Category Archives: Contest

BookTrib Harlequin Holiday Giveaway!

BookTrib Harlequin Holiday Giveaway

We’ve been asked by the wonderful folk at BookTrib to help share news of an amazing giveaway opportunity which is happening right now!

Many readers will swoon over this week’s BookTrib giveaway: 20 different Harlequin romances to one lucky winner. As part of BookTrib’s Holiday Giveaway, they will be gifting a box of 20 books, matching various themes, each week to one lucky winner through the month of December! Like what you see? Enter from now to December 13th for a chance to win all of these titles in their romance box! Visit BookTrib via the following link and fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter:

***You must be a US resident to qualify.***

The Angel Wore Fans by Sandra Hill – Excerpt & Giveaway

We’d like to thank Avon Books and HarperCollins for lettings us share with you this wonderful excerpt and giveaway during the The Angel Wore Fangs Blog Tour! =^.^=



Publisher: Avon Books

Date Released: May 31, 2016

Series: Deadly Angels #7

New York Times bestselling author Sandra Hill continues her sexy Deadly Angels series, as a Viking vangel’s otherworldly mission pairs him with a beautiful chef who whets his thousand-year-old appetite . . .

Once guilty of the deadly sin of gluttony, thousand-year-old Viking vampire angel Cnut Sigurdsson is now a lean, mean, vampire-devil fighting machine. His new side-job? No biggie: just ridding the world of a threat called ISIS while keeping the evil Lucipires (demon vampires) at bay. So when chef Andrea Stewart hires him to rescue her sister from a cult recruiting terrorists at a Montana dude ranch, vangel turns cowboy. Yeehaw!

The too-tempting mortal insists on accompanying him, surprising Cnut with her bravery at every turn. But with terrorists stalking the ranch in demonoid form, Cnut tele-transports Andrea and himself out of danger-accidentally into the 10th Century Norselands. Suddenly, they have to find their way back to the future to save her family and the world . . . and to satisfy their insatiable attraction.

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Praise for Sandra Hill’s Deadly Angels series:

“Fans of paranormal and time travel will get a kick out of this sexy and often humorous addition to the Deadly Angels series. Viking vampire angel Cnut is a completely strong hero, and Andrea, his accompaniment, is matched with him perfectly. Their antics will make readers giggle, and their adventures will keep fans at the edge of their seats. Hill’s vivid imagination really shines!”
—RT Book Reviews on The Angel Wore Fangs

“An awesome…series! Kept me up late into the night reading. Looking forward to the next installment.” — New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands

“Hill has written another winner featuring her Viking vampire angels. In her fourth in the passion-driven Deadly Angels series, two of the most unlikely characters, Mordr and Miranda, are thrown together and the result is laugh-out-loud humor and unrivaled sex appeal.”
—Romantic Times Book Reviews on Kiss of Wrath

“With her clever dialogue, often bawdy situations, and great cast of characters, including a warrior woman, a proverb-spouting wise man/healer from the East, and a saucy cook, Hill has created another wickedly wonderful story.” —Booklist (starred review) on Kiss of Wrath

“The third book in Sandra Hill’s Deadly Angels series, Kiss of Temptation, comes out Tuesday. Along with it comes the temptation to play hooky that day so I can hang out with Ivak, who’s guilty of the sin of lust. Aren’t we all, when it comes to Sandra Hill’s books?”
— USA Today on Kiss of Temptation

“Thanks for the laughs and the heartfelt emotions, Ms. Hill. I loved this one and am looking forward to the next book in this exciting series.” —The Romance Reviews on Kiss of Temptation

Earthy, laugh-out-loud hilarious, and lusty, this tenth-century revel takes readers back to a much-less-refined time and is just plain fun. Hill’s (Viking Heat) Viking series are legendary; her fans are sure to enjoy this latest addition.” —Library Journal on Kiss of Surrender

“Sixth in the Deadly Angels series, Even Vampires Get the Blues is entertaining, solid and consistent in its storytelling. Fans of the Vampire Viking Angels series will be pleased.”
— Romantic Times Book Reviews on Even Vampires Get the Blues


Weight Watchers, where art thou? . . .

