December 19, 2012

Book Review: Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet/In the Spotlight w/: Darynda Jones Part 3 of 3

at 12/19/2012 11:56:00 AM 0 comments
~*~Theme Song of the Day: Light Up the Sky by Yellowcard~*~


Sometimes being the grim reaper really is that. Grim. And since Charley’s last case went so awry, she has taken a couple months off to wallow in the wonders of self-pity. But when a woman shows up on her doorstep convinced someone is trying to kill her, Charley has to force herself to rise above. Or at least get dressed. She quickly realizes something is amiss when everyone the woman knows swears she’s insane. The more they refute the woman’s story, the more Charley believes it.
In the meantime, the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, has been cleared of all charges. He is out of prison and out of Charley’s life, as per her wishes and several perfectly timed death threats. But his absence has put a serious crimp in her sex life. While there are other things to consider, like the fact that the city of Albuquerque has been taken hostage by an arsonist, Charley is having a difficult time staying away. Especially when it looks like Reyes may be involved. Just when life was returning to normal, Charley is thrust back into the world of crime, punishment, and the devil in blue jeans. 

Ahoy there peeps! Today's post concludes the 3 part series of In the Spotlight with Darynda Jones! This book was released in November and I couldn't get to it fast enough. Despite the fact that I had midterms and was behind in my school reading, I blew it off when this book came in the mail. I would've hugged the UPS guy if he wasn't so scary looking. I ripped into the packaging like an animal and started reading. I have the tendency to be over excited and skim read books just to get to the gist of the plot and subplots, though I did slow down for the scenes between Charley and Reyes. :] So in the Adventures of Charley Davidson, grim reaper and private eye extraordinaire, Charley is still recovering from the events of  Third Grave Dead Ahead. She is fully healed physically, but mentally and emotionally, she is still recovering. She also developed a little bit of agoraphobia and shopper syndrome. After the events of book 3, who wouldn't need some retail therapy? In previous books, we've seen Charley bounce back from everything the bad guys could possibly throw her way, but the darkness that was at the end of book 3 was bad enough that it even made the great Charley stumble. 

This book's case revolves around Harper Lowell. She's being stalked and weird things keep happening to her. Everyone Harper knows don't believe which tips Charley off that Harper is not lying. [Charley stashes her at her friend Pari's tattoo shop and goes off to solve her case.]  with all of the retail therapy going on, Charley is flat broke and it after the events of book 3 it isn't likely that she'll ask her dad for a loan. So, Charley tracks down the one person who hasn't paid...Reyes Farrow. After making a shocking discovery which involved [Elaine Oake] Charley is besieged with demons that have possess human hosts; while at a cage fighting match featuring the one and only, Reyes. A minor subplot that came out of this siege is the introduction of Quentin, a deaf teenager who was possessed by a demon, but had it exorcised. Whether the fact that Quentin is going to be a permanent member of the cast or just  a temporary one, is unsure.

Darynda Jones has the tendency to think of so many subplots that could be incorporated into the main plot, but there's not enough room for all of them. :D One of a few that run through this book is a series of arsonist fires that happen all over the city. Who's doing it and why? Another one would involve the "oh so lovable" biker gang and blackmail of the most nefarious kind. With a shocking ending in the Lowell case and the identity of the mysterious new neighbor, this book is a great addition to the series and a wonderfully crafted piece of work. Kudos to you, Darynda. How you plan to top this is something I'm "dying" to know. hahaha

As promised I am giving away a copy of Fourth Grave and the winner has the choice to pick the ebook or hardcover version. Thanks for visiting my blog!

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December 18, 2012

Book Review: Third Grave Dead Ahead/In the Spotlight w/: Darynda Jones Part 2 of 3

at 12/18/2012 11:55:00 PM 1 comments
~*~Theme Song of the Day: Who'd Have Known by Lily Allen~*~


Paranormal private eye. Grim reaper extraordinaire. Whatever. Charley Davidson is back! And she's drinking copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake because every time she closes her eyes she sees him: Reyes Farrow, the part-human, part-supermodel son of Satan.

Granted she did imprison Reyes for all eternity, but how is she supposed to solve a missing-persons case, deal with an ego-driven doctor, calm her curmudgeonly dad, and take on a motorcycle gang hell-bent on murder when the devil's son just won't give up on his plan of seduction..... and revenge?

