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Kim Harrison Signing – Books-A-Million in Hanover Maryland – Overall Compilation

0911142013 I had a fantastic time at the Books-A-Million signing this last Thursday in Hanover, Maryland (DC/Baltimore area)! Though it was the final book the vibe all around was pretty good! All smiles.  I was very happy to only be #48 in line as opposed to #148 on up. Thank you, boss, for letting me leave work an hour early!

I met someone who attended the signing there a couple of years ago for A Perfect Blood and she confirmed that the line went into the 200s.  I was in the 130s back then so I suspected it did.  That just proves that there is definitely a demand for The Hollows and Kim Harrison here. It was yet another madhouse with tons of people and I’m glad DC/Baltimore wasn’t left out this time.  I would have trekked to New York Comic Con to make it happen though. I’ve been attending a signing for every book since Black Magic Sanction and I wasn’t going to miss out on the final book!  It was great reaching out to a fellow fans and I got to meet Janice, one of the blog followers here!

Kim oh so kindly shared the giveaway link on Facebook and when she saw the book she made sure to throw in a few extra goodies for the winner! So you’ll be getting more than just the book, whoever you are!

I finally got in on the T-shirt so I’m in the group photo.  Apparently Kim’s new series will NOT have t-shirts, but she and Guy finally figured out the most efficient system for the last one and now there won’t be any more! Go figure!

We also learned a little about the new series. I haven’t been able to follow all of the Q&As like I wanted to, but the new series will be a mix of Minority Report and The Jason Bourne series (two of my favorite film franchises), so it sounds really promising. Sounds like it will be way different from The Hollows, but it should be a good different.  To commemorate the end I have decided to put all of my signing pics on one page. I counted 7 in all!  Good times, good times!

 

Release Day Giveaway! Autographed Copy of The Witch With No Name (Hollows, #13) by Kim Harrison

So this is it! This is where we say goodbye to The Hollows!  And I have given away a copy of every new book since I started this blog so why in the heck would I stop now? You know I loves to spread the Hollows loves and feels! Don’t forget to check out my review and Kim’s exclusive Your Urban Fantasy Q&A! Also make sure you’ve voted on my poll to choose your favorite Hollows book!

How to Enter (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY): My giveaways are only open to followers of Your Urban Fantasy who are 18 years of age or older. In order to enter YOU MUST COMMENT ON THE ANNOUNCEMENT POST AND INDICATE YOU HAVE DONE SO ON THE RAFFLECOPTER WIDGET! If you’re a new member, sign up on the right panel to follow my blog via email. (Make sure to check your email to confirm your subscription. You should receive a notification immediately, so check your spam folder if you don’t see it right away). Current followers can just say so in their post. The next four opportunities are for bonus entries. Overall, there are up to 5 chances to enter:

  1. Follow this blog via email and comment (THIS IS REQUIRED)
  2. Like my review on Amazon (bonus entry)
  3. “Like” Your Urban Fantasy on Facebook (bonus entry)
  4. Follow me on Twitter (bonus entry)
  5. Tweet about the giveaway (bonus entry – you can do this daily for more entries)

The more entries the better your chance to win! Good luck! And don’t forget to tell me what you’re going to miss about The Hollows series!
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The giveaway will run from 9/9/14 – 9/21/14. Good luck!
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The Witch With No Name (The Hollows, #13) by Kim Harrison – Thanks for the memories!

Synopsis:  It’s Rachel Morgan’s ultimate adventure . . . and anything can happen in this final book in the New York Times bestselling Hollows series.

Rachel Morgan has come a long way from her early days as an inexperienced bounty hunter. She’s faced vampires and werewolves, banshees, witches, and soul-eating demons. She’s crossed worlds, channeled gods, and accepted her place as a day-walking demon. She’s lost friends and lovers and family, and an old enemy has unexpectedly become something much more.

But power demands responsibility, and world-changers must always pay a price. Rachel has known that this day would come—and now it is here.

To save Ivy’s soul and the rest of the living vampires, to keep the demonic ever after and our own world from destruction, Rachel Morgan will risk everything. . . .

Review:  New Hollows Day is probably as good as Christmas Day for many of us.  Not to mention this one has come much sooner than expected!  But if I’m being honest, this is probably my toughest review yet.  It’s taken me so long to get it together because I just keep drawing a blank. Part of it is because this is the end of my favorite series ever.  But I have accepted that this must happen to all good things, or else they could risk not being so good anymore.

Kim Harrison brought this novel back around to be about the vamps. She made good on her promise compared to other recent books where they sat more on the back burner.  It appears to be for good reason though because vampires are the key to changing everything. There were some revelations that truly surprised me and the unpredictable twists kept me at the edge of my seat the whole time.

