Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Guest blog and Giveaway: Kathryne Kennedy - The Lady of the storms

Today I have Kathryne Kennedy over with a guest blog about the Elven Court. And at the end of this post there is a chance to win her new book, The Lady of The Storms. 

Welcome :D


THE ELVEN COURT

Thank you so much, Blodeuedd, for having me here today. It’s such a pleasure to talk with your readers once again! I’m looking forward to responding to the comments.

Seven mad elven lords took over England, dividing it into seven realms, each with a scepter which commands different powers. So the courts are different depending on the power of the elven lord that rules them. Here’s a peek into each court:

Dewhame court: The elven lord Breden rules with his blue scepter of sea and sky. The palace is all rounded edges, with water running down the walls and statues spraying fountains of it within the courtyard. Within the palace, there are ponds with fantastical plants surrounding them, and you might occasionally see a naiad swimming about. The court dresses in gowns of silk and satin and gauze, light fabrics that aren’t weighed down by the humidity. A waterfall shimmers behind the elven lord’s throne, and wisps of vapor swirl through the throngs of courtiers: half-breed elven with pale hair and jewel-like eyes.

Firehame court: The elven lord Mor'ded rules with the black scepter of fire, but if you look closely at him, you might see something unusually human in his midnight eyes. His consort, Lady Cassandra, stands by his side, a petite woman who moves with such grace she almost seems to be dancing. The court dresses in flamboyant reds, oranges and yellows, and those lacking the white hair of the elven wear ivory wigs, sprinkled with silver dust to imitate the sparkle of the elven lord’s hair. Lava appears to flow beneath the receiving room floor, and white fire dances like starlight on the vast ceiling above.

Dreamhame court: Here, Roden rules with the golden scepter of glamour and illusion, and the palace is constantly changing depending on his mood. Walls may readjust, ceilings may lift, and pillars carved with creatures that crawl about them may suddenly appear overnight. The great hall may have a glass floor with mermaids swimming beneath it, or a brown desert crawling with snakes. You will not find a single blemish or imperfection on the features of the courtiers, and their gowns move with a will of their own.

Stonehame court: The elven lady La'laylia rules here, with her lavender scepter attuned to the gemstones of the earth. The palace is constructed of one gigantic piece of amethyst, and the very air within the court seems to be tinted with shades of purple. The courtiers sparkle with jewels on fingers and gowns, in lappets and stockings, but none of them dazzle the eyes as much as the elven lady herself, in a gown woven of diamonds.

Bladehame court: Lan'dor holds the silver scepter with power over metal, and the sword at his hip fairly hums with magical resonance. His palace is made of the stuff; silver spires and towers and boxy rooms. The male court is more muscular than most, and their swords are not ceremonial, but crafted for serious use. The women are also unusually robust, and if they do not carry a short sword, then a long dagger can be found hanging from their girdles. The great hall has a sharp smell that even the courtier’s perfume cannot cover, and in the winter the engraved metal floors can be unbearably cold, so shoes and boots have thick soles.

Terrahame court: Elven lady Annanor holds the brown scepter of earth, and her palace is constructed of mud and clay—but the bricks are molded into unusual shapes, and fit together like some mad puzzle. The lords and ladies of the court dress in flamboyant colors, adding a splash of brilliance to the earthen great hall. Golems dash about on errands for the court; spindly creatures of mud and stick waving fans, carrying notes, tripping on flowing trains. Tremors occasionally shake the palace walls, and gentlemen aid the ladies over sudden cracks in the floor.

Verdanthame: The sovereignty of Mi’cal of the green scepter, who transforms plants and trees into beautiful creations with often-deadly intent. His throne is a stump of tree carved with depictions of hunting scenes, and the great hall’s pillars are tree trunks. Vines sway from the high ceiling, white moss flowing down from them like scarves of delicate lace. The court dresses in browns and greens, blending with the plants that grow from the walls and edges of the rooms. The palace itself is perched within an enormous tree, the walls of stone so covered with green moss that it appears to be some odd growth of the tree itself.

Here’s an excerpt from The Lady of the Storm, and I’m keeping it short as my post ran a bit long. :} I chose this excerpt because it captured the feel of Dewhame itself, and I loved creating a liquid world.

Cecily craned her neck up at the palace walls. Water streamed down the sides of the blue-tinted stones, picked up the meager sunlight and transformed the curtain of water into glimmering translucence. Within the courtyard itself, stone carvings spouted waterfalls that sprayed white mist into the air, speckling Cecily’s cheeks and arms.

Which realm would you most like to visit, and why? I’m looking forward to reading your comments!

My Magical Best,
Kathryne


Thank you for this interesting post, Kathryne :D 


Giveaway 
2 copies of The Lady of the storm 

1. Open to US and Canada
2. Ends September 7th
3. Just enter, or make it fun and answer Kathryne's question 
(Which realm would you most like to visit, and why?)

Have fun!

 

THE LADY OF THE STORM BY KATHRYNE KENNEDY—IN STORES AUGUST 2011

Giles is bound to protect her...
In a kingdom viciously ruled by warlike elven lords, village blacksmith Giles Beaumont reluctantly swears to protect the half-elf, half-human Cecily Sutton, never dreaming that he will fall under her enchanting spell.

But duty soon turns to desire...
When Cecily's father disappears, Cecily and Giles set out to find him. But, as their journey unfolds, duty is quickly replaced by desire—and the search for Cecily's father leads to a magical destiny that could end the rule of the elven lords forever...

