Friday, 29 April 2011

Early Review: Wickedly Charming - Kristine Grayson

Genre: Contempory paranormal fantasy fairy-tale romance
Pages: 352
Publication: May 1st 2011 Sourcebooks Casablanca

Cinderella's Prince Charming is divorced and at a dead-end in his career, so he opens a bookstore and travels the land ordering books and discovering new authors. Still handsome and still charming, he has given up on women, royalty, and anything that smacks of a future.

Mellie is sick and tired of being called the Evil Stepmother. She did her best by her stepdaughter Snow White, but the girl resented her to no end and made all kinds of false accusations. Neither of them believes in happily ever after anymore, but both of them believe in happily for the moment...


My thoughts:
I found this book charming and sweet. It was fun to read, and I liked her takes on fairytales and what isn't always told in them.

It takes place in our world, but what we do not know is that there are more magical kingdoms in another dimension of some sort. Prince Charming left his kingdom, because what else was there to do than to wait for his dad to die. These "fairy-tale" characters also live for a long time. He went through a painful divorce with his Ella, it was not a match made in heaven. Poor Charming is sure charming but he is also a nerd that loves books (oh he won my heart at once there!), his hair is not as thick as it used to be, and as Ella pointed out his weight is no longer perfect. So he is a normal man, just still very charming, and I liked him. Then we have the wicked stepmother, yes Snow White's stepmum, though she is not as evil as those wicked Grim brothers made her out to be. There is another story there, and I did feel sorry for her and the bad rep she got. Sure she was a bit pushy at first, but she calmed down and I liked her. They were just two people with painful pasts and they wanted more to life.

After having finished this book I did hope that Grayson will go back to this world and write about more characters.  What I definitely liked was when they talked about the Snow White story, because it sure is icky that the prince wanted a dead woman, what did he actually want to do to her? Oh the story will tell you, the real story. Amusing and disturbing. A great spin to stories we all know.

Conclusion:
It was an amusing story to read. Sure they were slow to fall in love, but who could blame them. But it was there from page 1 so I just had to wait for that HEA, a more realistic HEA than the fairy-tale ones they knew by heart. I would read more by this author. At the end I was charmed, wickedly charmed.

Rating:
Quick read

Cover:
It does look good, but either I wanna see his face or cut him out..and is that one of Chris' guys?


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My Flash Fiction entry


And the winner of The Untied Kingdom is: Anna
                                                            who has been notified


Thursday, 28 April 2011

Review: The Thief-taker's apprentice - Stephen Deas

Series: The Thief-Taker's Apprentice 1
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Pages: 288
Publication: April 7th 2011 Gollancz (pb)

Berren has lived in the city all his life. He has made his way as a thief, paying a little of what he earns to the Fagin like master of their band. But there is a twist to this tale of a thief. One day Berren goes to watch an execution of three thieves. He watches as the thief-taker takes his reward and decides to try and steal the prize. He fails. The young thief is taken. But the thief-taker spots something in Berren. And the boy reminds him of someone as well. Berren becomes his apprentice. And is introduced to a world of shadows, deceit and corruption behind the streets he thought he knew.

My thoughts:
I don't know if I would have know this was YA if I hadn't read it somewhere, and because of that it works just as well for a young reader as for an adult reader.

The main character is a thief named Berren, he is somewhere between 12 and 15, an orphan and a tough young boy that has seen the city at its worst. I did like him, one have to, he steals to survive and he is smart enough to realize (after a while) that being an apprentice to a thief-taker could get him out of his old life. But he is also smart enough to see that his new life is pretty messed up too, he will surely have to kill someday. His new master Sy, is an enigma and I like those. Slowly we learn more about him and why he does the things he do. There are a few others we meet too but in this book young Lissiana stands out the most. Young heroes always have crushes.

The book was bloody too, perhaps that is what made it better for me. That might sound wrong, but life was harsh and I like it to show in fantasy. People do die, and here they did, and nasty things happened, lives were in put in danger. But it is never too violent, too bloody, and the main characters never get too hurt. There is always hope.

I quite enjoyed this tale about Berren, and the best part for me was also the part that makes me wanna read book 2. In the beginning Sy says that Berren looks like someone, then someone else says it too, and of course I am dying to find out what that is all about. Just as I wanted to know who Sy really was.

Conclusion:
A good solid fantasy story for all ages. There is danger, adventure, that first crush and secrets, and those are always the best. It's not that long either so I read it fast. I do look forward to book 2 to find out more. Recommended.

Rating:
Quick and fast.

Cover:
Good, but I wish the fonts were the same

Source: The Publisher

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Review. The Greyfriar - Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith

Series: Vampire Empire 1
Genre: Steampunk /paranormal/adventure/alternate history
Pages: 301
Published: 2010, Pyr

Vampire predators run wild in this exciting steampunk adventure, the first in an alternate history trilogy that is already attracting attention. In 1870, monsters rise up and conquer the northern lands, As great cities are swallowed up by carnage and disease, landowners and other elite flee south to escape their blood-thirsty wrath. One hundred fifty years later, the great divide still exists; fangs on one side of the border, worried defenders on the other. This fragile equilibrium is threatened, then crumbles after a single young princess becomes almost hopelessly lost in the hostile territory. At first, she has only one defender: a mysterious Greyfriar who roams freely in dangerous vampire regions.

My thoughts:
This book was great! I wished I could have read it all at once instead of bits and pieces here and there. Because it just sucked me in at once, and a few chapters in I already knew I wanted to read book 2.

The book is about Princess Adele of Equatoria. She is touring her Empire and its fringes when attacked by vampires. And such awesome vampires. They are cruel and evil. They treat people like cattle, they never create anything new, they are parasites that took over everything in the North and pushed humans to the south. Those that they did not drink and kill. The mythology and creation of these horrible vampires are amazing, and that also include the new Human empires that emerged after the fall of mankind. It may be the year 2020 but Equatoria still rely on steam, but they do have airships, other than that the world has not moved forward much.

I liked Adele as the heroine that is taken deep into enemy territory. She still had courage and behaved like a princess. No one could pressure her to anything. She also had depth in her. The other great character in this book is Prince Gareth, the heir to the Vampire Clan in England, but he is living alone in Scotland. He was so strange, and I wanted to know more. He asked questions and he saw that their society could not live on. And of course I, loving HEAs and such, wanted these two together. She with someone whose people see humans as cattle, and him with someone whose people wants death to all vampires. Yes, as you can see, it's totally and utterly doomed. But a girl can hope.

This book was thrilling, it kept me turning page after page, hoping, wishing and fearing. There is no turning back. There can only be one winner and the vampires are truly evil so it should not be them. There is adventure, and a haunting Europe,  a bloody Europe. A bloody good book.

If I have to say something negative, oh I can't say it, cos it might just be a spoiler. So sorry there.

Conclusion:
I want more, I need more. Another book is coming out this spring, but I really want to read it now. I was enchanted by this world, even if it made me sad. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

Is it Fall yet?

