Friday, 30 September 2011

Review: Odessa - Rebecca Ryals Russell

Series: The Serphym Wars #1
Genre: Steampunk/fantasy
Pages: 272, ebook
Published: 2011
Source: for review
Review by Lis


Myrna Ashlin Watts graduated from High School in Jacksonville, Fl just in time to find herself transported to a bizarre and primal planet corrupted by demon-dragons. And they want her DEAD. Her problem is she has been recruited to kill them, too.18-year-old Myrna is drawn into the middle of an epic battle between Seraphym and Demons. An average High School student from Florida, struggling with inner demons resulting from a rape two years earlier, she wakes one morning on the Steampunk planet of Dracwald, home of the demon-dragons responsible for her brother’s recent murder as well as many other atrocities in the news. She meets Michael, who becomes her guide and explains that according to prophecy, Myrna must gather the remaining six Vigorios (teen warriors with special talents) then train with the Majikals on an enchanted island.
Reluctantly, and knowing it is her only way to get back home, she agrees to lead, battling dragons and monsters while crossing swamps and mountains, forests and seas. She wrangles with the old inner demons when three very different men join her quest—a seasoned demon/dragon-slayer who irritates but beguiles her, a tender and sweet mentor in whom she trusts completely and a roguishly handsome Scientist who sets her senses aflame. How is she expected to lead the others and keep everyone safe with so much inner turmoil?



High school graduation is supposed to be the end of a period and the start of a new one. Well, Myrna’s is just a tad bit more unusual than most. She just graduated high school in Jacksonville only the find herself on the bizarre, steam-punk like primal planet of Dracworld. 

Oh yeah, did I mention there are dragons? Oh and Seraphyms. 

When I first got this book to review, I didn’t read past Steam Punk before I said yes. Heh, I may have mentioned I like Steam Punk before, right? While this book certainly didn’t disappoint, it wasn’t entirely my cup of tea either. 

Odessa is an ambitious piece of work that has a little bit of everything in it: from Steam Punk to Fantasy, from Religion to Romance. And some hunks! It is the story of sweet, strong Myrna; who, along with some demon dragons, has her own inner demons to slay. When she is transported to Dracworld, fate bitchslaps her with a great big destiny and a bit of prophecy: she is to find the remaining six Vigorios – that would be teen warriors with special talents – and train with them on an enchanted island (I want one of those!)

Fantasy is a big theme in Odessa and as such there is a lot of world building. You get to see the planet through Myrna’s eyes as well as a lot of history. Let me tell you, it’s a dark, disturbing and violent place to be. There are also a lot of creatures in this story and along with the characters they make this story pretty interesting. However, at points it was hard to follow. Not so much as in what was going on, just that there is a lot going on. 

As there are a lot of characters, besides Myrna, it was sometimes a bit hard to keep track of who’s who and who was leading in the story. But that also could have been me, ‘cause I was pretty tired at the time I read this. 

Odessa is a likeable first installment. It’s a pretty ambitious project. However, what didn’t work for me – but let me stress that this is a personal hang-up – were the Christian undertones in the story. There are a lot of themes going on here and Christianity and other religions have played many a part in fantasy stories – but in this one it didn’t quite work for me. Steam Punk and Fantasy, yes, Steam Punk, Fantasy and Religion, not so much. Add to that the Seraphyms – who are becoming a big thing in the fantasy world – and well it had me rolling my eyes at time. 

But don’t let that pull you off. Myrna’s story is a good one to tell and to read. 




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From Blodeuedd:

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Review: Utterly Charming - Kristine Grayson

Genre: Contemporary romance meets fairy tale
Pages: 320
To Be Published: October 1, 2011 (2000)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source. For review


Bestselling author Kristine Grayson's fairy tale romances bring the classic stories into the present day, where fairy tale characters must grapple with the complexities of modern life as well as their own destinies.
This time when Sleeping Beauty wakes up, she wants nothing to do with the man who kissed her. Consoling Alex Blackstone, the rejected suitor who is a brilliant magician but inept when it comes to women, falls to modern career woman and lawyer, Nora Barr. Nora now has to deal with Beauty's evil stepmother, and the discovery that Alex just might be her own personal Prince Charming...

My thoughts:
What can I say, the title does say it all. This was such a charming book. Nora, our heroine meets Alex Blackstone who is so hot, and she can't stop thinking of him. Too bad he is in love with a woman who he claims to be in a magical coma, but she soon realizes magic is real and fairy tales too.

I liked Nora, even if she was a bit to of a lawyer sometimes. She did not let down her guard, but then who would when meeting a 1000 year old mage, a wicked witch, and a woman in a glass coffin. And I had to like that she did not let Alex or our wicked stepmother get the upper hand of her. Instead she wanted to protect Emma.

Before you all go all oh no! What about poor Emma? Well that is a long story, and just because two kids believed they were in love a 1000 years ago does not mean that is true now. And Alex is always the gentleman, I truly liked that about him. 

It is a romance that in a way is not a romance. It is always there on the fringes because he wants to protect his sleeping beauty, she thinks those two are meant to be, they are both so utterly blind to what is in front of them. The romance therefore is slow to build, but that is good since they get it when they see it.

But what I liked most is how she brought these two worlds together, Magic is real and out there. And fairy tales, well there is always a hint of truth in them, but mostly they are just sweetened beyond words and the true story is lost in time.

Conclusion:
If you want cute and sweet then look here. And if you want that romance with fairy tale vibe over it then you have found the right book. I liked it and would want more.

Rating
Cute

Cover:
cute


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Review: A Dash of Scandal - Amelia Grey

Genre: Historical romance
Pages: 304
To be published: October 1, 2011 (2002)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source. For review

When Millicent comes to the aid of her injured aunt, she never imagined her "help" would require her to do all of the legwork her aunt can't do– attend society's most fashionable events in order to help write her aunt's gossip column!
But the devastatingly handsome Chandler Preswick, Earl of Dunraven, is on to her when he sees Millicent writing notes on her dance card. Outraged, he believes she's connected to the mysterious "Mad Ton Thief " and vows to expose her. Millicent must stop him before they are both plunged into scandal. If only he weren't so irresistibly attractive...


My thoughts:
Delightful and charming, those are the words to describe this book. It was just so sweet and wonderful. I had a grin on my face while reading and I just could not read fast enough. At the end I truly feared for them, even though I know that of course there would be a HEA. 

Millicent, our lovely heroine comes to London to help her aunt, who writes a gossip column in secret. But she needs Millie's help and so Millie gets her season but tries to stay under the radar. But what would the book be if she was not spotted by someone. Oh yes one of the most notorious rakes in the city, one that is always in the papers for this and that. But Chandler is never such a rake (ok he is ;), but most of all he is nice and he wants to pursue her. Sure he has women in his past, but the gossip always makes more of a thing that it really is. Still, I truly enjoyed these two together, because Millicent tries to stay away from him, but he keeps showing up, at balls, and in secret. I do love a man who does not give up even though she tells him to. 