Hello peeps! It's Day 2 of the 3 part series, In the Spotlight with Darynda Jones. Today's I am going to review Third Grave Dead Ahead. This book was full of twist and turns and heart-wrenching betrayal. There's just so many hits a girl can take. From we left off in Second Grave to the Left, Charley had solved another case and got through it with minimal bodily harm, which is a first. Unfortunately, there were some emotional causalities. In an emotional subplot, [Charley's dad was being stalked by a criminal he put in jail. Charley walked in on the criminal who tied up her dad and was about to torture him. Long story short, Charley kicked his ass via knife across the throat.] But getting back on track, at the end of book 2, Charley finds Reyes' body and had an awesome Grim Reaper/Portal to Heaven moment. To keep Reyes from destroying his physical body, Charley bound Reyes' incorporeal self to his physical body, thus earning his anger and [subsequent denial of visitation.]

Book 3 starts off with a sleep deprived Charley. Why is she so sleep deprived? Because the moment she falls asleep Reyes is there to do hot things with her body, not that she's complaining a lot, but it feels a little like he's taking advantage of the situation. Charley then snags a missing persons case, but something is a little off about the missing woman's husband, Dr. Yost. As she pokes around for any information about his missing wife, Reyes summons Charley to prison for a face-to-face. (Argh!) The sexual tension between these two is so thick! You just can't help by sigh and wonder if chemistry like that happens in real life. I think it's also the way Darynda writes that makes it feel so real. Anyhoo, the face-to-face ended a little too quickly for my liking, but there were more Reyes/Charley interactions in later chapters that made me laugh, smile, shiver, sigh, and simpathize. :( Later on, [Reyes breaks out of prison, a maximum security prison i might add, and is on the run...again. He car-jacks Charley after he lures her to Santa Fe via a text from her sister Gemma, and leaves her handcuffed to a seedy motel's bed...and not in a good way.] 

Another welcome surprise was an introduction to some new characters. Rocket occupies the insane asylum which is owned by the biker gang who happen to live next door. In their subplot, Charley makes nice with the leader of the bike gang and his dog Artemis. The leader, Donovan, is smokin' hot (sigh) and has a case for Charley as well. At the end of the book, mostly everything is wrapped up, though there are some open ends that will continue on in book 4, Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet. There was a portion of the end where things took a graphic and dark turn. I don't care if saying this makes me a sissy, but I cried like I was dying. Poor Charley! And that wasn't the worst of it. (T__T) Like the previous books, this book is filled with snark, sass, humor, sexual tension, playful banter and wonderful characters you can't help but wish they were real. All in all this book is rated 5 stars out of 5. To me Darynda can do no wrong when it comes to sudden shocking endings and emotionally charged scenes. So as part 2 of a 3 part series, I will be giving away a copy of Third grave Dead Ahead. The winner can pick between a paperback or kindle ebook version. I will also include a matching bookmark that Darynda gave out at her Mysterious Galaxy book signing and mini Q&A. For this giveaway as well you have a month to enter so come back everyday to up your chances. :D Thanks for visiting my blog and helping me celebrate my new segment, In the Spotlight.

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December 17, 2012

Book Review: Second Grave To the Left/In the Spotlight w/: Darynda Jones Part 1 of 3

at 12/17/2012 09:32:00 PM 3 comments
~*~Theme Song of the Day: All Those Pretty Lights by Andrew Belle~*~

'Ello peeps! So to kick off my new segment, "In the Spotlight with [NAME HERE]", I will start with one of my favorites, Darynda Jones, author of the Charley Davidson series. Mrs. Jones is, as some of you may know, the Most Awesomesauce of All Awesomesauces; FACT. I have had the privilege of meeting Mrs. Jones twice this year, which is quite an accomplishment when it comes to meeting published authors. She is a very down to Earth kind person with witty humor to spare. So, today I will be reviewing Second Grave to the Left, the second book of the Charley Davidson series.
Tomorrow I will be reviewing Third Grave Dead Ahead and the day after that it will be Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet. And of course to celebrate Darynda's ingenuity and lovable characters, I will be posting a giveaway with [BLANK] as a prize. :D So let's get started!

            When Charley is rudely awakened in the middle of the night by her best friend who tells her to get dressed quickly and tosses clothes out of the closet at her, she can’t help but wonder what Cookie’s up to. Leather scrunch boots with a floral miniskirt? Together? Seriously? Cookie explains that a friend of hers named Mimi disappeared five days earlier and that she just got a text from her setting up a meet at a coffee shop downtown. They show up at the coffee shop, but no Mimi. But Charley finds a message on the bathroom wall. Mimi left a clue, a woman’s name. Mimi’s husband explains that his wife had been acting strange since she found out an old friend of hers from high school had been found murdered a couple weeks prior. The same woman Mimi had named in her message.
            Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally) has left his corporeal body and is haunting Charley. He’s left his body because he’s being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can’t let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they’ll have a portal to heaven. And if they have a portal to heaven…well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty. Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Will Cookie ever get a true fashion sense? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel them as they do?