Rating:
Page-turner

Cover:
Bit dark, but ok

Source: Publisher

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Early Review: Shadow Chaser - Alexey Pehov

Series: Chronicles of Siala 2
Genre: Fantasy
Pages:
Publication: April 28th 2011, Simon and Schuster UK

Saddened because they have left one of their number in a grave in the wilderness, Harold and his band of outcasts continue their journey toward the dreaded underground palace of Hrad Spein. But before they can reach their goal, they must overcome all manner of obstacles, fight many battles... and evade the frightful enemies on their trail. Once they have breached Hrad Spein, a task entire armies of warriors and wizards have failed to achieve, Harold must venture, alone, into the secret heart of the most dangerous place in his world. There he will fight legions of untold mysterious powers before he can complete the quest for the magic horn that will save his beloved land from The Nameless One.

My thoughts:
It’s not often these days that I read translated books, but this is one of them as it is translated from Russian, and the translator does a good job.

In the last book they all left on a long journey, and one traveller died and the loss is still felt. They all know now that they all will not make it to Hrad Spein and even fewer will make it out of there. It will not be an easy journey.

Harold the thief doesn’t have the same spotlight as in book 2, in this one we get of the rest too. For example the goblin Kli-Kli, he plays the fool, but he is hiding something and he is much cleverer than what he looks. Kli-Kli is the humour in this book and that’s nice. As for the rest of the characters, I do like them, and I wonder at the same time how many will remain at the end. An interesting cast, but also a cast of warriors and warriors fall.

This book is all about the journey. They are travelling, going to one city, gets into trouble, and later there is some fighting too. At the end I see a glimpse of something new and interesting. But at the same time the journey does feel a bit long, and in a way not much happen at all. The more interesting parts are the dreams Harold are having, of the Houses of Pain, Love and more, about a figure called the Master, about things passed that led to the Nameless one. And the best of all, a strange world where 3 figures wants him to come and save him. It seems worlds can be created. That whole system of magic fascinated me, and I hope we get more clues to it.

Conclusion:
A good enough fantasy novel, an epic journey, different characters and races, and the hunt for something that might lead to their death. What this book did bring me was more about the world itself. And I would read the next one, and hope he gets what he is after so that I can see the world saved.

Rating:
It was short (for fantasy) so a fast read

Cover:
Good, I do like fantasy covers, and I checked the paperback for book 1 and liked that one, so I am sure the paperback cover for this one will be even better than this one ;)

Source: From the publisher

Monday, 25 April 2011

Early review: Eleven scandals to start to win a Duke's heart - Sarah MacLean

Series: Love by numbers 3
Genre: Historical romance
Pages: ebook, 384
Publication: April 26th 2011, Harper Collins

She lives for passion.
Bold, impulsive, and a magnet for trouble, Juliana Fiori is no simpering English miss. She refuses to play by society's rules: she speaks her mind, cares nothing for the approval of the ton, and can throw a punch with remarkable accuracy. Her scandalous nature makes her a favorite subject of London's most practiced gossips . . . and precisely the kind of woman The Duke of Leighton wants far far away from him.
He swears by reputation.
Scandal is the last thing Simon Pearson has room for in his well-ordered world. The Duke of Disdain is too focused on keeping his title untainted and his secrets unknown. But when he discovers Juliana hiding in his carriage late one evening—risking everything he holds dear—he swears to teach the reckless beauty a lesson in propriety. She has other plans, however; she wants two weeks to prove that even an unflappable duke is not above passion.


My thoughts:
I do confess to believing one thing when I read the blurb but the truth was something else. Juliana’s mother left her husband and twins and fled to Italy. Where she married a merchant and had Juliana, she later also left these two.  Juliana is tainted by relation and she does not want to cause scandal or have people think of her like that. But what she does do is involuntarily cause scandals. May it be falling into a bush or something else. She does it by mistake. She also thinks the English are stuffy and that they only care about their stupid reputations. She is not afraid to speak he mind and one has to like her.

The hero of the book is Simon, the Duke of Leighton. He is proper and does everything by the book. He is also looking for a perfect well-bred, gentle wife that will do what wives should do and nothing else. I did have my moments where I thought about him as Mr Darcy, because he was all pride and stood above everything else. This couple was totally different from each other, but there was this passion there, simmering beneath the surface. Juliana wants him, but she knows her reputation is too bad for him. Simon wants her also, but he knows that she is a common and too much of a scandal.

There were moments where I wanted to shout his name and tell him too loose control. Who cares about the ton! He is a duke; he could win them over again. He made some mistakes, and yes I might have wanted to smack him over the head, but I also learnt the truth about some things. Not to mention that he wanted to do the right things. Perhaps it was Juliana I should have shouted at, but then I understand her too. Love is about trust, and mutual love. That is something to want.

Conclusion:
The book was humorous in ways and all thanks to Juliana, that woman has a habit of landing into trouble. Her family was great, and if this book hadn’t made me want to read the previous two books then her brothers would have made me. Going by this fun book, then the two books about her brothers finding love must be just as good. And at the end I was hoping that perhaps Simon’s sister will get a book of her own, now that would be fun.

A fun book with a couple surrounded by scandals, romance to root for, and some great witty writing.

Rating:
Amusing

Cover:
Meh

Source: Netgalley

Saturday, 23 April 2011

GuestReview: The Summoner - Layton Green

Series: The Dominic Grey Novels 1
Genre: Mystery, suspense
Pages: 332
Published: March 2011
Review by Lis

A United States diplomat disappears in front of hundreds of onlookers while attending a religious ceremony in the bushveld of Zimbabwe.

Dominic Grey, Diplomatic Security special agent, product of a violent childhood and a worn passport, is assigned to investigate. Aiding the investigation is Professor Viktor Radek, religious phenomenologist and expert on cults, and Nya Mashumba, the local government liaison. What Grey uncovers is a terrifying cult older than Western civilization, the harsh underbelly of a country in despair, a demagogic priest seemingly able to perform impossibilities, and the identity of the newest target. Himself.

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Oh my! That’s what I thought several times while reading this book! It was a surprise to learn that this book was self-published, because hot darn people, it’s good! Not that self-published books are bad, but they usually have editing issues and are badly spellchecked. None of that in The Summoner. It’s a well edited, well written, edge-of-your-seat, eye widening and mind blowing book. Yes, it’s just that good. Of course, now you want to know why, right? Well, keep on reading!

The novel is set in Zimbabwe and features Dominic Grey who is diplomat security for the ambassador to Zimbabwe. He is assigned to solve the mystery of a missing American diplomat, also the golf buddy for the ambassador. He is joined by Nya, a local Department of Foreign Ministry agent and Viktor an expert on cults and a religious phenomenologist. A what you ask? Wikipedia told me this: “The phenomenology of religion concerns the experiential aspect of religion, describing religious phenomena in terms consistent with the orientation of the worshippers.” What unfolds is a well-crafted mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

The story is interspersed with religious and occult facts and story to support the subject of the story. That worked well for me because it not only shows the author did his research, but also gives the story claim and makes it believable.