Cnut Sigurdsson was a big man. A really big man! He was taller than the average man, of course, being a Viking, but more than that, he was . . . well . . . truth to tell . . . fat.
Obesity was a highly unusual condition for Men of the North, Cnut had to admit, because Norsemen were normally vain of appearance, sometimes to a ridiculous extent. Long hair, combed to a high sheen. Braided beards. Clean teeth. Gold and silver arm rings to show off muscles. Tight braies delineating buttocks and ballocks.
But not him.
Cnut did not care.
Even now, when three of his six brothers, who’d come (uninvited, by the by) to his Frigg’s-day feast here at Hoggstead in the Norselands, were having great fun making jests about just that. They were half-brothers, actually, all with different mothers, but that was neither here nor there. Cnut cared not one whit what the lackwits said. Not even when Trond made oinking noises, as if Cnut’s estate were named for a porcine animal when he knew good and well it was the name of the original owner decades ago, Bjorn Hoggson. Besides, Trond had no room to make mock of others when he was known to be the laziest Viking to ever ride a longship. Some said he did not even have the energy to lift his cock for pissing, that he sat like a wench on the privy hole. That was probably not true, but it made a good story.
Nor did Cnut bother to rise and clout his eldest brother, Vikar, when he asked the skald to make a rhyme of Cnut’s name:
Cnut is a brute
And a glutton, of some repute.
He is so fat that, when he goes a-Viking for loot,
He can scarce lift a bow with an arrow to shoot.
But when it comes to woman-pursuit,
None can refute
That Cnut can “salute” with the best of them.
Thus and therefore, let it be known
And this is a truth absolute,
Size matters.
“Ha, ha, ha!” Cnut commented, while everyone in the great hall howled with laughter, and Vikar was bent over, gasping with mirth.
Cnut did not care, especially since Vikar was known to be such a prideful man he fair reeked of self-love. At least the skald had not told the poem about how, if Cnut spelled his name with a slight exchange of letters, he would be a vulgar woman part. That was one joke Cnut did not appreciate.
But mockery was a game to Norsemen. And, alas and alack, Cnut was often the butt of the jests.
He. Did. Not. Care.
Yea, some said he resembled a walking tree with a massive trunk, limbs like hairy battering rams, and fingers so chubby he could scarce make a fist. Even his face was bloated, surrounded by a mass of wild, tangled hair on head and beard, which was dark blond, though its color was indiscernible most times since it was usually greasy and teeming with lice. Unlike most Vikings, he rarely bathed. In his defense, what tub would hold him? And the water chute into the steam hut was often clogged. And the water in the fjords was frigid except for summer months. What man in his right mind wanted to turn his cock into an icicle?
A disgrace to the ideal of handsome, virile Vikinghood, he overheard some fellow jarls say about him on more than one occasion.
And as for his brother Harek, who considered himself smarter than the average Viking, Cnut glared his way and spoke loud enough for all to hear, “Methinks your first wife, Dagne, has put on a bit of blubber herself in recent years. Last time I saw her in Kaupang, she was as wide as she was tall. And she farted as she walked, rather waddled. Phhhttt, phhhttt, phhhttt! Now, there is something to make mock of!”
“You got me there,” Harek agreed with a smile, raising his horn of mead high in salute.
One of the good things about Vikings was that they could laugh at themselves. The sagas were great evidence of that fact.
At least Cnut was smart enough not to take on any wives of his own, despite his twenty and eight years. Concubines and the odd wench here and there served him well. Truly, as long as Cnut’s voracious hunger for all bodily appetites—food, drink, sex—was being met, he cared little what others thought of him.
When his brothers were departing two days later (he thought they’d never leave), Vikar warned him, “Jesting aside, Cnut, be careful. One of these days your excesses are going to be your downfall.”
“Not one of these days. Now,” Cnut proclaimed jovially as he crooked a chubby forefinger at Inga, a passing chambermaid with a bosom not unlike the figurehead of his favorite longship, Sea Nymph. “Wait for me in the bed furs,” he called out to her. “I plan to fall down with you for a bit of bedplay.”
Vikar, Trond, and Harek just shook their heads at him, as if he were a hopeless case.
Cnut did not care.
But Vikar’s words came back to haunt Cnut several months later when he was riding Hugo, one of his two war horses, across his vast estate. A normal-size palfrey could not handle his weight; he would squash it like an oatcake. Besides, his long legs dragged on the ground. So he had purchased two Percherons from Le Perche, a province north of Norsemandy in the Franklands known for breeding the huge beasts. They’d cost him a fortune.
But even with the sturdy destrier and his well-padded arse, not to mention the warm, sunny weather, Cnut was ready to return to the keep for a midday repast. Most Vikings had only two meals a day. The first, dagmál or “day-meal,” breaking of fast, was held two hours after morning work was started, and the second, náttmál or “night meal.” was held in the evening when the day’s work was completed. But Cnut needed a midday meal, as well. And right now, a long draught of mead and an afternoon nap would not come amiss. But he could not go back yet. His steward, Finngeir the Frugal (whom he was coming to regard as Finn the Bothersome Worrier), insisted that he see the extent of the dry season on the Hoggstead cotters’ lands.
Ho-hum. Cnut didn’t even bother to stifle his yawn.
“Even in the best of times, the gods have not blessed the Norselands with much arable land, being too mountainous and rocky. Why else would we go a-Viking but to settle new, more fertile lands?”
“And women,” Cnut muttered. “Fertile or not.”
Finn ignored his sarcasm and went on. Endlessly. “One year of bad crops is crippling, but two years, and it will be a disaster, I tell you. Look at the fields. The grains are half as high as they should be by this time of year. If it does not rain soon—”
Blather, blather, blather. I should have brought a horn of ale with me. And an oatcake, or five. Cnut did not like Finn’s lecturing tone, but Finn was a good and loyal subject, and Cnut would hate the thought of replacing him. So Cnut bit back a snide retort. “What would you have me do? A rain dance? I can scarce walk, let alone dance. Ha, ha, ha.”
Finn did not smile.
The humorless wretch.
“Dost think I have a magic wand to open the clouds? The only wand I have is betwixt my legs. Ha, ha, ha.”
