Monday, 31 January 2011

Review: A bite to Remember - Lynsay Sands

Argenau, book 5

Genre: Paranormal romance
Pages: 400
Published: January 2011 Gollancz

Rule #1: Never get involved with someone who won't be there for you when the sun comes up.
Once bitten, twice shy, and sexy PI Jackie Morrisey wasn't going there again. Vincent Argeneau may be the hottest guy she's ever met, living or dead, but she's here to stop a killer from turning this vampire into dust, not to jump into bed with him.

Rule #2: Never kiss a vampire...it can be a pain in the neck.
Okay, so Vincent's had four hundred years to perfect his kissing skills, and he does look rather tempting when he runs around the house shirtless. He's also charming, protective...did we mention he can kiss? Jackie needs to be on her guard, or else she'll have to come up with a new rule:

If you're going to fall in love with a vampire, make sure it's a bite to remember.

Plot:
Someone is sabotaging Vincent's plays and to his rescue comes a female PI, sexy, mortal, and with a bit of grudge against immortals. Then his aunt shows up too, because she is afraid that he is lonely and depressed.And she is hinting about life mates.

My thoughts:
Shall I state my do not worry OCD peeps message again, ok. I read book 1 and now I read this one. Were there books in between yes, Vincent's aunt mentioned that his cousins had found life mates but that was it. And the nano thing was explained again and some other things. This book was a perfect stand alone novel. Trust me on this.

Vincent then, an actor, 400 years old, and a bit tired of the hunt, and even sex. He has a disorder that the nanos can't fix. He needs to feed from a source, not bag of blood. He is a hottie, nice and cheery around others. Jackie is all business, good at what she does, and she has been bitten before and doesn't have happy memories of her old lover. But there was chemistry between this couple, even if it took some time for them to act on it.

There is saboteur and the hunt for this person. I kept wondering who it could be, and things will happen. That is all I am saying.

This series is still very light, and with subtle humour here and there. Some romance, passion, danger, and interesting vampires. There was also one great side character and that was Jackie's associate Tiny, this huge guy who loved to work in the kitchen. I could just see him baking his muffins.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
I like this light series, and the Argeneau family. They have a rich history and there are sure certain members of the family whose stories I would like to read. I also liked how easy it was to just jump into this series.

Reason for reading:
I read book 1

Cover:
Ok so i am not a fan of the just face covers, but he does have a very handsome face

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Guest review: No rest for the Wicca - Toni Lotempio

Genre: Paranormal romance / Urban Fantasy
Pages: 310, ebook
Published: 2010
Review by Lis

Communing with the dead is an everyday occurrence for PI Morgan Hawkes. A half-Wiccan witch who can commune with spirits of those caught between worlds, Morgan uses her talents to exorcise the trapped ghost or demon as part of the Paranormal Investigation Squad – until a string of murders with a voodoo slant prompts the Special Forces Agency to ask for her assistance. Someone’s killing pureblood witches- and the SFA’s convinced Morgan’s heritage (her father was a voodoo priest) could be instrumental in solving the mystery. Teamed with dashing SF agent Cole St. John – an Inheritor Vampire that sets her blood racing – the two of them fight their attraction for each other as they race to stop a madman from unleashing a demonic force upon the world.
 
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Ho boy! This book. Holy hopping cows! B. sure does know the books she sends me. This book... it's just. Gah. Now I have to form words to make you understand just how cool this book was. Does B. know was she asks of me?

Alright here goes.

No Rest For the Wicca (bad. Bad title. But fun) is about Morgan Hawkes, half witch, PI, ghost & demon whisper and an all-round sarcastic woman. In fact, if you look up sarcastic in a dictionary there will most likely be a picture of her. Morgan works for the Paranormal Investigation Squad (can you just imagine mentioning your line of work at a party and you have to say that?). Enter the mystery in the form of the killings of pure blood witches – now if that doesn't have an arian sting to it, I don't know – in a ghastly manner.  The Special Forces Agency asks for her assistance in solving the murders. Enter sexy sexy sexy agent and vampire Cole St. John. Did I mention he is sexy? Morgan thinks so too! Together they will have to save to world from a mad idiot with a plan.

This is a book that draws you right in and doesn't want to let you go. You'll be sorely disappointed if this books ends, let me tell you that. The story is a straight up mystery, but the plot moves quickly and it fits. There is quite a lot of world building with interesting creatures you don't normally find in an urban setting. But it is the characters that make this a well above average paranormal mystery. Despite her abilities, Morgan is a very human character who is weighed down by her past. She is a strong, witty, snarky and sarcastic woman who knows how to tell a story.

Cole St. John is her paranormal counterpart who is tortured by his past. He is Morgan's perfect counterpart. He is strong without dominant and he doesn't let her get away with anything. He's also a very seductive character! There are some really steamy scenes in this book that just about made me melt.

So did I like everything about this book? Almost. While the story is wickedly awesome and very very enjoyable, what it lacked was good editing. Yes, here I go again on my rant about e-books and editors. It's a minor thing that doesn't reflect badly on the story. There were a few typos and grammar mistakes, nothing major, but an editor would probably have had a good influence on some of the dialogues.

You also  might have caught my quip earlier about pure blood having an arian sting to it. It's something that I don't quit like, but you see it quite often in (urban)fantasy. The classification of paranormal beings into pure and not so pure. From Harry Potter to about half of the fantasy books out there. There is just something not quite right about saying someone is a pure witch, warlock, wolf or whatever. It made me wonder if authors know the impact of some words. Personally I prefer full blooded to pure. Though, of course, sometimes it fits if a character describes someone as “pure” or if a particularly evil group says so. But  not in a general description. However, this is my hang-up so don't let it stop you from reading this book!

Because this is also a book I can most definitely recommend. It impressed me. So go pick it up!!



Thanks Lis! It sounds good :D

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Guest Review: Pandora's Succession - Russell Brooks

Genre: Thriller, suspense action
Pages: 299, e-book
Published: 2010
Review by Anna The BookWorm

Where would you hide if you learned the CDC and a major pharmaceutical company unleashed a hyperdeadly microbe on the human race?

CIA operative, Ridley Fox, never stopped hunting his fiancé’s killers — a weapons consortium called The Arms of Ares. When an informant leads him to an old bunker outside of Groznyy, Chechnya, Fox is captured and left for dead. When the informant rescues him, Fox learns that his capture was no coincidence: someone had set him up—possibly another government agent. Fox barely escapes after learning that Ares has acquired a hyperdeadly microbe—called Pandora—that is believed to have wiped out ancient civilizations. The trail leads Fox to Tokyo where he discovers that other forces —including agents within Japanese Intelligence—want Pandora for themselves. The only ally Fox turns to is a woman from his past who he nearly got killed.

-------------------

Pandora’s Succession, by Russell Brooks, is the story of an extremely dangerous virus called Pandora. The virus has existed for hundreds of years, but only in recent years an organization called The Arms of Ares has modified the virus in order to sell it to terrorists and other groups, to be used as a biological weapon.


