Monday, May 5, 2014

Guest Blog & Giveaway: A Warlock's Dance by Marina Myles

UFI welcomes Marina Myles Author of The Cursed Princes Series. Thanks for Joining us!!

To Kill a Mockingbird, Pride and Prejudice, Treasure Island, and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Who doesn’t love these tried-and-true stories? I certainly do!

I write fairy tale retellings, so it’s no surprise that I go gaga over anything that resembles a classic novel rewritten or a motion picture adaptation of a classic novel. (I LOVED the Leonardo DiCaprio version of The Great Gatsby. And wild horses couldn’t have dragged my eyes away from Gerard Butler in The Phantom of the Opera.)

These actors are uber hot. But what, I wonder, really makes a book or a movie a classic? Is it the storyline? The characters? A resounding social message?

Take Wuthering Heights. Timeless and provocative, the story tells of a rich girl and a poor boy whose love extends beyond the grave. Truth be told, Wuthering Heights wasn’t received well when it debuted. Rather, it was bashed. Written by Emily Brontë and published in 1847, the book was described as “strange…morose…depressing, even immoral”. One critic went as far as calling the novel “that fiend of a book”.

Granted, Wuthering Heights includes scenes of mental and physical cruelty and vivid descriptions of class inequity, but my guess is those shocking subjects are what made people sit up and take notice. Now Emily Brontë’s work is considered sophisticated, intelligent, and haunting. In a word: genius. But why wasn’t the book valued in its time?

Another similar but less elegant example of something being scoffed at initially is the film sensation “Halloween”. A horror movie written and directed by the controversial John Carpenter, it premiered in theaters in 1978. The plot follows Michael Myers, a serial killer who murders his sister, gets locked in an asylum, escapes, and returns to his hometown to stalk teenage babysitters that, we assume, remind him of his sister. At first, the film was panned by movie critics. Subsequently, it bombed at the box office. That is, until John Carpenter added a spine-tingling music score and Roger Ebert gave the film’s innovative camera shots and vacant, motiveless killer an enthusiastic thumbs-up. Then the movie took off. Eventually, it grossed over five-hundred and fifty million dollars and spawned nine sequels.

“Halloween” is considered an American horror classic and rightly so, but in my opinion its nine sequels were silly. (Who came up with the title “Halloween H2O – 20 Years Later”?!) The point is: the film’s sequels weren’t as good as the original. I suppose that’s the challenge every author and director faces when he or she attempts a rewrite, a sequel, or a remake of something that’s been previously acclaimed.

So what’s the magic ingredient that turns a story into one worthy of countless retellings? In other words, what makes a novel or a movie a classic? Everyone has their own theory on the subject and I’m happy to give you mine here. I believe all classics have one thing in common: they were ahead of their time. Perhaps—through decades of change and modernization—that’s what makes them stand the test of time.

What is your favorite version of a story retold?

Although Marina Myles lives under the sunny skies of Arizona, she would reside in a historic manor house in foggy England if she had her way. Her love of books began as soon as she read her first fairy tale, and grew by leaps and bounds when she discovered Nancy Drew/Agatha Christie mysteries and rich, historical romances.

Dreaming of becoming a published author, she wrote her first ‘gothic’ story at age eleven. She went on to study creative writing at Southern Methodist University— where she received degrees in Communications and English Literature. During her time in Dallas, she had the unique experience of being a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.

Now with her loyal Maltese close by, she relishes the hours she gets to escape into worlds filled with tortured heroes, strong heroines, and their fiery—but not easily attained—love affairs. She’s busy being a wife (to her Italian-born husband) and a mother (to her two beautiful daughters), but she is never too busy to hear from her amazing readers.

Represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency

Find Marina and her books

The Warlock's Dance
The Cursed Princes #3
Amazon BN iTunes eKensington

Encore, Please

Giselle Swenov is a radiant opera star whose beauty is second only to her voice. That is, until a jealous enchantress strips away her talent and looks, transforms her into a mute and haggard old woman, and forces her to leave the man of her dreams at the altar on their wedding day. Now there’s only one person able to reverse the spell: Giselle’s warlock ex-fiancé, Lucian Ivanu. 

But three years have passed, and the ever-dashing Lucian seems to have moved on―he’s inherited a vast fortune, forsaken his scandalous powers, and is even set to marry again. Will he recognize his former flame when she shows up at his engagement party and begs for help? Can she recover the powerful magic ring needed to break the curse before it’s too late? Giselle’s plight has a darker twist as she discovers just how far the enchantress’s grasp reaches…

Tour Wide

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Don't Blackmail the Vampire by Tiffany Allee

Don't Blackmail the Vampire
Release Date: April 28, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Covet
Sons of Kane Book #2
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

Rachel Davis will do anything to get her sister out of a bad relationship with her fiancé. Even if it involves a few fibs, a little breaking-and-entering, and blackmailing the fiancé's potential boss, Charles, for his help. So what if the handsome Charles happens to be a vampire?

Charles Wright has found the perfect way to trap the man threatening his brother's wife: cozy up to him, get invited along on the skiing trip, and then search for incriminating evidence. How much better that audacious but gorgeous Rachel is just as eager to nail the bastard. As far as he's concerned, there's nothing wrong with a little blackmail between two consenting adults. Especially when it's time for Rachel to pay up.

DON'T BLACKMAIL THE VAMPIRE is the second book in the Sons of Kane series. I don't think its necessary to read book one DON'T BITE THE BRIDESMAID but characters do carry over so it would be fun to.

Rachel's sister is engaged to a class A: asshole. She will do anything to show her sister what she and everyone else sees. When she meets and finds out a secret about Charles she blackmails him in to helping her achieve her goal. As they put their plans into motion she realizes there is a lot more to Charles than she thought and falls for him pretty quickly. However she is scared of relationships and she pushes him away as much as she pulls him close. Charles is on this little ski trip undercover trying to find out if Brent is the one blackmailing his brothers wife. When he is caught feeding from a human by Rachel, he agrees to help her with her goals of breaking up the not as happy as they seem couple. He is not one for relationships but quickly realizes that what he feels for Rachel is more than anything he has felt before.

I enjoyed Rachel and Charles banter together and I also really liked that they didn't jump right into bed. It was interesting to see how much Rachel wanted to hold herself back yet had feelings hurt when Charles was playing his part in their charades. The author did a really good job of blending in the romance and investigating, scheming aspects of the book. I was really happy with how the situation with Kristen and Brent played out when all was said and done. If you read book 1 you know why.

DON'T BLACKMAIL THE VAMPIRE was a pretty light and fast read. Plenty of up and down feelings, a bit of mystery, and lots of scheming going on. The paranormal aspects are pretty light so I think that this series will attract more than just paranormal fans although we ARE the best fans out there. ;) I am not sure how many books are planned for this series but I am interested in seeing how book 3 will connect to the first 2.

I gave it 4/5 stars

* This book was provided free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.