Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just In : In My Bookshelf

Because I'm crazy about Ms. Stacia Kane's Downside Series, I couldn't wait for the paperback to get here in the Philippines fast enough. I decided to get the e-book version through fictionwise for $7.49, roughly  Php 345.00 (at 25% discount, originally $9.99.  New ebooks are given 15-25% off for 7 days upon release). Amazon's Kindle edition is at $8.39.  I don't really understand why mass market paperbacks are much cheaper that kindle editions. They won't incur printing and other overhead expenses when you DL electronically.  So, can anyone enlighten me?
Anyways, I also wanted to get Ms Frost's Eternal Kiss Of Darkness but it's not available in Fictionwise so, I downloaded Amazon's Kindle App in my IPhone.  Yipee! I love it! Now I got Stanza, IBook, Ereader now Kindle.  So far I've been using a lot of my Stanza app but I got a feeling, Kindle will catch up.It's $7.59 by the way. Wait, how come this time kindle edition is cheaper? The paperback is at $7.99..huh (scratches head)
Oh well, I can;t wait to get home and snuggle up with my IPhone..after doing some mommy stuff, of course.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

3 Brilliant UF/PNR Books Out In The U.S. Tomorrow!

Hooray!! 3 of my most awaited books this July are out tomorrow.




These are all a part of a series and if you haven't read the previous books, see what it's about here, here and here.
If only I live in the states, I would be queuing at my favorite bookstore first thing in the morning. I wonder when these will be available in The Philippines? Can't wait to read them! I may have to get the e-book versions instead.  Hopefully, they'll be out soon.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Magic Slay Snippet

Finally! I found a new snippet from  Magic Slays and I've been meaning to share it in my blog since last week.  But alas, the daughter got sick and I was busy being paranoid and taking care of her that I haven't found the time.  It was actually a stolen snippet by Gordon (I subscribed from their blog).  Those couple are funny (grins).  So, I'm not gonna delay anymore.  Read on below!


A few feet down, a floor to ceiling glass window offered the view of Beast Lord’s private gym.  His Majesty was in residence, doing dips on the high parallel bars.  I stopped and watched him through the glass.
He’d taken his ripped up sweatshirt off, presenting me with a view of a broad back in a white T-shirt.  He wore a pale leather belt eight inches wide with two sets of clips, one set in the back and one in the front.  Curran had threaded chains through the weights and hooked them up to the clips.  He gripped the bars, lowering and raising himself, his movements smooth and unlabored.   Four weights, forty five each, a hundred and eighty pounds, plus the chains, plus his own weight.  It’s good to be the Beast Lord.
Up and down, up and down, working the triceps, smooth muscles bulging and relaxing.  The bars creaked a little.  Sweat slicked his short blond hair.  His skin glowed with a slightly damp sheen.  A slow insistent heat spread through me.  I could picture him in bed above me and the thought sent a pleasant thrill all the way down to my toes.
I missed him so much, it almost hurt.  It started the moment I left the Keep and nagged at me all day.  Every day I had to fight with myself to keep from making up bullshit reasons to call to the Keep so I could hear his voice.  I was like some sort of lovesick puppy.   My only saving grace was that Curran wasn’t handling this whole mating thing any better.  Yesterday he’d called me at the office claiming that he couldn’t find his socks.  We talked for two hours.
He was all mine.  I could walk in there right now, slide my hands along that shimmering skin, feeling the steel-hard muscle underneath, and make him drop off the bars.  He would land on his feet and then he’d turn around and kiss me.  When Curran kissed me, everything else disappeared.  I wanted that right now, I wanted to feel his hands touching me, I wanted him to kiss me.  I wanted to know that I was home and safe, and that he still loved me.
I’d been standing by the glass for a while now, but Curran gave no indication of knowing I was there.  He had to have heard me come down the hall – the gym door stood wide open and the shapeshifter hearing was legendary.  His Majesty was in an ill humor, indeed.  Just as well – having him turn around and seeing me drool like some sort of idiot would’ve completely cramped my style.  A woman had to have some dignity left.
I headed to the open door of the gym.  Usually we sparred after work.  I’d been looking forward to it.  I needed to blow off some steam.
I stopped by the door and shrugged off my cloak.  I unbuckled the back sheath with my saber in it, placed it down on the floor, took off my shoes,  and stepped into the gym.
I was on my fourth step when I realized that the parallel bars stood empty.  The weight belt, complete with chains and weights still attached to it lay on the floor.
I wheeled around.  Curran leaned against the door, blocking the exit.  His arms were crossed on his chest.  Carved muscle bulged on his biceps.  Grey eyes met my gaze.  “You have something to tell me, Lucy?”
Oh-oh.  “Nope.”
He peeled himself from the door.  “You sure?”
Let’s see, a dead vamp, a dismembered journeyman, a nice GBI officer who came to see me, a fifteen year old bouda having group sex in public…  “Positive.”
“So your day was uneventful?”
“My day was fine.”  I waved the box at him.  “Chocolate?”
Curran moved across the floor with fluid predator grace.  I moved with him, circling toward the mat.  He made no sound as he walked, stalking me like a ghost.  A gold sheen drenched his irises and vanished.  Ill humor, my ass.  He was pissed as hell.  He couldn’t possibly know about the whole People-Gray affair this morning.   And what he didn’t know, couldn’t hurt-
Curran lunged.  Stopping him in mid-lunge was like trying to halt a battering ram.  I dropped the chocolate, grabbed his T-shirt, planted my foot on his waist, and fell backward, using all of his momentum to throw him over me.  He had a lot of momentum.  I threw him clear over my head and about ten feet out.
He landed on his back, sprung up, and leaped back at me.  I rolled into crouch, shot up, and caught his chin with the heel of my hand as he landed.  His head snapped back.  I rolled clear and backed away.
Curran shook his head.  Ha-ha.  Felt that, Your Majesty?
He started toward me.  At heart Curran was a grappler.  I’d learned the hard way that if he got a hold of me, the show was over.  I snapped a light front kick to his side and backed up.  Tap.
He kept coming.
Tap to the thigh.
Nothing.
Tap to the thigh.  Tap to the side, tap.
Curran moved forward and right.  My kick missed by a hair.  He grabbed my shin with his left hand, clamping it between his arm and his side, and swept my other leg from under me.  Nice!  A kung-fu takedown.   The mat slapped my back.  I tried to roll back up, but he landed on top of me, catching my wrists.  That’s it, game over.  Once he clamped me down, I didn’t have a prayer of breaking free.
“Pretty,” I breathed.  “When did you learn it?”
Curran put my hands together, holding my wrists with one hand, and peered into my eyes.
“What are you doing?”
Curran moved my hands to the other side, looked into my eyes again, and touched the tip of my nose with his finger.  “Pupils don’t seem to be dilated.  You aren’t high, you aren’t drunk.  What the hell possessed you to run out of a nice safe office into a gun fight?”