I think the only thing I did not like was thesexscene. Sure it was good, but up to that it was just so sweet and I liked it sweet since I went to "oh no! her virtue is gone" mode after that scene. But for the rest of you, yes things will heat up once . These two can't stay away from each other.  And I still really liked it.

As for the story, it was fun, she writes gossip, he is trying to catch a thief and gets the wrong idea. There are misunderstandings and plots, and most of all, two people falling in love. And he does not want a wife, and she does not want a rake. Yes they are perfect for each other in the end. 

Conclusion:
Like I said, it was a delight to read this book. It was sweet and fun and I read it in a heartbeat with a smile on my face. I need to read more by Amelia Grey, she does not disappoint. 

Rating:
I recommend it

Cover.
Cute :D


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Lord Adrian and Lady Bridget Smythe are the picture of a perfect high society marriage. But little does the ton know—unbeknownst to one another—that they are England’s most preeminent spies, but what are secret agents to do when the war is over? Lord and Lady Smythe find themselves out of work and forced to live as the happily wedded husband and wife all believe them to be. But their new domesticity only highlights the distance between them…

While en route to report to the prime minister for a top secret meeting, Adrian and Bridget cross paths—discovering each other’s true identities… Adrian cannot believe that the feisty woman in the revealing dress is his very own wife.  And Bridget can’t believe that her firm-shouldered opponent with very kissable lips is her very own husband. But before they can investigate further, the prime minister presents their assignment: the one spy who can find a dangerous murderer will be reinstated. The game is on...

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Review: Darkfever - Karen Marie Moning

Series: fever #1
Genre: (as I felt it) Urban Fantasy romance hybrid
Pages: 336
Published: September 8, 2011 (2006)
Publisher: Gollancz
Source: For review


MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman.  Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens. When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae….
As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane–an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands…

My thoughts:
I have heard a lot about these books, and then I mean a lot. It was all Barrons this and Barrons that. And now I finally got the chance to try it out for myself. 

Mac leaves for Ireland to investigate since she feels that the cops are not doing enough to solve a case. Let's just say that I would have left it for the cops to handle. There she meets a mystery man called Barrons and is soon neck deep in fae and magical objects. 

Now did I see the attraction between Mac and Barrons? Nope, not at all, I guess that comes later. Did I think Barrons is an ass, yes! There you have it, I join that little minority that does not like Barrons. I know others like him even though he is a jerk, but I just do not like guys like that (think Ethan in the Chicagoland vampires series). Was I still interested in Barrons? YES. Arghh, it drove me freaking insane! He is someone, Fae seem to be weary of him, but what and who is he? Do I get answers? No no, I am sure that will take the entire series. And I want to know now.

There is also this question what this book is. I do not want to call it urban fantasy cos honestly there was no asskicking at all, well a tiny amount. And there is no real romance either. So you know what, I am just calling this a urban fantasy romance since it to me feels like a hybrid. And I do like it as the hybrid I feel it is. 

Ok yes I know I said no romance, but there is lust. One sexy as hell scene, but which also was very creepy. The person that is lust and sex and orgasm by death is V'Lane and you will know when you meet him. 

What I am left with at the end is answers I really want to find. So the book did not rock my world at once, but neither did the Kate Daniel book. It took book 2 to get me from like to addiction. And this one does have that certain something that might make that happen.

It is a good book and it made me want more. And considering how crazy people are about this series I guess it gets better and better. And I think I could get quite addicted. It is the questions, they just suck you in. 

Conclusion:
It was a good start to this series and an introduction to strange new world. And the Fae has never been nastier.

Rating:
Nice

Cover:
I like the stones


Monday, 26 September 2011

Review: Eromenos - Melanie J. McDonald *Blog Tour*



Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 176
Published: March 2011
Publisher: Seriously good books
Source: Blog tour
Review by Lis


Eros and Thanatos converge in the story of a glorious youth, an untimely death, and an imperial love affair that gives rise to the last pagan god of antiquity. In this coming-of-age novel set in the second century AD, Antinous of Bithynia, a Greek youth from Asia Minor, recounts his seven-year affair with Hadrian, fourteenth emperor of Rome. In a partnership more intimate than Hadrian's sanctioned political marriage to Sabina, Antinous captivates the most powerful ruler on earth both in life and after death. This version of the affair between the emperor and his beloved ephebe vindicates the youth scorned by early Christian church fathers as a "shameless and scandalous boy" and "sordid and loathsome instrument of his master's lust." EROMENOS envisions the personal history of the young man who achieved apotheosis as a pagan god of antiquity, whose cult of worship lasted for hundreds of years—far longer than the cult of the emperor Hadrian.
In EROMENOS, the young man Antinous, whose beautiful image still may be found in works of art in museums around the world, finds a voice of his own at last.




**be warned: this review contains spoilers**

Melanie McDonald sent me a copy of her book Eromenos – which is Greek for beloved – for review and it’s actually the first m/m book to review for B.’s blog, though it’s not what you think. Eromenos is not the romantic man meets man and instant love ensues between two hot men. Far from it actually, though that didn’t make this book any less good. In fact, this is one hell of a good book with a lot of depth.

Eromenos is the first person fictional journal account of Antonious, a youth from Asia Minor on his relationship with Emperor Hadrian just hours before his death. It’s a story that sticks, that’s for sure. Antonious describes his youth and how he came to meet the Emperor to how he became Hadrian’s favorite to his lover. He accompanied Hadrian on his travels and went everywhere Hadrian went. 

On the surface this is an account of Antonious life. Just below the surface lies the story of a youth searching for his identity who he is and who he will be. Antonious grew up in the country and this defines how he sees the world and people. Because of the erastes/eromenos role between Hadrian and him people already see him as different, but he is also Hadrian’s favorite a position many desire. As a result he keeps himself apart from the rest of the court. His views on people and the world around him are very interesting to read. He’s also very detached from them. It’s almost as if he’s writing a scientific account on the people around him. 

Because this story is journal style, you don’t get much from Hadrian’s pov, you only view the emperor through Antonious’ eyes. This part was a bit frustration for me, because you never really know how Hadrian feels about Antonious. Though Antonious is a very insightful person and as a result you get a good view of Hadrian. One of the sad parts of this story is that Antonious thinks Hadrian never completely trusts him because Hadrian doesn’t have a firm grasps of what love is. Yet, I believe he was mistaken in that view. 

Antonious’ story is based on truth. His story has captivated historians through the ages. He really was Hadrian’s favorite and his lover and his death has been a riddle through the ages. Some say it was suicide because his relationship with Hadrian could not continue past his adulthood and something this book builds; others say it was an accident or even sacrifice. Hadrian simply said he fell overboard, which is entirely possible, but it something that will remain a mystery forever. 

