Sunday, 31 October 2010

Review: For the King's Favor - Elizabeth Chadwick

UK Title: The Time of Singing

Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 560
US publication: September 2010







When Roger Bigod, heir to the powerful earldom of Norfolk, arrives at court to settle an inheritance, he meets Ida de Tosney, young mistress to King Henry II. In Roger, Ida sees a chance for lasting love, but their decision to marry carries an agonizing price. It's a breathtaking novel of making choices, not giving up, and coping with the terrible shifting whims of the king.

Like with all fiction she does have some artistic freedom, because we don't know everything, like how old Ida really was. But Chadwick always stays close to the truth and does her best to make it as historically accurate as possible, and that is what I love about her books. They are true to facts, but at the same time she makes history come alive as she write about people that have lived, like Roger and Ida, or when she creates something new.

Plot:
Ida de Tosney is a royal ward, and mistress of King Henry II, she gives him a son, but she wants freedom and finds it in Roger Bigod who is fighting over his inheritance with his half brothers. This is the story of their love, children and about a country in a turbulent time.

My thoughts:
I can really see myself there, Chadwick breaths life in times gone by and history feels like yesterday. If it's court procedure, clothes or how they act. In this book the characters have lived for real and from that she pieces together a wonderful story. Ida does what she must, what could a ward do when the king wants her in his bed. In Roger she sees a chance to get away. He is here a very calm and sensible man, not at all like his father. Together they make a good pair. William Marshall also makes appearances, Henry II and his family, and Ida's son with Henry. It sure is a more interesting way to learn about history than reading in a textbook.

The story never gets boring, they go on with their lives, and because of the time there is always something going on. Henry's son fighting against him, Richard the Lionheart going on crusade, and of course when Roger tries to get his lands back and his father's title. The quiet moments are just as good, and I end the book with a smile.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
To every HF fan yes, of course, and to the rest of you too. This is a lovely piece of historical fiction. The book makes me want to go there, just to breath that same air for a moment or two. The book made me remember why I love her books in the first place. And you know when they invent a time machine I will go there (just as long as I take some heavy antibiotics and a toothbrush with me ;)


Cover: Truly lovely. I have to say something about the UK one too because that one I love too, there is this pre-raphaelite painting just like it. And she is stitching the Norfolk banner there, so perfect.

The Winners of Highland Hellcat by Mary Wine

JENNIE
and

ANACHRONIST

Both winners have been notified and the books are on their way

Friday, 29 October 2010

Review: Magic Burns - Ilona Andrews

 Kate Daniels, book 2

Genre: urban fantasy
Pages: 260
UK pb publication: October 2010 Gollancz

As a mercenary who cleans up after magic goes wrong, Kate Daniels has seen her share of occupational hazards. Normally, waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. Now Kate's going to have to deal with problems on a much bigger scale; a divine one.

When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta's paramilitary clan of shapeshifters, she quickly realizes much more is at stake. During a flare, gods and goddesses can manifest - and battle for power. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug-of-war between two gods hoping for rebirth. And if Kate can't stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive.

I may not be in love with Curran yet, but here my heart did skip a beat.

Plot:
Kate Daniels needs to find some stolen maps for the pack, but a mysterious man keeps getting in her way. The flares are getting worse and soon strange creatures are after here, this time Gods wants to come out and play. Curran still annoys and this time she becomes responsible for someone else  too.

My thoughts:
Kate can still kick some serious ass, and she is not afraid to take anyone on. I like that she is so unafraid and that she can stare down the mighty Curran.  But for the most of this book I kind of wanted her to get together with Bran, he was such a hottie in my head, but then I love a good Celtic hero. But then came the quote that made me for the first time fall for Curran. I may not be a Curran lover yet, but I can see myself heading that way.

"Animals expresses love through food. When a cat loves you, he'll leave dead mice on your doorstep, because you are a lousy hunter and he wants to take care of you." - Aunt B

Awww, Curran likes her. Ok I am starting to see why everyone adores him. Still Bran had my heart in this book.

The kid Julie brought something more to the book, I got to see some motherly instincts from Kate, because she is so reckless and will get herself killed. I keep hoping someone will tell her to slow down.

The magic still rocks, the dystopian world is a great invention, the things that keep showing up are interesting and I wonder what will happen next. And then there is Roland, I need to know more! I need to know about him, and for that reason alone I would keep on reading.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
An interesting UF series, a kick-ass heroine, and a plot that drives the book forward. I am aching to know more, and to see if Curran wins me over. Because he is on his way doing that. I would give it a 3,5 because it was good, and I would recommend this series. But I think it can get even better, and there is only one way to know that, and that is by reading book 3.

Cover: At least her expression is better here than on book 1.

review copy from the publisher, all my thoughts are my own

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Review: The Painted Man - Peter V Brent

US title: The Warded Man
Demon trilogy, book 1

Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 480
Published: 2008

As darkness falls each night, the corelings rise.  For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards–symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and mystery, and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile.

It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms. But those days are gone. The fighting wards are lost. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the the wards.

Arlen will pay any price, embrace any sacrifice, for freedom. Crippled by the demons that killed his parents, Rojer seeks solace in music.Beautiful Leesha, who has suffered at the hands of men as well as demons, becomes an expert healer.

Together, they will stand against the night.

Yes, it seems to be a fantasy week, what a lovely week it has been. This book wasn't scary, but the world was, and I would never even want to think of having to have to live there.

Plot:
Man has always had demons, but then magic was discovered and wards created to keep the demons away. Wars were fought, and the science emerged, the wards were lost and now so much is gone, and humankind is loosing. They hide behind their walls as the night comes and demons attack. fighting back is futile.

Arlen keeps wondering why they can't fight back and he becomes much more than he ever imagined. Because he know that if they don't fight back, the demons will win. There are also two other POVs in this book. Leesha who becomes a herb gatherer, and Rojer who becomes a jongleur. They are all important in this society. Arlen brings news, Leesha heals the dying and Rojer makes people forget about the pain.

My thoughts:
I liked Arlen and he grew up to be a very determined man, and when the book ended I kept wondering what happens next. Leesha, she had courage and she was smart. It's not an easy world to be a woman in. Rojer, well I will tell you soon.

The world was freaking scary, those demons, having to hide at night, hearing them howl, how could this possibly end? The world building was interesting, the ward magic and the structure of the society was good. Everything fit perfectly.

But the negative part of the book, Rojer, luckily his POV wasn't around as much because he frankly bored me. 

Even with that it's still a great book, and it might be the scariest fantasy world I have read about in a really long time.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
I'd recommend this to fantasy fans, I wasn't sure about the demons, but the moment I turned over page 1, I knew I had to have more.  I will definitely read book 2, it was a cool book, and because something happened at the end. It will turn even more interesting.

