Sunday, 31 January 2010

Review: Marked & Betrayed - PC and Kristin Cast

Marked by P.C and Kristin Cast
The House of Night series is set in a world very much like our own, except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird's world, vampyres have always existed.  In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampire--that is, if she makes it through the Change.  It’s tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling.  She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx.  

Betrayed, Book 2
Fledgling vampyre Zoey Redbird has managed to settle in at the House of Night.  She’s come to terms with the vast powers the vampyre goddess, Nyx, has given her, and is getting a handle on being the new Leader of the Dark Daughters. Best of all, Zoey finally feels like she belongs--like she really fits in. She actually has a boyfriend…or two. Then the unthinkable happens: Human teenagers are being killed, and all the evidence points to the House of Night. While danger stalks the humans from Zoey’s old life, she begins to realize that the very powers that make her so unique might also threaten those she loves. 

I have very mixed feelings about this book. One side of me thought book 1 was ok, but this second book, I started to get annoyed.

First there is this thing that all vampires are beautiful, so only pretty people change? And of course they get even more beautiful after they are marked. Zoey is of course truly beautiful. She gets best friends the first day at school, she has always been popular. But no she is no mean girl, she says it time after time that she is a real geek.

Then there is the guys, she calls this other girl a slut for one thing, but she herself has 2 boyfriends, and flirting with another. There is where I started to get annoyed with her, of course she feels a little bad, but come on she cheats. And the guys, hottest things around, and yes geeks. Like we couldn't like someone beautiful who wasn't a geek. It feels like they want to maker her and them feel just like us "normal ugly geeky people".

And she has vampire super powers. Yes she is special, and will become very powerful, perhaps most ever. There I got the Mary Sue thoughts.

Then there is the language, like totally teen, whatever. Sure I used words, and still use them, but she sounds like those she does not like. Skinny girls, bimbos, sluts, those who wear make-up, but then she is one. She does swear a lot too, but then so does I, but I don't have to read about it. it feels like they tried too much.

Forgot, all stars are vampires, all famous people ever seems to have been vampires. Hm.

Now it sounds like I hated it this book, but I did not. It was ok, the first one anyway, the second started to get too often under my skin.


Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Very YA paranormal.
Reason for Reading: Library books.
Final thoughts: Surely good for YA fans.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Review: Web of Deceit - Darlene Cox

Web of Deceit by Darlene Cox

Genre: Fiction, thriller, mystery
Pages: 272
Published: August 2009

Peter Brock is a man to be envied. He is young, handsome, intelligent, a founding partner of one of New York's most prestigious law firms, and a respected member of the International Community of Currency Traders. But, that isn't enough to fulfill his goal in life. When he meets James Campbell , a very wealthy New York diamond dealer who would like to keep more of his wealth out of the hands of the IRS, Peter starts weaving a web of deceit to divert the bulk of Campbell's wealth to his own account. But, he needs a little help. He enlists Delilah, a strip-club dancer, to learn, through pillow talk, the extent of Campbell's wealth; and Jenny, a flight attendant for a major airline, to smuggle loose diamonds to Europe on international flights. As a coconspirator, how can Campbell yell "foul," at the risk of spending his remaining days in a Federal prison? The perfect Plan-so Peter thinks.

Unfortunately, his law partner, Jack Morrison, gets wind of the Plan and decides to toss in his ante. Now the game gets interesting-a case of diamond cut diamond. When two people wind up dead, Jack says "enough," leaving Peter hopelessly entangled in his web. As Jack says: "That's what happens when little fish try to swim with the predators."


I meant for Miss X to review this one, cos well she is the expert, but she was busy, and I told her too late. But then again, I needed something to take my mind of all those vampires, and all that romance.

There is some bad people in this book. First there is Peter, the poor boy who grew up wanting more and more. He came up with a plan, and is stealing money from a client, and sleeping with the client's wife, and other women he is fooling. he sure has no scruples, but I can't dislike him, cos he is just such an ass that you just has to like him a bit while disliking him.

Then there is Delilah, who blindly followed him into another man's arms. her I can actually dislike, she is just a fool. Jenny, who Peter uses as a diamond mule, well she is cut from the exact stone as he is, and she can she that she gets played, and her I can respect.  James Campbell is the poor guy Peter steals from, and he is also being played for a fool. Then again he is not that good a person either. Yes you are getting the point by now, this is a cutthroat world and everyone is in it for themselves. They are all asses and they are all playing each other. I get the title when I finished this. This was a big bad web of deceit, and you can never know who to trust.

I actually finished it really quick, it was such an easy read, and of course I tried to find out who the killer was (cos yes someone gets killed, well more than one), but I am so bad at that, and it seems there is also a part 2. You can read just this book, but one murder was left hanging, I have my suspicions, but then I am always wrong.

A book for you mystery, thriller fans out there. Who is the biggest spider in this net, and will Peter get what is coming to him?

This book also had a lot of flashbacks, via them I learned why they did the bad things they did. And some were understandable, not the happiest of bunch is all I can say. And she did have me fooled, the twists kept on coming.


Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: A bit too simple for me.
Reason for reading: I got the book from the author, in turn for an honest review.
Final thoughts: "Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive" (Sir Walter Scott)

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Review: Very Valentine - Adriana Trigiani


Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani

Genre: Contemporary romance, fiction
Pages: 384
Published: 2009

From the authors site:

Meet the Roncalli and Angelini families, a vibrant cast of colorful characters who navigate tricky family dynamics with hilarity and brio, from magical Manhattan to the picturesque hills of bella Italia. In this luscious, contemporary family saga, the Angelini Shoe Company, makers of exquisite wedding shoes since 1903, is one of the last family-owned businesses in Greenwich Village. The company is on the verge of financial collapse. It falls to thirty-three-year old Valentine Roncalli, the talented and determined apprentice to her grandmother, the master artisan Teodora Angelini, to bring the family’s old-world craftsmanship into the twenty-first century and save the company from ruin.

