Get into Bed with Aria Kane (Author Interview)

Blog Tour ButtonKeira: In a zombie apocalypse, what three items do you grab and what’s the first thing you do after grabbing them?

Aria Kane: 1 – Water filter. In an apocalypse, even a zombie one, lack of potable water is going to kill more city folk than just about anything else. I have one designed for hiking, that’s light weight and will filter out most danger organisms.

2 – A crowbar, baseball bat, whatever you have that’s good for decapitation. If I’m at my parents, I’m going straight for the gun cabinet.

3 – My dog. No, seriously. Watch I Am Legend. A dog will save your ass more times than you can possibly count. My booboo’s not normally fierce, but he is protective of me.

Keira: Your new release, Once Upon a Darkness, features zombies. What do we, the readers, need to know? Do we bring along our zombie survival kit?

Aria: I will say that hardcore zombie fans might be a little disappointed. Once Upon a Darkness reads more like an action adventure than a horror and the zombies are only up close a few times. But if you have guys like Clint, Hank, and Erik backing you up, you’re golden.

Keira: In your opinion, what is more dangerous: zombies attacking or humans attacking and why?

Aria: On the one hand, zombies are incapable of reasoning. On the other hand, humans are capable of reasoning. Zombies are relentless, but they’re not very smart. Humans are effing smart – and cruel. You only have to look at things like the atom bomb to answer this question: zombies just want to find dinner, humans want to watch the world burn.

Keira: Do you plan to go see World War Z? And if you are, is it for the zombies or Brad Pitt?

Aria: Heck yes! As soon as I can convince someone to spend the night with me afterward – funny enough, I’m a HUGE scaredy-cat when it comes to zombies.

Keira: What’s next on your plate? More zombies? (Brains!)

Aria: I’m currently working on something new for me – a contemporary romance. I’m working on a sexy continuity with a few author friends of mine and – I think that’s all I’m allowed to tell you about it right now!

OnceUponADarkness_v2Blurb:

Gretchen and her twin brother, Hank, were abandoned to a zombie horde when they were five years old. Intended to be a sacrifice by their zealot parents, they were instead rescued by The Company. Raised to become soldiers in the war against zombies, they now provide safe passage through danger zones, one contract at a time.

Clint’s only skill is war, but he’s weary of killing other men. When his contract with the Marines runs out, he takes a job on Gretchen’s team, hoping that the search-and-rescue life will suit him better.

On Clint’s second day, their four-man team is attacked, drugged, and taken to a prison full of frightened civilians. The only way in or out is by helicopter and, here, their enemies are human. One by one, the captives are culled from the holding area. Rumors say the facility director uses the prisoners as experimental subjects for the testing of a zombie cure.

When Hank is culled, Clint and Gretchen must put aside their personal feelings and find a way out of the prison, surrounded by thousands of starving zombies, before Hank becomes just one more disposable guinea pig in the hands of a twisted mad woman.

Buy: Once Upon a Darkness

Excerpt:

“Can we try something else?” Clint swung the practice sword in a wide sweep. “I think I got this motion down.”

“When you’re facing a crowd of zombies, there’s no time to think,” a woman’s voice said behind him.

He spun, sword in hand. She lunged at him. He had enough time to register pale skin and straight white-blonde hair atop a lithe frame before her arms crashed into his shoulders with shocking force. Air rushed painfully from his lungs as his back hit the ground. His sword rattled out of reach. She crouched on top of him, somehow holding him down with not much more than a hundred pounds to her. Eyes the color of ice on an Alaskan glacier stared back at him.

“If I were a zombie, you’d be a three-course meal right now.” The woman, who was maybe a few years younger than him, snapped her jaw and laughed.

“Or a new zombie, yourself,” another male voice said. Clint looked over her shoulder to find the male version of his attacker standing about twenty feet back from the scene. Next to him, a mountain of a man smirked with amusement. All three of them were nuts.

She shaped her hand like a gun and pressed it to his forehead. “No, I’d kill you before I let that happen.” She said it casually, like telling someone lunch was ready.

“Thanks?” Was this some sort of weird initiation?

