Novel Review: Heroes ’til Curfew by Susan Bischoff

I’ve been looking forward to Heroes ‘Til Curfew by Susan Bischoff since I finished Hush Money (see review here). When Ms. Bischoff signed on with an agent, I was sure it’d be forever before this book saw the light of day. Lucky for us, Ms. Bischoff decided to stick with the indie route and put Heroes ‘Til Curfew on the market now rather than later. 🙂 So the blurb from her website:

All Joss wants is to be left alone—with Dylan. But as more Talents are imprisoned by the government, everyone’s looking for a leader. Some look to Joss, some to Marco whose new criminal plan threatens Joss’s family and friends. Joss wants to stand up to Marco, but Dylan’s protective instincts are putting him in harm’s way. Can Joss find a way to embrace both the boy and her hero within?

a longer version…

In the world of the Talents, kids with supernatural powers are condemned to government research facilities from which they do not return. For a Talent, the most important thing is keeping the secret…

–Six weeks ago, Dylan Maxwell slugged it out with his best friend. Over a girl.

But Marco had it coming. After all, it looked like he was going to use his supernatural strength to kill Joss Marshall. That should have been the end of it, but Marco’s got bigger plans for crime in Fairview than Dylan ever understood. This time he’s going after the town’s merchants with a crime wave that threatens Joss’s family’s business and all the Talents’ secrets.

–Six weeks ago, Joss Marshall was alone.

Now there’s Dylan. It’s not always comfortable being just friends with the guy she’s had a crush on forever. And the more she learns about the boy with the easy smile, who always seems to know what to say, the more she learns how much they have in common. He’s so much more than she understood, and so much more than she could stand to lose.

That was then, this is now.

And now, everything changes.

Where as Hush Money was a suburban fantasy, Heroes’ til Curfew was more of a paranormal romance. An interesting change, which I didn’t expect, but at at the same time, didn’t surprise me, considering the ending of Hush Money.

Heroes ‘Til Curfew started off a bit slower than Hush Money. For a while, I was afraid it’d lack the fast paced action I loved in Hush Money. Reading Hush Money was like sprinting a marathon — all go, go, go! Heroes ‘Til Curfew, on the other hand, started off walking, then picked up to an easy jog with a couple of burst of energy which led to a wee bit of running. For the most part, the pacing was more typical of what I’d expect in a novel, so definitely not a bad thing.

So paranormal romance I say? The romance started off sweet… rather innocent. Cute, I’d say… then it turned intense and hot. At times, it was like being in an adult novel. Good thing? Bad thing? I don’t know. It’s easy to pretend that teenagers don’t have similar feelings as adults… simply because we want them to be sweet and innocent. However, if you’ve spent time in high schools, as I have, you’re likely to come across some hot make-out sessions. Excuse me, young lady, but I believe your need to pull your skirt down and get off his lap.

In this sequel, sex seemed to play a huge role in the plot… not that the characters were having sex, but rather sexual issues weren’t skirted and sex seemed to influence many of the actions (heroes and villains alike). One thing I did notice was Ms. Bischoff truly tried to address the issues of rape in this work. I read quite a bit of criticism on the subject in Hush Money. This time around, I got the impression she wanted to clear up any misconceptions.

Overall, I think Ms. Bischoff made a bold move to go as heavy as she did with the sexual undertone in a young adult novel. Then again, we see it on TV all the time… adults (20-30) playing high school students to get around the rules dealing with minors and sex. Though parents might be a little leery to let their kids read it, I think the story would go over well with high schoolers.

Would I let my daughters read it? If I were a parent who didn’t talk to my kids about sex, I’d say no. But since I do talk to my kids, I don’t see a problem with this work. Quite a few kids start dating in high school. They’re going to experience sexual feelings (emotionally and physically). Beating around the bush isn’t going to change that. Heroes ‘Til Curfew addresses some of those feelings without getting too physical (heavy petting and kissing only). Of course, being the parent I am, I’d end up talking to my daughters once they finished reading it.

The characters: I have to say, this was the cast of thousands. I honestly couldn’t keep up with most of them or their talents. I think it’d be real cool if Ms. Bischoff had an index of the characters and what they could do on her website. That would have been highly helpful while reading. For now, I’ll stick with the big players.

Josh was quite different this time around. She’d grown into her role as leader and advocate. No more hiding in the shadows, waiting for others to get out of the mess they got themselves into. She was a true player. The cautious side was still there — don’t get caught — but she wasn’t afraid to step forward. In Heroes ‘Til Curfew, her flaw was the inability to trust. Would she learn to let others help her?

