Reclaim Release Day!


If you’re seeing this, I hope you’re having a fabulous Valentine’s Day. Be sure to treat yourself to some chocolate and, pretty soon, some paranormal romance and adventure. Because, in mere hours, Reclaim (Reborn Book 3) goes live!

reclaimcoverThe paperback version is already available on Amazon. At the end of this post is a list of links to download Reclaim for Kindle, Nook, and some of the other major e-book retailers. Right now, you can pre-order it for $0.99, or check back tomorrow when it goes live.

And, if you’re new to the Reborn series, I’ve made each installment (three books + a novella) $0.99 each for the month of February! You can find the first book, Reborn, for Kindle here. The Reborn series is available through all major e-book retailers, but if you have questions about availability or formats offered, feel free to ask in the comments. ūüôā

(And don’t worry; there’s more to come in the series. Stay tuned…..)

When you read Reclaim (or any of my books) and find yourself with a free minute or two, revenge_sl_stacy_cover_fullI’d appreciate it if you left a rating and/or review on Goodreads or Amazon (or wherever you purchased it from). (Seriously, even if it’s a one star review. Even if you HATED it, haha. All opinions matter.) Reviews really help all authors, but maybe particularly indie authors. Or take a moment to tell a friend about the Reborn series! Word of mouth is still one of the most (if not the most) important ways to get the word out about a book. So if you enjoyed it, recommend it to your book loving/paranormal romance loving friends out there! ūüėČ

I’d also love to hear your thoughts personally. You can contact me through the aptly named “Contact Me” tab on this blog, by messaging me on my Facebook page, on twitter (@sstacy06), or email urge2write@gmail.com.

*****

Some Links

Download Reclaim on Kindle, Nook, Apple, Smashwords and Kobo.

Reclaim on Goodreads

WIP Wednesday December 14, 2016


This won’t be a long update post today, but I just wanted to let you all know I finished all of the edits/rewrites I wanted to make for Reclaim!

IT’S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.

christmas-unicorn

Lol, but seriously, I’m really excited. I’m definitely on track now to release this thing end of January (January 24, 2017, to be exact).

I’m going to order the proof of the paperback version soon to check that out. It will make it easier for me to read through it one last time. Hopefully I don’t realize there’s some catastrophic, super obvious plot hole that I missed during the rewrites. I don’t mind if there are little things people don’t like about it (you can’t please everyone), but I hope I don’t catch any glaring errors at this point, gahhh. There shouldn’t be. I’m just being paranoid.

Anyway, I’ll let a few friends read it and help me with edits, but other than that it’s pretty close to being done. So get excited!

I’m going to try to go on a social media detox during the holidays, but I’ll be back in January and will probably be super annoying about promoting this thing.

In the meantime, you can read the first chapter of Reclaim here, and another fun excerpt here.

Until then, happy holidays, and happy reading!

~S.L.

Goodbye Spaceboy


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that English musician/icon/Goblin King David Bowie passed away last week at age 69 from cancer. (As if that weren’t sad enough, Alan Rickman, the talented English actor who portrayed–among other memorable roles–misunderstood Potions professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise, also passed away. At age 69. From cancer.) I’m not usually one for getting emotional about “celebrity” deaths–then again, this is the first time that someone well-known I actually really liked has died. I mean, when you’ve spent hours upon hours listening to someone’s music, feeling feels (I’m sorry, I’m not good with the words today) and getting inspired, it’s hard not to feel sad. Bowie is an artist who seemed larger than life, but his death was sort of a weird reminder that he was mortal, just like the rest of us. He’s left quite an impact over the years, a legacy I’m sure will endure far beyond his death.

There’s been a huge outpouring of grief over his passing and support for his family over social media, which, of course, not just any normal person would get, and I hope it brings some comfort to Iman and his kids–to know how many lives he touched. As a side note, I’ve found it a little strange that the press keeps calling his death “sudden.” For his fans, yes, it was unexpected, and I suppose that’s what they mean. But perhaps not for his family. An 18-month long battle with cancer is long and emotionally draining for all involved–and yet Bowie didn’t let it get in the way of creativity, of getting out one last album for his fans. That album, Blackstar, has become his first number 1 selling album here in the U.S., which is awesome but at the same time a little depressing. He had many other albums that deserved to get that spot, but death has that kind of effect on art.