While juggling a budding romance with dashing chef Roman Falconi, her duty to her family, and a design challenge presented by a prestigious department store, Valentine returns to Italy with her grandmother to learn new techniques and seek one-of-a-kind materials for building a pair of glorious shoes to beat their rivals. There, in Tuscany, Naples, and on the Isle of Capri, a f amily secret is revealed as Valentine discovers her artistic voice and much more, turning her life and the family business upside down in ways she never expected.


Book Review:

This is a book filled with laughs, sorrow, romance, and the love for your family and the love for shoes. They play a big part in this book and she presents those doing it the old fashioned way. A way that might be forgotten today. It’s the first book in a trilogy but it can be read as a standalone novel. The next book, Brava Valentine is out in February 2010.

Valentine gave up much to make shoes and she loves her job. It is what she was born to do. She a person easy to like for the reader, even if she herself does not always think so. She is the funnyone in her family, not the brain, not the beauty, and that has colored her. But she is in her best element when she is creative and making shoes. But it looks like the company might be going under, and they need help fast. A situation is presented that might give them a chance. She will be able to prove herself and make her family see that this is what she wants and is great at. The Angelini shoe company might live to see another day.

Trigiani knows how to write a compelling book. It has humor in hidden depths and it’s an easy book to read, but a hard book to put down. The family dynamics is real and they argue a lot, but they also love each other fiercely. Everything is not always that easy when it comes to family and love. Her grandmother is my favorite, she has spirit and she has a little story of her own in this book. A sweet story that is not to be missed.

The romance is not easy either in this book. It deals with real life and two very busy people. They hardly have time for each other and their budding romance. Valentine deserves her romance and even if this can be read as a standalone novel it does make you curious what will happen in the next one. How does the romance go, and what about their little shoe company? Because they do make the most remarkable shoes, and I do love shoes, and reading about them.

It’s a warm novel, and she knows what she is doing. She brings in a little of everything into the book so there is something for everyone and all ages. If you want some romance, some smiles, some hard times, and some shoes then this might be a book for you.
 

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: This is what made me pick it up.
Reason for reading: Borrowed from the library
Final thoughts: Nice book that held my attention and made me wonder what next?


Sunday, 24 January 2010

Review: The Gathering Storm - Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson


The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
The Wheel of Time, book 12

Genre: fantasy
Pages: 784
Published: October 2009

Tarmon Gai’don, the Last Battle, looms. And mankind is not ready.

The final volume of the Wheel of Time, A Memory of Light, was partially written by Robert Jordan before his untimely passing in 2007. Brandon Sanderson, New York Times bestselling author of the Mistborn books, was chosen by Jordan’s editor---his wife, Harriet McDougal---to complete the final book. The scope and size of the volume was such that it could not be contained in a single book, and so Tor proudly presents The Gathering Storm as the first of three novels that will make up A Memory of Light. This short sequence will complete the struggle against the Shadow, bringing to a close a journey begun almost twenty years ago and marking the conclusion of the Wheel of Time, the preeminent fantasy epic of our era.

In this epic novel, Robert Jordan’s international bestselling series begins its dramatic conclusion. Rand al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn, struggles to unite a fractured network of kingdoms and alliances in preparation for the Last Battle. As he attempts to halt the Seanchan encroachment northward---wishing he could form at least a temporary truce with the invaders---his allies watch in terror the shadow that seems to be growing within the heart of the Dragon Reborn himself.

Egwene al’Vere, the Amyrlin Seat of the rebel Aes Sedai, is a captive of the White Tower and subject to the whims of their tyrannical leader. As days tick toward the Seanchan attack she knows is imminent, Egwene works to hold together the disparate factions of Aes Sedai while providing leadership in the face of increasing uncertainty and despair. Her fight will prove the mettle of the Aes Sedai, and her conflict will decide the future of the White Tower---and possibly the world itself.

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.



Magician by Raymond E.Feist may be the best fantasy book ever written, but WOT is the best fantasy series in the world. I know many thought it just keep on going and going, but that only means more for me to love.

When I in 2007  learned that Robert Jordan had passed away I was devastated. Not only cos of selfish reasons (cos that had been my biggest fear even before I heard he was ill), but also because he was a master with what he was doing. And I know he loved his books and his fans. But then I heard that his legacy would go on, because Jordan had until the end kept on working. The chosen person was Brandon Sanderson, who was a big fan of his works (and an accomplished writer). Jordan had left notes, materials, outline, and written sections, and Sanderson filled in the holes. The finished project was huge and later it was realized the book had to be made into 3.

First let me say that I felt like I was reading Robert Jordan own writing, only here and there I noticed Sanderson's voice. Mostly when it came to explanations. Things we knew, but perhaps he wanted to make sure to all that he also knew, then again it had been a while so it was all good. I did not mind. The script is still Jordan's, it just needed a new producer to put it all together. I had been very afraid that I would see too much of Sanderson, but he melted together just fine and put in his own voice. I approved.


Ok spoilers. Not other way to do this!