Cover thoughts: Dunno, but it does look better close up cos you can see wards on his face.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Review: The Hob's Bargain - Patricia Briggs

Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 281
Published: 2001

To save her village from ruthless raiders, Aren of Fallbrook strikes a bargain with the Hob, a magical, humanlike creature imbued with the power of the mountains. But the Hob will exact a heavy price to defend the village--a price Aren herself must pay.

This is a stand alone world, and it's very very light fantasy.

Plot:
Aren has the sight but that doesn't help her when her family is slaughtered by raiders. At the same time the magic that binds that earth snaps, and releases all sorts of beings, nasty hobgoblins, spirits, and a hob. The world is not as it used to be and now her village is plagued by weird beings and raiders. Aren decides to take destiny in her own hands and strikes a deal with the hob living on the mountain. But some bargains are really high to pay.

My thoughts:
As I said, very light fantasy, the kind of fantasy that is in between high fantasy and romance fantasy. It's really short too, and easy to read. Aren, the heroine is 30, and have been married for one day. Her brother had magic, and was killed because of it so no one wanted to marry her. Magic here belongs to the bloodmages, and you either join them or die. And the priests tell people that people with magic are evil, so not a good world to have magic in.

I liked the concept that all the "magical" creatures were gone because of a spell by the magicians but now they are back, and people have forgotten how to ward themselves against them. Superstitions have died out. Aren is therefore really careful with her sight, and she is a good heroine, first she is happy just standing behind everyone else, but she grows and becomes so much more than the rest of the women in the village.

Then there is the hob and his price, he is a funny being, very kind and he does grow on you. It's an interesting cast of magic haters, raiders, and the ones that are willing to fight, like Kith, oh I liked him.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
I guess this one could be a good introduction to fantasy. It's light, it still has a lot of action, and loss. There is magic, and a tiny bit of romance. This book could lead to more. I liked it, it's not my normal kind of fantasy but I do like Briggs and she is a good author. Sometimes easy and light is good.

Cover: I do like it, but the horse...I know she has a horse, but does he have to be on the cover..

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Review: The Black Prism - Brent Weeks

 Lightbringer, book 1

Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 626
Published: Aug 2010

Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live: Five years to achieve five impossible goals.

But when Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he's willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart. 

The plot:
Truth be told, Gavin as powerful as he sounds there. His power by now is more religious, but he is still feared because he is the prism and he has magic. But others control the "real" things. He is young, handsome, and he fought his brother and together they lay waste to cities. Now he sees to that the 7 satrapies are under control, and he hunts those that have gone mad from magic. But then he learns he has a son and goes to find him, a son born after that terrible war. That son is Kip and he has just discovered his magic after something terrible happened. The world stands still, a man crowns himself, and renegade mages are at work.

My thoughts:
Wow, I am just aching to spill it all, but I will not. The secrets, I can't even start to explain my shock at some, and the confusion that followed. That together with a question, whom to like? Weeks has woven a masterful plot. I do applaud that.

The magic in this book is new too, and I like the thought that has gone into it. People have different powers depending if they draft one colour, or more. The Prism can draft all. You can't use magic just like that, you have to see the colour you can use, so most use glasses with coloured lenses so that they will not find themselves without. The magic is shown in the eyes, and the magic will drive you insane in the end so most want to die before that. The colours also represent different things, and some places have more mages from certain colours, for example it is better to draft green if you live in a forest, it makes it easier. It was fascinating.


I liked Gavin, and could not help myself, he was just so, powerful, and set on his goals to make the world better. Kip, a chubby 15 year old was fun to get to know too, and he is bound to be really powerful. Then there was Karris, now one that guards the mages, and a Gavin's former fiancée´, I do have to like a woman that can kick ass. Liv, from Kip's village, a mage too, and someone I was unsure about. All in all some great characters.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
Yes! Where was Night Angel was rather dark and depressing to read, this one is lighter, and more complex in a way. It was great fantasy and I would recommend it to other fantasy fans and to the rest too. I am looking forward to book 2 because the lies and misunderstandings are sure to make for a lot of drama.

Great fantasy keeps me on my seat, and this is one that I had a hard time putting down. And the shock, oh the shock!

Cover: meh...edit 2 days later: Now I suddenly really like it

Quiz! :D


I'm a green magic drafter!

Take the quiz at Brent Weeks.com

                       

Monday, 25 October 2010

Interview and Giveaway: Mary Wine with Highland Hellcat

Today I welcome Mary Wine to my blog. She is the author of Highland Hellcat, among other books. At the bottom of this interview there is giveaway, 2 copies to win so what are you waiting for :)


Welcome to Mur-y-Castell!

Tell me something about yourself, so we get a better understanding about the woman behind the author.

MW: I’m a scatter-brained mother of two who gets bossed around by the family parrot…oh…well, maybe that’s not the best way to put it. LOL. The parrot does boss me around but he’s just so darn cute. I practice Tae Kwon Do with my boys, and we have all earned our black belts. My other love is sewing. I make historical garments and enjoy finding an excuse to wear them.

Your newest book is called Highland Hellcat; can you tell me what it is about?

MW: This is the tale about what happens when well-laid plans don’t go as planed. Brina was promised to the church, a rather normal practice in this time. Families that had three living daughters and sons too were expected to promise one to the service of the church. Those cathedrals took a lot of care. But there was food on the table and a roof over your head, so for most it wasn’t very different than they would have had. Connor is a laird and he has a choice…be a good laird and earn respect or just take it as his due. He decides to earn it. That means he will marry for the alliance it brings his clan. He makes a deal with a large clan for the eldest daughter but she believes herself in love with someone else. Connor needs to secure a bride without rumors clinging to her so he takes Brina instead. Like I said…plans going astray.

Who is your favorite hero from the Highland series, and why?
MW: At the moment it’s Quinton but I believe that’s due to the fact that I wrote his book most recently. I tend to become absorbed in my work in progress.


The last book in the series is Highland Heat, when is that book out? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
MW: This will be Quinton’s tale. It will release in March and the cover is wonderful! Quinton is jaded and Deirdre is distrusting of men. For these two to fall in love and admit it, took an amazing story.


What kinds of books do you read? Any favorite authors?
MW: Karen Roberts, Lora Leigh, Jo Goodman… and many others. When I’m not reading romance, I’ve got my nose stuck in a history book. My kids are forever living in fear of mom saying, ”Did you know, there were street vendors as early a 1640 in the New York city area? They sold hot potatoes…” LOL.


Any advice for aspiring writers?
MW: Finish the book and write another. You can’t expect to see every book and you can’t sell what you haven’t written.

