Sunday, February 28, 2010

Weekend Entertainment Roundup

Broken by Megan Hart I just finished this last night, further establishing Hart as one of my all-time favorite writers. I kept saying over and over how this book is so compelling. That is the ultimate word for it. I mean, I thought about it all the time when I wasn't reading it. I just wanted to be reading it. It's one of those stories that flips around a bit, and every facet was gripping. I loved reading this book.

Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler I always sort of tremble a bit when I pick up a book of somebody I know and like in real life, or in Peeler's case, virtually, because, what if I don't like it? Wow, never fear on the Tempest.

This series has taken its place in my pantheon of bright, shiny, sexy, go-to series, right next to Kresley Cole's and Charlaine Harris's. First, I loved this heroine: vulnerable, fascinating, careful. Also, there's my favorite kind of love triangle brewing here where both options are hugely attractive, but you definitely know who the hero is. Yummy imaginative world building with dashes of smutty goodness all along the way. The next can't come soon enough.

Lost: So is it over? I stopped watching in the second season, convinced the writers didn't have a master plan. Was I wrong? What's the deal with the island? Is it like that Star Trek where it's just the projections of people's thoughts?

Life: This is a new cop series DH and I are trying off Netflix. It's like, this cop who was sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit, and gets into Zen, then he is exonerated, and he uses his half-baked Zen abilities and newfound angle on life to be a better cop, and solve the plotty conspiracy that sent him to prison in the first place. So far so good, though a bit klunky (think the annoyingness of Data in the first season of Star Trek Next Gen). And, it's no Wire or Shield, but we'll see. Anybody else have a report on if this show gets good?

A Serious Man (Coen Brothers): DH and I rented this movie as a pick-me-up comedy, which ought to greatly amuse anybody who has watched it. I take it as the Coen brothers' meditation on mortality and the meaninglessness of life, and I didn't much like it while I was watching it, but I came to like it in a highly oblique way later. I read a review where the last scenes were mysterious to the reviewer, but to me, the last scenes put the whole movie into focus. I think I feel fondest of the movie when I look back on it as an art object rather than a movie, and think about its images and the odd repeating messages that seem very Rohrschach-like. In certain moods, I look back on the ending and appreciate it on a kind of dark way.

Mario Acevedo's insane new book trailer:
I love all the little WTF moments in this.

Latebreaking link: Romance Fiction X Geekery OTP: Hey, I love this post (by Bonnie Walling), about how romance is now the geekiest genre ever, in a newly hip way, due to all the mashups. Yeah! Check it out. I found it via Lynn Viehl's wonderful author blog, Paperback Writer.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The first ever review of Mind Games- at RT!!

I was SO excited to get news of this review at Romantic Times Magazine, giving Mind Games 4.5 stars!! So excited and relieved and everything in between. Also, I really love Annette Elton's summary of the book.

Okay, I don't plan on posting every review of the book here on The Thrillionth Page, but but but...

The Review:

Wow! Crane's writing style brings to mind old-school noir, with the compelling attitude of superheroes from a graphic novel. A masterful blend of dark and light, good and bad and all the grays in between, it will draw readers thoroughly into her tale, as they root for the good guys -- while trying to figure out just who the good guys are. The ending promises more adventures, and that is a very good thing. 4.5 stars


Justine is a hypochondriac of infinite proportions. She's lured into a restaurant, Mongolian Delites, by Packard Sterling, who promises he can teach her to channel her fears, but in exchange, she must work for him. Packard leads a team of disillusionists who are hired by those who have been the victim of a crime. The team zings their fears and anxieties into the criminal, and the result is a total collapse.

Justine isn't interested in Packard's troupe until she gets a taste of the peace he can promise. She's also extremely attracted to Packard, but he has lied too many times. As she learns more about this mysterious man, Justine becomes determined to uncover all his secrets. (BANTAM SPECTRA, Mar., 384 pp., $7.99)

—Annette Elton
Yay!! Happy Dance! Whirling around! *klunk*

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rumble at DIK!!!!

