Friday, 31 December 2010

Review: The Beast Within - Erin McCarthy, Bianca D'Arc, Jennifer Lyon

Genre: Paranormal romance
Pages: 320
Published: Sep 2010

Meet three men without boundaries, hell-bent on satisfying their deepest desires—and those of the women who drive them wild...

The Howling by Erin McCarthy

When Liv Lugaru's boyfriend Sebastian disappears, she finds comfort in his brother's arms. But Sebastian is much closer than Liv realizes...and he'll stop at nothing to protect her from the feral danger that comes alive only when she sleeps...

Smoke On The Water by Bianca D'Arc

In the misty fog of a lakefront village, zombies are roaming wild—and zombie hunter John Petit must stop the carnage. John is also fighting a different kind of battle: a forbidden passion for his new partner, Donna. With her help, killing zombies is a walk in the park, but keeping his desire in check is making him sweat...

Redeeming The Wizard by Jennifer Lyon

Gage Remington was once a powerful wizard; now he's a recluse who keeps the world at bay. But when Mira Tate arrives at Gage's door, she stirs in him an attraction he can't deny. Soon, Gage will risk everything to keep Mira close—even the secret that may be his ruin...

Plot:
Oh read the blurbs.

My thoughts:

I am going to make this short, it is always so hard to talk about short stories.
The Howling
I liked this one, but then I do like werewolves. There was Liv and her new boyfriend, but he is not really gone. There is a bit of action, betrayal, and hot hot passion. It was a nice short werewolf story that delivered what it promised.

Smoke on the water
This one was my least fave of the three. I can't say why, perhaps it was the zombies, I just can't think of sex when there are crazy man eating zombies outside. So the passion in this one did not work for me. But hey there was at least zombie killings so that is always nice.

Redeeming the wizard
This one was actually my fave, I did not expect that, but it was Gage, he was so mmm. Mira was a bit annoying and yes I do confess I wanted to hit her once when she accused him of something. Action, lots of passion, and magic. I liked this world too, and I would like to know more about it.

Final thoughts and recommendation:
I never know with short stories, but these worked. They were interesting in different ways, and two I liked more. One I liked cos of shifters, love them! And the other one cos of the world it presented. All in all a good anthology.

Reason for reading:
Sounded fun

Cover:
ok


Tomorrow it's time for another tradition post, and my best of 2010 post :)

Happy New Year!!!!!


Thursday, 30 December 2010

Guest Review: Toil and Trouble - HP Mallory

Jolie Wilkins 2

Genre: paranormal romance
Pages: 307
Published: November 2010
Review by Lis

The Underworld in civil war. The cause? A witch who can reanimate the dead. A sexy as sin vampire determined to claim her. An infuriatingly handsome warlock torn between duty and love. Who says blonds have more fun?

After defending herself against fairy magic, Jolie Wilkins wakes to find her world turned upside down—the creatures of the Underworld on the precipice of war.

The Underworld is polarized in a battle of witch against witch, creature against creature, led by the villainous Bella, who would be Queen.

While Jolie has one goal in mind, to stake the vampire, Ryder, who nearly killed her, she also must choose between the affections of her warlock employer, Rand, and the mysteriously sexy vampire, Sinjin.

And as if that weren’t enough to ruin a girl’s day, everything Jolie knows will be turned inside out when she’s thrust into the shock of a lifetime. 

-----

Dum, dum, dum!! Remember Jolie Wilkins? The Witch? From Fire Burn and Cauldron Burn? The story that left us on the edge of a great big battle? Well her story is continued in Toil and Trouble! And oh my is it ever a story!

In Toil and Trouble is good vs evil. Bella again Jolie and Rand. Of course the evil side has a lot more misguided people on their side and of course love gets in the way! Because remember SinJin? The not-so-quite-evil vamp from the previous story? He's about to complicate the meaning of love for Jolie. These things always come at a not so convenient time. Come, let a girl win a war before you make the moves on her. But nooooooooo... men and their one-track mine *grin*

Then there is Rand. It's clear they love each other, but they can't just commit. It's a soul mate thing. If they get together in a permanent way, there is no out. It's forever. And forever is a very long time if you don't really like each other. It makes a girl put her thinking hat on first! The soul mate thing was a bit of a let down for me. I'm a realistic kind of gal and people change. Love changes. Soul mates is fine, but forever with one guy? But then if you reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally love each other *nudge nudge*

Plus Rand is the overprotective guy *rolls eyes* Yup, that makes a girl want to spent time with one hell of a hot vampire too.

Back to the story. On the one hand this story is action-packed and full of adventure and I loved it. On the other hand, Jolie is training and learning and exploring. Plus the end of the previous book left her quite drained and I don't mean the melted and boneless kind of drained, if you get my meaning.

In many ways Toil and Trouble is a lot better than the first book. The writing has even improved and I liked Jolie's snarky narrative! Something tells me, we're not quite finished with her!

There is a major twist that left me gaping and re-reading the scene at least three times, but no sharing! If you want to find out what happens with Jolie, Rand and SinJin (Yum) then I guess you have to run to the cyber-bookstore and find out for yourself!

Thanks Lis :)

review copy from the author, for Lis

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Review: Mind Games - Carolyn Crane

The Disillusionists Trilogy #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 371
Published: 2010

JUSTINE KNOWS SHE’S GOING TO DIE. ANY SECOND NOW.

Justine Jones has a secret. A hardcore hypochondriac, she’s convinced a blood vessel is about to burst in her brain. Then, out of the blue, a startlingly handsome man named Packard peers into Justine’s soul and invites her to join his private crime-fighting team. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal. With a little of Packard’s hands-on training, Justine can weaponize her neurosis, turning it outward on Midcity’s worst criminals, and finally get the freedom from fear she’s always craved. End of problem.

