Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Guest Post: Gail Carriger, author of Soulless

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Gail Carriger, the author of Soulless. The book is out this week A fantastic mix of historical romance, paranormal, urban fantasy, steampunk and comedy of manners.

Characters

Sometimes, in the days (months, years) of query letters (boy did I write a lot of them) I would worry about how to describe my own writing. It's a fine art, trying to sell yourself, but there was one phrase I never failed to use: character driven.

I adore writing characters, it's my absolutely favourite part of being an author: the invention of new people and the revisiting of old friends. Some authors get annoyed when a story is hijacked by a minor character, I love it. I like caricatures that I can break down or twist suddenly into something unexpected. I like silly quirks and strange mannerisms, sinister aspects and hidden secrets. I draw pictures of my characters. I give them magazine quizzes. I invent elaborate back-stories that never make it onto the page.

This may have to do with the fact that I like people. In fact, I kind of collect them. My house tends to be the party event venue, the sleep over spot, sometimes known as Grand Central Station. Mine is a real life peopled with highly colorful characters, they have leaked into my stories, whether I like it or not.

As a terribly side effect, I have a terrible habit of falling on love with my side characters. I think a lot of writers have this happen. Oh, don't get me wrong, I love the hero and heroine too, but there is something so delightfully comfortable about a minor butler or best friend who slides in, quips something Wilde and witty, and then exits in a plume of verbal sophistication.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you read my book and fall in love with even just one character, I've done my job. You can hate everything else about it, but that character will haunt you. He or she will get to live, for a little, in your mind. As a writer, I can think of no greater thing to have happen.


Ms. Carriger began writing in order to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. Ms. Carriger then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She now resides in the Colonies, surrounded by a harem of Armenian lovers, where she insists on tea imported directly from London and cats that pee into toilets. She is fond of teeny tiny hats and tropical fruit.


Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she is being rudely attacked by a vampire to whom she has not been properly introduced!

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire, and the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible.

Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?
My review
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Sunday, 27 September 2009

Reviews: 2 in 1 Sookie again + DNF read

Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
Book 6

Spiked with a frothy fusion of romance, mystery, and fantasy, this bestselling series sends the supernaturally gifted cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse to New Orleans, where she has to deal with the legacy of one of her own family and a host of potentially dangerous characters. (GoodReads)




All Together Dead
Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has her hands full dealing with every sort of undead and paranormal creature imaginable. And after being betrayed by her longtime vampire love, Sookie must not only deal with a new man in her life-the shapeshifter Quinn-but also contend with the long-planned vampire summit.

The summit is a tense situation. The vampire queen of Louisiana is in a precarious position, her power base weakened by hurricane damage to New Orleans. And there are some vamps who would like to finish what nature started. Soon, Sookie must decide what side she'll stand with. And her choice may mean the difference between survival and all-out catastrophe.


So more Sookie books. In the first one she goes down to New Orleans because a family member died (when did that happen btw, did I miss it?) She meets the Queen and there is trouble as always.

In the next book she travels with the queen to a summit, but someone is out to get them all, and who can she trust?
Here she has Quinn and I do like him, he has potential. I also like her new buddy Amelia. About all the shifters, well I guess they will be outed too soon. And what is up with all the things showing up in every book? Soon the Easter bunny will show up.

Even if I like the mystery part I do get annoy at one thing, she always figures everything out even if there are not many clues. I guess she is the smartest chick around. There were also some historical facts that bothered me in this one.

But mindless fun, easy reads, even if she get beaten up always. And Eric is still yummy. I have started to wonder how many more books there will be, you get to a certain point with all books where they can be no more. I still want more but I do wonder.

As always not much to say about these books.


Then the DNF read:
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

 It was a great book, the language flowed and to have the dog narrate was masterful. But it was a sad book, and I was not even halfway when I could take no more, I had been sad, then angry and then I got too upset. It was not the right time to read this book, I am not good with these thins so perhaps in the future. Cos to the point I read it was a good book, worth reading.

Recommended.

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny's wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life...as only a dog could tell it. (GoodReads)


Friday, 25 September 2009

2 in 1 review: Dead to the world and Dead as a doornail


Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
It continues the story of psychic waitress Sookie Stackhouse, who has fallen out with her undead lover, Bill. Bill has no sooner departed for Peru, than Sookie finds the head vampire, Eric, running naked and terrified through the rural night. She helps Eric, and discovers his memory has been destroyed by a coven of unscrupulous, astonishingly powerful witches, newly arrived in her small Louisiana town, and offering a huge reward for Eric. Sookie tries to hide Eric, but her brother sees him--and immediately disappears. And Sookie finds herself caught in a war among witches, vampires, and werewolves.
(GoodReads)



Dead as a Doornail
When Sookie's brother Jason's eyes start to change, she knows he's about to turn into a were-panther for the first time. But her concern becomes cold fear when a sniper sets his deadly sights on the local changeling population-and Jason's new panther brethren suspect he may be the shooter. Now, Sookie has until the next full moon to find out who's behind the attacks, unless the killer decides to find her first.






Another 2 in 1 review cos honestly not much to say, and many have already read them too. In Dead to the world Sookie meets Eric and he has amnesia. He needs to be protected and she takes him in. Oh no wonder this was my fav story so far and I am sure the rest can't take on this one. I liked it, oh yes.

In Dead as a Doornail Jason is in trouble and someone goes around shooting people. She must find out who that is, we also get more were and shifter action, and meet Quinn.