All is fair in love and war and book contests! And, er, blue light specials! And fights with LB Gregg where fur and free books fly! And heroes don't mind their beeswax!

LB Gregg and I are fighting over who gets to give away whose book at DIK Island. Come play!

Daniel Craig has zero to do with the whole thing. But aren't you glad he's here to greet you?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Making with the freaky freak on new releases and a contest

Actually, Making with the freaky freak is line from an old Beastie Boys song that has crept into DH and my vocabulary for multiple uses, but look! It's perfect for today, because my posse at Reluctant Adults has a MEGA four release day!

Exhibit A: Blood of the Demon by Diana Rowland
The highly anticipated book two of the fabulous Demon/police procedural with hawt sex is finally out! Excerpt here. Six cool things about book #1 here.

Exhibit B: Demon Possessed by Stacia Kane
The third in the series about psychologist and psychic Megan Chase, who is becoming just a little too comfortable with demons... "Get ready for an action-packed rollercoaster ride. Kane's unique take on the supernatural is entertaining, and flaming hot sex with a fire demons heats up the pages." ~Romantic Times (4 stars) Excerpt here.

Exhibit C: Battle of the Network Zombies by Mark Henry
Mark Henry's freaky fun zombie series moves to book 3! Check out the review on it here by
Sci Fi Guy himself: ("Smart, funny, and time well spent")

Exhibit D: Dead Matter by Anton Strout
Book #3 in Strout's highly original, totally humorous series. (
"Real magic in a real, gritty world and a hero whose moral compass wavers--delightful!" ~Tamora Pierce). Check out this interview and win a Strout here. Wicked lil Pixie interview here.

A chance to WIN ALL FOUR!
Win all four of these in Nicole Peeler's fun contest, where you answer a simple little crazy question. Ends Friday.

Monday, February 22, 2010

An evil and pernicious new trend that is rotting the heart of blogland

For years, book blogs have been wonderful and welcoming places where readers can enjoy book discussions and recommendations.

I love to visit book blogs. I get excited when I see an image of a book I've been wondering about, or a new book, and get to read about it, view excerpts, see what the blogger and commenters think.

To a book lover like me, it is one of the funnest things about the Internet and a great aid in discovering new books. I have special lists where I note down the titles that catch my interest and books I may buy. Book blog surfing is one of the joys of my life.

WAS one of the joys of my life.

Imagine my distress when I go to a favorite blog, excitedly read an excerpt that I enjoy and think, Wow, I have to read more of this! I must buy this book! ...and then the blogger REFUSES to tell what the book is. Not only that, but makes a cruel little game out of it! That's right, I'm talking about "guess the book" games.

This is an evil and pernicious new trend. A couple recent offenders: Sayuri at Damn Heart and Jill D. at Romance Rookie. I believe there are others!

Would you ever train a dog to come for a treat whenever you ring a bell, and then you ring a bell and and the dog comes, and you just laugh at the dog instead? No? Sayuri and Jill would do it to book blog readers! And they would LOL about it too!

Jill and Sayuri, do you not see what you are doing to readers? The way you are keeping us in suspense?

For the love of all that is right and good, you must not taunt your readers with hot and funny and enticing passages and not reveal the title.

I have to know that title of that Western Historical, Jill. It was driving me crazy all weekend.

Please, hear my pleas on behalf of your readers. Reveal the titles! I am begging you!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Great Moments: The Devil Inside & my bio article

Great Moments from Last Night's Reading
Book: The Devil Inside by Jenna Black
Page: 79
Spoiler level: nil

Okay, who was it on Twitter who was going, Oh, Lugh! And on the Lugh lovefest train in reference to Jenna Black's The Devil Inside? (Mandi? One of the Vixens?) Because I'm totally seeing it now! This whole Lugh plot makes for fun reading.