To some different ones now:
Why do you think romance readers love the Highlands?
MW: What’s not to love? It’s a beautiful place but it’s the character of the people which draws me. These men carved out a living in one of the hardest landscapes and never let it defeat them. They maintain their lore when others where trying to force them to conform.


Who is your fav Scottish person?
MW: This past summer I was in Alaska, sitting in a restored cat house when I heard one of the thickest brogues. I turned to discover an older gentleman sitting beside me and he was in fact a true Highlander. Mr. McKinney was kind enough to enchant me with tales of life in Scotland today. Yes, he plays golf and believes a cell phone would interrupt his game. For the moment, he’s my favorite Scot.

I wonder, what do Scots wear under those kilts?
MW: Old Spice. 


B: Thank you for stopping by Mary :) I am looking forward to Q's tale.


GIVEAWAY:

2 copies of Highland Hellcat
Open to US and Canada

1. Not a must, but it's always fun if you ask a question, comment on the interview, or anything you want :) Like why you love the Highlands.
2. Ends October 29th
3. if your email is not in your profile, then leave it here or email me so that I can contact you if you win.

have fun!


HIGHLAND HELLCAT BY MARY WINE—IN STORES OCTOBER 2010
“Hot enough to warm even the coldest Scottish Nights…”
—Publishers Weekly Starred Review of To Conquer a Highlander

He wants a wife he can control…
Connor Lindsey is a Highland laird, but his clan’s loyalty is hard won and he takes nothing for granted. He’ll do whatever it takes to find a virtuous wife, even if he has to kidnap her…

She has a spirit that can’t be tamed…

Brina Chattan has always defied convention. She sees no reason to be docile now that she’s been captured by a powerful laird and taken to his storm-tossed castle in the Highlands, far from her home.

When a rival laird’s interference nearly tears them apart, Connor discovers that a woman with a wild streak suits him much better than he’d ever imagined…


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Wine is a multi-published author in romantic suspense, fantasy and western romance; now her interest in historical reenactment and costuming has inspired her to turn her pen to historical romance. She lives with her husband and sons in southern California, where the whole family enjoys participating in historical reenactment. For more information, please visit http://www.marywine.com/website/. 

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Review: The First Assassin - John J. Miller

Genre: Historical fiction, thriller
Pages: 384
Published: September 2010
Review by Anna the Bookworm

Washington, D.C., 1861: A new president takes office, a nation begins to break apart--and Colonel Charles Rook must risk insubordination to stop a mysterious assassin who prowls a nervous city. He will need the help of an ally he does not even know he has: Portia, a beautiful slave who holds a vital clue, hundreds of miles away. 


The First Assassin is about Abraham Lincoln who has just become president, and the year is 1861. War is about to start between the North and the South, and people from the South are leaving Washington. Bennett, a plantation owner from South Carolina, wants to eliminate the union and kill Lincoln. A slave named Portia is on a quest from her grandfather, to go to Washington and warn Lincoln by giving him a photo of the killer. But it’s a dangerous journey, and the question is if she will make it all the way there. Slave hunters are after her and her friend. And while all this is going on, Colonel Rook tries to protect the president because Rook feels there is a big treat, but Lincoln doesn’t want protection or bodyguards. Rook gets some help from colleagues and tries to uncover this conspiracy.

The book is exciting, and it gives you some very colourful characters. But it has to be said that this is a novel and the author has mixed fact and fiction. The author wants to tell us what could have happened, and therefore it’s important not to see the book as real. Still some of the people in the book are real, and some of the things being said are also real.

I recommended the book to everyone that is interesting in historical novels. You get a good idea what life was like in the middle of the 19th century in the US. On top of that it’s a good thriller. It’s very exciting and even a bit frightening in places.

The author has written non-fiction books but this is his first fiction book. And the First Assassin is a strong debut.

Anna the Bookworm

Another guest review.

Thanks Anna!

I meant to read this one but I struggled with it, and it was too much of a thriller for me, so I called in an expert. Anna the Bookworm, the former Miss X who reviewed a book for me last year. She loves thrillers, mysteries, suspense and books in those kind of genres, so she was perfect for this one. She told me that she would give it a 4, even though it was rather dry in some places. I even told her that I would translate the review from Swedish so she would have it easy ;)

Psst, yes that was me working on Gimp fixing this pic, that is how "good" I am ;)

Friday, 22 October 2010

Early review: Stronger than Sin - Caridad Pineiro

Sins 2

Genre: paranormal romance suspense
Pages: 336
Published: October 26th/Nov 1st 2010

Dr. Liliana Carrera nearly lost her life to Wardwell scientists. She won't let them harm other innocent victims, like her new patient, Jesse Bradford. The former pro athlete had the best hands in the NFL, until an injury forced him to undergo Wardwell's experimental gene therapy. Now Jesse's gorgeous body is superhuman-but his strength comes at a price.

With Wardwell threatening his family, Jesse can't tell Liliana all he knows. Yet he can't resist her compassion, or her healing, erotic touch. As their passion flares, Jesse's body becomes dangerous and volatile. For evil men are plotting to change the face of humanity-and will destroy whoever stands in their way.

The books doesn't have to be read in order, but doing that you will know more about these genetic experiments. And as for the paranormal romance label, well there is noting paranormal here so far, it's more scientific romance suspense. The "paranormal" is all man-made. Let me explain.

Plot:
There are this evil kind of scientists that wants to make perfect soldiers and such. By implanting animal DNA into humans. In the last book one escaped and was rescued, and Liliana managed to get the things going on in Cat's body under control. In this one a man shows up claiming to be FBI, and wants Liliana to treat another escapee, Jesse Bradford, a hunky ex football player who joined the treatment in order to get better since he is suffering from a disease. The implanted genes into him, and now those genes are going crazy and he is getting an exo-skeleton, because where he gets a wound, bone heals it. And when the whole of you are just bone, well then you die. The evil guys are also threatening him. There you go, another sort of paranormal romance.

My thoughts:
I liked Liliana already in book 1, she was in a bad relationship and I wanted her to find someone nice. Nice here is Jesse who the "FBI" tells her is out of control and could go crazy and punch someone. She really should be careful but she meets him, she is gentle and sweet, and he falls for her at once. No one has been that nice for a while. He also used to quite the player, but who can hold it against him. He was famous and goodlooking. 

I also like Jesse because he feels so bad for lying to her, but he wants to save his sister, and Liliana is one smart women and she has doubts about the whole thing. Something weird is going on. But she still stays, she is tough too.