The woman leapt to her feet and yanked him up after her. She tapped the back of his skull. “When you’re attacked, your lizard brain takes over. You have to do something like a sword swing or a roundhouse kick thousands of times so that it becomes instinctual. Hesitation is fatal.” She punctuated her words with practiced movements; the swinging of an imaginary sword and a roundhouse kick aimed at the practice target.

“Right.” He had known this, of course, but had forgotten it in the absolute boredom of swinging the sword the same way for hours.

The woman stood there with her hands on her hips as if she were waiting for some kind of applause. He didn’t know what else to say that would keep her from jumping him again. Though, now that he got a good look at her, maybe he wouldn’t mind another roll in the dirt. She was tall, with long legs bared by khaki shorts. A tiny white tank top stretched over a black sports bra that definitely earned its keep. Lean muscle stretched along the full length of her arms, torso, and legs. Strapped to her legs and waist were weapon holsters of all varieties that – in his mind, at least – only made her sexier.

“What are you, Zombie Slayer Barbie?”

Buy: Once Upon a Darkness

Giveaway: To celebrate the release of Once Upon a Darkness, Aria Kane is giving away a Kobo Vox (Android) eReader with a red leather case to one winner (US residents only), and a choice of any Entranced ebook to another winner (international entries welcome).

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AriaKaneAbout the Author:

Aria Kane is a recovering mechanical engineer and romance writer. She lives in sunny Florida with a 60 lb mutt who thinks he’s a Chihuahua.

Author Social Media Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Aria_Kane

Website: http://www.ariakane.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ariakaneauthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ariakane/

My Writing Process

Guest blog by Kristin Miller, author of Gone with the Wolf

First, I have to say thank you for having me on your lovely blog today! I get asked a lot what my writing process is like and where I write, so I thought I’d take some time to break that down.

As for my process, it’s pretty simple. Usually a scenario or scene strikes me first, and I stew for a bit on how to mold that scene into a book. It’s like looking at a piece of wall art, deciding that you love it and want to buy it, then trying to imagine where you’d hang it in your house. You’ve had that happen before, right? Yup, it feels exactly like that. After a few days a character takes shape, and for me, it’s usually the hero. I keep a notebook for each book I write, and as the scenes and characters grow, I write them down. Within a week or so, I have the hero and heroine mapped out (their physical description, emotional baggage, former relationships and how they changed them, etc.), a few key scenes that need to happen in the book for the characters to grow, and the big black moment that’ll tear the hero and heroine apart.

Easy, right? ;)

As for where I write, take a look:

Kristin Millers desk

The notes for my current work sit to my left, my cup of coffee to my right, and a box of general writing stuff (contracts, notes from previous books, etc.) behind the laptop. I wish I could get rid of that gigantic printer, scanner, fax machine to my far right, but the cord that came with the machine is too short to allow it to be at my feet. (Had I known, I would’ve invested my cash elsewhere.) The desk sits in my living room so that I can write while my kids play. It’s difficult to get work done when I’m constantly breaking up fights and getting snacks from the pantry, but I’d rather know what my munchkins are doing than be locked away in an office where they’re left to their own devices. :shudder: I also have a tiny canvas hanging on the wall in front of me that reads: your story matters…tell it. When something in the writing process becomes difficult, I glance up remind myself that I have to keep plugging along.

Every now and again I take my laptop and run to my nearest Starbucks to write. I order a Grande Zebra Mocha, sit in the corner, and type away. :) Those writing days usually turn out to be the best (though they’re few and far between) with clean words and pages written quickly.

Gone with the Wolf was mostly written at my desk. Drake Wilder, the CEO Alpha werewolf hero, came to me first and Emelia Hudson, his carefree secretary came to me second. I knew I wanted to create an ememies-to-lovers relationship, and I knew they were going to be perfect for one another, even though they’d fight me on that idea to the very end.

gone with the wolf

Gone with the Wolf

By Kristin Miller

Entangled Publishing – April 2013

CEO and alpha werewolf Drake Wilder has given up the search for his one true love. When he discovers that she’s a secretary in his company, Drake’s primal instincts kick into overdrive.

What he wouldn’t give to have her fingers rake over his body instead of the keyboard…

Free-spirited bartender Emelia Hudson wants nothing more than to make her Seattle-based bar succeed. But when profits decline, she slips into a dress suit and secures a nine-to-five. After learning that her bar has become property of Wilder Financial, Emelia is determined to get some answers.