The moment where I was won over by the whole thing was on page 79, where the problem of heroine Morgan's potential possession really comes to light.

To recap, Morgan, demon exorcist and demon hater, keeps waking up to find notes she wrote to herself in her sleep, saying she's possessed. She thinks it can't possibly be. She'd know! She wouldn't be in control. She decides it's her subconscious. Then, this note:
Morgan, this isn't your subconscious. you really are possessed, but you're so powerful in your own right that I can't get a foothold except when you lower your guard--like when you sleep. I don't want to hurt you. I'm as unwilling to possess you are you are to host me, but
The note ends there because she woke up. Right, there, reading that, I was thinking, I love this plot twist! And will our mysterious demon be inside her for the whole series? No! Don't tell me!

I think Black also has a lot of bravery with Morgan's character. She doesn't seem scared to make Morgan judgmental and rash, then sorry and self conscious about it later. I usually don't like the 'shoot first, think later' heroine, but Morgan is working for me because of this thoughtful self-consciousness. Her rashness seems positioned as a true liability, and not a liability that is secretly an advantage, and I really admire that.

Anatomy of my crappy author bio and my strategy to change it.
Brandon of Urban Fantasy Writers asked me to do a post a while back, and it's up here! He told me he has mostly readers who are writers, so I talked about an issue I was struggling with last week - that I put zero thought into my bio, and was regretting it.

In my old bio, I had just pulled out random true things about me, instead of true things about me that relate to what I'm doing as a writer. For the post, I altered a questionnaire I use for clients in my day job to make a helpful author bio questionnaire for myself and others. So, if you're interested in bio creation, check out the article.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Paranormal Roundtable, happening today!

I can't even tell you how excited I am to be joining a group of really amazing authors as a panelist in the Paranormal Roundtable at Suvudu today.

Participating authors:
Kelley Armstrong, Jenna Black, Diana Rowland, Lucy Snyder, Alex Prentiss. And me!

The gang of us will likely be discussing books, genre trends, covers, inspirations, various contentious issues that have been cropping up at the intersection of SFF and UF, and oh! lord knows what else.

Illustrative metaphor
So, at this one supermarket where I shop, there are these little kid-sized carts that children can push alongside their parent's big cart, and the little kid carts all have a flag that sticks up that reads, "I'm shopping, too!"

LOL, that is a little bit of how I feel. I mean, it's not like I even have a book out yet! However, I will try to have fun and be thoughtful about the genre and try not to stick my foot in my mouth.

Everyone is invited to come, and to ask questions, or just hang out. I think it will be really cool! If you can't make it, it will be up afterwards. But if you want to be there live, it's at 4pm EST today, Wednesday February 17th, at Suvudu.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A somewhat impressionistic review of Angels' Blood, plus an easy way to win books.

I ordered Archangel's Kiss today, by Nalini Singh. I know I'm going to love it. I love knowing I'm going to love it. I loved Angels' Blood.

One of the things I loved most about Angels' Blood was how fresh it felt. I don't have any specific reasons to say that, and sure, people have written about angels and vampires about a billion times before. It's more like a residual feeling about this book. As though the book is fresh in the sense of being somehow pristine.

Like the characters and story are humming at a perfect pitch, and resonating with true things. Sort of like snow that doesn't have any footprints or dirt on it yet, and it's perfectly what it is.

I don't mean that the book itself is absolutely perfect. I don't even know what that would be. I just mean that it's fresh and true in an excellent way I loved.

I love the mad saturation of brightness at the center of the cover. It feels fresh and unusual and special in the way the book does to me. I love looking at the cover and thinking about the book at the same time. I borrowed this copy from my friend Chris, who won an oversized bound mss, so my cover picture is HUGE, and that suits me just fine. Aside from the part where I have to give the thing back to her, probably this Friday when we do our Dresden Files marathon part 2 - hopefully with Thai food. What do you think about that, Chris? Oh, look this is a test to see if she reads deep into this post. Because I'm sure it's kind of a boring post, with all the "I loves." Now, where was I? Oh yeah.