Or is it? In Midcity, a dashing police chief is fighting a unique breed of outlaw with more than human powers. And while Justine’s first missions, including one against a nymphomaniac husband-killer, are thrilling successes, there is more to Packard than meets the eye. Soon, while battling her attraction to two very different men, Justine is plunging deeper into a world of wizardry, eroticism, and cosmic secrets. With Packard’s help, Justine has freed herself from her madness—only to discover a reality more frightening than anyone’s worst fears.

Plot:
The blurb does say it as it is.

My thoughts:
I can say one thing, and that is original. What a great use of powers and magic. So strange, so freaky.

Justine, oh she is nice, a crazy hypochondriac, but that is not her fault. Though of course in real life I am sure we would not make it as friend, at least not before her zing. When she got zinged she no longer have to constantly worry that she is gonna die from something. But then pre-Justine is fun to read about too.

The crew, nice crew, but who cares about the crew when there is a boss, and oh what a boss. I liked Packard from the start, then I had my doubts and then I went all rawr! There is also police chief Otto, who I kind of admired from a distance and had theories about.

Oh the magic, Justine gives the bad guys they are after all her own dark thoughts about illness. She is free and they are doomed. There are no big action scenes instead they infiltrate the lives of these people, try to be friends with them and then go into attack mode time after time. How to describe in the end, it is not kick-ass UF, it is mental warfare UF. And I like it.

Hard book to put down, and it even made me giggle.

My final thoughts and recommendation.
I hear book 2 has a big cliffhanger, scary! This one ended good with things to come, but nothing that I went crazy over. I of course really want to know what happens, but I I am kind of scared of that cliffhanger now, perhaps I should wait until book 3 is out...if I can make it, cos come on, the thing Packard said at the end, damn, I want to read more!

Ok where was I, yes I do recommend this series. It is certainly original, and so far there are only people with magical abilities around.

Reason for reading:
People said it was good

Cover:
very UF

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Guest Review: The Prince's Groom - KT Grant

Genre: M/M romance, historical
Pages: 175
Published: November 2010
Review by Lis

Mr. Martin, the former first mate of an infamous pirate captain is mourning the loss of his young lover. He and Thomas de Fleurre, an exiled prince turned gentleman landowner, had a passionate affair on a tropical island paradise for a very short time. Thomas decides to end their relationship since Martin is a wanted man on the run for a twenty-year-old crime he didn’t commit.

Thomas longs for the frank speaking Martin, who not only ravaged his body, but his heart and soul. He has moved on, finding happiness in the arms of another man, but can’t stop thinking about those hot steamy nights where Martin made his every fantasy become a reality.

Martin’s past comes back to haunt him as he arrives on Thomas’s doorstep to finish what they started. And then Martin puts his life on the line to save Thomas from an unstable woman who is obsessed with claiming Thomas as her own.

With a dangerous highwayman also terrorizing the land who has close ties to Martin, Thomas becomes a target in a deadly game of cat and mouse. It’s up to Martin to save Thomas and hope they can sail away on their tide of passion, where he will end up being the Prince’s groom.

------

Ahoy, ye merry mateys! Aye it this time again. Time for a swashbucklin' about pirates, wenches and gentlemen. I'm talking about K.T. Grant's book The Prince's Groom. After reading The Claiming of Suzy I was a wee bit hesitant, but shiver me timbers, this book surprised me.

When I started this book, which is about Martin and Thomas – or Thom as Martin also calls him – there was the feeling that something was missing. It started right in the middle of the wedding of Thomas' sister Daisy and the characters already knew each other. I was a wee bit disappointed, because I dislike those stories that just start right in the middle of something, assuming we know what in the seven seas is going on.

Turns out that The Prince's Groom is a sequel/continuation of the Daisy's story The Princess' Bride. So while I was a bit disappointed that I missed how Martin and Thom got together and the general first part of the story, I soon got with the program and got into the story. While I missed bits and pieces of Thom and Martin and their histories, it didn't stop me from liking this story.

Martin is a man of secrets and Thom is a stubborn git. While passion flies, communication between the men is missing and that doesn't bode well. Indeed Thom takes off for his own parts while Martin can't follow because he's a wanted man and because he let Thom go. Gah. Men. Always refusing to talk.

Fast forward a year and Thom is getting it on with his personal assistant, though his heart is – gna gna gna – not in it. Trouble brews in the form of the bad, scheming and spoiled wench Ramona. She set her beady eyes on Thom and lo and behold, what Ramona wants she gets. No matter the cost or consequences. Trouble also brews in the form a Night Stalker. Luckily, after some time on the high seas, Martin gets his wits about him and goes in search Thom.

What I liked about this story is that Martin and Thom are not your typical characters. They're not stereotypes who have a role to play (while of course they each have their part in the story, it's not a typical role). They're round characters who are stubborn and want to keep themselves from hurt while also being in love with each other. I also liked that Thom got it on with his PA. It shows that he's not a saint and makes his mistakes. Just like Martin wants to keep his past and his first name to himself.

What I didn't like about this story was the lack of world-building. Having not read the previous book, I most likely missed a bit more, but I missed the background on the world around them, the setting, but also the secondary characters. Take for instance Ramona. She is the typical evil bitch of the story, yet you don't get a real insight into the motives – while, and that I liked, she got more page time than most baddies in a story.

I'm glad B. sent this story my way. The Prince's Groom is a sweet, sexy and hot story about two men learning that they can't live apart and that they can make it work together if they want too.


Thank you Lis!

review copy from the author

Monday, 27 December 2010

Review: Real Mermaids don't wear toe rings - Helene Boudreau

Genre: YA/MG, paranormal
Pages: 224
Published: December 2010 Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Freak of nature takes on a whole new meaning...

If she hadn't been so clueless, she might have seen it coming. But really, who expects to get into a relaxing bathtub after a stressful day of shopping for tankinis and come out with scales and a tail?

Most. Embarrassing. Moment. Ever.

Jade soon discovers she inherited her mermaid tendencies from her mom. But if Mom was a mermaid, how did she drown?