Two can play the ruthless business game. If only her attraction to the boss wasn’t so intense…

When Drake’s twin brother senses that Drake has found his match—and now inherits their father’s billion dollar estate—he hatches a plan to take Emelia out. Drake vows to protect her at all costs, but he might have to pay with his own life.

Title: Gone with the Wolf
Author: Kristin Miller
Publisher: Entangled
Imprint: Covet
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 207 pages
Release Date: April 23, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-62266-144-2

Buy: Gone with the Wolf

kristin millerAuthor Information

Kristin Miller has had a passion for language and literature her whole life. Born and raised in northern California, she often made up stories about faraway places and edge-of-your-seat adventures. After graduating from Humboldt State University, Kristin taught high school and middle school English, married her college sweetheart, and had two beautiful munchkins. In 2008, she took time off from teaching to raise her children, and started writing while they napped.

Her first novel was published in 2011, and since then she has had seven other novels published (mostly paranormal romances). She is the author of Gone with the Wolf with Entangled Publishing, the dark and gritty Vampires of Crimson Bay series with Avon, and the short-but-steamy Isle of Feralon novellas with Harlequin Nocturne Cravings.

Author Website:www.kristinmiller.net

Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/AuthorKristinMiller

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/KM_Miller

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/kristinmiller

Buy: Gone with the Wolf

Tour Giveaway

Kristin is giving away a Gone with the Wolf themed prize pack to one lucky winner! Prize pack includes:

  • Gone with the Wolf swag including a custom made beaded bookmark
  • Seattle’s Best coffee & Starbucks travel mug
  • Ghiradelli chocolates
  • Too Much of a Good Thing is… Wonderful! wine bottle charm

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Buy: Gone with the Wolf

Review: Waking Up Immortal (Universal Security, Book 1) by Rachel Carrington

Waking Up ImmortalHero: Kier is part-man-part-machine and is the head warden for the most dangerous prison in the galaxy. One particular inmate is a huge problem and despite all efforts to isolate the man and contain his powers, the inmate keeps progressing forward a master scheme to get revenge and gain his freedom. So when the inmate’s daughter starts looking for her father, Kier gets a little edgy.

Heroine: Chloe nearly dies and learns from her mother that she’s an alien. Apparently dying triggers some immortality gene and she’ll be young and pretty forever. Chloe has no desire to live that way and decides to find her absentee father and get the goods on reversing this little tick. Along the way she finds out her father was tortured and then imprisoned by two different parties and hopes he’s not as bad as everyone says he is… A handsome Terminator-like fellow tries to persuade her otherwise, but Chloe is going to get answers!

Review: The world-building for Waking Up Immortal is too vague. You can catch the general picture of the setup but the nuances are missing to really solidify the how the aliens/humans on earth interact and what exactly is their purpose/mission. Chloe goes back and forth quite a bit on wanting to meet her dad, and when she finally meets her dad he tries to kill her / turn her over to the people who tortured him and everything gets a bit muddled. She disobeys Kier when she should listen to him in a very (too-stupid-to-live) TSTL kind of way– I mean really, the girl just realized she’s an alien and has no clue what is really going on and instead of listening thinks she knows best? The dad is a very interesting villain and the head-case drama he can pull is creepy. Kier by far is my favorite character.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: Waking Up Immortal (Universal Security)

Review: Mockingjay (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 3) by Suzanne Collins

Brief Overview: 13 Districts rebelled against the Capitol. 1 was supposedly destroyed while 12 suffered under a harsh treaty for 75 years. Now we’re back at the beginning and once more 13 Districts are rebelling. This time is different though, because this time the rebels have a cause and a face of the revolution: Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire. The Capitol has Peeta, captured from the Quarter Quell, and they wield him like a weapon against Katniss. Can she survive a broken heart?

WTF? No seriously, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot…???

“Are you, are you coming to the tree?
Wear a necklace of rope, side by side with me.
Strange things did happen here.
No stranger would let it be if we met up
At midnight in the hanging tree.”

Wishlist: Katniss needs to sing to Peeta, like a lot and happy songs or songs about hope. Her singing made an impression on him at 5, she should sing that song again! Break down all those shiny memories in one fell swoop. :D

My 10 Favorite Scenes:

Not in order of preference or sequence in book.

