Release Day: IN A FIX; TRIXIE; and more

Happy release day to the following books & authors! Which ones do you want?

This Case Is Gonna Kill MeTHIS CASE IS GONNA KILL ME
Phillipa Bornikova
Cover Copy: What happens when The Firm meets Anita Blake? You get the Halls of Power—our modern world, but twisted. Law, finance, the military, and politics are under the sway of long-lived vampires, werewolves, and the elven Alfar. Humans make the best of rule by “the Spooks,” and contend among themselves to affiliate with the powers-that-be, in order to avoid becoming their prey. Very loyal humans are rewarded with power over other women and men. Very lucky humans are selected to join the vampires, werewolves, and elves—or, on occasion, to live at the Seelie Court.
Linnet Ellery is the offspring of an affluent Connecticut family dating back to Colonial times. Fresh out of law school, she’s beginning her career in a powerful New York “white fang” law firm. She has high hopes of eventually making partner.
But strange things keep happening to her. In a workplace where some humans will eventually achieve immense power and centuries of extra lifespan, office politics can be vicious beyond belief. After some initial missteps, she finds herself sidelined and assigned to unpromising cases. Then, for no reason she can see, she becomes the target of repeated, apparently random violent attacks, escaping injury each time through increasingly improbable circumstances. However, there’s apparently more to Linnet Ellery than a little old-money human privilege. More than even she knows. And as she comes to understand this, she’s going to shake up the system like you wouldn’t believe….
Get itAmazon CA | Amazon US | Chapters | Goodreads

Supernatural Born Killers (Pepper Martin #9)SUPERNATURAL BORN KILLERS
Casey Daniels
Cover Copy: Former cemetery tour guide and reluctant medium Pepper Martin is thrilled when she gets her job back—with a promotion. But her new position is turning out to be more than she can handle, especially with the dead clamoring for her attention… As Garden View Cemetery’s new community relations manager, Pepper is feeling overwhelmed with planning the annual party to attract new sponsors. Luckily, some of the cemetery’s permanent residents have volunteered to give Pepper a ghostly hand, and she’s not about to turn away the help. But when a murdered ghost starts leaving puddles everywhere, Pepper quickly finds her newly acquired free time occupied. The dead man is her ex-boyfriend Quinn’s former partner Jack Haggarty—and he isn’t going away until Pepper figures out the real reason behind his murder. And while Quinn recently had a brush with the afterlife, he still isn’t ready to accept Pepper’s abilities—or offer his skills as a detective. Now, Pepper has to convince Quinn she’s the real deal and investigate Jack’s death—before someone else meets their end in a watery grave…
Get itAmazon CA | Amazon US | Chapters | Goodreads

The Asylum Interviews: Trixie (The Asylum Tales, #0.6)THE ASYLUM INTERVIEWS: TRIXIE (novella)
Jocelynn Drake
Cover Copy: The second of two prequel stories to Jocelynn Drake’s Angel’s Ink.
Gage’s ex-girlfriend is back in town and needs help escaping a master vampire. While not the easiest of tasks, he certainly didn’t count of getting help from a mysterious woman with a few secrets of her own.
100 pages
Get itAmazon US | Goodreads
[title available at Amazon US only]

THE KINGMAKERS
Clay and Susan Griffith
Cover Copy:  A war to the death.
Empress Adele has launched a grand crusade against the vampire clans of the north. Prince Gareth, the vampire lord of Scotland, serves the Equatorian cause, fighting in the bloody trenches of France in his guise as the dashing Greyfriar. But the human armies are pinned down, battered by harsh weather and merciless attacks from vampire packs.
To even the odds, Adele unleashes the power of her geomancy, a fearsome weapon capable of slaughtering vampires in vast numbers. However, the power she expends threatens her own life even as she questions the morality of such a weapon.
As the war turns ever bloodier and Adele is threatened by betrayal, Gareth faces a terrible choice. Their only hope is a desperate strike against the lord of the vampire clans—Gareth’s brother, Cesare. It is a gamble that could win the war or signal the final days of the Greyfriar.
The Vampire Empire trilogy rushes to a heart-wrenching conclusion of honor and love, hatred and vengeance, sacrifice and loss.
Get ItAmazon CA | Amazon US | Chapters | Goodreads

IN A FIX
Linda Grimes
UFL Review
UFL Interview
book trailer
Get itAmazon | Chapters/Indigo | Goodreads