I can’t say that, without Bowie, there would be no Reborn series, but it would probably be a somewhat different series. His songs and various stage and film personas have definitely inspired me, and will continue to do so. So, as my own little tribute to the Thin White Duke, here is a top ten list of my favorite Bowie songs. This was hard to compile, since I like most of his work. But I made myself pick 10 that mean something personal to me, or that I just simply love. Also, except for number 10, this list doesn’t include some of his collaborations that I like (like Placebo’s Without You I’m Nothing¬†and the PSB remix of Hallo Spaceboy). They may not necessarily be everybody’s favorites or critical darlings, but this is my blog and my list, dammit. And feel free to share your favorites in the comments!

10. Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy

This is probably a random one, but for me, this is the song that started it all. Before I heard this delightful Bing Crosby/Bowie duet on the radio circa Christmas 2005 (yes, the radio, this was pre-YouTube/Pandora/Spotify), all I had heard about David Bowie was that he was kind of weird. But then I heard this angelic voice singing with Bing and was surprised, in a good way, to learn who it was.

9. Oh! You Pretty Things

Probably one of the main reasons I like Bowie so much is due to my love for science fiction and fantasy. Much of his work, particularly in the 70s, incorporated sci-fi themes and characters. Oh! You Pretty Things has a sci-fi/dystopian flavor to it coupled with a lively tune, and the lyrics are pretty catchy, too. (Anna and Peter sing a duet of it in Relapse, which was also a bit of foreshadowing for things to come in future books).

8. Life on Mars?

I think this is probably one of his more famous tunes, although perhaps an acquired taste. The lyrics string together a series of seemingly disjointed scenes, but together they create a picture of a young person trying to make sense out of the world and images around them.

7. Moonage Daydream

Just like all of the songs that made this list, Moonage Daydream is one of my personal favorites–the only thing is, I’m not even sure why, haha. I just love this song.

6. Underground

I couldn’t write a Bowie top ten list without including a song from the Labyrinth soundtrack. Although there are lots of gems on there (Magic Dance, When the World Falls Down, Within You), I decided I had to go with Underground. At the risk of sounding pretentious, this song, from the soundtrack of an 80s children’s fantasy movie, sounds better than most of the songs they play on the radio today, lol.

5. Five Years

As an urban fantasy/paranormal romance writer, it takes me 200+ pages to create the world and story I envision in my head. It takes Bowie 3-5 minutes, in songs like Five Years (below), and Drive-In Saturday (an honorable mention).

4. Modern Love

80s Bowie likely had a bit more widespread appeal than Ziggy Stardust, and–although there was a disappointing lack of space/aliens–his hits during this phase of his career were fun and catchy. Modern Love is my second favorite thing (Labyrinth is the first) Bowie did in the 80s.

3. Rebel, Rebel

I think one of the reasons Bowie’s glam rock days have had such a lasting impact is that he showed people it’s okay to be “weird” (whatever that means to you). He was a voice for the outcasts of his generation, telling them “you’re not alone” in songs like Rock ‘n Roll Suicide. His most covered track (according to Wikipedia), Rebel, Rebel captures this spirit. ¬†Also note his fabulous getup in this video.

2. Starman

Okay, so clearly Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust/glam rock days are my favorite. So many great songs, especially Starman.

1. Heroes

And, finally, my number 1 favorite song of all time, out of all the songs and all the musicians. Well, it might be tied with Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, but right now it has a slight edge. Heroes gives me chills and feels.

Checking In


This is just a short post to say hi and Happy Valentine’s Day! Enjoy the day with your loved ones. And, if you’re a fellow single lady (or gent), make sure to treat yourself!

I wanted to use up my last free day while Relapse is enrolled in KDP Select, so it’s free through the end of the day today! It’s the perfect read for Valentine’s Day…well, if you like your romances dark with a side of twisted. You can download it here¬†and add it on Goodreads here.

Have anything special planned for the day! Feel free to share in the comments! I have a lot of work to do today, so I’m living vicariously through you. ūüėČ

rose quote

Reborn Dream Cast


As part of her NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) series of posts, my friend Sara over at WhatANerdGirlSays wrote this post about her dream cast were her WIP The Reawakened ever to be made into a movie (as I’m sure it will be!). Anyway, it made me think about my own dream cast for my debut novel, Reborn. Who would you cast? Let me know in the comments!

1. Candace Accola as Siobhan Elliot

Ms. Accola is one of my favorite actresses on The Vampire Diaries. Her Caroline is beautiful and upbeat¬†but also independent and¬†even a little neurotic at times.¬†Siobhan is also very outgoing and at times a bit¬†(a lot) of a control freak–Candace would play her perfectly. Plus, she looks the part: petite,¬†pale, blonde. She just needs some¬†violet-colored contacts and a pair of¬†blue and purple butterfly wings. Amanda Seyfried would also make a good Siobhan.

