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In My Mailbox (4)…Series and Sexytimes

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

Decent haul this time, because I did a lot of shopping in the Barnes & Noble after holiday sales.

Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich: Turn on all the lights and check under your bed. Things are about to get spooky in Trenton, New Jersey. According to legend, the Jersey Devil prowls the Pine Barrens and soars above the treetops in the dark of night. As eerie as this might seem, there are things in the Barrens that are even more frightening and dangerous. And there are monkeys. Lots of monkeys. Wulf Grimoire is a world wanderer and an opportunist who can kill without remorse and disappear like smoke. He’s chosen Martin Munch, boy genius, as his new business partner, and he’s chosen the Barrens as his new playground. Munch received his doctorate degree in quantum physics when he was twenty-two. He’s now twenty-four, and while his brain is large, his body hasn’t made it out of the boys’ department at Macy’s. Anyone who says good things come in small packages hasn’t met Munch. Wulf Grimoire is looking for world domination. Martin Munch would be happy if he could just get a woman naked and tied to a tree. Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has Munch on her most-wanted list for failure to appear in court. Plum is the all-American girl stuck in an uncomfortable job, succeeding on luck and tenacity. Usually she gets her man. This time she gets a monkey. She also gets a big guy named Diesel. Diesel pops in and out of Plum’s life like birthday cake – delicious to look at and taste, not especially healthy as a steady diet, gone by the end of the week if not sooner. He’s an über bounty hunter with special skills when it comes to tracking men and pleasing women. He’s after Grimoire, and now he’s also after Munch. And if truth were told, he wouldn’t mind setting Stephanie Plum in his crosshairs. Diesel and Plum hunt down Munch and Grimoire, following them into the Barrens, surviving cranberry bogs, the Jersey Devil, a hair-raising experience, sand in their underwear, and, of course . . . monkeys.

Finger Lickin’ Fifteen by Janet Evanovich: New Jersey bail-bonds office worker Lula is a witness to celebrity chef, Stanley Chipotle, losing his head, literally. Now Lula and Stephanie Plum, a bond enforcement officer, are on the hunt to identify the killers before Lula is next on the chopping block. Meantime, security expert Carlos Manoso, aka Ranger, has recruited Stephanie for a top secret mission. Someone on the inside at Rangeman is leaking client information, determined to bring the company down. Can Stephanie hunt down a killer, a traitor, and keep her Grandma out of the sauce?

Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo (which apparently came from a local store to the author, because it is tagged as such and autographed, which was a nice surprise): The Plank family moved from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to join the small Amish community of Painters Mill less than a year ago and seemed the model of the Plain Life—until on a cold October night, the entire family of seven was found slaughtered on their farm. Police Chief Kate Burkholder and her small force have few clues, no motive, and no suspect. Formerly Amish herself, Kate is no stranger to the secrets the Amish keep from the English—and each other—but this crime is horribly out of the ordinary. State agent John Tomasetti arrives on the scene to assist. He and Kate worked together on a previous case during which they began a volatile relationship. They soon realize the disturbing details of this case will test their emotional limits and force them to face demons from their own troubled pasts—and for Kate, a personal connection that is particularly hard to bear. When she discovers a diary that belonged to one of the teenaged daughters, Kate is shocked to learn the girl kept some very dark secrets and may have been living a lurid double life. Who is the charismatic stranger who stole the young Amish girl’s heart? Could the brother—a man with a violent past, rejected and shunned by his family and the Amish community, have come to seek out revenge? As Kate’s outrage grows so does her resolve to find the killer and bring him to justice—even if it means putting herself in the line of fire.