Into the Woods: Tales from the Hollows and Beyond Pet Shop Boys: A Short Story
Kim Harrison
Cover Copy: From bestselling author Kim Harrison comes this original short story (to be featured in her anthology Into the Woods, October 2012) where things are most definitely not as they seem. A pet shop employee’s innocent date with a customer quickly turns disturbing rather than delightful. She and her family hold a centuries-old secret, and they want him to stay with them forever.
Get ItAmazon US | Goodreads
[title available at Amazon US only]

Clean (Mindspace Investigations, #1)CLEAN
Alex Hughes
Cover Copy: I used to work for the Telepath’s Guild before they kicked me out for a drug habit that wasn’t entirely my fault. Now I work for the cops, helping Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino put killers behind bars. My ability to get inside the twisted minds of suspects makes me the best interrogator in the department. But the normals keep me on a short leash. When the Tech Wars ripped the world apart, the Guild stepped up to save it. But they had to get scary to do it, real scary. Now the cops don’t trust the telepaths, the Guild doesn’t trust me, a serial killer is stalking the city, and I’m aching for a fix. But I need to solve this case. Fast. I’ve just had a vision of the future: I’m the next to die.
Get ItAmazon CA | Amazon US | Chapters | Goodreads

Have Stakes Will TravelHAVE STAKES WILL TRAVEL (novella)
Faith Hunter
Cover Copy: In Have Stakes Will Travel, readers get a chance to go deeper into the thrilling world of skinwalker and vampire hunter Jane Yellowrock. In “WeSa,” the Beast who lives inside Jane watches as her hunting grounds become prey. In “Haints,” Jane and her best friend, witch Molly Trueblood, are hired to investigate mysterious paranormal phenomena—and the evil they find brings a new meaning to the words “haunted house.” “Signatures of the Dead” tells the story of the vampire massacre that made Jane Yellowrock a household name. And in “Cajun with Fangs,” Jane makes a new friend who turns out to have old enemies, and finds herself drawn into a vicious blood feud, fueled by dark magic and ancient grudges.
143 pages
Get itAmazon US
[title available at Amazon US only]

Ashes of Honor (October Daye, #6)ASHES OF HONOR
Seanan McGuire
Cover Copy: It’s been almost a year since October “Toby” Daye averted a war, gave up a county, and suffered personal losses that have left her wishing for a good day’s sleep. She’s tried to focus on her responsibilities—training Quentin, upholding her position as Sylvester’s knight, and paying the bills—but she can’t help feeling like her world is crumbling around her, and her increasingly reckless behavior is beginning to worry even her staunchest supporters.
To make matters worse, Toby’s just been asked to find another missing child…only this time it’s the changeling daughter of her fellow knight, Etienne, who didn’t even know he was a father until the girl went missing. Her name is Chelsea. She’s a teleporter, like her father. She’s also the kind of changeling the old stories warn about, the ones with all the strength and none of the control. She’s opening doors that were never meant to be opened, releasing dangers that were sealed away centuries before—and there’s a good chance she could destroy Faerie if she isn’t stopped.
Now Toby must find Chelsea before time runs out, racing against an unknown deadline and through unknown worlds as she and her allies try to avert disaster. But danger is also stirring in the Court of Cats, and Tybalt may need Toby’s help with the biggest challenge he’s ever faced.
Toby thought the last year was bad. She has no idea.
Get ItAmazon CA | Amazon US | Chapters | Goodreads

Dead Mann Running (Hessius Mann, #2)Dead Mann Running
Stefan Petrucha
Cover Copy: Just because a bullet has your name on it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t duck. Either I’m stubborn or it’s rigor mortis, but being dead didn’t stop me from being a detective. But it’s tough out there for a zombie. These days the life-challenged have to register and take monthly tests to prove our emotional stability. See, if we get too low, we go feral. And I’ve been feeling down lately myself. So when a severed arm, yeah, just the arm, leaves a mysterious briefcase in my office, my assistant Misty thinks figuring out where it came from will keep me on track. But this job goes deeper and darker than I imagined. Turns out the people after the briefcase know more about my past life than I can remember, and even more about what I’ve become.
Get ItAmazon CA | Amazon US | Goodreads

