Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Featured Reviewer- The Iron Duke ( Julie@My5Monkeys)

The Iron Duke (A Novel of the Iron Seas)Mina Wentworth  is a Detective  Inspector and takes care of the dead for the police. Rhys Trahaearn is a pirate and man of class and power now. Mina is horde and Rhys is metal and has nanoagents in his body. Its a steam punk romance and loved all the new words , and descriptions of this new world.


Mina family is debt with Blacksmith . Her brother Andrew is on the Terror and she will do what ever it takes to rescue him.

This is great romance and loved the location ,and that Marriage is topic on hand along with many others. What I didn't like was there one scene of rape , but they are both attracted to one another. When a Mina says stop even in the heat of the moment, but the pirate doesn't listen..made me question the relationship . It reminded me of the Luke/Laura relationship from General Hospital. I did like that they did talk about afterwords and that he knew he was wrong and shouldn't have done it. I did that they did continue to have a relationship and explore their love/lust for one another.

This was a different book and loved that it had zombies, family , and friends on the seas or airships.

I did like that this book touched on some very social issues with race, class, relationships, and war. This book did have me thinking about all these issues in relation to the characters.

Yasmeen & Scarsdale-- I did love the supporting characters as much as I loved the main characters.


Book Review=C
BWB=2



I bought this book and this is my honest review

Monday, November 15, 2010

HBIC Review: The Iron Duke (Emily @ What Book is That?)


The Iron Duke (A Novel of the Iron Seas)Title: The Iron Duke
Author: Meljean Brook
Page Count: 384 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: steampunk, romance, first in a series
Copy for review was purchased by me

50 words or less:  Detective Inspector Lady Mina Wentworth is charged with investigating the appearance of a dead man on the doorstep of Rhys Trahaearn, Duke of Anglesey and better known as the Iron Duke who defeated the Horde.  What follows is a race against time to save England, secure important and devastating technology, and fight their way to a future together.

I have The Iron Duke to thank for getting me through a couple of really long layovers a couple of weeks ago.  I'd preordered it, sure (steampunk romance?! sign me up!) but I'd saved it for a time when I knew I could read it without interruptions.  This was a good move for me, if I may say so myself, as this is a book that sucks you and doesn't let you go until the last word on the last page.

I'll say at the onset, though, that this isn't a creampuff book, or an easy read.  There are terms to keep track of, technologies to learn about, and a big world with lots of political currents, plotting, and danger. There's also a sizzling romance and an intriguing secondary cast, so if that's all stuff that sounds interesting, read on, read on!

One of my favorite things about this book was the author's willingness to bring up some tough social issues within the context of the story.  Issues of racism, class, economic mobility, life in a post-colonial society, power dynamics within a relationship, sexism, chauvinism, you name it- none of them escape the lens of this book, and the setting and characters are more fully described and vivid for it.

Rhys is not a man who is accustomed to hearing the word no.  He's self made in every sense of the word; he relies on himself to get through the day and uses his network of contacts efficiently and deliberately.  He understands that most people have their price and as a duke and a national hero, he's able to meet most of those prices.

I think that's why he's absolutely flummoxed by Mina- she's a strong, ethical, passionate woman who can't be bought, because what she wants most in the world (love and acceptance) has to be freely and authentically given or else it's absolutely worthless.  Mina thinks she'll be able to play the political game, use the duke's resources to expedite solving her murder case, and move on with her heart intact, a plan which proves to be impossible as the two of them end up traveling the world in the company of the Lady Corsair to try to stop a genocide before it begins.

The romance here is slow and steady in its development; both players have feelings for each other but are afraid to act on them, for reasons that are central to the overall plot.  When they finally do decide to take the plunge, fate intervenes one last time, and the ending had me refusing to blink as I tried to find out what would happen.

This was one of my favorite books of 2010 so far by a long shot. It lives up to the hype and even exceeds it.  If you're looking to try something new, something that will grab you and not let go, then fire up your browser and get your hands on this one!

Overall Grade: A++
BWB Rating: 4/4

Friday, November 12, 2010

Winners of the Mortal Path Series

Five winners of the Mortal Path series by Dakota Banks!

With the help of random.org the following comments were choosen:

Comment #49. Dea S.

Comment #139. Mysteriousrose

Comment #98. yllektra (force-oblique)

Comment # 152. k_sunshine1977

Comment # 35. Jennifer (BookNoise)

I will email later on today...but if you get to this post first, feel free to email me your snail addy at parajunkee at gmail.com 
Just Put MORTAL PATH SERIES in the subject so I know!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Interview with Dakota Banks




BWB: When the idea for your Mortal Path's series came to you, what pushed you towards the idea of a woman as broken as Susannah/Maliha?