No reaction, except for a continuing frown, and a resumption of his tirade. “You must forgive the taxes for this year. Then you must open your storerooms to feed the masses. That is what you must do.”
“Are you barmy? I cannot do that! I need the taxes for upkeep of my household and to maintain a fighting troop of housecarls. As for my giving away foodstuffs, forget about that, too.
Last harvest did not nearly fill my oat and barley bins. Nay, ’tis impossible!”
“There is more. Look about you, my jarl. Notice how the people regard you. You will have an uprising on your own lands, if you are not careful.”
“What? Where? I do not know—” Cnut’s words cut off as he glanced to his right and left, passing through a narrow lane that traversed through his crofters’ huts. Here and there, he saw men leaning on rakes or hauling manure to the fields. They were gaunt-faced and grimy, glaring at him through angry eyes. One man even spat on the ground, narrowly missing Hugo’s hoof. And the women were no better, raising their skinny children up for him to see.
“That horse would feed a family of five for a month,” one toothless old graybeard yelled.
His wife—Cnut assumed it was his wife, being equally aged and toothless—cackled and said, “Forget that. If the master skipped one meal a month, the whole village could feast.”
Many of those standing about laughed.
Cnut did not.
Good thing they did not know how many mancuses it had taken to purchase Hugo and the other Percheron. It was none of their concern! Cnut had a right to spend his wealth as he chose. Leastways, that’s what he told himself.
Now, instead of being softened by what he saw, Cnut hardened his heart. “If they think to threaten me, they are in for a surprise,” he said to Finn once they’d left the village behind and were returning to the castle keep. “Tell the taxman to evict those who do not pay their rents this year.”
By late autumn, when the last of the meager crops was harvested, Cnut had reason to reconsider. Already, he’d had to buy extra grains and vegetables from the markets in Birka and Hedeby, just for his keep. Funerals were held back to back in the village. And he was not convinced that Hugo had died of natural causes last sennight, especially when his carcass had disappeared overnight. Cnut had been forced to post guards about his stables and storage shed since then. Everywhere he turned, people were grumbling, if not outright complaining.
That night, in a drukkinn fit of rage, he left his great hall midway through the dinner meal. Highly unusual for him. But then, who wouldn’t lose his appetite with all those sour faces silently accusing him? It wasn’t Cnut who’d brought the drought; even the most sane-minded
Creature must know that. Blame the gods, or lazy field hands who should have worked harder, or bad seed.
As he was leaving, he declined an invitation from some of his hersirs who were engaged in a game of hneftafl. Even his favorite board game with its military strategies and rousing side bets held no interest tonight. Bodil, a chambermaid, gave him a sultry wink of invitation in passing, but he was not in the mood for bedplay tonight, either.
He decided to visit the garderobe before taking to his bed, alone, and nigh froze his balls when he sat on the privy hole. He was further annoyed to find that someone had forgotten to replenish the supply of moss and grape leaves for wiping.
When Cnut thought things could not get any worse, he opened the garderobe door and almost tripped over the threshold at what he saw. A man stood across the corridor, arms crossed over his chest. A stranger. Could it be one of his desperate, starving tenants come to seek revenge on him, as Finn had warned?
No. Despite the darkness, the only light coming from a sputtering wall torch, Cnut could see that this man was handsome in appearance, noble in bearing. Long, black hair. Tall and lean, though well-muscled, like a warrior. And oddly, he wore a long white robe with a twisted rope belt, and a gold crucifix hung from a chain about his neck. Even odder, there appeared to be wings half folded behind his back.
Was it a man or something else?
I must be more drukkinn than I thought. “Who are you?”
“St. Michael the Archangel.”
One of those flying creatures the Christians believe in? This is some alehead madness I am imagining! A walking dream.
’Tis no dream, fool,” the stranger said, as if he’d read Cnut’s thoughts.
“What do you want?” Cnut demanded.
“Not you, if I had a choice, that is for certain,” the man/creature/angel said with a tone of disgust. “Thou art a dire sinner, Cnut Sigurdsson, and God is not pleased with you.”
“Which god would that be? Odin? Thor?”
“For shame! There is only one God.”
Ah! Of course. He referred to the Christian One-God. Vikings might follow the Old Norse religions, but they were well aware of the Christian dogma, and, in truth, many of them allowed themselves to be baptized, just for the sake of expediency.
“So, your God is not pleased with me. And I should care about that . . . why?” Cnut inquired, holding on to the doorjamb to straighten himself with authority. He was a high jarl, after all, and this person was trespassing. Cnut glanced about for help, but none of his guardsmen were about. Surprise, surprise. They are probably still scowling and complaining about the lack of meat back in the hall. I am going to kick some arse for this neglect.
“Attend me well, Viking; you should care because thou are about to meet your maker.” He said Viking as if it were a foul word. “As are your brothers. Sinners, all of you!”
“Seven brothers, each guilty of one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Pride. Lust. Sloth. Wrath. Gluttony. Envy. Greed.” He gave Cnut a pointed look. “Wouldst care to guess which one is yours?”
Nay, he would not. “So I eat and drink overmuch. I can afford the excess. What sin is that?”
“Fool!” the angel said, and immediately a strange fog swirled in the air. In its mist, Cnut saw flashing images:
• Starving and dead children.
• Him gnawing on a boar shank so voraciously that a greasy drool slipped down his chin. Not at all attractive.
• One of his cotters being beaten to a bloody pulp for stealing bread for his family.
• Honey being spread on slice after slice of manchet bread on his high table.
• A young Cnut, no more than eight years old, slim and sprightly, chasing his older brothers about their father’s courtyard.
• A naked, adult Cnut, gross and ugly with folds of fat and swollen limbs. He could not run now, if he’d wanted to.
• A family, wearing only threadbare garb and carrying cloth bundles of its meager belongings, being evicted from its home with no place to go in the snowy weather.
• Warm hearths and roofs overhead on the Hoggstead keep.
• A big-bosomed concubine riding Cnut in the bed furs, not an easy task with his big belly.
• The same woman weeping as she unwrapped a linen cloth holding scraps of bread and meat, half-eaten oatcakes, and several shrunken apples, before her three young children.