Monday, July 19, 2010

City Of Ghosts (Downside 3) By Stacia Kane: An Excerpt And A Snippet

Now, I'm obsess with everything Downside.  Last night, I mean, Early this morning like 1:30am,  I googled Ms Kane and browsed through her website/blog.  And look what I found! An excerpt and a snippet! Yipee!



“Not all of your duties will be pleasant. But that is the sacrifice you make, for as a Church employee you must always remember that you are privileged above all others.”
The Example is You, the guidebook for Church employees
Chapter One
The guillotine waited for them, its blackened wood dark and threatening against the naked cement walls of the Execution Room.
Chess limped past it, trying not to look. Trying not to remember that she deserved to kneel before it, to place her neck on the age-smoothed rest and wait for the blade to fall. She’d killed a psychopomp. Hell, she’d killed people.
Only the death of the hawk meant automatic execution.
But nobody knew about that. At least, nobody with the authority to order her death knew about that. She was safe for the moment.
Too bad she didn’t feel safe. Didn’t feel the way she should have felt. The dull ache in her thigh with every step she took in her low-heeled Church pumps reminded her of the almost-healed gunshot wound; her limp reminded everyone else, drew attention to her at a time when she wanted it even less than usual.
Elder Griffin’s hand was warm at her elbow. “You may sit while the sentence is read and carried out, Cesaria.”
“Oh, no, really, I’m—”
He shook his head, his eyes serious. What was that about? Granted, an execution wasn’t exactly a party-it-up event; very few Church events were. But Elder Griffin looked even more solemn than usual, more troubled.
He didn’t know, did he? Had Oliver Fletcher told him about the psychopomp, about what she’d done? If that bast—no. No, she was being stupid and paranoid. Oliver wouldn’t have told him. When would he have? As far as she knew the two men had only shared one conversation since that night, the night she’d killed the psychopomp, the night Terrible had been—
Her breath rasped in her chest. Right. This wasn’t the time, or the place. This was an execution, and she had testimony to give, and she needed to calm the fuck down and give it.
So she sat on the hard, straight-backed wooden chair, breathing the disinfectant stink heavy in the room, and watched the others file in after her. Elder Murray, the rings painted around his eyes as black as his hair, almost disappearing against the rich darkness of his skin. Dana Wright, the other Debunker who’d been at the bust at Madame Lupita’s, her light hair curling around her face.
For Lupita herself, no one came. Anyone who might have cared about her, who might have wanted to be there for her in the last moments of her physical life, had either already been executed themselves or were locked in their cells in the prison building.
Last—last before the condemned woman herself—came the executioner, his face obscured by a heavy black hood. On his open right palm rested a dog’s skull; his psychopomp, ready to take Madame Lupita down to the spirit prisons. Clenched in his left fist was a chain, and at the end of that chain was Madame Lupita, her legs and wrists shackled together with iron bands.
The door thunked shut behind them, the lock popped; it would not open for half an hour. Time enough for the execution to take place and the spirit to be taken to the City of Eternity. The timelocks had been instituted in the early days of the Church, when a series of mishaps had led to a ghost opening the door and escaping. Like everything the Church did, the timelocks made sense, but Chess couldn’t help the tiny thrill of panic that ran up her spine. Trapped. Something she never wanted to be.
The executioner fastened the chain-end he held to the guillotine, and began setting up the skull at the base of the permanent altar in the corner. Smoke poured from his censer and overpowered the scent of bleach and ammonia; the thick, acrid odor of melidia to send Lupita’s soul to the spirit prisons, ajenjible and asafetida, burning yew chips to sting Chess’s nose. The energy in the room changed, power slithering up her legs and lifting the hair on the back of her neck, that little rush that always made her want to smile.
She didn’t, though. Not today. Instead she pressed her teeth together and looked at the condemned woman.
Lupita had changed since Chess saw her last, in that miserable, hot little basement that stunk of terror and burned herbs and poison. Her big body seemed to have shrunk. Instead of the ridiculous silver turban Chess remembered, Lupita wore only her own close-shorn hair; instead of the silly sideshow caftan her bulk was hidden beneath the plain black robe of those sentenced to die.
But her eyes had not changed. They searched the little crowd, found Chess, and glared, hatred burning from their depths so hard Chess almost felt it sear her skin.
She forced herself not to look away. That woman had almost killed her, slipping poison into her drink; had almost killed a roomful of innocent people, summoning a rampaging, violent ghost. Fuck her. She was going to die, and Chess was going to watch.
Something slithered behind Lupita’s eyes.