DB: I wanted a challenge, and I certainly got one with Maliha. I felt that the theme of this series is the transformation of a person mired in evil, once she has made a choice to turn her back on that evil. Maliha starts out good and innocent as the colonial wife  and soon-to-be mother Susannah, until her village is caught up in the Puritanical witch hysteria of the 1690s. Susannah is accused of witchcraft by a woman who wants her out of the picture so the woman can then marry Susannah's grieving husband. It's an evil plot, especially considering Susannah is pregnant, and her unborn child will die with her. Witches were usually hanged in America, but extra charges were trumped up that called for the more severe punishment of burning at the stake. It's a nasty setup, nasty enough to make Susannah reach out for revenge when an ancient Sumerian demon offers her the chance.

When the immediate desire for revenge is satisfied, Susannah continues to kill at the demon's request to keep her youth, beauty, and immortality -- in other words, motives that are no longer even vaguely justified. So now I have my black-hearted heroine, broken as you say, and I want to see what happens to her when she starts to realize she's living a decadent, immoral life. Is it possible to overcome her evil past? To me, this makes a more interesting story than if a sweet young girl or kick-ass woman (SYG/KAW) is awakened to some paranormal power or task she has to do.

I think the SYG/KAW story is appealing to readers because we all like to think, "Maybe tomorrow I'll wake up and be a shapeshifter." I know I think that! :):) When there's a character like Maliha, not many readers are going to think, "Gee, I hope tomorrow I'll wake up and be a demon's assassin." This makes me work a lot harder with the Mortal Path books, and it doesn't help that Maliha makes mistakes where I wish I could just shake her and say, "Woman, why can't you get this right!!". Then I realize she's had hundreds of years of doing the wrong thing, and this transformation stuff is a struggle for her.

BWB: Can you tell us a little bit about your series, in your own words?

DB:I came from a background of writing thrillers (see http://shirleykennett.com - that's me!), and when I thought about adding some paranormal elements to my books, I didn't see any reason to leave the thriller part out. So each Mortal Path book contains a thriller plot. Action! Adventure! Exotic locations! Martial arts! Woo hoo! I have a great deal of fun writing with all this, though it does have a price in the amount of research I have to do. When Maliha sets foot in a foreign country or whips out a new weapon, I may or may not be writing from personal experience, but it's my job to make the reading experience authentic. Book 3 of the series, with a working title of Despair, is different in that the thriller plot is tightly centered around Maliha and her friends, not on some external threat to America or the world. I'm writing it now and it's quite a challenge. Just what I expect from this series--taking me new places with my writing all the time.

BWB: Would you consider your series in the Urban Fantasy genre?

DB: Yes, I would. Urban fantasy stories have recognizable settings (worlds) that we can fit ourselves into, given our acceptance of the paranormal elements. It's our world, with tweaks. That describes the Mortal Path books perfectly. You could pass Maliha on the street and not know what her capabilities are, because she blends in. In addition to the thriller material included, there's also romance. During her assassin days, Maliha was a creature of brief relationships, love excluded. That's a hard pattern to change, but she's working on it. Some readers pick up these books as thrillers and are happy reading them from that angle.

BWB: The first Chapter of Dark Time is one of the most intense starts to a book that I've ever read, it was quite emotionally draining for me. Is writing these hard-hitting scenes emotional for you also?

DB: Emotional barely begins to describe it. I'm caught up in these scenes, as though I'm living them along with Maliha because I have such a strong bond with her. It's a good thing there's a box of tissues on my desk, or I'd flood my keyboard! I feel drained and usually take a nap after an intense scene. Something strange about it that I doubt other writers do is that I'm drawn back to those scenes in the manuscript. I'll go back and reread them, maybe five or ten times while writing the book. I guess it's an attempt to be closer to Maliha, and that helps me write scenes that are not so emotionally charged.

BWB: Is Maliha based off of someone you know, or purely fictional?

DB: Maliha is purely fictional. She and I share a desire to see justice done, but that's about it. While I wouldn't want her evil past, I would like to be able to save lives. Oh, I do have some minor experience seeing auras, but I was in the hospital being dosed with cocaine prior to sinus surgery, so I guess that doesn't count. I do wish I had her figure and physical abilities. Sigh.

BWB: Where did you come up with your ideas? What type of research did you have to do to write this series?