  1. Katniss figuring out how Snow is really using Peeta. Angst! Angst! Angst!
  2. Brainwashed Peeta (attacking Katniss). Well, until I realized there’s wasn’t a cure-all for it. Stupid shiny memories.
  3. Real or Not Real. This was a good one…

    “You’re still trying to protect me. Real or not real,” he whispers.

    “Real,” I answer. “Because that’s what you and I do, protect each other.”

  4. Peeta figuring Katniss out. Not that she tries to help him sort it all out. She runs a bit too often for my tastes.

    “Ally.” Peeta says the words slowly, tasting it. “Friend. Lover. Victor. Enemy. Fiancee. Target. Mutt. Neighbor. Hunter. Tribute. Ally. I’ll add it to the list of words I use to try to figure you out. The problem is, I can’t tell what’s real anymore, and what’s made up.”

  5. Peeta trying to remember the truth about them. Can we say ouch? So freaking awesome… the angst!!!

    “I must have loved you a lot.”

  6. Declaration of Love. Such as it was… (who else wanted more to this scene? I did!)

    “You love me. Real or not real?”

    I tell him, “Real.”

  7. Who is Peeta? The most telling sentence Katniss ever said…

    “You’re a painter. You’re a baker. You like to sleep with the windows open. You never take sugar in your tea. And you always double-knot your shoelaces.”

    He also likes the color orange.

  8. Peeta remembers? It looks like it with these sentences but he still comes off as damaged beyond repair in the epilogue. Sniff.

    “Katniss. I remember about the bread.”

    and

    “Let me go!” I snarl at him, trying to wrest my arm from his grasp.

    “I can’t,” he says.

  9. Katniss killing President Coin. Needed. Though, I won’t lie the aftermath of that is pretty confusing. Being trapped in Katniss’ head did not give a big picture view of what was going on outside her impromptu prison/isolation. I bet the movie will do it better.
  10. Katniss and Gale parting. Gale is bitter, but he was not a good match for Katniss. She’d lose herself completely in his hatred. In broken Peeta, perhaps our equally broken Katniss can heal?

Conclusion: The Hunger Games Trilogy is not a romance. It’s a dystopian warfare driven trilogy with romantic elements. If it was a romance, the ending would have been sweeter, Peeta wouldn’t have been brainwashed and his character mutated (I once did this to a fanfic character, oomph, cheated the whole story, so I know what I’m talking about here). He should have been fixed more than he was at the end.

Peeta was the driving force of the romance in the story, because Katniss never truly confessed in a declaration of love (to herself or to Peeta, though she does tap dance around it several times). At least not like how we know them in the romance genre. At best it was halfhearted, and while “Real or Not Real” was good, it could have been better. For example something like, “Real. I love you Peeta and here’s why…” With Katniss blind and resistant from the beginning to her feelings she needed to really open up at some point to Peeta.

“All those months of taking it for granted that Peeta thought I was wonderful are over. Finally, he can see me for who I really am. Violent. Distrustful. Manipulative. Deadly. And I hate him for it.” – Katniss

So in effect, warping Peeta warped the romance. He had all the best lines too between them, which you can see when you check out my favorite scenes between the books.

Also, I get that PTSD would have been prevalent, but romances as we define them in the genre mean a real HEA, where the characters heal each other and not merely survive together (and watch their kids play on top of mass graves… shudder).

“Oh, that I do know…Katniss will pick whoever she thinks she can’t survive without.” – Gale

Additionally, I don’t buy that Katniss would have had children with Peeta. That was a no-go from the get-go.

I feel all this could have been fixed with an additional chapter or longer epilogue. I doubt I am alone in this.

What really needed to be addressed and was never addressed, was Katniss’ statement to Peeta revealing that Haymitch orchestrated the romance on her part during the first Hunger Games. She implied most of it was Haymitch, but not all of it was Haymitch. If Peeta had latched onto that semantic like a pitbull we could have gotten somewhere with her. :P

Final thoughts: So yes, I was disappointed with the romance, but the trilogy is a good one. Peeta makes the series for me, no question. I would reread it for him alone.