The relationship between Hadrian and Antonious is not exactly equal. Hadrian is a man who likes to take and control. Their relationship is not exactly romantic, but there is something – if not love – between the two. Historically accounts tell of how distraught Hadrian was after Antonious death and how he grieved. Antonious was actually deified – same as Alexander did after Hephaistion’s death - and Hadrian created a city after his death. There were many busts and medals created in Antonious likeness. 

The story of Antonious is fascinating. Not only historically but also in this story. The writing is superb, skilful and rich. It’s a beautifully crafted story that has many levels, thoughts and philosophy. Melanie McDonald did an excellent job on writing Antonious story in Eromenos. It is most definitely a story I’d recommend, though you would have to like this sort of story. It deals with an erastes/eromenos relationship, which means it is a relationship between an older man and a young boy – and Antonious is young at the start of the relationship. Though there is nothing explicit it is hinted at. 

As said, the story is written journal style and divided into four parts: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. You’d have to like this style of writing. Though it’s most definitely worth it. I was glad I got the chance to review this book.  

There is much I could tell you about this book. There is a lot of depth into. As said it’s not merely an account of Antonious life. There are many layers and you have to delve into them to really understand Antonious and what he’s trying to say. So all I have to say is: this is a must read book! *hides tissues*




TOUR LINKS:
Twitter Event Hashtag = #EromenosVirtualBookTour

For more information on Melanie McDonald please visit her WEBSITE. 


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Review: The Women of the Cousins' War: The Duchess, the Queen and the King's Mother

Genre: Non-fiction
Pages: 338
Published: September 15, 2011
Publisher: Simon and Schuster ltd
Source: For review

#1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory and two historians present a must-have non-fiction book for both fans and scholars.

My thoughts:
I have actually never reviewed non-fiction before, and in the end I have not read much either, since my non-fiction mostly consists of uni textbooks (and none that exciting as this one). After having read all 3 books by Philippa Gregory it was interesting to read this book since this one is all fact and thoughts about these three women. But how to review is the question. I can't say I did not like something that happens since it is what happened. So I looked at is this way, was it boring and made me fall asleep? The question to that is no. It was never dry.

Philippa Gregory has written the first part about Jacquetta and she tells the story from cradle to grave. The little that is known about this fascinating woman. I do love any woman who went her on way at a time where your father, husband, brother or king ruled you. Sure many other women went their own way, but I just like how she married so far beneath her status, she must have loved him so and I am a sucker for that.

The next part is by David Baldwin and he tells the story about Elizabeth Woodville. I will always like the Woodville family and they are just so slandered, it is horrible. They were certainly not the first family to gain lands, titles and money when someone from their family caught a king's eye. And even if her husband was a terrible womanizer I will always like their story, lust at first sight ;)

The last part is by Michael Jones and it is about Margaret Beaufort (whom I called the bitch in The Red Queen). It is strange to say that you do not like someone that has lived and you have never met, but I just do not like it (but her story is a good one), and I certainly do not like her son Henry Tudor. Lol, I have a strange aversion for all the Tudors for some reason. Well starting from Henry. Oh and I am sure these two killed the princes in the tower, ok, I am just blaming them since I dislike them.

All in all 3 good authors writing about 3 interesting women, that history has vilified or as with Margaret made all saintly and good. It is not perhaps a book you read at once. No, you can read one section and then read another another day. History is not going anywhere.

Conclusion:
A good book to read after reading this series, or a good book to make you want to read the Cousin's War books.

Rating: 
Interesting

Cover:
I can't grade non.fiction, it fits

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Review: Deal with the devil - J. Gunnar Grey + One for the money trailer

Book 1+ 2
Genre: Historical murder mystery
Pages: 286, ebook
Published: May and June 2011
Review by Anna


Wehrmacht Major Faust has a dangerous secret: he likes England. But it's May 1940 and his Panzers are blasting the British Army off Dunkirk's beach, so he keeps his mouth shut. When the Waffen SS try to murder their English prisoners of war, Faust helps the POWs escape. Now it's treason, with his neck on the line. Then a friend gets him drunk, straps him into a parachute, and throws him out over Oxford during a bombing run. He's quickly caught. Because he helped type the battle plan for the invasion of England, Faust cannot allow himself to be broken in interrogation. Two German armies depend on it. But every time he escapes, someone rapes and murders a woman and the English are looking for someone to hang. He's risking disaster if he stays, someone else's life if he runs, and execution by the Gestapo if he makes it home. Major Stoner, professor turned British intelligence officer, sees three possibilities. Faust perhaps was joyriding in that bomber, as he claims. Or he's on a reconnaissance mission for the German invasion. Or he's a spy. Stoner must break Faust to learn the truth. Their battlefield is confined to a desktop. Only one of them can win. Someone must break. Someone must make a Deal with the Devil.

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“Deal With the Devil” is a historical murder mystery, set during the World War II. Hans-Joachim Faust, a German, finds himself in trouble. He wakes up in the night, not knowing where he is and what’s happened. Soon he realizes that he has fallen out of a plane with his parachute and is currently somewhere in England. But why is he in England and how will he find the way back to Germany? He finds his way to a farm, but unfortunately he is pretty soon captured and brought into custody. What he doesn’t know is that a young woman from the farm is missing and he is obviously a suspect. 

Things only get worse for Faust when he learns that the missing girl is found dead. He is now a suspect in a murder case. And that’s not all. Stoner and the other investigators at Margeaux Hall also suspects he might be a spy. Faust does not do much to clear his name by running away several times from the people who is supposed to guard him. The freedom is short lived, as he always finds himself back at Margeaux Hall, back in his cell.

When the second young woman is found dead, the Scotland Yard joins to investigate. Could it be that Faust is innocent? Stoner certainly doesn’t think so. But Stoner might be wrong. Arnussen and Hackney from the Scotland Yard more and more starts to suspect that it is one of the investigators that is the killer. The question is whether Scotland Yard is on the right track or if they need to look somewhere else for the killer.

The book was released in two parts, with the second part being a bit shorter than the first part. The second part begins where the first part ends, with no summary. This means you have to read part 1 in order to understand what is going on in part 2. Personally I don’t really understand the need in separating the two parts. Why not release the story as one book?

J. Gunnar Grey writes novels that are mysterious, adventurous and romantically suspenseful, as stated in the “About the Author” section of the book. “Deal With the Devil” is certainly mysterious and adventurous, with a little bit of romance. She has a degree (MA) in Writing Popular Fiction. She has been a secretary, a legal assistant, a Starfleet lieutenant commander, a stable manager, among other things. She uses the knowledge she has gained from being all those things, in the book.

I liked the second part of the book better than the first part. It took me a while to get into the story and to understand it. The end is really full of action, which is quite good. I do recommend the book for those who like historical murder mysteries.