Ridley Fox, who works for CIA, must stop Ares from releasing the virus onto the black market. Fox finds himself in a lot of dangerous situations as he has more than one enemy who want to see him dead. Luckily Fox is an excellent agent, and he is not afraid to use various firearms and different tricks to get out of the situations alive.

In Tokyo the CEO of a medical company, Hexagon Pharmaceuticals, Hideaki Hashimoto, is also the leader of a cult called The Promise. It is the Promise’s intention to release the Pandora virus and kill all the people of the planet. Only the cult members will be saved as they shall live in a bunker while Pandora takes care of the rest of the population. After the Pandora has done its job, the cult members will live a wonderful life together on the “new” planet.

As Ridley Fox finds out, it is not easy to know who is a friend and who is an enemy. Who can he trust? Or can he trust anyone at all? Personally I found it a little difficult to follow all the double agents and moles in the story. People you thought were on Fox’s side turned out to be bad people and vice versa.

Another thing that was difficult for me with the book was the many different names of weapons and helicopters. For example, one of the bad people had a “Px4 Storm Type F Sub-compact Beretta”. That doesn’t tell me anything, except that I know a Beretta is a type of gun. Neither do I know what an AK-74 or an M-11 is.

But what it does tell me is that the author has great knowledge about firearms and weapons. The author also has a BS in Biology and it does show in the book. It all seems so realistic.


I think Pandora’s Succession is a very good book. Well written and with a high speed and a lot of action. I never got bored reading the book. It was difficult to stop reading once you started. All you wanted to do was to read a few more pages and then a few more pages after that to find out whether Fox would survive the dangerous situation or not.

I highly recommend the book for readers who love thrillers and as me, novels about biological weapons, diseases and similar. But at last I need to put in a word of caution: The book contains some very graphic description of what happens to the human body when it is attacked by the virus and how the body looks afterwards. So sensitive readers might want to be prepared for that.


Thank you Anna!

She also added that she would give this book a 4 :)


Edit:
This book is only out in e-book format now but hopefully this spring in paper too.

And Russell mentioned in the comments that if you want to then ask him questions since he is checking them.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Interview and contest: Robin Kaye with Yours For The Taking

Today I have Robin Kaye over for an interview. And at the bottom of this post there is a contest for her new book Yours For The Taking.

Welcome to Mur-y-Castell!


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

RK: That’s a difficult question because I don’t want to come out sounding totally boring. I’m a work-at-home mom of three teenagers. I started writing about 10 years ago because I’d just moved across country with kids between the ages of 3 and 7 and knew no one. I was bored to tears and was slowly losing my mind—writing kept me relatively sane. I’d always written—short stories when I was a kid, songs, really bad poetry, and journals. While researching Jane Austen on line, I discovered a whole new world—Fanfiction. Before I knew it, I began writing a modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice with a twist of Persuasion. My story became popular on the Jane Austen boards. One of the other JA Fanfic writers, a professor at Oxford who taught Jane Austen, read my story and told me I should have it published. After I stopped laughing, I guess the idea took root. The thought of working toward publication had never occurred to me. Once I finished my Jane Austen tome (and believe me when I say it was a tome—a 330,000-word behemoth.) I wrote my first book toward publication, Romeo, Romeo, it won the RWA Golden Heart (a contest for unpublished writers) and I was offered a book deal by one of the final judges. The rest is history.


Your newest book is called Yours for the Taking; can you tell us what it is about?

RK: Yours for the Taking is a marriage of convenience book with a modern-day, urban twist.

Ben Walsh has looks, money and charm but if he wants to keep the one property of sentimental value to him, he needs a wife.

Gina Reyez, a crack shot turn-around expert, doesn’t need or want a husband but accepts Ben’s “strictly business “ proposal because the money will solve problems she intends to keep entirely un-marital. By the time the two find that marriage with benefits can never be “strictly business” their lives are entwined and seriously complicated.

Could you also tell me about your other books in the series?

RK: Romeo, Romeo (Domestic Gods #1), Too Hot to Handle (DG#2), and Yours for the Taking (DG#4) are all books with Domestic Gods as heroes. A Domestic God is a man’s man who sees cleaning as a stress reliever, thinks a vacuum is a power tool, and is as good in the kitchen as he is in the bedroom—always a plus. Breakfast in Bed (DG#3) is about the quintessential anti-Domestic God, Rich Ronaldi, who, after getting dumped by a girlfriend asks his reluctant roommate, Rebecca Larsen, to give him Domestic God lessons. Hilarity (and romance) ensues.

How would your perfect Domestic God be?

RK: I married a Domestic God and because of that, I’m never allowed to complain. When I do, all my friends tell me how lucky I am to have him. My husband not only cleans, does the laundry, and takes care of the yard work, but he’s also remodeling the house (we’re talking the entire house—we have a 100 year-old Victorian). He even cooks when I’m away, sick, or on deadline—he’s not a gourmet cook by any stretch of the imagination but as he says, at least he hasn’t killed anyone yet. Now do you see why I get dirty looks when I complain?

I know he’s exceptional—why do you think I picked him? But sheesh, as good as he is, he’s definitely not perfect. If I could give him a tweak, so to speak, I’d make him more romantic. He’s not very romantic at all, although he has shown some improvement in the 21 years we’ve been married. He didn’t even get me a card on our first anniversary. I got him back for it though, I gave him the evil eye and he ended up having the hiccoughs all day—and I thought the evil eye was a joke. Needless to say, he never did that again!  Other than the romantic thing, the only other improvement would be to make him independently wealthy. Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?


Which hero is your favorite from your books?

RK: That’s like asking me which of my kids is my favorite—it depends on who’s in the room when I’m asked. I love all my heroes but I’m a little fickle. I always seem to fall head over heels in love with my next hero. When I was writing Romeo, Romeo, I fell for Dr. Mike Flynn. He was supposed to be a tertiary character and in one telephone conversation, I knew he was going to be my next hero.  While I was writing Too Hot to Handle and madly in love with Dr. Mike, I “met” Ben Walsh (my heroine’s boss). Ben wasn’t the hero in my third book, because I always had a thing for Richie Ronaldi too. Richie was the hero in Breakfast in Bed, but Ben was never far from my thoughts and even made an appearance in Breakfast in Bed. When I finally was able to write Ben’s book—Yours for the Taking, I was true to form—I met and fell in love with Judge Trapper Kincaid and his brothers Hunter and Fisher. Truth be told, I even have a girl crush on Karma (their younger sister.) Told you I’m fickle!  I just finished Hunter’s book, On the Wild Side and I’m currently in revisions. Next up is Trapper’s book…I wonder who I’ll fall for next. Sigh…I adore my job!


I saw that you have lived in Idaho; did that inspire the settings for this book?

