in a chair across from us both)
Rand: Very well, thank you and thank you for having us.
Sinjin: (offering me a flirtatious smile) I am well, Ms. McLeary, thank you.

(blushing) You've know each other for a while. How did you meet?

(Sinjin glances at Rand but Rand stares straight ahead and his jaw is tight).
Sinjin: That is a bit of a loaded question, Love. We got off on quite the wrong foot, so to speak.
Rand: Sinjin seduced my best mate's sister.
(Sinjin just smiles guiltily)

Okay....What was your impression when you first met Jolie?

(Rand’s anger softens and the tightness in his jaw relaxes)
Rand: Jolie is a very gifted witch and when we first met, I knew she would not disappoint me. I’d come very far to find her, not even then realizing exactly how powerful she is.
Sinjin: Lovely story, Randall, but that was not the question.
(Rand looks uncomfortable)
Sinjin: What did you think of Jolie’s physical attributes?
(Rand narrows his eyes)
Rand: Jolie is beautiful.
Sinjin: Yes, quite so. And when dressed in fairy garb, she’s even more intoxicating…lovely legs and a small waist with ample…
Rand: Sinjin!

So, um, Rand, what do you wear when you sleep?

(Rand blushes)
Sinjin: I believe that is answer enough.

(I clear my throat, also blushing) I kinda had that one coming.
Sinjin, in your opinion, what's you best feature?

Sinjin: Personality or physically speaking, Love? If physically speaking, I believe Jolie quite appreciated my eyes. (Throws Rand a knowing smile) and personality wise, why my winning sense of humor.

You do have very nice eyes, among other things. Oh my God. Did I say that out loud?
(Sinjin just laughs and offers me a knowing smile)

Ah, next question. You both been around for a while, what's the most interesting thing you've seen and/or done?

Rand: The last time I was rendered speechless was when Jolie managed to reanimate a ghost and brought him back to life. I’d merely hired her to find out who killed him. That was quite a surprise!
Sinjin: Yawn.
(Rand faces him with a perturbed expression)
Rand: And what, Sinjin, is the most interesting situation you’ve encountered recently? Please enlighten us.
Sinjin: No need to be a todger, Randall. The most enjoyable situation of late was drinking Jolie’s blood.
(Rand looks like he’s about to explode).
Rand: Did you have to bring that up? You know how…
Sinjin: Yes, Randall, I was merely answering the question posed to me. (He faces you with a big smile, revealing the points of his fangs). But I am afraid, Love, your readers will have to wait until the release of Toil and Trouble to learn the specifics.

You're both um, pretty attractive guys, what's your best line to pick up a woman?

Rand: I don’t believe I’ve ever used a pick up line on any woman.
Sinjin: Thank you for the compliment, Pet. As to, what do you call them, one lines?
Rand: One liners
Sinjin: Ah yes, one liners, I must agree with the warlock. I have not ever required the need for a pick up line. But, if I had to think of one…hmmm…is that a stake in my pocket or am I just happy to see you?

Right, stupid question. Don't know why I thought you'd need a line.
It seems I have an uncanny knack for embarrassing myself. Thanks for bearing with me. So Sinjin, what's it like being a vampire? The biggest perk? And Rand, what's it like being a warlock? 

(Sinjin steeples his fingers and appears thoughtful)
Sinjin: Depending upon your persuasion, the ability to live forever could be considered the biggest perk, as you say. I, myself, believe it to be as such. I also quite enjoy your human fascination with the vampire. And, of course, there is always the perk of tasting the blood of a beautiful woman.

Rand (rolling his eyes): I quite enjoy the responsibility involved in possessing extraordinary powers—how important it is to protect those who are less able to protect themselves.

Sinjin: Really, Randall, you aren’t running for public office.

(Rand frowns)
(I hide a smile behind my hand)
Rand: It is increasingly difficult to have a discussion with you, Ms. McLeary, with this bloody bastard’s comments at every turn.