Jade is determined to find out. So how does a plus-size, aqua-phobic mer-girl go about doing that exactly? And how will Jade ever be able to explain her secret to her best friend, Cori, and to her crush, Luke?

Plot:
Jade finds out she is a mermaid. Her best friend spends a lot of time with another girl, and Luke, her crush, why would he ever look at her. There is a lot to handle.

My thoughts:
This was a short cute book, and I loved the mermaid explanation. That was really original and it almost made me believe it could be true. So here the author really thought about how and why there are mermaids.

Jade is a nice girl, her mum drowned a year earlier and she is trying to cope. She gets her period and her dad goes all out and buys a cart filled with products, hilarious and funny. Then she finds out she can become a mermaid, and she is really scared. Who wouldn't be since she know nothing at all about being a mermaid. There is also friendship drama since a new girl tries to move into their group, and she is not that nice. And of course then there is the crush, and Luke is a really sweet guy. But the teenage drama is never too drama, instead the focus is more on her coping with this new situation and what that brings.

There is also some action, I shall not give any details, but something is going to happen.

All in all this was a sweet book. I started to read and read it in one sitting. I was amused, and the mermaid angle, oh so good. I wonder where she got the idea of their origin?

Recommendation and final thoughts:
A yes there, this is something young girls would enjoy. First there is mermaids, cool, the crush, and issues with friends. The paranormal and the down to earth things all young people go through. It's a 3,5. I enjoyed the book. 

Reason for readings:
Jumped on the mermaid wagon

Cover: 
Cute

review copy from the publisher

Friday, 24 December 2010

Tradition Post: Christmas

I am writing a tradition post before the celebrations starts, ok so bf and I already exchanged gifts (books, yay ;)

Christmas, December 24th

Christmas is not really that different here, we got Santa, we got decorations, we have a tree, but the main difference truly is that Christmas is celebrated today. For us December 24th is Christmas. Why? Well, that made me google, it seems that we when we were Catholics we did celebrate on the 25th, but then when we became Lutherans we started celebrating already on the 24th. And many Europeans countries hold on to this.

We eat out dinner during the day or evening and then in the evening we open our presents. As for the 25th, I always saw that as a day to play with my things and let the food rest.

Ok that brings us to Santa. For the record he lives in Northern Finland ;) But did I ever believe in him, I do not know. I believed it was my grandma and grandpa that got dressed up as Santas. And even if Santa was real he does not come down the chimney, he just leaves presents under the tree, or even outside

What I believed in was these more pagan beings, I guess they are kind of gnomes. They live under houses and in stables and such. They take care of the animals, but if you are mean to your animals they make the cows dry and the neighbour will have more hay than you. They are also kind around the house. So they are wicked and nice. And if you want to please them you should leave out some porridge for them. I believed those brought me the presents. These small little men, with old clothes in natural colors.


So I don't know if this little fellow can be found everywhere. The Christmas he-goat. He looks nice under the tree, and I never actually called Santa Santa, I more often called the person coming The Christmas He-goat.

It seems that before Santa came into play it was the Christmas he-goat that believed presents. He was a man with a goathead. It seems it comes from the old Pagan god Tor who had goats before his chariot.




So a famous icky thing to eat (ok that is only what I feel) is stockfisk. You started preparing it weeks before xmas.

Something I do like and have to have with my ham are these dishes from carrot and turnip, yum. They are good on the side.
Then you can drink a bit of glögg, I prefer the non-alcoholic kind. I guess it is some sort of spiced wine. And perhaps later as desert eat some Christmas tarts with plum jam in the middle (I usually dig that out).

What also say Christmas is rice porridge, and there is a almond hidden in it and the one that gets it will be married before next Christmas.













But now I must soon be going so I am leaving you with a picture of how it will look like where I am going first to celebrate Christmas. And that is me who wrote Merry Christmas on it. God Jul in Swedish (if you wanna be all fancy and more "oldish" then say Fröjdefull Jul) In Finnish it is Hauskaa Joulua, Hyvää Joulua.



MERRY CHRISTMAS


Lol, I can't help myself, had to get a second picture how it will look like at the second place where I will celebrate xmas this year. Found the perfect one online, it looks just like it :) Flat, fields, red houses and forest.

pics have been removed....



Thursday, 23 December 2010

Review: The Snow Globe - Sheila Roberts

Genre: Fiction
Pages: 176
Published: October 2010

On a blustery afternoon, Kylie Gray wanders into an antique shop and buys an enchanting snow globe.  “There’s a story behind that snow globe,” the antique dealer tells her.  The original owner, he explains, was a German toymaker who lost his wife and son right before Christmas.  When the grieving widower received the handcrafted snow globe as a Christmas gift, he saw the image of a beautiful woman beneath the glass—a woman who would come into his life, mend his broken heart and bring him back to the world of the living.  For years, the snow globe has passed from generation to generation, somehow always landing in the hands of a person in special need of a Christmas miracle.

Kiley could use a miracle herself.  This year, all she wants for Christmas is someone to love.  A hopeful shake leads her on an adventure that makes a believer out of her. When Kylie shares the story of the snow globe with her best friends—two women with problems of their own—they don’t believe it.  But they’re about to discover that at Christmastime, sometimes the impossible becomes possible and miracles really do come true.

Plot:
A snowglobe, 3 women, 3 chances to find what they want.

My thoughts:
This was such a sweet book, and perfect for me since I wanted something about Christmas to read this week and then this one fell in lap.

The miracles are sure there, they can't all be hallucinating. Kylie is the one buying it. She has no job, and no man longer since he left her for her sister. Heart heart longs for something. And the globe is supposed to have given the man it was given to his heart's desire. And since this is a happy sweet book then you know it will be like that. Kylie then passes it so her friend who is so busy and cares only to have the perfect house, but she has something to learn about family. Lastly it passes to the third friend, who is going home to her horrible family for Christmas. All stories were lovely and short. Miracles work fast.