The books are like the rest, a mystery, she gets beaten up (or at least watches someone get beaten up). Some kissing, and meets a new fellow.

Eric, sighs, but sweet Eric was nice, now he is an ass again. Alcide is cool but they wont be together, I am still betting that she in the end will end up with Sam and I don't like that. I don't know why, but Sam, there is just something I don't like which is weird when he is such a nice guy,

Never liked Jason either but he showed a nice side and he is all right. Bill, I can't forgive him after book 3. And it annoys me a bit how she is thinking about it.

The books are ok, romance, mystery and a great deal of action. for some reason I never have much to say though.


Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Review: A Darkness Forged in Fire - Chris Evans


A Darkness Forged in Fire by Chris Evans

Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2008
Pages: 432

We do not fear the flame, though it burns us,
We do not fear the fire, though it consumes us,
And we do not fear its light,
Though it reveals the darkness of our souls,
For therein lies our power.
-- Blood Oath of the Iron Elves


In this world, Konowa Swift Dragon, former commander of the Empire's elite Iron Elves, is looked upon as anything but ordinary. He's murdered a Viceroy, been court-martialed, seen his beloved regiment disbanded, and finally been banished in disgrace to the one place he despises the most -- the forest.

Now, all he wants is to be left alone with his misery, but for Konowa, nothing is ever that simple. The mysterious and alluring Visyna Tekoy, the highborn daughter of an elfkynan governor, seeks him out in the dangerous wild with a royal decree that he resume his commission as an officer in Her Majesty's Imperial Army, effective immediately.

For in the east, a falling Red Star heralds the return of a magic long vanished from the earth. Rebellion grows within the Empire as a frantic race to reach the Star unfolds. It is a chance for Konowa to redeem himself -- even if the entire affair appears doomed to be a suicide mission, and that the soldiers recruited for the task are not at all what he expects. And worse, his key adversary in the perilous race for the Star is the dreaded Shadow Monarch -- a legendary elf-witch whose machinations for absolute domination spread deeper than Konowa could ever imagine.


I do like good old fantasy, rich worlds with complex histories, that is what world building is about. This was good fantasy.

The book begins and we learn that the former Governoner of Elfkyna was murdered, but a decorated officer named Konowa. But the governor was working for the dreaded Shadow Monarch, still there was a price to be paid. The Iron Elves were sent away and he was sent to the forest. He is not a normal elf, he was born with the dark mark and he does not care for trees. That is what the Iron Elves are, outcasts.

But something is happening and the Iron Elves stand again and he is called out from the forest. He is to lead them and find the red star, perhaps with that they can gain some power to fight the wicked witch of the North.

Konowa, well he angry, bit of a bastard sometimes, hates those trees and not a nice guy really. You would think, he would do anything for his Iron elves and he hates the Shadow Monarch and what she has done to him. You grow to like him, and bit by bit there are other sides of him. He is more than he seem to be. This is also shown when he meets Visyna. A tiny bit of romance that is not shown but that I want.

Some called this military fantasy, and that fits. The author know about military history and he uses that knowledge. He knows what he is writing about, and makes it enjoyable.

There is a great deal of fighting, and talking. A strange book that I well was rather neutral about at first. Then suddenly I was at page 150 and I could not stop reading. It had grabbed me and I had not known when and where. I wanted more so I finished it quickly without too many breaks in between. Good fantasy can do that.

This is a book that I would recommend to fantasy fans, for others, well I fear the military aspects could be a bit dry. I enjoyed it but perhaps this sort of fantasy is not for everyone.

But he has created a great world where the Human empire has spread out by the means of imperial forces and they have conquered the elves, orcs, the elfkynan and the dwarves. The world is ruled by men, and they see the rest of the races as a bit lesser. There are rebellions of course, and the elves, they only cares for their trees. I am happy that I have the next book so that i can see what will happen, The Shadow Monarch is out to rule the world, and the rest of the world really need to put their differences aside to win this fight.


Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Review: The Accidental Demon Slayer - Angie Fox


The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox

Genre: Paranormal romance
Pages: 292
Published: 2008

It’s never a good day when an ancient demon shows up on your toilet bowl…

For Lizzie Brown, that’s just the beginning. Soon her hyperactive terrier starts talking, and her long-lost biker witch Grandma is hurling Smuckers jars filled with magic. Just when she thinks she’s seen it all, Lizzie learns she’s a demon slayer – and all hell is after her.

Of course, that’s not the only thing after her. Dimitri Kallinikos, a devastatingly handsome shape-shifting griffin needs Lizzie to slay a demon of his own. But how do you talk a girl you’ve never met into going straight to the underworld? Lie. And if that doesn’t work, how dangerous could a little seduction be…?


Let me just first say that I love the dog Pirate, he is the bes part, funny, and always talking. And just look at the cutie there on the cover, I am not a dog person but I am a pirate gal.

Lizzie lives a normal live, she has a job, a home, friends, no man though, but as the is about to turn 30 she is ok with it all. Then she is contacted by her grandmother who she has never met, and suddenly there is a demon in her toilet and they are on the run. She is told she is a demon slayer and now they are out to kill her. What is a girl to do, run and fast. Her biker grandma, pirate and Lizzy heads down the road, where they soon will meet hunky Dimitri.

Lizzie is nice, and I like her. She is taking this demon slaying business as anyone would, not good, and that is understandable. Her grandma is crazy, who could not like an old biker chick who wears the clothes and listen to the music. The talking dog, well I do love him. Then there is Dimitri, a griffin, and a good looking man. All alpha, rough and I would sure fall into his arms. There is an attraction between Lizzy and him at once, and I sure like it.