(Sinjin laughs)
Sinjin: Astonishing Ms. McLeary, it appears your warlock guest does have a bit of life within him after all.

It would appear so, yes. But it would help if you didn't keep pushing his buttons, Sinjin. Don't worry, Rand, the interview is almost over. I just have a few more questions.

Chocolate or vanilla?
Rand: Chocolate
Sinjin: Neither. I do not recall what either tastes like.

Boxers or briefs?
Rand: Boxers
Sinjin (with a lascivious smile): Neither.

Summer or winter?
Rand: I quite love an English summer and summer at Pelham Manor is even more lovely.
Sinjin: I prefer winter. Summer is an unpleasant reminder I will never see the sun.

Do either of you have a favourite band/musician?

Rand: I go through phases with regard to my musical interests but seem to always return to classical music. I find myself repeatedly listening to Smetana of late, specifically Die Moldau.
Sinjin: Unlike Randall who reveals his advanced age not only by his musical tastes but also by his choice of clothing, my musical interests lean more toward the eclectic. Most recently, I have been listening to indie music. In fact, Jolie and I discussed my musical interests in Toil and Trouble when I played the song Blah Blah Blah by Say Hi To Your Mom for her. (He faces Rand with a smug smile). Incidentally, she loved it.

Sinjin, are there any ladies on your radar? Besides Jolie.

(Sinjin glances at Rand with a twinkle in his eye)
Sinjin: No. I find myself quite smitten with the witch.
(Rand pretends extreme interest in his feet while his face flushes and his ears go crimson red).

Rand, do you enjoy having Jolie live with you?

(Rand releases the clench of his fists)
Rand: Yes, though it can be frustrating at times. I constantly have to battle between knowing I should maintain my distance due to our employer/employee circumstance and acting on my more primitive emotional notions.
Sinjin: Interesting, Randall. I was not aware you had primitive emotions, or emotions at all for that matter. And what, pray tell, would those emotions be?
Rand: Sinjin, I’ve had about all I can stomach of you.
Sinjin: You have a tendency to avoid direct questions.
(Rand throws Sinjin a glare)
Rand: Jolie and I are much closer than you and she will ever be. Is that direct enough for you?

Thank you for joining me gentlemen. It has been a, ah, interesting experience. I'm looking forward to reading more about all of you in Toil and Trouble.

(Sinjin seems unfazed but Rand looks like he’s about to explode).
Sinjin: Thank you, Ms. McLeary, I look forward to when next we meet.

(Rand stands up and offers me a curt nod and a quick handshake, refusing to glance at Sinjin).
Rand: Thank you for the interview and I hope your readers enjoy it. I’m terribly sorry but I simply can’t stand Sinjin any longer.

Sinjin and I watch Rand leave. Sinjin turns a big grin on me, standing up.

Sinjin: I suppose we cannot please them all, Love.

You can read all about Rand, Sinjin and Jolie in Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble. Available through:

Visit H.P Mallory at: 


Leave a comment to win either a copy of Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble, or To Kill a Warlock (Dulcie O'Neil, book 1). Giveaway ends 6th November. Please leave your email address, so I can pass it on to H.P if you win!


The second book in the Jolie Wilkins series is set to be released on January 1st! I'm so excited!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Review: No Rest For The Wicca by Toni LoTempio

Product Information:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 340 KB
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00427ZIIG

Purchase Information:

Communing with the dead is an everyday occurrence for PI Morgan Hawkes. A half-Wiccan witch who can commune with spirits of those caught between worlds, Morgan uses her talents to exorcise the trapped ghost or demon as part of the Paranormal Investigation Squad – until a string of murders with a voodoo slant prompts the Special Forces Agency to ask for her assistance. Someone’s killing pureblood witches- and the SFA’s convinced Morgan’s heritage (her father was a voodoo priest) could be instrumental in solving the mystery. Teamed with dashing SF agent Cole St. John – an Inheritor Vampire that sets her blood racing – the two of them fight their attraction for each other as they race to stop a madman from unleashing a demonic force upon the world.
Morgan Hawkes is a half-Wiccan, half-voodoo Paranormal Investigator. After the murders of several pure-blood witches, the Special Forces Agency ask her for help. They think her heritage will give them an advantage in stopping the madman. 
I really enjoyed Morgans character. She was feisty, tough, and wouldn't take crap from anyone. She held her own with guys, and wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty. She does carry around some baggage after the death of her partner when she worked Homicide. As the Wiccan rule is Harm None, Morgan feels immense guilt, and believes she's not worthy of redemption. She has heightened instincts and uses them. She can be a little cocky, but fights for what she believes in with tenacity. 
Morgan gets teamed up with super hot Special Agent Cole St. John. I liked Cole a lot. He's an Inheritance vampire, a breed thats as close to being as you can get, while still being a vampire. He treats Morgan with respect and takes her and her abilities seriously, even though she tries his patience quite a few times. I liked the way he helps her understand her previous partner had her own free will, and that Morgan should stop blaming herself. You can feel the chemistry between them, but Morgan is stubborn and fights her rising attraction to Cole valiantly. He does a nice job wearing her down. I liked the rapport Morgan and Cole had. They worked the case well
Xia, Morgan's cousin, is the embodiment of what it is to be a Wiccan. They live together and are almost more like sisters. Xia has an almost calming effect on Morgan. She's always there when Morgan needs her. I liked Xia, she seems a little fragile, but stands up for herself, and is willing to help even if her own life may be in danger.

The story is great with plenty of interesting secondary characters, intrigue, murder, suspense and an I-did-not-see-that-coming ending. This is a fantastic addition to the Urban Fantasy genre, and I'm hoping there will be more Morgan Hawkes books. I'd love to see what happens to everyone. I'm really glad the author contacted me to review No Rest For The Wicca. I recommend it to anyone who likes Jennifer Rardin or Lilith Saintcrow. I give it 4/5.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ask an Editor - Michèle Drouart

I know a lot of us out there are aspiring writers and enjoy advice from people in the industry. Have a read of Michele's bio, and if you like, leave a question for her in the comments section. I will then pass them on to her.

Michèle Drouart is the author of Into the Wadi, a memoir about the year she spent with her Muslim Arab husband’s family in a small village in Jordan. Published in 2000 by Fremantle Arts Centre Press (now Fremantle Press), Into the Wadi won the top award — the Premier’s Prize — at the WA Premier’s Book Awards in June 2001. A 2006 review in the Journal of Middle Eastern Women’s Studies in the US (Indiana University Press) states that her story ‘offers a contemplative, non-stereotypical look at the complexities of cross-cultural experience’.

Into the Wadi sets out to challenge — and to write against — the stereotyping of Arab people and cultures by much Western writing and media. She attempts to offer a more balanced representation of people in the Middle East than can be found in books like Princess or Forbidden Love. Moving away from generalisations, she narrates her personal experience of one particular place and family. She believes that readers are no longer willing to accept the preconceptions about the Middle East that have dogged Western ways of seeing. Her memoir sold over 10,000 copies in Australia and has also been published in Germany in three separate editions. 

Since the publication of Into the Wadi, Michele opened a business with two separate but related components: a creative writing school and an editing and assessment service. Both have flourished uninterrupted for 10 years.

Michèle’s writing courses resist the often intimidating over-structuring of educational institutions. All her classes are held in bookshops, restaurants and cafes, and all encourage the sharing of ideas. ‘In the past,’ Michèle says, ‘the cafés in the old quarters of European cities were where the real exchange of ideas among philosophers, poets, artists and writers took place.’ With this inspiration, Michèle ensures ‘a safe environment for the vulnerable creative mind’ (student Maree Macpherson, Floreat).