There was suspense too, the race against the clock because he needs treatment, and his body is out of control. The danger from the Wardwell gang who wants to keep their test subjects and make the process better. The abuse he is suffering from Whittaker, the FBI agent, and so on. And then there is the romance, the slow romance that is building up between these two. She is skittish, and it's wrong on more than one level. But there is passion between them, and when they finally make a move, then it's bliss.


Recommendation and final thoughts:
I say yes,  I would recommend this book. It's different than usual paranormal books, it's like Dark Angel, but without the bleak future. A book for you paranormal and UF fans, for those that like suspense, and romance, and in the end to everyone that would like something different.


It's an easy book to read, even when she in the lab being all smart. I could not turn the pages any faster to see what is going to happen. It was even better than book 1. And when it ends, omg, I do not know what to say. Perfect ending, but also an opening and I sure hopes she writes more.

I will give it a 4, because that it kept me entertained and I didn't want to put it down.

The Cover: Lovely, and that silver dust has a meaning too.
Reason for reading: I asked Caridad :)

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Review: The Claiming of Suzy - KT Grant

Genre: Contemporary romance, hot
Pages: 139
Published: September 2010
Review by Lis

Suzy Bean is a woman who lives in the moment and loves her overabundant curves. The man she secretly loves, JC Mosino, is the only one who can make her untamed sexual fantasies a reality. After having way too much fun during a party, JC drives her home where their passions ignite. Suzy believes this is night she and JC will go from being friends to lovers. Unfortunately things go awry and Suzy ends up throwing JC out.

Now Suzy's whole world has been turned upside down. She's given up smoking and is sexually frustrated when she meets a handsome, flirty stranger, who rubs her the wrong way. This chance meeting is one she'll never forget, for Mr. Hunk is her new boss, Xavier Marks.

JC's craving for Suzy is consuming his thoughts, and he wants nothing more than to work things out and become her lover. He has a plan, but has to move fast as Xavier works to seduce Suzy. JC will do whatever he can to claim his brassy, buxom beauty for his own.


Okay, let me start this review by saying that this book made go Grrrrrrrr. Books like this are the entire reason why I prefer m/m books sometimes (probably also the reason why I have more male friends than female friends ;-)). Though men can be idiots just as much as women, as this book definitely proves!

Alright, now that I have that of my chest, lets start the review. No, the above does not mean I hated the book or that it was bad. Let me explain.

The Claiming of Suzy is about Suzy who wants to do the nasty and she wants JC to do said nasty and boy is she a woman on a mission. Unfortunately for Suzy, JC is an idiot and just as they are about to get to the nasty the wrong words come out of his mouth. Proof that some men are just pretty until they open their mouths.

Fortunately for us, Suzy kicks JC to the curb. You go girl! But the story does not end there. While JC remains an idiot throughout the story, Suzy has got it bad for him. Not even the handsome and lovely (can I have him?) Xavier, her boss, can change her mind. Silly woman.

The heart knows what it wants and it wants Xavier.

The Claiming of Suzy is an interesting light read centered around a big big big and very common misunderstanding. The writing is good, but simple. The character are a bit on the flat side as there is no real depth to them. They are there to play out their parts and nothing more.
What I did like is that Suzy is not just you drop dead gorgeous runway model. She is fully figured with her curves. She is beautiful in her own right. Like any woman she has her vices and her insecurities and she is not afraid to show them.

This book did not work for me as I had a big “been there done that” feeling when I read. It held no surprises and I predicted how this would go as I read this book. However, this does not mean that the book is bad. While it has it bad points, it might just be the fun read you are looking for.

LIS

2 more  reviews
Yummy Men and Kickass Chicks "He’s a smoldering and sexy man I want to know more about. "(Xavier)
Not another romance Blog "A delicious read, perfect for some Friday night indulging!"

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Review: War on the Margins - Libby Cone

Genre: Fiction
Pages: 245
Published: 2009

France has just fallen to the Nazis. Britain is under siege. As BBC bulletins grow more and more grim, residents of Jersey know they cannot expect help from anyone. Thousands of them abandon their homes, trying to evacuate before the first of the German planes whine overhead. Not long after the mass exodus, the Germans invade and begin to impose Nazi doctrine on the vanquished people of Jersey. Marlene Zimmer, a shy clerk at the Aliens Office, is forced to register her friends and neighbours as Jews while hiding her own heritage. Eventually, after being spotted at her Jewish father's gravestone, she decides she must flee to avoid persecution, and after a final act of rebellion against her anti-Semitic employer, she disappears. Layers of disturbing history unfold as we chart Marlene's transformation from unassuming office worker to active Resistance member under the protection of Surrealist artists Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore. Drawn from authentic World War II documents, broadcasts and private letters, "War on the Margins" tells of an often-overlooked and crucial battlefield during World War II. 

This book has similarities with the Guernsey pie book, they both deal with the occupation of the Channel Islands. And it's something I have not heard much about at all.

Marlene Zimmer has stayed behind on Jersey when the Germans come and soon things get really bad. All sort of restrictions are put on Jews, and her being one makers her scared so she runs away. She meets two women who have their own resistance and joins them. Hers is not the only POV, we also gets to follow some other people. Peter, a Polish slaveworker who is being worked to death on the island. A Jewish woman on the run, a German soldier who hates what they are doing to the people, and a few others. The war is seen through their eyes.

This was a good book about the war, I enjoyed it, and I was also horrified by it. The cruel of the Germans towards their slaves, and especially the Eastern European ones because those were so pure, the crazy bureaucracy towards Jews, and of course later what happened. Even the German soldiers had it bad. Everyone on the island was starving. They had to live on rats and whatever they could find. War is hell, and here that was true. I can't imagine what it would be hiding in a cellar for years and wondering when the soldiers would come to take you away. You always know there will be cruelty and inhumanity and I always wonder how people could be so evil. But there is also hope and the goodness of mankind. People who hid Jews, and slaver workers on the run. Farmers who left out food for the hungry. Stories that bring you hope.

The different POVS worked, and they were all interesting to follow. There was also the interesting concept of doing something right, that then might have been wrong, so what is the right thing to do? Might sound confusing, but read and see.

Like I said before, I have heard way too little about this, and in a way it was like the people felt. They listened to the radio but never heard anything about their own plight.

Cover: Nice
Final thoughts: very interesting

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Review: Nalini Singh Silhouette x2 and a Mills and Boon

Bound by Marriage by Nalini Singh

Genre: Romance
Pages: 192
Published: 2007

How else to describe the pact Jessica Randall had made with wealthy New Zealand rancher Gabe Dumont? In exchange for marriage and an heir, he would save her family property. The agreement was calculating, completely devoid of any tenderness, just like the man himself.