I like the gang of biker witches, different and they fit the story. Then there are the werewolves, and gotta love those too. I am sure more paranormal beings will show up the next time. In this we see imps, water nymphs and of course demons. Nasty demons from hell and they should stay there.

Much action there is not, she is still learning and mostly trying to keep her head down. But there are some fighting. There is also hot romance, I promise you that. There are some laughs and funny situations promised. All in all a good book with a mix of everything, it will be fun to see what will happen in book 2. Lizzy and pirate is a good team, and I do wanna see more of Dimitri.

I would have liked to get more laughs since that would have fitted the book, but then again that is just me. It had the rest covered up.


Sunday, 20 September 2009

Review: Mr Darcy, Vampyre - Amanda Grange


Mr Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange

Genre: Historical paranormal romance
Pages: 320
Published: 2009

A legendary and immortal love story for a legendary and immortal couple - a test of love that will take them to hell and back. The wedding day is magical but when Elizabeth and Darcy embark on their wedding tour, Elizabeth discovers that Darcy has a secret . . .

Prologue December 1802

My dearest Jane,

My hand is trembling as I write this letter. My nerves are in tatters and I am so altered that I believe you would not recognise me. The past two months have been a nightmarish whirl of strange and disturbing circumstances, and the future . . .

Jane, I am afraid. If anything happens to me, remember that I love you and that my spirit will always be with you, though we may never see each other again. The world is a cold and frightening place where nothing is as it seems. It was all so different a few short months ago. When I awoke on my wedding morning, I thought myself the happiest woman alive . . .

(Author's site)


Let's face it, I will never looked at pride and prejudice the same way again. Imagine how glad I was when my friend looked at this and wanted it and I needed top buy her a present. Long story short, read it before her that night cos could not really take it up north with me. Now I just have to read the zombie one and Austen will be forever weird to me, lol.

The title sadly says it all, yes Mr Darcy is a vampire. But it's good to know it, and it could have been written differently. First I can giggle at things because I know things Lizzy does not know, and that makes this book funny. If we would not have know the funny part would not have been it. But still not knowing would have been fun too.

To the book then, it takes up a bit before the book ends. Lizzy is waking up, the wedding takes place and soon they are off to the lake district, or wait, no Darcy decides that they should head over to France. Soon she has a strange feeling about Darcy, he is distant and she is afraid he regrets marrying her. It will be an eventful wedding trip.

The reader gets bits and pieces here and there and even if the title had not been that it would have been easy to guess after a while. I like the clues because they made me giggle, and at the same time I feel sorry of Lizzy because she thinks he does not love he, and the reader does not learn why he acting so strange (well easy to guess but still why?).

Not much romance since he is distancing him from her, but it's still there, and I am aching for them. Lizzy and Darcy belong together but how can they be together? The book had me reading fast to find that out and to see if i could get some vampire action.

This was a sweet and easy read, the paranormal made me smile cos I knew, but it gets a bit different later on, I tiny bit more thrilling we can say. But the end left me wanting, great end yes, but it felt rushed and not right. But that could just be me.

It's a clever way to tell the story what happened next. Because many sure wanted to know, and who knows, perhaps he really was a vampire, lol, I do feel like watching the miniseries again and taking a closer look at him. I will always imagine him hiding his vampire self now.

A fun sequel to read, I tell you that. I have not read a real sequel yet, but I know that I sure will look back at this vampire one and smile.


Saturday, 19 September 2009

Review: Goddess of the Hunt - Tessa Dare


Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare

Genre: Historical romance
Pages: 384
Published: 2009

Ever the bold adventuress, Lucy Waltham has decided to go hunting for a husband. But first she needs some target practice. So she turns to her brother’s best friend, Jeremy Trescott, the Earl of Kendall, planning to hone her seductive wiles on him before setting her sights on another man. But her practice kisses spark a smoldering passion—one that could send all her plans up in smoke.

Jeremy has an influential title, a vast fortune, and a painful past, full of long-buried secrets. He keeps a safe distance from his own emotions. But to distract Lucy from her reckless scheming, he must give his passions free rein. Their sensual battle of wills is as maddening as it is delicious, but the longer he succeeds in managing the headstrong temptress, the closer Jeremy comes to losing control. When scandal breaks, can he bring himself to abandon Lucy to her ruin? Or will he risk his heart, and claim her for his own?


This was a good book for a long bustrip, I sat there and smiled and must have looked like a fool sometimes.

Lucy wants to get married and she has her sights on a certain person but how to get there when she is such a tomboy who hasn't even had her first season? So she gets this silly idea that she should practice her seduction skills on her brother's friend Jeremy. What a crazy idea, and I was so glad to see that Jeremy was a gentleman who tried to resist.

Lucy was bold, and I liked her. Act like her I would not have, but I sure liked her spirit. She was sweet, even if a bit naive in a way. You just had to love her when she got that idea into her head. Jeremy is cold, and those two had never really liked each other. Not to mention she has her sights elsewhere. But things start to happen and I fall for them both and keep wishing they can look through their silly games.

I sometimes have a problem with historical romance, the oh so virginal unkissed heriones tend to give it up to quickly and always love it at once. How sweet and how nonvirginal all must have been. Even if I like a book that always annoys me, and I was so glad that that did in a way not happen here. I did not want things to bug me.