And there you have it. I fell in love with the Charley Davidson series and was pining for more! Grim reapers always have such a negative connotation  because they're....well, they're involed in the grim business of soul taking and bearer (yes, it's spelled like that) of Death. What I liked most about Darynda's take on grim reapers is that it was something completely new and different. Granted her grim reaper, Ms. Charlotte "Charley" Jean Davidson, still occasionally deals with death, but for the most part she uses her extraordinary powers to help the souls that are not yet ready to cross over into the light.

The second book starts off with Charley in blissful sleep and being promptly disturbed by Cookie, her best friend and receptionist. She and Charley head to the rendezvous meet up spot that the friend told Cookie to go to and didn't find any evidence of Mimi. A coded message is left on a bathroom wall and this sparks a wild hunt for Cookie's friend, all the while, Reyes keeps popping up and distracting our girl from thinking straight. Reyes is still on the run and has left his body to be ravaged by demons who are hell bent (hahaha) on getting the portal to Heaven, which in this case, happens to be Charley. On another note, Charley discovered a Mistress Marigold on the interwebs that wanted a grim reaper to contacr her. Another interesting subplot. :]

I swear Darynda Jones has the potential to type out at least 10 more books to this series and it would not lose its original shine and quality of humor (no pressure though ;]). Her characters are engaging, strong of heart and totally likable. Charley is a snarky, sassy, and tough, but that doesn't mean she can't be hurt by words or actions like anybody else. Despite her best efforts to put up a sarcastic wall to minimized any emotional hits from others, she still forms relationships with some people who could be called friends. In book one, as she reminisced about the Bianca Johnson incident  Emotional trauma like that, especially at a young age, would put anybody through an emotionally wringer, but Charley marches on and uses her powers to help the dead. 

Anyways, about book 2, I loved it; FACT!  They say that the sequel sometimes falls a little short, but not with Darynda. Second Grave to the left absolutely measured up to First Grace, if not more. The main case is about Cookie's missing friend. All that's left is a message scrawled on a bathroom wall at a diner. Also, the different subplots were interesting enough to be intertwined with the main plot line. Like what you say? Take Reyes Farrow for example. Dude just woke up from his coma at the end of book 1 and is on the run. He continues his dream visits with Charley as his physical body is being slashed and tortured. Charley races against the clock to find Reyes' body and find Cookie's missing friend, all while dodging bullets, knives and an assortment of weapons aimed to kill.

In another subplot which leads to betrayal, anguish and a familial reconcile. I have to admit I did cry a little at the near end of this book. The emotions that are embedded into every context and scene could be felt. Not to sound overly dramatic, but it just shows how good Darynda's writing is. Charley Davidson is a fictional character, but in Darynda's writings, she's a real person with feelings and weaknesses like the rest of us. I have been a fan of Darynda since book 1 and would forever stay a fan. I give this book 5 stars and definitely recommend anyone who likes paranormal romance/mystery/humor, to read the Charley Davidson series.

As promised for this post of 3, I will be giving away a hardcover copy of Second Grave to the Left. This giveaway ends in a month; just to give everyone a good chance of entering the giveaway. Good luck and join me tomorrow for Part 2 of a 3 part series of In the Spotlight. :D

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December 13, 2012

Blog Tour Stop: The Shaman's Mate by Donna McDonald

at 12/13/2012 12:00:00 AM 3 comments
Hello peeps! I am super excited to be hosting a blog tour stop for Donna McDonald’s book, The Shaman’s Mate. I have read this book and will be posting a review later on, once I have all of my thoughts together. If you have any questions or comments for Donna, please leave them in the comment box below with an email :D


Grand Canyon park ranger and expert tracker Jason Cloud always considered himself a good person, just not a religious one. After searching the canyon’s woods for months to find his wife’s killers and failing to do so, Jason decides he would bargain with any deity willing to help him. When an unfamiliar fellow park ranger walks up moments after his pleas for help and sets him on the right path, Jason sends his gratitude out into the universe for answering his call. The last thing he ever suspects is that the same man would return to abduct him and insist he make good on his promises. Jason is not opposed to helping the Chileaans, but it’s what they want him to do that’s the problem. With his wife barely dead, he is definitely not ready to have any sort of relationship with another woman, not even the beautiful Chileaan Shaman, who he is told is his destined mate.