Their relationship was supposed to be a simple arrangement. Instead, it was fraught with secrets and mistrust, jealousy and ultimatums--emotions that wouldn't allow her to maintain the distance she needed. Worse, the sizzling attraction between them made this marriage of convenience decidedly inconvenient.

I do like stories like this one. Gabe wants a wife and an heir, so he marries Jessica because she wants to save her ranch. No feelings attached, but we all know that can't last.

Jessica was hopelessly in love with an old friend of hers, that is married and his wife is expecting. Gabe knows this and is not happy about it. He was a force in himself, and I did like him. He melted slowly and his own hidden secrets slowly came into the light. While Jessica understood that perhaps that firs ...more I do like stories like this one. Gabe wants a wife and an heir, so he marries Jessica because she wants to save her ranch. No feelings attached, but we all know that can't last.

Jessica was hopelessly in love with an old friend of hers, that is married and his wife is excepting. Gabe knows this and is not happy about it. He was a force in himself, and I did like him. He melted slowly and his own hidden secrets slowly came into the light. While Jessica understood that perhaps that first crush isn't everything in the world. But they had some fighting to do before that. With each other and with themselves.

A sweet and short romance. Jealousy, secrets, and two people that share a great time in bed, but for some time that was all. What is there not to enjoy.



 Secrets in the Marriage Bed by Nalini Singh

Genre: Romance
Pages: 192
Published: 2006

EVERY MARRIAGE HAS ITS SECRETS

They were reconciling. That was all Caleb Callaghan could focus on when his estranged wife, Vicki, shared the news of her pregnancy. He was determined that this time their marriage would succeed, no matter what it took.

But was Vicki's price too high? She wanted more than his love and support...she demanded honesty between them, starting with his secrets. But there was something in Caleb's past he could not--would not--share. For the truth would only destroy them.

I was not sure about this one first. I am not a fan of a couple on the brink of divorce getting back together. But this one was different.

Caleb and Vicki has been married for 5 years and one day she left. Now she is back 3 months later and excepting his child so they are trying again. I slowly learnt what had gone wrong. Vicki had been rather cold in bed, because of how her grandmother raised her. She never gave much away. And Caleb was a workaholic and she felt he loved his firm more than her.

These two had some major issues to work out. First, better sex life, where both play. Second, trying to talk things out. What are they both hiding, what can't they say to each other?

A nice story about how a picture perfect marriage is not that perfect after all. They both loved each other but wanted more honesty and feelings in their relationship. 

The Italian's Cinderella Bride by Lucy Gordon

Genre: Contemporary romance
Pages: 192
Published: 2008

Italian count...English waif

In a flash of lightning, Count Pietro Bagnelli sees a young woman standing outside his palazzo, a battered suitcase at her feet. This solitary count has turned his back on the world, but he can't turn his back on this bedraggled waif....

Ruth has returned to Venice to uncover lost memories, yet finds comfort with this proudly damaged count. As Carnivale sweeps through the city, drama and passion ignite and secrets unravel.... 

Plot:
A woman standing in the rain is rescued by a Italian count who is morning his wife and lives almost alone in a big palace, yes only 2 servants, 2! *rolls eyes*

Hero:
A Venetian count with a tormented past. He rescues our heroine, is annoyed by her, and falls for her. Why? I do not know since she seems a bit insane, and is in love with his cousin.

Heroine:
A lost woman who is trying to get her life back on track. After a brutal attack she doesn't remember much. She comes in search of the man she loved. And she seems really crazy, say the least.

Liked:
Eh, a quick book. But the end was kind of good, and surprising in a way.

Disliked:
Well the heroine was just a bit to out of it. Also it kind of annoyed me that when she put on some make-up, a new dress, and got a new haircut everyone found her attractive. I guess that means she was not before then, and that women needs make-up. I guess I this time didn't go for the Cinderella story.

 

Monday, 18 October 2010

Edie Ramer interviews me over at her place + winners


Today I am over at Edie Ramer's blog. She interviewed me, and it was so much fun, I have never been interviewed by an author before :) I feel so famous, lol.

Come over and say hello, and Edie  is giving away a copy of her book Cattitude, or a copy of her new book Dead People





 The Winners of Mr Darcy's Obsession by Abigail Reynolds are:

Inspired Kathy

Melissa (books things)

Congrats!!! I hope you will enjoy the book.

Both have been notified

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Review: Holly's Inbox - Holly Denham

Photobucket


Genre: Chick-lit
Pages: 736
Published: 2007

System alert: Inbox full of scandal, romance, and office hilarity!

Meet Holly Denham. It's her first day as a receptionist at a London investment bank and inexperienced Holly is struggling. How's a working girl supposed to have a love life with a demanding job, crazy friends, a dysfunctional family, and gossipy colleagues? Not to mention that Holly's been keeping a secret from everyone - and the past is about to catch up with her.

An affair with a sexy VP heats things up at the office, but when Holly's first flame (who, she thinks, left her in the lurch) gets a job at the same company, complications abound and Holly's inbox becomes a daily source of drama, laughter and scandal.


Could not post the pic using that pic box, grrrr, stupid blogger.

This book was fun, and don't be scared by those pages. Just cut it in half and you get a number closer to reality. This book was entirely made from emails, and some of those emails could be only a line, some a question mark. So when there are a few lines on a page, then you understand that you read it pretty fast. I read it quickly and when I was near the end I could not put it down, I had to know what would happen!

Holly is a receptionist, but of course she lied on her CV. She befriends the other receptionist, she meeds an old friend from school who works there, and she emails her two other best friends, Aisha who loves me, and Jason, who also loves men. She also emails her parents who moved to Spain, and her sister who also lives there and breeds snakes. Then there is her brother who is building a fetish club, and last, the guy she meets while working.

I was unsure about this format, I am sure most were, but it worked. I got to know her through emails, she emails a lot and since they are not allowed to talk while at the reception they email each other. So a lot is happening that we later learn through emails. Fun idea that really works.

There is a new romance, there is an old fling to avoid and just trying to do the job right, since not all are that nice. Bit of drama then too, and not to forget, humour! Yes I giggled and that is what good chick-lit should do.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: I prefer the US one
Final thoughts: Fun chick-lit, that in the end made me want to read the next one. Of course it could just as well have ended here, nice ending.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Review: To Kill a Warlock - HP Mallory

 Dulcie O'Neil, book 1

Genre: Urban fantasy/(paranormal romance)
Pages: 216 e-book
Published: July 2010
Review by Lis

The murder of a dark arts warlock. A shape-shifting, ravenous creature on the loose. A devilishly handsome stranger sent to investigate. Sometimes working law enforcement for the Netherworld is a real bitch.Dulcie O’Neil is a fairy. And not the type to frolic in gardens. She’s a Regulator—a law-enforcement agent who monitors the creatures of the Netherworld to keep them from wreaking havoc in the mortal world. When a warlock is murdered and Dulcie was the last person to see him alive, she must uncover the truth before she’s either deported back to the Netherworld, or she becomes the next victim. Enter Knight Vander, a sinfully attractive investigator sent from the Netherworld to work the case with Dulcie. Between battling her attraction to her self-appointed partner, keeping a sadomasochistic demon in check, and fending off the advances of a sexy and powerful vampire, Dulcie’s got her hands full. As the body count increases, Dulcie finds herself battling dark magic, reconnoitering in S&M clubs and suffering the greatest of all betrayals.