The characters are just as mysterious as the plot itself. They come with backgrounds, have motivation, are complex and there is a rare depth to them that you don’t often see. All of that without the author laying it all out there for you to read. The author gives you just enough tidbits to keep you guessing but enough that it makes the characters believable. The sexual tension between Dominic and Nya…hot damn people!

The story is mostly centered on Dominic, but there is enough of Nya and Viktor that they aren’t just the support cast. I found myself really like Dominic. He is the epitome of dark and mysterious that you so often see in detectives.

Let’s just say that this book surprised me a lot. The writing and style of writing is excellent. It’s not flat, there’s no circular narrative. Instead it’s paced just right and imaginative. The author paints a vivid picture of the characters’ surroundings and I almost found like I was right there with them!

So yes, this book sure deserves the praise it gets and it’s worth reading if you like a good mystery with even more mysterious characters. I even liked the cover! It suits the story. All in all I was very glad B. sent this book over! 




[1] Wikipedia phenomenology of religion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenomenology_of_religion

Friday, 22 April 2011

GuestReview: Turned - Morgan Rice

Series: The Vampire Journals, 1
Genre: YA paranormal romance
Pages: 150
Published: Jan 2011
Review by Lis

Eighteen year old Caitlin Paine finds herself uprooted from her nice suburb and forced to attend a dangerous New York City high school when her Mom moves again. The one ray of light in her new surroundings is Jonah, a new classmate who takes an instant liking to her. But before their romance can blossom, Caitlin suddenly finds herself changing. She is overcome by a superhuman strength, a sensitivity to light, a desire to feed--by feelings she does not understand. She seeks answers to what’s happening to her, and her cravings lead her to the wrong place at the wrong time. Her eyes are opened to a hidden world. She finds herself  right in the middle of a vampire war. It is at this moment that Caitlin meets Caleb, a mysterious and powerful vampire who rescues her from the dark forces.. Together, they will need to answer one crucial question: who was her real father? But Caitlin finds herself caught between two men as something else arises between them: a forbidden love.

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I’ll be honest, when B. sent me this book and I saw the title, my thoughts were: “Gawd, not another Vampire Diaries, Twilight rip-off!” ‘Cause there seems to be no end of those. It’s like the DaVinci Code all over again! While Turned is in no way original or refreshing – at least to me (let’s face it, there’s not much I haven’t seen and that includes lizard vampires!) – it was a nice read and I was glad B. sent it over. Let me tell you why.

Caitlin’s mum has the moving bug, so being the new gal at school is nothing new for her. She’s seen it all. Only this time there’s something different. This time when she stands up to a pack of bully’s outside school Caitlin herself changes. Suddenly she is faster and stronger but also sensitive to light and she has a desire to feed. Sound familiar? Yeah. Enter the dark, mysterious and brooding Caleb aaaaaaand start the romance! Well insta love and jealousy for Caleb is not a single man!

For Caitlin nothing’s as it seems anymore and she needs answers, but Caleb need Caitlin just as much. No, not what you think. Alright, maybe a bit! He also needs her to find a certain mysterious artifact.

The story is short. In my opinion too short to tell the story accurately, but it works. It’s an easy read with not a lot of world building and stock characters. Yet somehow the author makes it work. Caitlin and Caleb could be any pair of characters in the many vamp books out there. There’s nothing unique there, but still the story is entertaining and I found myself hoping there would be more.

What I did like about Caitlin is that she doesn’t give up. She fights back. She doesn’t just lie down and die. A girl’s gotta appreciate that!

There are also a few things that didn’t work for me. One was the relationship with her brother Sam. They are supposed to be very close, yet he suddenly ups and leaves. Then there is the instant love between Caitlin and Caleb. While instant love is nothing new, things move very very fast and I expected more from a vamp as old as Caleb. He’s what 800-something? Yet he behaves like a teenager. This is a personal peeve of mine. 800 years is a long long long time. You’d think he’d be some kind of Zen master or something. Sometimes I find that authors don’t treat the subject of age very well. What would it do to a person to live as long as a 1000 years?

In any case Turned was a likable, easy, dark read that you can read in between other books as it is short. Don’t look for depth, but you’re sure to be entertained! 


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And now a message from me

Happy Easter :D
I will post my flash tomorrow or today, we will see

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Interview and contest: Kate Johnson - The Untied Kingdom

Today I welcome Kate Johnson to my blog. She has a new book out, The UnTied kingdom, and it was a good one (my review). At the bottom of this interview there is a contest where you can win it :D

Welcome to Mur-y-Castell!

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

Well, I live in the south east of England and I’m a devoted cat slave. I’d love to tell you something exciting about my past as a daredevil treasure-seeking archaologist, international espionage agent or platinum-selling rockstar, but I’d probably have to kill you. I’d also be lying, since the closest I’ve got to any of those is being a check-in agent on international flights, who occasionally sings a bit and likes shiny things.


Your newest book is called The Untied Kingdom; can you tell me what it is about?

It’s about Britain...but a different Britain. One which has never won a war, run an empire, or developed an industrial revolution. While the rest of Europe is as modern and high-tech as we’d recognise it, England is like a medieval country, whose only industry is war. During the fourth civil war my hero, Major Harker, is trying to keep himself and his men alive, when an alien drops out of the sky and into the Thames. Only it’s not an alien, it’s a paraglider called Eve, and she seems to have come from a different world. Ours, in fact.


The book is sure a mix of genres. What would you like to call it?
Um. I think we’re going for ‘paranormal romance’ but I’ve also defined it as ‘alternate universe’ or ‘alternate history’. ‘Alternate universe romance’ perhaps, in lieu of anything slicker!


Do you have any plans on going back to this parallel world?
Well, sort of. People keep asking me for a sequel, and I do like thinking about what happens next for Eve and Harker. But right now the plot details elude me, so it might be a while!



Where did you get the inspiration for this so familiar, yet still so unfamiliar world?
It was a series of ’what ifs’. My American friend Amy and I were joking about Britain being a third-world country, and I sat back and wondered how, exactly, this damp little island on the edge of the world managed to become a world power in the first place. I concluded we’d just been very lucky and punched above our weight—and then I took away all of the things we’d done right and ended up with this dark, bloody, muddy sepia-toned world, and thought, ”I’ve got to write about that!”


If a movie was made (BBC look here), then who would you cast in the main rolls?
Ooh I love this game. I’d have Richard Armitage for Harker—you know, when he’s not busy filming superhero movies or Tolkien epics. I’ve got such a crush on him! And it took me a while, but then I saw the Weeping Angels episode of Doctor Who and realised Carey Mulligan would make a perfect Eve. You know, when she’s not busy being Oscar-nominated. Emma Watson or Keira Knightley for Tallulah, and Burn Gorman for Daz. Saskia would have to be someone cool and poised, like Kristen Scott-Thomas or Rachel Weisz, and General Wheeler would be Judi Dench.