Cnut had seen enough. “This farce has gone on long enough! You say I am going to die? Now? And all my brothers, too? Excuse me if I find that hard to believe.”
“Not all at once. Some have already passed. Others will go shortly.”
Really? Three of his brothers had been here several months past, and he had not received news of any deaths in his family since, but then their estates were distant and the roads were nigh impassable this time of year. The fjords were no better, already icing over, making passage difficult for longships.
“I should toss you down the privy hole and let you die in the filth,” the angel said, “but you would not fit. Better yet, I should lock you in the garderobe and let you starve to death, like your serfs do.”
Ah, so that’s what this was about. “You cannot blame me for lack of rain or poor harvests. In fact, your God—”
Before he could finish the thought, the angel pointed a forefinger at him, and a flash of light passed forth, hitting Cnut right in the chest, like a bolt of lightning. Cnut found himself dangling off the floor. He clutched his heart, which felt as if a giant stake had passed through his body, securing him to the wall.
“Let it be known hither and yon, the Viking race has become too arrogant and brutish, and it is God’s will that it should die out. But you and your brothers are being given a second chance, though why, only God knows.”
What? Wait. Did he say I won’t be dying, after all?
“This is thy choice. Repent and agree to become a vangel in God’s army for seven hundred years, and thou wilt have a chance to make up for your mortal sins. Otherwise, die and spend eternity at Satan’s hearth.”
A sudden smell of rotten eggs filled the air. Brimstone, Cnut guessed, which was said to be a characteristic of the Christian afterlife for those who had offended their god. At the same time, he could swear his toes felt a mite warm. Yea, fire and brimstone, for a certainty.
So, I am being given a choice between seven hundred years in God’s army or forever roasting in Hell. Some choice! Still, he should not be too quick to agree. “Vangel? What in bloody hell is a vangel?” Cnut gasped out.
“A Viking vampire angel who will fight the forces of Satan’s Lucipires, demon vampires who roam the world spreading evil.”
That was clear as fjord mud. Cnut was still pinned high on the wall, and he figured he was in no position to negotiate. Besides, seven hundred years didn’t sound too bad.
But he forgot to ask what exactly a vampire was.
He soon found out.
With a wave of his hand, the angel loosened Cnut’s invisible ties, and he fell to the floor. If he’d thought the heart pain was bad, it was nothing compared to the excruciating feel of bones being crushed and reformed. If that wasn’t bad enough, he could swear he felt fangs forming on each side of his mouth, like a wolf. And his shoulders were being ripped apart, literally, and replaced with what, Cnut could not be sure, as he writhed about the rush-covered floor.
“First things first,” the angel said then, leaning over him with a menacing smile. “You are going on a diet.”