The Dirty Streets of HeavenThe Dirty Streets of Heaven
Tad Williams
Cover Copy: Bobby Dollar is an angel, a real one. Bobby’s wrestling with a few deadly sins of his own, pride, anger, even lust. Bobby can’t entirely trust his heavenly superiors, and he’s not too sure about any of his fellow earthbound angels either, especially the new trainee angel that Heaven has dropped into their midst. And he sure as hell doesn’t trust the Countess of Cold Hands, a mysterious she-demon who seems to be the only one willing to tell him the truth. When the souls of the recently departed start disappearing things get bad very quickly for Bobby D. Caught between the angry forces of Hell, the dangerous strategies of his own side, and a monstrous undead avenger that wants to rip his head off and suck out his soul, Bobby’s going to need all the friends he can get.
Get It – Amazon CA | Amazon US | Chapters | Goodreads

An Apple for the Creatureanthology – AN APPLE FOR THE CREATURE
Includes stories by: ILONA ANDREWS, AMBER BENSON, RHYS BOWEN, MIKE CAREY, CHARLAINE HARRIS, DONALD HARSTAD, STEVE HOCKENSMITH, NANCY HOLDER, FAITH HUNTER, TONI L.P. KELNER, MARJORIE LIU, JONATHAN MABERRY, THOMAS SNIEGOSKI
Cover Copy: Includes a never-before-published Sookie Stackhouse story!

What could be scarier than the first day of school? How about a crash course in the paranormal from Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner, editors of Home Improvement: Undead Edition? Your worst school nightmares—taking that math test you never studied for, finding yourself naked in school assembly, not knowing which door to enter—will pale in comparison to these thirteen original stories that take academic anxiety to whole new realms.

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris’s story, “Playing Possum,” Sookie Stackhouse brings enough birthday cupcakes for her nephew’s entire class but finds she’s one short when the angry ex-boyfriend of the school secretary shows up.

When her guardian, Kate Daniels, sends her undercover to a school for exceptional children, teenaged Julie learns an all-new definition of “exceptional,” in New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews’s “Magic Tests.”

For those who like fangs with their forensics, New York Times bestselling author Nancy Holder offers “VSI,” in which FBI agent Claire is tested as never before in a school for Vampire Scene Investigation.

And in New York Times bestselling author Thomas Sniegoski’s “The Bad Hour,” Remy Chandler and his dog Marlowe find evil unleashed in an obedience school.

You’ll need more than an apple to stave off the creatures in these and nine other stories. Remember your first lesson: resistance is fruitless!
Get itAmazon CA | Amazon US | Chapters | Goodreads

Ghosts: Recent Hauntingsanthology – GHOSTS: Recent Hauntings
Cover Copy: The spirits of the dead have walked among our legends, myths, and stories since before recorded history. Ghostly visitations, hauntings, unquiet souls seeking the living, vengeful wraiths, the possibility of life beyond the grave that can somehow reach out and touch us…these are some of literature’s most enduring icons. Now, in the twenty-first century, we are no less fascinated with phantoms than our cave-dwelling ancestors or our Victorian-age forebears. Thirty modern masters of fright and fantasy fill this anthology with shivers, chills, and spooky explorations of both sides of the veil. Be prepared to keep a light on all night!

Peter Atkins: “Between the Cold Moon and the Earth”
Rick Bowes: “There’s a Hole in the City”
Laird Barron: “The Lagerstatte”
Steve Duffy: “The Rag-and-Bone Men”
Jeffrey Ford: “The Trentino Kid”
Karen Joy Fowler: “Booth’s Ghost”
Neil Gaiman: “October in the Chair”
Stephen Gallagher: “The Box”
Elizabeth Hand: “Wonderwall”
Glen Hirshberg: “The Muldoon”
Alaya Dawn Johnson: “The Score”
Stephen Graham Jones: “Uncle” (original)
Caitlin R. Kiernan: “Apokatastasis”
Marc Laidlaw: “Cell Call”
Margo Lanagan: “The Proving of Smollett Standforth”
John Langan: “The Third Always Beside You”
Joe R. Lansdale: “The Case of the Lighthouse Shambler”
Maureen F. McHugh: “Ancestor Money”
Sarah Monette: “The Watcher in the Corners”
Reggie Oliver: “Mrs Midnight”
Richard Parks: “The Plum Blossom Lantern”
James van Pelt: “Savannah is Six”
Tim Powers: “A Soul in a Bottle”
Barbara Roden: “The Palace”
Ekaterina Sedia: “Tin Cans”
Nisi Shawl: “Cruel Sistah”
John Shirley: “Faces in Walls”
Peter Straub: “Mr Aikman’s Air Rifle”
Melanie Tem: “Dhost”
Steve Rasnic Tem: “The Ex”
Get itAmazon CA | Amazon US| Chapters | Goodreads

[Interview] Linda Grimes, author of IN A FIX

I’m so excited to introduce you to Linda Grimes, author of IN A FIX. As you will soon see, Linda is very witty and imaginative– much like her novel! [Be sure to sign up for the Urban Fantasy Land newsletter for a bonus anecdote from this interview.]

