Category: Giveaways

Rachel Neumeier Blog Tour!

Posted January 30, 2014 by Nikki in Giveaways, Interviews / 9 Comments

Cover of Black Dog, by Rachel NeumeierI’ve been a supporter/fan of Angry Robot and their sister companies, Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A, since… well, early on, really. So I’m glad that the second author I get to host here on this blog is Strange Chemistry’s Rachel Neumeier, promoting her new book, Black Dog. I haven’t finished reading it yet, but my review will be coming up soon: for now I’ll just say I’m intrigued by the Mexican-American heroes and heroine, and I think Neumeier is doing something fascinating and new here.

Anyway, I came up with a whole list of topics Rachel Neumeier might like to post about. I’ll let her introduce herself now!

“Thank you, Nikki, for inviting me to post at The Bibliophibian – it’s a pleasure to be here!

I liked the idea of picking out a Top Ten list of werewolves, but quickly discovered that ten was beyond me . . . I simply haven’t read enough UF or paranormal to manage a top ten list, yet.  I know that’s kind of shocking. I haven’t read anything by Eileen Wilks yet – though I want to, and have her first book on my Kindle.  I haven’t read Nalini Singh.  I’ve heard great things about NIGHTSHIFTED by Cassie Alexander, but I just haven’t found the time, yet.

I will say, any werewolf story that is more horror than fantasy isn’t likely to make my Top Ten list.  I like the modern shapeshifters of urban fantasy and paranormal much better than the old-fashioned horrific werewolves.

Let me start with werewolves and then move on to other shapeshifters – including at least two that I bet have never before appeared on “best shapeshifter” lists, though they totally qualify.

Okay, I discovered my all-time favorite werewolves in MOON CALLED by Patricia Briggs.  And my favorite little coyote, too, of course.  I totally fell in love with Bran Cornick not to mention Samuel and Charles.  And Adam, of course.  Scarily competent always works for me.

It’s hard to overstate how important the Mercy Thompson series was to me – without this series, it’s very unlikely I would ever have written BLACK DOG.  I would have stuck to straight secondary fantasy and maybe branchedCover of Iron Kissed, by Patricia Briggs out into SF, but UF or paranormal?  Very unlikely.

Is it cheating to pick two books in the same series?  But it’s my favorite series, so I think I will go with it.  IRON KISSED, the third Mercy Thompson book, is a really powerful story and made me really love Ben as a character.

Even though I haven’t even begun to read All The Things, I think the best wolves in UF/Paranormal are probably found in BITTEN, by Kelly Armstrong.  I don’t mind when werewolves don’t act a bit like real wolves no matter what form they’re in – but I am not so keen on werewolves that are supposed to act like real wolves, but don’t.  I really love the way the werewolves in Armstrong’s series act so much like real wolves when they are in wolf form.  Armstrong does by far the best job of capturing the playfulness and joie de verve of wolves.

The very first werewolf book I ever read was BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE by Annette Curtis Klause.  This story hits all the werewolf tropes – and it does it very well, too.  It’s easy to get pulled along by the new, shiny titles as they hit the shelves, and of course we all have ever-expanding TBR piles – but this one is well worth looking up.

I’ve read other werewolf stories, of course, but none that would make a Top Ten list.  Instead, I’m going to expand the parameters to other kinds of shapeshifters and see if I can fill out the rest of a Top Ten list that way.

And that leads me to an obvious choice, because, hey, Ilona Andrews!  For me, the Kate Daniels series did not hit its stride until the third book, MAGIC STRIKES.  Everyone insisted I should keep going, and I’m glad I did, because with the third book, everything pulled together and the series stepped up from “okay” to “can’t miss.”  Now Ilona Andrews Cover of Magic Strikes, by Ilona Andrewsis an auto-buy author (s) for me.  Because, Kate!  And Curren!  And their amazing chemistry.  Everyone needs to read this whole series just so they can appreciate the “Oh, sorry, we broke your rock,” line in MAGIC RISES.  There are probably other werelions out there, but I bet no one else does it as well as Ilona Andrews.  And, of course, there are also some fine werewolves in this series as well.

Another story which has werewolves, but I love the cat better, is DEFINITELY DEAD by Charlaine Harris.  Quinn!  I can’t even imagine.  What an amazing creature a weretiger must be.  I was sorry it didn’t work out between him and Sookie.

There are no werewolves at all in WAR FOR THE OAKS by Emma Bull, but every single person who loves UF should give this one, published in 2004, a try.  Because the Pooka is amazing.  And, hey, a Pooka who turns into a big, shaggy, black dog is sort of werewolf-like, right?

While we’re on the subject of black dogs, the ones in Deb Coates’ DEEP DOWN are not shapeshifters, so they don’t count.  Yet this is an UF . . . well, a rural fantasy . . . that readers who love the genre might not want to miss.  The black dogs in this one are not a bit like mine, being instead the classical harbingers of death.  If you’re the sort of person who can see ghosts, you may find these black dogs following you around and chatting with you, which may be a bit disconcerting.

Returning to shapeshifters, but departing from anything even vague dog-like, one of my favorite shapeshifters in fantasy is found in THE GREY HORSE by RA MacAvoy.  You will surely have no trouble guessing what kind of shapeshifter we find in this story, a beautiful, quiet fantasy first published back in 1987, set in Ireland.  I’m delighted to see that this one is now available on Kindle, though I have to say, I definitely preferred the original cover.Cover of Dun Lady's Jess by Doranna Durgin

And, while we’re on the subject of shapeshifter stories that also make the horse lovers among us happy, DUN LADY’S JESS by Doranna Durgin approaches the concept of shapechanging from the other direction:  a horse that is turned into a woman.  This story is actually a portal fantasy, clever and beautifully written, and anyone who ever went through a horse-crazy period (or is still horse-crazy now) should definitely look it up.