RK: Absolutely, I’m homesick. I began visiting Idaho when I was about 7 years old. My dad and a few of his friends bought a farm close to Boise. Our friends moved to the farm and we stayed in the NY area. We’d visit them and ski Bogus Basin (the mountain just up the road from Boise proper). A year or two later, they bought a condo in Sun Valley and we spent every vacation between Sun Valley and the farm. I remember feeling as if it was the one place I belonged. I was on a chairlift with my dad one day on Bogus when I was 7 or 8. I remember telling him that when I grew up, I was going to live in Boise. He said, “What the heck are you going to do in Boise, you’re from Brooklyn?” I don’t know what I my answer was, but from that day forward my goal was to move to Boise. My husband and I honeymooned in Sun Valley and on our way back to Boise to catch our flight home; I said “I don’t want to leave. Why don’t we move here?” He was all for it and we moved to Idaho 8 months later. We lived there for 10 years and can’t wait to get back. I was really itching to write about Idaho because I miss it so much. I even used my favorite bar in Boise in Yours for the Taking. Humpin’ Hannah’s is a real place and the owners were nice enough to give me permission to use their bar and let me play with it in my book. I just went out for a visit in October and am looking forward to going back. I miss the mountains, the people, the weather… everything.


Are you working on something new and exciting right now?

RK: I’m working on revisions to the first book in a connected series called Domestic Gods Gone Wild. I started with Hunter’s book (Hunter Kincaid is a character in Yours for the Taking)— On the Wild Side takes place in the Sawtooth Recreation Area outside of Stanley, Idaho. Next up is Judge Trapper Kincaid’s book . March 1st is my start date and I can hardly wait!

Give us three reasons why your new book would be the perfect book to read in this winter…

RK: 1. It’s a romantic comedy—a great way to chase away the winter blues.
2. It will keep you warm. There are lots of steamy love scenes.
3. It has a wonderful Happily Ever After – which I think is a necessity at any time of the year.


Any advice for aspiring writers?

RK: 1. Write consistently. I don’t mean you have to write every day. Let’s face it, everyone needs a day off, but consistency is important. I have a crazy, hectic life and sometimes as much as I’d love to write every day, that’s just not doable for me. But I can write five or six days a week. 
2. I love my critique group and think part of growing as a writer is finding a group that works for you. It’s so important to get constructive criticism and learn from it. It gives you good practice for when you’re published.
3. Read everything.


Thanks for stopping by! :-)
RK: Thanks so much for having me. I really enjoyed the interview!



Now to the Contest. I have 2 copies of Yours For The Taking to give away.

1. Open to US and Canada
2. Ask Robin a question, comment on the book, or the interview. Tell me how your Domestic God would be like, or just tell me why you wanna read this book, or something else :) Just a bit more than enter me to make it more fun ;)
3. Ends Feb 3rd



YOURS FOR THE TAKING BY ROBIN KAYE – IN STORES JANUARY 2011

He might be too good to be true…

Ben Walsh shouldn’t be single. Handsome and wealthy, Ben is equally at home in Idaho where he grew up and in Manhattan where he’s now an art dealer. Suave and successful with impeccable taste, he normally has women beating down his door. But the one woman he wants can’t be convinced that he’s for real…

She isn’t sure if she has time for fairy tales…

Gina Reyez has fought for every bit of her success, and it’s about time for things to start going her way. So when Ben makes a proposal that will allow her to take care of her family the way she wants to, she agrees. Besides, a guy this perfect would never be interested in her...right? By the time Gina figures out that she’s read Ben all wrong, the arrangements are made, the papers are signed…but what exactly are they getting themselves into?



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robin Kaye is a professional writer and winner of the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award for her first novel, Romeo, Romeo. Her romantic comedies feature sexy, nurturing heroes and feisty, independent heroines. She lives with her husband and three children in Mt. Airy, Maryland, where she is working on a brand new series for release 2011 and 2012. For more information, please visit www.robinkayewrites.com/.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Review: Fire - Kristin Cashore

Seven Kingdoms, 2

Genre: YA, Fantasy
Pages: 384
Published: 2010 Gollancz

Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.

Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story.

Plot:
Fire is a monster. She is beautiful beyond words, and people either love or or want to kill her.  The animal monsters want to eat her. And the Kingdom of Dell is in trouble and she is called to court to help.

My thoughts: 
This is not a series that needs to be read in order, since this book takes place before book 1 Graceling. And this one takes place in Dell, and they do not even know about the seven kingdoms. But there is a young boy here, a graceling, with a terrible power and he was later in Graceling.

I really enjoyed this book. Which is funny because I did not like Graceling, which was too YA (yes I know but for me it was too much, too simple and too sweet.) While Fire was the opposite. And it did not feel YA either, it walked that line in between. The language was more YA, but the rest not.

And it had such a great heroine, Fire was broken, yet strong, and she did not want to bend people to her will. She would rather be shot (and was) than to stop someone with her mind. And her power was terrible. Some loved the sight of her and wanted to touch her, while other men saw her, knew they could not have her and wanted to kill her. 

The kingdom of Dell was also well-written. There were animals, and then monsters, people would stop in awe and get eaten. They were as terrible and beautiful as Fire.

The book had some wonderful characters, Archer who slept around a lot, Brigan, the prince who leads the armies and who does not trust her. King Nash who wants her the minute he sees her, and more. 

There was also this tone in the book, like I was there but at the same time not. Like I was hearing a story about the beautiful monster who wanted none of the powers she had.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
Do read this one, great fantasy, nice world, and a remarkable woman. The book also shows what beauty can do, and it is not always pretty. A rich world, strange magic, a hint of romance and the struggle for a kingdom.

Reason for reading:
I wanted to give her another go and I am so glad I did.

Cover:
Stunning!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Early Review: The Mistress' House - Leigh Michaels

Genre: Historical romance
Pages: 320
To be published: February 1st 2011 Sourcebooks Casablanca

When the handsome, rakish Earl of Hawthorne buys the charming house across the back garden from his town home, he never expects the lovely lady he installs there to ensnare him completely…

After Lady Anne Keighley marries the earl, it seems a shame to leave the house empty, so she offers it to her childhood friend Felicity Mercer, who discovers that the earl’s gorgeous cousin is precisely the man she’s been waiting for…
 
Finally, feisty Georgiana Baxter moves into the house to escape an arranged marriage, and encounters the earl’s friend Lord Julian Silsby late one night in the back garden. The handsome soldier is more than willing to give her the lessons she asks for…

Plot:
This is not just one story, they all connect, but it is actually three stories. In the first we meet Hawthorne who meets a mysterious woman, who wants a lover. But he ends up falling in love with his Lady Anne. In the next story Anne rents out their former love nest (that is just behind their own house) to a friend who meets the Earl's cousin. And then at last Hawthorne gets a ward who causes a bit of scandal of her own in the house.

My thoughts:
After my last book that I could not focus on I was happy to see that this was not the case with this one. It had me reading the three different stories quickly.

How to review it then, since there are three love stories...I must focus on one at a time. The first one is about Lady Anne who is a widow, and does not want a husband, but a lover might do the trick. I liked her, she was aware of things, but a bit broken too, and then there was Hawthorne, yes we do all love a rake. Since the story about the affair is 100 pages long things do happen quickly. And this is an affair so that works well. This was my fave story of the three, and we do see more of them in the two other stories.