UFL: IN A FIX is about people with the ability to alter their appearance by taking on another person’s aura, which is a very interesting super power for urban fantasy. Could you tell us about how you came up with this idea and how it evolved into a story?

As soon the character of Ciel popped into my head (after I saw the name on a vanity license plate), I knew she could look like anyone she wanted to—that ability was an integral part of her from the beginning. I also knew she wasn’t a “shape-shifter,” not in the same sense shape-shifters are generally thought of, anyway—that there wasn’t some physical metamorphosis going on when she changed appearances. She could change instantly, by altering the energy that surrounded her—her aura.

To be honest, I didn’t try to think of the concept; it just … well, was.

UFL: Would I be correct in assuming taking on an aura is similar to acting? How has your experience as an actress helped you write this story?

Oh, definitely. Taking on an aura is like Method acting in the extreme. Ciel goes through much the same process to get the “internals” of her clients right as I did when I “got into character” before going on stage. I think most writers probably do something similar when they’re deep in their characters’ POVs.

I’ve found a background in theater to be extremely helpful with my writing. Not only in the character development sense, but also in the directorial sense—how to set the “stage” for each scene to its best advantage in order to further the plot. “Blocking” your characters in a scene is like blocking them onstage. Always knowing where they are keeps the confusion to a minimum, I find. This is essential for me, because I tend to write rather *cough* complicated plots.

UFL: I’m sensing some influence from Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. Was she an influence? What other authors influence and inspire you?

Yeah, I’d say so. I love Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, so I’m sure I was influenced by her, among many others. Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden, for instance (what smart-ass—I love that!) and Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar (another wise-ass … are you sensing a theme here?). I’ve always appreciated a mouthy character. *grin* And I think all writers are influenced in some way by every book they read.

UFL: In IN A FIX, Ciel travels to Sweden. I understand you’ve been to Sweden and other countries around the world. Do you have plans to take Ciel around the world as well?

Absolutely! Book 2 (QUICK FIX) is set mainly in NYC, but I suspect there are more international adventures for Ciel on the horizon. I do love Ireland … and France … and Australia (though I haven’t been there yet), so who knows where Ciel may wind up? All I know is, wherever she goes, trouble will surely find her.

UFL: Ciel is caught between two very hot guys. Who would you dream cast as Mark and Billy?

That is kind of tough, since no actor I know of looks exactly like the guys in my head. I can narrow it down to types, but that’s about it.

Billy is kind of a combination of Matt Bomer (from the TV series White Collar), Callum Blue (from the TV series Dead Like Me) and Ian Somerhalder (from The Vampire Diaries). They all have that dark-haired bad-boy charm like Billy.

Mark makes me think of a young Steve McQueen (only, yannoh, not dead) or perhaps Charlie Hunnam (from Sons of Anarchy). Hot, blond, and dangerous.

But, really, I think readers should “cast” the book however they see fit. Different strokes for different folks, especially when it comes to whom we consider hot, right?

Thank you so much for hosting me on your marvelous website, Sara!

Thank you for being here, Linda! Best of luck with IN A FIX!

About The Author: Linda grew up in Texas, where she rode horses and embarrassed herself onstage a lot. She currently resides in Virginia with her husband, whom she snagged after he saw her in a musical number at the now defunct Melodrama Theater in San Antonio. (There’s nothing like a rousing chorus of “If You Wanna Catch a Fish You Gotta Wiggle Your Bait” to hook a man for a lifetime.) Like her globetrotting main character, Linda has spent her fair share of time overseas, though fortunately under less stressful circumstances. Kidnapping and daring rescues are all well and good in fiction, but she prefers sanity in her real life.