Bonus: 74 Books to Read if You Love the Hunger Games

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set, The Hunger Games Trilogy (digital)

[phpbay]mockingjay suzanne collins, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review: Catching Fire (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 2) by Suzanne Collins

Brief Overview: Against all odds, Katniss and Peeta survived the Hunger Games and became the first ever dual victory. A little hope is a good thing, but too much leads to disaster. President Snow is not happy and he lets Katniss know it. But Katniss has already put her foot in it and alienated Peeta, so there’s no help from that corner. Then the Quarter Quell (every 25 years there’s a special version of the Hunger Games) is announced and it seems once again the rules are changed specifically for District 12’s starcrossed lovers. They’ve got to go back into the arena and this time it doesn’t look like either will be allowed to win.

Fandom Comments:

Team Peeta or Team Gale?

No contest. Team Peeta.

Gale never stood a chance.

Peeta killed Gale’s chances in Hunger Games and then wiped him off the map in Catching Fire. You got to love our boy with bread!

Side comment – Capitol sensibilities sound like the Romans’ again with their feasting parties where it’s natural to puke to make room for more gorging on the provided banquet of food. A tour guide called the Roman “puke rooms” vomitoriums when I was at a Roman site in Turkey last year, but I think they had the wrong word? Because the definitions I find online of the word mean an opening that allows a hoard of people to fast exit a building. Anyway, back to the point, Romans (and the Capitol) lived to eat and Katniss and Peeta are horrified by that, because to them, you should eat to live.

What I didn’t like – Katniss and Peeta’s show and tell with the Gamemakers. Really? Peeta, I get to an extent because he can paint like nobody’s business, but why Rue? Rue was Katniss’ friend and not his. I also think Katniss should have shot the arrow at the Gamemakers again through the force field chink, even if doing so messed up the setup for the Quarter Quell. She was smart enough to do it. Why a dead dummy of Senaca Cane? Honestly.

My Top 10 Favorite Scenes from the Hunger Games:
Not necessarily in order (either by preference or in sequence with events in the book)…

  1. Katniss can shoot! When all the tributes watch her with the bow and arrows during training and then want to team up with her for the games. Pretty funny, especially because Katniss doesn’t want the victors who could help her win, she wants the rejects.
  2. Rooftop Picnic. And cuddling on the train. And hungry kisses.
  3. Finnick Giving Peeta CPR. Katniss thought he was kissing Peeta and is so confused. Haha.

    I pull an arrow, whip the notch into place, and am about to let it fly when I’m stopped by the sight of Finnick kissing Peeta. And it’s so bizarre, even for Finnick.

  4. Katniss realizing Haymitch lied about saving Peeta:

    “We had to save you because you’re the mockingjay, Katniss,” says Plutarch. “While you live, the revolution lives.”

    The bird, the pin, the song, the berries, the watch, the cracker, the dress that burst into flames. I am the mockingjay. The one that survived despite the Capitol’s plans. The symbol of the rebellion. It’s what I suspected in the woods when I found Bonnie and Twill escaping. Though I never really understood the magnitude. But then, I wasn’t meant to understand.

    I think of Haymitch’s sneering at my plans to flee District 12, start my own uprising, even the very notion that District 13 could exist. Subterfuges and deceptions. And if he could do that, behind his mask of sarcasm and drunkenness, so convincingly and for so long, what else has he lied about? I know what else.

    “Peeta,” I whisper, my heart sinking.

  5. Peeta and Katniss on the beach.

    “Because I don’t want you to forget how different our circumstances are. If you die and I live, there’s no life fore me at all back in District Twelve. You’re my whole life,” he says. “I would never be happy again.”

    I start to object but he puts a finger to my lips.

    “It’s different for you. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be hard. But there are other people who would make your life worth living.”

  6. Before the Quarter Quell when Katniss knows she will grieve Peeta, if he dies.

    “No one really needs me,” he says, and there is no self-pity in his voice.

    It’s true his family doesn’t need him. They will mourn him, as will a handful of friends. But they will get on. Even Haymitch, with the help of a lot of white liquor, will get on. I realize only one person will be damaged beyond repair if Peeta dies. Me.

    “I do,” I say. “I need you.”