About the Author:

Sandra HillSandra Hill is a graduate of Penn State and worked for more than 10 years as a features writer and education editor for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Writing about serious issues taught her the merits of seeking the lighter side of even the darkest stories. She is the wife of a stockbroker and the mother of four sons.

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If you’d like to try and win 1 of 3 eCopies of Angel Wore Fans, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:

Vacant by Alex Hughes – Scavenger Hunt & Giveaway!


Today we are excited to be involved in the blog tour for Alex Hughes’s Vacant, book four in her Mindspace Investigation series! For a full list of all the blogs participating in the tour, please click on the banner above, and be sure to stop by later in the day for Willow’s review of Vacant. In the meantime, we’d like to tell you a little bit about the book, the scavenger hunt, and what you can win by having stopped by our blog today, murr!


Publisher: RoC

Release Date: December 2, 2014

Series: Mindspace Investigation #4

Nothing ruins a romantic evening like a brawl with lowlifes—especially when one of them later turns up dead and my date, Detective Isabella Cherabino, is the #1 suspect. My history with the Atlanta PD on both sides of the law makes me an unreliable witness, so while Cherabino is suspended, I’m paying my bills by taking an FBI gig.

I’ve been hired to play telepathic bodyguard for Tommy, the ten-year-old son of a superior court judge in Savannah presiding over the murder trial of a mob-connected mogul. After an attempt on the kid’s life, the Feds believe he’s been targeted by the businessman’s “associates.”

Turns out, Tommy’s a nascent telepath, so I’m trying to help him get a handle on his Ability. But it doesn’t take a mind reader to see that there’s something going on with this kid’s parents that’s stressing him out more than a death threat…

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Other Books in the Series

(Click on the cover to learn more)

clean Sharp Marked

Scavenger Hunt Details:

Alex has devised a fun Clue inspired scavenger hunt as part of the tour. To get your Check Off List, please visit HERE!

How To Play

Just like the classic game of CLUE, your job is to try to determine WHO committed a crime, in what SETTING, and with what WEAPON.

In our game to celebrate the release of VACANT, most of the clues will relate to the Mindspace Investigations world and characters.

At participating blog tour stops, you’ll find clues, clearly marked, that you can cross those off your checklist. At the end of the blog tour, you should be able to see who/where/what the culprit is by which items on your list are remaining. to be clear, the clues you FIND are not going to be the winning guesses… you’re trying to determine what is left at the end of the game.