A River in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters: August 1910. Banned from the Valley of the Kings by the Antiquities Service, Amelia Peabody and her husband, Emerson, are relaxing at home in Kent, enjoying the tranquil beauty of summer. But adventure soon beckons when they are persuaded to follow would-be archaeologist Major George Morley on an expedition to Palestine, a province of the crumbling, corrupt Ottoman Empire and the Holy Land of three religions. Searching for the vanished treasures of the Temple in Jerusalem, Morley is determined to unearth the legendary Ark of the Covenant. The skeptical Emerson wants no part of the scheme until a request from the War Office and Buckingham Palace persuades him to reconsider. The Germans are increasing their influence in Palestine and British intelligence insists that Morley is an agent of the Kaiser, sent to stir up trouble in this politically volatile land. Emerson can’t believe that the seemingly inept Morley is a German spy, but could he be mistaken? Determined to prevent a catastrophically unprofessional excavation that could destroy priceless historical finds as well as cause an armed protest by infuriated Christians, Jews, and Muslims who view the Temple Mount, also known as the Dome of the Rock, as sacred, Amelia, Emerson, and company head to Palestine. Though it is not to her beloved Egypt, the trip to Jerusalem will also reunite her with her handsome and headstrong son, Ramses, working on a dig at Samaria, north of the holy city. Before Ramses can meet his parents, however, he is distracted by an unusual party of travelers who have arrived in Samaria, including a German woman archaeologist and a mysterious man of unknown nationality and past. Unfortunately, Ramses’s insatiable curiosity and his knack for trouble lead him to a startling discovery: information he must pass on to his parents in Jerusalem—if he can get there alive. Once again the Peabody-Emerson clan must use all their skills and wiles to find the truth, prevent a bloody holy war, and save their son from the clutches of a nefarious enemy in this wonderfully engaging tale chock-full of thrills, mystery, and daring from the inimitable Elizabeth Peters.

Laughed ‘Til He Died by Carolyn Hart: Intrigue and foul play are no strangers to the idyllic South Carolina sea island of Broward’s Rock. Mystery bookstore owner Annie Darling and her husband, Max, who specialize in solving problems, plunge into a startling web of danger and deceit when a trio of deaths is linked to the island’s youth recreation center. With the evidence mounting against her, the center’s director seeks out Max to clear her name. When it comes to intrigue, where Max goes, Annie isn’t far behind. To save an innocent woman, the pair scrambles to unravel three complex interlinked puzzles: the mystery of three guns, the pulled-out pant pockets of one victim, and the disappearance of a teenager whose stepfather always had the last laugh—until he died.

Bite Me: A Love Story by Christopher Moore: The city of San Francisco is being stalked by a huge shaved vampyre cat named Chet, and only I, Abby Normal, emergency backup mistress of the Greater Bay Area night, and my manga-haired love monkey, Foo Dog, stand between the ravenous monster and a bloody massacre of the general public. Whoa. And this is a love story? Yup. ‘Cept there’s no whining. See, while some lovers were born to run, Jody and Tommy were born to bite. Well, reborn, that is, now that they’re vampires. Good thing theirs is an undying love, since their Goth Girl Friday, Abby Normal, imprisoned them in a bronze statue. Abby wants to be a bloodsucking fiend, too, but right now she’s really busy with other stuff, like breaking in a pair of red vinyl thigh-high Skankenstein® platform boots and wrangling her Ph.D.-candidate boyfriend, Steve (the love monkey). And then there’s that vampire cat Chet, who’s getting bigger and smarter—and thirstier—by the minute. Abby thought she and Steve could handle the kitty cat on their own, mais non . . .
Before you can say “OMG! WTF?” Tommy and Jody are sprung from captivity, and join forces with Abby, Steve, the frozen-turkey-bowling Safeway crew, the Emperor of San Francisco and his trusty dogs Lazarus and Bummer, Abby’s gay Goth friend Jared, and SF’s finest Cavuto and Rivera to hunt big cat and save the city. And that’s when the fun really begins.

Paradise Rules by Beth Kery (sexy stories about characters of color in Hawaii, yes please!): To most people, Hawaii’s crystal blue shores are an inviting opportunity to escape reality. But for Lana Rodriguez, who grew up there, the picture-perfect vacation getaway disguises the bitter truths she escaped years ago, and not without some emotional scars. Now a successful blues singer, Lana’s returning to Waikiki to control her own destiny, with a bold defiance when it comes to men, romance, and sex. A local celebrity, businessman, and island god, Jason Koa is every woman’s dream-but for Lana, it’s not love at first sight. Though their start is rocky, they can’t deny the passions they arouse in each other. Jason decides it’s time to show Lana who makes the rules on this island-and in the bedroom. But will Jason’s attempt at breaking Lana’s shell reveal secrets that neither are prepared to face, or will they allow themselves to get swept away by a tidal wave of desire?

Pleasures of the Forbidden Valley by Diana Mercury: Legend tells of a lost valley high in the Himalayas—a place where fantasy, sensuality, and pleasure reign supreme. Diandra is determined to find this magical place . . . at any cost. A beautiful and sexually adventurous cultural anthropologist, Diandra is exhilarated when an intriguing exotic stranger offers to take her to his legendary hidden village a world away. Marriage is the price, he tells her, and Diandra hesitantly agrees. But after an arduous journey to the breathtaking Lost Valley, she is stunned to discover that local custom demands she be the wife to all of her new husband’s virile brothers as well—and that each union must be consummated . . . before the entire village! At first shocked, Diandra soon finds her new role deliciously appealing, as the passionate attentions of three enthusiastic lovers carry her to new pinnacles of erotic satisfaction. But there is a mysterious fourth brother—proud, handsome, hot, charismatic, and resentful of an arrangement that forces him to share. When Yeshi returns to the valley, suddenly Diandra’s simple life of nonstop pleasure is not so simple anymore . . . as taboos are broken and passions spin wildly, unexpectedly out of control.