Chess’ breath froze in her chest. Had she seen that? That flash of silver? That flash, which meant Lupita was Hosting a spirit in her body?
Her eyes widened; she stared at Lupita now, focusing. Waiting. It shouldn’t be possible. Lupita hadn’t been Hosting when she was arrested—they would have caught that immediately when she was brought in—and there was no way in hell she would have been able to pick up and bond with a spirit in the Church prisons. It simply wasn’t possible.
The flash didn’t reappear. No. She was imagining things. All the stress, the tension of her personal life—what there was of it—and the overbearing sympathy of the Elders and the other Debunkers, crushing her beneath their concern for her leg and their good intentions. Add to that a few extra Cepts and a Panda, and half a Nip to keep her awake… No wonder she was seeing things. What was next, pink elephants?
Elder Griffin stood before the guillotine, cleared his throat.
“Irene Lowe, also known as Madame Lupita, thou has been found guilty by the Church of the crime of summoning spirits to earth. Further, thou has been found guilty of the attempted murder of Church Debunker Cesaria Putnam. Cesaria, is this woman responsible for those crimes?”
Chess stood up, despite the protests of her right thigh and Elder Griffin’s slight frown. “Yes, Elder.”
“Thou testifies this based on what?”
“I saw this woman commit those crimes, Elder.”
“And thou swears thy word to be Fact, and Truth?”
“Yes, Elder. I do.”
Elder Griffin gave her a curt nod, turned next to Dana Wright while Chess sank back onto her chair. A woman was about to die, based on her word. When her word—the word of a junkie and a liar, the word of someone who’d betrayed her only real friend in the world—wasn’t worth shit.
He was never going to speak to her again. She’d given up calling the week before. She’d given up hoping she might see him out at Trickster’s or Chuck’s, given up hanging around the Market in the cold waiting to see if he turned up. He was still out there, of course. People had seen him.
People who weren’t her. She’d never known anyone could avoid another person so thoroughly. It was like he could sense her coming.
Shifting movement in the standing crowd drew her attention back to the proceedings; the execution itself was about to happen.
The room thrummed with power now, beating like a heart around them, steady and slow and thick. No need for a circle; the room itself was a circle, an impregnable fortress with iron sandwiched into the cement walls.
Elder Griffin started pounding the drum, letting his hand stay in the air for so long between hits Chess felt herself waiting, breathless, unable to move or allow her lungs to fill until the next heavy thump. The room’s magic slid into her, finding those empty spaces and filling them, making her something more than she was. It felt good. So good she wanted to close her eyes and give herself to it completely, to forget everything and everyone and do nothing but exist in the energy.
She couldn’t, of course. She knew she couldn’t. So instead she watched as the executioner’s psychopomp formed, the dog growing out of the skull, flowing like a river from a mountain peak to become legs, a tail, hair sprouting glossy and black over the bare skin and bones.
The drum beat faster. Drums…there had been drums at Lupita’s séance, that night, played by a duo of speedfreaks with eyes like ball bearings. Now the drums again, keeping monotonous dragging time under Elder Murray’s voice.
“Irene Lowe, thou are found guilty and sentenced to die by a tribunal of Church Elders, and this sentence shall now be carried out. If thou has any last words to speak, speak them now.”
Lupita shook her head, staring at the floor. Chess reached out a little with her own power, trying to get some sense of something from the woman. Some fear, some anger. Anything. Lupita was too quiet. Too calm. This didn’t feel right.
The executioner helped Lupita to her knees, placed her neck on the divot. The drum beat harder, louder even than Chess’s blood in her veins or the thick sweet magic air rasping in her lungs. Louder than her own thoughts.
She reached out further, letting her power caress Lupita’s skin, trying to find something—
Oh fuck!
Her leg gave when she threw herself to her feet, almost falling over. “No! No, don’t—”
Too late. The blade fell, its metallic shnik slicing the air as cleanly as Irene’s neck, thudding into place like the slamming of a prison door.
Irene’s head tumbled into the basket. Blood erupted from the stump of her neck, poured over her head, over the dull cement floor.
Her spirit rose; her spirit, the spirit that had been Madame Lupita. The dog lunged for it, ready to drag it below the earth, into the prisons outside the City of Eternity.
The other spirit rose as well. The spirit Lupita’d been Hosting. The one there was no psychopomp to take care of, no graveyard dust to subdue. The one an entire roomful of Church employees were helpless against in that room with its iron walls and locked door.
Chess’ scream finally escaped, bursting into the air. It was drowned out by the others, the shouts of surprise and fear.