2. Tom Hiddleston as Jasper Hart

If you know me at all, I know you’re shaking your head right now, groaning, “Oh, Shaina…” I have a ginormous little crush on Tom Hiddleston, most well known as playing scene-stealing Loki in the Thor franchise. Jasper has slightly longish, dark hair, pale skin, intense blue eyes and…well, you know, muscles. He’s charming and sexy with a dangerous, sinister edge. I’m not sure how told Tom is, so he may be slightly older than Jasper is supposed to look, but other than that he’s perfect for the role. Ok, we need to move on because I’m getting a little hot and bothered from this Google image search…

3. Leighton Meester as Anna Wallace

I’ve only seen a little bit of Gossip Girl…to be honest, it was too much fluffy drama, even for me. (Maybe the early seasons are better?) Anna is Siobhan’s ex-best friend from high school. They had a huge falling out in high school, but at the beginning of Reborn¬†Siobhan realizes Anna is the only one who will understand what she’s going through; she needs her best friend back. Anna is a tall, willowy brunette with¬†a healthy tan¬†and hazel eyes. She’s a singer and a music education major. While Siobhan is rather flighty and impulsive, Anna is practical and discerning. At first, I wasn’t sure who would be a good fit for Anna, then Leighton popped into my head. I think she could¬†pull Anna off, plus she contributed vocals to that one Cobra Starship song, didn’t she?

4. Mark Salling as Jimmy Wallace

This was also a hard one to “cast.” Jimmy is Anna’s brother and Siobhan’s ex-boyfriend from high school. They give their¬†relationship another go in Reborn, but Jasper always seems to cause problems for them (like he does wherever he goes…). Jimmy’s character is inspired by Iggy Pop in his Stooges days, but Iggy’s kinda older now. If I could go back in time, extract 20-something Iggy and cast him in my pretend movie, I would. (To do list: Build time machine.) Jimmy has brown hair and hazel eyes. He’s the wild and arrogant frontman of fictional punk rock band Search and Destroy. This was hard for me because I feel like there are few male celebrities or even musicians nowadays that truly embody rebellion. Adam Levine fits the arrogant, sexy rock star stereotype well, but he doesn’t look like the Jimmy I have pictured in my head. Mark Salling played bad boy Puck on Glee, can sing and looks good with a guitar, so I think he’ll do.

5. Charlize Theron as Farrah

Farrah is the mysterious new house mother of Siobhan’s sorority, Gamma Lambda Phi. She has long, ash blonde curls, golden skin and jade green eyes. She has a bubbly personality and is nice to pretty much everyone except Siobhan. Although she seems like one of the “good guys,” she holds a grudge and has a vicious jealous streak. I haven’t seen Snow White and the Huntsman, mostly because I can’t stand Kristen Stewart’s “acting,” but I’ll bet Theron’s Queen was wonderfully evil. She could definitely pull off Farrah’s nice and naughty sides. She just needs to grow her hair out again.

6. Anna Kendrick as Victoria

Victoria is Siobhan’s big sister in Gamma Lambda Phi. She’s tall, athletic with auburn hair and amber-colored eyes. She’s not supposed to be that pretty, but¬†her beauty and strength comes from inside. As president of her sorority, she’s a charismatic and wise leader. (Not that Reborn¬†is a super deep book or anything, but I see Victoria and Anna as reflections of each other. They’re both characters Siobhan trusts and goes to for advice. Victoria is Anna’s counterpart in the Olympian world.) I think Anna Kendrick is very pretty, so casting her as Victoria isn’t some insult to her or something. I just think Ms. Kendrick is great at playing offbeat characters. Victoria is sort of a nice blend of offbeat, awkward but strong that I think Kendrick could pull off.

*****

So these are the “lucky” folk I’d cast as the six principal characters in Reborn. There’s quite a handful of secondary characters, so I could keep going, but I’ll save those for another day. Who would you cast? Who would you cast for your own book?

Book of the Week: The Gathering


The Gathering, Darkness Rising Book 1 by Kelley Armstrong

Find it on Amazon

Amazon Book Description: “Strange things are happening in Maya’s tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya’s home‚ÄĒand her reactions to them are somewhat . . . unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations.

“It doesn’t help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret, and he’s interested in one special part of Maya’s anatomy‚ÄĒher paw-print birthmark.”