Rand is still going crazy, oh how I love him! Not to mention Lews Therin. It is getting darker and people around him is staring to loose faith. Egwene is still a prisoner and trying to undermine Elaida's control. I never really liked Egwene really but for some reason I like her now. Elayne was no where to be soon, no Lan either, and no Logain. I really hoped he didn't die and I forgot. Aviendha came by briefly (here I did notice the new writer). Some Mat and Perrin, but not much. Getting a bit annoyed by Mat, I am afraid he will stand with those stupid Seanchan. Oh I despise them, they can't believe in the Forsaken, they treat people who can channel like crap, and if they win in the end I will go insane.

Moraine is really still alive!? Asmodean? I am pretty sure Rand will die :( Oh and Gawyn is an idiot, and don't even get me started on the Children of the Light. Where is Morgause? Get home and talk to Gawyn, please! This world is going to hell even if they win the Last battle. Well at least I still love the Aiel.

That was some of my thoughts while reading, yes I hate a lot of people there, grrr, and I love a great deal too. There is always someone to like and hate. People to root for, and people to hope the Shadow take (*coughs Children of the Light, mostly Galad and The Seanchan*)

This book picked up the pace, and the whole book is one big "The storm is coming, let's make haste and ride up north". I was really enjoying it, things played out, armies moved, people died. Sure they are not at the last battle yet, The Forsaken is still free, there is still wars going on, and the Shadow is causing big ripples in the thread. But they are close, so if the last book is all about the war. Then the second will finally bring everyone together. It has been some time since that.

By the way, Elayne, the babies, shouldn't she be due soon, and oh that will go to hell too. Cos of that idiot everyone thinks is the father. Hopefully Rand will stop by Caemelyn...and perhaps get blinded by Galad or Gawyn? Oh yes I can see that.

This was mostly a post of all the characters, cos how else can I talk about a series I have been reading for 13 years?

This is great fantasy, I love it to pieces, even if I might never read book 15 two times depending on the outcome. Yes Rand is a fictional crazy boyfriend. I love to re-read this series, and this is to me great fantasy, epic fantasy that is so richly created it takes your breath away.

Thank you Brandon Sanderson for doing a great job with this epic legacy.

Robert Jordan -James Oliver Rigney, Jr.- (October 17, 1948 – September 16, 2007)


Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Not liking it at all. If you look closely you can see how rich her make-up is, and to say this nicely, well she looks like a lady of the night, perhaps Rand destroyed a brothel.
Reason for Reading. My own copy, have been waiting for 3 years to read it.
Final thoughts: LOVE IT. WOT is fantasy at its best.


Thursday, 21 January 2010

Guest post: Caridad Pineiro with Sins of the Flesh (+contest)




Todays guest is Caridad Pineiro, I am happy to welcome her to my blog. At the end of this post you  can win a copy of her book, Sins of the Flesh.


Caridad: Thank you so much for having me at your blog!

Today I wanted to share with you some behind the scenes info about my latest release, SINS OF THE FLESH, the first book in an exciting new paranormal suspense series from Grand Central Publishing.   Hopefully you’ll find some of the places that will be appearing in the book interesting.


Because I love the Jersey Shore, I decided to set all of the books in the SINS series in various towns “down the shore” as the Jersey folk day.  SINS OF THE FLESH takes place in the hero’s home – Bradley Beach, New Jersey. According to the town website, “(t)he earliest accounts of Bradley Beach can be traced back to 1679 when it is said that Captain William Kidd anchored his vessel off Duck Creek, now known as Sylvan Lake.”


Captain Kidd! How cool is that, although I don’t have any pirates in my book, just some arguably mad scientists doing weird gene experiments.



I visited Bradley Beach several times to do research and am continuing to go back for more research as I write the second book in the series – STRONGER THAN SIN - which will feature Mick’s little sister Liliana. Liliana is a doctor at a local hospital and is doing a residency in orthopedic surgery.


Bradley Beach is a quite family-kind of town, perfect for a hero like Mick who needs to get away from his dangerous life as a mercenary.  This photo is of the Bradley Beach Centennial Fountain.  I originally had a scene where the villain finds a photo of Mick and his family in front of this fountain, but we cut it.  My editor thought it would be too easy for the villain to find them with such a clue.  If you’d like to see more pictures from the Jersey Shore towns in the SINS series, you can visit the albums on my website


In the winter, a lot of the towns really quiet down.  For example, Bradley Beach goes from having about 30,000 inhabitants down to about 4,000.  Again, a nice secluded place for nefarious activity.  In STRONGER THAN SIN, coming out in October 2010, much of the action occurs in the Fall when the area is quieter.  STRONGER is set mostly in Spring Lake and Ocean Grove.  The latter is a quaint Victorian town with beautiful gardens and the famous tent city.  These tents go up in the early spring and come down in the late fall.  People will spend their summers in these tents and that has been going on for nearly 100 years.

The different feels of the towns and their uniqueness help me give each of the SINS novels a slightly different feel while highlighting an area that I really love.

I hope you enjoyed this view into the locations for SINS OF THE FLESH.


And now to something else, thanks to the nice people at the Blog Tour


CONTEST

It ends already tomorrow Friday, Jan 22nd.
The winner will get the book Sins of the Flesh and a t-shirt.
Please leave your email if it is not a part of your profile.

Extra Entries:
+4 for asking Caridad a question
+2 Tweeting or blogging about this



You can also go and visit other blogs that are a part of this tour to see what happened there.