Elder Griffin dropped the drum. The dog grabbed Lupita’s spirit—she had a passport on her arm, she was the one he’d been summoned to retrieve—and dove into the patch of wavering air behind the wall. The last thing Chess saw of Lupita was her mouth stretched into a horrible grin as she left them all to die.
The ghost hovered in the air before the guillotine. A man, his hair slicked back from his forehead, his eyes blank, his face twisted with savage joy. Elder Murray shouted something, she couldn’t be sure what; her skin tingled and itched and threatened to crawl away from her body entirely. A powerful ghost, too powerful. What the fuck was he, how the fuck had she—
“I command you to be still!” Elder Griffin’s voice rang out, echoed off the walls, speared through Chess’ body. “By my power I command it!”
It wouldn’t work. She knew without even looking that it wouldn’t. But the executioner…did he have another skull? Some graveyard dirt?
Dana screamed. Chess glanced over and saw the ghost fighting with Elder Murray, its mouth open in a ghastly smile, its eyes narrow with effort. The ghost held the ritual blade in its hand, the one the executioner had used to summon his psychopomp.
No time to watch. No time to look at them, and it wouldn’t do any good anyway. The room was filled with noise and energy and heat, a confusing mishmash of images her brain couldn’t process. She focused on the smoking censor, the stang in the corner, the black bag beside it. The executioner dug through it frantically, pulling things out—
Someone fell into her; she tumbled to the hard floor with a thud.
More screams, more shouts. Something clattered to the floor. The energy was unbearable. It wasn’t a rush anymore, wasn’t a high. It was an invasion, shoving her around, distorting her thoughts and her vision and infecting her with everyone else’s panic.
She had to calm down. Her hands refused to obey her; her tattoos prickled and burned, as they were designed to do. The ghost’s presence set them off, an early warning system she was usually grateful for but would gladly have done without at that moment. Chaos reigned in the execution room, and it carried her along on a wild riptide of blood.
Okay. Deep breath. Pause. She closed her eyes, dug down deep to the emptiness in her soul. The place where things like love and happiness and warmth should be; the place that was an almost-empty room for her, the place where only two people lived, and one of them hated her.
But it was enough. It was enough to have that moment of silence, to tune out the terror and noise around her and find her own strength.
She opened her eyes. Her limbs obeyed her. She sprang to her feet, ignoring the pain, and almost lost her hard-fought calm.
Elder Murray was dead. His body lay stretched across the floor, flat-out like a corpse ready for cremation; a gaping bloody wound leered at her from his throat.
Behind him the executioner slumped against the wall, his robe soaked with blood. She barely saw him through the ghost, blazing white, bloated with the energy he’d stolen. Chess groaned. A ghost with that much power was like an ex-con on Cloud-laced speed; unstoppable, without feelings, without logic. A killing machine who wouldn’t stop until he was forced to.
And they were locked in with it.
Oh shit, they were locked in with them. The iron walls kept the spirits of Elder Murray and the executioner locked in just as surely as the rest of them; Chess saw them out of the corner of her eye, faint shapes struggling to come into being.
There was a chance they wouldn’t be hungry, that they wouldn’t become murderous, but the odds were about as good as the odds that she’d be able to fall asleep that night without a handful of her pills. In other words, not fucking good at all. In a minute or so the ghosts would find their shapes, find their powers, and things would go from worse to totally fucking awful.
Blood spattered the walls, dripped off the shiny blade of the guillotine and ran in thick streams along the cement. It dripped from the ceiling where it had sprayed from Elder Murray’s neck; it formed a glistening pool around the body, outlined footprints in a dizzying pattern, and smeared around the broken remains of the dog’s skull. Fuck. No psychopomp. Did he have another?
Elder Griffin was covered with blood. Dana too, her eyes wide. But Chess wasn’t the only one who’d rallied. Dana’s eyes were dark and fierce with determination; Elder Griffin fairly glowed with power and strength.
Chess caught Dana’s eye, jerked her head toward the bag. Dana nodded and took a step forward.
“By my power I command you to be still,” she said, each word loud and clear. “I command you to go back to your place of silence.”
The ghost turned to look at her, and Dana edged back, drawing it away. Chess inched to the left, trying not to catch the ghost’s attention. She had to get to that bag. Had to get to the bag or they would all die. Maybe they’d die anyway, but she was damned if she wasn’t going to at least try to save them. Life might be a pool of shit but the City was worse—for her anyway—and she had no intention of going there. Not that day.
Her feet in their stiff shoes slipped in thick blood; the scent of it filled the air, a coppery tang beneath the herbs. How long would those burn, and was there more?