“Fantastical creatures, magical spells, lengthy quests, angst, and passion will satisfy readers looking for a romance plot in a well-developed fantasy setting.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Kennedy’s exquisite world building and terrific plotting make this a must-read.”
—Booklist Starred Review


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kathryne Kennedy is an acclaimed, best-selling, award-winning author of magical romances. She welcomes readers to visit her website where she has ongoing contests at www.kathrynekennedy.com. She’s lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S., and currently lives with her wonderful family in Arizona, where she is working on the next book in The Elven Lords series, The Lord of Illusion (February 2012).



Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Review: To the Moon and Back - Jill Mansell

Genre: Romantic Fiction
Pages: 448
Date Published: September 1, 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Source: For review

Hiding from her past, Ellie is looking for a fresh start. But then an old friend tracks her down, forcing her to face what she has been trying so hard to escape. Meanwhile her boss Zack seems to have it all, everything except the woman he loves.

My thoughts:
I know what I get when I read a book by Jill Mansell and I do like that. Since this one takes place in London the same quaint English village feeling is not there, instead we have the lovely city to watch and everything else that is there.

Ellie is happy and in love, but then her husband dies and everything changes. The book sure starts with a heartbreaking beginning. The book continues 15 months later and she is dealing with the loss and she still talks to him. She is afraid to let go and move on. But everything is about to change when her father in law shows up, sets her up in his house, and she gets a new job.

I did like Ellie, she felt real and I wished she would be happy and fall in love again. Her father in law Tony was great too, a really sweet man who also gets a love story in this book. Then we have Todd, who was in the car with Jamie when he died. Ellie still blames him, but like with all Mansell books Todd will find happiness too. Then we have Ellie’s new friend Roo who was a breath of fresh air, and she is dealing with her own relationship trouble. And at last, Ellie’s new hot boss Zack who has fancied her ever since he saw her at a restaurant and he could not forget her.

As always there is a great cast of characters and Mansell does not leave you disappointed. There are HEAs everywhere to be found. It will take a while for all to find them, but they will. And that is why her books are so great because people find happiness, but I also like that before that happiness comes along they meet the wrong people, make the wrong decisions and slowly let the love they do find grow. It takes time to fall in love.

I never know where to place these books. I would not see them as chic-lit as they are something more,  they are not contemporary romance since, well, I do not know. I always feel that she is in a genre of her own.

Conclusion:
If you like her books then you will enjoy this book too.  If you are a newbie to her books then give it a go. It has a bit of everything, romance, heartache and it is just sweet.

Rating:
Sweet and fun

Cover: 
Cute

Monday, 29 August 2011

Interview and giveaway: Moira Rogers

Today I have Moira Rogers over for an interview, that is Bree and Donna :) And at the end of this interview there is a giveaway and it is the winner's choice of Crossroads, Deadlock or Crux. Open to all.


Now who is this mysterious person called Moira Rogers?

Bree: She's the powers-combined-penname of two people.

Donna:  I'm Donna.  I studied forensic science and nursing, but I always wanted to write.  Always.

Bree: And I'm Bree. I was a computer programmer until I realized that people would pay me to write about werewolves falling in love. Now I'm never going back.

 Is it hard writing a book with someone else?  How exactly do you two do it?
Donna:  It's difficult in very particular ways.  We can't really wing it without talking about every possibility and eventuality because we have to be on the same page or we'll be writing all over the place.  But it's also very rewarding to have a partner.

Could you tell me a bit about the Southern Arcana books?

Bree: The Southern Arcana series is very action focused paranormal romance set in New Orleans. Some people call them romantic urban fantasy--I can admit that they're might blur genre lines a little.  Each book features a paranormal couple (shapeshifters, spell casters or psychics) fighting together to save themselves or those they love, and falling in love along the way.

Your upcoming book is called Cipher. Could you tell me about it, and give my readers three reasons why this book (or series) is a must read.

Donna:  Cipher is about Kat confronting her past, about Andrew confronting his future, and both of them confronting what went wrong between them.

Bree: I am not good at telling people why they should read my books!  So here are three things Cipher features, and if you dig those, you might like the book:  a hacker heroine with dangerous psychic powers, an alpha wolf hero who'd do anything to protect her, and a magical brawl in the bayou.

What would you rather be; a shapeshifter, a spellcaster, a psychic or something else entirely?

Donna:  I think it depends.  In our world, psychic might be the way to go.  In the Southern Arcana universe, I think being a spell caster or wolf might offer the most advantages.

Bree: Shapeshifter. Give me that super healing, huh? I need it, considering how clumsy I am. (And maybe I wouldn't be clumsy then!)

You two have also written more books. Could I hear a bit about those too?

Bree: We love to explore the various subgenres of romance.  We've written contemporary werewolves (Red Rock Pass), historical werewolves (Building Sanctuary), Wild West Paranormal with steampunk themes (Bloodhounds) and even some fantasy stories with a fairy tale feel (And the Beast).  We just love to write different flavors of paranormal romance.  :)


I must ask you to choose now. Which hero from your books would you most want to be stranded on a desert island with?

Donna:  Hmm, I think Alec.  He's hot, but forget that.  He was in the Army, also worked as a mercenary, AND he's a wolf.  At least I could eat.

Bree: I'm going to say Jackson. Maybe he could use a few convenient spells to make life more comfortable. Magical air conditioning!