    He looks, takes a deep breath as if to begin a long argument, and it’s no good, no good at all, because he’ll start going on about Prim and my mother and everything and I’ll just get confused. So before he can talk, I stop his lips with a kiss.

  7. Peeta’s nightmares:

    “Peeta, how come I never know when you’re having a nightmare?” I say.

    “I don’t know. I don’t think I cry out or thrash around or anything. I just come to, paralyzed with terror,” he says.

    “You should wake me,” I say, thinking about how I can interrupt his sleep two or three times on a bad night. About how long it can take to calm me down.

    “It’s not necessary. My nightmares are usually about losing you,” he says. “I’m okay once I realize you’re here.”

  8. When Haymitch says to Katniss…

    “You know, you could live a thousand lifetimes and not deserve him.”

  9. Katniss against the World, Protecting Peeta. She knows she has to kill Peeta to keep him from being tortured by the Capitol, after they’re taken out of the arena. When she comes across Haymitch and he says…

    “So it’s you and a syringe against the Capitol? See, this is why no one lets you make the plans.”

  10. Peeta’s interview on TV. He’s so good at these.

    “But I have to confess, I’m glad you two had at least a few months of happiness together.”

    I’m not glad,” says Peeta. “I wish we had waited until the whole thing was done officially.”

    This takes even Caesar aback. “Surely even a brief time is better than no time?”

    ”Maybe I’d think that, too, Caesar,” says Peeta bitterly, “If it weren’t for the baby.”

What are your favorite moments from Hunger Games?

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set, The Hunger Games Trilogy (digital)

[phpbay]catching fire suzanne collins, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review: The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 1) by Suzanne Collins

hunger gamesBrief Overview: Roman  Gladiators + Lord of the Flies = The Hunger Games. Panem is a dystopian society that runs on suppression,  fear, and death matches. 13 Districts rebelled against the Capitol; the 13th was destroyed; the other 12 aggressively oppressed and subdued and forced to pay tribute each year for their rebellion. The tribute required is their children from ages 12-18; 1 boy, 1 girl from each district.

My Top 10 Favorite Scenes from the Hunger Games:

  1. The Boy with the Bread: Peeta gives Katniss bread in a flashback memory. This is important because Katniss (approx age: 11.5) has already lost the innocence of youth and knows everything in the world has a price.  The bread is an unexpected gift that breaks through the pessimism, grief, and anger that has grown since her father’s demise, her mother’s withdrawal, and her desperation to provide for herself, her sister, and her catatonic mother. She doesn’t understand gifts though, and is very uncomfortable with feeling like she owes Peeta for the life saving bread.
  2. Katniss Volunteers: Circumstances make her hard, aloof, and cynical but that’s just Katniss’ outer shell, underneath is a 16 year old girl who loves her sister. Katniss would do anything to keep Primrose safe, even volunteering to take her sister’s place in what amounts to a death sentence, because while 24 tributes go into the arena, only 1 comes out alive.
  3. You’re Great!: They might not have spoken since they were younger, but that didn’t mean they weren’t conscious of the other  during that time. On the train ride to the Capitol after the Reaping, Peeta tells Haymitch, their mentor and previous winner of the Games, all the ways in which Katniss is great and flustered/angry Katniss whips right back with what she knows about Peeta. Somebody’s paying attention!
  4. Girl on Fire: Cinna, Katniss’ stylist for the games designs and creates works of art in his fashion statements for the coal mining District 12. His costumes incorporate fake flames that look and move like the real thing. His creative genius, coupled with Portia’s cooperation in making matching outfits for Peeta, give Katniss and Peeta their first edge in the games. They are on fire!
  5. Televised Confession: Peeta has been crushing on Katniss since the age of 5 and his confession shocks Panem’s jaded Capitol viewers. It comes as a complete surprise to Katniss and she hates it because love ties you down, makes you weak, and can get you killed. She doesn’t realize that Peeta’s confession is not only the truth, but their coup d’état against their competition, effectively gaining the crucial sponsors’ attention that they need.
  6. Tracker Jackers: Katniss is horribly surprised after a forest fire when Peeta and the Careers show up and chase her until she’s treed. She views it as a sign of betrayal and wonders again what Peeta’s televised confession meant, if it meant anything other than to confuse her and make her an easier kill. It is now when Rue, who has been shadowing Katinss for a while makes an appearance and shows her how to get away from the murderous group by dropping a highly poisonous genetically engineered wasp hive on the group. This sequence also provides Katiness with a bow and arrows from another tribute and a hazy hallucination sequence in which Peeta appears to have warned her to run away when the leader of the Careers wants her dead (real).
  7. Rue’s Funeral: One of the saddest moments is also one of the most touching where Rue dies after being caught in a net and speared by a boy Career. Katniss is distraught and instead of abandoning Rue, comforts her before she dies and sings her a lullaby. When Rue is gone, Katniss goes a step further and arranges Rue on the ground like a sleeping girl and places wildflowers around her, showing all of Panem that Rue wasn’t a tribute, but a little girl brutally struck down for entertainment. The Game Makers only pick up bodies once all other tributes are far enough away to secure the dead safely without fear of attack from the tributes. They can’t take Rue away until Katiness leaves. Her final defiant act is to grace Rue and the audience with the token of deepest, most sincere respect from her District, a three fingered kiss and salute.
  8. Rule Change, Rescue, and Cave:  For the first time in Hunger Game history a rule change has been issued that allows 2 winners if the winners are the boy and girl from the same district. There are 3 districts left that could claim this; Peeta and Katniss are one and Katniss immediately strikes out to find him, as she’s heard he’s wounded. She finds him camouflaged by the river and helps him clean his leg wound before moving them to a more secure location downstream in a cave.

