Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Darkness by Crystal Connor blog tour & giveaway

An urban fantasy/science fiction book, The Darkness is told in an urban setting. Artemisia, a scientist who also practices alchemy, is wealthy beyond imagination. As an alchemist Artemisia has created and controls an empire of jewelry firms and factories that monopolizes the industry globally. As a scientist Artemisia is one of the founding members of The Skyward Group, a privately funded, secret science research facility in which experiments erase the boundaries of where man ends and God begins. Artemisia has everything: money, fame, knowledge and power. That is, she has everything except a child.

Inanna, a powerful and dangerous witch, is wealthy beyond imagination. At a very young age Inanna frightened the others in her village and, in the middle of the night, they tried to kill her and her mother. Inanna’s life was spared, but her mother perished. In her grief and rage Inanna killed the people of her village and resolved herself to studying all things occult, vowing never to be hurt again. As a witch, Inanna has everything: money, fame, knowledge and power. That is, everything except a child.

The child, at three months old, saw the world only through the bars of his locked cage. He has nothing; he doesn’t have a mommy, he doesn’t have a daddy and he doesn’t have a name. The scientists working for The Alpha Omega Foundation do not talk to the child; they only study him because the child is dangerous. The child could make things happen just by thinking them into existence—even if it meant making them dead.

When Artemisia is made aware of the experiment being conducted by her archenemy, she sets into motion a chain of events that will change her life and that of the child, forever. The Skyward Group sends a team to retrieve the child. Under The Skywards Group’s guardianship, the child is finally given a name, Adam, and Artemisia finally has a child. For the next three and a half years, Adam flourishes under the experiments of The Skyward Group—until he mysteriously vanishes from the secure facility, causing Artemisia to be plunged into an abyss of turmoil and grief.

One night while Inanna was driving through a wooded area, four-year-old Adam stumbles onto the road and she almost runs him over. Surprised to see a child in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere, Inanna leaps from her car to see if Adam is okay.  Because Adam is scared and confused, he tries to kill her. This is his third murder attempt, but unlike his first two victims, Inanna does not die. From that night forward, Adam lives with Inanna as her son, and Inanna finally has a child.

Artemisia believes that Adam had been kidnapped and killed. Fourteen years later, when Artemisia finds out otherwise, it might be too late to salvage the relationship with the child she considered her son. Adam is furious with Artemisia and struggles with feelings of abandonment and rejection, feeling like she just didn’t want him anymore.

Adam begins to stalk Artemisia, killing people she closely interacts with because he doesn’t know that Inanna cast spells of protection and cloaking to ensure he would not be found. Inanna tries to comfort Adam, but he refuses to be pacified because he wants to make Artemisia pay.

Meet the Author

Washington state native and author Crystal Y. Connor, now living in Seattle, has been writing short stories specializing in the urban fantasy/science fiction/horror genres and poetry since before junior high school. Connor’s short story The Ruins earned a runner-up placement in Seattle’s Crypticon 2010 writing contest. Her short story The Monster will be featured in the anthology Strange Tales Of Horror published by NorGus Press.

Connor belongs to both the Black Science Fiction Society and The Seattle Women’s Writing Groups and is an active member of The Critters Workshop. Connor’s current projects, Artificial Light, the sequel to The Darkness, and … And They All Lived Happily Ever After, is an anthology that will be released in 2011.

For more information about Connor and updates on current projects, please visit:

Just leave a comment with your email to win a copy of The Darkness.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Blog Tour stop with J.L Bryan & Giveaway