The next one surprised me a bit, I thought Felicity was crazy at first, and so thought Colford. That made this story a bit different. There was a broken heart, and lies from the past. She owned a mill up north, he was of noble birth. And then there was something she wanted that I shall not mention. But again she knew what she wanted, and I liked that about her. And he, well he could not believe his luck. So I liked this one too.

To the third story, not so keen about this one. Georgiana was just too young, naive and innocent, and honestly silly. The other two women knew what they were doing but Georgie, no, and cos of that I just thought Julian should have shown a little more (ok a lot more restraint.) But there was one thing I liked about this one and that was the end. Good solid ending. I liked how Michaels kept surprising me.


Recommendation and final thoughts:
In the end, there was two good stories, and one where I was a bit annoyed at the couple. But I still read the story quickly. A nice romance, and lots of passion, because this is a book about mistresses and they have 100 pages to fill so they filled a lot of that time in bed. I was certainly in the mood for a historical romance. If you want some passion with your romance then this one might be for you.

Reason for reading:
Sounded interesting.

Cover:
Nice, but she looks like enjoys it more. He kind of stares at her back as if he has seen something there, lol.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Review: Warrior - Zoe Archer

The Blades of The Rose, book 1

Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance
Pages: 354
Published: 2010

To most people, the realm of magic is the stuff of nursery rhymes and dusty libraries. But for Capt. Gabriel Huntley, it's become quite real and quite dangerous...

The vicious attack Capt. Gabriel Huntley witnesses in a dark alley sparks a chain of events that will take him to the ends of the Earth and beyond—where what is real and what is imagined become terribly confused. And frankly, Huntley couldn't be more pleased. Intrigue, danger, and a beautiful woman in distress—just what he needs. Raised thousands of miles from England, Thalia Burgess is no typical Victorian lady. A good thing, because a proper lady would have no hope of recovering the priceless magical artifact Thalia is after. Huntley's assistance might come in handy, though she has to keep him in the dark. But this distractingly handsome soldier isn't easy to deceive.

Plot:
There is magic in the world, but people do not know. A select few protect these objects against the bad guys who wants to spread the British rule over the entire world. In comes Gabriel Huntley who delivers a message to Mongolia, and then accompanies Thalia Burgess on a wild hunt.

My thoughts:
The book did have it all, the premise, good thrilling writing, a kick-ass heroine, an alpha hero, it took place in Mongolia (I have sure never read a book taking place there), there was magic, and romance. Still I had too easy putting the book down. Why? I do not know. The book was ok, but it didn't manage to keep my attention that long.

I did like Thalia, raised in Mongolia and now weak 19th century female. She could handle a bow and dressed like the people living there. Huntley was a former army man with a deep sense of duty, and together they made a nice couple.

There was action, bad guys chasing them, The Hammer of Thor (which was really cool), learning about the magical sources in the world, and just riding through Mongolia. There was romance when these two found each other.

But something just did not click. Do not get me wrong, I still rate the book good since I liked all the other things. But I struggled with the reading. I can usually read for hours, now I took breaks every 10 minutes.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
So even if it did not capture me I would still recommend it since it interesting, and I liked the historical and paranormal mix. Perhaps it was not the right time to read it.

Cover:
So I did some googling, yes the zipper was invented 20 years before, but then forgotten, and re-invented 20 years after this book taking place. So he could not have zipper on that jacket...yes that was what I was doing instead of reading.

Reason for reading:
I heard it was good. I do not regret reading it since it was still good..but


Monday, 24 January 2011

Review: Talk me Down - Victoria Dahl

Tumble Creek 1

Genre: Contemporary romance
Pages: 347
Published: 2009

Molly Jenkins has one naughty little secret: her job as a bestselling erotic fiction author. Until her inspiration runs dry—thanks to a creepy ex—and it's time to skip town and move back to tiny Tumble Creek, Colorado.

One look at former high school hunk chief of police Ben Lawson and Molly is back in business. The town gossip is buzzing at her door and, worse still, a stalker seems to be watching her every move. Thankfully, her very own lawman has taken to coming over, often. The only problem now is that Molly may have to let the cat out of the bag about her chosen profession, and straitlaced Ben will definitely not approve.…

Plot:
Molly Jenkins left town 10 years ago, and now she is back thanks to a creepy stalking ex. For 10 years she has been thinking about Ben Lawson, and this time she wants him. But someone still stalks her, the newspaper is gossiping about them, and Ben wants to know what her big bad secret is.

My thoughts:
I do not know how I do it but there is always one genre that I seem to read a lot of in a month, and this month that genre is contemporary romance. It has been a fun month.

I have wanted to try her books for a while now, and thanks to the lovely Stacy I had the chance to. It was fun, smart and sexy.

Molly was fun, sassy, and naughty when it comes to Ben. She has been lusting over him for a long time, and she sure is not afraid to go after what she wants. Poor guy does his best to not be tempted. But these two were bound to end up together, and it does not take long either. Lots of romance and passion there.

There was also something I did not expect, ok yes I read the word stalker, but it was so much more. Who was the stalker really? Things got complicated and dangerous because someone truly did not want her in town. But all this suspense Molly tried to joke away with her humour. Kind of liked that.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
Indeed a good contemporary romance, and it made me want to read the next one where Molly's friend finds love. What can I say, sweet, romantic, dangerous and passionate. She does write books for a living so she is not afraid to speak her mind.

Reason for reading:
I wanted to try more contemporary romance

Cover:
Cute

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Review: Touched by an Alien - Gini Koch

Katherine "Kitty" Katt, book 1

Genre: Sci-fi romance
Pages: 389
Published: 2010

How can a sexy marketing manager join forces with an Alpha Centauri male in Armani to save the planet-using hairspray, a Mont Blanc pen, and rock n' roll?

Easy...

She's Touched by an Alien

Marketing manager Katherine "Kitty" Katt steps into the middle of what appears to be a domestic dispute turned ugly. And it only gets uglier when the man turns into a winged monster, straight out of a grade-Z horror movie, and goes on a killing spree. Though Kitty should probably run away, she springs into action to take the monster down.

In the middle of the chaos a handsome hunk named Jeff Martini appears, sent by the "agency" to perform crowd control. He's Kitty's kind of guy, no matter what planet he's from. And from now on, for Kitty, things are going to be sexy, dangerous, wild, and out of this world.

Plot:
Katherine sees a man turn into a monster and acts, she kills it. That is only the beginning. There are aliens on earth, super-model looking aliens who fight other evil aliens. And because of her quick thinking they want her to join them. And when everyone is super hot a girl is sure intrigued.

My thoughts:
I was a bit unsure in the beginning, but then Martini started to flirt, he was relentless, and I found him utterly adorable. He won me over and I enjoyed the rest of the book.

Kitty was cool, kick-ass, and very smart. I liked her, how could I not, she was fun and nice. Martini was, oh, how to describe him. He was her, smiled and told her that they were meant to be. Not in a creepy stalker way, but it was just perfect. There was something very funny over the whole thing too.