The courses in creative writing have three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. All meet for two hours weekly for 6 weeks. In addition, Michèle meets 6 to 8 times a year with her advanced students who are completing their manuscripts.

As an accredited freelance editor with the Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd), Michèle has worked with many different (non-specialist) texts, but now focuses increasingly on editing for aspiring writers. Her manuscript assessment service has grown steadily since she added it to her business programme in 2003.

Visit her website for more information.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Review: Jenny Pox by J.L Bryan

Product Details:

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace (July 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1453728406
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453728406
  • Purchase Information:
  • Smashwords
  • Amazon (Papaerback)
  • Amazon (Kindle edition)
  • Jenny is a shy, small-town girl whose touch spreads a deadly supernatural plague. She can't touch anyone without hurting or killing them. Her life is lonely until she meets a boy named Seth with the opposite power, a healing touch. Jenny's love for Seth brings the wrath of Seth's popular and manipulative girlfriend Ashleigh, who secretly wields the most dangerous power of all.
  • -------------------
  • What a change from the norm. Jenny Pox is fantastic. Jenny lives a lonely and secluded life, never being able to interact with the rest of humanity without killing them. I really felt for Jenny. We've all been teenagers and have suffered bullying and been ostracized in some form or another, and J.L Bryan really captures the atmosphere of being a teenager. Even though Jenny has been through so much she still manages to be a nice person. At school she's considered a freak, called 'Jenny Mittens' because she has to wear them all day for fear of accidentally touching someone. Her arch nemesis, Ashleigh, is the beautiful popular cheerleader who everyone practically worships. Her daddy's the pastor, and she seems to have a vendetta against Jenny, which seems to have your typical high school animosity, but turns out to be much worse than you can imagine. Then Jenny is helped by Seth, the rich jock, and finds he's hiding a secret like her, but he's dating Ashleigh. She finally feels she's found someone she can relate to and is overjoyed, things go smoothly for a while until Ashleigh pulls him back under her spell. Jenny is devastated, but decides to fight for Seth. She gets Seth back but makes an even bigger enemy out of Ashleigh. Seth is the handsome, all-American boy whose ancestors settled the town. He starts out seeming like a jerk, but as their relationship progresses you find out what a kind, caring person her is. I ended up really liking him. He was a nice surprise and I was glad when he and Jenny began to discover each other. Ashleigh is just a nasty piece of work, and it feels like she should be the one spreading plagues. Ashleigh's one of those characters you love to hate. While reading the book I could imagine everything like I was watching a movie on my laptop and not reading a book. I really loved the concept of the story and I believe J.L pulled it off really well. The secondary characters help give the story life, and one of my favorites was her father. He came to realizations about himself and his life and made changes, which can be hard with what he had to deal with. If your looking for something different in the YA world, I highly suggest you give Jenny Pox a go. Be warned though, there are sex scenes, drug use and quite a bit of violence and gore. The three children's gifts are the only paranormal aspects in the book, and the author weaves them into a believable story line. The explanation for these gifts is explained in the ending and I thought it was skilfully done. I never saw it coming once while I was reading. Jenny Pox is a captivating and distinct read. I give it 4/5. ( I received this review copy from the author.)
  • Jo-Anne

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review: Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers

Product Information:
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Teen; First Edition edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765328089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765328083
  • Amazon
  • Amazon UK
  • Book Depository

  • Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She has spent years keeping everyone at a distance - even her closest friends - and it seems like her senior year is going to be more of the same... Until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can't seem to stay away from him.