***

Armstrong’s Darkness Rising trilogy takes place in the same world as her Darkest Powers trilogy -same¬†mad scientific organization, different subjects. This time, Armstrong takes us to a small, isolated research community in Canada where the St. Clouds perform “pharmaceutical drug trials.” Maya lives there with her adoptive parents (this isn’t a spoiler, she’s well-aware that she’s adopted) that operate a wildlife reserve. Maya takes care of injured animals there and seems to have a special connection with the animals as well as uncanny healing abilities. She and her friend Daniel are still healing themselves after her best friend and his girlfriend Serena (a seasoned swimmer) drowns mysteriously in a lake. They really start asking questions about Serena’s death when a nosey outsider named Mina Lee appears in town and wants to talk to the teenagers about the research that goes on there. She seems especially interested in the life of a high schooler in their isolated community, their hobbies, and specifically in Maya.

Meanwhile, newcomer and local bad boy Rafael (Rafe) Martinez is also taking a special interest in Maya. As Maya gets to know Rafe, she realizes they have more in common than just their Native American ancestry. (Sorry for the ambiguity -I’m trying to keep this as spoiler free as possible!) Rafe might not be the bad boy he pretends to be, but his interest in Maya may not be entirely selfless, either. One thing I liked about this book is that Maya is an¬† independent and plucky kinda girl. She’s very bold with Rafe (even bolder than usual, she admits) and often takes charge in their relationship, including initiating their, uh, make out sessions. Even though much of the book focuses on her relationship with Rafe, you kind of get the feeling that Armstrong is heading into love triangle territory since there seems to be some unresolved tension between Maya and Daniel. And, of course, Daniel doesn’t trust Rafe, so there’s friction between those two as well. (Do I sense a potential bromance in the works?)

When I started The Gathering, I was still on a high from reading my first paranormal romance trilogy by author Kelley Armstrong, The Darkest Powers. (You can find my book review for that series here.)¬† I’m not sure what it was about¬†The Gathering¬†that I didn’t like. I mean, I liked it -I just didn’t love it, and I don’t know what about it didn’t take it to the next level for me. There were a lot of plot elements similar to The Darkest Powers¬†trilogy -like¬†Chloe has to put up with bitchy witch¬†(teehee) Tori, Maya¬†has to deal with¬†mean girl Hayley. And there are the¬†hints of a Daniel-Maya-Rafe love triangle. But these parallels didn’t really bother me. I mean, I’ve read and loved all of L. J. Smith’s books, and those all have very similar basic structures: Same basic premise, different twist. By the way, isn’t that the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?…Well, I’m not really expecting different results, so I guess I’m okay! ūüėČ

Anyway, so it wasn’t the repetition. Something was missing for me. It seemed to be action-packed, but I didn’t become totally invested in the characters. I could put the book down if I wanted to. I also think it took too long for Maya to figure out who/what she is. The reader will become aware of it early in the book, but then it takes Maya almost the whole book to figure it out. That was a little frustrating. I enjoyed Maya’s character, though. Not only was she independent, she had an adventurous spirit and her narration and dialogue was just plain funny -she has a dry, sarcastic wit (kind of like yours truly).

Although I wasn’t in lurve with this book, I will still totally read the other ones. I’m curious enough to see what will happen next, and hopefully they get better.

Upcoming Books of the Week: Darkness Rising: The Calling (Book 2) and The Rising (Book 3); Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones; Karen Marie Moning’s The Dark Highlander

Related Reads:

Book of the Week: The Darkest Powers Trilogy – The Urge to Write

The Gathering – Rachel Lizotte

Day 13 – Your Favorite Writer – Kelley Armstrong – The Avid Reader

Book Review: The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong – Baubles & Books

What Music Inspires You?


Heidi asked this question on her blog last week, and I’d like to hear from you all, too: What kind of music inspires your writing? Music Video Monday was originally supposed to be all about what music was inspiring my writing at the time -and it mostly has been, although I also include music that fits my mood and new old music discoveries. (Yes, you read that right: new old music.)

So watch this video from one of my favorite British duos, Erasure, and then let me know your musical inspiration in the comments!

Erasure: “Ship of Fools”

Book of the Week: The Immortal Highlander


I actually read The Immortal Highlander (Book 6¬†of Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series) a few months ago, but I never got around to reviewing it (a.k.a. going on an obsessed, fangirl rant), so it is this week’s book. You may remember that Adam Black and Darroc made my list of the Top 10 Bromances awhile back. But this post is dedicated to the entire book -every delicious page.