The Sins of the Flesh Book Tour 2010:

Mon Jan 11: BronzeWord Latino Authors
Tues Jan 12: Julia Amante
Wed. Jan 13th: Latino Books Examiner
Thurs Jan 14th: Babbling About Books and More
Friday Jan 15th: Heidenkind
Mon Jan 18: Una in a Million
Tues Jan 19: Pagan Spirits
Wed Jan 20: Bergers Book Reviews
Thurs Jan 21: Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
Fri Jan 22: Chasing Heroes


links:

Link to website: Website
Link to the book on the site: Sins of the Flesh
Link to Video: Video
Link to Podcast: Podcast
Link to prequel: Prequel




SINS OF THE FLESH (Grand Central, Hachette Books, ISBN: 978-0-446-54383-5)

Caterina Shaw’s days are numbered. Her only chance for survival is a highly experimental gene treatment – a risk she willingly takes. But now Caterina barely recognizes herself. She has new, terrifying powers, an exotic, arresting body — and she’s been accused of a savage murder, sending her on the run.


Mick Carrera is a mercenary and an expert at capturing elusive, clever prey. Yet the woman he’s hunting down is far from the vicious killer he’s been told to expect: Caterina is wounded, vulnerable, and a startling mystery of medical science. Even more, she’s a beautiful woman whose innocent sensuality tempts Mick to show her exactly how thrilling pleasure can be. The heat that builds between them is irresistible, but surrendering to it could kill them both . . . for a dangerous group is plotting its next move using Caterina as its deadly pawn.




Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Review: What happens in London - Julia Quinn


What happens in London by Julia Quinn
(Bevelstoke 2)

Genre: Historical romance
Pages: 384
Published: June 2009


When Olivia Bevelstoke is told that her new neighbor may have killed his fiancée, she doesn't believe it for a second, but still, how can she help spying on him, just to be sure?  So she stakes out a spot near her bedroom window, cleverly concealed by curtains, watches, and waits, and discovers a most intriguing man, who is definitely up to something.

Sir Harry Valentine works for the boring branch of the War Office, translating documents vital to national security.  He's not a spy, but he's had all the training, and when a gorgeous blonde begins to watch him from her window, he is instantly suspicious.  But just when he decides that she's nothing more than a nosy debutante, he discovers that she might be engaged to a foreign prince, who might be plotting against England. And when Harry is roped into spying on Olivia, he discovers that he might be falling for her himself...



Ever since I saw this one around blogland, I wanted it, then I saw the trailer and wanted it more. Then I visited one of the biggest cities in the country and yes of course I fell to temptation and bought it. And I am glad I did.

This was a funny book, I could giggle and smile.  It was such a cute and sweet book. I really liked Olivia, sure she was silly, listening to her even more silly friends. Which leads to her spying on her neighbor, and she thinks she is getting away with it but he has been aware for days. This then leads to more funny things, like when she first meet in real life. What can I say, they do not like each other at first. But they are falling, and I love when she realize the has fallen for him.

As for Harry, aww I love him too, he is rather nerdy, he likes sitting at home translating and gets really caught up in his work. He has not been as lucky with the ladies as his cousin (the hero in the 3rd book). But you just have to like him. He then is being told to spy on her since there is a certain prince, and well this prince could be a threat in these dangerous times. Napoleon, war, what more to say.

As for the prince, ugh, not liking him. Sebastian Grey then, well, dunno, I did like her brother, and I did like hearing about her friend Miranda. Who I later learned was the heroine of book 1.

Why did I like this book then, well the chemistry between Harry and Olivia. Her being silly, him falling for her. The funny things that happened, the general sweetness of the story. Oh and this one scene with Sebastian and the book. Loved it.

But there was one negative thing about the book, the first 300 pages were great! Then came some sex that threw me off. Not that it was anything weird about it, I had just not expected it cos the book felt rather sweet and I thought ok no sex in this historical for once. It was just rather not sexy. And it is not cos I am such a conservative reader when it comes to historical books. It was just--unexpected.

Then the story took another turn, and it could have ended before. I guess that I just didn't think the last part of the book was up to standard with the first part.

But then the last couple of pages saved it again and I smiled. And loved it. This is the best book so far this year, and I am fairly sure it will be on my best of 2010 when December comes.

A final note, can be read without reading book 1, cos we all knwo in the end who is gonna end up with whom when we open a book.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner. Rather refreshing not to have the guy without a shirt and the woman falling over him (of course I love those ;)
Reason for reading: My own book
Final thoughts: Read it!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Review: Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk


Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk
Allie Beckstrom, book 1

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 368
Published: 2008

Everything has a cost. And every act of magic exacts a price from its user--maybe a two-day migraine, or losing the memory of your first kiss. But some people want to use magic without paying, and they offload the cost onto an innocent. When that happens, it falls to a Hound to identify the spell's caster, and Allison Beckstrom's the best there is.

Daughter of a prominent Portland businessman, Allie would rather moonlight as a Hound than accept the family fortune, and the many strings that come with it. But when she discovers a little boy dying from a magical offload that has her father's signature all over it, Allie is thrown back into the high-stakes world of corporate espionage and black magic.

Now, Allie's out for the truth, and the forces she finds herself calling on will overturn everything she knows, change her in ways she could never imagine, and make her capable of things that powerful people will do anything to control.



In this world people discovered a way to harness magic 30 years ago. By trapping it in glass pipes for an instance it can be used. But it always takes something from you, pain, a memory, and Allie knows this. Still she hounds. She hunts people who does not use magic right, they do not take the pain, they give it to someone else. Her father is one of the richest men around but she has cut all ties, and she does live in a rathole and really suffers.

This is not a nice world, it feels dirty, and the magic is not something I would like to use. The prize is high. And if any heroine is kick-ass then it is Allie because she really suffers for her job. And each day is a struggle to make it through. I do feel for her, and i could never do what she does every day. I would just suck it up and become a business woman.