Dylan… hmmm. He had quite a bit more of a point of view in this work. However, it still seemed mostly Josh’s story. His presence (other than being Josh’s love interest) seemed more to prove his worth to Josh. To show he was more than breakable glass. In truth, that really wasn’t his problem, but rather Josh’s perception of him (her problem). Again, her inability to trust others interfered with her relationships.

And the villain! Marco returns. We actually got an opportunity to spend some time in his head, and I loved it. At one time, I actually thought I understood him, thought he had some redeemable qualities, and he was just misunderstood due to his circumstances. I really rooted for him to have a pivotal moment and come around. Well, I’m not going to ruin the ending… you can read the story to see if he turned good or not.

The only thing I really didn’t like and think slowed the story down was the characters spent way too much time thinking. I’m not sure if it was intentional. Sometimes I thought it was, as side characters would note the contemplative silences. Hey, are you listening to me? Or characters would mentally yell at themselves to stop thinking so much. Personally, I would have preferred a bit of brevity in the internal dialogue area.

All in all, Hereos ’til Curfew was an excellent sequel to Hush Money.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles, Smashwords, and The Book Depository

By the way… am I the only one who thinks of Kick-Ass when reading the Talent Chronicles?

Tell me! Is that not Joss and her dad, or what?

Sunday Showcase #15

For the past two years, Jenn has lived and trained at Spain’s Sacred Heart Academy Against the Cursed Ones. She is among the few who have pledged to defend humanity or die trying. But the vampires are gaining power, and the battle has only just begun. Forced to return home after death takes a member of her family, Jenn discovers that San Francisco is now a vampire strong-hold. As a lone hunter apart from her team, Jenn is isolated — and at risk. She craves the company of her fighting partner, Antonio: his protection, his reassurance, his touch. But a relationship with Antonio comes with its own dangers, and the more they share of themselves, the more Jenn stands to lose. Then Jenn is betrayed by one who was once bound to protect her, causing her to doubt all she had held as true. To survive, Jenn must find the courage to trust herself — and her heart.

Why I picked it up: Because I couldn’t stop myself. This book was on the bargain bookshelf. I’d never heard of the author or the title. The first time couple of times I saw it on the bargain shelf at Walden (remember, going out of business), I passed it up. Finally, I decided to read the first few paragraphs to assess the writing style. Worked for me. Right now my youngest daughter is reading and enjoying this book, so I might give it a shot sooner than later. We’ll see.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

Since the dawn of time, the Faerie have taken. . . .

For seventeen-year-old actress Kelley Winslow, faeries are just something from childhood stories. Then she meets Sonny Flannery, whose steel-gray eyes mask an equally steely determination to protect her. Sonny guards the Samhain Gate, which connects the mortal realm with the Faerie’s enchanted, dangerous Otherworld. Usually kept shut by order of icy King Auberon, the Gate stands open but once a year. This year, as the time approaches when the Samhain Gate will swing wide and nightmarish Fae will fight their way into an unsuspecting human world, something different is happening . . . something wondrous and strange. And Kelley’s eyes are opening not just to the Faerie that surround her but to the heritage that awaits her. Now Kelley must navigate deadly Faerie treachery—and her growing feelings for Sonny—in this dazzling page-turner filled with luminous romance. Wondrous Strange is a richly layered tale of love between faerie and mortal, betrayal between kings and queens, and magic . . . between author and reader.

Why I picked it up: I’ve wanted this book for a while. I won book two of the series some time last year and kept saying I’d pick this up eventually. With the Walden sales going on, I figured this was my opportunity. So where we are. 🙂

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

It’s a few years after rebel Tally Youngblood took down the uglies/pretties/specials regime. Without those strict roles and rules, the world is in a complete cultural renaissance. “Tech-heads” flaunt their latest gadgets, “kickers” spread gossip and trends, and “surge monkeys” are hooked on extreme plastic surgery. And it’s all monitored on a bazillion different cameras. The world is like a gigantic game of American Idol. Whoever is getting the most buzz gets the most votes. Popularity rules. As if being fifteen doesn’t suck enough, Aya Fuse’s rank of 451,369 is so low, she’s a total nobody. An extra. But Aya doesn’t care; she just wants to lie low with her drone, Moggle. And maybe kick a good story for herself. Then Aya meets a clique of girls who pull crazy tricks, yet are deeply secretive of it. Aya wants desperately to kick their story, to show everyone how intensely cool the Sly Girls are. But doing so would propel her out of extra-land and into the world of fame, celebrity…and extreme danger. A world she’s not prepared for.

