Every once in a while, I get really surprised by a book. Today is one of those days because I really loved this one. Wait til I tell you all about it! 🙂 but first, let me show you some goodies!
The Marnie Baranuik Files, Book One
A. J. Aalto
Genre: paranormal fantasy
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Number of pages: 454
Word Count: 158k
Cover Artist: Greg Simanson
The media has a nickname for Marnie Baranuik, though she’d rather they didn’t; they call her the Great White Shark, a rare dual-talented forensic psychic. Twice-Touched by the Blue Sense–which gives her the ability to feel the emotions of others, and read impressions left behind on objects–Marnie also has a doctorate in preternatural biology and a working knowledge of the dark arts. She is considered without peer in the psychic community.
Then her first big FBI case ended with a bullet in one shoulder and a chip on the other, a queasy heart and a serial killer in the wind, leaving her a public flop and a private wreck. When the FBI’s preternatural crimes unit tracks her down at a remote mountain lodge for her insight on a local case, her quiet retirement is promptly besieged by a stab-happy starlet, a rampaging ghoul, and a vampire-hunting jackass in tight Wranglers. Marnie figures the only real mystery is which one will kill her first.
Too mean to die young, backed up by friends in cold places, and running with a mouth as demure as a cannon’s blast, Marnie Baranuik is about to discover that there’s no such thing as quitting time when you’re Touched.
I LOVE IT! Shall I start with that? I think so 🙂 This is a wonderful start to a new series, and though it’s listed as paranormal fantasy- which is my personal favorite- I will also add a little humor, a lot of mystery, some serious suspense and crime solving, along with romance. So, anybody find a category they like? LOL! It’s not a short book, yet I felt it passed so quick because I couldn’t put it down. I also really like how background and past info is slowly leaked in as the book goes, and it’s not a dump, nor is it too little that you feel confused. It’s quite an interesting way of writing, which is great!
Marnie is somewhat of a witch and psychic. It’s a little complicated for me to explain, so I’ll stick with that to make it simple. She is also very smart. Has fantastic attitude, sarcasm, and bitchiness to make even me giggle. And boy did she have the whole wrong idea about Mr. Hottie Pants…. I call him that and I’ll tell you why in a bit. Marnie had one major case as a psychic working with the FBI and it went terribly wrong, so she retired. Except, those same FBI guys come right back because they really need her help. Heh, my favorite part about Marnie is her obsession with coffees and sweets. She isn’t even scared about it. She will gladly tell you to your face that she’d rather have that than have to talk to you. LOL I LOVE HER!
LAWD! The HAWT pieces walking around in here! First there’s Mr. Hottie Pants, which would be Agent Batten, which Marnie has a whole lot of not-so-nice nick names for him, and yes she says them to his face. He’s the perfect broken boy- hot, bad attitude, yet caring with a not good way of showing it. Then there’s Harry, Mr. Cool, who is the vampire that Marnie is bonded to- again this part is really interesting, so I will not tell you more than that because I think it may spoil a little something for you. His entire personality made me laugh! I actually for once, REALLY loved the Vamper— *GASP* I know right 🙂 But even the not romantic interests, like the Sherriff, who is a HAWT piece. Trust me, there’s somebody hot to look at 🙂 LOL
I extremely enjoyed the writing. It was so flawless in its flow. The world building is fantastic! Plus the story itself would have sold me even if the writing was bad. There’s so many fresh ideas, and the plot twists and bad guy IS AWESOME!! All I know is my complete jaw dropped, multiple times, in this story and it almost unhinged at the end! All I can say is I REALLY NEED MORE!!! I truly don’t want to spoil anything for anyone so I will shut it! But I will go with… 5 FASCINATINGLY WONDERFUL PAWS!!! 🙂
WELCOME!! First, tell me a little about your book
“Touched” is the first book in the Marnie Baranuik Files, a series featuring a bumbling forensic psychic and her doting-yet-fussy vampire companion. Together, they assist the FBI to solve cases involving preternatural crimes. In “Touched,” Marnie must somehow learn to work with sexy ex-lover and vampire hunter, Mark Batten, while solving a case involving a head in her mailbox, a pair of rampaging ghouls, psychic lunatics, and demons, all the while protecting Harry, her cheeky immortal life partner.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated or did you always just know?