And last, what is next up for this duo?

Bree: We have a post-apocalyptic paranormal series launching this winter, and then a lot more Southern Arcana and Bloodhounds.  Wherever we go, the monsters aren't far behind.

Thanks :D



Giveaway 

1. Open to all
2. Your choice of an e-copy of either Crux, Deadlock or Crossroads.
3. Ends September 5
4. Just go ahead and enter.
As for questions to answer if you want to, well if you have read any of these books, then who is your fav guy?
Or just comment or ask a question yourself :=)



If you are new to this series then go on over to their website and see what you think :)


Sunday, 28 August 2011

Review: Queen Defiant - Anne O'Brien

Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 412
Published: June 2011
Publisher: NAL
Source: My own book

 Orphaned at a young age, Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, seeks a strong husband to keep her hold on the vast lands that have made her the most powerful heiress in Europe. But her arranged marriage to Louis VII, King of France, is made disastrous by Louis's weakness of will and fanatical devotion to the Church. Eleanor defies her husband by risking her life on an adventurous Crusade, and even challenges the Pope himself. And in young, brilliant, mercurial Henry d'Anjou, she finds her soul mate-the one man who is audacious enough to claim her for his own and make her Queen of England.

My thoughts:
I have never read a book about Eleanor but after this one I wonder why I waited so long. What a fascinating woman! Since this is a work of fiction O'Brien does give her take on the rumours surrounding Eleanor. Because like all historical books we just do not really know and have to make the best of what we do know. Though she sure made me believe I was there with Eleanor.

Eleanor of Aquitaine was married to Prince Louis of France when she was 15 and he was 17. He was raised in a monastery and would rather have wanted to be a monk. Which we do see through out this book. He is pious and rather spends his time on knees praying than doing anything else. While Eleanor was raised in the more free spirited court of Aquitaine and can't understand the darkness of Paris. I had also not realized who tiny "France" was. It was nothing really and the country as it is today was made up from different parts. So this marriage is a disaster from the start and that they had 2 kids is a miracle.

We also follow them on their failed crusade to the holy land and get to read about the rumours of her and her uncle. By now I really liked the Eleanor portrayed here, she was so strong and she tried her best. She was certainly not a meek woman of her time. I really enjoyed how O'Brien portrayed her.

The only time I was unsure about Eleanor was when she married Henry Plantagenet. She seemed weaker. He was such a womaniser but sure after a marriage like her first she needed a strong man to help her guard her lands, and he was young, virile and certainly had a reputation among the ladies. The book did make me wonder about these two, they sure had a lot of kids. There was that big age difference and then their split that is not show in this book and how the kids rebelled. But in the end, perhaps they did like each other and I am sure they quarrelled and made up a lot ;)

O'Brien does weave a great story about the early life of this marvellous woman that was queen of two countries. Was talked about a lot and managed to divorce her first husband. It was well-written and it made me want to try more books by her and see how she brings other characters from history alive. Because that is truly what she did for me, she brought them to life.

I also must talk about something I had heard about but which was brought to my attention so well here. That in those days it was sure best to keep young heiresses under lock and key. Because any man who wanted riches could just ride up kidnap and marry that woman and that was it. What a time to live in. Poor women.

Conclusion:
Recommended to those who enjoy historical fiction. It also had this lightness over it and it did not dwell on things to long but the events unfolded in a nice pace.

Rating:
Interesting

Cover:
Lovely 

 

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Review: The Egyptian - Layton Green

Series: Dominic Grey #2
Genre: mystery/suspense
Pages: 327 (ebook)
Date Published: August 27th 2011
Source: For review
Review by Lis

At a mausoleum in Cairo’s most notorious cemetery, a mercenary receives a package containing a silver test tube suspended in hydraulic stasis. An investigative reporter tracking rogue biomedical companies is terrified by the appearance of a mummified man outside her Manhattan apartment. A Bulgarian scientist who dabbles in the occult makes a startling discovery in his underground laboratory.

These seemingly separate events collide when Dominic Grey and Viktor Radek, private investigators of cults, are hired by the CEO of an Egyptian biomedical firm to locate stolen research integral to the company’s new life extension product. However, after witnessing the slaughter of a team of scientists by the remnants of a dangerous cult thought long abandoned, Grey and Viktor turn from pursuers to pursued.

From the gleaming corridors of visionary laboratories to the cobblestone alleys of Eastern Europe to a lost oasis in the Sahara, Grey and Viktor must sift through science and myth to uncover the truth behind the Egyptian and his sinister biotech – before that truth kills them
.


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

*Squee* Remember how a while back I reviewed Layton Green’s The Summoner? Remember just how much I loved it and recommended you read this book too? Well a while back B. was contacted by the author to do a pre-release of the author’s latest book: The Egyptian. Let me tell you, I was one happy happy woman when she got me that request. Needless to say I got right down to reading, but the knights put me of from writing the review. So here I am with my notebook full of squee about this book. Let’s see if I can get you to squee right along with me.

To tell you the truth, this book is not a girly, squee, romantic kind of book. It’s quite the thoughtful and scary story, full of details of myths and history, occultism, background and world building, and a mystery to rival The DaVinci Code.

Remember Dominic Grey? In The Summoner he worked for the Diplomatic Service, but since then he started working for our other hero: Professor Viktor Radek, who specializes in religious phenomenology. Basically, he consults high ranking clients on dangerous, obscure cults. Grey is James Bond to Viktor’s Indiana Jones and together they make one heck of a team.