She came into the whole alien thing fast, sure some could say too fast, but this book was about humour too and therefore it worked like a charm. Some big secrets followed, and I liked those too. I wish I could talk about one amusing thing, but oh oh spoiler so perhaps I will leave that until my next review.

There is also Mr Glare, ok Christoper, but he does glare at her a lot. I didn't like him at first, then suddenly I melted into a little puddle. Kitty's mum is great, her dad, and the rest of the side characters.

What can I say, I was amused, and I did not want to put this book down. I am glad I read it.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
Do read it, everything takes place on earth, there are hunks in Armani and some bad aliens that they are trying to kill.


Reason for reading:
I saw it on so many blogs, and I was so curious, so yes pure peer pressure 

Cover:
I like it

Friday, 21 January 2011

Review: Body Check - Deirdre Martin

New York Blades 1

Genre: Contemporary romance
Pages: 336
Published: 2003

This game's going into overtime.
Janna MacNeil is a publicist on a mission to change the image of the bad boys of hockey: the Stanley Cup Champion New York Blades.

Ty Gallagher is a captain on a mission— to get his team to win the Cup again... at any cost. His determination is legendary, as well as his unwillingness to toe the corporate line.

When the persistent publicist and the stubborn captain butt heads, it's hard enough to crack the ice. But they may end up melting it instead...

Plot:
The New York Blades has been bought by a company that wants a family friendly team, so they hire Janna to work on the players. Both there is conflict at once between her and the captain, Ty. And attraction.

My thoughts:
I seem to be reading a lot of contemporary romance lately, and I do like that. Just normal people falling love and so on. Sweet.

I did like the main characters. Janna was very driven, but at the same time she was very insecure and did not think she could accomplish what she wanted. Ty was stubborn, a leader, and I liked him. He was also afraid. He had been burned, and felt that women stole the determination he needed to win. But there was passion between these two, even if one person was a stubborn ass sometimes ;)

One thing though, there was a certain situation, and I did not think it was dealt with like it should have been. I wanted more. It was a side-story, and now I am really cryptic as always.

Hockey (oh yes I do not watch it, but I like it, we are a hockey-nation), romance, a certain side-story, and some drama at the office. Some just do not play nice.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
If you want a nice romance with sports in it then this might be for you. I enjoyed it, and did read it fast.

Reason for reading:
Oh I blame it all on Patti ;)

Cover:
It's not bad, it's ok, just not me.


PS:
The Winners of The Perfect bride for Mr Darcy
Margay and Alexis

And the books are on their way to you both now :)





Thursday, 20 January 2011

Review: By Fire, By Water - Mitchell James Kaplan

Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 320
Published: 2010

Luis de Santángel, chancellor to the court and longtime friend of King Ferdinand, has had enough of the Spanish Inquisition. As the power of Inquisitor General Tomás de Torquemada grows, so does the brutality of the Spanish church and the suspicion and paranoia it inspires. When a dear friend’s demise brings the violence close to home, Santángel is enraged and takes retribution into his own hands. But he is from a family of conversos, and his Jewish heritage makes him an easy target. As Santángel witnesses the horrific persecution of his loved ones, he begins slowly to reconnect with the Jewish faith his family left behind. Feeding his curiosity about his past is his growing love for Judith Migdal, a clever and beautiful Jewish woman navigating the mounting tensions in Granada. While he struggles to decide what his reputation is worth and what he can sacrifice, one man offers him a chance he thought he’d lost…the chance to hope for a better world. Christopher Columbus has plans to discover a route to paradise, and only Luis de Santángel can help him. 

Within the dramatic story lies a subtle, insightful examination of the crisis of faith at the heart of the Spanish Inquisition. Irresolvable conflict rages within the conversos in By Fire, By Water, torn between the religion they left behind and the conversion meant to ensure their safety. In this story of love, God, faith, and torture, fifteenth-century Spain comes to dazzling, engrossing life.

Plot:
The blurb is good one

My thoughts:
This was such a beautifully written book, readers often say that it felt like they were there. But this one truly brought that out. There was a movie slowly playing in my head while reading this book.

Luis de Santángel is rich and powerful, but three generations back he was a Jew and being a Jew or of Jewish origin in 15th century Spain is dangerous. Converted Jews are being hunted, those still holding on to their faith suffer under taxes. The Spanish inquisition was truly cruel. It is an era I have not actually read about before and it brings danger and drama, it gives flavour to this book.

The history in this book about how he starts having these talk about the Jewish faith, then another man joins, and there things get out of control. Suffering will follow. I could go on and on about religion and so on. But I will keep it short and say that some people back then were idiots for the things they believed, I wanted to go back and shout at them. And then I would have been burnt at the stake. The things done and said in religion are the things that truly make me lose faith in mankind. Ok I will end it there before I go all philosophical.

There is also a hint of romance, he meets a silver-smith, a Jewess in Granada. But Granada is about to fall soon because Ferdinand and Isabella wants a Christian kingdom that covers the whole of Spain.

It's a story about faith, murder, persecution, and the idea about the Garden of Eden and how Christopher Columbus meant to find it.

In the end it is one of those times that I just feel that my words alone cannot bring justice to this book.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
I do love language, and hear that really shines through. He has written a book that echoes times gone by. He brings a presence to this book and I read little by little, not too much at once. This is a book to read slowly.

This is a book for all historical fictions fans, and the rest of you that appreciate a well-written book and story.

Reason for reading:
Everyone loved this book, and that sure made me curious.

Cover:
I do like it.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Review: Room - Emma Donoghue

Genre: Fiction
Pages: 402
Published: 2010

This is the story of a mother, her son, a locked room and the outside world. Jack is five and, like any little boy, excited at the prospect of presents and cake. He's looking forward to telling his friends it's his birthday, too. But although Jack is a normal child in many ways - loving, funny, bright, full of energy and questions - his upbringing is far from ordinary: Jack's entire life has been spent in a single room that measures just 12 feet by 12 feet; as far as he's concerned, Room is the entire world. He shares this world with his mother, with Plant, and tiny Mouse (though Ma isn't a fan and throws a book at Mouse when she sees him). There's TV too, of course - and the cartoon characters he thinks of as his friends - but Jack knows that nothing else he sees on the screen is real. Old Nick, on the other hand, is all too real, but only visits at night - like a bat - when Jack is meant to be asleep and hidden safely in Wardrobe. And only Old Nick has the code to Door, which is otherwise locked...Told in Jack's voice, "Room" is the story of a mother's love for her son, and of a young boy's innocence.

Plot:
Read the blurb. It's a good one.

My thoughts:
I was actually afraid to start this one, I was scared that it might be too much. Some things I just do not want to read bout. But everyone just loved it, and I was told it wasn't horrific. So I had a look at it, and could not put it down. I did anyway and saved it. The next time I took it up I could again not put it down, I read and read, at one time I was in such an uncomfortable position, but I read on. That is how good it was. The next day I could not turn my head to my left side. That kinds of sum it up how this book just sucked me in.

What saved the book from being too much for me, was that it was told through Jack, and he did not know what was going on. He only knew that Room was everything, and there was no Outside. He did not know TV was real either. And the only time there is that feeling that make you sick to your stomach is when he is sleeping in the wardrobe and hears the cringing from the bed. There we hear the horror, but we do not see it.