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And something from me. I love the Steph Plum books (and hate them for dragging out), and I am sure excited about  the movie


Friday, 23 September 2011

Review: The Little Bride - Anna Solomon

Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 320
Published: September 6, 2011
Publisher: Riverhead
Source: for review

When 16-year-old Minna Losk journeys from Odessa to America as a mail-order bride, she dreams of a young, wealthy husband, a handsome townhouse, and freedom from physical labor and pogroms. But her husband Max turns out to be twice her age, rigidly Orthodox, and living in a one-room sod hut in South Dakota with his two teenage sons. The country is desolate, the work treacherous. Most troubling, Minna finds herself increasingly attracted to her older stepson. As a brutal winter closes in, the family's limits are tested, and Minna, drawing on strengths she barely knows she has, is forced to confront her despair, as well as her desire.



My thoughts:

I think the beauty with this book was this quietness over it, this stillness and contemplation that what happens happens. Which also makes this one hard book to rate, because even if I liked the story and so on I would rate it one way. But then I look at the writing and the feeling and it has to have a better rating. Because it is just good. 

The story is about Minna who is a servant in Odessa, bad times being a Jew there, or anywhere for that matter. So she signs with an agency and becomes a mail order bride. Poor Minna has hopes for a better life and she is not prepared for the harsh life of a farmer's wife. She could have managed but the thing is that her new husband is no farmer. He knows nothing at all and he is very strict orthodox and the farm suffers because of it. Well the hut, the mule, the cow and a little field that makes up the farm. But there is freedom there, freedom to be themselves. And this in a land where there is another people worse off than they are. The story is good, and I liked Minna and her silent suffering. Her husband is a good man, just too good and clueless. Her stepsons are nice too, but there we get the little bit of drama, attraction. Not to mention a winter of suffering as they have no food and it's cold. 

The only thing I did not like was the end, it was ok, but that was just it. We got a little insight in what happens in her life. But I was not happy. Still, why should I be, she seemed happy and that is all that matters. 

It is a book I recommend, because in the end I have not read a book like this. Yes sure I have read books about pioneers, but not about Jewish pioneers, and rules brings another dimension to this new life. Neither did I know about the am olam movement. And I do like a book that manages to teach me something too. 

Conclusion:
In the end, it is the author's voice that I like, and it is a great debut.

Rating:
Good.

Cover:
Not for me, the inner pic is really nice though


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Thursday, 22 September 2011

Joint Interview and giveaway: Edie Ramer and Lori Brighton

Today I have something different on my blog. Lis and I interviewed Edie Ramer and Lori Brighton. There are also 4 books to win :D


First up is Lori:


1. Do you plan to write more books with heroines from this family?
There will be a full length book 2 and 3 which will star two secondary characters from my first full length in this series, A Night of Secrets. So yes, more books, but not necessarily family members. And who knows, maybe some more short stories too. I have plenty of secondary characters to pick from!  

2. In this novella some will fight for their life. And you left some poor bastards at a gladiator arena. Do you have any plans to go back and free them?
Lol, yes, poor bastards. In the next full length book, A Night of Redemption, I’ll discuss these “fight clubs” (as another reviewer called them) in more detail. Will we go back and save any of the werewolves Aidan fights in the novella? Sadly, no. They’ve been left in the dungeon to rot.

3. We also got to see werewolves in this story, and since I do love my weres my question would be if you plan to have a were find love?
Yes! The next book, A Night of Redemption, will star Beth (Meg’s friend from A Night of Secrets), and the hero will be a werewolf! This will be out probably late spring 2012.

4. What made you write a historical with vampires in it?
I always set out to write straight historical romances, but somehow the paranormal always slips in. It’s what happened with my first book, Wild Heart, and what happened with A Night of Secrets. There are so many vampire books out there, I thought to make mine a little unique by placing a vampire in the past. And by the way, I have managed to finally write a full length historical romance without paranormal, To Seduce an Earl!


And now Edie Ramer:

How did your story The Fat Cat came to be?
Misty Evans suggested a Halloween theme to unify the stories. I immediately thought of the two traditional symbols of Halloween – a black cat and a witch. I knew it would be fun to play around with the elements. 


Cats have a prominent feature in your stories. In Cattitude the main lead also goes to a cat. How come there are so many cats in your stories?
I’ve tried to put dogs in books, but they don’t work as well. They’re needier than cats. I have two dogs, and they can’t be left alone for hours like cats. They pick inconvenient times to go outside and then inside. They eat anything. (My beagle ate rat poison last Friday, and we had to rush her to the vet’s. She’s okay now, but she didn’t have a good evening.) 

Besides, I love my cat’s personality in a different way than my dogs’. She’s confident and independent. She doesn’t ask me to pet her, she jumps on my lap and demands it. If I’m busy, she meows at me, letting me know that it’s time to give her attention. When she’s had enough, she gives me a little nip. How can I resist a character like that?


Tory is such a fun witty character. She made me laugh with her comments. What was the inspiration that made you create Tory?
Tory was the hero’s sister in Cattitude. She was fun and positive, kind of girlie but with a backbone. She’d hooked up with a boyfriend, and it looked like they would have an HEA. Readers have asked for another book on the characters from Cattitude, but I thought Belle made the book fun, and there was only one Belle. But what I didn’t realize was that there are other cats. Since I wanted the story to have a witch, Tory immediately came to my mind. It fit her character.

As for being witty, all my characters are wittier than I am. And taller. And braver. No way would I drive up to a mini-castle and fight a warlock for women’s souls. I’m way too chicken for that.


The proceeds for this anthology go to the breast cancer foundation, how did you come to be a part of this anthology?
I’d mentioned to Misty Evans that I’d like to do an anthology of short stories and give the proceeds to charity. She emailed me back and said “Let’s do it!” I’m a breast cancer survivor and my critique partner and good friend has been fighting cancer for 15 years. So that was an easy pick. We started sending out emails, and writers agreed to come on. It’s been a wonderful experience.


In the foreword Stacia Kane talks about the use of condoms in romance stories. What is your view on that?
I loved Stacia’s foreword. The best foreword ever. I’ve mentioned condoms in my books but don’t make a big thing about it. In Galaxy Girls, though, it was a plot point in a scene with my heroine, who’s been bred to be a broodmare. When they’re ovulating, they can’t stop themselves from wanting to have children. It’s a primal need. Kind of the way my beagle feels for any kind of food. Even if it will kill her.

Thanks so much for having me and Lori here today and helping to get the word out about ENTANGLED. My critique partner found out a couple weeks ago that her tumor markers are up. That means the cancer cells are cooking again. It feels good to be doing something to help stop the disease. 


And now on to the Giveaways!
4 winners, 3 different books!

1. Open to all, worldwide
2. Ends October 3rd
3. Just enter, that is it.
But be free to ask questions if you want to :) since Edie will stop today.

2 e-copies of Entangled

Check our review here




1 e-copy of To Seduce an Earl by Lori Brighton

1 ecopy of Galaxy Girl by Edie Ramer

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Joint Review: Entangled (anthology)

Genre: Paranormal romance/historical romance/paranormal suspense etc
Pages: 335 Ebook
Published: September 7, 2011
Source: for review
All proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. 