Why I picked it up: Last week I picked the first three books in the series. Well, this wasn’t on the bargain shelf like the others, but still the discount was decent enough to warrant adding it to my collection.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

What if the hottest guy in the world was hiding a nameless evil, and all he wanted was you? At the start of this heart-pounding new installment of the bestselling House of Night series, Zoey’s friends have her back again and Stevie Rae and the red fledglings aren’t Neferet’s secrets any longer.  But an unexpected danger has emerged. Neferet guards her powerful new consort, Kalona, and no one at the House of Night seems to understand the threat he poses.  Kalona looks gorgeous, and he has the House of Night under his spell. A past life holds the key to breaking his rapidly spreading influence, but what if this past life shows Zoey secrets she doesn’t want to hear and truths she can’t face? On the run and holed up in Tulsa’s Prohibition-era tunnels, Zoey and her gang must discover a way to deal with something that might bring them all down.  Meanwhile, Zoey has a few other little problems.  The red fledglings have cleaned up well – they’ve even managed to make the dark, creepy tunnels feel more like home – but are they really as friendly as they seem?  On the boyfriend front, Zoey has a chance to make things right with super-hot ex-, Erik, but she can’t stop thinking about Stark, the archer who died in her arms after one unforgettable night, and she is driven to try to save him from Neferet’s sinister influence at all costs.  Will anyone believe the power evil has to hide among us?

Why I picked it up: For my daughter. 🙂 We have the first books in the series on our shelf. I won most, if not all of those in a couple of giveaways. She enjoyed those, so I figured I’d pick up the next in line for her. I know book one has an awesome start to it, and I almost gave it a whirl. Then I realized the start in book one was just a gimmick, so set it aside. Perhaps I’ll give it another shot one day, now that I got the disappointment out of my system over the gimmick. 🙂 Until then, my daughter gets to enjoy this one.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

When the sixteen-year-old runaway Chap is mistaken for a missing boy named Cassiel, his life changes dramatically. Chap takes on Cassiel’s identity, gaining the family and friends he’s always dreamed of having. But becoming someone else isn’t as easy as he hoped—and Chap isn’t the only one hiding a secret. As he teeters on the brink of discovery and begins to unravel the mystery behind Cassiel’s disappearance, Chap realizes that he’s in much deeper danger than he could have imagined. After all, you can’t just steal a life and expect to get away with it. Award-winning author Jenny Valentine delivers an explosive mystery where dark secrets, betrayal, and loss pave the way for one teen’s chance at redemption.

Why I picked it up: If I’m not mistaken, this is actually a reprint not set to release until February 2012. So I still have a few months to go before I pick this one up for a review. Still sounded interesting though. I’m wondering, what in the world is going on that you can just step into someone’s life and no one notices. Perhaps it really is his life, and he just has amnesia. Hmmm. I guess time will tell. I picked this one up from the NetGalley.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

Once upon a time…the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with vengeance. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs…and time is running out.… Nicolai the Vampire was renowned for his virility, but in a twist of fate “The Dark Seducer” had become a sex slave in the kingdom of Delfina—stripped of his precious timepiece and his memory. All that remained was a primal need for freedom, revenge—and the only woman who could help him. In her dreams, a wanton vampire called to Jane Parker, drawing her to his dark sexuality and his magical realm. But for a human, all was not a fairy tale in Delfina. Jane was the key to Nicolai’s memory…but exploiting her meant dooming the only mortal he craved.

Why I picked it up: Gena Showalter — need I say more? I’m quite fond of her Lords of the Underworld series, though I’ve yet to pick up her latest in the series. I was rather disappointed with the happily ever after against all odds… even death, so I decided to give her a little break. But I couldn’t resist trying out her latest series. 🙂 Plus, it was a NetGalley release. I plan to get to this one real quick since I believe it’s already on the market and I picked it up rather late.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

All Joss wants is to be left alone—with Dylan. But as more Talents are imprisoned by the government, everyone’s looking for a leader. Some look to Joss, some to Marco whose new criminal plan threatens Joss’s family and friends. Joss wants to stand up to Marco, but Dylan’s protective instincts are putting him in harm’s way. Can Joss find a way to embrace both the boy and her hero within?

a longer version…

In the world of the Talents, kids with supernatural powers are condemned to government research facilities from which they do not return. For a Talent, the most important thing is keeping the secret…

–Six weeks ago, Dylan Maxwell slugged it out with his best friend. Over a girl.