So this book had me soon smiling and grinning like a fool. There are some passages that just made me wanna giggle. Then the book took another turn and changed and I liked the new turn of events too. Made me root for them more, made me dislike Jeremy more and made me love him more. They do not have an easy way to go but that is what romance need, a rocky way to make them realise that they do belong together.

There was romance, there were smiles, friendship, foolish games and a whole lot of fun. This was a sweet read and I enjoyed her style a lot.

There is also a side character that I do not want to like at first, since Lucy does not want to like her either, but I do fall for her, she has such an imagination. And I am glad to see that she is the main character in the 2nd book, and the 3rd book also has a charcter from this book in it. I would sure like to see how it all plays out.


Thursday, 17 September 2009

Review: Wild Heart - Lori Brighton


Wild Heart by Lori Brighton

Publication date: November 3nd 2009
Genre: Historical paranormal romance
Pages: 320

Wanton. . .

Leo Roberts is next in line for an earldom and the power and fortune that come with it, but he is uncultured, unrefined--and completely untamed, until governess Ella Finch arrives upon the scene. Can so young and inexperienced a woman tutor him in the manners and mores of his class? Leo's mysterious past has rendered him an outsider, too wild for polite society. But he finds her innocence most intriguing.

Willing

What manner of man he may be, Ella does not know. Yet he fascinates her and she must know more. Capturing Leo's reckless heart is about to free her in ways she never dreamed of, and his sensual touch releases the deepest yearnings of her body and soul.

......

This was a nice read. I connected at once with the heroine of the book. Ella is a sweet woman with a good heart. There was something innocent about her, and at the same time something mysterious and a great willpower. Leo, well I wasn’t sure what to think of him, was he an animal, crazy or what? It gets explained because things are not always what they seem. Lori Brighton makes you fall bit by bit for him, until you just can’t resist him. Just like Ella, and they have great chemistry; I can see it at once. I ache for them, I want them to be together, I want them to trust each other enough to tell the other one all their secrets.

The side characters are good also, his sweet old grandfather, Ella’s friend Fran, who is the explanation why Ella takes on this position. Lady Buckley, she seems mean, Leo’s friend Akshay, and then the villain of this book, Leo’s cousin Henry. Him readers will dislike at once, and I wanted to find out what his motives was and why he was such an idiot. I can’t tell you the times I wanted to be there with Ella and calm Leo down, or well hug him. Not thathe cared all times, but I sure did.

It was a paranormal historical but the paranormal part was not that big in it. I will not spoil it but Ella has a gift, and she uses it sometimes though out the book. In the end the paranormal part gets a bit bigger as all things are explained. You have to wait for it, and it will make you curious, what is going on in this book? The ending also leaves you wanting more. She wraps it up nicely, but she leaves a thread hanging so that there can be more. I am happy with this ending, but yes I am curious, will there be more? The answer is yes, one character from this book is getting a book of his own.

Lori Brighton weaves together a beautiful historical about two people who find each other at the worst possible time, but at the same time the best time. They both have secrets and they both need something. You smile with them, and you sit by and wonder if it will turn out good. These two are a couple that need to be together. The hint of the paranormal is cleverly shown trough out the book in a way that makes you believe that sure, that is possible. She makes you believe, and you never feel that it’s a paranormal historical. It’s a historical book; the magic in it just exists. And I do believe.

This book has a bit of everything, a mystery, magic, romance and the hunt for the truth that will put lives in danger. When it does heat up it heats up and I am sitting on my seat wondering what will happen next. It always looks the darkest before the end.

This is a great debut and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. A good author leaves you with a want for more, if so be with the same characters or with a new concept.

As a side note, I read this book back in July and wrote the review but I post it now when the date is getting closer for its release.

received a copy for a review

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Review: Cleopatra's Daughter - Michelle Moran

Published: September 2009
Pages: 448
Genre: Historical

The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome; only two- the ten-year-old twins Selene and Alexander-survive the journey. Delivered to the household of Octavian's sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. As they come of age, they are buffeted by the personal ambitions of Octavian's family and court, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires deep within their own hearts.

The fateful tale of Selene and Alexander is brought brilliantly to life in Cleopatra's Daughter. Recounted in Selene's youthful and engaging voice, it introduces a compelling cast of historical characters: Octavia, the emperor Octavian's kind and compassionate sister, abandoned by Marc Antony for Cleopatra; Livia, Octavian's bitter and jealous wife; Marcellus, Octavian's handsome, flirtatious nephew and heir apparent; Tiberius, Livia's sardonic son and Marcellus's great rival for power; and Juba, Octavian's watchful aide, whose honored position at court has far-reaching effects on the lives of the young Egyptian royals.
(authors site)


Where to start, first I love history, but some books can be a bit dry sometimes, this one is not. It's a fantastic piece that made me reading every word and turning the pages fast. When it come to real historical persons I tend to google, but I just could not do it here. I wanted to read it. It's also great in another aspect, many books like this tend to go through the whole life story, instead here we read about a couple of years when she is young. Back in the book there are some historic facts what happened to everyone later, oh do not read those beforehand like I happened to do, kind of spoiled me there since I didn't know the history from before.

This book takes place in the glory that is Rome, Marc Anthony and Cleopatra are dead and their surviving children are brought to Rome. But they are lucky and the twins are cared for Octavian's sister who was once married to Marc Anthony. They are young and they are scared, but time moves on and they seem to be just a part of the family, as long as they don't anger anyone.