Shaman Aiyanna has waited a long time for her chosen mate to be ready to join her, but she has learned to have patience about the matter. When she rejected the idea of Jason initially, the Great Mother forced her over a span of six human years to stand helpless in the portal between their dimensions and watch while Jason committed himself to a human realm mate. It had both surprised and hurt Aiyanna to see him happy with the woman, but it had also been illuminating about his character. When his human mate dies, Aiyanna finds herself grieving deeply for Jason’s pain and loss. Willing to do anything to relieve his suffering, but forbidden to intervene personally, Aiyanna is grateful when her spirit brother offers to help. The last thing she ever expected was that the tribal council would send Kiell back to retrieve Jason before the Great Mother gave Aiyanna permission to contact him. Now Jason hates her for and there is little she can do but try to find a way to release him from their destiny.


Jason started across the grounds realizing that he had no idea how to get to Shaman Aiyana’s house on his own. Then he started noticing that when he walked in one direction, his hands hummed. When he turned a different way, the humming stopped. Deciding to follow the humming, Jason walked quickly and eventually recognized Aiyana’s temple.
Now that he was here, Jason hesitated before climbing the steps slowly. For the first time he wondered if he was already too late, if Cheveyo was already with her. This might be embarrassing for all of us, he thought.
Jason looked at the door, compelled to go inside no matter what he came across. Being with Cheveyo wasn’t going to work anyway. Jason didn’t know how he knew that about the situation, but he just did. Even the thought that Aiyana would try with Cheveyo upset him now, but being upset was not right either. So Jason didn’t bother knocking, but he did remove his shoes as Aiyana had asked last time.
Once inside, he walked softly through the house looking and listening at every closed door. Finally, he came to a large open room at the back of the house that faced a lush courtyard with a cascading fountain. In the center of the room, Aiyana sat in the middle of a pile of pillows wearing only a very sheer bra top and equally sheer pajama pants. On her shoulders and down her arms were intricate designs made of fine black dots. As Jason walked towards her, he saw the dots on her start to glow.
She stood and turned to him in one fluid motion.
“Jason. Why are you here? I’m expecting. . .” Aiyana found she couldn’t say the truth to him while he was looking at her so fiercely.
Jason walked up and stopped in front of her, placing his hands on her arms, matching their designs. He winced at the pleasure-pain sensation it caused both of them.
Aiyana moaned as the power flowed between them. “Jason…” she began, then caught her breath.
Jason sensed the man at the door before he actually saw him. He dropped his hands from Aiyana to face the man who had just entered.
“Who are you?” the man at the door demanded. “Why are you touching Shaman Aiyana?”
Jason looked at him for a few moments. There was no doubt who the man was because he fit the description. He studied the man that Aiyana had told him was more handsome than he was, a man who had pleasured her more than once.
“This is the final time I ask you the question before I take further action,” the man said quietly.
Jason heard Cheveyo speaking in the same dispassionate, but I-really-mean-it manner of speaking that Hania used. Maybe he should be more worried about the fierce glare he was receiving, but he just wasn’t feeling anything but relief that he stopped Aiyana from…holy hell. He was jealous.
“Aiyana won’t need your services after all, Cheveyo. I am the Shaman’s mate,” Jason growled the words, shocked at how fiercely he sounded saying them.
Jason watched the man study him for long moments. He was prepared to fight him if needed, but hoped it would not come to that. The man was a lot bigger and looked a lot stronger than Hania, who had managed to take him down easily.
Aiyana’s heart stopped, and then started beating with a thunderous sound. Jason had told Cheveyo that he was her mate. How was this possible? He was staring at Cheveyo, his eyes glowing with the Great Mother’s power. Shocked happiness shook her to her core and she started to fall.
“Aiyana, are you okay?” Jason asked, grabbing her arms to hold her upright, accidentally matching their marks again.
“Jason…” she called his name, and then collapsed in a heap at his feet, her hands sliding down his body. She wrapped her arms around his legs because she simply had to touch some part of him to believe it was real.
Aiyana looked across the room, pain in her heart for yet another misdeed she had done to the man at her door. “I’m sorry for this situation, Cheveyo. I truly did not expect Jason to return to me, but I am glad he has.”
Cheveyo looked at him with the most hateful look Jason had ever received from another person.
“There is no dishonor here, Aiyana,” Cheveyo said softly. “I serve Shaman Aiyana, who serves the Great Mother. If you have need of me, I too will return to you.” He bowed his head to her and left, not sparing Jason another glance.
Jason looked down at the woman wrapped around his legs and wondered what had possessed him to stake a claim. What was it to him if the woman bonded with the whole tribe? But thinking of Cheveyo at her door, he was pleased he’d sent the man away. God help him—maybe he felt a sense of duty growing for her. Somehow he instinctively knew that Shaman Aiyana’s ascension wouldn’t happen with anyone but him. Walking through Aiyana’s door moments ago, he was following some inner voice that demanded he help her, regardless of what form that help took.
As he pulled Aiyana up into his arms again, the voices he’d heard when he kissed her started chanting again. This time though the chanting perfectly matched the heat in his blood as he studied Aiyana’s nearly naked body. This time when desire for her moved through him, Jason accepted it physically, even though he still had to work at setting the emotional guilt aside. His body was insisting that he be with her. There seemed to be no other choice.
“So where are we doing the deed?” Jason asked Aiyana. “Do you have a bedroom?”
“What?” Aiyana asked, not quite understanding what Jason meant. She was still recovering from what had just happened, from the joy that Jason had returned, and from her shame at having to send Cheveyo away. It wasn’t often that she experienced emotional turmoil.
“For this ascension thing to work for you, you have to have sex with me, right?” Jason demanded. “I don’t know how I know that, lady, but I just do.”
Aiyana looked hard at Jason, trying to see into his spirit, trying to see if he would have any regrets. “You told Cheveyo I was your mate. Did you mean those words?”
Jason tugged her forward by the center of the bra top she wore, until they were nose to nose because she was so tall.
“God help me for disrespecting my dead wife, but I do,” Jason admitted, rubbing a thumb across her left nipple and making her tremble. He watched their dots glow brighter as he touched her through her clothes. “Kissing you put these glowing dots on my hands. And I see you have a matching set.”
“Praise to the Great Mother for all her gifts,” Aiyana said breathlessly, finding it difficult to have conversation when Jason was touching her so intimately.
“You might want to save that gratitude for after we’re done,” Jason joked, hoping he would not back out on her once they started.
Part of him was hard and aching for her, so he knew he was up for the challenge, so to speak. Still another part of him was trying to decide if he would be betraying Emily and her memory by what he planned to do to help a woman he didn’t really even know.
“What you bear are the Great Mother’s marks. You are also ascending Jason. I did not know that would happen when I kissed you. Are you okay with receiving the power of it?” Aiyana asked, concern evident in her face.
“If I turn into some really ugly creature after having sex with you, there’s going to be hell to pay,” Jason warned, still toying with her top.
“When ascension is complete, you will be what you already are, only more so,” Aiyana told him with a smile, trying to reassure Jason that he would not be harmed.
“Will there be more tattoos?” Jason asked, thinking he needed to be prepared for what would happen.
“Yes. You’ll get a lot more tattoos,” Aiyana informed him, laughing painfully, not really finding any humor.
Jason pulled her closer to him, listening as the chanting grew louder and louder in his ears.
“Next question. Why do I hear people talking every time I get near you?” he asked her.
“It is the voices of the ancestors. Can you understand what they are saying?” she asked in return.
“Not the words, but it seems like they are encouraging me to just…take you hard and fast,” Jason finally admitted, hoping she did not find it offensive.
Aiyana stepped away from Jason, untied a string on each side of her hips, letting the pants fall to the floor. “That’s exactly what they are saying,” she agreed. “And I am ready for you to do so.”