    Here is one of my favorite quotes:

    “You have a…remarkable memory,” I say haltingly.

    “I remember everything about you,” says Peeta, tucking a loose strand of hair behind my ear. “You’re the one who wasn’t paying attention.”

    “I am now,” I say.

    “Well, I don’t have much competition here,” he says.

    I want to draw away, to close those shutters again, but I know I can’t. It’s as if I can hear Haymitch whispering in my ear, “Say it! Say it!”

    I swallow hard and get the words out. “You don’t have much competition anywhere.” And this time, it’s me who leans in.

    Katiness also knocks Peeta out in order to leave the cave to go and retrieve the medicine needed to heal him of blood poisoning. This is the first time she’s actively risked her life for his.

  9. Unexpected Savior: When Katniss rushes to secure Peeta’s medicine she knows she’s heading into a trap. All the remaining survivors are being led to a bloodbath, but Katniss hopes to make it out before anyone shows up, except Foxface does and escapes before she makes a move. Determined to do the same Katniss leaves her hiding place in the forest and is nearly killed by a girl Career and rescued by Thresh, the boy tribute from Rue’s district. It’s a one time deal to pay her back for being kind to Rue.
  10. Katniss Freaks Out: At the end of the games, most people like the double suicide bluff but it reads a little too Romeo and Juliet for me. What I like and what I feel is most revealing on Katniss’ emotions is when Katniss and Peeta are retrieved and then separated on arrival inside the hovercraft from the arena. Katniss freaks out and tries to get to Peeta only to be knocked out for her wild and feral behavior. Every time she tries to get up to find him they knock her out again until she is allowed to wake up in the hospital with all physical marks of her time in the arena wiped clean with a body buff.

What are your favorite moments from Hunger Games?

Buy: The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set, The Hunger Games Trilogy (digital)

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Review: Hot Zone by Catherine Mann

Reviewed by Susan S.

Book Two: Elite Force Series

Summary: Amelia Bailey is a county prosecutor from Alabama. She’s in the Bahamas helping her brother (Aiden) with the legalities of an international adoption. With her assistance, Aiden and Lisabeth are now the proud new parents of a baby boy. And she’ll be the doting aunt. All’s right in the world until disaster strikes. Aiden and his wife decide to have lunch; leaving baby Joshua in his aunt’s care when the unthinkable happens. An earthquake strikes the island, leveling Amelia’s hotel. She and Joshua are now trapped beneath the rubble.

Luckily, Air Force Pararescueman Hugh Franco comes to their aide. And while Hugh may have given them a second chance at life, they’re not out of danger yet. For sometimes, the aftermath is more terrifying than the disaster!

Review: I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Ms. Mann did a wonderful job of describing how emotionally and physically taxing a pararescueman’s mission can be. Her scenes felt entirely too real. Especially the one where Amelia and Joshua are trapped. I felt claustrophobic just envisioning it! Did I mention her scenes feel real?!