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In My Mailbox (3)…Deadline, Kiss of Death, The Babysitter Murders, Five Flavors of Dumb

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

Deadline by Mira Grant: Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organization he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn’t seem as fun when you’ve lost as much as he has. But when a CDC researcher fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun has a newfound interest in life. Because she brings news-he may have put down the monster who attacked them, but the conspiracy is far from dead. Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun.

Kiss of Death by Lauren Henderson: Scarlett thought Dan McAndrew’s murder was long behind her, but when she and her classmates arrive in Edinburgh for a weeklong field trip, she’s startled to be joined by her old St. Tabby’s cohorts–and enemies–who are visiting the area on a field trip as well. Even more startling, Callum, Dan’s surviving twin, is in the area–and his cold treatment leaves Scarlett wondering what’s changed, especially when a series of attacks makes her believe that someone’s out to get her for her past mistakes. Would Callum ever hurt her, though? And what’s Scarlett to make of her conflicting feelings for Callum, now that Jase isn’t around? Even more upsetting, why is her most trusted confidante, Taylor, acting distant and dismissive?

The Babysitter Murders by Janet Ruth Young: Everyone has weird thoughts sometimes. But for seventeen-year-old Dani Solomon, strange thoughts have taken over her life. She loves Alex, the little boy she babysits, more than anything. But one day, she has a vision of murdering him that’s so gruesome, she can’t get it out of her mind. In fact, Dani’s convinced that she really will kill Alex. She confesses the thoughts to keep him safe, setting off a media frenzy that makes “Dani Death” the target of an extremist vigilante group. Through the help of a brave therapist, Dani begins to heal her broken mind. But will it be too late? The people of her community want justice . . . and Dani’s learning that some thoughts are better left unsaid.

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John: Piper is a seventeen-year-old high school senior, and she’s just been challenged to get her school’s super-popular rock band, Dumb, a paying gig. The catch? Piper is deaf. Can she manage a band with five wildly different musicians, nurture a budding romance, and discover her own inner rock star, though she can’t hear Dumb’s music?

In My Mailbox (2)…Daughters of Artemis author’s copies (Month of Thanksgiving Days 11 – 20)

(Month of Thanksgiving is exactly what it sounds like: a [hopefully] daily dose of the things for which I give thanks during the month of November.)

So I have failed at posting daily for Month of Thanksgiving, but I have been intentionally thankful each day, and I will share some of them here.

Day 11: I am thankful for solo road trips. I love being alone in my car, just me and my music and my machine, the road stretched out before us. I do a lot of driving at night, on lesser used highways, my lights the only thing breaking up the darkness for miles at a time.

Day 12: I am thankful for people who put up their outdoor holiday lights even though it’s still before Thanksgiving. Isolated farm houses appearing from the fields as I pass, bright white lights framing windows and doors, dangling from the roof, and trees wrapped in colorful strands. It’s beautiful and fleeting and an excellent reminder that some of the most amazing moments happen unexpectedly and then are gone.

Day 13: I am thankful for reading stories to other people. I spent some time with Tech Guru during my trip. One of those days, we were lounging around, me with a book, him watching old Whose Line Is It Anyway? episodes, and he asked me to read to him what I was reading. I was in the middle of the book, in the middle of the chapter, in the middle of the page, but I started reading aloud and continued on that way until my voice broke. He didn’t really care about the book or the story or the characters, but it was so nice to share that time together, laughing over the story.

(Laughing over the way I read so much faster than I can speak, and my brain runs ahead of me when I read aloud, and then I stumble a little to keep from skipping paragraphs at a time.)

Day 14: I am thankful for hot drinks (peppermint mocha) and cold drinks (iced caramel mocha) and the buzz of caffeine carrying me through the many, many entries on my to do list.

Day 15: I am thankful for Hulu, and for the network websites that offer streaming, which allows me to stay fairly current on the shows I enjoy without having to buy a television and order cable. I don’t mind being a week or so behind for some shows. I like being able to watch on my own schedule.