Selene is a wonderful narrator, she has an idealistic soul and through her we see Rome. I often say when I read books like this that I would have wanted to live there. But I can honestly say now that I would not have wanted to be a woman in ancient Rome. One of the richest women in Rome gives birth but the husband wants a son and throws the baby girl to the wolves. A beautiful free woman is put on trial after a rich merchant who lust after her claims she was a slave girl who got kidnapped from him as a baby. Noble women get handed over from husband after husband when their father's decided they can make a better match. No one asks the women, they are not free. So no, Rome has no glory for me, and I admire Selene who sees the injustice and knows she might end up just the same.

She has hopes, she falls in love, she is idealistic and she is aware of her status and the danger she and her brother is to Rome. But she still lives, go to school and sketches. She is a wonderful artist with aims to be an architect and one of the great ones take her as his apprentice. She shows Octavian (later emperor Augustus) that she is worth something.

This was a pager turner, I wanted to know what would happen to the twins. Michelle Moran keeps history alive and it feels like you are there living it, a fresh voice that makes it feel like fiction even though these are real people that have lived. But she does not just talk facts, she makes history come alive. She even had me near tears at one point.

I highly recommend this book, it was beautifully written and even thought I have never really cared for Cleopatra, now from reading about her daughter I am suddenly fascinated. I am really curious if Moran has managed to bring her other characters alive the same way in her 2 previous book. If so then she is a true author of historical books and I want to read more.

It's a story about normal life in Rome, about loss, about love, friendship, and a side story about red Eagle, who wants better life for slaves and to set them free. An interesting story and Selene wonders who he can be. I liked that twist to the story because it's important to show real life and not just hide behind palace walls.

Now at the end I feel a loss, I will miss Selene, it was lovely to read about her and I hate to see the book end. If you are not a fan of historical fiction then perhaps this one can show you otherwise, give it a try.

received a copy for a review

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Review: Relentless - Lauren Dane


Relentless by Lauren Dane

Genre: Futuristic  romance
Pages: 352
Published: 2009

In this universe, passion knows no rank…

Since the first settlers came through the portals from Earth, fifteen Families have held the rule of the Federated Universes in their hands. There’s never been a better time than now to throw out the old and usher in a new order. Give voice to the unranked. Abbie Haws has spent her life battling the system. A fighter, she’s always been too busy and driven to pay much attention to finding love. But when she’s granted audience with Roman Lyons, the head of House Lyons, who stands for everything she hates, her instant attraction catches Abbie off-guard…

It’s common knowledge that the Known Universe revolves around Ravena—and that Ravena revolves around Roman Lyons, bred to lead since birth. Roman dreads his meeting with a defiant—if stunning—rabble-rouser. But, sometimes, headstrong personalities in the conference room make for hot-and-heavy, guilty trysts in private….

Now, Abbie will show Roman the parts of her world he wouldn’t otherwise get to see. And he’ll give her a glimpse of the Families’ age old tradition and unleash a sexuality he’d never given rein to before.


Lauren Dane is an excellent writer, I liked how her words just flowed and the story moved on so easily. It's a story set in a far away future where the space have been settled. It takes place in the city of Ravena, where a barrister named Abby is fighting for what she believes in. Then she meet Roman Lyons, the most powerful man in her 'verse. There is passion at once, passion that can not be.

I was not a fan of the feudal society they lived in, the families ruled everything and the people had no say in anything. Not to mention Roman was ranked, Abby was not, and because of that they could not be together. He was someone she was not, they did seem to live in the dark ages, and here I thought the future would know better. It seems not, rank still rule.

I liked the story, I have always been a sucker for future worlds. This society is then ruled by a lot of powerful families. They have the power, they have the say, and no one can question their will. They say it's democracy, but it is not. They also have the attitude that they are better and ranked are not allowed to marry unranked. But there are voices that wants to be heard, and they want change. A book sure needs a bit of that too, civil unrest, even if it doesn't amount to that here.

There was one thing that sadly killed my mood, I was not a fan of the sex, all the dirty talk, well I could not feel the love between them, just the sex, which is a shame. It was just too much for me, and yes I guess I am a romantic. I need to some love. Sure I was hoping they would end up together, but that was mostly because I knew it, I didn't feel it.

Still Abby was a good strong character who had gone through horrible thing, but she did not late them hold her down, and Roman, oh it was the power that did it for me. He was just so raw and powerful.

But it's a great story, with exceptions then for me, it flows, the story holds my attention and it's a great world she had created. She is a wonderful writer and the book is read with ease. Too bad the sex didn't work for me, because else I would have liked it even more.



Friday, 11 September 2009

Review: Married by Mistake - Abby Gaines


Married by Mistake by Abby Gaines

Published: 2007
Genre: Romance
Pages: 288

Do not adjust your set. That really was Casey Greene being jilted by her fiance on live TV! And that really was Memphis's most eligible bachelor who stepped in to marry her instead.

Millionaire businessman Adam Carmichael wanted only to help Casey save face. He isn't prepared for the news that their "fake" wedding is legal and binding.

While they secretly wait for an annulment, media and family scrutiny forces them to put on their best loving-couple act. Except by now, neither one is quite sure who's acting...



Casey is a participant on a new tv-show, she has been engaged for many years and she wants her man to take the final step. So she plans for it to happen on live tv, not the best idea because the guy says no and she stands there all alone and heartbroken. She had doubts herself. In steps the owner, Adam, he met her before when he thought she was a runaway bride. He decided to marry her on the show and she says yes. But the marriage he thought would be fake is not and they are married. No way it can work.