This time the mystery involves a mummy. Alright, I’m kidding. There is a mummy but the mystery goes much deeper than that. Initially Grey and Radek are hired by an Egyptian company to locate stole research on something oh so interesting – I’ll let you find that out for yourself – but it isn’t long before they run into a dangerous cult and things get real interesting real quick. You know how cults, religion and science make a very bad mix? Well you ain’t seen nothing yet!

Like in the first book there is a lot of information in this book. There is a lot of background on myth, history and the occult and cults (and the cult featured in this book actually made my skin crawl). The flow of information in this book is well balanced by both the story and the characters. Grey is just as interesting and rogue as in the first book and Radek is just as mysterious. While they are the main characters in this story, they are supported by a well-balanced cast. These characters are not just your average story characters. They are complex, interesting and mysterious. The author gives you just enough to keep you wondering as to what they role in the story really is. One character I found most interesting was Veronica.

The setting in The Egyptian is breathtaking. Layton knows how to write the characters’ surroundings in such a way that it almost feels as if you’re actually there. Just like in The Summoner this story takes you places: from Egypt to Eastern Europe. It’s nice to see a setting that doesn’t feature America predominantly.

The Egyptian is a rare gem that puts the DaVinci Code to shame. It’s a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat, makes you want to grab your teddy bear and hide under the covers just as it keeps you from putting it down because you want to know what happens next. I sure hope this author keeps writing!




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A quick Note from me regarding this weekend and a great deal. The Summoner (which is the first book) and this book, The Egyptian will be
On Sale for $.99 for The Release Weekend Only!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Blog Tour: Paradise 21 review and guest blog by Aubrie Dionne

First up is a guest blog by the author of Paradise 21, Aubrie Dionne.




Bad Guys in Sci fi and Why We Love Them

#1. Darth Vader
There are so many reasons to love and hate Darth Vader. At first we think he’s purely evil, but when we learn of the backstory in Episode three, we pity him. He has so much power, but nothing he can do can change Padme’s destiny. In the end, he does a complete one eighty and turns back to the good side. We don’t see this in every villain, and it’s hard to write in a character, but when Luke Skywalker is calling for his father’s help, and Darth Vader decides to turn good, we believe it. He is an excellent, three dimensional bad guy with reasons for his evilness.

#2. The Borg
The Borg in Star Trek the Next Generation really creeped me out. They were relentless, and the idea of losing your identity to join a collective mind is chilling. Not only do you buy into their hive mind philosophy, but you become one physically as well. Jean Luc Picard is taken by the Borg and assimilated. He still has nightmares of his time with them. They aren’t evil, they’re just another species trying to survive. They can’t make their own offspring, so they must assimilate those around them. Very scary, cool bad guys.

#3. Ra in Stargate
The coolest thing about this bad guy is that he’s actually an alien who has taken the form of a young boy. When he’s angry, his true colors shine through and you can see the alien eyes beaming out of his head. He isn’t evil, he’s just greedy and lazy. The last one of his kind, he’s found a way to live forever by mining a particular mineral. Only, he doesn’t want to do it himself, he want to enslave the people on Earth and make them mine the mineral for him.

#4. The Body Snatchers
The scariest thing about the body snatchers is that they look just like the people you love. They come from space and grow into giant pods. When you fall asleep next to one, they steal your body by creating another you, then go about living your life as an emotionless zombie. Pretty scary, and very cool if you ask me.

Who is your favorite sci fi bad guy? Have I left any great ones out? 

 
About the Author:
Aubrie is an author and flutist in New England. Her stories have appeared in Mindflights, Niteblade, Silver Blade, A Fly in Amber, and several print anthologies including Skulls and Crossbones by Minddancer Press, Rise of the Necromancers, by Pill Hill Press, Nightbird Singing in the Dead of Night by Nightbird Publishing, Dragontales and Mertales by Wyvern Publications, A Yuletide Wish by Nightwolf Publications, and Aurora Rising by Aurora Wolf Publications.  Her epic fantasy is published with Wyvern Publications, and several of her ebooks are published with Lyrical Press and Gypsy Shadow Publishing. When she’s not writing, she plays in orchestras and teaches flute at Plymouth State University and a community music school. 




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Title: Paradise 21
Author: Aubrie Dionne
Genre: Sci-Fi Romance
Length: Novel
Release Date: August 2011
ePub ISBN: 978-1-937044-02-2
Print ISBN: 978-1-937044-03-9
http://www.entangledpublishing.com/paradise-21/

Book Trailer:
Ebook review copies available at NetGalley.com 


Aries has lived her entire life aboard mankind’s last hope, the New Dawn, a spaceship traveling toward a planet where humanity can begin anew—a planet that won’t be reached in Aries’ lifetime. As one of the last genetically desirable women in the universe, she must marry her designated genetic match and produce the next generation for this centuries-long voyage.

But Aries has other plans. When her desperate escape from the New Dawn strands her on a desert planet, Aries discovers the rumors about pirates—humans who escaped Earth before its demise—are true. Handsome, genetically imperfect Striker possesses the freedom Aries envies, and the two connect on a level she never thought possible. But pursued by her match from above and hunted by the planet’s native inhabitants, Aries quickly learns her freedom will come at a hefty price. The life of the man she loves.
-------------------------
Review by Lis:

Don’t you just love Sci-Fi? It’s a genre where everything and anything is possible. Romans in space, killer mice which can travel the speed of light, alien invasions and so on. While not quite so drastic, Paradise 21 is interesting in that: ‘what-have-they-gone-and-done-now’ kinda way, cause let me tell you, if you think humans are stupid now, just wait what they are going to do in the nearby future.