Thanks for stopping by Strange Candy reviews on your blog tour, Jeff. Can you tell us about the blog tour and your book?
Thanks for having me, Jo-Anne! For the tour, I’m writing about 20 posts about ghosts for different book blogs around the web. I’m also giving away The Haunted Library, an ebook collection of works by dozens of authors, as well as a Kindle 3 with WiFi and possibly a Kindle DX (more on that later in the tour…).
The Haunted E-book is the story of a librarian who discovers a haunted book, with a ghost that awakens when you read it.
What inspired The Haunted E-book?
I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about the evolution of books over time, from scrolls to codexes, and then mechanical printing technology, and now ebooks in the 21st century. I’m interested in how that changes what books are and how we relate to them, and how people share stories across space and time, even huge gulfs of space and time.
Also, I’ve been wanting to write a ghost story, but I wanted to do something original with ghosts that was at least a little different from what people have read before.
Have you visited any haunted houses etc. for research or fun?
I like the fake haunted houses that lots of people put up around Halloween. I haven’t gone out of my way to visit haunted houses, but my wife and I once heard a disembodied voice say “Shoo, shoo, shoo” right in our ears when we were staying at a friend’s house. We didn’t mention it to them until they’d moved out of the house!
Do you have a favourite ghost story?
That would be hard to pick! I read “The Red Room” by H.G. Wells when I was a kid, and I still think it’s one of the best and scariest.
Could you tell us a little about your main characters?
Dee is a librarian who’s had a pretty unhappy life and ended up sort of stuck in this little town for years. Madison is a college student who has some scars of her own. They’re people trying to escape their lives through reading lots of fiction. Then the fiction turns around on them because of Jonah, the ghost who wrote The Haunted E-book. He essentially comes out of the book and starts haunting them.
Is there a specific genre you'd like to try and write?
I’d like to write some historical fiction, but I’m a stickler about trying to get details right, and there’s a tremendous amount of research that goes into good historical fiction.
Was there a defining moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Basically as soon as I knew people could do that for a job. I think I was in first grade when I made that decision.
What was the last book you read?
Right now I’m reading When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris.
Do you feel that ebooks can reach a wider range of people than paperback?
Definitely. E-readers like the Kindle and Nook are still new. Eventually they’ll be as cheap as cell phones and iPods. Ebooks are also extremely cheap to distribute, so authors can charge a low price for their books. Low price and global digital distribution make a book accessible to many more readers.
(Some blog tour details)
Commenting on this interview within seven days enters you for The Haunted E-book Tour Grand Prizes, including The Haunted Library and a Kindle (or two!).
Your comment also enters you to win a pair of ebooks from Jo-Anne (The Haunted E-book and Dark Tomorrows) according to her usual giveaway rules.
Thanks for following the tour! And thanks to Jo-Anne for hosting today.
Let's make it interesting. Answer this question: What is your favourite ghost story?
(Don't forget to leave your email in you comment)

J.L. Bryan studied English literature at the University of Georgia and at Oxford, with a focus on the English Renaissance and the Romantic period. He also studied screenwriting at UCLA. He is the author of five novels and one short-story collection. He enjoys remixing elements of paranormal, supernatural, fantasy, horror and science fiction into new kinds of stories. His new novel is The Haunted E-book. The sequel to his novel Jenny Pox will be available by summer 2011.  

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Interview & Giveaway with Rebecca Lim

Welcome to Strange Candy Reviews, Rebecca. Thank you for joining us.

SCR: For those who haven't heard, what is your novel about?

My latest book for young adults – Mercy – brings together some of the genre-mashing I enjoy as a reader. It’s a YA mystery/crime novel – but with angels and Latin, choral music, school bullies and a whisper of romance thrown in. 

Its heroine is an exiled archangel who constantly finds herself shifted into an unbroken chain of human lives – she keeps “waking” to find herself inhabiting the body of a stranger and is forced continually to think on the fly, seek to find meaning, and adapt, just to survive. Despite possessing shattered memories of who or what she once was, she always remains true to her essential nature, regardless of what’s thrown at her. I tried to imagine what it would be like for someone with extraordinary powers to be suffering from a bizarre kind of amnesia where she only has prismatic flashes of memory and insight. The inklings of more than one past life, and of what she’s truly capable of, would (hopefully) make things interesting and keep the reader guessing, because the character would always be a little off balance. She'd be experiencing pretty much what the reader would be doing - trying to join the dots so that things make sense. 

SCR: Can you tell us a little about your lead characters?