A very dark world with magic, no creatures or anything like that. The creatures are us humans. A rich, dark world. A kick-ass heroine (oh yes I love saying that someone is kick-ass and I mean why not cos she does kick some magic ass.) She does has this vulnerability too, and that is rather painful to see. Not fun to ever see someone suffer.

So where was I, right kick-ass (how many times can I use that in a review, we will find out), reality with magic, a strange hunky guy following her around. Oh did I forget to tell you about him, well Zayvion is following her around, and duh, he is the love interest. He is all dark and mysterious, and she does not know if she can trust him or not.

This book involves the mystery in the beginning, why would her father use magic and off load it on a poor kid? And that sets the play for the book. An ok UF with a lot of things going on, nice world, and a love story that...oh can't say it. You just have to find out.


Blodeuedd's Cover Corner. I like it, and the tattoos gets an explanation in the book. Very UF

Reason for Reading: My own copy.
Final thoughts: Ok UF, kick-ass (haha, I had to say it!) heroine, magic and love.


Friday, 15 January 2010

Guest Post Sharon Lathan + contest

Sharon Lathan Guest Blog, Author of My Dearest Mr. Darcy



Thriller, Regency-style!

A collective breath was taken, but released in a rush as another apparition emerged. A woman in trailing garments, face beautiful initially but incrementally morphing into an old crone bent and wrinkled, her elaborate dress falling into rags as her old face decayed before their eyes until only a skeleton in strips of moldy cloth remained. She moved over their heads as she decomposed, skeletal form joining the now visible skeletons positioned all about the stage, or rather what had been the stage, but was now a cemetery replete with crypts and headstones. One by one the dead rose, walking on spindly legs, speaking from lipless mouths, empty sockets roving over the crowd.

Are you frightened? White knuckles gripping your chair edge? Perhaps not. After all, we live in the age of slasher/blood and gore movies galore. But imagine it is 1817. You are in a theatre usually reserved for opera performances and ballets, it is pitch black with eerie music rising from the orchestra pit, and you are witnessing a marvel never seen before. Ghostly visions mysteriously projected from hidden spaces under the stage float and move across the floor and over your head. Scenes from novels are brought to vivid life before your eyes. Monsters never imagined are growling at you, beating their wings, and dripping blood.

This is Phantasmagoria!

Now, before you get the idea that I write horror novels or have taken Jane Austen’s beloved couple where only vampires and zombies dare to tread, allow me to explain! My happily-ever-after, marital bliss saga that recounts the life of Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy is largely hearts and roses. But along with the romance, I delve deeply into the history of Regency Era England. Nothing pleases me more than discovering some fascinating tidbit of history. Thus, when the blissful lovers traveled to a seaside resort for a romantic holiday, I searched long and hard to learn what they might have done for entertainment. Amid the delights of writing in adventures in seabathing, hot air balloons, silhouette parties, sight seeing castles, and horse racing, I stumbled across magic lantern shows.

Simply put, magic lantern shows are the grandfather of motion pictures. Using techniques of optics and illusion dating back to Aristotle and Da Vinci, ingenious inventors in the sixteenth to seventeenth centuries further perfected the art of casting lights and shadows to form images. Candles, oil lamps, and limelight were used to illuminate. And, yes, that is where the term “limelight” for being the center of attention comes from. The magic lantern itself was an actual machine or device that used the light to cast images painted on glass slides onto the wall. Over the decades there were dozens of different apparatus invented, some large and others quite small. The slides were pulled through the magic lantern rapidly as stories unfolded upon the wall to riveted crowds paying a modest fee. A simple Google search on “magic lantern” will yield pages of websites giving detailed history on this incredible device that, if never invented, would mean we would still only have books to read! Some may argue that that would be a good thing, but we shall save that for another discussion, okay?

In 1798 France, in the ashes of the horrors seen during the Revolution, a man named Etienne Gaspard Robert, a professor of physics, created an improved version with moving slides that projected the images onto clouds of smoke. Using unique moveable sliders that changed the size of the image seamlessly and allowed it to move as if real, ventriloquism, and music he cleverly capitalized on the superstitions of people in those days, and the remaining bloodlust, to create a show that would rival Clive Barker for frights!

Phantasmagoria, as he titled his shows, took magic lantern performances to a whole new level and catapulted the craze. By 1803 spinoff Phantasmagoria shows were all over Europe. Even, in my imagination, popping up in Great Yarmouth so Darcy and Lizzy could view the spectacle. And there is nothing quite like a scary show to make lovers cling to each other, is there? Ha!

With all the interesting historical facts and intriguing inventions I uncover, I can’t resist writing them in. In the case of the Darcys being “entertained” by a Phantasmagoria show, I stretched even further. Reading through numerous articles that gave scene-by-scene descriptions of such shows, including the original ones by Robert, I created my own in vivid, scary detail. I have no intention of writing horror novels, so Stephen King can breathe easy, but this sure was fun!

Thank you, Blodeuedd, for sharing your website with me today. I hope my brief history lesson has been entertaining and informative. If nothing else it might help in your next Trivial Pursuit game! For more on my Saga and vision for Jane Austen’s famed literary lovers, come over to my website. For now, since this site often covers sci-fi and fantasy, how about sharing a favorite otherworldly or scary bit from a novel? I’ll be sure to check in the comments throughout the day!


Thank you Sharon for stopping by my blog today. It was a very interesting post. I do love learning more.
And now to the contest

Rules:
Open to US and Canada only.