With Paradise 21 Aubrey Dionne has created a setting where humans are big on genetic purity. So much so in fact that when they’ve offed earth they gathered the best and brightest – the best genetically predisposed humans (gah, writing this makes me ashamed of being human ;-)) – and put them on Noah’s ark – erh – space ship and set off for a habitable planet. They go a little further.  Aries, and no we’re not talking god of war here, is one of the lovely colonists aboard the ship. She is forced to marry whoever is best genetically compatible to her. Poor girl, especially because her best match is an overbearing, dictatorial and manipulative bastard to put it mildly. However, she doesn’t lie down and thinks of England or Earth or whatever and escapes and that is where the real story starts. 

She crash-lands on Sahara 354 a planet that rivals its contemporary counterpart where she encounters Strikers and oh so genetically impure but very very yummy human who is everything she shouldn’t want but likes very much. Did I mention he is a pirate? No? Well, he is! From there on out it’s all adventure, challenges and romance.

The above makes this book sounds a bit gloom and doom, but all is not as dire as I make it seem. The story is well written, but has a few of the romance traps. If you think Aries intended let’s her escape just slide, you got that wrong. So be aware the vengeful scorned partner to be. 

Aubrie Dionne created quite the story with Paradise 21. It’s a bit of Star Wars meets Pirates of the Caribbean if you look past the genetic holocaust. The characters are round and interesting, definitely not your stock romance characters. Aries is every bit the stubborn, independent, yet vulnerable woman. Striker is every bit the macho pirate who’s afraid to let a woman get close to him. Add to that some pretty interesting aliens and you got yourself a crew. Well sort of!

Despite me not really connecting to this story it was in no way a bad one. Objectively it’s good and it has everything you need for a fast-paced space romance.  All in all not a bad book to review. 






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PS from Blodeuedd. My flash fic for the week ;)



Thursday, 25 August 2011

Review: Double Cross - Carolyn Crane

Series: The Disillusionists Trilogy #2
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 326
Date Published: 2010
Source: Bought

Justine Jones lived her life as a fearful hypochondriac until she was lured into the web of a mysterious mastermind named Packard, who gifts her with extraordinary mental powers—dooming her to fight Midcity’s shadowy war on paranormal crime in order to find the peace she so desperately craves.
But now serial killers with unheard-of skills are terrorizing the most powerful beings in Midcity, including mastermind Packard and his oldest friend and worst enemy, Midcity’s new mayor, who has the ability to bend matter itself to his will. 
As the body count grows, Justine faces a crisis of conscience as she tests the limits of her new powers and faces an impossible choice between two flawed but brilliant men—one on a journey of redemption, the other descending into a pit of moral depravity.

My thoughts:
Crane does have quite the imagination. Justine the hypochondriac is fighting crime by putting fear into people. She is not alone in this but have others like her around her. And then there are the high caps who have real powers, not like Justine who got them from someone else. The high caps have all sorts of powers like telepathy to forming stone. The world is fascinating and the general populace does not know the high caps exist, some believe, some don't.

I would love to go on and talk about the end now but I will hold it in. Justin is, I do not know how to describe her really because she is not your ordinary heroine. The power of zinging out her fear keeps her from going under. And she still battles her fear of dying by the disease that killed her mother, and just worrying about everything. She is not a kick-ass heroine in that sense, she is more the  shadow behind the corner that might be out to get you.

The men then. Justine is dating Otto, a hypochondriac like her but he is also a high cap and mayor of the town. He is, I do not know, I was pretty much all over him in book 2 but in this book I slowly switched team. To Packard, oh yes the former crime boss who was imprisoned in his deli and then helped his merry band of Disillusionists to fight crime. Here was just so nice and just let her be her. Team kebab it is.

But now I really need to address the end, omg omg omg omg omg omg! I knew what people were saying, that there was some huge cliffie and therefore I waited a bit with reading the book. Now I have finally read it and yes the end just hit me over the head, and then it kept hitting me until I went into shock. It was..epic, what a genius ending.

Still I do not want to scare you, it was not one of those cliffhangers that make you pull your hair out and hate the world for not having the next book. It was a different sort of cliffhanger that left me in shock, but I can wait since the end was just that, an ending you could live with (while screaming inside of course).

I do realise that I have said nothing about the story. Ok, there are doubts of what they are doing is right. There are people killing high caps. Justine getting into her relationship with Otto and all that jazz.

Conclusion.
I am still pretty much dazed from reading the book. It was truly one of the better endings out there. This is such a different sort of UF so give it a go.

Rating:
It went from good to mind-blowing those last few pages. You better just read it

Cover:
Good


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Review: Blood Bound - Rachel Vincent

Series: Unbound #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 400
Publisher: Mira
Date published: August 23rd 2011
Source: I got an ARC from the author, yay

By blood, by word, by magic…
Most can't touch the power. But Liv Warren is special— a paranormal tracker who follows the scent of blood. Liv makes her own rules, and the most important one is trust no one. But when her friend's daughter goes missing, Liv has no choice but to find the girl. Thanks to a childhood oath, Liv can't rest until the child is home safe. But that means trusting Cam Caballero, the former lover forbidden to her.