The book was unique and gripping. He was a boy who had only ever talked to his Ma, so I liked how the author made him express things. He was so innocent at the same time, and only later we fully see the trauma his Ma has experienced.

I am sure I could go on and on, but I will keep it short. Trust me, read this book. If I had read it last year it would have shared by Best book of the year spot with another. It was just that good.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
Remarkable, worth reading, and a book that I (almost) read in one sitting. It was impossible to put down, or to stop thinking about. So read it.

Reason for reading:
I had heard so much

Cover
For once I do not feel the need to be snarky

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Review: The Queen of Last Hopes - Susan Higginbotham

Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 400
Published: Jan 2011 Sourcebooks Landmark

It would be called the Wars of the Roses, but it all began with one woman's fury...

Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England, cannot give up on her husband-even when he goes insane. And as mother to the House of Lancaster's last hope, she cannot give up on her son-even when all England turns against him. This gripping tale of a queen is at its heart a tender tale of love: passionate, for her husband, and motherly, for her only son.

Plot:
The War of the Roses, ok I will do my best. Margaret of Anjou was married to Henry VI from the house of Lancaster. Together they had a son Edward. Henry was mad, other people wanted power because they all descended from the same king. Warwick, the king-maker plotted with the Duke of York, and what follows is battles, the king being captured, Margaret plotting for her husband and son, more battles, people turning sides etc etc. King Edward IV. Exile, plotting, and then I will not even go into the whole plotting inside the York camp and when they kill each other.

My thoughts:
This was my second Higginbotham book and I do enjoy her books. They are so rich in history, and so full of detail. Sure I was lost a bit in the beginning. How could I not be, all these people plotting were cousins, so cousin killing cousin, cousin marrying cousin, brother killing brother. Always switching sides, but all the major players are listed in the book so it felt good to go and have a look at that. The War of the Roses will always be one big mess, but Higginbotham makes a good job explaining it all, and I do think I got it now.

I have read other books, yes more Yorkist books, so I never thought much about Margaret. But she was so young, and her husband went mad so early. The people hated her and said that her son was not the kings. I felt really sorry for her because her whole world just crumbled under her. I also saw her with new eyes, because those who win write the history and she has not been looked upon with gentle eyes. But then the women are always the weak spot and get all the blame.

I even turned into a Lancastrian, they had the right to rule. Still a mad king is not a good king, so I am a bit of a Yorkist there. But as usual, Warwick is an evil man, and I just have to like Edward IV. I also have to mention Henry Beaufort, the Duke of Somerset, I even had a bit of a crush on him, and I did like that Higginbotham took some creative freedom and played a bit with him.

A great book, you are there, you are on the side of the House of Lancaster and look at things from their point of view. Margaret is the main character, but instead of letting her tell it all, there are some other POVs, Somerset among others. And I did like that, because then you really were on all those battle fields.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
I do recommend her books to all historical fiction fans, and the rest of you too. They are just so good, and I just become more and more interested in The War of the Roses. A messy period in time turns into one great story.

Reason for reading:
I really enjoyed her last book, The Stolen Crown (Go York ;)

Cover:
Meh

Monday, 17 January 2011

Review: Yours for the Taking - Robin Kaye

Genre: Contemporary romance
Pages: 384
Published: Jan 2011 Sourcebooks Casablanca


Gina is convinced that he is either gay... or her perfect match

Administrative assistant Gina accepts a marriage of convenience with gallery owner Ben Walsh so she can get out of debt. Besides, with his beautiful apartment, art collection, and impressive culinary skills, Gina's convinced the sexy bachelor is gay. Ben needs to be married before the year is out to prevent his grandfather from selling his inheritance, so he takes Gina to meet his grandfather in Idaho-or, as the city girl refers to it, Hell on Earth. But there Gina realizes Ben's every bit a hot, straight man, and Ben begins to think a real marriage with Gina just might be possible after all...

Plot:
Good blurb.

My thoughts:
This is the fourth book in the Domestic Gods series, but I promise you dear book-OCD people, it works wonderfully as a stand-alone.

Gina is as he calls is a fiery little Latin pixie. She is sure stubborn, and she is used to taking care of herself. She doesn't need help from anyone. Ben is the perfect man, so she believes he is gay. Because he can dress (well not in Idaho she finds out), he can cook, and he is everything a man should be. He needs a wife, she doesn't want to marry, but he does offer her a lot of money and since he is "gay" what is the harm.  That is the twist, she thinks he is gay, but will find out that he is not when certain areas of him does not behave ;)

It was a sweet, dramatic and passionate romance. It starts of rocky, then it gets passionate when she realizes what is going on, and then it gets dramatic because they married for all the wrong reasons. It is not a way to build a relationship on. And she has some big issues going on with her past.

I really enjoyed reading about them in the mountains at his ranch, and that was lovely. And while there she meets his extended family. Those men have some potential for sure. They kind of scream, write about us too! I hope she does.

My own issues, not much really, I guess it did bother me that she went to thinking he is gay at once. But hey we needed the drama, and she was a bit broken inside, but the better for him to try to fix her.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
A great contemporary romance. I would say give it a go, there are great men, romance, and in this one, a bit of a cowboy vibe. I do like a man in a hat. It was a good book, hard to put down, and a couple that belonged to each other, but could not see it.

Reason for reading
I have heard good things about the previous books

Cover:
It is a bit too white for me, but I like the flowers, perhaps they picked them at the ranch :)



PS. Robin Kaye is coming by on the 28th for an interview .

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Guest Review: The Hawk and His Boy - C.H.Bunn

The Tormay Trilogy, book 1

Genre: Fantasy, YA
Pages: 162, ebook
Published: 2010
Review by Lis

One night in the city of Hearne, a young thief named Jute is instructed to break into a wizard's house and steal an old wooden box. It sounds like a straightforward job. Climb down the chimney, creep through the house, find the thing and get out fast. Unbeknownst to the boy, however, the box contains the knife that killed the Wind. Overcome with curiosity, Jute opens the box and sets off a chain of events that soon has him on the run from the wizard, his old masters in the Thieves Guild, and their client, who happens to be the Lord of Darkness himself. On his odyssey of escape, Jute is aided by an unlikely assortment of friends, including a guilt-ridden assassin, a reluctant wizard, and a hawk who just might be able to teach him how to fly. But the Darkness will do anything to find Jute, even if it means plunging the whole land into war.

------------------

Whoa boy! It's been a while since I came across a fantasy book like The Hawk and His Boy. I was plagued by a little bit of doubt and head scratching before I started this book. Mainly because it has been a while since I read fantasy. But I needn't have worried. This was a refreshing story and well worth time it took to read it!

The Hawk and His Boy  is the first in a trilogy set in a world far far away. This is the story of Jute a thief instructed to steal a box from a wizard with stern instructions not to open the book (remember that one folks? Pandora's box? Anyone?). Of course Jute, who has special abilities that make him an expert thief, opens the box. Well, not quite, it opens for him, but the dam is broken and trouble comes crashing through. Suddenly Jute's world is turned topsy turvy and he's on the run for characters that shady doesn't even begin to describe.

