1. Burn Bright and Angel Arias- Marianne de Pierres

2. Bones of Faerie and Faerie Winter- Janni Lee Simner

3. The Spider Goddess- Tara Moss and Thyla- Kate Gordon

4.The Iron Knight- Julie Kagawa

5. Mercy- Rebecca Lim

Most anticipated in 2012

1.Hallowed- Cynthia Hand

2. Blaze Dark- Marianne de Pierres

3. The Skeleton Key- Tara Moss

4.Fury- Rebecca Lim

5. Spellbound-Rachel Hawkins

“People are dying to get here……….”

When Alice Forster receives an email on the day of her murdered sister’s funeral, it seem like a sick hoax. An invitation to the virtual world of Soul Beach, an online paradise of sun, sand and sea where Alice can see her sister again. But only the beautiful, young and dead reside on Soul Beach, and Alice’s sister doesn’t remember who stole her life. Can Alice discover not only the secrets of Soul Beach, but the identity of her sister’s killer before she ends up the next victim?

Soul Beach is entirely new and fresh and will have you deep into the mystery from the very get-go. It’s a unique mix of paranormal, murder mystery, teen angst, family ties and an in-depth look at some of the worse aspects of human nature. Alice’s journey will, at times, break your heart as she gets sucked under by her grief, and have you cheering from the sidelines as she takes pro-active steps to help those trapped on the beach.

Harrison has deftly managed to convey a world which seems so perfect on the outside yet retains sinister undertones. Paradise may be more trouble than it’s worth.There is something not quite right about Soul Beach and even at the very end of the book, you are still trying to put your finger on exactly what it is. The relationship between Alice and Megan is poignant yet not sickly sweet as I first feared it would be. The inner look at the devastation to the lives of those left behind is honest and real. The plot is fast moving and the red herrings that keep popping up will hold your attention in a vice-like grip. The ending will leave you keen for book two of the trilogy.

Soul Beach is the first YA release from the author of the bestselling “Secret Shopper” novels and an amazing start to the trilogy. Come visit Soul Beach and discover “paradise” for yourself.

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Indigo (1 Sep 2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 1780620063
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780620060

Visit the authors website.


Now those of you who have read the Sookie Stackhouse novels or watched True Blood have already had the pleasure of getting to know a Maenad that little bit better. For those who haven’t, here’s a crash course that will hopefully save your skin should you ever stumble upon one.

Maenads can trace their roots back to Greek mythology and were consorts of that fun-loving, ruckus raising god, Dionysus. Now good old Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine; and, just to add a little adventure to his immortal life, he also scored the gig of god of ritual madness and ecstasy.  See, I told you he was a “fun” guy. Maenads were his fervent female worshippers or “wives”.

Maenads were taken to a state of ecstatic frenzy thanks to more than generous amounts of alcohol and frantic ritual dancing. Sounds like just a bit of fun right? Well if it hadn’t led to uncontrolled “adult” behaviour and donning the old fawn skin to hunt and consume animal and human flesh alike-which according to some myth variations gave them a form of immortality-they probably would have gone down in history as the original party girls rather than vicious monsters.

Surprisingly though, it wasn’t till dear old “hubby” disappeared that Maenads became truly frightening. Desperate to both maintain their fragile grip on immortality (usually at the expense of some poor guy becoming lunch) and reunite with their beloved, the hunt really began. It became legend that the sacrifice of another Supe (especially Shifters and Fae) could harness enough of a power punch to bring Dionysus back from the nether world.

Now for many a poor victim who had never come across a Maenad before (which was most thanks to the fact most who tussled with them never lived to tell the tale), chances of killing them were slim. There is in fact only one way to put a Maenad at rest and it isn’t pretty. One must remove their blackened, dead heart and crush it to dust. Now no one knows just who spilled the beans on ending the big bad, but one thing is for sure–the gross factor sure outweighs becoming lunch.

So if you ever find yourself at the mercy of a Maenad (though thankfully it is mainly believed they are now all laid to rest) pray you have the mad skills of True Blood’s Sam or that you can run–fast.

To enjoy some Maenad adventures safely from the reading chair you can catch some of their exploits, not only in the Sookie series but also in Neil Gaiman’s  “The Sandman” comic series and the Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel “Go Ask Malice: A Slayers Diary“.

This is one Supe I have put off focusing on mainly because I’m a big scardey cat. The Wendigo (or Windigo) and I don’t have the best history together, thanks mainly to the brilliant Stephen King and his Pet Sematary and the nightmares that followed afterwards. But then, I guess it isn’t really possible to feel all warm and fuzzy about a creature renowned for loving the taste of human flesh.