Are you working on something new and exciting right now?
I’m just finishing up my next book for Choc Lit, Run Rabbit Run. It’s a chick-noir story in my Sophie Green Mysteries series, in which Sophie is accused of murder and goes on the run while her MI6 agent boyfriend tries desperately to clear her name. After that, I’ve got a whole book to write, this time back in a fantasy universe, about a unique class of people with magical powers, a fearsome warlord, and a terrified slave.



Any advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. If you do, you’ll never get published. If you keep trying, you might get published. I know ‘might’ isn’t as good as ‘will’, but it’s better than ‘never’.

Thanks!

GIVEAWAY
1. Open worldwide
2. Ends April 28th
3. Go ahead and enter.
If you want you can ask a question, comment on the interview, or perhaps tell us if you would like to live in this parallel world.

PS:
You can choose when you win if you want a printcopy or an e-book

Have fun!


The UnTied Kingdom by Kate Johnson - OUT NOW
When Eve Carpenter lands with a splash in the Thames, it's not the London or England she's used to. No one has a telephone or knows what a computer is. England's a third world country and Princess Di is still alive. But worst of all, everyone thinks Eve's a spy.

Including Major Harker who has his own problems. His sworn enemy is looking for a promotion. The general wants him to undertake some ridiculous mission to capture a computer, which Harker vaguely envisions running wild somewhere in Yorkshire.

Turns out the best person to help him is Eve. She claims to be a popstar. Harker doesn't know what a popstar is, although he suspects it's a fancy foreign word for 'spy'. Eve knows all about computers, and electricity. Eve is dangerous. There's every possibility she's mad.

And Harker is falling in love with her.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Review: A Hunger Like No Other - Kresley Cole

Series: Immortals After Dark, 2
Genre: Paranormal romance
Pages: 384
Published: March 3rd 2011, Simon and Schuster UK  (re-print)

After enduring years of torture from the vampire horde, Lachlain MacRieve, leader of the Lykae Clan, is enraged to find the predestined mate he's waited millennia for is a vampire. Or partly one. This Emmaline is a small, ethereal half Valkyrie/half vampire, who somehow begins to soothe the fury burning within him.
 
Sheltered Emmaline Troy finally sets out to uncover the truth about her deceased parents--until a powerful Lykae claims her as his mate and forces her back to his ancestral Scottish castle. There, her fear of the Lykae--and their notorious dark desires--ebbs as he begins a slow, wicked seduction to sate her own dark cravings. Yet when an ancient evil from her past resurfaces, will their desire deepen into a love that can bring a proud warrior to his knees and turn a gentle beauty into the fighter she was born to be?

My thoughts:
I actually started with book 10 or so, fell deeply in love and knew that this was the paranormal romance series for me. So I read book 1, which is a novella (you can get it for free on her website), and then this book. And what I felt then I felt again, she is so good!

At first I was a bit taken aback. Lachlain was crazy, too demanding, a brute, a barbarian, I called him so many names. And with any other book I would have frowned, but somehow Cole made me fall for that dog (as some of Emma's family happily calls the Lycae). I have no idea how she manages it, but he just creeps under your skin and stays there.

Poor Lachlain, tortured, dying, and brought back to life for 150 years. No wonder he was a bit crazed. He was all alpha, so very alpha. He was also later very protective and sometimes the whole mine thing just makes a girl weak in the knees. Then we have Emma, she is no kickass female, she is actually weak and timid. But all women do not need to be kickass. She just does not want conflicts, but little by little this little weakling gains more strength. They are suited for each other.

This is what I want paranormal romance to be like. I am smitten and I like it. The book has plenty of passion, and two people that are so unlikely to fall in love, they are enemies, but they are destined to be together and the road there is not easy.

The whole universe is interesting with many different "creatures" running around, making alliances and waging war against each other.

Conclusion:
Would I recommend this book, yes! Will I read more, I sure will :D

Rating
Made me love Paranormal romance again

Cover
Not a fan, but the more I see that other cover, the more I like this one

review copy from publisher




Tuesday, 19 April 2011

GuestReview: Reunion - Jeff Bennington

Genre: Supernatural thriller
Pages: 336
Published: April 15th
Review by Anna

David Ray killed eight students and then turned the gun on himself. He thought the shooting and suicide would fix his world. It didn't. The massacre threw Tanner Khan and the other survivors into chaos.

Twenty years later, Tanner and his fellow classmates reluctantly agree to hold a reunion to lay the past to rest. Although they suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, they come back to their hometown and reunite in the defunct school building. Old flames are rekindled, fears are ignited, and their lives are about to explode in a whirlwind of memories, haunted by the spirit of David Ray.

Once they're inside the school, they discover that a dark entity has joined them. It has come to collect a debt, long overdue, and someone has to pay. Will Tanner and his classmates overcome their fears, putting the pieces of their lives back together, or will they be consumed by their worst nightmare?

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"Reunion” (by Jeff Bennington) is fictional, and not based on anything that has happened in real life. It is the author’s third story, with more on the way.

Reunion” can be described as a paranormal thriller, but as the author writes in the foreword, it is also a mixture of “supernormal, horror, romance, suspense, and dark fiction”.

The story starts with a school shooting in Crescent Falls, a small fictional town in Idaho. A young man, David Ray, opens fire in his high school cafeteria, killing several students and seriously injuring others. The shooting occurs only days before the summer holidays.

The story then jumps 20 years into the future, and follows a number of survivors that were graduating in the year of the shooting. The survivors all have one thing in common; they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They all, however, deal with the PTSD in different ways, whether it is writing books, drinking or treating other people with PTSD.

Maria Vasquez, the Valedictorian in the graduating year who is now treating other people with PTSD, feels that the only way to put the shooting behind them, is to go back to Crescent Falls and have a reunion. And what would be better than to have the reunion 20 years after the tragedy? She contacts old school mates and some of them reluctantly agree to return to the town, which they have avoided for two decades, although some of the survivors remained in Crescent Falls the years after the shooting.

The survivors return to Crescent Falls well in time for the reunion, as there need to be a lot of preparations done. The high school has been closed ever since the shootings, and it is decided that the old school building shall be renovated before the big day. As the reunion day draws closer, the tension grows and the survivors continues to have flashbacks from the event 20 years earlier.

But there is something terrible going on in the school and the sheriff’s department is unwilling to tell the real truth to the survivors. Will they be able to have the reunion in the school after all? The sheriff Larry Richards is determined to find out what is really happening in the old high school and to solve the mystery before it is too late.

“Reunion” is hard to put down, once you have started to read it. You just have to find out what happens next. The different characters are all very well described in the book.