Yes, B. managed the snare another review out of me. This time she sent me the deliciously wicked How to Kill a Warlock by indie author H.P. Mallory. While I have to admit that the blurb did not really raise my curiosity above ‘hmmmm possibly interesting’ it was the cover that made me read this book over H.P.’s first book. I know, very shallow and wrong, but I occasionally choose books because of their cover. In my defense, it did not have a hot man on it!

About How to Kill a Warlock

On to the review. Dulcie O’Neil is a fairy with the job of Regulator, one who regulates the supernatural (not so) creepy crawlies that came out of the proverbial closet and into the real world about 50 years ago. She is not your typical kick ass (though she does kick ass) heroine. In fact when the book starts she found herself turned into very slimy, nine-eyed, put your average beer belly to shame, monster by the Warlock she was supposed to be watching. The very same Warlock that later ends up very dead. On with the investigating, in which Dulcie is aided by the very yummy Knight Vander.

This story has a multitude of (hot, male & single) characters. Her hobgoblin Regulator partner Trey (whom I liked) who is maybe not so hot. Her best friend, the Witch Sam. Then again, which best friend chases you with a butcher knife?

Then there is Dulcie’s male harem as I like to call them. Her very hot elf boss Quillan, Dulcie’s big crush and who likes Dulcie right back. Knight Vander, a Loki, with very interesting abilities. Nightclub owner Bram (the vampire) who is nothing but very vocal about his carnal interest in Dulcie. Last there is Dagan, the tattooed demon, who owns a BDSM club (yes, you read that right) and who has a sex addiction.

Both the strength and the weakness of this book is in its characters rather than the plot. The strength being that each, easy to love, character adds their own bits to the story and they make for interesting scenes. The weakness being that there are so many of them. In a way it reminded me of Laurell K. Hamilton’s books, in a good way that is. In Hamilton’s books it is not so much the story that makes the books, but the characters. Whom you come to love and crave to learn more about.

The writing is very strong, funny and witty. There are some very comical scenes in the book. However, there were some things I did not quite like. Dulcie is looking for Mr. Right and this is very important for her. Yet she has several right in front of her! Then there was the ending that would not quite end. Writing the ending of a book is hard, but this one was a tad bit too long.

The last thing has not so much to do with the story, but with the layout of the book. How to Kill a Warlock has such a beautiful cover. Why not include it in the file? In fact, the whole e-book feels like the text is copy pasted. This is a long time frustration of mine with e-publishers. They create the e-file, yet sometimes it feels like they hardly spent time on it.

How to Kill a Warlock is a good, solid, spunky read and there are so many things I could tell you about this book and what I liked about it, but my advice? Go find out for yourself! 

Lis

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Review: Highland Hellcat - Mary Wine

Highlander, book 2

Genre: Historical romance
Pages: 384
Published: October 2010 Sourcebooks Casablanca

In the raw, rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands, tumultuous times bred warrior men and women who fought for country, keep, and kin, and loved as passionately as they lived. An illegitimate son, chosen as laird after the ruling Douglas clan slaughtered his family, Connor Lindsay is surrounded by men who challenge his right to lead. Looking for a virtuous bride to cement his leadership by presenting him with an heir, he kidnaps a feisty laird’s daughter. To keep this Highland Hellcat in his bed, he’ll have to do battle with the Douglases, the Church, and most of all Brina herself.


This is book 2 in a series of highlanders, but you can just jump right in here. The hero in this book is mentioned in book 1 since he is a friend of that hero, but the couple from book 1 is not mentioned here. Only the hero that will be in book 3. So, no OCD troubles, you all know I like to talk about that.

Connor Lindsay is planned to marry Deirdre Chattan, but she has been naught and he is upset but still need the alliance but without people doubting if his children are his. So he does what every good highlander would do, kidnaps her virtuous sister that is on her way to a convent. Sparks will fly.

Yay more bride stealing business, this one should be called the bride stealing series. I do like those rugged highlanders stealing brides, but only if they are nice to them. And Connor at once see that Brina is more than just a meek woman raised to be a nun, she can hunt, and she is a hellcat. But at the same time she has learnt nothing about men, and every touch makes her skittish. But who would not melt when a handsome man in a kilt sets out to seduce her, and he is so honourable too, he wants to marry her, but it's she who says no. She has promised her father to become a nun. I do like that it's he who wants her so much, and she who wants to keep that promise.

A lot of other things are happening too, her father is upset, a daughter of his must become a bride of Christ, one sister is not happy about her upcoming marriage, there is the Deirdre scandal (and she is the heroine of book 3, I wonder if her man will steal her away). A neighbouring clan has Connor's sister captive, and he fears they will attack his lands. But mostly it is a about a woman and a man, falling in love, finding passion, and trying to figure out how they can be together.

The negative part is the trouble I have with most Scottish Highlander books, the accent, kind of wish that would be skipped.

Other than that is was a romantic, and sometimes steamy book. It goes without saying, a highlander is a devil in bed. And a hellcat, she takes some time to be tamed.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner. I like her, but he, nah not at all
Final thoughts: A good story about a highlander stealing his bride.
3,50

Copy from Sourcebooks


Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Interview and Giveaway: Abigail Reynolds with Mr Darcy's Obsession

Today I welcome Abigail Reynolds to my blog. Her newest book, Mr Darcy's Obsession is out now, and at the end of this interview you get a chance to win it. Since I have read it I will not say anything more than there were some surprises ;)

Welcome to Mur-y-Castell!

Tell me something about yourself, so we get a better understanding about the woman behind the author.

AR:  I’m an accidental author.  I was happily pursuing a career as a doctor and a parent when I was bitten by the writing bug.  Nothing would have happened with it if it weren’t for the internet providing an audience for my early scribblings.  Writing was a fortunate discovery for me because I have poor physical stamina from lupus, and it keeps me entertained when I need to be resting.  I live in Wisconsin, but my favorite place is Cape Cod, which is where I set my modern novel, The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice.