1 winner: 1 set of Sharon’s trio of books so far, Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Loving Mr. Darcy and My Dearest Mr. Darcy.

Please leave a way for me to contact you if your email is not in your profile.


Ends January 20nd



MY DEAREST MR. DARCY—IN STORES JANUARY 2010
Married life is bringing out the best in the Darcys. Their mutual attentiveness brings readers into a magical world of love and wedded bliss.

Elizabeth is growing into her role as Mistress of Pemberley, and Darcy has mellowed under her gentle teasing and light-heartedness. Pemberley becomes a true home and a welcoming environment for loving family and friends. The Darcys travel to the seaside, welcome their firstborn, celebrate their anniversary and second Christmas, and at every moment embrace the love gifted to them.

“I love you, my Elizabeth. You are my soul, my blood and bone, my very life.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sharon Lathan is the author of the bestselling Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, and Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley. In addition to her writing, she works as a Registered Nurse in a Neonatal ICU. She resides in Hanford, California in the sunny San Joaquin Valley. For more information on Sharon and her saga, come to her website at: www.darcysaga.net

1/18  My Book Addiction and More
1/20  Alaine, Queen of Happy Endings
1/21  Psychotic State
1/22  Thoughts in Progress
1/25  Love Romance Passion
1/27  Anna's Book Blog
1/28  Seductive Musings
1/29  The Lovestruck Novice

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Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Review: Mr and Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy - Sharon Lathan


Mr & Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy by Sharon Lathan

Two shall become one
Book 1


Genre: Historical romance
Published: 2009
Pages: 320

It's Darcy and Elizabeth's wedding day, and the journey is just beginning as Jane Austen's beloved Pride and Prejudice characters embark on the greatest adventure of all: marriage and a life together filled with surprising passion, tender self-discovery, and the simple joys of every day.


As their love story unfolds in this most romantic of Jane Austen sequels, Darcy and Elizabeth reveal to each other how their relationship blossomed. From misunderstanding to perfect understanding and harmony, theirs is a marriage filled with romance, sensuality, and the beauty of a deep, abiding love.


This was different in a way because it was focused on the latest pride and prejudice movie. I read something really funny on Goodreads where a reader wondered about this since it is universally acknowledged that the 1995 version is superior. I do confess that I played the latest movie in my head, but with Colin Firth and Jennifer Eale as Darcy and Lizzy. Because I love Firth as Mr Darcy.

I also read that readers found it very erotic and such, well then they have never read anything even close to erotic. Ok they did it a lot! But they were newlyweds, and nothing was described, if you didn't know you could just thought they were kissing and then cuddling. Nothing close to graphic, or like in other historical romances. It was very sweet and it went well with the feel of P&P. And since this takes place at the wedding and some months afterward, well who can blame them if they want to spend it kissing ad loving each other.

So by that you have already figured out that they are very much in love and they spend some time expressing that. They also move on with their normal life. Lizzy trying to find her place and Pemberly, and then the Christmas parties where we meet Col.Fitzwilliam,  Georgina and more again. I would have loved to meet the Bingleys here too, but I guess I must continue with the next to find out how that is going.

There is also some storm clouds on the horizon so everything is not happy happy.

A cute and sweet book about a subject so may have thought about, how would married life be for Darcy and Lizzy. Well here is one answer.


Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Very fitting
Reason for Reading: My own book
Final thoughts: My first PP sequel (if not counting the vampire one), and I was happy.

Remember to stop by on Friday for the guestpost by Sharon and the giveaway of all 3 books.


Sunday, 10 January 2010

Review: Pleasure Unbound - Larissa Ione


Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione
Demonica, book 1

Genre: Paranormal romance
Pages: 389
Published: 2008

In a place where ecstasy can cost you your life .

She's a demon-slayer who hungers for sensual pleasure-but fears it will always be denied her. Until Tayla Mancuso lands in a hospital run by demons in disguise, and the head doctor, Eidolon, makes her body burn with unshakable desire. But to prove her ultimate loyalty to her peers, she must betray the surgeon who saved her life.

Two lovers will dare to risk all.

Eidolon cannot resist this fiery, dangerous woman who fills him with both rage and passion. Not only is she his avowed enemy, but she could very well be the hunter who has been preying upon his people. Torn between his need for the truth and his quest to find his perfect mate before a horrific transformation claims him forever, Eidolon will dare the unthinkable-and let Tayla possess him, body and soul.



There is nothing like some hot paranormal romance to shape things up now and again. I never thought I would find demons hot, but oh yes that they sure are. Hot and so much more.

I did have some problems with this book cos I highly disliked Teyla and it took almost the entire book for me to stop. The problems were that she only saw things from one side, all while Eidolon saved her life, even though she was a slayer and would kill him on sight. Not questions asked. Even after he had stitched her up she continued her all demons are evil quest. And of course I know why but it just made it so hard for me to like her.

But Eidolon was hot, and especially when he had nothing else than sex on his mind, lol, not his fault he was that kind of demon and he was close to this kind of change. Now all he wants is a mate so that he doesn't want to run around and have sex with everything that moves.

Teyla is a kick-ass demon slayer with a chip on her shoulder, and I do agree with what Eidolon says about it being a sort of cult and they following like sheep.

These clash at once but there is also a huge attraction between them. And then there is the fact that Teyla never has achieved an orgasm but a guy. Of course he wants to change that even if she is the enemy.

This book promises wild chases, hot sex, and sizzling passion, and characters, other than the main ones, that leave you wanting more. And this is a series so yes you get to read about his hot brothers too.