What she doesn't know is that Luc is on a mission. He's been sent from Hell itself to claim Frannie's soul. It should be easy - all he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn't stand a chance. But he has to work fast, because if the infernals are after her, the celestials can't be far behind. And sure enough, it's not long before the angel Gabriel shows up, willing to do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for.
But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay... for all of them.
Angels, demons, a girl and the fight for her soul. Great idea for a story. I was hooked on this book even before reading it. There had been so many great things said about it that I had to get my hands on a copy. Glad I did. Personal Demons starts out from Luc's point of view. He's there to corrupt Frannie for Hell. The quintessential bad boy, Luc is hot, dangerous and sardonic. He's evil with heart made of brimstone and has never failed in his job. I was always looking forward to Luc's narration. He kept me entertained with his dialog and his actions. Frannie is the female lead. She's strong, compassionate, and just a little naughty. I liked her character quite a lot. She was a change from the usual. I liked her fire and the interaction she had with Luc and Gabe. She wasn't one to back down often. Luc starts off his and Frannie's relationship as the premise for her downfall. The only thing is he starts to fall for her. I enjoyed the way their relationship progressed and how the author didn't skim over the sexual parts of the story. I felt it added that little extra realism. Then there's Gabe, who's heavenly, hot, charming and will do anything to stop Luc from getting Frannie. I didn't really feel for Gabe, even though he has Frannie's best interests at heart, and is there for the same reason as Luc. I never once felt like I wanted him to be with Frannie. He just seemed like he was there help Luc's character progression. I wasn't sure why Frannie was drawn to Gabe. 
Personal Demons is a great debut. It's fun, sexy, and exciting. The ending left me wanting to know how the story is going to progress after everything that's happened. Bring on book two! I give it 3.75/5.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review: Bound by Blood by Kimberly Hoyt & Danielle Bourdon

Product Information:
  • Paperback: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Wildbloom Press (September 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982831714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982831717
  • -------------
    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 515 KB
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
    • Publisher: Wildbloom Press (September 10, 2010)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B0042JTP1U
    • Purchase Information:
  • Amazon
  • Smashwords

He was willing to give up eternity to have her, but would he die to keep her? 
 Prince Sebastian Thorn is known in the vampire world for his protectiveness of mortals, but when he helps the all-too-human Laurel Mayfield escape a stalker, he is unprepared for the humanity and the passion she reawakens in him. Would she want him if she discovered his secret? 
Laurel Mayfield is a small-town girl with big-city dreams and a cautious view on men ... until she meets Sebastian in a cemetery. Sophisticated, drop dead gorgeous, controlled and chivalrous, he's every woman's Prince Charming, but with a dark edge she can neither understand or resist.
Drawn to each other with inexplicable heat, can their desire survive the truth of his nature, and the scheming vampires that seek his power? When they revisit his past, will she choose the hot-blooded mortal man he once was, or the dark Prince he has become?
Bound by Blood is a great paranormal romance that combines Vampires and time travel. Just those two things should get you to read it. Then there's the lead characters Laurel and Sebastian. Laurel is a small town girl on her way to New York. I like Laurel. She is very sweet, innocent and naive but she has a hidden fire and isn't afraid to stand up for herself.
Sebastian as a vampire is very controlled, courteous, attentive, refined and stylish. To Laurel, he is very much a Prince Charming. Then there's the mortal Sebastian who's a medieval warrior and has a rugged allure Laurel can't seem to resist. Both versions of Sebastian are sexy and I really wasn't sure which version I prefered. They are both very protective and possesive of Laurel, but they never seem to smother her.
The story starts in modern times when she meets vampire Sebastian, and they have a wonderful love affair. It is a little slow in the beginning and the love making scenes when they do finally arrive are sweet but still get a bit hot under the collar. Laurel's sexual interactions with mortal Sebatian are a little more raw.
I really loved them going back time. It gave the story a whole other dimension. The authors captured medieval England quite well I think. Nothing was overly described but enough to make it feel like you're there. There's also another vampire Prince who has his eyes on Sebastians territory, and has used one of Sebastians own to help him try and bring him down.