DB: The Mortal Path series is based in Sumerian mythology, something that has attracted me for years. I'm an amateur archaeologist with a special interest in the Middle East ("Cradle of Civilization", let's all open our history books to Mesopotamia and the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers). The Sumerian civilization thrived five thousand years ago, give or take a millennium, in what is now Iraq. The Iraqi National Museum was looted in 2003 because US troops were slow in securing the museum after Iraqi security left. There were a few wild days of looting and vandalism. Many Sumerian artifacts were broken or disappeared into the black market. (Some were later recovered.) It was in the news a lot and every time I saw it, I was sad that these priceless artifacts from one of our first great civilizations were lost. Many artifacts show scenes of Sumerians interacting with their gods, and it started me thinking about basing a series on the possibility that some of their demons had survived until the current time. They were still around, causing plagues, death, destruction, and chaos. It took years of part-time work to put the Mortal Path series together, to get just the right combination of characters and do the world-building. I spent a lot of time learning in depth about Sumeria and its mythology, and the more I read, the more excited I got about basing a series there. I can legitimately say the series was "Years in the Making!".

BWB: What books or authors inspired you to write?

DB: When I began writing, I was heavily into science fiction (and still am). The writers who influenced me were from that genre: Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Frank Herbert, Harlan Ellison, for example. They excelled at world-building, characterization, and plotting, and I studied their works by reading for pleasure and then reading for technique.

BWB: What can we expect next from you? Are there more books in the Mortal Path series expected?

DB: I'm writing book 3, and I hope to have at least 3 books after that. There is a story arc about Maliha collecting shards of a crystal lens that will enable her to wipe out the demons. Without the demons holding humankind back like a ball and chain around our collective ankles, humanity will be ready for the next leap into ... what? Of course, my publisher has something to say about how many books there will be in the series!

BWB: Any signings, or tours, or just events you would like us to know about?

DB: I'm running a contest on my website (http://dakota-banks.com) that ends December 1st. You can win the opportunity to name a character in the third Mortal Path book after yourself or a friend. Of course, Maliha being the way she is, you just might get killed off! In addition to the character naming, you can win your choice of 1) a subscription to the Mortal Path series, meaning a signed copy of every book on or before its release date; or 2) a complete manuscript critique done by me. Enter by filling out the simple form on the website. Go on! You know you want to be a character in the next book, and you'll be mentioned in the acknowledgments, too.

Random Thoughts:
BWB: What would motivate you to sell your soul?

DB: I'm not certain that my soul is something I could sell, but the idea plays well in fiction! If I could, it would be to save my husband and children from certain death. At least, I hope I would be steadfast and loving enough to do that. It's easy to say that sitting here in my office with the only threat being my deadline for book 3. No one really knows how they'll react until the moment is upon them.

Intrigued?? You can win the two books of The Mortal Pat series by clicking on the link above this post.

Don't want to wait? Buy them! Click on the images below
Dark Time: Mortal Path Book 1Sacrifice (Mortal Path, Book 2)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

November Group Books

ADULT Title The Iron Duke

The Iron Duke (A Novel of the Iron Seas)
The Iron Duke (A Novel of the Iron Seas)

After the Iron Duke freed England from Horde control, he instantly became a national hero. Now Rhys Trahaearn has built a merchant empire on the power — and fear — of his name. And when a dead body is dropped from an airship onto his doorstep, bringing Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth into his dangerous world, he intends to make her his next possession.

Mina can’t afford his interest, however. Horde blood runs through her veins, and despite the nanotech enhancing her body, she barely scratches out a living in London society. Becoming Rhys’s lover would destroy both her career and her family, yet the investigation prevents her from avoiding him…and the Iron Duke’s ruthless pursuit makes him difficult to resist.

But when Mina uncovers the victim’s identity, she stumbles upon a conspiracy that threatens the lives of everyone in England. To save them, Mina and Rhys must race across zombie-infested wastelands and treacherous oceans — and Mina discovers the danger is not only to her countrymen as she finds herself tempted to give up everything to the Iron Duke.




Link up your Iron Duke Reviews

****




YA Title The Thirteenth Chime

The Thirteenth Chime (A Sense of Truth) (Volume 1)The Thirteenth Chime

HATRED NEVER DIES...
Destiny has finally found the life that she has always wanted. She is about to finish college, has a fiancĂ© that loves her, and a great summer on the West Coast planned with her friend, Stephanie. But her world is turned upside down when an antique clock mysteriously chimes thirteen times and someone attacks them, sending Stephanie and her mother to the hospital. Alone, and without any help from the police, Destiny has no choice but to turn to the one man she had left behind a year ago - her ex-boyfriend, David. Together, they must solve the riddle of the thirteenth chime before the clock strikes thirteen again. Yet as they face their own past and hearts, a trap over half a century old is waiting for them to become its prey. For revenge, fifty years is never too long... 