With Mercy herself, I consciously set out to create a female heroine who can, literally, do anything if she puts her mind to it. I wanted to show that it's okay to be a smart-mouthed, think-on-your-feet, strong and abrasive, yet empathetic character, who also happens to be female. It's not something that should just be the province of male hero-types.

Ryan is the mortal boy who stumbles across the fact that Mercy exists, even though the face and body she’s “wearing” and the life she’s “living” belong to someone else altogether. To say he’s intrigued by her, is an understatement.

Luc is Mercy’s flame from way back that she’s being kept away from for reasons that aren’t yet clear to her (or the reader). Despite Mercy’s exile, Luc is somehow still able to contact Mercy in her dreams, while she’s asleep, though physically, he’s never been able to track her down. When he gets too close, she gets shifted again into another life.

SCR: Is there one place you'd love to go but have never been before?

Marrakech. It just sounds so otherworldly and beautiful.

SCR: Can you give us a little information about the types of books you write?

I’ve written books for boys and girls aged 9 –12, toddlers (2 - 4), and teen (13+) and pre-teen (9 – 13) female readers. Every book has been a blast to write but I have to adjust the language (I’m often reminded “no swearing!”) and conceptual layering. 

I probably feel most comfortable writing for the YA age group because they’re open minded and willing to embrace anything the author dishes out, provided it’s a good read and they’re hooked into the story. 

SCR: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

When I was around 6 or 7, but reality kind of intruded and I got sidetracked into a “respectable” day job for a while. 

SCR: Was there any research you had to do for your book?

I’m a lapsed Presbyterian choir nerd, so for the choral scenes I basically had the Mahler Symphony No. 8 score open next to me while I wrote them. 

But I have to stress that “Mercy” is not pushing any religious wheelbarrow whatsoever. Angels appear across many faiths and cultures and I’m writing non-denominational angels here. 

SCR: What is your work schedule like when you're writing? 

A bit mad. I have 3 kids who insist on popping up like gophers in the middle of the night (when I do most of my work). The words are either flowing, or I’m on another planet altogether.

SCR: Do you think you have an interesting writing quirk? 

Does brie count as a quirk?

SCR: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Everywhere. The news is pretty staggering; old poems; trashy magazines; the web; stuff I overhear in the street from eavesdropping on people.

SCR: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That YA readers are the most voracious and interested, switched-on and questioning readers out there. It’s an entire universe I don’t think I was fully aware of, and I’m really privileged to be a part of it.

SCR: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I haven’t fully committed to the idea of creating a website or blogging about what I’m up to, because I’m not sure if any one would be interested, frankly. But I do catch up on some of my reviews for “Mercy” online. And some of them have been really lovely, but others have been a little surprising.

I’m just happy when I find out that a reader “gets” what I’m trying to do. You create this stuff in a vacuum and hope that people will like what you’re doing and where you’re headed.

SCR: What do you think makes a good story? 

Strong, authentic, believable characters. Plus, a pacy storyline that doesn’t contain too many red herrings or cul-de-sacs. I personally can’t keep reading if the main female character acts brainless or has no backbone. That just gets my goat, sorry.

Rebecca Lim is a writer and illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia. She worked as a commercial lawyer for several years before leaving to write full time. Rebecca is the author of ten other books for children and young adult readers, and her novels have been translated into German, French and Turkish.

To win  a copy of Mercy, just answer this question:
Who is your favourite female character & why?
Giveaway is international and ends Friday 18th Feb.
Don't forget to leave your email.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

ON THE HUNT by Gena Showalter, Shannon K. Butcher, Jessica Andersen and Deidre Knight

Want to chase the winter blues away? Join the hunt. Four authors. Five hidden images. One red-hot anthology. Hunt down the contest images hidden on Gena Showalter, Shannon K. Butcher, Jessica Andersen and Deidre Knight's online homes to win an iPod Nano multi-touch and a signed copy of ON THE HUNT. A second prize winner will add 10 sizzling Signet Eclipse releases to their bookshelf!
The winners will be announced during our Valentine's Day Afterglow chat event on Thursday, February 17th @ 9pm ET. All of the ON THE HUNT authors will be on hand. Plus, there will be a few surprise giveaways for those that attend. Bookmark our chat room - TKA Chats!
Click here to find out how to join the hunt and take the exclusive "Hunter or Prey?" quiz.