Lis: Alrighty, I’m not a big fan of anthologies. The stories are always too short, underdeveloped and usually focused on one thing. In short, they are not as fleshed out as I like to be and for me to read an anthology there have to be some damn good authors in it who know what they are doing. 

Blodeuedd: I am with Lis on this one. I am not a big fan of anthologies, because I always want more and everything is so rushed. But lately I they have surprised me and I have found myself liking short stories.

Lis: I was pleasantly surprised by Entangled. Not only does it revolve around my favorite themes: ghosts, werewolves, vampires and other creepy crawlies, the stories were well written. (yes I ate my hat!). To top it off, the proceeds for this anthology go to the breast cancer foundation. 

Blodeuedd: Some of the stories I liked and some clearly suffered cos I was in a hurry. All in all it was a  nice little anthology with many authors to choose from, and many different subgenres. I do think everyone would find something to choose from.

Lis: The foreword is a tear jerker and very fitting for this anthology. 

So without further ado: the reviews:

Halloween Frost by Jennifer Estep
It’s Halloween at Mythos Academy, but Gwen Frost and her friends are in for more tricks than treats when they run into a mythological monster intent on killing them.

Lis: This story is set in the Mythos world. Since I’m not familiar with this world as I have not read any other work by this author, I felt a little left out. Yet, it wasn’t so bad. It’s about Gwen Frost and her friends. They are in some trouble when they encounter a mythological monster hell bent on killing them. It was a good YA story and I’m now intruiged by this world

Blodeuedd: This story is a short from her Mythos Academy world. I have not read book 1 and this story took place after that, but I still could read and enjoy this story (perhaps it came from reading tons of reviews). I liked Gwen who is the heroine, we got to see her fight and we got to hear about her doomed crush. All which made me interested in this world.


The Fat Cat by Edie Ramer
In a battle for the souls of seven women, a wizard has the god of war on his side; all the witch has is a fat, black cat.

Lis: Edie Ramer never manages to disappoint me and she sure didn’t with this wiyty, fun story about a witch, a talking male cat and a pretty but rotten warlock. I really loved Tory and her comments. It’s an awesome story with a surprising ending. 

Blodeuedd: A witch adopts a fat cat and together they try to bring down a warlock. What a cute story about Tory and her adopted cat Samson. He is really old and ugly looking, but he talks to her so she had to adopt him. And as a catlover I approve. And the end was the best thing about this story.



Medium Rare by Nancy Haddock
What’s spooking the spirits of St. Augustine? As the witching hour of Halloween approaches, ghost seer Colleen Cotton must team with a by-the-book paranormal investigator to locate the one ghost who can save the city’s specters. If she fails, her own great grandfather’s spirit may be lost forever.

Lis: Even ghost gets therapists in this story. As well a team of ghost hunters as there is something up in the city of St. Augustine. The ghosts are spooked (pun intended) and it’s up to Colleen Cotton to find out what as she teams up with a ghost hunter. Very enjoyable story with a sweet story. One of my favorites in this anthology!

Blodeuedd: I liked this one. It had a good heroine, a good story and there was some tension between her and Brock. All in all making it an interesting story. Freaky ghosts too and it worked really well as just a short story. 


Sweet Demon by Misty Evans
When Chicago’s vampire king insists Kali Sweet join his empire, the vengeance demon must rely on her ex – the half-human, half-chaos demon who left her at the altar three hundred years ago – in order to escape the vamp’s clutches.

Lis : What are exes for if not to help you out? Kali Sweet is in a bind when a big bad vampire asks her to join his empire. She must rely on her ex, the half chaos demon, who left her at the alter some 300 years ago, to help her out. Very nice story that felt like a prelude to so much more. It’s filled with intriguing characters. 

Blodeuedd: I like the setting of this one. A demon named Kali who has her own practice and who also runs errands for a council. She deals in vengeance and her she has to deliver it to an evil vampire and she also meets an old lover. I did like the evil vampire, but then I always like the baddies.


Sian‘s Solution by Dale Mayer
When a vampire discovers the human man she loves has been captured and hung in a blood farm, she goes against her own kind and risks everything to save him.

Lis: Love conquers all, even between a vampire and a human. She’s willing to do anything to get her human lover back, even if it means exposing herself. Not my favorite story, but not bad either. 

Blodeuedd: I liked this one too, I think it was the world that made it so. Vampires and humans share the earth but stay on their sides. I do think I’d like more of this world, yes I would. I always like the dark ones.


A Bit of a Bite by Cynthia Eden
A killer is stalking the streets of Crossroads, Mississippi, and it’s up to Sheriff Ava Dushaine to stop him. But when suspicion falls on werewolf alpha Julian Kasey—Ava’s ex-lover and the man who still haunts her dreams—Ava knows that she’ll either have to prove his innocence…or watch the whole town go up in flames.

Lis: Wooooweeeee, this story was hot!! And one of which I would have loved to see more of. Note to self: see to more of author’s work. It’s a world in which the supernaturals are known to humans. Now a killer prowls the street and it’s up to sheriff Ava to catch him. Things become complicated when suspicion falls on her never forgotten one night stand, the werewolf alpha Julian. 

Blodeuedd: I do like a good werewolf story. I was not blown away, but then I was kind of tired when reading it. At least you got Lis' happy thoughts on it ;)


Sinfully Sweet by Michelle Miles
When Chloe bakes a little magic into her pastries, she attracts the attention of Edward, the sexy half-demon, half-witch, who’s come to warn her those who murdered her sister are now after her.

Lis: Be careful who you bake what for, you might get a hell of a lot more than you bargained for. That’s what happens when Chloe bakes some goodies for sunfully hot Edward. Nice story, loved the set up!

Blodeuedd: A nice little story about a witch and the incubus that show up. A little passion, a little fighting, and a story that made me crave cupcakes!


A Night of Forever by Lori Brighton
Who is Aidan Callaghan? Mary Ellen James is intent on uncovering the truth about the mysterious man, but as she soon finds out, some things are best left buried in the past.

Lis: Some things are better left deep in the closet. Of course, Mary Ellen doesn’t listen and sets out to find out who Aiden Callaghan is. He is definitely not the quiet, boring man she thought he was. Dayaaaam this story was hot and I found myself like this one despite the setting. 

Blodeuedd; A nice little love story set in the 1800s in England and dealing with, oh yes vampires.  Lori has previously also written a story about Mary’s sister and this story was just as good. Enjoyable. Lol, I like how I said it was sweet and Lis said it was hot, I better mentioned passion too then ;) 


Feel the Magic by Liz Kreger
Jenna Carmichael’s magical attempt to rectify Jessica Manfield’s birth identity takes an unexpected turn when the past comes back to haunt her.

Lis: Some mistakes come back to bite you in the ass. This is what happens to the witch Jenna. Funny little story that never quite managed to catch my attention. 

Blodeuedd: This one was fun. Jessica wants to become a cat, yes you heard me. And Jenna is the witch to do it.