Jute is a very nice, interesting, funky and sympathetic character. He is joined by several other characters including Knife, a wizard and girl from half a world away with the ability to talk to animals. I liked the assortment of characters, but found they sometimes lacked sufficient presence. Fortunately none of the characters are flat, in fact they are nicely filled, though as in all fantasy stories they have a role to play. However, you do have to get used to the head hopping. I found that I've grown used to stories where there is only head hopping between two characters. (Yup, I confess, I'm a romance addict!)

The story itself is not your typical fantasy story, although there is a great evil lurking that just asks to be kicked ass. The story is as refreshing to the genre as water is in the desert.

The world building in this story is exquisite and gives you a good view into the setting that is sometimes not easy to read. The world these characters live in almost made me cry. This is where the sympathy for Jute comes from. This is also a world full of mysteries that has you wondering and your mind scrambling to unravel them!

 Fortunately for us, this book leaves us with a nice ending and not standing on the edge of a humongous cliff. The Hawk and His Boy is most definitely a book I would recommend. Mind you, it's more YA, but it is a good read and I can't wait for the second instalment of the Tormay trilogy!




Thank you Lis!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Who is Blodeuedd? What is Mur-y-Castell? I finally tell it all! + mini review

I have been asked, and asked, but why have I never posted? Uh, beats me. Anyway, no, I am not Welsh, I have never been to Wales (would love to go though), and no my name is not Blodeuedd either. And yes I do know how to spell castle, there is nothing wrong with the name of the blog.

The truth will finally come out. It's from a tale in the Welsh epos The Mabinogi.



There once was a prince named Lleu, and his mother said he could not marry a mortal woman. Poor Lleu, but in comes Gwydion and Math, and create a woman for him from oak, broom, and meadowsweet, and they call her Blodeuedd, meaning flowers. She was the fairest of them all. But Blodeuedd fell in love with someone else and together they tried to kill her husband. Which is not easy, because he could not be killed by usual means, but they did it. Gwydion and Math manage to save Lleu and then they come after Blodeuedd:

"You will not dare to show your face ever again in the light of day ever again, and that will be because of enmity between you and all other birds. It will be in their nature to harass you and despise you wherever they find you. And you will not lose your name - that will always be "Bloddeuwedd (Flower-face/owl)."

So they changed her name and she became an owl.

Middle Welsh composite name from blodeu 'flowers, blossoms' + gwedd 'face, aspect, appearance': "flower face".

There are some variations on how to spell her name, and when she is called what and so on, but this is one version.

I forgot, thanks Pattepoiliou (oh I can't spell your name so you are not alone :) and Bermudaonion!

blod-EH-yeth

That is how you say it, I found different variations of that one too ... 

And why I picked it. I used it in a story I was writing. Then like 9 years ago I needed a name for this Lord of the rings forum, all the LOTR ones were taken so I used Blodeuedd. Then I used it on another forum, and then on another. After that it was just easy to keep using the name.

Then on to Mur-y-Castell:
Llet Llaw Gyffes held court at Mur-y-Castell according to the Mabinogion. It was the palace of the rules of Arduwy.










The place is now called Tomen-y-Mur and there used to be a Roman fortress there.

Castell should mean castle, mur wall, something established. Y...some small word, ahem, yes I do not know ;)



And now time for a short review:

The unmentionables 1

Genre: Chick-lit paranormal humor
Pages: 320
Published: 2010

Seven Stones of Power. No one knows when they were created or by whom, each said to represent one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

For centuries, treasure hunters have been eager to possess the stones, undeterred by their corrupting nature. The list is long -- Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, to name a few. Now the Stones have found their way to Salem, Massachusetts, and so has Gerwulf Grimoire, adding himself to this rogues' gallery of power seekers. He's an uncommonly dangerous man, with a hunger for the forbidden, and a set of abilities that are way beyond ordinary. Abilities that he feels entitle him to possess anything he might desire.

That would include Elizabeth Tucker, the woman he needs to find the Stones. She's freshly transplanted from New York City to Boston's North Shore. With a new job as pastry chef at Dazzle's bakery and an old house inherited from her Aunt Ophelia, her life is pretty much on track …until it's suddenly derailed by a guy named Diesel, a rude monkey, and a ninja cat.

Lizzy can handle the monkey and the cat. She's not sure about Diesel. He's offering up his own set of unusual talents, promising to protect her from Grimoire. The kind of protection that Lizzy suspects might involve guarding her body day and night.

The Seven Deadly Sins are pride, greed, lust, envy wrath, sloth and gluttony. That pretty much covers everything that is wicked. Diesel thinks it also pretty much covers everything that's fun. And Lizzy thinks Diesel and the Seven Deadly Sins cover everything her mother warned her about.


I think it's good there was a long blurb cos I was not happy. I read about 50-100 pages, got scared that I had to DNF, so I skimmed the rest. Why? Well I will tell you.

I never liked Diesel in the in between Plum novels. I had read plenty of Plum novels and suddenly there was a paranormal twist in the in-between numbers novels. I did not like it, why was there suddenly magic and stuff?! I read them, didn't really care for them and thought of them as her being high on doughnuts.

Which lead to this book. I could have liked it, I even giggle once, but the thing is that is was still the Plum world, and I do not want magic there. It felt like she did it just to sell more cos it was big. If this book had been a new world I might just have enjoyed this tale. Now, no!

Lizzy, well first I thought oh she saw magic and did not freak, but then I got that she just didn't believe, and then I just thought she was stupid. If there is plenty of magic around you do not go around and think how did that happen. It was so obvious. So she was an idiot.

And the monkey was funny once, but giving them the finger on every page gets boring.

I have totally dissed this book, but if you read this one, and do not know about the Plum world, then I am sure you will like it. Even Plum lovers will love it...I just can't handle it.

Will I read more...yes cos I can't give up on her, not even with these books.



Friday, 14 January 2011

Interview and giveaway: Mary Lydon Simonsen with The Perfect Bride for Mr Darcy

Today I have the author of The Perfect Bride for Mr Darcy over.  There will also be a giveaway of two copies at the bottom of this post. But first, please help me welcome Mary Lydon Simonsen.

Welcome to Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell!


Tell me something about yourself, so we can get to know you better.

First, thank you for having me as your guest. Now to answer your question. I am the perfect example of someone who developed a second career relatively late in life. As a working woman, I was a legal secretary and special education assistant, but after taking early retirement, I started to write a novel which would eventually become Searching for Pemberley, my first novel for Sourcebooks, in my mid fifties. It goes to show you that it’s never too late to begin again. Of course, I’m not talking about trying out for the Olympics.

Your newest book is called The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy; could you tell me what it is about?