About The Novel: Snagging a marriage proposal for her client while on an all-expenses-paid vacation should be a simple job for Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire. A kind of human chameleon, she’s able to take on her clients’ appearances and slip seamlessly into their lives, solving any sticky problems they don’t want to deal with themselves. No fuss, no muss. Big paycheck.

This particular assignment is pretty enjoyable… that is, until Ciel’s island resort bungalow is blown to smithereens and her client’s about-to-be-fiancé is snatched by modern-day Vikings. For some reason, Ciel begins to suspect that getting the ring is going to be a tad more difficult than originally anticipated.

Going from romance to rescue requires some serious gear-shifting, as well as a little backup. Her best friend, Billy, and Mark, the CIA agent she’s been crushing on for years—both skilled adaptors—step in to help, but their priority is, annoyingly, keeping her safe. Before long, Ciel is dedicating more energy to escaping their watchful eyes than she is to saving her client’s intended.

Suddenly, facing down a horde of Vikings feels like the least of her problems.

[Review] IN A FIX by Linda Grimes

IN A FIX
Linda Grimes

Cover Copy: Snagging a marriage proposal for her client while on an all-expenses-paid vacation should be a simple job for Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire. A kind of human chameleon, she’s able to take on her clients’ appearances and slip seamlessly into their lives, solving any sticky problems they don’t want to deal with themselves. No fuss, no muss. Big paycheck.

This particular assignment is pretty enjoyable… that is, until Ciel’s island resort bungalow is blown to smithereens and her client’s about-to-be-fiancé is snatched by modern-day Vikings. For some reason, Ciel begins to suspect that getting the ring is going to be a tad more difficult than originally anticipated.

Going from romance to rescue requires some serious gear-shifting, as well as a little backup. Her best friend, Billy, and Mark, the CIA agent she’s been crushing on for years—both skilled adaptors—step in to help, but their priority is, annoyingly, keeping her safe. Before long, Ciel is dedicating more energy to escaping their watchful eyes than she is to saving her client’s intended.

Suddenly, facing down a horde of Vikings feels like the least of her problems.

My Thoughts:  Ciel Halligan is far from perfect. She’s adventurous and ambitious. Mistakes happen. Situations get awkward, even dangerous. She reminded me a lot of Stephanie Plum from Janet Evanovich’s Plum series. Which is a good thing. I like a flawed character who grows up some by the end of the story.

Ciel’s assignment is to get a marriage proposal out of her client’s boyfriend. So she assumes her client’s aura and poses as her on an island getaway with the gorgeous boyfriend. Ciel grapples with the morals of sleeping with her client’s boyfriend. It would be expected, right? But also morally wrong. Here’s where Ciel’s adventurous personality steps in, and she decides to go for it– until karma explodes around her, and Ciel faces a couple of interesting twists, including a neighbour who closely resembles the Queen of England. (I loved this character!)

Ciel ends up in Sweden, where she has to escape and fight hordes of angry Vikings. It was nice to see a different country and culture feature in urban fantasy in a different way. Don’t expect to see swords or dwarves or elves or anything resembling Middle Earth. The only magic here is the ability to assume another person’s aura. The only non-humans here are the aura adaptors– shapeshifters that aren’t quite like the shapeshifters we’re used to. If anything, they’re more like really good actors with a little something extra in the make-up department.

Then there’s the guys. Ciel’s feelings are tangled up between Billy, the friend she’s known forever and Mark, hot CIA agent who is friends with her brother. Both want Ciel safe and practically smother her with their manly protection. I was so glad to see Ciel not put up with this behaviour for long. Though she may be clumsy and inexperienced, she’s not stupid or completely incapable. (Don’t expect her to be kicking butt, though. She’s not there yet. I have a feeling if we stick with Ciel, she’ll be kicking butt in future installments.)

I did find the first half of the story to be a little slower than the beginning and the ending. It felt like the pacing was struggling to find its feet. But the premise was enough to pull me through.

IN A FIX is not short on action. There’s plenty of explosions, kidnapping, and gunfire to keep you reading late into the night. Grimes’s writing is witty and smooth. You just might find yourself laughing out loud.

If you like action, adventure and witty writing combined with a little romance, IN A FIX is for you.

Rating: A-
Series: In a Fix, #1
Publisher: Tor Books, Sept 2012
Acquired: NetGalley

Get itAmazon | Chapters/Indigo | Goodreads | Kobo | Sony

[Note: at the time of this review, this book was not available at Kobo or the Sony ebook store.]