But “Reunion” also makes you think. Is David Ray such an evil monster, knowing what happened to him in the childhood? Could the society do something to prevent school shooters from comitting such horrible crimes? Do they deserve to die, the school shooters, or should they be put in jail for the rest of their lives? In the foreword, Jeff Bennington lists ten of the worst school shootings in the US history. When one hears and reads about school shooting one will of course feel sorry for the victims’ families and friends, but one should also remember the survivors. 

 I highly recommend “Reunion” to everyone. I think it is a very important book to read. It is very thrilling, with a little bit of romance and mystique. I give the book top marks, 5/5.


Monday, 18 April 2011

GuestReview: No Cure for the Broken Hearted - Kenneth Rosenberg

Genre: Contemporary romance
Pages: 267
Published: December 2010
Review by Lis

Katherine Spencer is an up-and-coming architect in New York City. Her professional life is on the fast-track. Her personal life is a shambles. Katherine compares every man she ever meets to Nick Bancroft, the billionaire’s son who broke her heart one summer long ago. Now, twelve years later he’s suddenly reappeared, asking her to design a house at the cove where they shared their first kiss. Is he looking for an architect, or something more? And should she forgive him?


While reading this book I was reminded of the song Summer Nights by Survivor. That would Survivor from Eye of the Tiger, yes. - Summer nights all night, dancin’ in the light of love, summer nights so right couldn’t last beyond September. Much the same is true for our main heroes: Katherine and Nick. They met one summer at sweet sixteen and fell in love. The feeling was mutual, or so Katherine thought. However, when Nick left she never heard from him again. That is until he asks her to design a home. Right at the place where they first kissed while he has another girlfriend – one of many. Gah heartless men!!! Luckily for us, there is more to this story!

Funny how some instances in life can have such an influence over us through the course of our lives. It is true for Katherine. That summer with Nick influenced her personal life. She doesn’t date and she doesn’t have fun. All her focus is on her work as an architect. On the surface she seems like one of many who are married to the job. Beneath that is a hurt young woman still waiting for her one true love to come back.

When we first meet Nick he seems very much in control of his life. The golden boy with a beauty on each arm who comes across as selfish and heartless, mostly because what we know about Nick we know from Katherine. And she says so herself: the Nick from now is much different from the Nick she knew. Of course we all change and grow up, but there was something very much different. Again, what we see on the surface is very much different from what’s underneath. Underneath all the layers of playboy and successful man is a hurt little boy under the firm thumb of his family.

So yes there is a lot more to this story. In fact it is a very likable story. It’s not like those wicked, witty paranormal chick lit stories we often come across, but it is very real. Nick and Katherine could be your neighbors or people you meet on the street. The conflicts are very believable and I loved how Nick gravitates to Katherine and over the course of the story becomes his own man again and how Katherine learns to trust again!

No cure for the broken hearted has a solid plot with flawed heroes that journey through live. They grow throughout the story, which I always like to see in a character.

Like the plot the writing is refresh and also very much solid and flawless. It was a nice change of pace!

No cure for the broken hearted is a story I can most definitely recommend! If B. were to ask me for a rating, I’d give it a 10! So go get it and see how Nick and Katherine get to know each other again!





Winners of What would mr Darcy do? by Abigail Reynolds

Evie and Carrie
Both have been emailed

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Review: The Chase - Erin McCarthy

Series: Fast track 4
Genre: Contemporary romance
Pages: 280
Published: April 5th 2011, Berkley

Kendall Holbrook is determined to make it to the top, even with the challenge of being a woman on the male-dominated racing circuit. She doesn't have time for romance-especially not with racing rival Evan Monroe, the man who nearly crushed her dream years ago. Tricked into meeting him, Kendall is experiencing all those old feelings again-and she can't deny that they still have enough chemistry to set fire to the track.

My thoughts:
I will say the same old thing, yes this is a series, but it works fine as a stand alone novel. I jumped straight in, knowing nothing, but it did not matter since this in the end was all about Evan and Kendall.

Kendall grew up wanting to race cars, and that she sure did. It has taken years, and hard work, but finally she is proving to everyone that she can drive as good as any man can. She is strong, but she also hides her emotions too much and plays it cool. One thing that can make those emotions show is Evan who she just to date 10 years ago. He is a bit of a player, but at the same time not. And what I liked about him is that when he set his sight on her again he did not want to let go. He knew it was right. Together they made one explosive couple.

Oh yes the explosive part, there was a bit more sex than I had thought. I guess I have been reading nice books lately because this to me was a passionate book. They wanted each other, a lot. So what these do have is sexual chemistry.

It was a hot book about a couple who used to be in love finding each other again. And at the same time dealing with the issues of racing. Evan needs a sponsor and Kendall needs the guys to take her seriously.

There was one negative thing and that was one plotline at the end, I did not really care for it, and I felt it could have been left out, or another road could have been taken. And no I will not tell you what it is.

Conclusion:
A hot romance set in an interesting setting. I do not know much about racing, but I do think a romance fits well there. And it did make me interested in reading more.

Rating:
Short and nice

Cover:
Meh

Copy from the publisher.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

GuestReview: Shadow Cat - Reena Jacobs

Genre: Paranormal romance
Pages: 368
Published: February 2011
Review by Lis

Eric Randall’s plan is simple—fix the mess his researchers have created in Malaysia, experience the pleasures the country has to offer, and return to the comforts of America. All it takes is one beautiful aborigine, and Eric finds himself stranded in a world of Malaysian myths and legends. A novice shaman amongst her people, Berani is free and independent. Yet all is not well in her homeland. Demons prey on her people, pushing them to extinction. When a strange speaking man invades her forest, she has one more worry to add to her already troubled life. Attraction or no, she will fight Eric tooth and claw to maintain her freedom. But will she destroy herself in the process? If Berani wishes to save her family… if Eric wishes to reclaim his old life, they must stand together against the threats of encroaching wehr-tigers and bloodsucking demons… or perish.

................

Mmmmm, tropical and exotic locations, hot steamy man, passionate sex scenes that make your screen melt and a kick-ass heroine. Sounds like the making of a good paranormal romance? Right? We’ll see.

Shadow Cat is about Eric and Berani. Eric is a hot shot CEO of a pharmaceutical company. He’s in Malaysia to solve the mess his team made while looking for the next big cure. Berani is a shaman and a weretiger. She lives with her tribe in the wilds of Malaysia. Their first meeting doesn’t go to well, but they soon get very well. Very well indeed. In fact, they can’t seem to stay away from each other. Well most of the time. She doesn’t like the research expedition so much and there is nothing she would do to see them gone. Well that is until she meets a certain hot shot CEO. But there is trouble looming on the horizon in the form of the very nasty Penanggalan. Yes, try to say that without breaking your tongue. Google is your friend and they are the Malaysian version of Vampires.