You can get your copy on Amazon or read other peoples' reviews on Goodreads.

Biography     After 35 years of doing everything for a living except writing books, I finally published my first romance novel in March of 2011. Ten novels later, I feel like I'm living my own “happily ever after” life as a modestly successful author who gives back to the universe by doing her best to keep several Lexington, Kentucky coffee shops in business. 

I dream of selling my house and taking to the open road once I figure out how to do so without my children and grandchildren finding out. For the time being, I continue to live contentedly with my permanent fiancée of many years who helps me sneak away from real life as often as he can.

I love him dearly for it.

December 11, 2012

Special Post: A Rocket Holiday

at 12/11/2012 12:00:00 AM 13 comments
Darynda Jones would like to share a special story with you this December.

Welcome to the Rocket Holiday Event!
Exclusive Rocket Story and Giveaway!

During the entire month make sure to follow all the blogs listed on the Darynda Jones Blog Tours Home.  Each blog will be posting a special Christmas story written by Darynda Jones.  Exclusive art will accompany the story at each post. Each blog will have a different name on the wall within the art.  Viewers must keep each name or names found on each blog post in order to unravel the secret message.  Take note of the most prominent name(s) within the artwork.  Some blogs will have more than one name.  When viewers have found all the names they will then take the first letter of each name, these letters will need to be unscrambled in order to find the secret message.  Once you have the message, fill out the form below to be entered into an amazing Rocket Giveaway!