Bound by oath and lost in desire for a man she cannot have, Liv is racing to save the child from a dark criminal underworld where secrets, lies, trauma and danger lurk around every corner…every touch…every kiss. And more blood will be spilled before it's over…

My thoughts:
This is the start to a new series from Rachel Vincent and after having her Shifter series I knew I wanted this book, and what more can I say then I am sure glad I got it.

The paranormal elements in this series are that some skilled individuals have the power to find someone by a name, by blood, some have binding powers and make contracts you can't break, and some can move from shadow to shadow. There are also more and everyone knows about them, but no countries have done anything about this and pretend they are not there. Then there are those who profit from these skills others have and that bring us to the novel. There are two crime bosses in the city and you do not want to cross them. They hold on to their empires and skills are a trade to them.

Liv has the skill of tracking and these days she tries to stay on one side of the town since she works now and again for one of the crime bosses, Cavazo. She is strong, kickass (we all know I love that), and she has this love for freedom because in this world it's not easy being free. I did like her at once.

Cam is her exlover who shows up asking her to take a case. I can't go into details why they broke up but just say he wants her back and she is running. One thing he did I did not like, but again there were reasons back then. But damn this man loves her and wants her back. He would go to the end of the world for her and that is enough for me to melt into that little puddle. What else can I say then I promise you some romance and passion on the side.

It's not easy trying to move through this mafia world but they try their best. And I do love the world she created, it might just be this tiny obsession I used to have for mafia related things. There is action, danger and a whole lot of questions. Which is also a great part because there is always something there, just over that hill and I am reading like crazy to find the answers to everything that is happening. You just can't put it down, you will want more, you need to know more.

And that brings us to Cavazo, the awesome baddie. He is so evil, and not in that delicious way where you want to have your way with him. But no in the evil evil way. He will not think twice of putting a bullet in your brain, he rules with an iron fist, he is cruel, he hits women, but I like him. Yes I do have problems it seems. The thing is that even though he is totally bad, there is still this glimmer of something decent buried way way way back inside of him and he does have one redeeming quality, which the other boss Tower does not seem to have. What can I say, I love a good baddie, and fine I pictured him as hot. But would not go anywhere near him. He is crazy after all.

Conclusion:
This was a great start to this series and it made me want the next book. Sadly I have to wait almost a year for that one. It also did not end in a cliffhanger,  ok sort of not ended. There was an end, there was a maybe, but I could live with it. To wrap this up, great book.

Rating:
Recommended

Cover:
I just do not like it at all. Are they in a forest? Why would they be in a  forest? I also think the cover might have been why I first thought it was a YA book when I saw it. And trust me, it is not.



Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Review: The Bride of Casa Dracula - Marta Acosta

Series: Casa Dracula #3
Genre: Humour/Paranormal romance with a twist
Pages: 268
Published: 2008
Publisher: Gallery Simon & Schuster
Source: Bought

Milagro De Los Santos is having serious problems planning her wedding to fabulous Oswald Grant, M.D. Her future in-laws loathe her, her dog just died, and Oswald's family has a genetic anomaly that makes them crave blood. Then her extravagant best friend hijacks the role of wedding coordinator, and the secretive Vampire Council assigns conniving Cornelia Ducharme to guide the couple through the ancient vampire marriage rituals.
To top it all off, Milagro's career is on the skids. She's reduced to ghost-writing the memoirs of a loony little man who claims to be a shapeshifter. And why does Cornelia's decadent, way too attractive brother, Ian, always show up whenever Milagro is away from Oswald? When a series of accidents interferes with wedding plans, Oswald worries that Milagro is cracking under the pressure. Is she just paranoid, or is a hidden enemy trying to make sure Milagro doesn't wed the undead?

My thoughts:
First I have to post what Acosta herself called her books: comedies-of-manners, or romantic comedies with lots of chaos, confusion, charming villains, eccentrics, and flirting. Which really fits since this is not the normal kind of paranormal romance. Far from it. I just want to called it a witty romantic comedy involving humans who like blood and as Acosta said lots of flirting. 

Read her books! Lol, honestly they are so funny. I just love Milagros, she is witty, she has curves, she flirts, she has opinions and I think I really would enjoy having her as a friend.

Her men, oh I do like Oswald but, yes there is that but, he is just so nice and normal. Can he truly keep up with this crazy Latina when he is just so waspy. But she does love him and is marrying him and he does do a great job keeping up with her. But then there is goddamn Ian Ducharme as Oswald calls him. He is like fine wine, ok forget since I hate wine. He is like a yummy chocolate that melts in your mouth and makes you crave more and more. He makes you blood pump in your veins and he is just delicious. And he wants her *faints*.

Right the story, well as I said they are getting married and making preparations. She has to deal with the council who does not approve of her since she is the only human who was turned (a little mistake) and lived. And someone is after her. She is also ghost-writing for a freaky guy. All as is should be in Milagros universe.

All in all a highly enjoyable book that makes you want more. The way it ends, well it does end with an ending and you could be happy there. But there is one more after it so yay.

Conclusion:
Just read it, come one you know you want to! Start with book 1, you will not be sorry. You will smile, laugh and hopefully think Ian is as delicious as I find him. The book is witty and so just impossible to put down. I do wonder what happens in book 4, I mean..ohhhhhhhhh.

Rating:
I do think I made it clear. Read it :) I could not put it down.