Casey is nice, that is her problem, she is too nice, she can't say no, not to her dad, not to her siblings, not to her boyfriend. She has issues. But I do like her. Adam on the other hand is not nice, he is too obsessed with his work. They are so wrong for each other. One cares too deeply, one needs to learn to care more. But at least he has a good start by saving her from humiliation.

But perhaps they can be good for each other, I do think so, and let's face it, this is Harlequin, we all know they will be a HEA. But the road there is long and there will be some bumps.

It has the normal plot, girl meets boy, learning to lie with each other, feeling the heat, falling for the heat, blaming each other, and then perhaps living happily ever after.

It was a cute romance, sweet and easy to read. Took no time at all.


Good with a bit of sweet and easy Harlequin romance during this week, since I don't have time to read because I am obsessed with Stargate Sg-1. Watching right now so too many thoughts in my poor head.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Review: There's only been You - Donna Marie Rogers


There's only been You - Donna Marie Rogers

Genre: Contemporary romance with a hint of suspense
Pages: 264
Published: 2008

Sara Jamison has no clue where Mike Andrews' been all these years, but she knows where she's been - busy raising their son. Two weeks after he accused her of cheating and disappeared from her life, Sara discovered she was something she never expected to be - an unwed pregnant teenager. But with the love and support of her annoyingly alpha-male family, she's managed to make a good life for herself and her young son. She even owns her own business, Sara's Bakery, which she's built into a thriving success. Sure, she works too hard and her social life is nonexistent, but for the most part, she's content.

Until the day Detective Mike Andrews walks into her bakery and back into her life...


This is the first book, before I read book 2, Meant to Be, but they are stand alone novels so they don't have to be read in the right order. Of course the last one sure had me curious about a couple of things. And there will be more, I got very happy when told that a certain person from book 2 will get a book, and so will Sara's other brother.

I did enjoy this book, but I fell so head over heals for her other book that I loved that one more. I do wonder how I would have felt about all if I had read this one first. Garrett, Sara's brother was so alpha and annoying at times. I fell hard for her brother Nicky here, and I really came to like Sara (of course since she is the main character). But in the other book I had only eyes for Garrett, because he was so alpha hehe. And here I got to know Mike, what a sweet guy. But ok I must stop thinking how I would have started liking persons more and more now.

This book is about Sara and Mike. They were in love as teenagers but then something happened and he left town and she found out she was pregnant. They both blame the other and have their own versions of what happened, and here the reader learns what really did happen. Sara has devoted her time to her son Ethan, and her brothers and uncle. They all live in the same house, and she spends her time there and at her bakery. Not much time for having a social life. But then Mike's dad dies and he comes back into town, and back into her life. But can they overcome those lies in the past?

First I must say that I do love the cover, it looks so sweet and now I know what the title means, sweet. It fits the book.

Sara is sweet main character, you can't dislike her. Mike on the other hand does have some anger issues, but he is all alpha and I do like him. And I sure like him and Garrett tearing at each other, that is two alphas that want to be number one. They both have reason to disliking each other.

Sara and Mike have some bumps in the road before them, but I want them to be together and for Ethan to get a real dad. A nice love story.

There is also the other side of the story, a rotten cop who is a drug dealer and Mike is sent to investigate this in his old town, without anyone knowing. It's a bad guy, a real creep, and there will be some action and bloodshed before the story can get a happy ending. I like that this is mixed up with the romance, it wakens you up and worries you a bit.

A sweet little read, and I do know that I would like to read more.

a gift from the author, no obligations to review

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Review: The Devil to Pay by Michele Hauf


The Devil to Pay by Michele Hauf

Published: 2009
Genre: Paranormal romance
Pages: 288

Torn between Duty and Desire...


After the devil Himself claims Ivan Drake's soul on his twenty-first birthday, the vampire phoenix has no choice but to enforce his wicked rule. But when the devil sends him to claim the Book of All Spells, the last thing Ivan expects is to square off with its gorgeous protector, the witch Dez Merevech - or to be so attracted to her.

To retrieve the book might end the escalating war between the witches and the vampires, but to take it from Dez will ensure her death. With the fate of the paranormal world hanging in the balance, Ivan must choose wisely - and quickly..


My first try at Harlequin's nocturne silhouette books, and it had the Harlequin elements that I know, and sure some other things too. I sure never read a Harlequin book like this when I started reading them.

The story is about Ivan, a vampire phoenix and half witch, his parents story is in book 1, and this is the third by her. This one can be read without knowing what has happened before, it's a stand alone novel. Ivan's parents promised his soul to the devil and on his 21st birthday the Devil came to claim it, and since that he has worked for the dark one. His newest task is to steal a book from a witch, an easy match he thinks but that is not the case and he finds himself falling for her. In the mean time the war between vampires and witches are escalating.

I found it funny sometimes because Ivan is such a young guy really and Dez is ancient and her wanting to be part of the old granny club, very nice. There are sparks at the moment those two meet and not only happy sparks. But it's harlequin in the end so we know what that means. But it's a good ride until the end. The Devil is creepy, there is a story told later on that I really enjoyed and even perhaps liked a bit more than this one cos it was dark, and got me thinking. But they are a good couple and the both need some happiness, if they dare to get it.

There is not much about the whole vampire and witch war. Only mentions when the Grey Council meet, and I guess if there is to be more books than more will be told there. Perhaps one day they all can live peacefully next to each other.