Win Big!

Darynda Jones will be giving away a $100 Dollar Gift Card to one lucky winner!
* (Note blogs will be added as their post goes live.)

"A Blue Christmas"
by Darynda Jones

Rocket pressed his nose against the basement window and watched the lights twinkling across the way. Several houses around the abandoned asylum where he and his sister lived were decorated for the holidays, and the cheer reflected off the snow that blanketed the ground, just enough to cast a soft glow of color. Rocket stood transfixed. Names of the newly departed rushed through his head, bounced and collided with one another like atoms in the sun, but he didn't care. Not tonight. It was Christmas Eve. And Santa was coming.
“Hurry, Blue,” he said, calling out to his five-year-old sister. He was much older than she because she’d died long before he did, but she’d waited for him, followed his every move until he eventually succumbed to the conditions of the mental hospital their parents had placed him in during WWII and joined her in the afterlife. “He’s coming!” Rocket said, giggling to himself.
His sister Blue appeared in a far off corner, too far from the window to see the sparkling lights or the glittery snow. She wore her same outfit as always, denim overalls and a dirty shirt, with her dark brown hair cropped short and tucked behind her ears. When he beckoned her over in a series of excited gestures, she finally rewarded him with a cautious a smile, and for a moment she stopped wringing her hands and took a wary step forward.
He shook his head. “You’re going to miss him. I’m telling you, he’ll be here lickety-split and you’re going to be over there hiding in the corner.”
Of course, Rocket knew why she hesitated. She’d been hoodwinked before, so he understood why she thought maybe Santa wasn't really coming. But this year would be different. Miss Charlotte told him the truth about Mr. Claus. Said he was getting on up there and sometimes he forgot a few stops, but this year she’d make sure he remembered him and Blue. Rocket figured Santa didn't come because Blue Bell and Rocketman weren't their real names and maybe he didn't know where to find them, but Miss Charlotte said Santa was a lot like him. He knew all the names, real and pretend, of all the kids in all the world. Rocket wasn't a kid no more, but Blue was, and Santa needed to get off his keister and do his derned job.
Then he saw movement. He took in a breath and stilled. Widening his eyes, he watched as black boots with red pants tucked into them hurried past the window. His arms flailed out and he fell off the chair he’d been standing on, tumbling to the ground.
“He’s here!” he shouted, scrambling to his feet. “He’s really here, Blue. Hurry.”
Blue’s face brightened and she stood beaming at him. Or she was until he tackled her and scooped her into his arms, but he didn't have no time to be gentle. They had to get to bed. Miss Charlotte said in order for Santa to come, they had to be in bed fast asleep. They hadn't slept in years but that wasn't going to stop him. He had a job to do, and if he had to tie Blue to that derned bed, so be it.
“But I’m not sleepy,” she whispered to him.
“Just pretend then.” He rushed her down the hall to where the old spring cots were.
Blue chuckled softly in his ears and hugged him close. “Is that why Santa don’t come, you think? ‘Cause we ain't never in bed?”
He almost tripped but caught himself and carried on. He hadn't thought of that. “I bet you’re right. Dang it. No one ever told me Santa had rules. No breaking rules.”
Blue nodded, her porcelain face revealing the excitement she’d kept stored for far too long. “No breaking rules.”
He laid her on the springs of a cot, her body—tiny and depleted from the effects of dust pneumonia before she died—barely took up half the cot. He wished there’d been a mattress to lay her on, but the springs would have to do.
After getting her settled, he tiptoed over to his own cot, wiggled onto it, then pulled what had been a paper sack up over his face until only his eyes showed. Then he waited. And listened. As the first rustling sounds wafted down from one of the upper floors, Blue gasped. She bolted upright and gaped at him. He motioned her down, crinkling his paper.
“Sorry,” Blue whispered, but it took him forever to reposition the paper just so. She lay back down and cupped her hands over her mouth.
“Close your eyes,” he said in a hushed voice. “We have to be fast asleep.”
Blue nodded and closed her eyes, but he could see her peeking.
“Blue!” he said in a louder hushed voice.
Blue slammed her hands over her whole face to keep from peeking, but he saw her fingers part. He sighed. Santa was never going to fall for this. Or so he thought, until he heard boot steps on the stairs. He tensed to contain his excitement. Even when he heard the commotion of someone slipping and falling down the stairs or the loosing of a string of blistering curse words, he didn't dare move. But he did wonder about Santa’s inappropriate vocabulary choices and his voice. It was very . . . girly. Rocket thought it would be much deeper.
Slamming his eyes shut, he waited as the footsteps drew closer and closer. Santa paused at the door and turned off his flashlight. Rocket could see the light dim because his lids were almost clear nowadays. But he kept them closed anyway as Santa stepped toward him. Rocket held his breath. Santa stopped right beside his bed then walked to Blue’s and did the same beside hers before heading back up the stairs.
After the scraping of some furniture and another strings of curses that kind of resembled the names of his reindeer if Rocket concentrated really hard, Santa was gone. Rocket peeled open his eyes. The first thing he saw was Blue’s present. He bound off the cot and rushed to her side.
“Look, Blue!”
She lowered her hands and opened her eyes, the dark circles underneath making them look even bigger when she saw her present. A doll small enough for Blue to carry around without great effort lay on the floor in front of her. Blue blinked and her mouth formed a perfect O, even more stunned than Rocket.
“He came,” she said, her soft voice still husky from the pneumonia. She reached for the doll but missed, her hand swiping through it. Then she focused and reached again. She took hold of it that time. Cradled it. Her eyes watering with emotion. “He really came.”
Her doll looked almost exactly like the one she’d had back home. Santa really did know things. Lots of things.
“Rocket,” Blue said, her voice so soft, he could barely hear her.
He’d been lost in memories when he bound back to the present and turned to where Blue motioned. Beside his cot was a tin rocket. He hurried over to it, picked it up. It was a windup toy like in the dime stores. The kind they could never afford.
“He didn't forget us,” Blue said.
Rocket smiled. “I told you Miss Charlotte knew him. She even knows the Easter Bunny. And the president.”
Blue nodded, satisfied completely, and stroked her doll’s hair.