Hot book, with some ass kicking too, which I highly appreciate. Good despite me giving Teyla the evil eye through out the book. It manages to have a serious side too.


Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Nah not for me
Reason for reading: My own book
Final thoughts: A book for all you paranormal romance fans out there.


Friday, 8 January 2010

Review: Susan Wiggs 2x -The Charm School, The Horsemaster's Daughter


The Charm School by Susan Wiggs
The Calhoun Chronicles, book 1

Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 416
First Published: 1999

 Isadora Peabody is the brilliant but socially inept sibling in an otherwise perfect family. And although she struggles to fit into Boston society, her awkwardness dooms her to repeated failure. Fate intervenes when she learns that a sea captain, Ryan Calhoun, is in need of an interpreter for his next voyage to Rio. And despite Ryan's adamant opposition to hiring a female interpreter, Isadora gains a berth on his ship, thanks to a little blackmail.

Life aboard ship and away from the strict confines of Boston society finds Isadora losing weight, gaining confidence, and blooming like a rose. She befriends the motley crew of rough sailors, and in turn, they become a charm school of sorts, tutoring her in gracefulness--which comes in handy when climbing the rope rigging--dancing, and friendship. Isadora's transformation fascinates Ryan, but he is determined to stay away from her for he has secretive, dangerous plans. Unaware of Ryan's interest, Isadora struggles with her growing attraction to the reckless sea captain. But before they can resolve their feelings, prior commitments surface and endanger their chance of finding a happy future together.




The Horsemaster's Daughter
Calhoun  Chronicles 2

Genre: Historical romance
Pages: 332
First published: 1999


Southern plantation owner Hunter Calhoun gambles the success of his Virginia horse farm on an Irish stallion; unfortunately, the animal arrives crazed and unridable after the stormy sea crossing. Desperate, Hunter turns to Eliza Flyte, the horsemaster's daughter, who has inherited her father's gift for gentling horses. Her ability to heal wounded spirits with her compassion and wisdom is amazing, and when Hunter convinces her to leave her isolated island and return home with him, she soon applies that gift to the bitter man and his grieving, motherless children. But what future can a woman raised alone by her father with only the sea, animals, and a few books for companions have with a man who grew up as a rich, upper-class son of the South? It seems unlikely that Eliza could ever fit into Hunter's world and just as unlikely that he would give up his privileged life for her world. It just may take a miracle for these two mismatched lovers to find a way to live happily ever after.


I am writing both reviews at once since I finished the books so close to each other.

The first one is a classic ugly duckling story, she does not feel at home, and she is not as popular and praised as her sisters. Not to mention that Isadora loves books. But she sees a way to get out and she manages to convince the owner of captain Ryan's ship to let her travel with them as a translator/companion to Ryan's mother. The captain is not pleased but she gets her will and steps aboard the ship.

Here she blossoms, and I was a bit taken aback at first, cos I do not like stories where the guy suddenly falls for the woman cos she turned pretty. Here we see at once that there was something, but just something since he spends the rest of the trip trying to make her miserable, but she shines and befriends the crew. I liked her then, because she finally seems happy. The transformation may not be that big, throw  away glasses she does not need, wear better clothes and just look happier.

Ryan Calhoun, well him I do like too, he has a good heart even if he is a bit stubborn, but I just wait for things to heat up, and they finally do when they get to South America. That is they learn to speak as two civilized people.

A cute enough story with a likable cast. As for the charm school, well there was not really anything of that in it. She just flourished, he did help but just to make her feel comfortable.


When it comes to the other book, The Horsemaster's Daughter, well then I prefer the first somewhat more. They are both ok, but I guess I just go for sea stories sometime, even if he was not a pirate. She wants him, he wants her, but he is rich, and she is nothing. But she goes with him to take care of his horses.

There was a twist in this one, well dunno if it was a twist when it was so obvious. But I liked it. This story is much about healing, not just the horse, but his children too, and also him. They must all learn to be happy again, and she has a gift for that.

Dunno if I liked Eliza, she was ok, but I don't know, Hunter was, ok too, even if both books had one thing that made me roll my eyes. Shall not say more.

Nice story, strong woman, and a nice setting.


Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: These are reprints and I do like them
Reason for Reading: Library books
Final thoughts: Charm school was the better one.


Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Review: Frostbite- Richelle Mead


 Frostbite by Richelle Mead
Vampire Academy, book 2

Genre: YA paranormal
Pages: 336
Published: 2008

Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose...

It's winter break at St. Vladimir's, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy's crawling with Guardians--including Rose's hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if handto- hand combat with her mom wasn't bad enough, Rose's tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason's got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa's head while she's making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy's not taking any risks.This year, St. Vlad's annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price.



So I found book 2, and dived into it without any high hopes, and yes it was ok this one too. I am not into the whole YA paranormal romance stuff.

Rose is worse than ever, honestly are we supposed to like her cos she is such a "rebel"? Because I just thinks she is rude, and horrible. The things she says, she deserves to get slapped. And why does she want to be know as the school slut when she is a virgin, I wish she could get some self respect. And in this one she is very immature too. I can't handle all the angst and teen drama.

But I know people will love the premise of the book. Some fighting with the evil Strigoi, pining over hot Dimitri, sweet love between Christian and Lissa. Mason following Rose around like a lost puppy. The mean girls taking a break, and Rose's mum arriving!

So yes a lot of drama and love angst promised in this book.