The ghost moved toward Dana, who kept talking, words of power flowing from her mouth. He clutched the knife in one semi-solid hand, blood dripping down the blade and covering his spectral skin. Viewed through him it looked black, like ink.
She glanced at the ghosts of Murray and the executioner again. They were almost fully formed now, slowly squirming into being like maggots erupting from a slab of rotting steak. She—they—didn’t have much time.
Dana screamed. The ghost jumped at her. Elder Griffin leapt to the side, joining the struggle, as the ghost attempted to slice Dana’s throat.
Chess dove for the bag. More herbs, first—she grabbed the little baggies, dumped them on the dying fire in the censor. The smoke thickened. Another psychopomp, please let him have a spare…she threw things from his bag, not watching where they landed, the hair on the back of her neck practically trying to pull itself out of her skin. She couldn’t hear much, what was happening? Were Dana and Elder Griffin dead? Oh, shit—
Her hand found something solid, and her body flooded with relief. Another skull. Thank the gods who didn’t exist, he had a spare. She yanked it out, tore at the inert silk wrapping it, barely glanced at it as she set it down.
A roar behind her; the ghost had spotted her. Dana and Elder Griffin tried to hold it but it made itself transparent and sprang at her, through the guillotine. She ducked out of the way. “I call on the escorts of the City of the Dead,” she managed, stumbling, trying to keep within reach of the skull but away from the ghost’s grabbing hand. “By my power I call you!”
The skull rattled. Chess pushed more power out, as much as she could, not an easy task when trying to keep from being turned into an energy snack for a rampaging dead man.
Another problem faced her as well. No passport. The spirit hadn’t been accounted for, didn’t have a marking on his body; there was a chance the dog wouldn’t know which spirit to grab, when it came. It had happened to Chess once before, a few months previously, and the dog had gone after her. She would never forget that feeling, the horrible sensation of her soul being pulled from her body like a banana from its peel…
Not to mention the additional spirits forming not five feet away, the executioner and Elder Murray.
“No passport,” she managed to say, and Dana’s eyes widened. She glanced at the knife in her hand, raised her eyebrows, and Chess nodded because she had no choice.
Dana tossed the knife. The ghost spun around when it clattered to the floor, leapt for it. Chess grabbed the executioner’s ectoplasmarker and popped the cap, held it ready in her fist, and shouted.
Just as she’d thought, the ghost wheeled back around and came after her with the knife. Dana and Elder Griffin moved, Chess didn’t see where. She was too busy watching the ghost, seeing his solid hand raise over her head, grabbing his wrist with her left hand and bringing the marker up with her right.
He didn’t have a passport; they hadn’t expected him, hadn’t designed one. Oh fucking well. The blade hovered above her eye, its point tacky with coagulating blood, while she scrawled a series of X’s on the spectral skin. The ghost’s face twisted with rage.
Now for the worst part. With every bit of strength she had left she pushed herself to the side, to the skull, and, dropping the marker, brought her right hand to the blade’s point.
She hadn’t expected it to hurt instantly but it did. Ow, it really fucking did, and her blood poured from the wound onto the skull, and she shoved all of that pain and all of her power into her next words.
“I offer the escorts an appeasement for their aid. Escorts come now! Take this man to the place of silence, by my power and by my blood I command it!”
The dog roared into being, huge and shaggy. Its jaws bared; this wasn’t just a dog it was a wolf, what the fuck was the executioner doing with an unauthorized psychopomp—
The ghost’s eyes widened. His mouth opened in a silent scream as he tried to jump away, all thoughts of killing forgotten. The dog—the wolf—went after him, its body moving low and fast like the predator it was.
The ghosts of the executioner and Elder Murray were fully formed now, huddled in the corner. Chess could practically see the last vestiges of sanity, of who they were in life, draining away, could see them trying to hold on.
It didn’t matter. The wolf howled. A hole ripped open in the thin veil between her world and the spirit one; the wolf snatched the original ghost in its massive jaw. Ectoplasm burst from the ghost’s body under the wolf’s teeth. The ghost screamed, an act somehow more horrible because of its silence.
The wolf turned, aimed at Elder Murray and the executioner. They huddled together, trying so hard; tears sprang to Chess’s eyes. She’d never known Elder Murray well, never dealt much with him, but his last act was to struggle to retain some humanity, and she couldn’t help the surge of affectionate sadness, of pride, that threatened to overwhelm her.
Dana and Elder Griffin were beside her, Dana squeezing her hand. The wolf leapt, still clutching their unwelcome visitor in its teeth, and caught Elder Murray and the executioner in a bizarre sort of bear hug; he carried them through the wavering hole and it snapped shut behind them, leaving the three still alive to stare open-mouthed at where it had been.