Clues below in the picture!

I hope you enjoyed the Rocket short above. Please read below for instructions on how to play with Rocket. There is one room in the asylum in which he doesn't want Charley to see the names, but he loves teasing Charley, and has decided to let you have a peek, to let you see the names in the room.  Once you have followed all the blogs listed HERE and have all the names posted on each, use the first letters in each name to create a new phrase. 
 Shhh!   Don't tell Charley!   
(*There may be extra letters and the letters are jumbled)  

~ Blogs ~

Remember the following:

1. Visit each blog listed in the link above for a name or names (no more than two nanes per blog).

2. Jot down the prominent name you see in each picture on each post. Just the first name will be needed.

3. Then take the first letter from each name to create the secret phrase. The phrase will contain exactly 22 letters.

4. Once you have unraveled the letters and have found the secret message, fill out the form below to sign up. You must know the secret message in order to have your entry validated.

Click on the "Entry Form" below to take you to the giveaway sign up sheet!

Thank you to all and the best of luck!

Secret Phrase:
_ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _ _ 

_ _ _ ­_    _ _ _ 
_ _ _ _ _

A special thank you to Jess Rissmiller, the artist responsible for Rocket’s rendition.

To view more of his amazing work please visit his site @!

"A Blue Christmas" by Darynda Jones is in its entirety the sole property of Author Darynda Jones and may not be copied or used without sole permission from the author.

Unless otherwise noted, all of the material found in this post is property of Darynda Jones. All rights reserved. No part of this post or story may be reproduced, published, distributed, displayed, performed, copied or stored for public or private use in any information retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any mechanical, photographic or electronic process, including electronically or digitally on the Internet or World Wide Web, or over any network, or local area network, without written permission of the author, Darynda Jones.

December 10, 2012

Blog Tour Stop: Impulse by Dannika Dark

at 12/10/2012 01:23:00 AM 6 comments

Hey there peeps! Lisa here with a special author interview post. Today I have the honor of interviewing Dannika Dark, author of the Mageri series. Dannika, welcome to the Consummate Reader. Would you like a cup of tea or coffee before we begin? [I'd love a cup of coffee] Alrighty, here you go. Now, this is only my second author interview I've ever done, so let's make it awesomesauce! 

First question, when did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?

Looking back to even when I was a kid, I always wanted to be a writer. I didn’t grow up thinking that was going to be my profession, because you’re supposed to get those 9-5 office jobs with benefits and a 401K. I wrote a lot of stories about magic when I was a kid, and then it progressed to post-apocalyptic stories. The “What If” always fascinated me. However, I’ll admit that I went through a very long phase of poetry, and always imagined that this would be what I was known for. Well, except for the stint in late high school when I was going to be a lyricist for rock bands. ;-)

Do you have a muse that helps you with your Mageri series? If so, describe.