The book was so easy to read, you can just sit down a cold afternoon with some hot chocolate and find a bit of happiness in this book.

As for the miracles, well that is just some strange unexplained magic, and I liked it this way. Nothing was said, so I am gonna think it was Magic Elves who made this globe.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
I would recommend it, it's short, it's sweet and it's a cute little book to read before Christmas, or in the wintertime. I liked Kylie's story the best, but Suzanne's story made the biggest impact, because she learned what is the most important. Allison's story, I might have missed why she got happy there. But all in all, sweet, romantic, and fun.

Reason for reading:
'tis the season
Cover:
Sweet


Oh winners!
The Winter Sea
Velvet and Deborah

The Winter Hop giveaway
Nina

All winners have been emailed :)



Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Review: The Darkest Edge of Dawn - Kelly Gay

Charlie Madigan, 2

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 371
Published: August 2010

It takes a strong woman to keep the peace in a city of endless night. . . .

Deep beneath Underground, a cunning bid for power and revenge has begun—one that threatens to make Atlanta the new battleground in the ultimate confrontation between good and evil. The powers of hellish Charbydon have the upper hand after plunging the city into primordial night. And under the cover of darkness, a serial killer targets the most powerful Elysians in the city, the angelic Adonai. For Detective Charlie Madigan and her siren partner Hank, tracking deadly predators is all in a day’s work . . . but this case will test the limits of their strength and friendship as it draws them into a deadly world of power plays, ancient myths, explosive secrets, and a race against time that risks all that Charlie holds dear.

Plot:
There is a constant darkness over Atlanta, eternal night. Charlie is trying to understand her new powers, while hunting a serial killer, and dealing with her own life.

My thoughts:
I could go on and on how much I enjoyed this book, Kelly is an amazing author. She writes dark books, but still the book feels so light to read. I mean to save this book, since the next is out first in 8 months, but I could no longer fight it. I had to read it.

In this one she is dealing with the knowledge of what she had become, her sister is addicted to ash and sad, her ex is dead and a revenant has taken control over him and stays with them, and I do love Rex. Such a fun character. Then there is the hellhound in the backyard, such a  cutie. And her partner Hank, and oh now there is sexual tension between this that wants to explode. Nice, cos I needed some loving, but then he is a siren and that is what sirens do so she is confused.

Great plot as always, crazy angelic serial killer, that stalks her. More plans that has to do with Elysia and Charbydon, action, and just everything that made me unable to put this book down.

Great characters, and I love that it ends with an ending. Sure there is the big we promise more, but it does nto end with an cliffhanger. So I wont go crazy waiting for the next book, I will just go crazy cos I want it now because she is such a good writer.

Very happy with this book, it delivered just what I wanted and more.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
Yes, of course I recommend this series. It is a stay up late reading book. Just my kind of UF and I will be waiting for the next one and hoping that one rocks too. So go read it now.

Cover:
Very kick-ass.

Reason for reading:
They are awesome!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Reviews: Pride, Prey, Shift - Rachel Vincent

Shifters 3

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 425
Published: 2009

I'm on trial for my life. Falsely accused of infecting my human ex-boyfriend—and killing him to cover up the crime. Infecting a human is one of three capital offenses recognized by the Pride—along with murder and disclosure of our existence to a human.

I'm two for three. A goner.

Now we've discovered a rogue stray terrorizing the mountainside, hunting a wild teenage tabbycat. It's up to us to find and stop him before a human discovers us. With my lover Marc's help, I think I can protect the vulnerable girl from both the ambitious rogue and the scheming of the territorial council.

If I survive my own trial…

I am going to try to make this short, since three reviews will be in this post.

My thoughts:
I did like it better than book 2, which was good too. But here there was just something, the fear about what those idiots would do to her. I did get a bit annoyed by her too, a tiny bit, cos she could just have said that yes I am gonna start having kittens soon and the whole trial could have been over. But that would have killed the plot, but still.

Politics truly play into this book. Malone, one alpha is such an ass, he wants the tabbies at home breeding, and no strays like Marc near the prides. I sure got upset by him and I hope he gets what is coming to him.

Here there is also some strays trying to build their own pride, and going a bit crazy, and the hunt for a young tabby that has come from nowhere.

Tension with Marc too. And we meet another sorts shifter, a bear shifter.

All in all, a really good book that made me wanna pick up the next.


Shifters 4
Pages: 386
Published: 2009

Sometimes playing cat and mouse is no game…

Play? Right. My Pride is under fire from all sides, my father's authority is in question and my lover is in exile. Which means I haven't laid eyes on Marc's gorgeous face in months. And with a new mother and an I-know-everything teenager under my protection, I don't exactly have time to fantasize about ever seeing him again.

Then our long-awaited reunion is ruined by a vicious ambush by strays. Now our group is under attack, Marc is missing and I will need every bit of skill and smarts to keep my family from being torn apart. Forever.

My thoughts:
Here politics still run strong, and Malone is being an ass as always. I can't believe so many alphas are blind to his lust for power. He must be taken down and soon!

Not a lot of Marc since he is missing, and could be dead. But Jace is there and honestly, I like Jace better than Marc now, so want them to be together instead. Jace is just so Jace. I am hoping.

Faythe seems stronger and becomes even more kick-ass, she is maturing, and perhaps she is alpha material after all.

The tabby they rescued wont shift and is dying, but she is a good addition to the books and Faythe does get a softer side by being around her.

A lot of action going on, strays attacking, the hunt for Mark and discovering a big bad plot going on. When I finished I went straight to book 5 cos I just had to read more.


Shifters 5
Pages: 441
Published: 2010

Being the first female werecat enforcer isn't easy. Scars accumulate, but I'm stronger in so many ways.

As for my personal life? It's complicated. Choices worth making always are. Ever since my brother's death and my father's impeachment, it's all I can do to prevent more blood from spilling. Now our Pride is under attack by a flight of vicious thunderbirds. And making peace with our new enemies may be the only way to get the best of our old foe.