Link up your Thirteenth Chime Chime Reviews

****

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dark Time an HBIC Review


Dark Time: Mortal Path Book 1 by Dakota Banks


PJVs QUICKIE POV: Plunged into an emotional roller coaster from the onset - Dark Time had me entertained and enthralled. Besides a slightly stand-offish heroine the book rocked and I can't wait to read the follow-up.

REVIEW: In the 17th century a pregnant woman, healer, wife and innocent is taken from her home, thrown in prison and accused of being a witch. She has done nothing wrong - accused by a woman who was rejected by her husband. As her body burns on the stake she screams to live - the only thing that hears her is an ancient Sumerian Demon.

Selling her soul for another chance at life, Susannah becomes the Black Ghost - a murderer - her master, a demon intent on chaos and evil.

It takes centuries for her to tire of her evil ways, but when she is asked to kill an infant, Susannah is stopped cold by her guilt and knows that she can't go forward with her life. Her choices are to suffer at the hands of her demon for eternity or to right the wrong she has done - balance the scale, so-to-speak. She chooses to balance and so doing so redefines herself, becomes Maliha Crayne and begins the daunting tasks of rectifying thousands of deaths that were caused because of her.

Emotional and well-written, Banks' voice is poetic and speaks to the reader. She has a descriptive voice that purrs and flows off the page. You can't put this book down.

The only flaw I saw with this book was the main character's aloofness, she was hard to relate to. Almost untouchable. It was great reading about her, but it was hard to care about her. I did in the end, care for her, but she was a tough nut to crack. I think for the second book with the establish character connection, I will enjoy it even more.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Adult novel, there is violence and some very heavy topics.



No Mercy by Sherrilyn Kenyon
 
How did PJ get this book?
From the Publisher


Order Online
BookDepository.com
Amazon.com 


 Stalk the Author:

Web | Blog | Twitter

Rating:






You can win this book, along with the second here!





 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Burning Times

 

The main character of Dark Time is Susannah Layhem, a healer in the 17th century. Susannah is an uneducated female just starting her life as a wife and new mother. In the final leg of her pregnancy Susannah is accused of witchcraft and ripped from her home. Because of the villager’s prejudices and fears they quickly turn from the innocent women as she is condemned and ultimately burned at the stake.

The first chapter of Dark Times is quite intense and horribly gut-wrenching as it chronicles Susannah’s imprisonment, trial and subsequent burning.

Was this a common occurrence in the 17th century?

Unfortunately it was a very common occurrence. From the 14th to 18th Century it is estimated that thousands (estimates put it at about 40k to 100k) of people were burned, hung, drowned and even pressed to death for the crimes of witchcraft. This has been dubbed The Burning Times.

Most of these deaths occurred in Europe, specifically France, Germany and Switzerland. Only a handful actually occurred in North America – most of those deaths taking place in a town that still resonates to this day – Salem, Massachusetts.

There are about thirty (wiki cites 32, 12 before Salem, 20 at Salem) known victims of The Burning Times in American history. These occurred between the years of 1647 to the final culmination in Salem in 1692. All but three occurred in Massachusetts.

The main belief behind why these deaths occurred mainly had to do with the people of the communities at the time. Massachusetts was settled by a group of people called the Puritans. The Puritans were a political and religious group that sprung into existence during the time of Martin Luther and his opposition to the Catholic Church. The Puritans emigrated to the New World in a time of great upheaval, war and persecution. This led to a group of people that were deeply religious and politically paranoid. They desperately wanted freedom, yet as soon as the settled into their new home they ruled themselves with an iron-hand.

The Puritans absolutely forbade all forms of entertainment, including dancing, music, celebrating and holidays. Women were expected to be subservient and children were second-class citizens. Playing, toys and idleness was considered a waste of time and strictly forbidden. Forced church services and education in only religious doctrine further restricted the people of the early Massachusetts.

Otherness wasn’t tolerated. If you operated “Out the Box” in the early days of our America you risked being accused of being a witch.

In our modern society we would like to think this form of mass hysteria and persecution could never occur. We are more enlightened than these more primitive humans. But, are we? I can think of a few accusations that have people pointing fingers first and asking questions later after their names are smeared all over the papers and their lives ruined. Rape. Child Molestation. Terrorism.

If you were accused of one of these unforgiveable crimes and your family turned their back on you, believing the masses instead of you, could you recover from that betrayal?