Cover:
Fun :D




Monday, 22 August 2011

Review: Crossroads - Moira Rogers + guestblogging

Series: Southern Arcana #2
Genre: Paranormal romance
Pages:  228 (ebook)
Published: 2010
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Source: For review

Coming from a family with psychic gifts, Derek Gabriel was aware of but separate from the dangers of the supernatural world, until a rogue wolf shifter stripped away his humanity. The change he barely survived didn’t drive him insane, but the cultural bias against him as an inferior transformed wolf might. And it doesn’t help that he’s fallen for the daughter of the most powerful wolf in the country.


Almost from the moment she was born, Nicole Peyton started planning her escape from the strict confines of elite shapeshifter society, an old-fashioned world where women are valued only for their bloodlines and bank accounts. In New Orleans she has a bar she loves, friends in decidedly low places, and a smoldering sensual tension with an incredibly attractive and deliciously unsuitable man. Their forbidden longing erupts into unbridled need—until Nick’s sister burns into town with a strike team hard on her heels. Saving her means Nick has to play by the Conclave’s rules…and give up the man she is growing to love. Unless Derek does something completely crazy—issue a challenge that could shake the foundations of their world.
My thoughts:
I really should write reviews at once, this time I waited three days and that is not good. But I hope I can do the book justice anyway.

In this book we get more of the politics and honestly those shifter bosses are such asses. But then men in power (and women) tend to be that. I liked Nicole, the heroine because she wanted out of that stuffy old world who only wanted her to choose a mate from one of their own sons. But she does have a weakness and that is love, her sister and just doing what she feels is right. Still who could not admire her.

The hero Derek, was turned shifter so to the bluebloods he is just a mutt. And he has liked Nick for a long long time. He is all a man should be, nice, protective of his loved ones, and hot. Together these two will create a little bit of magic of their own.

Even if I do like the big romance, there is so much more to like too. All the side characters are just love, like Kit and Andrew who sure flirt a lot with each other, and Alec, oh he sure won me over in this book and I really want to read his book. He is so alpha and mysterious. When he is near I forget everyone else, yes, awesome side character.

Back to the story. So much will happen. I wish I could tell you all, but that would sure spoil things. But prepare for surprises, heartache and victory.

The world is rich and with lots to explore. The bad guys are bad, but still normal. The passion is great, the friendships wonderful and it was a joy to read.

Conclusion:
I do think I liked this one more than book 1, or is that just because I am in some sort of I want Alec’s book haze? Lol, well book 1 was good and this one is even better then. I do hope the trend continue.

Rating:
Good

Cover:
Nice 



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And yes I am somewhere today too. Anachronist invited me to come to her blog Books as portable pieces of thought and talk about chick-lit, and yes romance for women in general. She has her essay, I have my thoughts and there is also a piece from Melissa from Books and Things. So come on over and check it out


here :D


Lol, I was looking at a fun pic to go with my notice and found this 

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Review: Elantris - Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 656
Published: August 11, 2011 (2005)
Publisher: Gollancz
Source: For review

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful and filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling. Arelon's new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god. But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

My thoughts:
This was Sanderson's debut and already here he showed why he is such a wonderful fantasy writer. The book is also different in a way since this is it, there is no series. This book is it and I liked that.´There was an end to it.

Sanderson is a master when it comes to creating religions, political intrigues and magical systems, he just does it so well. His books shines with it and they are a joy to read. The imagination and work he puts in to his stories makes them so much more.

In this story we meet prince Raoden who is tossed into Elantris to die a miserable death and his family proclaims he died from some sudden disease. He is a true hero and loves his people. And now being Elantrian he does his best to help this poor people. Because they are, well zombies in a way. They feel every wound and they seem to be rotting away. When the pain is too much they just lie down and stay like that. The big question is why this is happening since Elantrians used to have power and magic, but then came the curse...

Sarene is the other main character. She comes as a bride but lands as a widow. Still she stays because just as Raoden wants to save Elantrians now, Sarene wants to save her new people and the people back home. She is no scared little princess, she has a keen mind and is not afraid to say what she thinks.

This book is a lot about the political intrigues that are going on in this country and abroad. There is a big bad empire with a religious ruler who wants to take over the world and make everyone believe in his faith. The people in Arelon does believe in the same god, but there are two roads to God, and as we do know people will always find fault in others. Especially when it comes to religious zealotism and here that is truly shown. Because even if Hrathen is bad with his die or convert scheme then there are worse men out there and we meet them. This religion also despises the former Elantrians since they were almost like Gods.

The other part of the political world is the inner turmoil in the country. The Elantrians used to rule but when that broke down the rich took over and created an order where the richest have titles, and the poor are even poorer and in serfdom. It is a system which is crumbling and seems ripe to be plucked by conquerors. 

I have already said that I like the magic, politics and religion he creates. But he also creates such wonderful characters to root for, or hate with a passion. And while doing just that you have this dread inside of you, because how can this book end well? Raoden is rotting, Sarene is playing with fire and there is an Empire who wants to crush everyone.

Conclusion:
A great fantasy book that I could not put down. I was so immersed in the story and wanted to know what would happen to them all. It is a book I recommend and if you are afraid of long fantasy epics then this one book (even if long to some) is a great book for you to start with.