I chose to use two minor characters to advance the plot of my Pride and Prejudice retelling. The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy is faithful to Austen’s novel in that the set-up of the story is the same: Darcy proposes to Elizabeth at Hunsford, and she rejects him because of his arrogance, his interference in Jane and Bingley’s romance, and his supposed mistreatment of George Wickham. So that’s the end of their romance. Right? Not exactly.  Darcy’s cousin, Anne De Bourgh, realizing that Elizabeth is perfect for Darcy, puts a plan in place to bring the pair together at Pemberley. Along the way, she enlists the aid of Georgiana Darcy as well as Colonel Fitzwilliam and even their rascal cousin, Earl Fitzwilliam. Although there are difficulties, my goal was to write a light-hearted story.

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

This is a question that every author dreams about getting. My first novel, Searching for Pemberley, takes place in post World War II England where American, Maggie Joyce, finds her own Mr. Darcy.  Anne Elliot, A New Beginning, is a parody of Austen’s Persuasion, and I had a ball writing it. Anne becomes a long-distance runner, and the confidence she gains from that experience, changes everything—everything except her love for Captain Wentworth. Finally, I wrote a modern, non-Austen romantic comedy, The Second Date, Love-Italian American Style, that takes place in the late 1980s in the Italian-American community of North Jersey where I grew up.

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

I have been in love with Jane Austen’s writings since I first read Pride and Prejudice in 1969, so Jane and I have been together for more than four decades. For years, I had been thinking about writing an Austen tie-in because Austen is one of those writers who doesn’t detail every single thing, allowing your imagination to fill in the blanks. Over the years, I have imagined many “what ifs.” In addition to The Perfect Bride, I have another novel coming out in July, A Wife for Mr. Darcy. Realizing that he was rude and had given offense at the Meryton assembly, Mr. Darcy apologizes the next day to Elizabeth. Because they don’t start out disliking each other, their romance goes off on a different trajectory. But the course of love never does run smooth or it would be a very short novel.

Are you working on something new and exciting right now?

I have several irons in the fire: a time travel in which a modern  P&P enthusiast travels back to Regency England, Mr. Darcy visiting New York where he meets American Elizabeth Bennet, and a post World War I story where Darcy and Elizabeth meet in a hospital. I don’t lack ideas; I lack time.

Which Austen heroine do you most feel like?

I would like to say Elizabeth Bennet because she has spunk, and I admire spunk. But I’m more like Anne Elliot. I tend to let events come to me, but Anne did end up with Captain Wentworth, one of my favorite heroes in all of literature.

Which Austen hero would be your perfect match?

Again, I will have to go with Captain Wentworth. Despite a separation of eight years, Frederick remained faithful to Anne Elliot in his heart and mind. I would always know that such a man would be there for me. Such devotion provides a foundation for a person to grow. I know this from personal experience. (Thanks, Paul.)

Do you have any insight into why we all love Mr. Darcy so much?

Hmmm. Let me think? Wildly in love with Elizabeth, devoted to those he cares about, good brother, excellent master, a man capable of reform, rich, handsome, a person of rank, portrayed by Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen, master of Pemberley. Should I keep going?

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Getting published is a hard business, so I would tell writers to remember why they started writing in the first place. Keep reminding yourself that this is something you love to do, so do it for that reason. Everything else is a bonus.

Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure.

Thank you :)


Now to the giveaway. Thanks to Sourcebooks I have 2 copies of The perfect bride for Mr Darcy to give away.

GIVEAWAY CLOSED
Rules:
1. Open to US and Canada
2. Ask Mary a question, comment on the book, the interview, or just tell me which is your fav Jane Austen hero or heroine. Or who would be perfect for you. In the end just something more than enter me  :)
3. Ends January 19th
4. And last, if your email is not in your profile, then leave it here or just email me it. So I do not need to hunt you down if you win (which I will still do anyway but still :)




THE PERFECT BRIDE FOR MR. DARCY BY MARY LYDON SIMONSEN – IN STORES JANUARY 2011

If the two of them weren’t so stubborn…

It’s obvious to Georgiana Darcy that the lovely Elizabeth Bennet is her brother’s perfect match, but Darcy’s pigheadedness and Elizabeth’s wounded pride are going to keep them both from the loves of their lives.

Georgiana can’t let that happen, so she readily agrees to help her accommodating cousin, Anne de Bourgh, do everything within their power to assure her beloved brother’s happiness.
But the path of matchmaking never runs smoothly…


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mary Lydon Simonsen’s first book, Searching for Pemberley, was acclaimed by Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and RT Book Reviews. She is well loved and widely followed on all the Jane Austen fanfic sites, with tens of thousands of hits and hundreds of reviews whenever she posts. She lives in Peoria, Arizona where she is working on her next Jane Austen novel. For more information, please visit http://marysimonsenfanfiction.blogspot.com/ and http://www.austenauthors.com/, where she regularly contributes.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Review: Kiss at Your Own Risk - Stephanie Rowe

Genre: Paranormal romance
Pages: 384
Published: Jan 2011 Sourcebooks Casablanca

Trinity Harpswell is a cursed Black Widow-death and mayhem are all part of the job description. If she can manage to go just one more week without accidentally killing someone, she'll break this killer curse and put her Black Widow days behind her. When sexy Blaine Underhill III shows up at her door and asks for her help rescuing his friend from the clutches of Death's evil grandma, Trinity gets pulled into a daring high stakes adventure. As Blaine and Trinity join forces to take down a series of underworld assassins, they may just learn that love is the deadliest game of all.

Plot:
Trinity is cursed, and if she kills for the 5th time she will be unstoppable, every time she falls for a guy she kills him, but if she only makes it one more week she will be free. But then her dad gets into trouble, and there is a serial killer in town, on top of it all sexy Blaine shows up and offers her a deal. Now she must try to hate him for a week so she wont kill him by accident.

My thoughts:
There was sure a lot going on in this book, and I liked that. It was strange, funny and utterly weird sometimes.

Trinity is really sweet and she hates her curse. Every time she falls for a man she goes into killing mode. While Blaine is angry tormented and hate women. He has been tortured for 150 years by an evil witch. Here is the funny part, I kind of understood Angelica, the evil witch doing the torturing. She just wants to create nice men that are kind to women. Ok wrong method, but still, not even when she sent her cute killer dogs after Blaine and his friends I could hate her.

It was a strange world that I would have liked to explore more. There seems to be magical dimensions, and our world. Death, or Prentiss that is his real name, took over the Death contract and got that job that way. There are nasty assassins running around killing, there werewolves, vampires, trolls, it's a full world. By the way, I liked Death, sure he was an utter ass-hole that had a harem of women, and they never got any satisfaction from him, but still he was so funny.

Among all this magic, there is humour and that really sets the tone for the book. It is just so amusing.

One problem I had thought was that Blaine was so angry and male, did he learn nothing while tortured *coughs* silly question. But the whole I will kill you think, meh, then again it had to be that way. But he did lose a few points there.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
I was so amused, I do like funny paranormal romance, so I would recommend this to others. It's a 3,75, that could have been a 4. I would sure like to read more from this world and explore it, and meet Death again. Perhaps he will learn a lesson about dealing with women.

Reason for reading:
Sounded fun

Cover: 
Not to my liking, but it fits cos he can make fire

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