Shadow Cat  left me fence sitting…which, I might add, is not very comfortable. It’s a book I wanted to like, especially because it’s something different, but it didn’t give me the high I expected. There was no real click. This could be because there was too much sex. Eep! Yes, I actually said ‘too much’ but after a while I got bored.

Then there was the love through comfort/care. It’s a trope that is very very very common within romance and a deus ex machina to get characters together and I found that it didn’t work for me in this instance.

I did love the world building. Reena Jacobs paints a vivid picture of Malaysia and I loved that the setting was for once not America.

The monster or the big baddie in this book was both something new and familiar. I loved it!

The characters were well done, but I did miss a bit of depth in both. They were not stereotypes, but I missed the real insight into the characters. Berani is the obvious strong woman type who cares for her people and is willing to do anything to protect them, but I didn’t find out what made her tick.

Eric is the typical rich CEO who comes with a money hunting girlfriend who wants to get married. Like Berani he’s not a stereotype, but I missed insight into his character. Both characters are polar opposites, but their attraction is raw and wild.

I loved the role of Bryan, a secondary character. He was the glue between the two. Overall, I liked this story but it didn’t draw me in. Maybe you have better luck with it.'



Friday, 15 April 2011

Review: Kiss Me, Kill Me (anthology)

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 220, ebook
Published: February 2011

So hard to review anthologies! So I am just gonna say a few words, sentences about each short story.

A Ghoulish Valentine by H.P. Mallory:
Dulcie O'Neil can't help her attraction to Knight Vander, much though she tries to fight her feelings. When she begrudgingly accepts his invitation to dinner and a movie, she can't imagine her evening will be derailed by a cemetery full of hungry ghouls and one incredibly sexy man.

They fight evil ghouls while on a date. Dulcie and Knight seem ok, and the world is interesting. I did like that before just rushing in to fight she stopped to see to that her clothes offered protection. Good girl.

Cat Fight by Zoe Winters:
Cat Fight takes place in Zoe Winters' "PretVerse". Greta is a cat therian (shifter). She's been involved with Dayne, a local sorcerer since she sought his protection from her murderous tribe. After a fight, Greta shifts into cat form and refuses to come back out.

I liked Greta, and Dayne. Not much happened since it was short but I did enjoy when she went all mad and refused to shift back, even after he tried his best. So short and cute, and it did make me wanna read how they met in the first place. Which I can since this novella happens after book 1.

Impulse Control by Susan Bischoff:
In the world of the Talent Chronicles, kids born with supernatural powers are taken from their families and forced into government research facilities called State Schools. At one such school, a group of Talents must work together to stop a dangerous experiment that's already killed two of their peers and threatens others. If they're caught they face Detention, and Detention at a State School has a whole different meaning. 

This was a YA story. Kids put in schools, never to see their families again. Sure I understand people being afraid of people with talents but I would expect some sort of outrage. What a horrible world, I hope those kids get out.

Wild Passion by Lori Brighton:
James is a treasure hunter intent on collecting a deadly, priceless statue. Then he meets Adelaide, a stubbornly beautiful and mysterious woman who knows more about the statue than she admits. Suddenly, James is tempted to give up everything for the one treasure he can't seem to own ... Adelaide.

This one deals with events in Wild 1 and 3, but it works fine on its own too. I liked Adelaide, she did what she had too, and I am sure she and James are gonna have some great adventures.

A Fairytale Ending by M.T. Murphy:
An unlucky actress discovers that there is no good and bad when it comes to vampires and werewolves, only bad and worse.
I did like it in the beginning, but then came a sad and depressing end that ruined the whole thing for me. So I did not like it.


Blind Sight by Kait Nolan:
Isla's ability as a Seer has made her a life-long captive of a paranormal crime lord. Fae assassin, Ransom, offers her a chance at escape, but when she touches his hand she sees only blood, horror, apocalypse. What reason can Ransom have for wanting to rescue her, and can she possibly trust a man who deals in death?

I liked this one. Seemed like a nice world and I wanted to know more, and I would read more too.

The Sacrifice by Toni LoTempio:
After a chance meeting with the mysterious Alfred Barstow, Jennifer is swept off her feet by his whirlwind courtship of her, so much so that she accepts his proposal of marriage. Leaving her boyfriend Peter behind, she heads off to start a new life in California, unaware there's more to Alfred than meets the eye - and a sinister plot behind his proposal. The Sacrifice is a story about what happens when the man of your dreams turns out to be your worst nightmare...and then some!

It was a good story, though one thing was a bit far-fetched. She went away, her ex was sad and decided to look up her new man, and then he realized they were evil vampires..really, I would just have thought she was high on passion.

Until the Breaking of the Day by Daniel Arenson:
The Underground. A realm of flame, blood, and knives in the dark.When its prince returns from exile, a young demon girl will learn his secrets.


Omg! This story was my fav of all the stories in this anthology. I seriously need to read more by this authot!! Awesome story.


If You Leave by Stacey Wallace Benefiel:
Despite their devotion to one another, Gabrielle and Jorge have been living separate lives. That is, until Gabrielle's life ends. Reunited and it feels so...complicated? 

It was the last one and I fear I did not pay as much attention as I could have. 

Conclusion:
I had only read one author before so the rest were new to me, and one thing is for sure, I need more Arenson!!! Trust me, that world was pure gold. All in all, an interesting anthology with a lot to offer, Paranormal YA, paranormal historical, some ass-kicking and cool new worlds.





My flash fiction entry for the week



Thursday, 14 April 2011

Review: Warprize - Elizabeth Vaughan

Series: Chronicles of the Warlands, book 1
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Pages: 296
Publisher: Penguin, April 5th 2011 (re-print)

Xylara is the Daughter of the Warrior King, Xyron. With her father dead and her incompetent half-brother on the throne, the kingdom is in danger of falling to the warring Firelanders.

Before she was old enough for a marriage-of-alliance, Xylara was trained as a healer. She can't usurp her brother or negotiate a peace—but she can heal the brave ones injured in battle. But not only her countrymen are wounded, and Xylara's conscience won't let Firelander warriors die when she can do something to save them. She learns their language and their customs and tries to make them as comfortable as possible, despite their prisoner-of-war status. She never expects that these deeds, done in good faith, would lead to the handsome and mysterious Firelander Warlord demanding her in exchange for a cease-fire. Xylara knows must trade the life she has always known for the well-being of her people, and so she becomes...

My thoughts:
I had heard good things about this series, and then book 1 got re-published so of course I had to take a look, and I am glad I did.

The book is about Xylara, and she is one brave woman. I admired her strength, and courage. She  was taken as a warprize, but instead of sitting in a tent being scared she went outside and found the tent with wounded soldiers and got straight to work. She knew what she wanted and that was to help people. The hero in the book is the warlord that crushed all resistance and took over their country (which is a good thing because her brother is a hopeless and bad king, so perhaps it was for the best). Anyway Keir was strong too, protective, and he wanted her, but he also wanted her to want him. He is one barbarian to fall hopelessly in love with.