Breaking Out by Michelle Diener
Imprisoned in a secret facility, powerful telekinetic Kelli Barrack and two other ‘special’ inmates grab a chance to escape, only to confront their worst nightmares on the outside.

Lis: This story reminded me very much of Christine Feehan, but didn’t make it any less bad. A powerful telekinetic and two other special ability inmates make a daring escape from the facility they are held in. All the while something is brewing between them!

Blodeuedd: I am afraid this one and the last were the ones I read quickly since I was pressed for time. It did make it hard to focus and to know if I liked it or not.


Ghostly Justice by Allison Brennan
Demon hunters Moira O’Donnell and Rafe Cooper are dragged into the dangerous world of nocturnal predators to find “Ghostly Justice” for a virgin sacrificed to an ancient blood demon.

Lis: Time to get justices in this short story that is set in a series I’m not familiar with. Moira and Rafe try to get justice for a virgin sacrificed to a blood demon. That justice doesn’t come easy of course and there are many obstacles to overcome. Good story, hot too with lots going on. Very black and white too!

Blodeuedd: It was ok, but this one was another one that I was not blown away by.





Come back tomorrow when Lis and I interview Lori Brighton and Edie Ramer and give away several books :D Open to all too.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Review. The Rift Walker - Clay and Susan Griffith

Series: Vampire Empire #2
Genre: Alternate history/steampunk
Pages: 399
Published: September 6, 2011
Publisher: Prometheus books
Source: For review

Princess Adele struggles with a life of marriage and obligation as her Equatorian Empire and their American Republic allies stand on the brink of war against the vampire clans of the north. However, the alliance's horrific strategy for total victory drives Adele to abandon her duty and embark on a desperate quest to keep her nation from staining its hands with genocide. Reunited with her great love, the mysterious adventurer known to the world as the Greyfriar, Adele is pursued by her own people as well as her vengeful husband, senator Clark. With the human alliance in disarrray, Prince Cesare, lord of the British vampire clan, seizes the initiative and strikes at the very heart of Equatoria. As Adele labors to bring order to her world, she learns more about the strange powers she exhibited in the north. Her teacher, Mamoru, leads a secret cabal of geomancers who believe Adele is the one who can touch the vast power of the Earth that surges through ley lines and wells up at the rifts where the lines meet. These energies are the key to defeating the enemy of mankind, and if Princess Adele could ever bring this power under her command, she could be death to vampires. But such a victory will also cost the life of Adele's beloved Greyfriar.

My thoughts:
I could not believe how the last book ended! Adele going back to marry that ass Clark, and greyfriar staying behind  to save humans. I could not wait to get my hands on book 2 because I needed to know what would happen.

And that is where this book starts. Clark is pressuring Adele to marry him at once, she is staling, Prince Cesare is planning revenge back in London and Greyfriar is missing her. What we have is a book that promises lots of action and that it sure delivers. There are assassinations, vampire fights (and new vampires to meet) and Adele finding a power within her that can change the upcoming war.

I like how they have created this world where vampires came out of hiding and took over the northern hemisphere and more (since the heat makes them slow.) They rule and eat the humans who did manage to flee. It's a great world, the creation that is, because life back north is horrible. I also like how they use magic, that it can be found and used by some, at stone circles and other places, and that the vampires do not like these places. And of course the steampunk elements are just awesome.

To the story then, even if I did not like it as much as book 1 (which was freaking awesome), I still liked it a lot. It had the forbidden romance, and this is a romance that can never work. He is a vampire, she is human and a future empress. I just can't see a happy ending and it is breaking my heart.

There is action, plots, politics and so much more. It has a great cast of side characters too, from Senator Clark (whom I do not like), Prince Cesare (gotta love a crazy vampire prince), Adele's teacher Mamoru (another guy I just do not like anymore, you will find out why) and many more.

So if you have not read book 1 yet then do go and buy it because else you will miss a lot of good things. And if you have read book 1 then enjoy this one.

Conclusion:
Vampire steampunk, and a series you just have to try. It's feels fresh and the mix of things makes it something for everything to like.

Rating:
Good

Cover.
Nice

Monday, 19 September 2011

Review: Haunted Honeymoon - Marta Acosta

Series: Casa Dracula #4
Genre: Paranormal romance with a twist
Published: 2010
Publisher: Gallery
Source: From Marta


As the only human to survive vampire infection, Milagro de Los Santos has become quite a celebrity among the blood-drinking elite. Too bad the perks of her condition—increased strength, super-fast healing—don’t pay her condo fees. There are other complications too. She’s feeling guilty about her fling with enigmatic Vampire Council member Ian Ducharme, and pining for her ex-fiancé, Dr. Oswald Grant . . . the fabulous man whose kiss changed her life. It’s when Milagro—irked by Ian’s attentions to his neighbor—travels to London and enjoys a sexy flirtation of her own, that the blood really hits the fan. Suddenly, those around her are dying gruesome deaths and Milagro’s being interrogated. Who would kill to set her up as a murder suspect? Milagro just wants to turn back the clock and have another chance to make things right, but no sooner has she escaped to Oswald’s ranch than an accident obliterates her memory. Will the murderer come after her now? And will amnesia spark a romantic do-over with Oswald—or will she make all the same mistakes before she ever gets to say "I do"?

My thoughts:
This is the end and I am sad, but at the same time I am very happy because it was truly the end I wanted. 

Milagros is now with Ian but things are still not great. She can't seem to find her place, and she still thinks about Oswald. Oh yes Oswald, the hot but for me boring wasp vampire. So not for our curvy and lively Milagros. But they will meet again as she gets amnesia and there is a chance to start all over again. What happens? Oh I am not telling you that, but she will get one of these men. 

This book is about a fun trip to London, a crazy scientist, trouble with Ian, murder charges and a happy ever after. 

But let's get back to the men since they are so interesting. Ian, oh that goddamn Ian Ducharme. I said last time that he is like chocolate and that is so true. You look at it on the shelf and crave it, then you get it and eat too much. But if you try to stay away you just long for it again. So what does this tell you? Well you just have to learn that chocolate is awesome, just do not eat too much, and do not try to stay away from it. And that is Ian, lol, Milagros just have to come to terms with her Ian-addiction. Because in the end a bit of chocolate is actually good for you. But will Milagros stay with her chocolate or go back to healthier food that taste funny? Find out! The book throws a few surpries and I liked it. 

Conclusion:
What we have is a fun book and even though I am sad that it is ending it was fun while it lasted. It is a series that I totally would recommend to others.