Day 16: I am thankful for good coworkers and team building lunches and having a job that I love a lot most of the time. Two jobs, really, because I also love my writing career.

Day 17: I am thankful for my publishers, with whom I have had such amazing experiences. I have been very, very lucky, and though I frequently focus on all the things I haven’t yet done, I need to take the time to remember all the things I have and all the things I love about what I’ve done.

Day 18: I am thankful for friends who remind me that I am doing more than I think I am, despite how much I feel like I have everything yet to do.

Day 19: I am thankful for the broiler, which I used for the first time today and which is amazing. How have I ever lived without it? Melty cheese on my sandwich, sourdough crunchy at the edges — I can’t wait to figure out more ways to use.

Day 20: I am thankful for author’s copies of gorgeous books. I opened my author’s copies of Daughters of Artemis today, and it is a beautiful book in person, just absolutely beautiful.

Daughters of Artemis cover

(Image description: A book cover in grays and shadows, with a full moon in the upper right, partially obscurred by dark clouds and the anthology title, “Daughters of Artemis: A Storm Moon Press Anthology.” A bare tree takes up the left side of the cover, and there are rocks at the bottom. On the rocks is a wolf and two women with pale skin. One woman is naked, the other wearing a dark dress. The clothed woman stands above the wolf and the other woman, the alpha to her pack. Contributors names are in the bottom right corner: Shashauna Thomas, Della Buckland, S.L. Armstrong, Marie Carlson, Erik Moore and K. Piet.)

It’s a crappy picture because I’m in a hurry, but oh, author’s copies, amazing.

In My Mailbox (1)…Werewolf Books (and More) (Month of the Werewolf Day 31)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

In a much larger package full of winter holiday gifts for people, I did receive four books this week, two of them about werewolves.

Cover of Claire De Lune

(IMAGE DESCRIPTION: White cover with thin black branches curving down from the top right and up from the bottom left. One of the small leaves on the top branch is red and dripping blood. At the center of the image, CLAIRE DE LUNE is written in black font and “Claire’s secret chose her.” is written in red. Christine Johnson is written in red font below the bottom branch.)

Claire De Lune by Christine Johnson

Torn between two destinies.

Claire is having the perfect sixteenth birthday. Her pool party is a big success, and her crush keeps chatting and flirting with her as if she’s the only girl there. But that night she discovers something that takes away all sense of normalcy: she’s a werewolf. As Claire is initiated into the pack of female werewolves, she finds her lupine loyalty at odds with her human heart. Burdened with a dark secret and pushing the boundaries of forbidden love, she will be forced to make a choice that will change her life forever.

I have heard really good things about this, and I am very excited to read it, and hopefully to be excited for Nocturne, the next book in the series.

Cover for Bitten by Moonlight.

(IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A computer-generated werewolf stands in front of thin dark plants, fog rolling up on the ground. The wolf has breasts with nipples. In blue at the top of the cover is BITTEN BY MOONLIGHT. Beneath it, in a lighter blue, the names of the authors: Catherine Lundoff, Tyree Campbell, Erzebet Yellowboy, and Racheline Maltese. At the botton of the cover, in the same lighter blue, is Edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft.)

Bitten By Moonlight edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft

The full of the moon is a time of transformation for the characters in this collection of four novellas, in more ways than one. Becca discovers menopause is more than just a question of hormones. Gretchen’s life, which she views with shame and horror, may not be the worst that can happen. Paulina just wanted a place to sleep, but fate has other plans. And are there really vegan werewolves? Terror and joy, love and death, fear and courage: all facets of the human, and inhuman, condition evolve when you’re Bitten by Moonlight.

I have been really excpited about this ever since I heard Catherine Lundoff talking about her werewolf writing. (Her story is “Silver Moon.”) I wish there was a better cover; that werewolf is not doing it for me at all, and by that I don’t mean it’s not sexy and that’s why it’s bad, but because it doesn’t work for me as a werewolf. Still, I have high hopes for the stories.

(The other two books were Band Geeked Out by Josie Bloss and Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey.)

So this is the end of the Month of the Werewolf, at least until October 2012. Maybe then I will be able to post every day. Tomorrow, I will be at work for most of the day, but then I am coming home to watch The Howling and Cursed, two of my favorite werewolf movies. I’d hoped to track down some of that Newcastle Werewolf Blood Red Ale, but alas, none of my alcohol suppliers have yet been able to track it down for me. Still, werewolf movies and a gorgeous Halloween night will be a delightful way to celebrate.

Happy Halloween! Happy Month of the Werewolf!