We aim to do one of these posts a month with about five Dark Siders at a time. This month we have Kylie Griffin, Jess Anastasi, Kitty Bucholtz, Nicole Murphy, and Nicola E. Sheridan.
Take it away ladies.
I've read three books in the last few weeks.
The first two are TRIAL BY FIRE and UNDER FIRE by Jo Davis. They're romantic suspense and the first two in a 5 book series based around The Firefighters of Station Five. Ever had a firefighter fantasy? These guys (and one woman) are hot. The first story revolves around Howard "Six-Pack" Paxton, confirmed bachelor with a traumatic childhood that comes back to haunt him, and Kat McKenna, an intuitive school teacher who recognises a man tormented by his past. Throw in a vengeful villain, a secret affair and some strong emotional scenes (not just the sex scenes) and you have a great blend of suspense and romance, with neither taking precedence over the other.
Can you imagine a virgin firefighter (Zack) with the IQ of Einstein and an exotic dancer (Cori) as a romantic couple? Neither could I until I read UNDER FIRE, the second in the series. This was a touching but dark and gritty story with some very evocative scenes in it where you could feel the emotions emanating from the characters. Zack made geekness soooo appealing. Suffice to say, I can't wait to read the other three books.
BRANDED SANCTUARY is the 7th book in her Nature of Desire series. I didn't realise this until after I'd read it but I had no problems reading this as a stand alone. Chloe is scarred by a brutal attack in her past and Brendan is a man she's only met once but someone she connected with a friend's wedding. During a panic attack one night she calls him and he helps calm her fear. He's also a male submissive. She's not into the D/s lifestyle and the story is an exploration of accepting each other for who we are. At times, the story is explicit, and it might not be for everyone, but there's no denying the incredible connection these two characters have for one another. It has real emotional punch.
I'm 3/4 of the way through Sins of the Heart by Eve Silver. Its a paranormal romance featuring soul reapers, ancient egyptian cults, and just about every god that's ever been worshipped. Its interesting because although the main characters have an intial meeting in chapter 1, after that, they're not in the same scene together until page 155. So people firmly in the romance camp might not enjoy it as much for that reason, but I think the developing story line is facinating enough to carry it off. I'm looking forward to finishing it (when I can find some bloody free time! Its taken me over a week to read this much.)
I'm on summer break from my master in creative writing program where I've had to read what someone else tells me to. The moment my last class was over I immersed myself in The Hunger Games young adult trilogy. Written by Suzanne Collins and published by Scholastic, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay are about 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a girl trying to survive in a dystopian version of the United States. I enjoyed the first book the most because it's an emotional adrenalin-filled ride! The other two books still captured me - I missed my bus stop once while reading book two, and I had to put book three away this week because I was crying on the bus - but book one was shocking to me all the way through, especially because the trilogy is written in first person.
I've also read/skimmed a few how-to writing books since classes ended. I had high hopes for The Power of the Dark Side: Creating Great Villains and Dangerous Situations by Pamela Jaye Smith, but I was disappointed. It's more a book of examples of different kinds of villains. I didn't find it very helpful, but if you can find it in your library, it's at least worth flipping through. Maybe you'll get more out of it than I did. Regardless of what genre you write in, there are some great bits of advice in How to Write Tales of Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction edited by J.N. Williamson. After years of hearing how every writer should read On Writing Well by William Zinsser, I finally got around to it. What a great book! I particularly enjoyed chapter 22: Trust Your Material, and chapter 23: A Writer's Decisions.
I've been making my way through the JD Robb stories - a friend gave them to me to read up on how one author keeps a relationship boiling through a series of books. Have only read the first two so far but they're pretty fabulous. I particularly love the way she's slowly revealing the backstory of Eve and Roarke when it's necessary and not just telling us cause she wants to.
I've also been reading a few category romances. It's been a long time since I read any and I'm enjoying re-discovering them.
Nicola E. Sheridan
I don't have a huge range of genres that I read. I usually stick with Urban Fantasy, Paranormal and Chic lit - and they all really must have a romantic element. I love a good romance!
French Relations by Fiona Walker
I have just finished re-reading this for the 100th time. I absolutely love it. If you're being pedantic it could be called "contemporary women's fiction, with a large romantic element", or just chic lit. Its filled with fantastic characters and loads of awkward and funny moments.
"A summer holiday with her eccentric, infuriating family and assorted glamorous hangers-on is the last thing Tash French would usually volunteer for." - but lucky for us, she did!
Shadow Fever by Karen Marie Moning
Alas, this isn't actually out yet. I'm waiting with baited breath for January when it's due for release! If you haven't read Ms Moning's work - I highly recommend it.The Fever Series is urban fantasy (with what I hope turns out to be a romantic element!)
One of my favourite characters of all time is in her Fever Series - Jericho Barrons, he's HOT (in capitals and bold!). I am such a "Moning Maniac" that I'm considering re-reading all the preceding books in the series so it's all fresh for when I finally get my hot little hands on Shadow Fever! Tragic - I know. I used to do the same everytime a new Harry Potter came out!
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.
I don't know anything about this author or this book. My brother in-law left it on my doorstep along with a bag full of lemons. Random - but true. I hope it's a good read and the lemon's weren't symbolic!
Rachel Vincent's Shift and Alpha.
When I get around to the book shop, I'm buying these. I really enjoy her Shifter series!
"Rachel’s Shifters series follows Faythe Sanders, the world’s only female werecat enforcer, as she fights to define her own role in her family and to claim a place in her Pride." - this is a cool concept and incredibly engaging read.
Thanks for sharing ladies. I now have more titles on my TBR pile, nicknamed Mt. Everest.