It was a short easy read, romance, action, and the devil Himself on several occasions. Some magic and some bloodsucking, he is a vampire after all. A pretty decent paranormal romance book, but it never had me at the edge of my seat.

Kiss Me Deadly is the first book and this book is one of the books that you can download for free at Harlequin's site because of the celebration of turning 60. I do have that book but I did not think of reading it first, but I can always go back if I want to.


Sunday, 6 September 2009

Review: A Vintage Affair - Isabel Wolff


A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff

Published: 2009
Pages: 429



In A Vintage Affair, the heroine, Phoebe Swift, has just opened a vintage dress shop in Blackheath. At the same time she is coping with the recent loss of her best friend, Emma. So Phoebe takes refuge in her work - restoring these wonderful old clothes to their former glory so that they can go on to have new lives. But what of the past lives these clothes have lived she often wonders? What stories would they tell if they could speak?

One day Phoebe meets an elderly French woman, Therese, who wishes to sell her some elegant dresses and suits. In Therese's wardrobe Phoebe also finds a child's sky-blue winter coat, from wartime France. At first Therese wishes not to reveal the coat's history but, as the two women become friends, she opens up. Phoebe listens to the poignant story of the little blue coat not knowing that it is to have a profound and uplifting connection with her own life...


I have a hard time coming up with a genre for this one, reviews have said it's a lovely romantic comedy and she is described as writing chick-lit. But first there is no humor in this one, and yes it has romance but not any more than a normal book. It's not focused on the romance., and i don't want to call it chick-lit. Let's just call it a "normal" book with romantic tendencies. But the book is so much more than that, it's about friendship and loss, and there is a story about WWII that almost breaks my heart and I keep on hoping.

Phoebe has lost her best friend and she is trying to cope with that, she has left her boyfriend, and she blames herself, him, and she missed Emma. How she die you learn after awhile as Phoebe talks with the old lady telling her story about Emma, their friendship and how it all ended. She is trying to go on and she has bought a store and transformed it into a vintage store since that is the clothes she love. Then one day she gets a call from an old French woman who wants to sell her clothes, but in her closet there is a little blue coat and Phoebe gets to hear a story as she visits, a story about friendship during a hard time in occupied France. There are similarities between their stories and perhaps they can find forgiveness and friendship in each other.

I enjoyed this book a lot and I could not put it down. Isabel Wolf weaves a wonderful and delightful story and the corner stones are the vintage clothes that Phoebe sells. They make the story. I feel like I want to wear them too, even though I am like Phoebe's mum, I don't want to wear old clothes. But they seem so lovely, and unique. She explains about the clothes, their history and meaning. Even if I don't know everything she makes me know.

There are sad parts too, I had hope for so long time and kept turning the page and wanting. To learn the truth, and I did feel sad at times. It does deal with some heavy things.

And yes there is some romance, she meets a man, is he the man, or is someone else for her. But I was always more fascinated in Phoebes relationship with the old woman, and the two stories belonging to that. But the romance needed to be had so she could move on and love again, because I wanted her to be happy. There is also the story about her parents and the search for understanding and forgiveness there, so there are some themes that echo in the book.

Delightful and wonderful is how I would like to describe it. It makes me want to go out and find a vintage shop. A very sweet read that made me hold my breath at times. I want to read more by this author.


Saturday, 5 September 2009

Review: Grimspace - Ann Aguirre


Grimspace
Sirantha Jax Book 1

Genre: Sci.fi romance
Published:2008
Pages: 320

By all accounts, Sirantha Jax should have burned out years ago…
As the carrier of a rare gene, Jax has the ability to jump ships through grimspace—a talent which cuts into her life expectancy, but makes her a highly prized navigator for the Corp. But then the ship she’s navigating crash-lands, and she’s accused of killing everyone on board. It’s hard for Jax to defend herself: she has no memory of the crash.

Now imprisoned and the subject of a ruthless interrogation, Jax is on the verge of madness. Then a mysterious man breaks into her cell, offering her freedom—for a price. March needs Jax to help his small band of rogue fighters break the Corp monopoly on interstellar travel—and establish a new breed of jumper.

Jax is only good at one thing—grimspace—and it will eventually kill her. So she may as well have some fun in the meantime…

(Author's site)


Even if I liked the beginning I had a hard time getting into the book, and then suddenly when i had read 1/3 of it I was in. What changed? Perhaps it was that I didn't like Sirantha in the beginning.

Sirantha jax is one tough chick, all mouth and no one gets in her way. She can be rather closed off, and even I thought she was kick-ass, I didn't like her. Then comes March, and frees her from her prison where she had been tortured. He was like her and those two were at each other like cat and dog. Then something changed and I started liking the both of them. The book got more meaning. There is a struggle because her wounds are fresh from the crash where she lost her pilot and lover, but you just know that those two are meant to be. And I long to find out.

I have always liked sci-fi so that was sure not a problem for me, though I have actually read way too few. perhaps because sci-fi is so male, ships and weapons. Therefore I have gone for the more philosophical and epic in the past. This, well this is a treat, romance, I love it and I get the space angle too. Not all romance has to take place at earth, or my fav, in the past.

There is her getting to know the crew of his, I like the doc by the way, and then learning what they want her to do. I do like a bit of political involved too, since the more I read the more I don't like the Corp. They may have lost they goal some time ago. There is colonies, seems to be a Swedish one, lol, and bounty hunters. Now what would a sci-fi book be without a alien bounty hunter.