**Contest begins on Monday, Feb. 7th @ 9:00am ET and ends on Thursday, Feb 17th @ 3pm ET. U.S. residents only**
New York Times bestselling authors Gena Showalter, Shannon K. Butcher, Jessica Anderson, and Deidre Knight present a steamy collection of all-new novellas featuring sexy paranormal hunters.

With shadowy creatures, intoxicating magic, vivdly imagined worlds, and sizzling passion, this is an anthology no fan of paranormal romance will want to miss.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Review: Heaven's Spite, Jill Kismet #5 by Lilith Saintcrow

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; 1 edition (November 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316074179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316074179
  • Purchase Information

    When a new hellbreed comes calling, playing nice isn't an option. Jill Kismet has no choice but to seek treacherous allies - Perry, the devil she knows, and Melisande Belisa, the cunning Sorrows temptress whose true loyalties are unknown.
    Kismet knows Perry and Belisa are likely playing for the same thing - her soul. It's just too bad, because she expects to beat them at their own game. Except their game is vengeance.
    Nobody plays vengeance like Kismet. But if the revenge she seeks damns her, her enemies might get her soul after all...


    Brilliant. The Jill Kismet books, are in my opinion, where the Anita Blake books should have headed. Jill is as tough as they come. She's a hunter who fight's the nasties to keep her city safe. She's so kick ass, she needs her own definition. This book had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I was reading as fast as I could, I had to know what happened next! There's so much action in the pages you have to hold on tight or you might get thrown off your seat. I love the way Lilith Saintcrow writes. It's dark, gritty, no holds barred, and in your face. If you've read Jennifer Rardin's Jaz Parks series, Adrian Phoenix's Maker's Song series or even Lilith's Dante Valentine series you must, must pick this series up. You will not be disappointed.
    I give it 5/5.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Review: You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin

Product Details

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316077429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316077422
  • Purchase Information

    He's come to do a job. 
    A job that involves a body. 
    A body wrapped in duct tape found hanging from the goal posts at the end of the football field. 

    You Killed Wesley Payne
     is a truly original and darkly hilarious update of classic pulp-noir, in which hard-boiled seventeen year-old Dalton Rev transfers to the mean hallways of Salt River High to take on the toughest case of his life. The question isn't whether Dalton's going to get paid. He always gets paid. Or whether he's gonna get the girl. He always (sometimes) gets the girl. The real question is whether Dalton Rev can outwit crooked cops and killer cliques in time to solve the mystery of "The Body" before it solves him.
    You Killed Wesley Payne is a murder/mystery with 'private dick', Dalton Rev trying to find out who killed Wesley Payne. In doing so he has to navigate through the many (overly exaggerated) cliques. Each of who are battling for supremacy. There seems to be little in the way of rules and a governing body of teachers. They all seem to be after the same thing, and are constantly running 'rackets'. You have to pay for everything, even greasing the palm of the school nurse. 

    Dalton models himself on crime novel hero Lexington Cole. He's a likable character who manages to use his sharp wit and hard-boiled detective skills to solve the murder. Dalton has a certain charm, he's slick and suave, but he puts on a lot of that. I liked his reason for doing what he does, it gives his character another dimension, makes him easier to relate to. 

    Even though many parts of the story seem to be over the top, Dalton and friends never seem too unbelievable. They're all trying to survive the ups and downs of high school, albeit with a little more violence and anarchy than is healthy. You will need the 'clique index' in the front of the book to help you understand the many different one's, as you can get very lost. These are some of the funniest pages in the book. 

