There are so many incredible writers, so much talent, and too many books to ever try to read them all. I thought, in light of that fact, it would be nice to share some of the best of the best. Quick little hints of what lies inside the pages of some of the books from my favorite authors.
“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.”
― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones
January 17, 2014 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Reading, Writing | Tags: Arts, Author, author excerpts, books, Fiction, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Literature, Neil Gaiman, novel writing, The Sandman: The Kindly Ones | Leave a comment
Blood sped through my veins as I gripped the edge of the counter, gazing into the face I knew so well. A shadow of confusion crossed his expression as he stared back at me before the corner of his mouth drew up in a slight grin, and my face flushed with a burning heat. Goosebumps shivered down my arms, the air seeming to quiver with a faint breeze.
“Layla, are you okay?” Someone shook me by the shoulder. “Layla?” Devon’s voice rang from far away.
I tried to speak, but words wouldn’t form. I remembered his face, the waterfall, the forest. The warmth of his hand in mine. Droplets of water cascading down his golden skin. His eyes reflecting the sunlight like crystals. The rush of wind as he ran beside me. His laughter. The sound of his voice when he called my name.
November 19, 2013 | Categories: A Fire Born Novel, Books, Fire Born Updates, J Taylor Publishing, New Releases, Reading, TIED, Young Adult Novels | Tags: Arts, Author, Book, Fiction, J. Taylor Publishing, laney mcmann, Layla and Max, The Fire Born Novels, TIED, TIED by Laney McMann, YA Fiction, young adult book releases 2013, young adult paranormal romance, young adult urban fantasy | Leave a comment
“Layla.” Benny’s terrified voice rang out above me. Her fear-filled eyes came into focus as glaring fluorescent lights radiated down from the ceiling. “Can you see me?”
“Who else would I see? You’re in my face.” I shielded my eyes from the light’s glare, the vision reverberating through my mind. The same vision I’d seen a hundred times before. The one I thought had to be a memory but knew couldn’t be. The vision that made my heart ache as if it were being ripped out.
A crowd of dancers hovered around, all gazes fixed on me as I hastily wiped my damp eyes.
What did I do?
“I told you she was crazy,” Dena said.
November 12, 2013 | Categories: A Fire Born Novel, Books, Fire Born Updates, J Taylor Publishing, New Releases, Reading, TIED, Young Adult Novels | Tags: Author, Fiction, J. Taylor Publishing, laney mcmann, Layla, Layla and Max, The Fire Born Novels, TIED, TIED by Laney McMann, YA Fiction, young adult book releases 2013, young adult paranormal romance, young adult urban fantasy | Leave a comment
This week I’ll be moving backward in Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter world, starting with Clockwork Angel—the first book in the Infernal Devices trilogy.
Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
April 12, 2013 | Categories: Author, Current Reads, Reading, Young Adult Novels | Tags: books, Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel, current reads, Infernal Devices, laney mcmann, Mortal Instruments, Reading, Shadowhunter, young adult novels, young adult urban fantasy | 2 Comments
It’s been a long time since a story truly captured my imagination the way The Mortal Instruments has. This is an incredible series. If you haven’t read these books, do. This week I’m posting CITY OF GLASS, the third book in the series, all though I am actually already on the fifth book.
To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters—never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.
As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City—whatever the cost?
Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of bestselling series the Mortal Instruments.
March 22, 2013 | Categories: Current Reads, Reading, Young Adult Novels | Tags: art, books, Cassandra Clare, City of Glass, laney mcmann, Literature, Mortal Instruments, Shadowhunter, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones; City of Ashes; City of Glass, YA Fiction | 2 Comments
A special treat up on the blog today. Aimee Laine is here to talk about her JUST RELEASED Novel,
Take it away, Aimee!
Silent Echoes is a “Games of Zeus” novel but it’s not a traditional mythological conundrum. No, as the author, I’ve taken quite the liberties in creating a situation Zeus could have used to mess with we puny humans.
So, to have a little fun as Silent Echoes releases this month, my host here, Laney McMann, has challenged me to create a Game of Zeus out of Chess!
How could Zeus use Chess upon two unsuspecting humans? How could he manipulate a seemingly innocuous game into a maniacal, devious relationship conflict? Oh, let me count the ways … or rather, let me show you.