The author also does a splendid job of showing the dynamics of the task force team members, and you’ll respect their bravery and courage. And yes, even their human failings.

I hadn’t realized the author was so crafty. Here I am envisioning my idea of this mysterious antagonist, and all the while Mann is leading down the wrong road. Yep. I was duped!

Recommendations: Recommended for readers who enjoy Harlequin Intrigues, military romantic suspense novels, romantic suspense, strong heroes, sexy soldiers, and survival stories.

My Favorite Scenes:

Scene # 1: When Bailey asks if she can hug Hugh. (Yes, there’s more to that-that I’m not saying.)

Scene # 2: I loved the dialogue between the hero and heroine when they were trapped under the rubble.

Comedic Touch: The new team member of Hugh’s task force team is nicknamed Fang. But FANG is actually an acronym. What the letters signify is what makes it funny. Sorry readers; telling you would spoil the fun.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Hot Zone

Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc., Copyright December 2011, Romantic Suspense, Mass Market Paperback, Print Pages 318. ISBN# 978-1-4022-4498-8.

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Review: Deep Disclosure by Dee Davis

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

We meet our heroine, Alexis after she survives a family tragedy. She is a teenager at the time doing what all teenagers do – being rebellious. The hero of this story is named Tucker. He has something in common with Alexis and that is a tragic background. What’s good about this book is that the action starts almost right away.

I usually stay away from the suspense and intrigue themed romance novels. They just never seemed to interest me. Dee Davis has changed my mind. She piqued my interest right from the very beginning.

When Alexis first meets Tucker she doesn’t like him and he thinks of her as strictly an assignment. She needs to learn to trust him even though she knows nothing about him and he needs to keep her alive.

Dee does a great job in describing her scenes. Because the reader can’t watch the scenes as they unfold, we rely on the author to describe how things happen. Dee makes you feel as if you are a part of the action. That you are there watching her characters interact with each other.

The hardest thing for me to do was to think about the review. I got so caught up in the story. The “mystery” of the story would hold up against any of the movies you would see on TV. You get so “hooked” into the story that you can’t stop reading it until you get to the end. I hated to put it down.

What I love about Dee’s writing style is that you can believe anything she writes. It has a “ring of truth” to it. None of the scenes are over the top and so unbelievable that you can’t picture that the scene is actually happening.

As you continue on with the book, you notice that it is all action and suspense. You don’t even miss the lack of romance. If you expect a lot of sex in this book, you won’t find it here. The sex isn’t something that you miss in the story either. Just like in a regular relationship, things move along at a normal pace. You have to like and trust each other first and the rest will come in time. This is the impression that I get with Alexis and Tucker.

When the romance finally happens, it happens so naturally that it fits right into the story line. I don’t feel like Dee decided this is where the sex scene needs to be put because she needed to put it somewhere. I don’t feel that she forces a scene to happen – the chapters’ just flow from one to another.

Like any good suspense novel there is always a twist. You know that Alexis is going to eventually find out who Tucker is. Now we have to find out what she’s going to do. How will she get out of the trouble she is in without our hero Tucker to save the day? Tucker is the perfect hero – he’s there to make our “damsel in distress” feel safe. As far as the romance end of the story, both Alexis and Tucker need to deal with their “baggage”.

There are minor characters within the plot that know Tucker and are there to help Alexis. There are also other characters that are more questionable and don’t seem to be what they appear. All these characters are interwoven into what is happening to Alexis and it all builds the suspense.

Toward the end of the story we get to the anti-climax. Something from Alexis’s past comes back to haunt her. The ending is everything you think it will be – good overcomes evil and love wins out in the end.

The only downside to the book is that there is more suspense and less on the romance. I, and possibly other romance readers, would expect an equal mix of the two. I feel that the book could hold its own as just a suspense novel. Even with the lack of romance, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

I’m glad I had the chance to read a book by Dee Davis and see what I have been missing by staying away from reading this genre. Would I read another book by her? Yes, most definitely. I can’t wait to see what happens in her next book “Deadly dance” and I look forward to reading more of her books.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Deep Disclosure, Deep Disclosure (UK)

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