With the body count rising and treachery everywhere, my instincts tell me to look before I leap. But sometimes a leap of faith is the only real option….

My thoughts:
Sad things has happened, Ethan died *sniff*, and the Pride is no after Malone's blood. I am urging them on. 

Still no attack, cos this book introduces thunderbirds, oh yes big bad-ass shifters that swoop down and attack Faythe's pride. Why, well that you'll see.

Tensions are on high alert between Faythe, Marc and Jace. And I fear I will be so sad by book 6, she is gonna pick Marc, oh please pick Jace, but then he will surely die or something, and I am gonna be so sad.

Politics, so much politics, evil Malone wants to take the tabbies and rule. What a creep, so they are on trouble from many directions in this one.

Faythe keeps getting stronger. I do like her, such a good heroine, even if she makes mistakes.

Finished this one in a day (ok it helped that I had to spend it in bed), but it was really good, and I truly want Alpha now. But sadly I do not have it, so dang.

But thank you Msbookjunkie for sending me the book :D

Reason for reading these books:
Great series

Covers:
I like them, and so cool that the animal prints are on different places on all, like here, belt, pants, and bracelets.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Review: You dropped a Blonde on me - Dakota Cassidy

Ex Trophy Wives, 1

Genre: Contemporary romance, humour
Pages: 368
Published: Dec 2010

She was the perfect party-planning, haute-to-the max trophy wife. Now Maxine Cambridge is broke, unemployable and living with her mother and teenage son in a retirement village, with her self-esteem kicked to the curb.

Until her geeky former classmate Campbell Barker returns, all grown-up- and off-the-scale smokin' hot. Campbell refuses to believe Max isn't that smart, funny girl he's crushed on since high school. The more Max tries to show him he's wrong, the more she rediscovers her long-retired mojo. Now, she's ready to throw down some payback on her ex-life and fight for what she deserves.

Plot:
Maxine had it all, but then her husband traded her for a younger model and she, thanks to an iron-clad prenup, had nothing. Forced to live with her mother in an retirement village, together with her son. No job, no future, and one big volcano of anger brewing inside of her. Then she meets Campbell Barker, and old classmate, and perhaps there is hope for an ex trophy wife after all.

My thoughts:
I always wanted to read a Cassidy novel, they all look so adorable and this one was sure looked so too.

Maxine is one big mess. She has tried to get every job there is, but not so easy when she has no experience, either than being married to a cheating scum bag. She continues to be a mess too, but with less and less meltdowns. Her ex sure did a number on her, and I kept waiting for him to get what he had coming to him. Cos Max was smart, and sexy, but she could no longer see it herself. She mostly thought her life was over at 40. But there is always a knight in shining armour and that is Campbell in this book, he is hot, and he wants her, and has wanted her since high school. And if anyone needs a hot man lusting after her it's Maxine.

I liked Maxine, sure she freaked over some things, but she was scared. Campbell is one great hero in my eyes, he just kept coming back, and would not give up. Then there are the side characters, like her hilarious mum Mona, and all the rest of the elderly in the village. They spiced up the book for sure. There is also a sidestory about her friend Len, who has mourned her husband for years and a man she meets. A mysterious man who is after something.

This book had romance, and it had humour. Like when she visits WallMart and gets really excited over tampons because they are so cheap. She was never a silly spoiled wife, but still she did have everything catered to her so she forgot how to take care of herself, and she learns that in this book.

One thing though, it took me a while to read it for some reason. Strange, I do not know why. I guess some books just are meant to be read slower.

Final thoughts and recommendation:
To all you romance and humour fans. A fun book about self discovery, and then throw in some passion, an idiot of an ex, a bunch of old people who is not afraid to say what they think, and you got this book. A 3,5 cos I would recommend it, and you know you want to know if that cheating ex gets what he deserves.

Reason for reading:
Her paranormal books look so cute, so of course I wanted to try this one and see how she writes.

Cover:
Cute


Friday, 17 December 2010

Review: The Mind Readers - Lori Brighton

Genre: YA, paranormal romance
Pages: 130, ebook
Published: December 2010

Cameron Winters is a freak. Fortunately, no one but her family knows the truth …that Cameron can read minds. For years Cameron has hidden behind a facade of normalcy, warned that there are those who would do her harm. When gorgeous and mysterious Lewis Douglas arrives he destroys everything Cameron has ever believed and tempts her with possibilities of freedom. Determined to embrace her hidden talents, Cameron heads to a secret haven with Lewis; a place where she meets others like her, Mind Readers.

But as Cameron soon finds out some things are too good to be true. When the Mind Readers realize the extent of Cameron’s abilities, they want to use her powers for their own needs. Cameron suddenly finds herself involved in a war in which her idea of what is right and wrong is greatly tested. In the end she’ll be forced to make a choice that will not only threaten her relationship with Lewis, but her very life.

Plot:
Cameron lives with her grandma and hides the fact that she can read minds from her friends. But then a murder happens, and a strange boy appears, Lewis is mysterious and sees her. Soon she realizes that he can hear her too. He is just like her, and tells her to come away and learn how to use her talents.

My thoughts:
Lori has been one busy woman this fall. First her adult novel The Ghost Hunter and now a YA novel.

A lot is going on in this short novel, and I never know who to trust. First there is strange Lewis who pays her attention. He does not see her best friend, the hottest girl in school. Can she trust him? Can she even trust her own grand mother to tell the truth? Then there is the Mind Readers, and those that want them harm or? Until the last page I can't say for sure who to trust. But that is the point, it creates suspense, and I am always very distrustful. I never trust anyone in a book, cos who knows.

Cameron is a sweet girl, who just wants to be normal. Lewis, the guy falls for, is always so nice to her. Then there is the leader of the Mind readers, the man who always know what to say. Later in the book there is also another character, I am not going to say who, but that person was nice (oh see what I did there, said nothing at all ;)

There is romance, suspense, and more conflicts to come. Because at the end there is a cliffhanger, that is not a cliffhanger, but still feels like a cliffhanger. Confused, well, ok, it ends well and peaceful, but then something happens, something that could mean another book. And that makes me curious.