The goal? Capture the opponent’s King by advancing chess pieces (pawns, knights, rooks, bishops, queens and kings) across the board (like checkers) in order to battle for the opponents pieces and take over their side of the chess board. Whoever acquires the King, wins.
Before we get to the ultimate Chess-based romance … let me tell you a little about Silent Echoes:
For years, Ian Sands has enjoyed his life as a bachelor, taking advantage of singlehood and exploring his own definition of passion—whoever she may be. Blonde. Brunette. Tall. Short. Hot. Not. Five months ago, all that changed.
Ian’s been celibate, frustrated and desperately seeking answers to why one woman, who doesn’t play by girls’ rules, haunts his every waking moment.
As a renovations specialist, Taylor Marsh lives, works and breathes construction—a profession her southern belle of a mother would rather Taylor not touch. The same goes for Ian; Mama Marsh would never approve of him.
Like Ian, though, each time he and Taylor draw near, something compels her to get closer.
Something else tells her to run away.
As much as their histories suggest they shouldn’t be together, neither Taylor nor Ian can deny the pull, and the two succumb, indulging in a relationship that brings pleasure to body, mind and soul.
Doing so, though, also ushers in a series of events both should have foreseen as well as one final outcome neither expected.
CHECK OUT SILENT ECHOES HERE:
And now …
If the whole goal is to capture the King, that implies the King doesn’t want to be captured. Since this is ‘the norm’, Zeus would automatically make a few rule swaps. First of all … a King not wanting to be captured is only in terms of war. In terms of love … well, okay there, too. But that’s no fun in a love-war! So instead of the King, it’s the Queen who’s going to be the biggest pawn.
Zeus’s ultimate conflict would be to place a deep and desperate need into the Queen, that she DOES want to be captured. Oh yeah. She wants to be captured … but of course, by one and only one guy. And it will have to happen in a prescribed timeframe, by a certain date, or something grave will happen … something that will prevent her from every being ‘captured’ … or in a Games of Zeus story … ever being loved.
So, Zeus will put ‘him’ on one side of the board and ‘her’ on the other. With each step toward each other, something prevents them from getting closer. Pawn : Perhaps a previous romantic partner? King: Perhaps ‘his’ family or a father figure? Knight : The best friend who just can’t let her go or just can’t let him give up who he is to go after her. Bishops? Rooks? You see, all those pieces are players in the story, interwoven to stop the capture of the Queen. To stop the two pieces from reaching each other.
Think about this … ultimately, resolution in this particular type of story can’t ever be a win-win. If he wins, she loses (by standard rules). If she wins … does that mean she is captured? Or she’s changed her mind? You see, that’s the conundrum. By winning, she loses. By losing, she loses, too.
So how can she win?
Oh, I didn’t say I’d answer that. You might just have to read another book.
And there you have it. What do you think? Is Chess a possible Game of Zeus?
Aimee is a romantic at heart and a southern transplant with a bit of the accent (but not a whole bunch). She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and with him, she’s produced three native North Carolinians, two of whom share the same DNA.
With an MBA and a degree in Applied Mathematics, there’s absolutely no reason she should be writing romance novels. Then again, she shouldn’t need a calculator to add two numbers, either … but she does.
You can connect with Aimee on all of her social media sites:
Silent Echoes is an Adult Paranormal Romance/Romance/Suspense/Thriller
Sounds pretty awesome, right?
March 12, 2013 | Categories: Author Interviews, Blog Tours, J Taylor Publishing, New Releases, Reading, Writing | Tags: 2013 Adult Paranormal Novel releases, Aimee Laine, Chess, Chess piece, Fiction, Game, Games of Zeus, Glossary of chess, Ian, J. Taylor Publishing, laney mcmann, Silent Echoes, Taylor, Taylor Marsh, Zeus | 2 Comments
This week I’ll be moving on to Cassandra Clare’s, City of Bones. No, I haven’t read this series yet … I know, I know, but I’ve been crazy busy with my own writing. And what better time to start a series than right before it goes to film? So here we go:
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing—not even a smear of blood—to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .
Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.
Pretty cool, huh?
March 8, 2013 | Categories: Author, Current Reads, Reading, Young Adult Novels | Tags: Cassandra Clare, City of Bones, Clary, current reads, laney mcmann, Mortal Instruments, Shadowhunter, teen novels, teens, YA Fiction, young adult novels | 2 Comments
Finishing off last week with the final installment of Lauren Kate’s Fallen series, RAPTURE, I am moving onto Michael Scott‘s final book in the Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, The Enchantress.