Starting on December 20th, there will be a rafflecopter entry form here on this blog to make your guess. A grand prize winner will be chosen randomly from the correct entries after the blog tour is over, on December 24th. What’s the prize, you ask?

Winner gets a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble, a signed copy of Marked, and a character from a future book named after him/her.

Be sure to check each participating blog on the tour for interviews, guest posts, excerpts, reviews, individual blog prizes (all sorts of Mindspace Investigations goodies) and, of course, the clues!!

About the Author:


Alex Hughes, the author of the award-winning Mindspace Investigations series from Roc, has lived in the Atlanta area since the age of eight. Her short fiction has been published in several markets including EveryDay Fiction, Thunder on the Battlefield and White Cat Magazine. She is an avid cook and foodie, a trivia buff, and a science geek, and loves to talk about neuroscience, the Food Network, and writing craft—but not necessarily all at the same time! For all the latest news and free short stories, join Alex’s email list at

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


(US/CAN/UK Only)

One lucky winner will get a chance to win a Paperback copy of Clean, book #1 in the Mindscape Investigation series! To enter, fill out the Google Doc form below and we’ll select a winner on December 24th using Good luck to everyone who enters, murr!


Girl in Love by Caisey Quinn – T-shirt Giveaway

Today we’ve got a special T-shirt giveaway post to share with you all thanks to Caisey Quinn, author of Girl in Love, book 3 in her Kylie Ryans series!! But Before we go into details about the giveaway, we’d like to share with you a bit about the book and the author first. =^.^=


GILEbookCover-1Date Released: February 4, 2014

Series: Kylie Ryans #3


She’s living her dream…

Kylie Ryans is the biggest thing to come out of Nashville since, well, since Trace Corbin. With a hit album and a powerful label behind her, she appears to be the girl who has it all.

But appearances can be deceiving.

Fresh out of rehab, Trace Corbin is ready to take on the world. Just not the girl he walked away from. Because if there’s one thing he knows for certain, it’s that the people you love are the one’s who have the power to destroy you.

As their worlds collide, they’ll have to make the ultimate choice. Follow their dreams, or give it all up for love.

They say love conquers all, but for Kylie and Trace, it just might wreck everything they’ve worked for.

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About the Author:

CaiseyCaisey Quinn lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, daughter, and other assorted animals. She is the bestselling author of the Kylie Ryans series as well as several New Adult Romance novels featuring country girls finding love in unexpected places. You can find her online at

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

***T-shirt Giveaway***

Caisey is giving Rum Room t-shirts her next signing event. But for those of you unable to attend, one lucky visitor will have the chance to win one here at What the Cat Read!

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***Winner Is***




Book Trailer:

***Tour Giveaway***

As part of this tour event, hosted by Inkslinger PR, Caisey is also offering one lucky winner a Kindle Fire HD and $50 Amazon Gift Card! To be entered into this giveaway, simply click on the Rafflecopter link below:

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Willow’s Review of Cat in an Alien X-Ray by Carole Nelson Douglas + Giveaway

AlienX-rayRating: paw4
Publisher: Forge BooksDate Published: August 6, 2013

Series: Midnight Louie #25

Goodreads Description:

Carole Nelson Douglas’s Cat in an Alien X-Ray takes the Las Vegas gang on a science-fictional roller-coaster ride, as Midnight Louie, feline PI, and company encounter UFO enthusiasts, conspiracy nuts who are too bizarre even for tin foil hat therapy. An Area 51 attraction on the Strip threatens to bring more than starry-eyed enthusiasts to town. Once again it is up to that furballed PI Midnight Louie to keep his crew in line and save them from the attack of the creatures from the beyond…or common criminals that prey on the innocent.

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As you know, I’ve always been a lover of mystery novels and Carole Nelson Douglas is one of my household’s favorite authors. Given that we did a spotlight post on her a while back, I guess that would be pretty obvious. So when Angelique, one of the lovely publicists at Tor & Forge Books contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in reading and reviewing Douglas’s newest novel in her fabulous Midnight Louie series, well let me just say that there was more than one set of dancing paws (and feet) to be found in the house. And so before I get to my review, I’d like to thank Angelique, the folks at Tor & Forge books, and the wonderful Carole Nelson Douglas for sending me a review copy of this title! Now, on to the review itself. =^.^=