Here's the Chapter 9 Snippet:



Once inside the car he thrust the file into her hands and shot the car off the curb in a maelstrom of squealing rubber. She looked at him sharply, her back tensing in anticipation of an argument.
She’d fucked him over hardcore. She’d betrayed him and she’d lied to him, and she knew as far as he was concerned she’d led him on and used him as well, had consorted with people who wanted to see him dead and given them information to help them make him so. Most of all she’d hurt him. And if the pain in her chest was anything close to what he’d felt she was more than willing to admit he deserved to get his own back. Was willing to do more than admit it; was willing to take it, in the hopes he’d eventually decide she’d been punished enough and they could maybe move on.
But at that moment they were on their way to interview the man—Ratchet—who’d found the body parts in the vacant lot. She needed her wits about her, not to be waiting for the next verbal barb or dirty look. He could slash at her with knife-sharp words later; maybe if he did it enough her blood would finally flow clean.
Somehow she doubted it ever would.
But he didn’t speak at all. He’d flipped on his sunglasses so she couldn’t see his eyes, but the set of his heavy jaw and lowering brow, the tension in his arms and the way his lips pressed together…
“Are you okay? I mean,” she added quickly, “do you feel okay. That guy back there, I don’t know about you but he made me feel kind of twitchy. He had some power and I felt it. So I just wondered if maybe you did too.”
“Ain’t no witch.”
“Yeah, I know, but you look like— He was creepy and I just wondered if you’d felt it too, is all.”
When he didn’t respond, she tried again. “That sigil in your chest, have you been feeling—”
“I’m right.”
“I’d really want to help—”
“Said I’m right, dig?”
She bit her lip and turned to the file. Thanks to his sneaky thief act the night before she hadn’t even had a chance to look through it, only to skim it before trotting outside like a good little doggie to wait for Lauren.
And she hadn’t missed much. At least she hoped she hadn’t; but no, they wouldn’t have stolen anything. Copied it, sure, she had no doubt. But not stolen.
Sun glinted off the heavy chain around Terrible’s right wrist and stung her eyes, and for once she had her sunglasses. She was digging around for them when he pulled the car up in front of an empty-eyed building with dead weeds poking out of the ground floor windows, its walls dark with remembered flames. A squat.
She grabbed her notebook and pen, secured the edges of the file with a rubber band and stuffed it into the depths of her bag.
He didn’t ask if she was okay, but opened his trunk while she climbed out of the car and stood on the patch of crumbled cement that had once been a small parking lot. Ahead of her dried blood crusted the street; she could still see the tire tracks he’d left when he peeled away the night before.
The pig carcasses were gone, of course. And now that she thought about it—yes, the air carried the faint fragrance of roasting pork. She couldn’t imagine the glee that little bit of magic must have left in the hearts and stomachs of the neighborhood, most of whom had probably never seen that much meat in their lives. Didn’t want to imagine if any of those lives had been lost in the battle over who got to eat it, either. None of her concern.
She tried to shrug off the heavy stares she knew the two of them were getting and headed for the empty doorway when she heard the trunk slam shut.
The entire bottom floor was choked with weeds as high as her chest, long spiky stalks of ivory-colored grass gone to seed, spindly bushes. A thin trail had been worn through them into a darker space in the corner. The stairs. Terrible slid in front of her without touching her and pushed his way along the path; the dead plants tried in vain to grab his arms as he passed.
Soft sounds drifted down the stairs when they hit the bottom. Chess paused, took a deep breath. Something rang in the building; so faint it was more of an implication than an actual fact, but there nonetheless. Magic. The slow, deep slither of magic, inching up her legs and along her arms, curling into her stomach.
Not just average magic, either. Almost everyone did some; there was an entire successful industry in spellbooks and items designed for the average person who had little or no skill or natural ability. Most of them didn’t really work. They relied more on the practitioner’s belief that it would be effective than any actual results.
She was familiar enough with how those spells and charms felt. She’d encountered enough of them in the homes of her subjects; dream safes designed to ward away nightmares, or charm bags for wealth or safety, or occasionally sex spells planted in bedrooms. Those tended to be the most effective—and thus the most irritating for Chess, who did not like sex magic—simply because sex was the most accessible type of energy for most people. Any idiot could get turned on.
But this didn’t have the blunt edge of amateur magic, not at all. Too subtle; too well-hidden.
She didn’t realize she was staring at the landing above them until Terrible’s low voice broke her reverie. “Any wrong?”
“Feels like magic in here,” she said, echoing his quiet tone.
“Some do, aye? Them with them luck spells or aught.”
“Not like this, though. Spells like that—spells done by people who really aren’t talented—they don’t feel…finished, if you know what I mean. They’re not well-formed, they’re just like little blobs of weak energy. This isn’t—” She stopped, suddenly aware that they were having a conversation. A normal conversation.
One that wouldn’t last if she even considered pointing that out. Oops. “This isn’t like that. Whoever’s been casting in here knows what they’re doing. And they’ve tried to hide it. The magic, I mean. They’re trying to hide what they’re doing.”
“All Bump’s here, dig. Them to keep the eye out. Ain’t should be doin up that shit here.”
“All of them? They’re all Bump’s people?”
He shrugged. “What they ought, aye.”
“I guess we should go see, huh?”
Another small shrug, like he couldn’t really be bothered to complete the movement, and he preceded her up the cement staircase. The floor had once been covered in linoleum; curled edges of it remained like bookends where the stairs joined the walls.
The smell hit her nose at the same moment her feet hit the landing. Terrible stopped short; she would have run right into him if she hadn’t done the same. He turned to her, and in that moment she wasn’t thinking about what she’d done or what he’d done or what she wished they could do. She was thinking about the scent of death and how it raised the hairs on her arms, and she was thinking things had just gotten a fuck of a lot worse. For everyone.

