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Women's Interests, Paranormal Combine in Fiction

May 11, 2008
by amy mendenhall
You can leave New York, but you can’t escape the magic.

That’s what Katie Chandler learns in the third book in Shanna Swendson’s blend of paranormal and corporate women’s fiction in “Don’t Hex With Texas.”

Katie left her big city job at one of the top magic firms, Magic, Spells and Illusions, Inc. and her boyfriend wizard Owen Palmer so he could concentrate on his work without her being a distraction. Her hometown is supposedly free of magic influence, and Katie is ready to settle down working at the family store and living off the magic grid.

Imagine her surprise when she sees a hooded wizard doing magic on main street! Katie’s magic immunity allows her to see through the invisibility spells and uncover that something magical is afoot, something related to Magic Inc.’s top competitor. She calls for backup, and of course, Owen appears. As the two sort out their feelings and the mystery, Katie learns the magic is a bit too close to home.

Swendson continues to spin the paranormal genre on its ear with her plucky and bright heroine and her family.

“Don’t Hex With Texas” is published by Ballantine Books. It is $14 and 304 pages long.


Enchanted shoes turn women to love in the anthology “These Boots Were Made for Strutting” by award-winning authors Lisa Cach, Gemma Halliday and Melanie Jackson.

In Lisa Cach’s “A Rose By Any Other Name” a pair of shoes transforms a geeky landscaper named Kelsey who can’t seem to be able to string three words together correctly in the presense of a man, to sexy siren Rosa, who has client Jack begging for more. But Kelsey doesn’t want someone who doesn’t want the real her, so should she settle for boring blind date Mark? Should she put Rosa to bed forever?

In Gemma Halliday’s “So I Dated An Axe Murderer,” after wearing a pair of shoes purchased at hiheelia, Kya immediately is scouted to become a model with Parker Models and soon is doing photoshoots and flirting with the equally hot Blake. But Blake’s ex-girlfriend was also a model and has a lot of Kya’s likes and dislikes. Unfortunately, she’s also now dead - after drowning in Blake’s pool and Kya has the uncomfortable feeling she’s reliving the deceased model’s life! Is Kya going to meet a similar fate?

In Melanie Jackson’s “And They Danced,” Faith finds herself attending a dance competition with her cute neighbor after a pair of shoes mysteriously appear on her door. Not only do these shoes look hot, but they know how to move and now so does Faith! Though hot Axel also has another hot dance partner on the floor, Sasha, Faith can’t forget the chemistry between them, on and off the dance floor. Is it the shoes or is it something else?

Perfect for lovers of romance, magic, and fine footwear, these short stories may inspire a trip to the companion website, http://'>'>'> for a new pair of shoes too!

“These Boots Were Made for Strutting” is published by Dorchester. It is $6.99 and 368 pages long.


Some people take the rock’n’roll mantra of live hard, die young, and leave a good looking corpse a little too seriously.

That’s what Ciara Griffin finds out in Jeri Smith-Ready’s “Wicked Game,” a hip and edgy addition to the paranormal genre that gives vampires a rock’n’roll spin.

Ciara is a (somewhat) reformed con artist who’s looking for a marketing internship and finds one in a dying radio station, WMMP, that is in danger of being bought out by a larger conglommerate if something isn’t done. Hired to put a new spin on the old station, Ciara meets the DJs who not only have severe OCD problems, but also seem to be stuck in the era of music they play. They dress, talk, and act like time has stood still for them. Maybe that’s because it has - Ciara learns her new co-workers are all vampires. She dismisses this as a joke until the hot grunge vampire, Shane, makes a pass at her - and ends up biting her. Instead of running, Ciara is intrigued by both the station and Shane, and sets up a marketing campaign for the newly christened WVMP that tells the truth about the DJs. Listeners love it, if don’t quite believe it, and ratings have never been higher. But someone out there does believe the stories - a group of isolationist vampires who believe that Ciara’s vampires need to be taken off the air - one way or the other.

“Wicked Game” practically bleeds rock’n’roll off the pages, with its own playlist, song titles as chapter headings, and general atmosphere. And Ciara is an intriguing heroine, someone who isn’t a good girl pretending to be ’bad,’ but a bad girl pretending to be good.

Be sure to check out to visit the vampire DJs, listen to podcasts and check out WVMP merchandise and visit for more on the vampires and the author herself.

“Wicked Game” is published by Pocket Books. It is $14 and 384 pages long.


New York Times’ bestselling author Charlaine Harris returns to her Sookie Stackhouse series in “From Dead to Worse.”

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and a vampire summit turned deadly, Sookie and her friends are still picking up the pieces of their lives. The weretiger that Sookie had been dating is missing and the vampire queen of Louisana is still on the mend. And Sookie just met someone who changes her life-view of herself and her family. Meanwhile, the local werewolf packs are having their own troubles, and Sookie gets dragged into the mess when there are two attempts made on her life. Sookie’s brother Jason’s usual troubles also take its toll on her and just when that is straightened out, the vampires’ world is turned upside down when a vampire coup takes place, and once again, Sookie is standing in the middle. Is it time for Sookie to put some distance between herself and her friends?

There are multiple problems stacking up for Sookie, but no one overall like in previous books. Fans of the series will devour it like a vamp drinking TrueBlood.

“From Dead to Worse” is published by Ace. It is $24.95 and 359 pages long.

Contact Amy Mendenhall at'>'>'> or visit her blog at http://'>'>'> to read guest blogs by Shanna Swendson and Jeri Smith-Ready in upcoming weeks. Read past columns at


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