Now the Wendigo can trace its roots back to the mythology of the Algonquian people, and they didn’t get the warm and fuzzies for it either. According to their belief the Wendigo was a malevolent spirit whose main goal was cannibalism. Humans that partook in this particular hobby ran the risk of being transformed into one; or, the Wendigo could posses humans of its choosing, if no one wanted to play ball. If that wasn’t enough to have you running for the hills at the sight of one, they are also very, very greedy. Not one to have its dinner and leave the table, the Wendigo’s craving is so excessive it must devour one human after the other. Some variations of the myth state that the Wendigo grows larger with each feeding, making it even more formidable and never full.  There is also no documented fail-safe way to dispose of a Wendigo, putting it on top of the scariest, nastiest and strongest Supe list.

Now unlike other Supe’s, part of the Wendigo myth was used to explain and name some very frightening human actions.  The Wendigo Psychosis is the term given to explain the actions and feelings of those that crave cannibalism despite other food sources being readily available. Some believed that the perpetrators were, in fact, possessed by a Wendigo spirit  – I guess, by that reckoning, Hannibal Lecter really couldn’t help  himself.

So, even though the Wendigo gives most of us the creeps just by the mere mention of its name, he is amazingly popular in a lot of popular media; although, they usually bear little resemblance to the original Algonquian spirit. He’s popped up in popular shows, including Charmed and Supernatural. Video games including Final Fantasy and The World of Warcraft Universe have used his likeness, and he has his own Marvel Comics character “Wendigo” bearing his name. Then there is the fiction, including Rick Yancey’s The Curse of the Wendigo where he nabs the role as main antagonist, and the abovementioned Pet Sematary.

I guess sometimes the bad guy does come out on top. Now I’m off to imagine bunnies and rainbows and hope like heck my old foe doesn’t decide to stalk the halls of my dreams tonight [same here, Cels! – Ed.]

Now unless you are familiar with Russian or Slavic folklore you perhaps haven’t heard of the downright scary Baba Yaga.  Described as a haggish witch-like creature, Baba Yaga flies around in a giant mortar using the pestle as a rudder and sweeping away her tracks with a broom made of silver birch.

Her main past time is kidnapping young children (who said take-away dinner was a new invention?). Her log cabin house-o-horrors stands on dancing chicken legs, surrounded by a palisade with a skull resting atop each pole.

Now, if that isn’t enough to keep you from stopping by for a visit (remember curiosity killed that poor puddy cat) – the keyhole on the front door is filled with razor sharp teeth. Baba Yaga doesn’t go in for the whole white picket fence look either. Instead, you’re met with a fence made of human bones, with spaces ready for the skulls of those who try to “hero” her out of existence.

One myth does allude to a magical phrase that must be uttered before admittance is granted: “Turn your back to the forest, your front to me”- so hopefully, you wouldn’t do a Hansel and Gretel and end up in the cooking pot through pure blunder.

In some tales her little horror hut is also connected to three horsemen: one in white, riding a white horse with a white harness, who is Day; a red rider, who is the Sun; and one in black, who is Night. Baba Yaga is served by invisible servants inside the hut. She explains the riders if asked, but may kill a visitor who inquires about the servants. Amazingly, there is some good press for poor old Baba out there.

Other tales actually describe her as a force of guidance – there are some stories where she does help with people’s quests. The overall warning is that seeking her help is still a mighty dangerous act – who knows what payment she will extract in return? Emphasis is placed on the need for proper preparation before you even think of seeking her out – and a purity of spirit and minding your best manners. It is said Baba ages one year for each question, so the price must be high. She can reverse the added years with a special blend of tea made from blue roses.

Baba Yaga has had her story retold over and over in not just old folk stories but the modern media as well. She appears in the following comics: Uncanny X-Men, Sandman and Hellboy. She also scored a hefty role in Orson Scott Card’s Enchantment,  Michael Buckley’s  The Sisters Grimm series and the Primeval: Extinction Event novel by Dan Abnett. [Kim Wilkins’s Rosa & the Veil of Gold features a pretty terrifying Baba Yaga sequence, too-Ed.].

So my advice to you- if you ever wander upon a house in a deserted forest- RUN. You never, never know.

MUSIC: The Hut of Baba Yaga – Mussorgsky

When Baba's cooking, pass on the borscht!

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