Summary: “BEWARE: lethally seductive alpha male of immense strength and dark eroticism, do not look at him. Do not touch him. Do not be tempted. Do not be seduced.

“With his long, black hair and dark, mesmerizing eyes, Adam Black is Trouble with a capital T. Immortal, arrogant, and intensely sensual, he is the consummate seducer, free to roam across time and continents in pursuit of his insatiable desires. That is, until a curse strips him of his immortality and makes him invisible, a cruel fate for so irresistible a man. With his very life at stake, Adam‚Äôs only hope for survival is in the hands of the one woman who can actually see him.

“Enter law student Gabrielle O‚ÄôCallaghan, who is cursed with the ability to see both worlds: Mortal and Faery. From the moment she lays eyes on this stunning male, Gabby is certain of one thing: He could be her undoing. Thus begins a long, dangerous seduction. Because despite his powerful strength and unquenchable hungers, Adam refuses to take a woman by force. Instead, he will tease his way into Gabby‚Äôs bed and make her want him just as he wants her.

“Now, no matter how hard Gabby tries to avoid him, Adam is everywhere, invisible to all but her‚ÄĒperched atop her office cubicle in too-tight jeans, whispering softly from behind the stacks of the law library, stealing her breath away with his knowing smile‚Ķall the while tempting her with the promise of unimaginable pleasure in his arms. But soon danger will intrude on this sensual dance. For as Adam‚Äôs quest to regain his immortality plunges them into a world of timeless magic and the deadly politics of the Faery queen‚Äôs court, the price of surrender could be their very lives. Unless they can thwart the conspiracy that threatens both mortal and Faery realms‚Ķand give them a shot at a destiny few mortals ever know: glorious, wondrous, endless love.”

***

Before reading Immortal, I did read The Spell of the Highlander. (Yes, it’s Book 7. Yes, I’m reading them in reverse order. More about that later.) But I didn’t post anything about Spell because, although I enjoyed it and it still showcased Moning’s talent for expertly combining elements of romance, fantasy and mythology, it wasn’t my favorite of her books.

Immortal is a different story. (Pun intended?) It has the traditional formula of a romance novel, of course, but it lays the framework for her Fever series, which means it’s a little bit dark and full of meddling Fae. I was really disappointed when I read Spell and the Fae only cropped up a few times. Immortal was exactly what I was craving. In this case, our Highlander is actually a Fae trapped in his Highlander glamour when Queen Aoibheal punishes him by taking away his immortality. Gabby is a sidhe-seer and is the only one who can see Adam. She tries to resist him, but Adam Black is persistent in getting Gabby to help him so that he can return to his immortal form -and in getting Gabby for himself. Their dynamic is so entertaining, full of that typical love-hate tension, but the way Moning develops it, it feels fresh and exciting.

And in the background, we have Darroc trying to get Adam Black and his little sidhe-seer out of the way so that he can blinde-side Aoibheal and free the Unseelie from their prison. It was so much fun reading about Darroc as a Fae and the threads of what later transformed into Moning’s much beloved Fever series. I guess one could call it a prequel. I just love how Moning’s Fae are these majestic, epic characters operating in the background, tinkering (and sometimes more than tinkering) with the order of things on Earth, unbeknownst to humans. I don’t know why, I’m just obsessed with the idea, and I love how Moning incorporates it.

There’s an unexpected twist towards the end of Immortal, and also a few pages that made me really scared and nervous for the ending, even though it’s formula fiction and we know how it has to end. But still, it scared me. Not only does Moning nicely wrap things up, at the end there’s a scene that will just make you “awwwww.” Ugh, again, so perfect. I want to be able to write like her…

¬†Beyond the fantasy and sexual tension,¬†there’s a nice touch of “reality” in it, so to speak, because Gabby’s dealings with¬†and feelings for Adam go against what she was taught as a young girl -go against everything she’s read about Adam in her family’s books. Namely, that her fantasies about a sexy Fae prince are wrong -that the Fae are to be avoided, and Adam Black is especially to be avoided. This element actually makes what is definitely a fantastical book feel a little more down-to-Earth. We have a young woman who is learning firsthand the truth about a person she was taught to fear. Sure, some¬†of what her family said about the Fae is true, but there’s much more too it than that, and some of it stemmed from their own prejudice.