Rating:
Fun

Cover:
Nice

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Review: Friday Night Bites - Chloe Neill

Series: Chicagoland Vampires #2
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 357
Published: 2010 (2009)
Publisher: Gollancz
Source: Library


The story of a young heiress's initiation into the dark society of the Chicagoland Vampires continues…
Ten months after vampires revealed their existence to the mortals of Chicago, they're enjoying a celebrity status usually reserved for the Hollywood elite. But if people learn about the Raves-mass feeding parties where vampires round up humans like cattle—the citizens will start sharpening their stakes.  So now it's up to the new vampire Merit to reconnect with her upper class family and act as liaison between humans and bloodsuckers, and keep the more unsavory aspects of the vampire lifestyle out of the media. But someone doesn't want peace between them—someone with an ancient grudge…

My thoughts:
I did like this book, but it did not grab me the same way as book 1 did. This one was easy to put down and first towards the end I got interested enough. That being said, I did like it as I said, just not as much as I wanted to considering book 1. 

Am I on team Ethan yet, no, not really. After being such an ass in book 1, come that scene where she walked in on him with Amber, not cool. Sure he seems really hot, but someone I would invest more in. I still think Morgan would be the guy to go for, sweet and nice. Oh Merit, you are not thinking with your brain. 

I am also wondering about super Merit, she does seem to be so much better than the rest. Sure he got her issues that we learn more about, but I guess I could want her a bit more normal. 

Action is promised as someone wants to do an expose on certain things the vampires to not want people to know about. There is blackmail and Merit re-joins the folds of the the rich and famous. Still something is missing for me, maybe the feeling I had in book one that there was always something going on, while this one was more relaxed. I do not know. I hope book 3 picks up again, I want more tension. I did not even feel enough tension between Ethan and Merit. 

Conclusion:
Still it was a good book, and I do want to read the next one.

Rating:
Nice

Cover:
Ok

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Review: We, Robots - Sue Lange

Genre: Sci-fi
Pages: 96 (ebook)
Published: 2010 (2007)
Source: For review
Review by Lis

Avey, a personal robot purchased as a companion for a child must learn how to think like a human.

--------------------
Time for something entirely different. When B. fist send me the request for Sue Lange’s We, Robots I was expecting something entirely different than what I got. I expected more or less a light YA book, what I got was a fascinating in depth SF story that left my mind boggling. I can hear you thinking: Lis, what are you talking about?

Well, we’re talking robots today. Artificial Intelligence to be precise. We, Robots is the story of AV-1 are Avey, a AI Robot made to be a sort of nanny. He’s bought by Dal and Chit to look after their daughter Angelina. This is a time where robots are available in Wal Mart. Very scary. At first the story is very emotionless or static as Avey doesn’t have feelings or emotions.

However, this story settles around the notion of Singularity. Now singularity is a complex notion and even after reading this story, I’m not sure I understand it all. What it comes down to is this: singularity is the point where artificial intelligence becomes greater and thus surpasses human intelligence. It would be the point that AI’s no longer need humans for their creation. It is also linked to humanity shedding it’s mortal skin, but I’m not entirely sure on that. However, it’s the point that is feared by humans because it could mean that robot could turn on their creators.

Yes, I can hear you thinking. Humans are the top dogs and it never bodes well for when they are not. Thus, a chip is introduced that cause the robots to feel pain and a range of emotions so they can be controlled by humans.

It’s also the turning point in the story, because once you give something feelings it clouds the rational mind. I mean I so do not want to be recycled and I can understand robots not longer want that either.

All the events in this story are told from Avey’s POV. Suddenly he’s not longer just a nanny robot. He’s got all these feelings to deal with. The story is old as he watches Angelina grow up.

Avey is one cool, sweet, witty robot. He’s very sweet and caring and it’s very hard not to like him. At the end of the story there’s a spin that I think you’ll like.

We, Robots is very much the story that deal with injustice (let’s face it, we humans are cruel) and is told from the oppressed’ side. After reading this, I hated being human.

All in all We, Robots is not an easy Sci-Fi story to read. It’s very interesting because it also deals in “what if’s” What if the future is like this. What if we become like this. What if.. But at the same time it’s hard not to like Avey and his story. While an unlikely read for me, I’m glad I got the chance to read this.



Friday, 16 September 2011

Review: Persuade Me - Juliet Archer

Series: Darcy and Friends #2
Genre: Jane Austen variation
Pages: 341
Published: September 15, 2011
Publisher: Choc Lit
Source. For review

The second in Juliet Archer's Darcy & Friends series. When do you let your heart rule your head? As far as men are concerned, Anna Elliot is stuck in the past. No one can compare to Rick Wentworth, the man she was persuaded to give up eight years ago. Meanwhile, Rick's moved on - and up. He's got a successful career and a carefully controlled love life where his heart doesn't get a look in. The words 'forgive and forget' aren't in Rick's vocabulary. The word 'regret' is definitely in Anna's. When they meet again, can she persuade him that their lost love is worth a second chance?

My thoughts:
You all know I love Pride and Prejudice variations and for a long time I loved that book the most. But then I watched Persuasion and after some time I found that this was the story I now loved the most because it spoke to me. And therefore I was thrilled to read a variation.

Yes, a series, but here you truly do not need to worry since this is a variation and we just hear that Rick knows Darcy and that is it.

Since this is a contemporary version it is slightly different but the story is still the same, as are the feelings. Rick and Anna met and fell in love but her family kept them apart and now he is back and he is famous for his book Sex and the sea. The book is not as sexy as it sounds but the publisher made it so. He still gets entangled with Lou who then gets hurt in Lyme, Anna's cousin still shows up and with hidden agendas, her dad is still a pompous ass (here he is actually worse than ever since this is the modern age and he lives in the past), her sisters are still idiots. Yes poor Anna, she does not have it easy and she is as sweet and loving as ever.

This was a lovely re-telling, it has that feeling that Persuasion has. Which is not Austen's happiest book. There are bitter feelings brewing underneath and Anna feels that she has lost him forever. And that is why I like this story because they are just so very human, and I love a good story where the couple find their way back to each other and forgive and forget.

Archer manages well in creating a modern setting for this story and bringing these people in to our era and putting a spin on certain events and things going on. An enjoyable book with a couple you will always root for.

Conclusion:
I liked it and it did make me so very curious about the first book since that is Emma. I am also happy to announce that she is writing more. Yay, more modern re-tellings.

Rating.
Nice.

Cover.
ok



Note from me:
(I totally forgot about my flash!Will write one tomorrow.)

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Review: The Lady of the Rivers - Philippa Gregory

Series: The Cousin's War #3
Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 497
Published: September 15, 2011 (UK)
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Ltd
Source. For review

Jacquetta, daughter of the Count of Luxembourg and kinswoman to half the royalty of Europe, was married to the great Englishman John, Duke of Bedford, uncle to Henry VI. Widowed at the age of nineteen she took the extraordinary risk of marrying a gentleman of her house-hold for love, and then carved out a life for herself as Queen Margaret of Anjou's close friend and a Lancaster supporter - until the day that her daughter Elizabeth Woodville fell in love and married the rival king Edward IV. Of all the little-known but important women of the period, her dramatic story is the most neglected. With her links to Melusina, and to the founder of the house of Luxembourg, together with her reputation for making magic, she is the most haunting of heroines.