The whole book is told in 1-person, so we always got her thoughts and fears, and it does work. Because this way there is a lot of confusion and fear in the air. I had no idea what a warprize was, neither had she, and I wanted to know. Then when I the reader finally found it, oh I will not tell you, but it sure made the book good.

What we have in this book is one strong woman, a feared warlord, and some behind the scenes backstabbing and politics. Some are not happy that the firelanders won and they want revenge. Danger is in the air, from both sides, since there is this one firelander warrior that wants to take over as warlord.

The book has a happy ending, even though there is a book 2 and 3. I was glad for this because I just wanted happiness.

Conclusion:
A good fantasy romance, I would recommend this book to others, and  I do want to read book 2 and 3. It has so much to offer, a good couple, great side characters, and interesting world, and a story that will have you turning page after page top find out more.

Rating:
I enjoyed it, a quick read.

Cover:
Lovely


Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Interview and giveaway: Abigail Reynolds - What would Mr Darcy do?

Today I welcome Abigail Reynolds to my blog. And at the bottom of this interview there is a giveaway of her new book What would Mr Darcy do?

Welcome to Mur-y-Castell!


Could you briefly tell us something about yourself, so that those that missed you during your last visit can get to know you.

 I’ve written 8 books, most of them variations on Pride & Prejudice.  Variations are re-tellings of the original story with a major change in the plot, so I get to write Darcy and Elizabeth falling in love over and over again in different circumstances.  What could be better?  I’m also a part-time physician, full-time mom of a college-aged daughter and a son with Asperger Syndrome, and I wish I had time to sleep more often!  I’ve loved Jane Austen’s novels since I was a teenager.  I live in Madison, WI, but love to travel to Cape Cod which is a spiritual home for me.  


Your newest book is called What would Mr Darcy do?; can you tell me what it is about?

It’s a Pride & Prejudice variation in which Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet admit their feelings to each other instead of parting in silence and despair after their meeting at the Lambton Inn.  The failure of communication in that scene has always driven me crazy, even though it’s great for dramatic tension, so I decided to see what happened if I changed it.  There are more romantic moments, but still misunderstandings to be resolved, often with the help of Georgiana and Mrs. Gardiner.

Would you like to write other Jane Austen book variations?

Just lately Captain Wentworth has been whispering in my ear, so I expect a Persuasion variation may happen some day.  I’d love to explore what happens if he and Anne meet again but he hasn’t made such a success of his career in the Navy.  What would Anne do if he was a lower-ranked officer with less money?


Why do you think we all love Mr Darcy? 

What’s not to love – a handsome, devoted man who is willing to listen to a list of his faults and attempt to change them?  And he likes to listen more than to talk as well.  What could be better?

What is the next project you are writing on, or have in mind?

I’ve also just published A Pemberley Medley, a book of Pride & Prejudice short stories, and the next release will be Morning Light, a Persuasion-based sequel to my modern novel The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice.  I’m just starting work on a new full-length P&P variation in which Darcy doesn’t make it to Ramsgate in time to stop Georgiana’s elopement.  It’s been in my mind for a long time, but I insist on happy endings for my books, and it took me quite a while to figure out how to end that one happily!

Thanks so much for inviting me!


CONTEST
2 winners/What would Mr Darcy do?

1. US and Canda only
2. Ends April 18th
3. Just enter :)
But to make it more fun you can always comment on the interview, book. Or perhaps tell us why you love Jane Austen's books.




What would Mr Darcy do? by Abigail Reynolds
Out now from Sourcebooks

But what if Darcy hadn’t immediately left the inn? What if Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy had chosen to speak their feelings rather than to assume the worst about the other?

Jane Austen’s beloved characters are given the opportunity to reach out one last time before they part. While their path forward is still filled with misadventures and misunderstandings it is rich with humor, romance, and sensuality as they learn about each other and the meaning of love. But there’s still a scandal threatening to engulf the Bennet family, and Elizabeth can’t be sure that Darcy’s love for her could withstand such a blow. Determined to give Darcy up rather than drag his name through the mud, Elizabeth will have to choose for herself between what she believes is right, and what she wants more than anything…


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Review: Demons are a girl's best friend - Linda Wisdom

Genre: Paranormal romance
Pages: 354
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, April 1st 2011

Feisty witch Maggie enjoys her work as a paranormal law enforcement officer—that is, until she’s assigned to protect a teenager with major attitude and a sleazy boyfriend. A group of satanic Mayans priests has decided Courtney has a drop of divine blood in her—making her just the virgin sacrifice they need to release their God and rule the world.

To prevent this catastrophe, Maggie must team up with half fire demon Declan, the proprietor of Damnation Alley, an underground club and busy demon portal. Declan will be damned if he’ll allow his demon race to be blamed for the malicious acts of some evil Mayans. So he decides to seduce the sexy witch in an effort to discover what the law enforcement agency knows about the Mayan’s plans, but then things get more than a little hot, and Declan finds himself seriously entangled with the sexiest woman he’s ever met.

My thoughts:
Where to start, we have a witch and a demon, some crazy Mayans, and doom on the horizon. Ok back to the beginning. The book is about Maggie who is a witch and works for the Hellion Guards. They keep the supernaturals in check and sees to that no humans know that elves, gnomes, trolls, warlocks, or anything like that exists. She is kick-ass, 700 years old, and can take care of herself. She has attitude and I liked her. Not to mention that she has one awesome side-kick, a tattoo named Ella that can talk and walk around (talking about a spider here.) Ella brought humour to the book.

Then there is Declan whom she meets while investigating a case at his club. He is a firedemon, hot (yes literally), but he is also nice, and I fell at once. Gotta love a demon that is in touch with his human side. These two want each other at once, but since demons and other beings do not mix it's slow, and it builds up.

It's a nice world, where you can find a bunch of different supernaturals, and humans do not know about them. And in this one something dark is coming, Mayans wants blood sacrifices to bring forth some evil God called the Destroyer. Oh I like a good evil god now and again.

The side characters are fun, mostly Ella, cos she rocks, but the elf Sybil is nice and has a sense of humour, and then there is the teenager Maggie has to protect, and she was one cool kid.

Here and there people are mentioned, I did not mind but I did realize that they are from this other series she has written. For me it worked even though I didn't know them.

Conclusion:
I ended up liking this book, I think it was all cos of Declan, he was just so hot and sweet. And like the title says, demons are a girl's best friend. The book has passion, ass-kicking, humour, and a good plot.

Rating:
I enjoyed it

Cover:
It would work if he wasn't there, he totally ruins it.