And that’s ten!  Werewolves, werelions and weretigers, pookas and black dogs, and a couple of wonderful horses:  a shapeshifter menagerie.  At the moment, I don’t plan to ever write shapeshifter stories set in any world other than that of BLACK DOG – but who can say?

Thanks to Rachel Neumeier for stopping by on her blog tour. Don’t forget to check out her site, and if you’re interested in Black Dog but haven’t got your hands on it yet, I’m doing a giveaway! Just use the Rafflecopter linked below to enter, and I’ll contact you if you’re the lucky one!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And in case you’re not sure, here’s a summary:

Natividad is Pure, one of the rare girls born able to wield magic. Pure magic can protect humans against the supernatural evils they only half-acknowledge – the blood kin or the black dogs. In rare cases – like for Natividad’s father and older brother – Pure magic can help black dogs find the strength to control their dark powers.

But before Natividad’s mother can finish teaching her magic their enemies find them. Their entire village in the remote hills of Mexico is slaughtered by black dogs. Their parents die protecting them. Natividad and her brothers must flee across a strange country to the only possible shelter: the infamous black dogs of Dimilioc, who have sworn to protect the Pure.

In the snowy forests of Vermont they are discovered by Ezekiel Korte, despite his youth the strongest black dog at Dimilioc and the appointed pack executioner. Intrigued by Natividad he takes them to Dimilioc instead of killing them.

Now they must pass the tests of the Dimilioc Master. Alejandro must prove he can learn loyalty and control even without his sister’s Pure magic. Natividad’s twin Miguel must prove that an ordinary human can be more than a burden to be protected. And even at Dimilioc a Pure girl like Natividad cannot remain unclaimed to cause fighting and distraction. If she is to stay she must choose a black dog mate.

But, first, they must all survive the looming battle.

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted December 22, 2013 by Nikki in General, Giveaways / 5 Comments

Spotted some people posting this meme yesterday — I didn’t get chance to do it yesterday, so today will have to do. The meme’s hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, and it’s called Stacking the Shelves. Basically, it’s posting about the week’s haul.

Dead tree books

The Gutenberg Revolution by John ManOnly Superhuman by Christopher L. BennettKnight's Dawn by Kim HunterWizard's Funeral by Kim Hunter

Graphic novels

Eternals by Neil GaimanUltimate X-Men Vol. 1 - Tomorrow PeopleUltimate X-Men Vol. 2 - Return to Weapon X

Ebooks

Strange New Words by Ari MarmellThe Conqueror's Shadow by Ari MarmellSharpe's Tiger by Bernard Cornwell

Possibly of interest: I picked up the Ari Marmell books because of this post, where he explains some current money problems mostly stemming from a period where his medication messed him up. I have complete sympathy with this, and I like that he’s encouraging people to buy his books rather than just holding out his hat.

So, first interested commenter gets a copy of Strange New Words gifted to them via Smashwords.

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Competition winner

Posted November 15, 2013 by Nikki in Giveaways / 2 Comments

The winner was Rachel, who guessed that I’d be bringing seven books with me to Belgium. I actually brought six books with me (along with my ereaders and a bunch of comic books to share with Lisa). Rachel picked the author — Guy Gavriel Kay — and left the choice of the exact book up to me. I picked Tigana, which I will be sending her as soon as finances allow!

For the curious, the six books that came with me:

-Rose Tremain, Restoration
-Katharine Beutner, Alcestis
John Williams, Augustus
-P.G. Wodehouse, The Small Bachelor
-Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice
-Robert Llewellyn, News from Gardenia

This surprised pretty much everyone, including myself.

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A correction and a giveaway

Posted November 11, 2013 by Nikki in General, Giveaways / 27 Comments

I missed someone out of my auto-read list. This is a bit mortifying as I’ve actually had personal interaction with the author and adore her books. She is lovely and offers good advice on home remedies for things like acid reflux. She wrote a book that felt just perfect for me, like she’d written it for me — I’m speaking, of course, of Jo Walton’s Among Others. She’s written in a lot of different genres: dystopian alternate history with a detective story in the Small Change books; dragons in an Austenesque society in Tooth & Claw; fantasy based around the home and relationships in Lifelode; alternate Arthuriana in The King’s Peace/The King’s Name… She’s a versatile author who has yet to write a book that I didn’t enjoy, and The Prize in the Game is one of those few books that moved me to tears.

This correction is important because now I am going to run a giveaway! I’m going to Belgium to stay with my partner at the end of this week, and before I go anywhere I usually announce a guessing game on Twitter: how many books am I taking with me?

To make this easier, we’re not including the comic books I’m taking to lend to Lisa, or books on either of my ereaders. We’re just talking about dead tree books. That’s all you have to do: guess the number of dead tree books I will take with me to Belgium. I don’t know yet myself, so I can’t give you any hints. The only guidance I can give is that I’ve been known to take anything from five to twenty books with me on this particular trip, I will probably read about a book a day, and I will be there two weeks, but I will be going to one of my favourite bookshops in the world while I’m there.

The prize will be one book, under £10, by any author mentioned in either my auto-read list or my reread list, which I will send anywhere in the world via Bookdepository. If you enter, make sure I have a way to contact you so I can get your address! The winner will be the person whose guess comes closest to the number of books I actually have with me on the train come Friday 15th November.

You can enter by leaving a comment here, or by emailing me at bibliophibianbreathesbooks[at]gmail[dot]com.

ETA: If two people guess the same number, that’s fine — I’ll just pick one of them to get the prize by a random draw.

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