I love the shining nobility and compassion of Elena, a mortal and a vampire hunter in this novel, and the contrast she makes with the archangels, who are ever so slightly corrupted or oblivious. Some not so slightly. Elena's nobility reminds me a little of Buffy's nobility, though not in a derivative way, and Elena doesn't specifically remind me of Buffy.

I love how, at the beginning of the book, we learn she has her condo situated in such a way, so that she can watch the archangels fly in and out of angel tower though her giganitic plate glass windows. I love that she loves that. Somehow, it felt refreshing.

I love the deft bigness of everything here, too. The cranked up personalities and stakes. The power imbalance I noted in an earlier post. It all worked really well for me.

Like I say, I will be ordering Archangel's Kiss, but I really mourn the retreat on the cover here. It sort of has that palette, but less of the balls-to-the-wall brightness saturation. Is it an ironic commentary on the change in her status? Or just a marketing decision? I don't know.

Be entered to WIN WIN WIN a bunch of books by doing one easy thing!
You can win just by signing up for an email reminder for the Paranormal Roundtable. Here's what you would win:

• one copy of Men of the Underworld by Kelley Armstrong *One of my faves of 2009!!
• one copy of Blood of the Demon by Diana Rowland
• one copy of The Devil’s Playground by Jenna Black
• one copy of Spellbent by Lucy A. Snyder
• one copy of Night Tides by Alex Prentiss
• one copy of Mind Games by Carolyn Crane

But, WAIT! There is an even better reason to sign up for the email reminder--so you don't miss the actual event, a fun and lively (hopefully) roundtable discussion between the authors above, which includes yours truly! I hope I don't make a fool of myself. Hey, Armstrong, you wanna pass the salt? Jenna Black, you gonna eat that those French Fries? No? Can I have them? What's that you say, Rowland? Stop talking with my mouth full?

Just kidding. It won't be a real table. It will be an online table at SUVUDU at 4pm ET on THIS COMING WEDNESDAY, February 17th. You can sign up here.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Eight Myths about the League of Reluctant Adults you should totally not believe

I'm over at the League of Reluctant Adults today!

Come read about my first weeks' duties as a member of the league.

I will also be debunking EIGHT pernicious myths about the league. It just goes to show, you can't believe everything you hear.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Letter from my Mexican vacation

Hi everybody! I'm still in Mexico. Until Wednesday! But as a blogger, I know all the world is eager to know my every move and experience.

Crabbins airport reunion
My mom and two sisters came down on a flight from Chicago, and I came down from Minneapolis. So, I’m waiting outside the Cancun airport and they come out. I’m like, Hi! Yay! And they’re all like, grrrr. The Crane women can be a bit moody, so I was thinking, uh-oh, regarding the trip in general, but they cheered up soon enough. A case of long line and travel delay trauma.

It is so gorgeous here.
What a relief to be here. The air smells alive, and not like the inside of a freezer. And the sand on the beach is really soft and cool on the bottom of your feet, and water is blue and almost crystally when you swim in it. The cold and snow of Minneapolis feels like a bad dream I don’t want to think about. I am also totally relaxed, to the point where I’m shocked at how not relaxed I am in my real life. Basically, I am vegetating on the beach and pool, so I have nothing to say about the actual country of Mexico whatsoever.

The mesmerizing fountain
There is this fountain in the pool, like shooting water coming up from spouts in a circle. The fountain does this random thing where random droplets go oddly high, and you never know which area the high droplets will pop up from. I watched it for a really long time; it was SO strangely mesmerizing, I could barely tear my attention away from it. It reminded me of a StarTrek episode (Next Gen) where the whole crew is mesmerized by these video game headsets. It was one of the few episodes where Weseley wasn’t annoying.