But for me I just can't get over ok, it sucks really, I wish I could but for some reason it is the same time with grown up paranormal romance.  It all tends to be ok, fun to read yes, but perhaps not for me to go crazy over and get it to my keeper shelf. of course now when i say that I will surely find something this year and rave about it for months ;)

To sum up the book, Moroi dying, Rose pining, away to a retreat, royals fight, Rose meets strange hunky guy, still pining over Dimitri, and looking at Mason. Pining some more when pretty Tasha shows up. Some Strigoi fighting.

Though, since the library got them, well I will keep on reading, hopefully she will start to grow up some cos I do not understand what Dimitri sees in her when she is like she is.


Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Ok it is supposed to look like she is getting bitten or something, but I just thinks it looks like she has neck pains.
Reason for reading: Library book
Final thoughts: Some of you will love it


Monday, 4 January 2010

Review: Specials - Scott Westerfeld


Specials by Scott Westerfeld
Book 3, The Uglies series

Genre: YA dystopian fiction
Pages: 372
Published: 2006

"Special Circumstances":

The words have sent chills down Tally's spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious ugly. Back then Specials were a sinister rumor -- frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally's never been ordinary. And now she's been turned into one of them: a superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid. The strength, the speed, and the clarity and focus of her thinking feel better than anything Tally can remember. Most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more.

Still, it's easy to tune that out -- until Tally's offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she's programmed to complete. Either way, Tally's world will never be the same.
 
First book read for the year.

I can say at once that it was not as good as the first, but then it is hard to top a thing like that, and this book evolved in its own way so we get to follow all "different" kinds of people, from the uglies, to the pretties and now the special.

Tally is now scary, with fangs, and all hard angles, she has the body of a machine, and on top of that she cuts herself like the rest of the cutters. it is something to feel, to make them more special. yes I am very sure Westerfeld has a point with that, and how some fall into it to feel, when everything else is dark.

She also looks down on everyone else and thinks the specials to be the greatest people ever. Even Zane, her pretty ex is just boring and average. She is scary in her believes, and it is hard to like her in this book. But then she is the extreme.

The story in this book is how to get Zane special too, and by doing that they start something really bad. That and fighting the rebels will shape her world. It has been crumbling for a while now and the governments are not happy, and they are also scared.

I like his world, and the history he made into it. And even if it is an extreme world they do have points. By making everyone pretty there is no jealousy, wars, and fights (and yes they have stuff in their brains). And they are not destroying the earth. The question here is whether freedom is more important than the earth itself. For when people are free it will start again.

One thing I did have a problem with, the way things gets fixed, it seems so easy even though it is hard, and it does makes Tally to the center of the world. But other than that this is a most to the trilogy, and to find out how it all ends for this beautified world.


Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: I like it, I can see the fangs almost there, she looks scary pretty.
Reason for Reading: Library book.
Final thoughts: Not as shocking as the first, but still an ok finish to the series. And there is one more book too even if Tally is not in that one.
 

Friday, 1 January 2010

Review: Not quite a husband - Sherry Thomas


Not quite a husband by Sherry Thomas

Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Published:  May 2009


Their marriage lasted only slightly longer than the honeymoon—to no one’s surprise, not even Bryony Asquith's. A man as talented, handsome, and sought after by society as Leo Marsden couldn't possibly want to spend his entire life with a woman who rebelled against propriety by becoming a doctor. Why, then, three years after their annulment and half a world away, does he track her down at her clinic in the remotest corner of India?

Leo has no reason to think Bryony could ever forgive him for the way he treated her, but he won't rest until he’s delivered an urgent message from her sister—and fulfilled his duty by escorting her safely back to England. But as they risk their lives for each other on the journey home, will the biggest danger be the treacherous war around them—or their rekindling passion?



Here we go my first review for 2010, with a book I finished last year ;)

I like this Sherry Thomas book, it was different. A strong heroine who has always followed her own road and has become a surgeon. A man who has always been in love with her and who just wanted a glance. You would think that would end in a beautiful HEA but it didn't.

Bryony was of course attracted by Leo, he was gorgeous and accomplished, even though he was younger than her. She proposed because she thought they would fit well together, love, well who knows about that. She was rather cold and he tried everything to warm her up, but he had doubts too, mostly because of how she was. This was a story that could only end one way, a divorce.

The story begins 3 years later when Leo finds her in India with a mission to bring her back to England to see her father. He is not happy because she broke his heart and he sees her as cold and frigid. She does nto want to be anywhere near him.

But we all know they are meant to be, but they sure have a long road ahead. They must overcome those doubts and hurts, and she most open her heart for the first time since she was a little girl. This while walking straight into a rebellion.

I did have problem, a certain sort of sex scene that showed up over and over, and it just made me go WTF?! Not sexy at all for me, just really, really creepy.

But hey, it sure has a lot of passion, a sexy guy who really loves her, and as the story unfolds (with flashbacks going back even to their childhood) I really grow to like him. By that print at the back I thought I should dislike him, but this is really a story where both are at fault. She is so strict and unfriendly in a way, and he is so vulnerable. Like the roles were the other way around. And that is what I enjoyed about this book, that the characters were different and they already had had a chance at love with each other.

I read that others found the last part of the book a bit lacking, and yes it was in a way Everything up to that was always moving forward and then it dropped and shimmered there for awhile. but it did not ruin the book, I guess it was needed to bring an ending around.

Even if Leo had a deep fault, I still really liked him, oh yes, trust me. This was a nice historical romance, with some passion, and even war.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: truly red-hot, but yes I am a girl who likes to see the heads, but I knowthat is out of fashion.
Reading for reading. My own book
Final thoughts: Different take, nice flow.

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