Your newest book is called Mr. Darcy’s Obsession; can you tell me what it is about?

AR:  It’s a twist on Pride and Prejudice in which Mr. Bennet dies, leaving Elizabeth and her family impoverished.  Darcy tries to forget her because she is now so far beneath him, but he can’t stay away from her.  Meantime, he is disillusioned by the amoral behavior of his extended family, especially his uncle who feels he should take Elizabeth as a mistress, and he starts to recognize the suffering of the poor around him.  Combined with his distress over Elizabeth’s reduced circumstances, he realizes that much of his pride in his position is misplaced and he can’t go on without Elizabeth.

I know that you have written a couple of other books. Could you tell me about those?

AR:  Except for my modern novel, all of them are Regency era variations on Pride and Prejudice in which change one event from P&P and see how the story plays out.  In To Conquer Mr. Darcy, Darcy decides to woo Elizabeth after her first refusal rather than let her go.  In Without Reserve, Elizabeth becomes engaged to a childhood friend for the sake of her family, and Darcy must win her back.  My favorite change is in What Would Mr. Darcy Do? In that, when Darcy comes to see Elizabeth at the Lambton Inn after her discovery of Lydia’s elopement, instead of leaving her with a long, silent look, he tells her how he feels about her. 

Now to the important question: what led you to writing Austen variations?

AR:  Desperation!  I was having a great time reading Austen-related stories on line, and one day I ran out of new ones to read.  What was there to do but to write one myself?

Are you working on something new and exciting right now?

AR:  I’m putting finishing touches on a new P&P variation, and I’ve started a sequel to Mr. Darcy’s Obsession.  I’m hoping to finally get my second modern novel out there as well!

What kinds of books do you read? Any favorite authors?

AR:  I’m a very eclectic reader.  I like romance, classics, historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction – anything that captures and holds my interest.  My favorite author this week would probably Georgette Heyer.

Any advice for aspiring writers?
AR:  Write the book that is in your heart.  Don’t try to write for the market or to catch an agent’s interest.  The book that you’re passionate about will be your best.

Some shorter ones:
Your favorite Jane Austen hero?
AR:  Mr. Darcy
Jane Austen heroine?
AR:  tie between Elizabeth Bennet and Elinor Dashwood
If you had a time-machine then to which era would you go, and what would you do?
AR:  12th century Kiev.  Bet you weren’t expecting that!  I’d love to see an early medieval culture where literacy was high and women had legal rights.  Sounds like something in a novel, doesn’t it?

B: I can honestly say that I did not expect that, but it sure sounds interesting.

Now to the Contest part: CLOSED

Thanks to Sourcebooks I got 2 copies of Mr Darcy's Obsession to give away.

1. US and Canada only.
2. Not a must, but it's always more fun if you ask a question, or comment on something :)
3. Leave your email if it's not in your profile (or just email it to me)
4. Have fun.
5. Ends October 18th

MR. DARCY’S OBSESSION BY ABIGAIL REYNOLDS—IN STORES OCTOBER 2010
The more he tries to stay away from her, the more his obsession grows...
“[Reynolds] has creatively blended a classic love story with a saucy romance novel.” —Austenprose
“Developed so well that it made the age-old storyline new and fresh…Her writing gripped my attention and did not let go.”—The Romance Studio
“The style and wit of Ms. Austen are compellingly replicated…spellbinding. Kudos to Ms. Reynolds!” —A Reader’s Respite

In this Pride and Prejudice variation, Elizabeth is called away before Darcy proposes for the first time and Darcy decides to find a more suitable wife. But when Darcy encounters Elizabeth living in London after the death of her father, he can’t fight his desire to see and speak with her again…and again and again. But now that her circumstances have made her even more unsuitable, will Darcy be able to let go of all his long held pride to marry a woman who, though she is beneath his station, is the only woman capable of winning his heart?

About the Author
Abigail Reynolds is a physician and a lifelong Jane Austen enthusiast. She began writing the Pride and Prejudice Variations series in 2001, and encouragement from fellow Austen fans convinced her to continue asking “What if…?” She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information, please visit http://www.pemberleyvariations.com/ or http://www.austenauthors.com/.


My review of the book can be found here

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Review: Demon from the Dark - Kresley Cole

Immortals after Dark, 10

Genre: parnormal romance
Pages: 430
UK Publication: September 2010 Pocket Books

A dangerous demon she can't resist... 
Malkom Slaine: tormented by his sordid past and racked by vampiric hungers, he's pushed to the brink by the green-eyed beauty under his guard.

A maddening witch he aches to claim... 
Carrow Graie: hiding her own sorrows, she lives only for the next party or prank. Until she meets a tortured warrior worth saving.

Trapped together in a savage prison... 
For them to survive, Malkom must unleash both the demon and vampire inside him. When he becomes the nightmare his own people feared, will he lose the woman he craves body and soul?


Where have you been all my life Kresley Cole? This book rocked. I usually find PNR ok, not as good as UF. It's all the romance and not enough action, well here, I loved it. Hihi.

Immortals are being kidnapped and kept in a prison, some experimented on, and tortured. Carrow Graie, a witch, gets an ultimatum, capture Malkom, bring him there and regain her freedom. Malkom lives in Oblivion, where vampires have destroyed their demon kingdom. He hates them, and he can't live with demons either since he is an abomination.

This one, what a savage brute Malkom was, and I just melted, even when he rather annoyingly begged for a good time. It was impossible not care for his tortured soul, but then I am a sucker for heroes like that. The wounded, broken ones that do not believe anyone could ever love them. And here someone falls for him, because deep in he is such a good soul, and just wants to protect here.

My heat even stopped at one time, I knew the truth, but since he did not, it was hard to read. He is not a man to betray.

Carrow, I guess she was ok, I honestly didn't pay much attention to her, lol, just kidding. She was the right woman for him. And it sure takes a real brave woman to handle him too.

This book had a great history with all the different beings walking around in our world and in other dimensions. It had action and drama, considering that wicked men wants to capture and erase immortals from the face of the earth. It has them fleeing from other demons and strange creatures, and it has the love, passion, some things that made me giggle. 

I can't believe I found this book first now, at book 10. Also it was easy to just jump in with out knowing anything.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Dunno
Reason for reading: From the publisher
Final thoughts: I even think this book was the best paranormal romance I have ever read.
4

Monday, 11 October 2010

Review: In the Arms of Mr Darcy - Sharon Lathan

Genre: Historical fiction/romance/Pride and Prejudice variation
Pages: 358
Published: October 2010 Sourcebooks Landmark

This lushly romantic and historically fascinating story is filled with lavish details of Regency customs and social events including Elizabeth's presentation to the Prince Regent, Georgiana's debut at the exclusive Almack's Assembly, and the Darcys' travels through the dramatic Peak District of Derbyshire. Romance finds nearly everyone as confirmed bachelor Richard Fitzwilliam sets his sights on the seemingly unattainable Lady Fotherby, Georgiana Darcy learns to flirt, the very serious Kitty Bennet develops her first crush, and Caroline Bingley meets her match. Through it all, Elizabeth and Darcy are kept busy helping friends and family navigate true love's inevitably rocky course.