Totally unproductive
I thought I’d think of some blog guest post ideas, since I do have an upcoming release and all, and plan to go bloghopping and all that. And I brought a hotel pen and hotel notepad out to the pool and all I could do was to wonder why some people use black ink, and others prefer blue. And how much I like little hotel notepads. Clearly not the frame of mind to work in. That’s probably a good thing, since all I do at home is work. Still, I find blogging recreational, so you’d think I’d be up for that. Too lazy minded to blog, yet, I am making this post. This reminds me of another Star Trek episode. Old Star Trek. Can anyone guess what episode I mean? Ooh, whoever gets it first wins a copy of Mind Games once I get my finished copies. Vacation Carolyn is making a contest!

Reading material
So I brought Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn, Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler, Spellbent by Lucy Snyder, The Devil Inside by Jenna Black, and Night Tides by Alex Prentiss.

So, I’m reading Tempest and Spellbent concurrently, and I had this dim idea on the beach this morning for a post comparing the levels of realism in Spellbent and Tempest, and what those levels mean in terms of what each of these authors can and can’t get away with. Or like, what pact it sets up with the reader. It would be a really cool post. Or would it? My whole mind is sort of on vacation, and I think my judgement might be off. At any rate, that sucker won’t be written anytime soon.

Sharon's scrunchie
This photo above shows my sister on the beach with her scrunchy, the source of some merciless teasing from my other sister.

What is happening in blogland?
I feel like I’m missing all sorts of stuff in blogland, and Jessica's stepback isn’t there. Jessica! People depend on your newsgathering acumen! I will be on the beach clueless now. What’s new, people? Ah, according to a latebreaking email from my homegirl Chris, still the Macmillan Amazon thing. Okay, okay. That's something I don't want to think about.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Things I'm looking forward to: exciting-to-me releases, a hunt, a vacay!

Kat Richardson's Scavenger Hunt starts today!!
A must-do for Harper Blaine/Greywalker fans in celebration of Richardson's sweet new site. HURRY! It's a time-based thing, but everyone wins something. Prizes include: books, a character named after you, art and more. Go here for more!!

Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry
Finally in mass market!! This is an intensely entertaining combination of gore, violence, and startling humor alongside surprising kindnesses and vivid characters.

Synopsis: Alive, ad exec Amanda Feral worked hard to wring enjoyment out of her days. Now that she's a zombie, it's a different story. Turns out, Seattle is home to glamorous undead of every description, and Amanda - stylish and impeccably groomed even in the afterlife - is swigging cocktails and living large (so to speak) among its elite. But there are downsides. Not being able to stomach anything except alcohol and human flesh, for instance. And the fact that someone is targeting Seattle's otherworldly inhabitants for their own sinister reasons. Preying on the undead is seriously uncool.

The only option is for Amanda and her zombie BFF Wendy and gorgeous gay vampire pal Gil to unearth the culprit among the legions of Seattle's bloodsuckers, shapeshifters, reapers, succubi, and demons - before they all meet a fate a lot worse than death...
Personal Note: See my writeup on Road Trip here.

Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh
A new fave series for me! Just finished book #1, Angels' Blood. GASP.

Synopsis: Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux wakes from a year-long coma to find that she has become an angel-and that her lover, the stunningly dangerous archangel Raphael, likes having her under his control. But almost immediately, Raphael must ready Elena for a flight to Beijing, to attend a ball thrown by the archangel Lijuan. Ancient and without conscience, Lijuan's power lies with the dead. And she has organized the most perfect and most vicious of welcomes for Elena...
Personal note: Will be slobbering over book #1, Angels' Blood, later this week.

Accidentally Demonic by Dakota Cassidy
Book #1 recently landed in my TBR pile due to multiple recommendations on its fun, funny reputation. SO stoked! I love glomming a series when a few are out already, so I can just tear through all of them.

Synopsis: When mild-mannered Casey Schwartz wakes up in jail, she has no memory of how she got there. But after her sister, Wanda, bails her out, Casey has more to deal with than a foggy memory-like abrupt mood swings and fireballs shooting from her fingertips. But things really head south when a vampire shows up on her doorstep...