So, what did I not enjoy about this book? That would be nothing. Seriously, nothing. It was epic, and it made me want to read the Fever series again. Which needs to happen this summer. After I get done reading all of the other books on my summer reading list…

As a last note, although the Highlander books aren’t as connected as the Fever series -each book is distinct and focuses on a different couple -characters from past books do show up in the¬†later books, mostly brothers Drustan and Dageus. I read Spell and Immortal first because they were available at the library, and she gives you enough background information that you don’t get confused when she brings in these old characters. So I personally don’t think it’s super necessary to read them in order; however, this would probably bother many of you, so of course go ahead and read them as they were meant to be read. ūüėČ My OCD did kick in and I realized I should read them in some order, so it looks like that will be reverse order. No, really, I have The Dark Highlander (Book 5) sitting on my bookshelf, waiting to be read…

Upcoming Books of the Week (in no particular order): The Dark Highlander, The Gathering (Kelley Armstrong), City of Bones (Cassandra Clare)

 Related Reads:

The Urge to Write: Isn’t it Bromantic?

The Urge to Write: Sunday Showdown: Fever versus Iced

The Readist: On Saying Goodbye to Your Favorite Characters

LittleDallilasBookshelf: Darkfever

Pure Textuality: Burned release date

Book of the Week: The Darkest Powers Trilogy


I’m starting yet another new type of post -Book of the Week -an idea I’m borrowing from WhatANerdGirlSays. (You can find her most recent Book of the Week about Obsidian¬†here.) Hopefully this will motivate me to do some more reading this summer outside of the usual science-y things I read for my research.

This week I have a fun new series I’ve been dying to tell you about (I just haven’t had the time). Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Powers trilogy (The Summoning, The Awakening, and The Reckoning) is¬† my most recent guilty pleasure and¬†is now one of my all-time favorite series in this genre. These are the first of Armstrong’s books that I’ve read, but they won’t be the last. (I believe she usually writes adult fiction.) I also had some pangs of nostalgia reading them because they reminded me of old school L. J. Smith. In fact, the plot is reminiscent of Smith’s Dark Visions trilogy. (I’m not at all saying they’re a rip off, just that there are some similarities. I mean, it’s really difficult to come up with a completely fresh idea. What I really look for is how successful the author can put a new twist on what might be not an utterly original idea.) Especially if you are an L. J. Smith fan, you will love these books. They are young-adult-paranormal-romance-perfection.

Summary: Our heroine (and aspiring screenplay writer) Chloe is sent to a home for “disturbed” teenagers after having a public “meltdown” at her high school. At Lyle House, she is diagnosed with schizophrenia.¬†Chloe soon realizes that her “schizophrenia” is actually a true supernatural ability: She is a necromancer; not only capable of seeing ghosts, but also raising the dead. Several of her housemates turn out to¬†be supernaturals as well.¬†This secret new world of the supernaturals is home to necromancers, witches, sorcerers,¬†psychics, werewolves and demi-demons -as well as those of their own kind that want to tamper with the special abilities of supernaturals. This series is packed with action, plot twists and¬†subtle sexual tension. (It is, after all, a young adult book…don’t want it getting too racy…)

Despite her diagnosis at Lyle House, it’s clear at the beginning that Chloe can “see dead people.” Honestly, in the first few chapters, I wasn’t sure I could really get into the whole “necromancer”¬†thing, but I’m glad I stuck with it because I ended up loving it. It was a nice break from the normal paranormal fair (and by that I mean vampires). It’s told from Chloe’s POV, so we get a lot of insight into her inner struggle with her abilities. Although these books aren’t character-driven, most of the main characters change throughout the series as their experiences shape them. And Kelley Armstrong is simply talented at writing fast-paced, suspenseful fiction.

Some of you will love this, some of you will hate it (I LOVED it), but there is a love triangle in the books between Chloe and two foster brothers who are also at Lyle House: Derek and Simon. First of all -OK, I keep throwing around the word “loved,” so let’s¬†change it up a¬†bit¬†-I was OBSESSED with Derek. Just like many fictional bad boys, Derek is mysterious, brood-y, and does NOT play well with others, except for maybe Simon. As Ms. Armstrong makes clear in the books, Derek and Simon may not be related by blood, but they are brothers and friends in the truest sense. Chloe gets along more easily with the amiable, good-looking Simon, while she and Derek clash at almost every turn.