I was happy to see the demons and elves get a healthy dose of focus as well.   Over the years I have grown very attached to their story lines and was happy to see they wouldn’t have too many loose ends.

Rachel and Trent. Yeah, if you’re a fan I don’t see why that would stop now!  They display great teamwork and definitely turn up the heat as they’re settling into their relationship together.  It’s satisfying to see but still hard to believe it’s happened considering the long road they took to find one another.  Of course it still isn’t easy for them.  They have very complicated lives, but their determination to make it work just gives a girl all the feels in the world.

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Rachel takes her relationships seriously and her friends and family are as strong as ever.  We get the answer to the question  of whether she is able to save Ivy’s soul.  That alone is worth the price of admission if you’ve stuck it out with this series for as long as I have.

The thing is, I was expecting to have the waterworks ready after finishing this final book. I mean, I was expecting this
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9 years is the longest I’ve stuck it out with a series. But I finished it feeling satisfied and believing that the characters would be okay. Kim has done her characters justice and she should pat herself on the back for being able to give them what they deserve. And it truly feels deserved with a very fitting ending. They’ve worked hard and sacrificed so much.

I enjoyed every page from beginning to end in this last installment. We received a lot of answers and many things were wrapped up, but at the same time it also feels like a new beginning so I still want more! I just don’t know what I am going to do without my favorite witch, demon, elf, pixy, and vampire team to look forward to once a year.

And now I’m gonna lay the sap on extra thick. Honestly, reading for me won’t be the same again, at least for a while. This is the first series to really introduce me to the adult urban fantasy genre and it’s set the bar so high that nothing else can scratch that itch quite like The Hollows can. Everything else fights for second. This is the first series I have followed for so long so it will always carry a special place for me for that reason alone. Of course I’m looking forward to what’s next, but it’s always hard to say goodbye to history, especially as I’ve gone through the ups and downs with the characters year after year and made quite a few friends in my life along the way, including Ms. Harrison herself. So goodbye Hollows! Thanks for the ride! Thanks for the memories! Thank you, Kim Harrison! I’ll be first in line for your next book! In the meantime…

*ARC provided by the publisher.

*Review also posted to Goodreads and Amazon.

Exclusive Q&A with Kim Harrison!

PR1KimHarrison09So in the spirit of Hollows Day I thought I’d share yet another goodie!   I’ve already reviewed the new book and I’ve started a GIVEAWAY for a signed copy to be awarded to one special member of this blog, but Kim Harrison was kind enough to spare a few moments for a Q&A with Your Urban Fantasy!  Hope you enjoy! And thanks again to Ms. Harrison!

1) The Hollows is your longest running series to date. All good things must come to an end, but it’s also a great opportunity for new beginnings. What are some of the challenges you run into as an author when you want to wrap up one series while developing another one?

I know the temptation to drop the current series to focus on the new must seem irresistible, but for me, not so much. I like my endings as much as I do my beginnings, and I will admit that it’s hard to say good-bye to Rachel and the world I’ve painstakingly developed. She’s been my focus for over a decade, and when faced with the end, I will admit I panicked, finding myself unable to actually write the last book until I took a summer to write out an entirely new manuscript that was not Hollows related. It was as if I had to prove to myself again that I could write something else. I had so much fun with it that I wrote another, proving to myself at least that yes, I am not a one-trick/genre writer. And with that confidence, I dove into the last Hollows book with a new excitement, determined to give Rachel the most solid, resounding, happy/sad ending I could. As a writer, it feels satisfying, but the readers will tell me if I hit the mark or not.

2) A number of long running series stagnate or drop in quality toward the end, but that hasn’t been the case with The Hollows. Your latest books happen to be the best rated. Why do you think that is?

Thank you! I really appreciate that. I think a lot of the excitement associated with the books is coming from the readers who have invested themselves in the story lines as much as I have. And again, I’m still excited to sit down every day and write in Rachel’s voice–especially now that she’s such a force of action in her world. She’s making a difference, and it’s almost a relief to see the last three years of her life evolving to where she is now: confident, positive, and willing to make a sacrifice for those she loves.

3) We’re all really looking forward to Peri. You are one of the best authors out there when it comes to world building. I’ve never been to Cincy and yet I feel like I know it very well. Can we look forward to more of that with Peri? Will it be an all new city?

Ahh, you know where my heart lies now, with Peri. I like Peri because she picks up where Rachel leaves off in regards to confidence and good decisions. It’s Peri’s history that trips her up, and I am itching to write the next page. Her story will not be centered out of Cincinnati. No, I have found a city that mirrors her, a proud, stubborn city that knows what sacrifice is and how it can lead to both dizzying heights and crushing lows–that taking a hit makes you stronger if you have the grit to look them in they eye as you wipe the blood from your mouth. That’s my girl, and that’s the city she lives in.