Rating:
Could not put it down

Cover:
I am not a fan of these, but it kind of grows on me. But it seems a bit..sci-fiesqe




Saturday, 20 August 2011

Review: Bianca: The Silver Age - Jeff Pearce

Genre: Sci-fi/adventure
Pages:  266
Published: April 2011
Publisher: Gallivant Books
Source: For review
Review by Lis

It's the Age of the Paladins... The age of the so-called "Vigil-ebrities" who fight crime and protect the innocent as the world tries to recover from economic collapse. And on the streets of Bohemia, Bianca is trying to find answers to her unique chemistry. She's a succubus, forever trapped in a cycle of lust and violence that affects her very survival. But when she looks into the murder of a chemist responsible for the latest addictive gel, the trail leads to exotic cities, new allies and sinister criminal enemies, and a corporate conspiracy that threatens everyone on Earth. By the end of her journey, Bianca will join the ranks of the most famous Paladins in the world: Orson Hawkwood, the leader of Defenders Without Borders, the enigmatic Clerfayt, detective avenger of Paris, Thelonius Minh, the peculiar "shrink to the stars" and master of combat yoga, Makeda Falosade, the Bandit Queen, and the creepy, Makeda Falosade, disturbingly powerful Plague Man. Enter the Silver Age and join a unique heroine on her first exciting quest!

 ..................

Y’all know how I like a woman who can stand on her own two feet and who can kick ass when needed and not hide in a corner or behind a man? Well if you like that as well than you will most definitely like Bianca: The Silver Age, trust me on that. Sci-fi setting or not, this book was a fresh wind through my read booklist a while back. Let me see if I can tell you why this book rocks!

Jeff Pearce is a not so well know author yet, but he sure knows his way around words. When he wrote Bianca, he wrote a book with an original setting – well at least to me – a cast of unique characters and an action adventure mystery story that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

This story is mainly about Bianca and the friends she collects along the way. She’s most definitely not your average kinda gal in a post-economic apocalypse world that is called ‘The Age of the Paladins’ – crime fighters who protect those who need protecting. She’s a succubus. Yes, you heard that right, she lives of sex - she has to maintain a balance or go insane. Despite that, she is independent and smart, has skills and wit and a soft side. She doesn’t just give up. She becomes entangled in a dark plot. Together with others she has to get to the bottom of it and soon! People are dying!

The writing is very good. The author creates a world that is not just your typical sci-fi setting with some stock characters. While there is a big evil, that is not just the main focus of the story. The author not only creates an original world and knows how to populate it; he creates character with some unique skills too. Combat Yoga anyone? It’s enough to make this story believable, fun and not far-fetched! 

I’m not a real big fan of sci-fi, but this book is GOOD. It’s sci-fi with a dark edge.  I really enjoyed reading it and I’m looking forward to reading more books by this author.  So the conclusion: if you’re looking for something different and you like sci-fi and you want a kick-ass heroine? Then this book is most definitely for you! Go get it!  



Friday, 19 August 2011

Review: The Lady of the Storm - Kathryne Kennedy

Series: The Elven Lords #2
Genre: Alternate history / fantasy romance
Pages: 384
Published: August 1st 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: from the publisher

Storm lord's daughter Cecily Sutton's powers over sea and sky have put her life at risk. Giles Beaumont is reluctant to protect her, until he falls under her enchanting spell...
My thoughts: 
This book can be read as a stand alone, since it does take place 9 years after book 1. But still it is a series and the plot to overthrown the elves continue.

What I enjoy most about this series is the worldbuilding. Kennedy has this way of creating such fantastic worlds that you can almost not imagine them in your head. The book takes place in England but it is a changed England as Elves came from their dimension and took over the country. Now Eleven Lords and Ladies rule with an ironfist. Humans are mere playthings to them and those born out of mixed unions are killed if their magic is too powerful. The elves do not want anyone messing with their power. The greatness of the world does not stop here, no all these elves rule over elements and this time it is the Storm Lord's kingdom we see most of. He has changed the area so that it is filled with streams and lakes. He resides in Bath and there is water everywhere.

With that out of the way I can move on to the story. Cecily is his bastard and she is meant to be dead but was saved by the Rebellion. Now it is time for her to take up the cause and help them, by her side she has Giles who has looked over her for years. She is quite headstrong, and she knows that she has power enough to defend herself. She has also always liked Giles a lot, thought not any more. They had a falling out. Still he also likes her a lot but she is a lady, while he is nothing.  Aye star crossed lovers in more than one way. But we all know they will have a HEA, but the way there is long since she feels that he dislikes her and he tries to stop his own thoughts of having her.

What we then have in this book is passion and romance, danger, a bit of action, some monsters, the search for her dad, a secret mission and learning more about the rebellion and the Elven Lords. All in all making it an intriguing story in a beautiful and rich setting. And the Elven Lords are just so evil, I love it.

Conclusion:
A good story with an excellent world to pull more from. She has created such an interesting world that you want to read more about. The pages just fly by while you read.

Rating:
Nice

Cover: 
I like the colours


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I am guest reviewing over at Alternative Read today. Come over and read my review of Right Hand Magic by Nancy Collins
Like most Manhattanites, aspiring artist Tate can't resist a good rental deal-even if it's in the city's strangest neighborhood, Golgotham, where for centuries werewolves, centaurs, and countless other creatures have roamed the streets.

Her new landlord is a sorcerer name Hexe, who is determined to build his reputation without using dark, left-hand magic. As Tate is drawn into Hexe's fascinating world, they both find that the right hand does not always know what the left hand is doing-and avoiding darkness is no easy trick.



 
And here is my flash fiction story for this week.



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