Oh and yes there is romance, don't fear, and I am sure they will be more in the next books. Where she gets to free the the universe, read the other blurbs that there will be more aliens, bad aliens, I hope so.

It was a nice little read, some sci-fi, some romance. An escape read that always feels different from the paranormal ones, I guess it's cos I always think space could happen, but vampires and werewolves, I only wish.

Hard book to review, cos as always I don't wanna give away everything, I'll let the blurb talk.



Thursday, 3 September 2009

Michelle Moran guest post


Why Cleopatra’s daughter?

It all began with a dive. Not the kind of dive you take into a swimming pool, but the kind where you squeeze yourself into a wetsuit and wonder just how tasty your rump must appear to passing sharks now that it looks like an elephant seal. My husband and I had taken a trip to Egypt, and at the suggestion of a friend, we decided to go to Alexandria to see the remains of Cleopatra’s underwater city. Let it be known that I had never gone scuba diving before, but after four days with an instructor (and countless questions like, “Will there be sharks? How about jellyfish? If there is an earthquake, what happens underwater?”) we were ready for the real thing.

We drove one morning to the Eastern Harbor in Alexandria. Dozens of other divers were already there, waiting to see what sort of magic lay beneath the waves. I wondered if the real thing could possibly live up to all of the guides and brochures selling this underwater city, lost for thousands of years until now. Then we did the dive, and it was every bit as magical as everyone had promised. We saw the blocks that once formed Marc Antony’s summer palace, came face to face with Cleopatra’s enigmatic sphinx, and floated above ten thousand ancient artifacts, including obelisks, statues, and countless amphorae. By the time we surfaced, I was Cleopatra-obsessed. I wanted to know what had happened to her city once she and Marc Antony had committed suicide. Where did all of its people go? Were they allowed to remain or were they killed by the Romans? And what about her four children?

It was this last question that surprised me the most. I had always assumed that Cleopatra’s children had all been murdered. But the Roman conqueror, Octavian, actually spared the three she bore to Marc Antony: her six-year-old son, Ptolemy, and her ten-year-old twins, Alexander and Selene. As soon as I learned that Octavian had taken the three of them to Rome for his Triumph, I knew at once I had my next book. And when I discovered what Cleopatra’s daughter lived through while in exile – rebellion, loss, triumph, love - I absolutely couldn’t wait to start writing. I can only hope that the novel is as exciting and intriguing as the research proved to be. It may be two thousand years in the past, but a great love story, as they say, is timeless.



About Michelle:
Michelle Moran was born in the San Fernando Valley, CA. She took an interest in writing from an early age, purchasing Writer's Market and submitting her stories and novellas to publishers from the time she was twelve. When she was accepted into Pomona College she took as many classes as possible in British Literature, particularly Milton, Chaucer, and the Bard. Not surprisingly, she majored in English while she was there. Following a summer in Israel where she worked as a volunteer archaeologist, she earned an MA from the Claremont Graduate University.

Michelle has traveled around the world, from Zimbabwe to India, and her experiences at archaeological sites were what inspired her to write historical fiction. A public high school teacher for six years, Michelle Moran is currently a full-time writer living in California with her husband.

Check out Michelle's blog
Visit the her webpage and have a look at the lovely trailer


If you haven't yet then enter in my Cleopatra's Daughter and The Heretic Contest HERE. Open to all and ends on Sep 10th.


Thank you Michelle for this guestpost, I sure didn't know that 3 of her children were taken to Rome. Very interesting, and sure makes me want to read the book to find out more





Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Review: Living Dead in Dallas & Club Dead


Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
Book 2

When a vampire asks Sookie Stackhouse to use her telepathic skills to find another missing vampire, she agrees under one condition: the bloodsuckers must promise to let the humans go unharmed.





Club Dead
Book 3

Sookie's boyfriend has been very distant-in another state, distant. Now she's off to Mississippi to mingle with the underworld at Club Dead-a little haunt where the vampire elite go to chill out. But when she finally finds Bill-caught in an act of betrayal-she's not sure whether to save him...or sharpen some stakes.




Genre: Paranormal mystery romance
Published: 2002 and 2003

Short 2 in 1 review:
Since I finished them both pretty close to each other I thought I should do a 2 in 1 review. Since I have the same things so say about both in a way.

First, now I like them. With the first one I just kept thinking of TB, and seeing the actors. With this one I could create my own world, and I did not now what would happen.

I have come to like Sookie, she has guts, even if she does get beaten up a lot. Bill, well, dunno about him. I do like seeing Bubba around, but most of all I crave Eric. When he sneaks up next to her, where ever that may be, oh, I am smitten. I have hopes for Sookie and Eric, cos I do like him more than Bill who is just rather grey.

Oh and I loved Alcide in book 3, perhaps because I prefer werewolves these days and he is a were shifter. I do hope we get to see more of him. As for Sam, meh.

The story in book 2, that's right, those scary Fellowship of the sun guys, oh those were creepy and what a bunch of idiots. I did not like them for one second, and sadly I am sure we will see more of them. I did like that we got to see shifters and that freaky meanaed.

Book 3, Alcide, yes he and Eric were the highlights. I liked this book up to a point, Sookie and Bill in the back of his car. Ok that was wrong, gross, and I could never have forgiven him, it was horrible reading it, and then she just went back to normal. It's those kinds of scenes that makes me throw a book across the room. Here I didn't, but I sure will if it happen again.

The book series is so much better than the tv series. I am enjoying them, and I will get to read more now in September, for which I am really happy.


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