4) As you look back on a successful run with the Hollows, what one (or two) things did you learn that were most helpful to you as a writer – either because it went well or because it failed?

This is a really difficult question, but what sticks out most with me is that working so long in one world was a double-edged sword. As a writer, I had the luxury of time to develop characters and situations with a slow, sultry dance, perfecting the art of the long-running romance and how to maintain the thread of interest that kept readers coming back to find out more. I learned a lot. But even as my skills developed, I was confined to one voice, one point of view. It’s the itch of learning a new way to write that pulls me out of the Hollows, not a disinterest in the characters. I want to stretch other writing muscles that the Hollows wasn’t able to touch. It was why I scripted the graphic novels and why the Hollows world book is more akin to an extravagant, four-color coffee table, tour-guide book than a bland list of character descriptions and spells.

But what was the most helpful to me as a writer? Probably that there’s no sure way to write a book. I have a method of putting my thoughts down on paper that I’ve been tweaking for as long as I’ve been writing, but it shifts from book to book, and I’ve learned to let go of techniques that worked well for me in the past in order to develop new ones. It’s all about putting new tools in your writers’ toolbox. Nothing is ever wasted, and a technique you abandon today might be the one you reach for tomorrow. Keep trying stuff until you find what works for you, then keep your eyes open for something better.

5) What are your thoughts on the ease of access between readers and writers with the advent of social media. Do you see it as a good thing or more of a hindrance.

Good thing or hindrance? I imagine that would depend on the writer. I’m in the fortunate place of having a lot of spousal support which enables me to let go of a lot of the day-to-day stuff and free me to be more accessible. I’m also a compulsive organizer, meaning I religiously devote 1-2 hours a day to social media, and then the rest of the day is to write in. Keeping all reader contact in public forum such as blogs, FB and such rather than personal emails was the biggest help in finding a balance that worked for me.

Being accessible was a conscious decision I made almost ten years ago before blog was even a name and Yahoo! groups were the new thing. I had a young family, and I knew I wasn’t going to get to the cons and signings, so I began to “court” the readers online. It’s habit now, and even though I’ve been cutting back due to increased pressure on my time, I don’t think I will ever stop talking to the readers on a M-F basis. I have the best readers, and it’s been gratifying to find that they all, almost to an individual, respect my privacy if they know I am available in a regular, expected format. It’s a good feeling knowing your readers respect you, and in turn, I try to give them a ride they will never forget.

Poll: The Hollows – Final Four!!!

So we have only 4 days left until we say goodbye to The Hollows for good…for a while anyway.  And yes, I’m making a this face:

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But to countdown to that day (where you know I’ll have a giveaway goodie), I’ll be posting something everyday until the big day, including a little Q&A I did with Kim.  But in the meantime, over this weekend I want you all to think about your favorite moments. And most importantly your favorite book.  I’ve attached a poll here and I want to hear what you guys love about it and what you’ll miss about it.  And what you’re looking forward to next from Kim Harrison.

Favorite Hollows Book

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Poll: Cover Reveal! The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines #6) by Richelle Meade

Looks like the final book has a cover! It was revealed today in USA Today.  I for one am SUPER pumped for how things are going to end. I am hoping for good things but I’m still a bit wary.  Mead is not known for having the most satisfying endings in the world so…

Either way, I think this particular cover is a big improvement over the last two. And I’m a sucker for pink and purple, what can I say. So how do you guys feel about the final book and the cover?

The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

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Synopsis: Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.

 

 

The House of the Four Winds (One Dozen Daughters #1) by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

Synopsis: The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes.  Disguising herself as Clarence, a sailor, Princess Clarice intends to work her way to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain.

Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of Four Winds. They encounter the sorceress Shamal, who claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight.

Review: The premise of this story is so promising.  And considering my cosplay at this years San Diego Comic Con (the rest of my review is  grossly overdue and I apologize), I was super pumped for something that would get me in the mood for it. Who doesn’t love a good swashbuckling tale with a girl masquerading as a guy? I know do! It’s like She’s the Man on a pirate ship! And this was my first time giving Mercedes Lackey a try.

There are some really enjoyable moments here. I found I was able to immerse myself very well into the world and I learned a few new things about pirate ships and life on the sea!  The main characters were likable and I really enjoyed the buildup of Clarice and Dominick…to an extent.  I was cruising along with this book for quite a while, but then it started to drag out a bit too much and I wanted certain things to happen long before they actually did so that was a little frustrating.  A more consistent pace would have really helped this book.