Final thoughts and recommendation:
It is sweet YA, so nothing big going on there. There is suspense and some action, but nothing too heavy. So if you want a sweet YA book, with a twisting plot and a paranormal theme then this one might be for you.

Reason for reading:
I like her books

Cover:
I think it is stunning

NEWS!

Right now you can get The Mind Readers for 99 cents on Amazon, Smashword and so on.

You can also get Lori's The Ghost Hunter for 99 cent!

But hurry this ends Dec 20th!


Thursday, 16 December 2010

Review: Random Magic - Sasha Soren

Genre: Oh, I can't say, fantasy, humour mix perhaps
Pages: 397
Published: 2010

When absent-minded Professor Random misplaces the main character from Alice in Wonderland, young Henry Witherspoon must book-jump to fetch Alice before chaos theory kicks in and the world vanishes. Along the way he meets Winnie Flapjack, a wit-cracking doodle witch with nothing to her name but a magic feather and a plan. Such as it is. Henry and Winnie brave the Dark Queen, whatwolves, pirates, Struths, and fluttersmoths, Priscilla and Charybdis, obnoxiously cheerful vampires, Baron Samedi, a nine-dimensional cat, and one perpetually inebriated Muse to rescue Alice and save the world by tea time.

Plot:
It just has to be read, but I can give it a try. Alice in Wonderland has gone missing, and Henry Whiterspoon is sent to find her. In a strange land he encounters a young doodle witch named Winnie, gods, demigods, floating cities, and all kinds of weird things.

My thoughts:
By now you have noticed that this is one strange book. Think Alice in Wonderland meets The Hitchhikers' guide to the and whatever other book that is filled with humour and nonsense.

I enjoyed this book because it was just so strange, not too strange, but come on, Alice in Wonderland with mad hatters and bunnies. You know how strange books can be. Here the world seems new, it's not Wonderland, except it is. But we meet a bunch of new characters, the Nine Muses, and one is drunk while another is being chased by Eros. The big bad wolf, Thor, Baba Yaga, vampires, and we get to hear that Hades has lost control over a part of the underworld and that is now a casino.

With many books you can figure out what is going to happen, but with this one, just try because you will fail. New strange adventures are always around the next corner. New fun things waiting to happen, dangers to avoid and Alice to find.

The book is amusing and utterly silly. You can't miss the beginning and the quotes from reviews, those are hilarious and written by the author. Every chapter has this little box about what is gonna happen and I do think those were the best part of the book. I would like to go into the author's mind and see how she thinks. How did she write this funny, illogical, and fantastical book?

Recommendation and final thoughts:
It is not for those that want to walk the straight line in literature. It is the book for those who enjoy the silly, the strange, the weird, the fantastical and just a good adventure. And she is such a good writer and the way she plays with words, oh that brain of hers.

Reason for reading:
I am not one to turn down strange

Cover:
Ok if the artist drew something and did not think about Nicole Kidman I will be amazed.

...................
This book is on tour now and there are prices to win and fun things to do. So check out my tourpost for dates and blogs to visit!



But a few coming stops are:

Dec. 16
Chick Loves Lit
Twitter: @shanynlee
Review
Feat.: ‘The Secrets of Random Magic

Dec. 17

Twitter: @MissIrenne
Review
Feat. ‘Fairy Tale Top 10: Random Magic

Dec. 18

Twitter: @LexieVmp666
Review
and

Twitter: @lafemmereaders
 Magical Covers: Reimagining the cover of Random Magic 
Voting on cover entries
Winning cover revealed on Dec. 20

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Interview and giveaway: Susanna Kearsley with The Winter Sea

Today I welcome Susanna Kearsley to my blog. She is the author of The Winter Sea that I reviewed last week. And at the bottom of this post there is a giveaway, 2 copies.

Welcome to Mur-y-Castell.

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

SK: Let’s see…I’m Canadian, which means I always cross with the light and say “sorry” if you bump into me. I had a very happy childhood with a family I adore, and that happiness has continued for most of my life, the one notable exception being the loss of my only sister to cancer five years ago. I love traveling, reading, and watching live theatre, especially musicals, and when I’m not doing any of those things I live with my husband, two children and dog to the east of Toronto, and spend a few hours a day in my writing-room, making up stories.

Your latest release is called The Winter Sea; can you tell me what it is about?
SK: The Winter Sea is the story of a writer, Carrie McClelland, who’s working on a historical novel about a little-known Jacobite rebellion of the early eighteenth century. She rents a cottage on the northeast coast of Scotland, near the ruins of the castle where her story is set, and starts her book, giving her imaginary main character the name of one of her own Scottish ancestors who lived at the same time. But when she finds out that her ancestor actually lived at the castle, and when the scenes that she’s writing turn out to be more fact than fiction, Carrie begins to suspect that she’s dealing with ancestral memories.

The Winter Sea is a mix of the present and the past. Do you spend a lot of time doing research do get the past right?
SK: I really enjoy the research, so the more time I get to spend doing it, the better! It’s an ongoing thing that begins before I start the actual writing and continues all the way through the book, right to the end of my final revisions. Sometimes the research drives the story along, and sometimes the story veers off in a direction that leads me to new research. That’s part of the fun. A lot of what I learn is never used – I spent countless days studying shipbuilding and naval warfare to find the few details I needed for one or two scenes in the book – but the learning itself is enjoyable, and never-ending.

Do you believe in genetic memory? I certainly enjoyed the idea of it while reading.
SK: Thanks, I’m glad to hear that. I find the whole idea really fascinating, and I think some of the scientific studies being done now on the brain and human memory may teach us interesting things about ourselves. Other animals obviously carry certain complex memories in their genes – migration routes, and nesting sites – so I believe it’s probable we carry memories, too. Just how specific they might be, and how and when we access them…well, those are questions scientists are trying now to answer.