Let me first start off by saying that the one thing I have always loved about this series is that it takes place in modern-day Las Vegas (even though the timeline of events have only spanned roughly two years since those in the first book). So as hotels come and go, technology changes, and the thrill and excitement of Vegas grows and wanes, Douglas does a wonderful job of blending today’s Vegas landmarks with her fictional ones. Her off the cuff pop culture references, both in the story and the chapter names, are also fun to see scattered amongst the pages. My personal favorite this time around was her heading for chapter 33, Synth You’ve Been Gone. Yeah it resulted in my having the original song stuck in my head the rest of the evening, but it was worth it and it made me chuckle the first time I saw it. Heehee

Now for those readers who are new to this series, and for those who started reading but decided to wait until the series comes to a close (I know of some folks who fit into this category), I wouldn’t recommend making this your first foray into the series. If you want to do the books justice, start with the first book, Catnap, and work your way up the chain of events. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did! That being said, Douglas does a great job of providing just the right amount of backstory to remind long time readers of what has gone on in the previous novels. I actually greatly appreciated this because while I recently reread the series, there were connections that I forgot or completely didn’t catch originally on the recent read through.

Douglas’s characters still continue to delight me just as much now as they always have, though it’s no secret that Midnight Louie is my favorite out of all them, with Midnight Louise and Ma Barker and her clowder coming in closely behind him. I only wish there were more chapters devoted to him and his ilk. All hail to the real solver of all of Las Vegas’s crimes, Midnight Louie! May I offer purrs and tail waves in your honor. He’s one feline I wouldn’t mind curling up next to on a cool Vegas evening. ~purrs~

And of course it would be remiss of me not to give some attention to Douglas’s human characters, so permit me to say that my appreciation of Temple has pretty much held steady throughout the series. I don’t think there is really anything that she could do that would ever make me not like her. The same with Detective Molina, though it has been nice to watch her lighten up as the series has progressed. The lunch scene between her and Temple, and the initial phone call that preceded it, made me smirk several times because as much as they both don’t want to admit it, Molina and Temple really would make great girlfriends. The ladies aside, Matt was sadly a bit hit and miss with me this time around, mostly because I didn’t like that he wasn’t upfront with Temple about what he was really doing after his show ended for the night. Yes, I get that he didn’t tell her because he didn’t want her to worry, etc., but it still didn’t mean I liked it. There was something else that kept bugging me about him as I was, but I’m finding it hard to pin point exactly what it was. It’s odd though because when he first appeared in the series I thought he was perfect and instantly loved him, but the more I’ve seen of him and learned, the more on the fence I’ve become towards him. In contrast my views on Max have continued to grow with the recent books to the point where I can comfortably say that I quite like him now. I guess it took him losing his memory for me to really start to appreciate his character.

As for secondary characters: Silas T. Farnum…okay, if you don’t think of P.T. Barnum upon being introduced to this guy, there’s something wrong with you. The minute he showed up in the book all I could think of was “There is a sucker born every minute.” I shared Temple’s frustration where he was concerned and actually cringed every time he showed up in the book. The man is just beyond exasperating to say the least. And as for Kathleen O’Connor, aka Kitty the Cutter, well I’m sure she’d hate me for saying this, but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her the entire book. This may sound strange, but I kind of want her to redeem herself before the series ends. Yeah she’s killed folks, yes there’s no question that she should be punished for the crimes she committed, but as screwed up as this character is, I’m hoping that Douglas will allow her one moment of happiness before she takes her final curtain call.

Since this is the 25th book in the series, you might think that at this point the storyline would be getting stale and the books less captivating, but I tell you this is not the case. Douglas’s Midnight Louie series is still going strong! Right from the start I found I couldn’t put the book down…there was just too much going on that as soon as I finished one chapter, something would happen that made me want to read the next one and the next and the next. Yes, this is definitely a page turner novel. Don’t believe me? Get a copy of the book and find out for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

So as I bring this review to a close, let me simply say that I greatly enjoyed returning to the world that Douglas has created with these books and I’m greatly looking forward to the next installment of the series. Though at the same time it’s been rather bittersweet as well because since I first heard that Douglas was going to be taking each title of her series and basing it on a letter in the alphabet, I knew eventually there would come a time when the alphabet would end and thus the series with it. And with this being book number 25 and representing the letter X in the alphabet, I do have to wonder just how many more books remain in the series. But as long as there are Midnight Louie novels being written, I can say with certainty this feline will be reading them. =^.^=