Overall it’s a lighthearted read, save for a few tough scenes, and it set itself apart from most of the other books I read this year.  I would like to read another book with the two main characters, but I don’t know if we’ll get that. Since this is the beginning of a series and it focuses on the daughters, I imagine the next book will focus on the next daughter and we may hear an update about the characters in passing.

All in all I wanted to like it a little more than I did in the end, but I would be willing to give the sequel a try. Maybe the series needs to find a rhythm.

Hercules Review

Greek demigod, has his life as a sword-for-hire tested when the King of Thrace and his daughter seek his aid in defeating a tyrannical warlord.

With The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) as Hercules you’d think a solid action flick would be guaranteed, right? Well, I did too.  After that atrocious other film earlier this year starring Kellan Lutz, The Legend of Hercules, the only way to go was up. Way, way up.  But unfortunately though the budget was improved here, the film wasn’t as enjoyable as I was hoping for. It had better goodwill going into it too which makes it even more of a let down.

I was expecting a supernatural element to this story.  It’s what we’ve been used to.  But they took a more realistic approach so while it was different, it took some of the fun out of it for me. Unlike the The Legend of Hercules, we do at least get more of the character’s back story as it pertains to his wife and children.  If you didn’t know about the history behind that then this revelation would be surprising.  I thought it was a little refreshing to take the story there considering how dark it is.

While the film doesn’t have a long run time, it honestly felt slow to me at times. There wasn’t as much action as I was expecting, especially when it comes to a film with such a prominent action star.  The few we get are entertaining enough, but I knew I wasn’t going into this for an Oscar-worthy story so more of those would have been welcome as long as they were well-done.  I think the PG-13 rating killed it a bit too because they had to hold back on the level of violence and language.  Starz’s Spartacus has totally ruined me forever and I make no apologies.

I didn’t find any of the side characters particularly likable or noteworthy which is a bit of a bummer because often enough those types of characters make a film for me.  I guess if I had to choose one it would be the female among his band of merry-men, Atalanta (no, it’s not Atlanta) simply because she did a good job of hanging with the boys.  Also the actress, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, constantly reminded me of Nicole Kidman. Don’t believe me? Then check this out.

While I do enjoy most of The Rock’s films, I don’t think this was his best.  It’s certainly no Fast and Furious where he can play off an ensemble cast with fantastic chemistry.  The potential was there but it didn’t quite reach it for me.  If you’re a big fan of The Rock then you should see this to judge for yourself, but I wouldn’t bother doing it in the theatres.  It can wait for Netflix for sure.

Guardians of the Galaxy Review – The Best Film of the Summer!

Light years from Earth, 26 years after being abducted, Peter Quill finds himself the prime target of a manhunt after discovering an orb wanted by Ronan the Accuser.

This was definitely my favorite film of the summer. Based on the trailers I wasn’t sure how I’d like the film. It was hard to get a read on the feel of it. It was an August release, so would it be lumped with summer leftovers? Would it be smart or silly? Would it be corny with the 80s music references? Would Peter Quill (played by Chris Pratt) be endearing or annoying? Would Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) be over the top? Zoe Saldana’s in make up yet again. Is this an old hat? Who does wrestler-turned-actor Dave Bautista think he is, The Rock? The only way to know for sure would be to watch it for myself and I am glad it vastly exceeded my expectations. It took me on a thrill ride from start to finish.

My favorite character was Groot. They did a fantastic job with the effects and his facial expressions. His eyes were the window to his soul and I got the warm fuzzies. He was a simplistic character and maybe he can only say the same three or four words and smash things (a lot of things), but he was important to keeping the group connected. He was the heart.

I really enjoyed this ensemble cast overall. Their chemistry was good even those who were CGI-based. I also LOVED the character designs, especially the villains. Nebula looked really cool and I’m really looking forward to the cosplayers at Comic Con next year!

I don’t think anybody can deny that it must be a good year to be Chris Pratt. First he was riding the high of the success of The Lego Movie. Now he has this and he’s become a bit of a media darling. Oh Star-Lord! The success of this movie will be great to help increase the popularity and sales of the comics and strengthen the brand significantly.

I’ve seen quite a few films this year and this is probably my second fave of the year. I still love Captain America 2 to death so that continues to be number 1, but the year is not over!

Marvel Studios has proven yet again that it knows how to make an effective and genuinely entertaining comic book film without being formulaic. It’s like they are the new Pixar! It had everything I could ask for in a film, some moments comedic, some poignant, some action-packed. And who doesn’t love a good sci-fi film? This movie felt fresh and left me feeling like the possibilities are endless when it comes to the sequels, and you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be a sequel! I’m looking forward to it.