My thoughts:
I have been looking forward to this book ever since I heard she was writing it. Jacquetta is an interesting person to say the least. And you can say that when this book end, then book 1 actually begins, The White Queen. Since it is up to that point we hear her story.

Jacquetta married the Duke of Bedford, something that his former brother in law did not like. And they lost the support of Burgundy. In this book Gregory has the duke marrying Jacquetta because of her legacy, she is a descendant of Melusina. While in truth, who knows, he was old., she was young and pretty. That is reason enough. There she also meets Richard Woodville whom she later married without the kings blessing, and they pay for it. But when you are in love you are and I do admire Jacquetta for going against everything and everyone at a time like that.

And the story, yes we get to see England fight for France. Jacquetta get children, a lot, poor woman, she was always pregnant. Well at least they liked each other ;) And of course the fall of the Lancaster King. The king falling into his sleep, Queen Margaret trying to keep the country together and then the start of the war of the roses. I also got thinking and I do like to think that Margaret got her child by a lover. Who can tell. And of course a book like this always has me picking a side. By now I have reached the conclusion that I will always start of as a Lancastrian but when Edward comes along I am Yorkist all the way. I also find it funny that I never like Warwick, no way. I haven't liked him in any book I have read so far about this time.

Some do not like the magic in these books. But I look at it another way. I let Jacquetta think she can see the future, because back then superstition ruled. So if she thinks the saw the future it's because she thought it so. Therefore I do not mind it at all. It does not take anything from the novel. It should also be there since the talk was that she was a witch, just like many other women of power, or who was strange, alone, old, anything really.

What we got in the end is an interesting tale about a woman who risked it all and who lived through dangerous times and got to see her daughter become queen (even if we do not see it here). I am glad Gregory wrote a book about Jacquetta and I am certainly glad to have read it. It was just what I wanted and I will not get tired of The cousin's war.

Conclusion:
A great book that I recommend to all fans of historical fiction, and to everyone because you can't go wrong with history. And it may be long, but it is good. She does make history come alive. In the end we have this fascinating tale about a strong woman in a rich setting and it is worth exploring.

Rating:
Recommended

Cover.
Pretty :D



Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Interview and giveaway: Leigh Michaels - The Wedding Affair

Today I have Leigh Michaels over for an interview and at the end of it there is a chance to win her trilogy: The Mistress’ House, Just One Season in London and The Wedding Affair. And this time it's open to all.

Welcome to Mur-y-Castell!

Could you tell my readers a little bit about yourself?
LM: I’ve been a writer since before I could actually write – there’s poetry in my baby book that I dictated to my sister. I wrote my first romance novel at age 14, when everything I knew about love would have fit on a Post-It. I love happy endings and love stories, and I’ve had a great career as a full-time writer –writing contemporary category romances and now spicy historicals.

Could you tell us about your latest book, The Wedding Affair?
LM: The title comes from the fact that the three couples in this book are brought together by a wedding, but none of them are the ones getting married. In fact, they’re much more interested in the love affairs they’re carrying on behind the scenes than they are in the wedding!


I like how you introduce 3 different love stories in the book. How did you come up with this idea?
LM: When I started writing my first historical, The Mistress’ House, I didn’t know it was a book – I thought it was a short story, and when it turned into a novella my writing partner suggested that there might be other stories which formed a group. But when I wrote the second book (Just One Season in London) and now The Wedding Affair, I intertwined the three stories so they’re all happening at once. I like to push myself a bit with each book – doing something I haven’t done before. So writing three stories at the same time, winding them together in one book, and using four to six points of view, is an exciting challenge.


What is the best thing about writing regency romance stories?
LM: Definitely the social rules of the time. Because of the restrictions on what a well-born lady was supposed to do, and the few opportunities that were open to her, she was sometimes forced to make difficult choices. In The Wedding Affair, Olivia, Lady Reyne, has no real options – she can’t work at any of the jobs open to a lady of quality because she has a small child. She can’t even take in a boarder to make the budget easier to manage, because her cottage is too small. Her options are so restricted that a short term affair, leading to a nice payoff, starts to look very inviting.


If you had been born in that era, what do you think you would have been?
LM: I’d have been trying to knock down the rules. Maybe I’d have been a writer, maybe a teacher – but definitely I’d have been trying to make life easier for the next generation of young women!


Could you tell me about the other books you have written… I know there are a lot!
LM: I wrote 80 sweet traditional romances for Harlequin Romance and Harlequin Presents, and I’m also the author of On Writing Romance, published by Writers’ Digest Books, which has helped a lot of people write and publish their own romance novels. And I write other non-fiction such as local history books and books for writers. I keep myself busy. :-)


Are you writing on some new and interesting at the moment?
LM: I’m working on a Regency-period historical which is another triple story – three heroes and three heroines, each with their own romance happening at the same time, when they’re drawn together by a special event. But I’m not far enough into it yet to talk about the story – I’m a bit superstitious about discussing work in progress, and I also find if I talk too much about a story I’m not as excited about writing it.


And last, do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
LM: I see a lot of people who have talent, but fewer who have persistence. It takes both to be successful; it’s not enough to just write the book. The successful author then has to be professional enough to revise, listen to suggestions and implement them, and then gulp and send it out and wait to see what the market says. Definitely write the next book while you’re waiting to see what happens with the first one – because that next book might be the one that sells first.

Thanks!
Thank you for inviting me!



GIVEAWAY
I have such a treat for you all today. There will be two winners. And each winner will win a set of her books; The Mistress’ House, Just One Season in London and The Wedding Affair

There will be one international winner and one US winner.

  • Open to all, worldwide
  • Ends on September 26
  • Just go ahead and enter.

And let's see what I can think of today if you want to write something more. Go ahead and ask Leigh a question or comment on the interview. Or tell me how you would have found regency life.



THE WEDDING AFFAIR BY LEIGH MICHAELS – IN STORES SEPETEMBER 2011

You’re invited to the wedding of the year!

The Duke of Somervale, whose sister’s wedding is the event of the ton, is fighting off debutantes and desperately needs help from beautiful, stubborn Olivia Reyne. But she is engrossed with problems engulfing her dearest friends and family. The last thing Olivia needs is to be embroiled with a duke whose dark gaze makes her forget herself entirely...

Discover a new side of a beloved author as Leigh Michaels draws you into the glittering, glitzy world of Regency England and an affair you’ll never forget.


About the Author 
Leigh Michaels is the author of nearly 100 books, including 80 contemporary novels, more than a dozen non-fiction books and three regency romances from Sourcebooks Casablanca: The Mistress’ House, Just One Season in London and The Wedding Affair. More than 35 million copies of her romance novels have been published by Harlequin. A 6 time RITA finalist, she has also received two Reviewer's Choice awards from RT Book Reviews, and was the 2003 recipient of the Johnson Brigham Award. Leigh also teaches romance writing on the Internet at Gotham Writers’ Workshop.  She lives in Ottumwa, Iowa.  For more information, please visit www.leighmichaels.com.  

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