But Marco had it coming. After all, it looked like he was going to use his supernatural strength to kill Joss Marshall. That should have been the end of it, but Marco’s got bigger plans for crime in Fairview than Dylan ever understood. This time he’s going after the town’s merchants with a crime wave that threatens Joss’s family’s business and all the Talents’ secrets.

–Six weeks ago, Joss Marshall was alone.

Now there’s Dylan. It’s not always comfortable being just friends with the guy she’s had a crush on forever. And the more she learns about the boy with the easy smile, who always seems to know what to say, the more she learns how much they have in common. He’s so much more than she understood, and so much more than she could stand to lose.

That was then, this is now.

And now, everything changes.

Why I picked it up: Last year I fell in love with the first book, Hush Money (see review here). When Susan Bischoff sent out an email asking folks if the wanted to review her latest work — the one I’ve been waiting like forever to read — of course I said yes! I have her prequel hiding somewhere on my Kindle. Perhaps I’ll do a quick read of that and do a double review. This copy was supplied by the author.

Available at: Available at: Barnes & Nobles, Smashwords, and The Book Depository

Nerina has lived all her life as a mermaid, fascinated by humans and land but also repulsed by sex and unable to understand love. Her curiosity gets her captured by a human male intent on awakening her lust and turning her human. But Nerina doesn’t believe the legend is real and fears Kyros will kill her when he learns she can’t transform.

This work is a novella of 21,500 words which will take the average reader 1 to 2 hours to read, depending on personal reading speed. The work is “meant” to be short.

For those unfammiliar with Kitty’s work, this story in many respects is more “tame” than some of her other work, but it is still erotica with a master/slave and kidnap element.

Fun Facts:

Nerina is a Greek name that literally means: “Sea Nymph”.

Kyros is also a Greek name. It means power that is legitimate but compassionate. Despos is generally the term used for power over a slave and Kyros was the term more used for power over a wife or someone for whom you care about their overall well-being.

Meropis is the island upon which the story takes place and it’s a mythical island that I did not create but is part of mythology and sometimes associated in some way with Atlantis. Anostos, the portion of the island that the story takes place on, is as mythology describes, covered in a red, cloudy haze.

Awakening is meant to be a mermaid fairy tale for adults.

Why I picked it up: Every work Kitty Thomas puts out is unique while still holding the sexual domination theme. I can’t help but be intrigued with each piece she puts out… apprehensive usually, but intrigued nonetheless. She definitely an author to follow. Review copy supplied by the author.

Available at: Smashwords, Barnes & Nobles, and The Book Depository

What’s in your mailbox? Pick up any new or upcoming releases?

Blogoversary: Giveaway 3 [CLOSED]

People are probably tired of me trying to force this next book down their throats. But I can’t help myself. I absolutely love it. You folks don’t even know what I’m talking about, do you? Hush Money by Susan Bischoff, of course! If you want to know what the rave is, check out my review here.

If I could get about 6.9 billion comments on this post letting me know everyone has tried Hush Money, I’d be able to let this thing go. 🙂 Until then, how about a giveaway?

Susan Bischoff has offered a copy of her novel Hush Money to one lucky reader.

Okay, here’s how it goes.

  • One winner will receive his/her choice of an eBook or paperback copy of Hush Money by Susan Bischoff. (International)

So how do you win? Simple. Fill out the Form

The rules!

  • Become a blog follower. See Google Friends Connect to the left.
  • You’ll earn 1 point for completing the form and additional point if you tweet and leave the link.
  • You may tweet once per day after your initial entry for an extra 2 points. Use the same form. :)
  • Comments are appreciated, but only entries from the form count.
  • Giveaway ends Sunday, January 9, 2011.
  • Please read the giveaway policy for the nitty gritty.

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As an added bonus, Susan is known to share marketing tips to increase sales on her blog. 🙂

So what book have you been trying to force all your friends to read this year?

Indie Appreciation: Winner!

I have to admit, with everything going on these past two weeks, I almost forgot we had a giveaway going. Okay. I did forget for a few days. And it was only that someone else posted a giveaway post that I remembered I had my own to post. So what did we have up for grabs? Hush Money, which I thought was absolutely wonderful (see review here). Behold!

I’m really looking forward to the next novel in this series “Heroes ‘Til Curfew.” Head to Susan Bischoff’s website and check out the nifty cover art for it. Okay, enough drooling. The winner of Hush Money is

JL Jackson!

Congratulations! I’ll get an email out to you straight away. You have until Friday, December 3, 2010 (midnight EST) to respond. Otherwise, I get to select another eager winner.

Thanks for all who participated.

Hush Money is available on Smashwords and a whole bunch of places. :) Head to Ms. Bischoff’s website for a complete list.