I have loved this series from the beginning and am both excited and sad to see it end.
The two that are one must become the one that is all. One to save the world, one to destroy it.
Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel have one day left to live, and one job left to do. They must defend San Francisco. The monsters gathered on Alcatraz Island have been released and are heading toward the city. If they are not stopped, they will destroy everyone and everything in their path.
But even with the help of two of the greatest warriors from history and myth, will the Sorceress and the legendary Alchemyst be able to defend the city? Or is it the beginning of the end of the human race?
Sophie and Josh Newman traveled ten thousand years into the past to Danu Talis when they followed Dr. John Dee and Virginia Dare. And it’s on this legendary island that the battle for the world begins and ends.
Scathach, Prometheus, Palamedes, Shakespeare, Saint-Germain, and Joan of Arc are also on the island. And no one is sure what—or who—the twins will be fighting for.
Today the battle for Danu Talis will be won or lost.
But will the twins of legend stand together?
Or will they stand apart—
one to save the world and one to destroy it?
- Road Trip Wednesday #170 Best Books (laneymcmann.com)
March 1, 2013 | Categories: Author, Books, Current Reads, Reading, Writing | Tags: Arts, Author, Enchantress, laney mcmann, Michael Scott, Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Teen books, YA Fiction, young adult books | 2 Comments
This week on Road Trip Wednesday, YA Highway asks the question:
What’s the best book you’ve read in February?
Hm … All of the books I’ve read in the month of February were great. I started off the month with Suzanne Collin’s THE HUNGER GAMES series, finished Lauren Kate’s FALLEN series with RAPTURE, read The 19th Year series, AFTER DARK and the sequel, DAY AFTER by Emi Gayle–both awesome–and I rounded out the month with Michael Scott’s final book in The Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, THE ENCHANTRESS. Lucky for me, my line edits haven’t begun on TIED, so I’ve had more free time to read everyone else’s stuff for a change.
There were two books I gave 5 Stars to in February — well, one book actually and one series of books.
THE HUNGER GAMES series by Suzanne Collins was truly an incredible, pull-you-in-and-refuse-to-let-you-go story, and for that reason, it was my favorite series for the month of February.
BUT … DAY AFTER by Emi Gayle, was my favorite book for the month.
Both of these reads, although YA, are completely different and therefore can’t really be compared against each other. Dystopian vs Urban Fantasy. I am, and have always been, the biggest fantasy fan, and DAY AFTER delivered for me in that category. It’s not due for official release until May, though, and you’ll have to read AFTER DARK first, too! 😉
So, you guys? Favorite books for February?
Check out YA Highways Road Trip Wednesday for more Best Books of February!
February 27, 2013 | Categories: Author, BLOG HOPS, Blog Tours, Books, Current Reads, Reading, Writing, Young Adult Novels | Tags: After Dark, Best Books for February, DAY AFTER, Emi Gayle, Fallen, Hunger Games, laney mcmann, Lauren Kate, Michael Scott, Road Trip Wednesday, Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Suzanne Collin, Suzanne Collins, Urban Fantasy, YA Fiction, YA Highway, young adult book releases 2013, young adult novels, young adult urban fantasy | 3 Comments
In this weeks YA world, I am finally sinking my teeth back into the last of Lauren Kate’s Fallen series, Rapture.
BLURB:The sky is dark with wings. . . .
Like sand through an hourglass, time is running out for Luce and Daniel. To stop Lucifer from erasing the past, they must find the place where the angels fell to earth.
Dark forces are after them, and Daniel doesn’t know if he can do this—live only to lose Luce again and again. Yet together they face an epic battle that will end with lifeless bodies . . . and angel dust. Great sacrifices are made. Hearts are destroyed.
And suddenly Luce knows what must happen. For she was meant to be with someone other than Daniel. The curse they’ve borne has always and only been about her—and the love she cast aside. The choice she makes now is the only one that truly matters. In the fight for Luce, who will win?
The astonishing conclusion to the FALLEN series. Heaven can’t wait any longer.
February 22, 2013 | Categories: Books, Current Reads, New Releases, Reading, Reviews, Writing | Tags: Author, Fallen, laney mcmann, Lauren Kate, Rapture, Teen books, teens, young adult books, young adult paranormal romance, Young-adult fiction | Leave a comment