While reading I did wonder if you yourself had any interesting ancestors that you would like to write about…
SK: I do have my share of colorful ancestors! I had several on the Mayflower, including one, John Howland, who fell overboard during the voyage. Luckily, there was a rope trailing in the water and he was able to catch it and hang on till somebody noticed and he could be rescued, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. And another of my Mayflower ancestors, Edward Doty, would have fought the first duel on American soil if he hadn’t been stopped. So even back then, it appears that we didn’t fade quietly into the woodwork… I find my Mayflower ancestors fascinating because they humanize the history for me. They were actually there, on the ship, and they suffered at Plymouth through that first incredible winter. They knew and interacted with the people whose more famous names we all know from the history books. And a few of my ancestors made history in their own way, like Elizabeth Winthrop, whose story has already been told by Anya Seton in her book The Winthrop Woman.

But two of my favorites are lesser-known men. Captain Christopher Hatch, whose family like so many American families was divided by the Revolutionary War, remained a Loyalist and took part in shipping and free-trading off the coast of Maine. As a child I went to visit the grand house he used to live in on the east coast, and the letters that he left reveal an interesting character. The second man is Captain William Marter, who sailed twice to the Orient with the East India Company in the late eighteenth century and left behind ships’ logs that make for some riveting reading, so maybe one day he’ll turn up in a book of mine.
I see that you have written a couple of other books. Could you tell me about those?
SK: The Winter Sea is my ninth book to be published. The first book and the third one are much shorter, simpler mysteries, and are now quite hard to find. But the others, although they all tell different stories and are set in different places, from the borders of Scotland to France’s Loire valley, are all books of romantic suspense and adventure with modern-day characters sorting out mysteries that come from the past. I won’t bore everyone by listing every book here, but each one has a page on my web site, with photos of the location where it’s set, and an excerpt in most cases, so if anyone’s interested in finding out more they can go to my home page, here: http://www.susannakearsley.com/, and click on the “Books” tab and scroll through the titles.  My next book, which comes out in May in the UK, is there, too – The Rose Garden – with two full chapters to preview.

Are you working on something new and exciting right now?
SK: Right now I’m working on a new novel that continues the story of the past characters from The Winter Sea, but uses different present-day characters to uncover the history. I have to confess that, when I read your thoughtful interview of The Winter Sea, I had to smile a little when you were wanting so badly to tell what the one thing was at the end that you wished had been different, and yet you didn’t want to spoil the story. I think I know what it was you were wishing for, and if it makes you feel any better the book I’m writing now is very much Anna’s book, and hopefully you’ll like the way her story ends!

What kinds of books do you read? Any favorite authors?
SK: I read all kinds of books, although when I’m working on a book myself I try to avoid reading things that are too similar, so I’ll read crime novels when I’m writing something historical, for example, or poetry, or non-fiction. As for favorite authors, I have several. Mary Stewart tops the list, and always has, with Nevil Shute a close second. Jan Cox Speas, Anne Armstrong Thompson, Lucilla Andrews – all my comfort reads, and writers whose books hold a place of honor on my shelves. But those shelves are full of other favorites, too. You’ll find Winnie-the Pooh next to Françoise Sagan and Kurt Vonnegut, with Rumer Godden and Gregory Clark just a shelf or two over. A strange group, perhaps, but I love them all.

Any advice for aspiring writers?
SK: The best advice that I can think to give to someone starting out, is to shut out the voices that tell you it can’t be done. Never give up. The French writer Flaubert once said, “Talent is nothing but long patience,” and I’m inclined to believe he was right.

Thanks!
Thank you for having me here, I really enjoyed doing this interview.

The giveaway is now closed.

Now to the Giveaway:
*2 copies of the Winter Sea
*Open to US and Canada
*Ends Monday 20th.

*Ask a question, comment on the interview, or the book. Something to show that you do want this book :) And mostly to make it fun.

*Be sure there is a way for me to contact you, profile, email or something.
THE WINTER SEA BY SUSANNA KEARSLEY – IN STORES DECEMBER 2010
History has all but forgotten…


In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.

Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write.

But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth—the ultimate betrayal—that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her…

About the Author
After studying politics and international development at University, Susanna Kearsley worked as a museum curator before turning her hand to writing. Winner of the UK’s Catherine Cookson Fiction prize, Susanna Kearsley’s writing has been compared to Mary Stewart, Daphne DuMaurier, and Diana Gabaldon. Her books have been translated into several languages, selected for the Mystery Guild, condensed for Reader's Digest, and optioned for film. The Winter Sea was a finalist for both a RITA award and the UK's Romantic Novel of the Year Award, and is a nominee for Best Historical Fiction in the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Awards. She lives in Canada, near the shores of Lake Ontario. For more information, please visit http://www.susannakearsley.com/.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Reviews: Iron Kissed/Bone Crossed - Patricia Briggs

Mercedes Thompson book 3

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 287
Published: 2008

When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it's up to shapeshifting car mechanic Mercy Thompson to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not. And she'll have to choose between the two werewolves in her life-whether she wants to or not.


My thoughts:
This book is about a murder, and we get a closer look at the fairies hiding behind their walls. It also deals with Mercy and her two men, Adam or Samuel. Who is to be. I just love them both, but her not choosing disrupts everything.

I really should have written this review at once, but instead I did not. Why, well one thing is that I needed some time. The book just made me so sad, and it did make me cry. My heart felt for poor Mercy.

Mercy is one tough woman, but here she suffers through something that breaks here. I knew it would happen and when it did, well it was the aftermath that broke me in turn.

The book is well-written and she deals with the pain in a convincing manner. When the book ends I want to go and read book 4 to see how Mercy will handle it all.

A great book. Books do not often make me cry, and I never expected an UF to do so but it did. This book deals with some heavy issues.