Don’t forget to enter to win Dakota Bank’s series, The Mortal Path (Details at the top of the post) – the books that inspired this post.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Mortal Paths Feature & Giveaway


Blog with Bite would like to extend a warm welcome to Dakota Banks the author of the hard hitting Mortal Path series (HarperCollins) and our week long feature.

 Dakota grew up in a converted turn-of-the-century funeral home (complete with blood gutters and a drain in the basement floor) and claims that it warped her mind and set her upon her macabre path.

 She lives on the western fringe of St. Louis, Missouri with her husband. She has two adopted sons that are both in college.You can find Ms. Banks online here: Web :: Blog :: Twitter :: Facebook

Ms. Banks has kindly offered up for the readers of Blog with Bite FIVE (5) copies of her books, Dark Time & Sacrifice. {details below}


Dark Time: Mortal Path Book 1

Susannah Layhem, a healer unjustly accused of witchcraft in the 17th century, is ripped from her husband's arms and thrown in jail. Abandoned by her husband and friends, she's tied to a stake and set afire. Her raging bitterness draws one of seven ancient Sumerian demons. The demon Rabishu pulls her from the flames, and she signs a contract to live forever—if she does his evil work. Susannah becomes the Black Ghost, an Ageless assassin gifted with otherworldly skills and superbly trained in martial arts.

She obeys Rabishu's orders and remains a beautiful young woman. Then she's given an assignment she can't bear to carry out. She chooses the mortal path instead, and emerges from three centuries of reluctant service as the demon's slave. Now Maliha Crayne, she discovers the fine print of her contract. If she balances lives taken with lives saved, she'll ascend to a paradise straight out of Sumerian legend. If she fails, she faces eternal torment at Rabishu's hands. The ticking clock? Every time she saves lives, she ages. The deck is stacked against her. She's got her own agenda, though. Payback time—killing Rabishu and his kin before he gets his punishing claws on her.

Intimately tangled with Maliha's yearning for personal redemption is her thrilling quest to stop a villain from selling America's security to the highest bidder. For both goals, she will need to relearn what it means to be mortal, to reach out in friendship, and to dare to believe she can love again.

DARK TIME is laced with ancient legends, a heady dash of the supernatural, and the warmth of awakening relationships.>> Read Chapter 1

Sacrifice: Mortal Path Book 2

A demon's enslaved executioner--a ravager of lives and souls--Maliha Crayne has been reborn, willing to sacrifice her immortality for a chance at freedom ... and salvation. Now she has an opportunity to prevent the death of thousands to help balance the countless lives she has obliterated over the centuries. To do so, she must locate and destroy an evil cabal of madmen in possession of a weapon of unspeakable power--and survive the immortal assassins who are now after her blood. But it means reverting to the old ways and surrendering once more to the darkness. >> Read First 50


For our readers: What would you sell your soul for? Money, Love, Revenge??? Or something all together different?

Contest Deets:
  • Five (5) winners will receive a set of the Mortal Path series: Dark Time and Sacrifice 
  • Commenting on this post will earn entry into this contest, but please answer the FOR OUR READERS question to be eligible. Not following directions will result in your comment not counting
  • Winners will be chosen using Random.org
  • Following BlogwithBite.com is not required
  • Extra entries will be offered, separate comment for each entry please, if you leave multiple entries in one comment it will only be counted as one entry
  • Contest ends November 8th, 2010 11:59 CST
Extra Entries:
  • Befriend Dakota Banks on Facebook   {Leave name last initial}
  • Follow BlogwithBite.com {GFC, Email}
  • Like BWB on Facebook {Leave name last initial}
  • Follow Dakota Banks Blog
  • Follow Dakota Banks on Twitter
  • Spread the word in any way, twitter, facebook, post, sidebar, etc. {leave link}
  • Participated in a BWB group review

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Winners!

We had so much fun this Halloween season! So many authors, so many new featured reviewers. And a few new followers to join in on the future fun.

We had a few contests that wrapped up Halloween and now it is time to announce those winners. I'm sure everyone has been waiting patiently for this announcement!

For our first set of winners...


Out of Time: A Paranormal RomanceTwo winners of Out of Time by Monique Martin.

Winner #1 - Comment #11 = Melissa @ Books & Things

Winner #2 - Commnet # Amber Riley





1 Winner of a SIGNED copy of  Beyond the Threshold of Death 

Winner = Comment #1 - Kristen {kristen_babygurl}







1 Winner - Signed copy of Shades of Gray AND Shades of Desire

Winner = Comment #21 - yllektra (force-oblique)
 

I will email later on tonight, but if you get to this post first, you can email me at parajunkee at gmail.com! XOXO