Kate 5 Official Titile

Yep, Ilona Andrews has released the Kate 5 Official Title..MAGIC SLAYS!
Love it!

After Reading Unholy Magic By Stacia Kane

Okay, I was already liking book 1 Unholy Ghosts (see my previous review here) but book 2 totally blew me away!  It was fast-paced, edgy, gruesome and brilliant all-over.  Sorry the next paragraph contains spoilers..mostly rants and just me needing some outlet to vent.

So, same old Chessy.  Drug-addict and conflicted.  She is just a tortured soul always sinking way too deep for her to emerge clean.  I get how she protects herself with drugs in order to forget and put a strong facade so that others will never see how truly vulnerable she is, how little and unworthy she sees herself. Unholy Magic revealed how truly drug dependent she is.  A few hours without her pills, she goes crazy! Ms. Kane's thorough description on Chess' horrific hours of withdrawal made me want to scratch myself till my 'nails come out bloody' as well. It was like watching Chess convulsing right in front of me. I don't get how the Church could not suspect about her addiction.  They should have seen her eyes, how it would dilate or how she'd have mood swings and all, the same way Chess had suspected Mr Roger Pyle, the actor was doing some drug.  But in spite of it, Chess has great magic.  She believes in her obligation to protect man from the killing spree of these murderous ghosts.  That's what I like about Chess, how she would sacrifice herself in order to save other's lives.
I didn't like that Chess sleeps with Lex just to get some free drugs and that with him she expects nothing, no strings attached, no emotional bond, just the way she wants it.  With Terrible on the other hand, who if I may say so, is the most ugliest male 'romantic interest', for lack of a better word, of a book's protagonist I have ever encountered, she felt this strange connection and attraction.  To quote Chess description of Terrible "..astonishing ugliness of his profile. His crooked nose-it must have been broken several times- the way his brows jutted like a cliff over the ocean, the set of his jaw."  But whatever feelings they have for each other were buried by the traumatic lives they lead. Now that Terrible knew about Chess and Lex and why she's sleeping with him, I don't think he'll be able to trust Chess ever again especially after he revealed his feelings for her. I don't know if they'll ever get through this.  It's just so sad how Chess finally realized too late that she can't live without Terrible.
After writing this, I can finally let go of Unholy Magic.. until the next book.  Just 7 more days till the release of City of Ghosts! Will be counting the days!

rating  *****

Thursday, July 15, 2010

2 Books On Hold For Stacia Kane's Unholy Magic

I've just gotten hold of Stacia Kane's Unholy Magic (Downside 2) and got great reviews one of which was from http://www.smexybooks.com/2010/07/urban-fantasy-and-happily-ever-after.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+blogspot/DqRx+(Smexy+Books)
 
So, Hallowed Circle will be put on hold together with Meljean Brooke's Demon Forged.

I'm up for more dark, edgy stuff with Chess!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Woohooo!

A Collection of Curran's POV is now available for download FREE!

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/18799

Ilona Andrews is just awesome!

After Reading Web Of Lies By Jennifer Estep

Sorry this contains spoilers..

I was justified when I previously said that the detective was an A**hole when at ending of the book, he just totally ignored Gin, even when she looked like she was ran over by a truck, all bruised and bloody .  Not far from what actually happened, a mining cave fell down on her when she tried to save herself from a dwarf and his goons.  Gin even deduced that the detective was not happy to see her alive when he just turned his back and let Owen Grayson take care of her.  Apparently disappointed that she wasn't buried alive in the cave with the others. I hope that'll kill whatever feelings Gin has for the detective.  I have high hopes for Owen Grayson.  Gin is better off shifting her love interest to someone who would pursue her rather than the other way around.
There were a lot of hints that it was Mab Monroe who killed Gin's mother and sister and was the fire element who tortured her, branding her hands with the spider rune.  There was no actual proof yet for Gin to finally confront Mab but to me it's glaringly evident.  Unless the author deliberately wants her readers to be misled. Now with her ice element is as strong as her stone element, Gin is definitely going to be a force to be reckon with.
Will be grabbing book 3 soon as I find one!


**** (4 stars)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Reading Web Of Lies By Jennifer Estep

Ok so I wasn't really thrilled about Spider's Web.  I was irritated on how the character seems to repeat herself over and over but I was curious enough to read book 2, Web of Lies. Gin Blanco being an orphan has more than a lot of issues to face and now that her foster father who trained her to be an assassin like him was dead, she resigned herself to an ordinary life and leave her lucrative career as the infamous assassin, Spider. But once an assassin, always an assassin.  She can never really leave that life behind.
I'm still in the middle of the book though.  So far I'm quite liking it than book1, less repeating of her thoughts and feelings.  But another thing has made my ire rise.  The detective and his holier-than-thou attitude wants me to smack his head in aggravation.  He thinks he's too good for Gin but can't seem to control his lust for her.  But after the raging heat had past, he always blames Gin and guilt would eat at him like he had just committed a mortal sin. I think, Gin shouldn't be too easy and show a bit of pride and let the detective do the moves. Truly I think he is such an a**hole, treating Gin like that.
Anyway, I'm still reading and seething..be back for updates.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Snippet 2 Of EKOD

Here's another snippet as promised! Enjoy:



“Yes, please!” 