This book is actually part of a series, and you know what, there are two books I have missed. I think I am loosing my series OCD. I have read the first one and it's easy to just jump in, but I do want to know how Mary met her man. I must go back for that book.

In this one Lizzy had given birth to a highly beloved son. It's Christmas and the whole family has come. Mary with her fiancé (how did that happen?), and all the rest. Colonel Fitzwilliam is aching for someone he always has cared for, Georgiana is introduced into society, Kitty falls in love and Caroline Bingley feels passion. Among a lot of other little things happening at Pemberley.

Even Anne de Burgh has found someone so yes, need those two previous books to see how this happened. Lathan slowly makes people fall in love, get married, and live their lives. And I meet all my beloved PP characters again.

Lizzy and Darcy are at it like rabbits, they are first passionate, and really loving and cute. Darcy is wonderful in this book, he adores his wife and the way he is with the baby makes my heart melt. The passion between them just makes it more loving.

Still a lot of things to come, not all people meet happy endings here so more to come, and I do want to know. Lathan has found her own way and introduces new characters that feels true to the Austen world.

This book also shows that a PP series is possible, there are always things that might happen, but what is constant is the love Darcy and Lizzy feels for each other, it is heartwarming.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner. Kind of wished he was more handsome, oh I am wicked
Reason for reading: From Sourcebooks
Final thoughts: It will be interesting to see what happens next.
3,25

Friday, 8 October 2010

Review: Désirée - Annemarie Selinko

Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 608
Published: 2010 Sourcebooks

Désirée is enchanted by the young officer, and he asks her to marry him. But he must leave for Paris, where he meets his eventual wife Josephine. A heartbroken Désirée is unsure she'll ever find anyone again. A love story, but so much more, Désirée is the tale of a simple merchant's daughter who ends up with a kind of royalty she never expected: an unforgettable story just waiting to be reborn.

This book was just enchanting, I was a little worried at first since it was published in the 50's but this latest version does not differ from books today. It was just like a historical novel should be like.
I know quite a lot about Désirée's later years, thanks to my love of history, and Swedish tv once had this great miniseries about all the Bernadotte queens.

Desiree Clary was the daughter of a Silk Merchant from Marseille, and when she was 14 she met the poverished Napoleon Bonaparte. Her sister married his brother, and that was sure a catch since these two girls had a great dowry. Napoleon asked Desiree to marry him and that would take place when she turned 16. But sadly before that he went to Paris where he meet the enigmatic and beautiful, and older, Josephine. Desiree would later meet Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte whom she would marry. By then totally mixed up in the Bonaparte family and Napoleon's need for more. Later the Swedish asked Bernadotte to become crown prince of Sweden. And so this simple merchant daughter from France become a real queen.

I do not need to say that this book was filled with history. Napoleon's struggle to the top, him becoming emperor and making all his siblings kings and queens. The years of wars, with the German states, Russia, and so on. And in the middle of all this stood Desiree. First as a relative to the family and then as a wife to one of the most known Generals in France, all of Europe. It was fascinating to see history unfold around her as she wrote in her diary and telling how it all was. I always did wonder. Napoleon and her, did they really never have an affair? This book makes it as she was deeply in love with her husband, and never strayed on her, and him only taking a mistress later on cos it was expected. But then I googled and read there was one maybe, and another man whose mistress she seems to have been. I am glad that was left out, because doing that this whole book is one romantic fantasy.

Desiree herself, well, she never gave Sweden a chance. Sure it's colder, and she was not a princess, but I felt she should have stayed cos of her son. Instead she left for France.

Other than the romance, there is the history, wars and political intrigues. This book never has a dull moment. It was very hard to put down in the end, even if it was really long. The author has of course taken artistic freedom but she stays true to the big picture.

One other thing, I have sure not read a book in a long while that mentions Finland so much, of course I enjoy that. The Swedes really wanted us back and hoped Bernadotte could go to war and conquer Finland back, alas no.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: hm
Reason for Reading: publisher
Final thoughts: A story about a fascinating woman who lived in an interesting period of time.
4



Thursday, 7 October 2010

Review: The Usurper - Rowena Cory Daniells

King Rolen's Kin, book 3

Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 489
Published: September 2010

Now a slave, Piro finds herself in the Merofynian Palace where, if her real identity is discovered, she will be executed. Meanwhile, Fyn is desperate to help his brother, Bryen, who is now the uncrowned King. Bryen never sought power but now he finds himself at the centre of a dangerous resistance movement as the people of Rolencia flee vicious invaders. How can Byren defeat the invaders, when half his warriors are women and children, and the other half are untrained boys and old men?

First, the guy looks totally scary, fear not though, he is not a zombie. I guess he is meant to be Fyn, the prince destined to become a monk because of his magic.

This book picks up where the last ended. Piro is on her way to Merofynia as a slave and she will serve princess Isolt. While her capturer expects her to be a spy for him. Byren has a camp filled with women, children, and some soldiers. He is trying to figure out how he can win his country back from his cousin, and kick out all the Merofynians. All while the young Fyn has been shanghaied and is now a sea hound. They all want to restore the throne.

I liked Piro's adventure, because later she meets this young mage, and I do like when I suddenly gets hopes up for possible romance. Byren's tale was war, as before, he is the fighter, the brave one and the one destined to be king. While Fyn really stepped up in this one, he showed he is courageous and noble, and he falls in love, sort of.

There were also some new faces, the young mage Tyro, princess Isolt, and then the evil Palatyne who wants to rule the world, and marry the young pretty Isolt. He does not care who he kills on hsi way to his throne. He feels like a very believable bad guy. Greedy for power.

The only negative part is the end. Oh it's a very happy fulfilling ending, but at the at same time it's open, and some major conflicts are left, especially in the romantic department. I want more, I need more, I must ask Daniells.

This is still a good end to a fantasy series that kept me enthralled and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. The political plots, the hidden agendas, the magic, it all makes this an interesting tale of good, bad, and all that lies in between.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Too zombie looking
Reason for reading: From the author
Final thoughts: Epic fantasy
3,75



The winners of Cattitude by Edie Ramer are:
Stella Ex Libris

and

Jen M

Congrats! Will email you both soon

Contributors

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