My favorite thing about Derek, though, is that he’s not supposed to be stereotypically handsome. In fact, especially in The Summoning, puberty is not being kind to this boy. As the series progresses, Derek grows out of this, but he’s still no Damon Salvatore. ūüėČ I just found it refreshing. Then again, it’s not like he’s totally hideous or something, either…let’s just say, he works out…

Not gonna lie, probably the biggest reason I loved these books was the Derek/Chloe dynamic. I don’t know if this trilogy inspired any Simon/Chloe shippers, but I was all about Derek and Chloe. (What should we call them? Dloe? Chlerek?) I also really loved the plot twists Armstrong throws at her readers, leaving them questioning who the characters can really trust. The only thing that didn’t work for me is the whole Chloe-wants-to-be-a-screenwriter aspect. It just seemed really forced. It was more natural in the last installment, but in the other two it felt like Chloe was talking about movies or how she would turn something that just happened into a scene in a movie in every other paragraph. Perhaps it’s because I can’t relate to it, but in my opinion it was overdone. Chloe likes movies. I got it the first hundred times.

But other than¬†this personal pet peeve, I highly recommend The Darkest Powers trilogy if you are looking for a quick, fun, and at times sexy escape. I liked them so much I wish I had bought them instead of borrowing them from the library. That is a big deal for me. I don’t buy books that often unless I am absolutely sure I will reread them, and even then I don’t usually end up reading them again. I read the last book twice before returning it to the library because I didn’t want¬†them to end. Luckily, Armstrong has another young adult trilogy called Darkness Rising, which I think is in the same world as Powers, although with a different set of characters.

Isn’t it Bro-mantic?


I realized I haven’t composed nearly enough Top 10 lists on The Urge to Write. So what better time to write one than during the Scandal commercial breaks? (It’s arguably more productive than what I did during the commercials of Sunday’s Once Upon A Time, which was to watch the prior week’s episode on my lap top…..) And what could be better than a list of the Top 10 Bromances?

According to Wikipedia. a bromance is a close, non-sexual relationship between at least two men, a form of affectional intimacy. ūüėČ

Women are usually thought of as forming closer bonds than men, but as the following duos show, fictional men, at least,¬†can¬†enjoy powerful, nearly unbreakable bonds with one another¬†(although the occasional girl may come between them, as you will see). My list of the Top 10 Bromances¬†spans decades and¬†includes characters from my all-time favorite books, TV shows and movies of a variety of genres (fantasy, sci-fi, comedy, “dramedy”). And one non-fictional pair, as you will see…

Be sure to share your favorite bromances in the comments!

10. Adam Black and Darroc

This bromance is worth a mention since I recently devoured Karen Moning’s The Immortal Highlander. I¬†enjoyed this back story bromance between the mischievous Adam Black (Puck being one of his many other aliases) and Council Elder Darroc. I loved this idea of two reckless Fae princes conquering Fairy and Earth together:

“Watching Adam with his little human had reminded him [Darroc] of the times long ago when they’d ridden the Wild Hunt together, when they’d hunted like brother-gods, invincible and free, ruled by nothing and no one…Mortals had been nothing more to them than lowly beasts, good for a chase, amusing to play with…”

Unfortunately, by the time the events in the book happen, Adam must stop his now arch-nemesis Darroc from overthrowing Aoibheal and freeing the Unseelie from their icy dark prison. And well, if you’ve read the Fever series, you know how that eventually turns out…

9. Evan and Cappie

Freshman year at the fictional Cyprus-Rhodes University of ABC Family’s Greek, rich playboy Evan Chambers and adorable slacker Cappie were once roommates and bffs. Unfortunately, when this show commenced their friendship had already entered rocky terrain: They’ve joined opposing fraternities, and Evan is dating Cappie’s ex, ZBZ sister Casey. Although I spent most of Greek‘s four seasons waiting for Cappie and Casey to finally get back together (and stay that way), the Evan/Cappie on-again, off-again bromance was another central conflict on the show. Fortunately, by the series finale the two seem to finally make amends, although I’m not sure they could ever¬†truly go back to those early carefree days of freshman year.

8. Shawn and Gus

I haven’t talked about my love for Psych much on this blog, but if you haven’t checked it out yet, this show is seriously awesome and hilarious. Shawn and Gus have been best friends since they were kids and despite the fact that they are polar opposites. Shawn is ridiculously perceptive, which serves him well in his job as a “psychic” consultant to the Santa Barbara PD, but he drifts through life rather aimlessly; on the other hand, Gus has a serious job as a pharmaceutical rep and is more focused and level-headed. Nevertheless, these two are the very definition of best friends forever as they solve mysteries and get into all sorts of mischief (courtesy of Shawn).