Bone Crossed, book 4
Pages: 304
Published: 2009

By day, Mercy is a car mechanic in the sprawling Tri-Cities of Eastern Washington. By night, she explores her preternatural side. As a shapeshifter with some unique talents, Mercy has often found herself having to maintain a tenuous harmony between the human and the not so human. This time she may get more than she bargained for.

Marsilia, the local Vampire Queen, has learned that Mercy crossed her by slaying a member of her clan—and she's out for blood. But since Mercy is protected from direct reprisal by the werewolf pack (and her close relationship with its sexy Alpha), it won't be Mercy's blood Marsilia is after.


It'll be her friends'.

Plot:
Marsilia wants her dead, Stefan is hurt, and Mercy is sent away to investigate a ghost sighting, but only gets more into trouble,

My thoughts:
Mercy is still very lost and hurt, but she has Adam to support her, and in the middle of all this she had chosen him. Though that will to run is still strong. But she does see that he is a great guy and that the pack wants to care for her too, well some of them.

Mercy gets back some of her kick-assness in this book, but she has some way to go still.

I am totally crushing on Stefan after this book, I was all Adam who? after it. Yes Adam is all nice and alpha, but Stefan is, dark. And poor Samuel seems to broken, that poor wolf needs someone to heal his soul.

Good story, ghosts, vamps, and power struggles, and Stefan in the middle of it all.

Final thoughts and recommendation.
Still a Urban fantasy series that I love so much so recommending it to everyone.

Cover:
Well none of the covers really show the real Mercy, but still they are pretty.

Reason for reading:
I love this series


Monday, 13 December 2010

Tradition Post and Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

Ok tradition time again. But first, I am not speaking for the whole country here, as I in the  end belongs to a minority. So some things are for the entire country, some for just my parts, and some things just differ from place to place.

pics have been removed....

"Little Christmas"
This is celebrated on a Saturday before the first of Advent. There is usually a Little Xmas tree (now we just have a tiny plastic one), and it's the first time you feel Xmas is near.

When I was younger we made Little Xmas cards, and then we took those and went from neighbour to neighbour and opened the door and threw them in. Then you had to run as fast as you could so they would not catch you. It was so much fun, but that tradition seems to have died out with my generation ,now I sound really old! But we have not gotten one in the last 10 years, and the thing is, people lock their doors more often now too.) I also usually got a Little Xmas present, this year (haha I am still a kid) a chocolate calendar.








December 6th
This is our Independence Day and it's a quiet celebration. We light candles, and the president holds this big ball, and people usually watch that on tv. There are also soldier parades, and we honour those that fell for our freedom. And they always show Unknown Solider on tv. In the end it's not a day you celebrate, it is more a day that is.


December 13th Lucia Day
How to explain this one then. It's a Saint's day and the only saint we celebrate in the end. One girl is elected Lucia, so she gets this white dress with a red ribbon and she wears a crown of candles. She has her maidens with her, they holds candles in their hands and they sing Lucia songs, and some Christmas songs too. It seems to be an saint we held on, because she brings light at the darkest time of the year, when the sun barely makes it up before setting again. And perhaps  her origin is also from  a Goddess of Light.

Today Lucia has more followers, a few little santas, and Staffan Stalledräng, now what the heck is he, a stableboy? Ok did some digging, he comes from  when young people went around collection money and sang Staffan songs. Seems he comes from Saint Stefan, but since he has horses, perhaps some old God with horses too.

We also eat Lucia buns (not my fave). And a Lucia is elected in every school, city, for the whole of Finland. I never was Lucia, always only a maiden. They always pick the really pretty blonde girls,well or like to.

It's a pagan day mixed with Christian tradition, since you can never get the pagans truly out of us.


As for the real Lucia, she was a Christian martyr from Sicily. Her fiancé turned her in when she gave money to the poor. So she cut out her eyes and sent them to him.

Nightly, go heavy hearts
Round farm and steading
On earth, where sun departs,
shadows are spreading.
Then in our dark house,
(she) arises with lights lit
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia!

Night-darkling, huge and still.

Hark, something's stirring!
In all our silent rooms,
Wingbeats are whisp'ring!
Stands on our threshold there,
White clad, lights in her hair,
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia!

"Darkness shall fly away

Through earthly portals."
She brings such wonderful
words to us all!
Daylight, again renewed
will rise, all rosy-hued!
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia!


Next Tradition post is Dec 24th ;) Edit: yikes, where is my head


And last a short review for 
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
Chaos Walking 3

Genre: YA, dystopian, sci-fi
Pages: 603
Published: 2010

"War," says the Mayor. "At last." Three armies march on New Prentisstown, each one intent on destroying the others. Todd and Viola are caught in the middle, with no chance of escape. As the battles commence, how can they hope to stop the fighting? How can there ever be peace when they're so hopelessly outnumbered? And if war makes monsters of men, what terrible choices await? But then a third voice breaks into the battle, one bent on revenge.

Truth be told I was disappointed. But that happened first at the end. Book 1 was so freaking amazing and I could not put it down. Book 2 was ok but things did not feel the same, and then this third one was ok. But not spectacular anymore.

Though I like how he brings in choice, genocide, feminism, and terrorism into this strange world. Because it is a good world, where the thoughts of men and animals can be heard and there is never silence.

Todd had to free the mayor/president so that he could lead the army against the spackle, the indgineous people of the planet. Behind Prentiss' army is another army, the women's army, they who the men wanted dead because the were silent. Then the spaceships arrive.

So it's a book about war, and terror.

Now why did I not like it, well the last 50 pages you got me mad. I got disappointed in someone and then angry cos in the end I just did not get it. Was it a happy ending, three words does not make it so. it could have been 2 other things too. So after reading 600 pages I wanted it a lot clearer and the whole book just got destroyed by it.


I am so forgetful!

The winners of The Heir by Grace Burrowes are
Melissa (Iswim) and Carrie (hammock)

Congrats! :)

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