There was just enough intrigue and romance to keep me interested. If you're after a sweeter PNR, then I suggest Bound by Blood. It is a nice change from the usual. The only thing I found missing, after everything that happened, was a baby. How you might ask? Well you'll just have to get your own copy of Bound by Blood. I received this ebook from one of the authors for review. I give it 3.5/5.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Review: Ghost Watch by David Rollins

Product Information:
ISBN :9781405040259 
Binding: Trade paperback
Pub. Date: 01/10/2010
Category: Thriller & Suspense
Imprint: Pan Macmillan
Pages: 512
Purchase Information:
Amazon (Kindle Edition)
Special Agent Vin Cooper is feeling reckless. He volunteers for the dumbest and most dangerous job going: personal security operations in Afghanistan protecting bent politicians.
But when his principal is killed in a suicide bomb attack, Cooper is reassigned to a cushy job nursing a couple of needy African-American entertainers putting on a show for US military advisors at a secret base in Rwanda.
Or so he thinks.
Things go horribly wrong when their United Nations chopper is forced down in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the middle of an all-out firefight by opposing forces. The nightmare only intensifies when some of Cooper's people, including one of the entertainers, are captured.
While risking his life to rescue his principals, Cooper spies a US DoD advisor in the enemy encampment, which is awash with American weaponry. It seems that their forced landing in this inhospitable place was no accident...
I received this book from Pan Macmillan. This review may contain spoilers. David Rollins is one of my favourite writers. As a girl who loves lots of action, I know his books are always going to be just what I want. Ghost Watch is the fourth Vin Cooper novel, and I loved it. Vin Cooper is a Major in the Air Force, and is an Officer of Special Investigation. He's their version of a police man. After the death of his ex, Vin has been acting a little carelessly. He's been taking on jobs with a little more danger. After his last personal security operation blew up, literally, he's taken on a job of escorting some African-American music artists to a base in Rwanda. The performers are Twenny Fo and Leila. Twenny Fo runs in the same vein as 50 Cent,  and Leila is a cross between Beyonce and Rihanna. They have also brought along a nice entourage of make-up artists, dancers and Twenny's personal security. The concert in Rwanda goes off without a hitch and they get invited to do a small concert in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Vin isn't keen but knows it's not up to him. They head off in a helicopter, but end up crash landing in the middle of a fire fight between hostile armies. It's now a battle for survival in one the most forbidding landscapes in the world. The DRC is considered one of four places in the world where travel is inadvisable. The cop in Vin knows something isn't right and he tries to find out if their crash landing wasn't an accident after all. 

In previous books Vin's been a bit of ladies man, having had a pretty turbulent relationship with a fellow officer. In this book Vin is quite different and I really liked how his character has progressed. They're still pieces of the old Vin in him, but to me he was a little more grown up, I guess. Of course he's the hero, and he has great instincts, and is able to form half plans that seem crazy and impossible but always ends up saving them. He tells bad jokes and has some pretty cheesy one-liners, and seems to have a knack for alienating people, but most people like him.
The secondary characters in Ghost Watch are so various and they bring a lot diversity to the story. Along with Twenny Fo and Leila is Boink, the head of Twenny's security. He's 6'6 and about 350 pounds. Twenny also has Peanut, who isn't really all there and Snatch. Leila has Ayesha and Shaquand. The other PSO agents are West, Travis, Rutherford, Cassidy and Ryder. They all have their own skill set, and support Vin all the way. Twenny and Peanut are kidnapped, not long after their crash landing, along with their French co-pilot. I really enjoyed most of the characters, but I seriously wanted to bitch-slap Leila. She was all attitude, no help and me, me, me. She didn't give Vin an inch, and just when I thought she had gotten over her diva antics she went and spoiled it. Twenny turns out to be more than he seems, with a deeper personality than Leila.

Ghost Watch is a testosterone charged and action-packed thriller full of suspense, with enough explosions, gun-fights, double-crossings and humor to keep you turning the pages. I give it 4/5.