7. Howard and Raj probably have one of the most special friendships out of the entire gang on The Big Bang Theory. But seriously, beyond all of the jokes about their “ersatz homosexual relationship,” in the earliest seasons Howard and Raj are two single nerds banding together in search of comic books and, of course, love. Of course, Howard doesn’t completely reform his¬† creepster ways until he meets charming microbiologist Bernadette, but I think this also has a positive influence on his friendship with Raj, making it a little less codependent but¬†still solid.

6. Finn Hudson and Kurt Hummel

This is the first (but not the last) brother duo on this list -well, step-brother duo. Glee’s Finn and Kurt didn’t start off as allies; due to his reputation as the cute, clean-cut jock at McKinley High, Finn was initially wary of the merging of the Hudson-Hummels and of having a gay friend/step-brother. Kurt wasn’t particularly sensitive to Finn’s feelings, either. But by the end of Season 3, Finn has amassed the courage to stand up for Glee Club, Kurt and their friendship. Glee is one of the few shows (if not the only one) at least in the United States that portrays¬†a friendship between a gay teenage boy and a straight one, period,¬†while also doing so¬†with tact and grace.

“In Glee Club whenever two of us got together we got a nickname. Rachel and I are Finchel. Rachel and Puck were Puckleberry. And today a new union is formed: Furt. You and I, man. We‚Äôre brothers from another mother.”

5. David Bowie and Iggy Pop

And yet again, I manage to include my two favorite people! In fact, the only reason they’re not higher up on the list is because they’re real people. I know I should have probably kept this focused -confined to fictional characters -but I can’t resist. There’s just something epic about picturing these two musicians collaborating together in Berlin -writing songs, performing, and being generally awesome. They’re even making a movie about those creative years in Berlin. (I’m not getting paid to endorse the movie or anything like that, I’m just orgasmically excited about it-so much so that I’m making up words.)

4. The Salvatore Brothers

Although many differences exist between The Vampire Diaries TV series and the original L. J. Smith books, one steadfast theme is the bond between Stefan and Damon Salvatore.¬†Sure, they’ve fallen twice fallen for the same girl -the enticing vampire Katherine and later for her doppelg√§nger Elena. This show is now in its fourth tumultuous season, and it’s becoming harder and harder to see Stefan as just the “good brother” and Damon as the bad guy. Stefan’s relapsed into his dark side, the notorious Ripper, and we’ve seen Damon let his guard down as far as Elena’s concerned as well as caught glimpses of a more selfless Damon. Even through their ups and downs, Stefan and Damon know they can depend on each other and trust the other to keep Elena safe.

(Damon:) “I was hoping we could hang. You know a little brother bonding. I know we don‚Äôt actually ‚Äúhang out‚ÄĚ. We team up, we join forces, we activate our Wonder twin powers.”

3. Harry Potter and Ron Weasley

Of course, part of the true magic of J. K. Rowling’s epic series lies in the dynamic of the main trio -Harry, Ron and Hermoine -but since tonight’s focus is on bromances, we will¬†consider Harry/Ron. These two are a team from their start at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and remain friends well into adulthood, as is evident in the epilogue of The Deathly Hallows. They follow in the footsteps of James Potter and Sirius Black, getting wrapped up in all sorts of mischief and shenanigans (or rather, the mayhem finds them, Harry being the Chose One and all). Throughout all of their adventures in and out of Hogwarts, Harry and Ron fight for goodness and peace in both the wizard and Muggle worlds.

2. Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee

If this list only contained book bromances, Frodo and Sam would be number one. I mean, come on –theirs is the quintessential bromance. They leave their cozy shire to go on the ultimate adventure with a company of dwarves, elves and humans. Although they find true friends in their new allies, only Sam can help Frodo overcome his obsession with the One Ring in order to destroy it at the very end. Sam’s loyalty to Frodo is¬† unwavering.

(Frodo:) ‚ÄúI am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.‚ÄĚ

1. Captain James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock

Another classic example of two best friends having epic adventures, only this time exploring space, that final frontier.¬†Although its special effects¬†are quite outdated now,¬†the themes of¬†friendship and the exploration of the unknown (I can’t seem to say what I want¬†to say without it sounding like I’m talking about something else…)¬†¬†in The Original Series are timeless. Wikipedia tells me that the Kirk/Spock dynamic also¬†inspired a lot of sexy fanfic back in the day and has greatly influenced the development of these communities as we know them today. I¬†am also a fan of J. J. Abram’s reinvention of the franchise (I’ve watched it so many times I’ve lost count), in which we saw Kirk and Spock’s¬†mutual animosity blossom into the bromance we know and love.