My characters are my muse. When a great character is developed, they not only can be the inspiration for the story that I’m writing, but also give me ideas for another book or series. It’s happened on numerous occasions. I’ve always had an extremely overactive imagination. Even if I’m sitting in line somewhere, my mind is making up “movie quality” scenarios that would make my wait much more interesting if they actually happened. I remember once at Jury duty spending two hours in the hallway talking to a guy about “What ifs”. We were literally sitting there making up scenes that could happen to make our day more interesting, just like a couple of kids.  I really hated being a kid and having a teacher snap me out of a daydream, telling me to focus. We should never discourage kids from using their imagination. Sometimes my characters come to life in one of my daydreams, and I carry them with me through the day. “What would Justus do?” “What would Simon do in this situation?” Having them in my pocket totally inspires me in writing out scenes and developing fresh ideas for new stories.

You've written three books for the Mageri series now, and the third one was recently released. How happy are you with readers’ responses to Impluse?

I’m doing a virtual Snoopy dance. I couldn’t be more pleased with the reviews, emails, and comments I’ve received. Each book in the series, I’m always taking chances with the storyline and characters. As a writer, you wonder how the fans will embrace each book, because sometimes a reader can be very opinionated on where they want the direction to go. But I have to say, the response has far exceeded my expectations. It’s made every process of this journey worth it.

Do you have a level of awesomeness you want to achieve when it comes to writing?

I’d love to be able to branch out into more genres. While I absolutely love the world of paranormal, I’d love to have a horror or straight fiction up my sleeve someday. I’m already mixing genres and trying to keep it versatile, but I think awesomeness would be in how many readers I could reach with my writing, and perhaps they would crossover into my other genres and give them a try. I’d love to be the gateway drug for readers to step into the world of paranormal through one of my other books. Few things are better than when I hear a reader say: “I’ve never read paranormal before, but I loved this series.”

So, as I've said, Impluse was recently released. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Impulse is book three in The Mageri Series, which revolves around a woman who is transformed into a Mage against her will. She was once human, just like us, and suddenly discovers that a secret world of immortals exist. Vampires, Relics, Shifters… you name it. I’ve not only incorporated familiar Breeds, but developed new ones. Silver (our protagonist) is living under the care of her Ghuardian, Justus. She’s trying to figure out where she belongs in this world. In Impulse, she finds herself in a relationship that’s getting intense, but she has no idea just how intense until a truth begins to unravel. She also discovers a box that contains information that could be very dangerous if it fell into the wrong hands. One man wants to know what it is, and he’s the same man who has been pursuing Silver because she has a unique energy within her that’s strong and addictive. This is an evolving storyline that continues through the series, and Impulse also reveals a lot of insight behind some of our main characters. Action, romance, passion, mystery – I think it has a little of something for everyone. Each book has subtle details that readers are beginning to pick up on during re-reads. There are lots of theories floating about, but you’ll have to wait until the next books to find out what happens next.

Excellent! Now it's time for a lightening round!

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Caramel, with swirls of caramel and chocolate chunks! Throw in toffee and I’ll be your BFF for life.

Number 1 guilty pleasure?
Watching reality cooking shows

Favorite quote from your series?
“I want your fingerprints all over me like a crime scene.”

Favorite drink? alcohol or otherwise
Strawberry Daiquiri

Audiobook or paperback?
Paperback (But I swear, if audiobooks had different actors for each character voice, I’d be all over that)

Thanks so much for having me!

Give it up for Dannika Dark!!! (clapping) Now here's a snippet from Impluse:

Both hands cupped my face and his forehead touched mine.
“I was made to protect you, female. I’ve claimed you, whether you accept it or not, and it’s an honor that I take very seriously. If any male lays an unwanted finger on you, I will break it. If you hunger, I will feed you. If you’re cold, then I will warm you with my body. If you’re taken from me, then I’ll track you. Never doubt my devotion to you.” He gripped my head firmly. “I once gave a woman my heart, because that’s all I had to give. But you, Silver, you’re the pulse that keeps me alive. I was a soft man once, but no more. I don’t know if you can accept the man that I’ve become, because all I have to offer you is my life.

We also have a lovely giveaway of a boxed set of the Mageri series, book covers, keychains, car charms, and a surprise gift from Justus. :D enter now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get your copy now on Amazon.

More on Dannika Dark: please visit her website here

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