    The story is full of twists and turns that had me turning the pages trying to figure out how it all fit together. I never suspected who the perpetrator was, and it was a shock to find out in the end. The dialog is snappy, fast paced and very amusing. I was caught laughing out loud on several occasions. I was also caught unawares and asked myself a few times, WTH? I found You Killed Wesley Payne a little along the lines of Scott Pilgrim vs The World. ( as I was watching the movie at the same time)

    You Killed Wesley Pain is one great read. Even though it is YA and contains some violence, sexual references and inventive language, I recommend it to anyone who is after something different. It was a nice break from the usual. You Killed Wesley Pain is certainly in a league of its own.

    I give it 3.75 out of 5.
    I received this book from Angelo at Blog Reach Solutions.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Guest Post by Dalton Rev & giveaway

Hey. I’m Dalton Rev. Pretty much the main character in the new book You Killed Wesley Payne. You can call me Dalton. Or, you don’t really have to call me at all. Unless you need a problem solved. Then I bet you’ll get my digits somehow. Yeah, that’s what I do. Solve problems. Got a bully hassling you? Someone steal your Trig final? Happen to find a body wrapped in duct tape hanging from the goal posts at the end of the football field? I can transfer to your school and take care of it. In and out. Nice and discreet. Of course, it’s going to cost you a fat packet of folding green. And by folding green, I mean cash money. Yeah, I’m a Private Dick. And here’s the three most important Private Dick rules:
                  The Three (3) Most Important Private Dick Rules:
1. Never let anyone mess with your ride. On the other hand, feel free to mess with theirs, especially if there’s a chance they’ll be chasing you on it later.
2. Avoid beautiful girls. Helping beautiful girls out of tight situations never comes to a good end. Continue to charge maximum fees and take lots of cold showers.
3. Tough guys are only as tough as you’re inclined to let them be.
4. Be nice to your mom.
5. If you’re going to carry a weapon, drive a scooter, smoke a cigar, wear a leather jacket, or have an unusual haircut—make sure it’s big and mean and intimidating. Especially the cigar.
You Killed Wesley Payne is a murder mystery. Who killed Wesley Payne? You did. Probably. Either way, I’m onto you. So don’t be surprised if there’s a Dalton-sized shadow looming up on your doorstep soon.
Your Pal,
-Dalton Rev

He’s come to do a job.
A job that involves a body.
A body wrapped in duct tape found hanging from the goal posts at the end of the football field.
You Killed Wesley Payne is a truly original and darkly hilarious update of classic pulp-noir, in which hard-boiled seventeen year old Dalton Rev transfers to the mean hallways of Salt River High to take on the toughest case of his life. The question isn’t whether Dalton’s going to get paid. He always gets paid. Or whether he’s gonna get the girl. He always (sometimes) gets the girl. The real question is whether Dalton Rev can outwit crooked cops and killer cliques in time to solve the mystery of “The Body” before it solves him.
Sean Beaudoin

About the Author:

Sean Beaudoin is the author of Going Nowhere FasterFade to Blue, and You Killed Wesley Payne. His stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications including Glimmer TrainThe New Orleans ReviewThe Nervous Breakdownthe San Francisco Chroniclethe OnionInstant CityThe Rumpus,OpiumBarrelhouseRedividerNarrative, and Spirit: the In-flight magazine of Southwest Airlines. He is currently working on a collection of short stories and a crime fiction novel.

Giveaway- signed copy of Going Nowhere Faster (Sean's first novel)
U.S only.
All you have to do is answer this question: If you needed a problem solved, would you hire Dalton?
Don't forget to leave you email address.
Giveaway ends Feb 12th.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Winners from Summer Lovin'.

Thank you to the wonderful authors who participated in my Summer Lovin' event. And all of you who entered. I had so much fun this month.

So without further ado the WINNERS:

Jessica Andersen - LSUReader 

Shannon K. Butcher - Diana (Book of Secrets)

Eve Silver - Desire0367 
(Desire please email me within two days with your contact details. :)

Christina Phillips - Mariska(uniquas...)

Cynthia Eden - Meredith(meredithfl...)

Erica Hayes - Debbie(twoofakind12...) 

Kayden McLeod - Mary(miztik_rose...)

Mel Teshco - LivLovLife

Nalini Singh - LivLovLife

I have emailed everyone (with the exception of Desire0367 who needs to send me their details).