Review copy from the publisher,all thoughts are my own.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Review: What would Mr Darcy do? - Abigail Reynolds

Genre: Jane Austen variation
Pages: 240
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark, April 1st 2011


But what if Darcy hadn't immediately left the inn? What if Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy had chosen to speak their feelings rather than to assume the worst about the other? Jane Austen's beloved characters are given the opportunity to reach out one last time before they part. While their path forward is still filled with misadventures and misunderstandings it is rich with humor, romance, and sensuality as they learn about each other and the meaning of love. But there's still a scandal threatening to engulf the Bennet family, and Elizabeth can't be sure that Darcy's love for her could withstand such a blow. Determined to give Darcy up rather than drag his name through the mud, Elizabeth will have to choose for herself between what she believes is right, and what she wants more than anything..

My thoughts:
This was another lovely Jane Austen variation from Abigail Reynolds. It was sweet, and it made me smile.

In this one the story takes a slight turn at that day at the Inn in Lambton. Instead of him going away at once they talk a bit, she cries a bit, and there is a promise to see each other again. What we have next is Bingely showing up to court Jane, Georgiana writing letters to Elizabeth, and Darcy pining over Lizzy. There are no big surprises or changes, but instead it's a closer look at this couple.

Mr Darcy in this one is lovely, absolutely lovely. He is violently in love as Mrs Gardiner says to Lizzy, and he is just so so, yes in love. It's great to see this passionate side of him and the only thing he wants to do is to court her. Lizzy is Lizzy, firm in her opinions but she has fallen for him, and these two together when they sneak away are such a joy to read about.

At the beginning this book was so cute, and I just had this big grin on my face. Then it became a bit more passionate (ok passionate for that age), lol, just reading about these two saying each other's given names and kissing was plenty.

Conclusion:
A lovely re-telling of a story that I just can't get enough of. I would recommend this one to my fellow JA lovers.

Rating:
Short and nice
Cover:
Good


Review copy from the publisher. All thoughts are my own.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Review: The Dragon's Path - Daniel Abraham

Series: The Dagger and the Coin book 1
Pages: 592
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit, April 7th 2011
Source: netgalley

Summer is the season of war in the Free Cities. Marcus wants to get out before the fighting starts. His hero days are behind him and simple caravan duty is better than getting pressed into service by the local gentry. Even a small war can get you killed. But a captain needs men to lead -- and his have been summarily arrested and recruited for their swords. Cithrin has a job to do -- move the wealth of a nation across a war zone. An orphan raised by the bank, she is their last hope of keeping the bank's wealth out of the hands of the invaders. But she's just a girl and knows little of caravans, war, and danger. She knows money and she knows secrets, but will that be enough to save her in the coming months? Geder, the only son of a noble house is more interested in philosophy than swordplay. He is a poor excuse for a soldier and little more than a pawn in these games of war. But not even he knows what he will become of the fires of battle. Hero or villain? Small men have achieved greater things and Geder is no small man. Falling pebbles can start a landslide. What should have been a small summer spat between gentlemen is spiraling out of control. Dark forces are at work, fanning the flames that will sweep the entire region onto The Dragon's Path -- the path of war.

My Thoughts:
This was the start of another intriguing fantasy series, one about political turmoil and war.
 
The book is about 4 people. Marcus who used to be a great hero but as a nation marches to destroy his city he leaves with a caravan. He is sick of fighting for princes. He was a good leader, he did things that had to be done, and he knew how things worked. Cithrin, a young woman was most of the time part of his story. As she left the same city with money and jewels hidden to take them to another Bank, and as a part of his caravan. She was young, a bit naïve, did some silly things, but then she was not yet sure of herself and as the book progressed the more sure she got. Then we have the other site. The conquering nation. Geder, son of a minor lord, and a bit heavy and he would rather read books. But his life was the one that would change the most. He went from knowing nothing to becoming a better man. But as he did that he made mistakes, and in the end he still was not his own man. So from nothing to something, he still was nothing. In and out of his story with a story of his own was Dawson, a lord playing games at the royal court, and trying to save the king.
 
Their paths even cross. They all have good sides and bad sides. But they form a very interesting cast and the book works well showing the world through their eyes.
 
The story is a lot about politics. Powers are working behind the king in one country and there is a ripple effect. The countries are not so stable. There are a lot of schemes behind the scenes that binds together this fascinating story. The world is also different as there are 13 different races living there, human looking ones, and some not so human looking. But some countries have more of one sort and some not. There are also talk about dragons that lived before them but they seem to be no more.
 
The tale starts with a man running, so throughout the book you know that the schemes and the wars are not the biggest problem. There is a spidergoddess who will cause chaos. When I do not know, but she is coming and it will not end well.
 
Conclusion:
An interesting start to a fantasy series, and at the end I know that I have much more before me. I will cheer for some, and not so much for others. A book for those fantasy fans that like a bit more politics in their books. I would recommend it and I want to read more from this author.

Rating:
I enjoyed it

Cover:
Nice

Friday, 8 April 2011

Review: Cowboy Fever - Joanne Kennedy

Genre: Contemporary romance
Pages: 416
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca April 1st 2011
Source: From the publisher

Miss Rodeo Wyoming Jodie Bryce is back from the big city to find that her childhood friend Teague Treadwell's rugged cowboy charm never looked better. But Teague thinks Jodie's success lifted her out of his reach, and now he's got to shed his bad boy image to be worthy of the girl next door.

My thoughts:
I liked this one, it was sweet, it had a cowboy and a also a crazy westernbarbie cowboy lover to stir up trouble. Lol, I will tell you all about it.

Jodie was a normal tomboy who loved riding, but then she put on makeup, fancy clothes and became Miss Rodeo and did some modeling before going away to school. She left behind the town's bad boy, Teague. They had been friends since they were little but there had also always been something between them. So while she has been away he has tried to shed his bad boy persona and making some money, while she has cast of her Rodeo Queen ways. But when she comes back he still thinks she is too good for him.

I liked Jodie, she was so down to earth and all she wanted was to help kids with disabilities. She never saw herself as better than Teague who had been poor and lived in a trailer when young. Teague then, oh, hunky cowboy alert! All he wants is to take care of his brother, who has Down syndrome, and to build something and not end up like his dad, the wifebeater. And he has also always been in love with Jodie. All I ever wanted while reading was for these two to get that HEA.

So I mentioned a Barbie, oh yes, the annoying rich girl who dresses more like Western Hooker Barbie, and who is constantly following Teague around cos he is a cowboy and badboy. Her I just wanted to push into a ditch. So let's call her the bad guy of the story, the one that will cause drama.

There is romance, some hot passion, an annoying woman who does not understand the word no, and friendship. Later things will turn bad and we get a bit of suspense.

Conclusion:
I liked it, I read it just like that because it was all sweet and quick to read. A good western with a likeable couple. I would recommend it, and I would read more westerns by this author. Oh and did I mention the hunky cowboy ;)

Rating:
Quick and easy

Cover
Ok



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Pssst:
If you are looking for my Flash Fiction story for the week then you can find it here. I am back at my old blog again



The Winner of A Race to Splendor
Jenny Girl

Did I ever post the Edie ramer winners?
Anyway here they are, and they all got their books already
thebookishsnob
killie81
carolsnotebook

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