The cry yanked Mencheres out of his musings. Gods, he’d been caressing Selene and unconsciously sending out strands of his power to stroke and stimulate her nerve endings. How could he have gotten so lost in his thoughts of Kira that he’d 
forgotten he still held Selene in his arms? 

Mencheres pulled back his power and set Selene away from him. 

“I’ve taken all I need,” he told her.

Her eyes opened as she pressed against him. “Let me give you more than blood,” she offered in a husky voice.

“No,” Mencheres replied. Selene was beautiful, willing, and desirable, yet he didn’t want her.



Kira’s face flickered in his mind, but he wiped her image away before he allowed himself to dwell on it. 

“No,” he repeated to Selene in a tone that brooked no argument. 

She left after one last lingering look that he pretended not to notice. Selene, like all the others, didn’t only want him. She also wanted the power, security, and supernatural pleasure he could give, but somehow, that was no longer an acceptable trade. 

Selene had only been gone a few minutes before Gorgon, the only vampire Mencheres brought with him to this house, came into the library. 

“Sire,” Gorgon said. “We have a situation with the human you brought home this morning.”

Mencheres rose, already striding up the stairs to Kira’s room, when Gorgon’s voice stopped him.

“Ah, sire? You might want to go outside instead.”

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Night Huntress World 2: Eternal Kiss of Darkness

Here's one of my favorite series by one of my favorite author Ms. Jeaniene Frost very soon to be released July 27, 2010.  Hope we'll have it soon here in the Philippines as well.  A bit of background to those who haven't read any of the books by Ms. Frost:  Night Huntress World is a spin-off from her best-seller sizzling hot urban fantasy series The Night Huntress.  You need not read TNH before plunging in to The Night Huntress World series but it'll definitely give you perspective and character build-up for the TNHW and of course, the TNH is definitely a must-read for Urban Fantasy lovers!
Ms Frost has generously shared some snippets from the book2 of TNHW: Eternal Kiss of Darkness.  The story of Mencheres and Kira:

When the vampire burst from the water to crouch over her, Kira’s first thought had been, uh oh. She hadn’t even seen him move before he was upon her, black eyes blazing with warning, water dripping down onto her. That single finger to her lips felt like a mini hammer, and Kira reminded herself that on the food chain, he was a predator and she was prey. He really doesn’t like this topic, so I’ll shut up now, had been her very logical decision.

Then she looked down – and forgot what she’d started to ask him about. Beads of water caressed the hardest, tightest body she’d ever seen. Mencheres’s chest, arms, and stomach were corded with an intricate pattern of muscles that seemed too flawless to be real. His lightly-tinted skin only emphasized how black his hair was, dripping in dark rivers past his shoulders. Her gaze swept lower, revealing that his legs were as deliciously sculpted as the rest of him. Nothing interrupted her view of his taut, rippled flesh, either, because Mencheres had been swimming naked. Kira was surprised to see that he was hairless everywhere, even between his thighs…

Her eyes fastened there, widening. 
Oh. My. If the vampire didn’t still have a finger to her lips, she would have licked them in reflex.



Here's a naughty pic from Ms Frost, aptly depicting Mencheres by the pool:


Me, my reaction was just..OMG! and stared at it with bugged eyes :-O

More snippets will follow soon!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

After Reading Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts 1) by Stacia Kane

With Ms Karen Marie Moning blogging about it and Nalini Singh gushing on the book's cover, (both are one of  my favorite authors, fyi), I was thoroughly intrigue about Ms Kane's Unholy Ghosts.  Let me give you Goodreads' synopsis of the book:

THE DEPARTED HAVE ARRIVED.
 
The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah. 


Christianity was proven false and only one religion exists, the Church of real truth which denounced heaven and hell and in between.  Those who are sensitive to religion, especially Catholicism, may not find the book to their liking. With no salvation and faith, the people turned to the Church who had the power to banish ghosts who posed a threat humans survival, by performing magic. Imagine, a world ruled by heretics.
Chess is an unlikely heroine.  She's an employee of the Church, a debunker of ghosts.  Because she is good with her job and because of her predilection to drugs, she gets into a precarious situation between two underlords. Chess is loyal to the Church who offered her sanctuary since she was a child who had never known her history. Because of her dependency to drugs, popping them like candies, I sometimes find her weak and has no direction in her life. But she redeems herself when she proves to be fearless when facing 'Nightmare Man'. A mutation of thinking and vengeful ghosts that is purely evil...it gave me goosebumps and actually jumping over shadows in my room.
A dark, gritty and at times sensual, this book will definitely linger in the back of your head days after reading it.
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