When I was thirteen, I tried to write myself into the Belgariad series by David Eddings. My father told me I wasn’t allowed to do that, and that if I wanted to write, I had to make up my own world, and my own characters. I’ve been writing ever since.
What inspired you to write your first book and what was it?
I began by biting off more than I could chew: an epic fantasy trilogy that was, when I finally gave up on it, over four thousand pages long and had no plot and no ending. I’m not even sure it had a middle at that point. It was inspired by Tolkien, Eddings, and Jordon, and was a rambling piece of junk, but it was excellent practice.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All the experiences in the book come from me, my sister, or my friends, going “if I were a terribly lame superhero/crime fighter, I’d do it like THIS, which would probably fail, but boy would it be funny.”
How do you chose when/which characters die in your books?
I don’t decide that, they do. They tell me. Sometimes, they really have to convince me. Sometimes, they just surprise me with it.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’ve been reading a lot of Gordon Bonnet lately. You can find him on Amazon. Also, Mark Stone is excellent.
Who do you look up to as a writer?
I find myself consistently sucked-in by Stephen King’s characters. Martin Amis also amazes me on a regular basis. I enjoy Chuck Wendig’s spitfire sense of humour enormously.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Oh yes, but little things, nothing huge. As I read, I go “oooh, I should have said it like this instead,” but I think most writers do that.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I think sometimes I get too many ideas crammed into one book, and keeping all my threads straight is a challenge. I’m making an effort to keep my third book lighter and less complicated.
What book are you reading now? Or what genre?
I spend a lot of time reading True Crime before bed. I find homicides, and the solving thereof, somehow soothing. Maybe it’s because there are good men, smart men, out there beating the bad guys so I don’t have to? That’s a comforting thought.
Who designed the cover? And do you help with them?
My graphic artist is Greg Simanson, whom I connected with via my publisher, Booktrope Editions. I have some input, but I largely trust his vision, and I love what he’s come up with, both for “Touched” and “Death Rejoices,” the second book in the series.
Did you learn anything from writing your books and what was it?
Every book I write, every story I write, teaches me something new about the process, and about my own writing habits and routines: what to keep, what to ditch, and how to distinguish between the two. It has also taught me to TRUST MY EDITOR. I am far too attached to my own words to make the cuts needed, and he can slash & burn without cringing. I very much need that.
If you could be one of your characters, who would you chose?
Well, it wouldn’t be Marnie! She’s hopeless…although, she does get to have some fairly hot sex. Hmm. I’d probably enjoy being the villain, but I can’t say who that is, as it’s a major spoiler.
Are there any books you think some of us should read, just because?
If you can get a copy, which might be tough, as it’s out of print, you should read Piers Anthony’s “Rings of Ice.” Post-apocalyptic romp, and so much fun. Also, anything by Christopher Moore is guaranteed to make you laugh.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I love, love, love all the reviews that my readers have been posting on Amazon and elsewhere. Feedback is like candy, I seriously cannot get enough of it. Even bad reviews are like those chewy Hallowe’en kisses that nobody eats until, like, December, when there’s nothing good left in the bottom of the pillowcase but you’ve already tiptoed into your kid’s room and you don’t want to wake them up by stomping out without some stolen candy. Did I just say too much? *smile* And thank you, dear readers, for sticking with me as I grow as a writer, for tolerating my quirks, and for keeping me smiling!
About the Author:
AJ Aalto is the author of Touched, first in the paranormal mystery series The Marnie Baranuik Files. Aalto is an unrepentant liar and a writer of blathering nonsense offset by factual gore. When not working on her novels, you can find her singing old Monty Python songs in the shower, eavesdropping on perfect strangers, stalking her eye doctor, or failing at one of her many fruitless hobbies. Generally a fan of anyone with a passion for the ridiculous, she has a particular weak spot for smug pseudo-intellectuals and narcissistic jerks; readers will find her work littered with dark, imperfect creatures, flawed monsters and oodles of snark. AJ cannot say no to a Snickers bar, and has been known to swallow her gum.
We are giving away and ebook copy-winner’s choice in format- of Touched. I HIGHLY recommend it 🙂 So leave me, or the lovely author, a nice comment and we will pick a winner!
I want to wish everyone good luck! I’d like to send a special thanks to Ms. Aalto and to Bewitching Book Tours! I had a really good time with this one! 🙂 And since it’s the weekend, HAPPY WEEKEND! Happy reading everyone and later gators!