Vampire Clayton Gunnersson is seriously hot. And seriously taken-by a demon. In a ritual gone wrong, Clayton tried to get rid of his unwanted bond, but spilled some demonic blood on Casey, getting her possessed in the process. Now, Casey has to share her body and manage to keep her growing attraction to Clayton in check, because falling for her demon's boyfriend just might get Casey killed-from the inside out.

Slow Heat by Jill Shalvis
Lub the Jill Shalvis! Stay tuned for my upcoming Jill Shalvis event!

Synopsis: After a woman claims she’s pregnant with Wade O’Riley’s love child, Major League Baseball’s most celebrated catcher and ladies’ man is slapped on the wrist by management and ordered to improve his image. His enforcer is the team’s publicist, the tough and sexy Samantha McNead.

When Wade needs a date for a celebrity wedding, Sam steps up to the plate as his “girlfriend.” But given her secret crush on him and that one awkward night a year ago in a stuck elevator with too much scotch, the whole thing is an exercise in sexual tension.

Wade is thrilled when the pretense turns into an unexpected night of hot passion. But the next day Sam is back to her cool self. As a catcher, Wade’s used to giving the signals, not struggling to read them. Now, to win the love of his “pretend” girlfriend, he needs a homerun–even it involves
stealing a few bases…

Reviewed by: Book Binge, Pearl

A Girl's Guide to Guns and Monsters
Brilliant, original sci-fi and fantasy stories featuring brave and bold heroines
With stories by: Lilith Saintcrow, Tanya Huff, Jeanne Stein, Anton Strout, Jim Hines and others!

Synopsis: Thirteen urban and paranormal tales of strong women, armed with weapons they are not afraid to use, as well as fists and feet of fury, who face monsters and bad guys-and are not above rescuing men in the process.
Reviewed by The Edge,
Personal Note: Psyched!

My trip to Mexico
Starting Friday, I will be in Mexico with my mom and two sisters. In Tulum, which is near Cancun. I'm really looking forward to it. Mr. Crane is jealous, but this is a girls only thing, and especially nice for my mom--we lost dad in 2008, and it hasn't been easy for her.

If the wireless is working, I'll post blow-by-blow reports of lounging, mindless chatter, sisterly power struggles, beach-related body image issues...wait maybe I won't give reports. LOL. No, I will...if I'm in the mood. I swear, in the last 10 days every client has come out of the woodwork with a rush job. I need to relax! So, hmmm, perhaps they will just be photos of food, and views of my toes over the top of a book.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Madness of Book bloggers

One of the funnest things about being a book blogger is just gushing senselessly over books to people who understand. Or wonking out on the tiny little details. Comparing and contrasting with other books with titles that most of the public would be like, WTF?

Who knows, maybe we're all actually crazy, all us book bloggers, with our freak TBR piles and fierce readerly opinions, but because we've found each other, we think we're totally normal. (Of course, I also have a split personality on top of the madness, since I'm part author, but that's another story.)

Indiscreet discussion
Case in point, the Carolyn Jewel frenzy that started last year between Lea, Renee, Christine and me, where we passed around a tattered copy of Scandal, then bought our own copies to keep or give away in contests.

This year, with Indiscreet, we all decided to rush out and buy it and review it concurrently. We even VOIPed about it. It was a blast, and I'm really grateful these smart, fun women let me be in on the festivities. And also, thanks to Carolyn Jewel for some serious reading pleasure. I liked Indiscreet even more than Scandal.

Read, eat, WIN:
Discussion over at Lea's Closetwriter - plus, you can leave a comment there to win!
Giveaway at Renee's B0ok Addiction - leave a comment there to win!
Find a fabulous recipe of something yummy the characters in Indiscreet actually ate at Christine's, (The Happily Ever After).
Here: Imagine me doing an interpretive dance.