Thursday, 31 May 2012

Review: Nine Rules to break when romancing a rake - Sarah MacLean


A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen's club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she's vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she's been missing.

But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.

If she's not careful, she'll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love.

My thoughts:
I am trying to come up with something to say, I really should not write a review when I am all stressed out and annoyed but I will do my best. Perhaps do it in a different format.

Nine Reasons why this was a fun book to read

1. Callie is a woman, a true woman. A spinster with breasts too big too be fashionable, and too wide hips. And it all makes me like her more. Sure she has given up but now she takes the bull by the horns and decides to live and I admired her for that.

2. Ralston, he never saw her coming. He tried to be all smart by it, but his heart fell. It took a while for him to get it, and there will be heartache and drama but he falls. And I love him more for it.

3. "A kiss should not leave you satisfied..It should leave you wanting more."
Now how do you say no to a quote like that? ;)

4. The whole vibe of the book was fun and light.

5. Lots of temptation, and stolen kisses and embraces.

6. I have already mentioned them on their own but together they were great. I got why she liked him and I truly could see him fall.

7. Side characters. Nick, oh yes, I should read his book. I have already read Juliana's book and enjoyed that one too.

8. The pages flew by. That is sooo cliche but well they did.

9. The rules. To see Callie try all these things was fun to read about and she just did them. Even if she was a bit scared.

That was it. I enjoyed the book.

Cover snark:
I do want to see her head too

Series: Love by Numbers #1
Genre: Historical romance
Pages: 422
Published: 2010 by Avon
Source: My own



Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Stalking the Others Blog Tour: Jess Haines interview



Today the Stalking the Others Blog Tour visits my blog and I am happy to have author Jess Haines over for an interview. Also be sure to check out the contest.

Welcome!

1. Who is Jess Haines?
Oh, you know, just the typical internet-trolling writerly weirdo.
Really—I’m just this gal, you know? In person, I’m usually quiet and fairly shy with strangers. With friends, I change gears – you’ll get a lot of obscure Hitchhiker’s Guide and Holy Grail jokes instead of awkward silence. 

Let's see, what else... I'm a workaholic who loves coffee and chocolate and can't survive without books.  I'm originally from New York, but I'm currently living in Los Angeles because it is suitably weird enough for the time being.  I enjoy karaoke and bad movies, and have a menagerie of animals to keep me company when I'm not writing.  (Seriously, when I'm an old fart, I'll be known as the crazy bird/cat/fish/snake/lizard lady.)

2. What can we expect in your new book, Stalking the Others?
Mayhem. Bloodshed. Shiarra crossing some lines that will change her life forever. You know. The usual. But really, I think the back cover copy sums it up pretty well:
Vampires, werewolves, mages--the Others are very real, and wreaking havoc in Shiarra Waynest's life. But now, she's returning the favor. . .

Once, she was one of the good guys--or as close as a New York P.I. can get. Then Shiarra Waynest was drawn into the world of the Others. Every faction has its own loyalties and agenda. And Shia's recent betrayal by her ex-boyfriend means that she may be on the verge of becoming a rogue werewolf at the next full moon. . .
Of course, with all the threats against her, Shia's not sure she'll live long enough to find out. The enigmatic vampire Royce wants her back in his clutches, as do two powerful werewolf packs, along with the police. Instead of going into hiding, Shia is enlisting the aid of her enchanted hunter's belt and every dirty P.I. trick she knows. If she's going down, she'll take out as many of her enemies as she can--and hope that in the process, she keeps whatever humanity she has left. . .

3. I might have a tiny crush on Alec Royce *coughs*. Where did you get the inspiration for him? And who would play him in a movie? ;)
Me too!  *fans self*  ;)
He’s something of a conglomeration of all of the best aspects of the bad guys from a mix of movies, books, and roleplaying games I’ve played in the past.  Who doesn’t like a dark, sexy, dangerous vampire?  Of course, when they’re cliché, it’s boring.  But when you bring something new to the table—like the heroine being absolutely freaking terrified of him despite all of his “charms”—well, you know some hilarity is going to ensue.

In the entirely theoretical HUNTED BY THE OTHERS movie, I would have to say my first choice would be Robert Downey, Jr. 

I hate this song, but I think it perfectly embodies everything I want to convey about that thought:


4. And that Chaz, grrr, and think I liked him (I will not spoil things for others), but had you planned this twist from the beginning?
Yup.  I’m an evil author that way. *g*
Brace yourself for a few more shockers along the way…

5. Are you writing on something new right now?
Yes, as a matter of fact!  Most of my attention right now is on completing the next book in the H&W series, but I’ve got some other stuff I’m working on, too. 

If you’re familiar with the series, I’ve got a little something I’m looking for a home for right now that features Mouse, the mute vampiress, and Christoph, the dude in the fetish collar who shows up briefly in DECEIVED and again in STALKING THE OTHERS.

6. If you could not write UF, what would you write then?
Either horror or epic fantasy.  My roots are in epic fantasy, though the chances of any of the crap stuff I wrote before HUNTED BY THE OTHERS ever seeing the light of day falls somewhere between slim and none.

7.  Give me 3 reasons why people should read this series? :=)
Ohh, I like this one!
1) The heroine is completely, 100%, homegrown human. No special powers or secret half-angel/half-mermaid/half-unicorn parentage or weird supernatural secrets hiding in the closet for my special lady! Any extra benefits she gets in the process of solving her problems (such as the snark-tastic sentient hunter’s belt) are the result of magic items or temporary boosts given to her by her more, shall we say, “talented” friends.
2) It’s sadly hilarious to watch her deal with her phobia of vampires and gradually overcome her reluctance to deal with anything Other.
3) Alec Royce is a sexy beast.  Need I say more?

Thanks!
Thank you for having me and being part of the STALKING THE OTHERS blog tour, Linda!  

Check out the rest of the Blog Tour
http://jesshaines.com/blog/2012/05/07/stalking-the-others-official-blog-tour-calendar/

And now to the giveaway. Enter by rafflecopter. Open to US and Canada



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Review: Tempest Rising - Nicole Peeler


Living in small town Rockabill, Maine, Jane True always knew she didn't quite fit in with so-called normal society. During her nightly, clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean, a grisly find leads Jane to startling revelations about her heritage: she is only half-human. 

Now, Jane must enter a world filled with supernatural creatures alternatively terrifying, beautiful, and deadly- all of which perfectly describe her new "friend," Ryu, a gorgeous and powerful vampire. 

It is a world where nothing can be taken for granted: a dog can heal with a lick; spirits bag your groceries; and whatever you do, never-ever rub the genie's lamp. 


My thoughts:
I was a bit torn between if I liked it or if I really liked it, but I think my reaction at the end sealed it for a really liked it. I finished the last sentence and just said NO out loud cos I wanted more at once.

Again I am wondering a bit about genres, yes it's UF, but she does kiss that vampire a lot. So let's just make it a UF PNR combined with a good dose of humor.

Jane lives in a shitty little town, ok so it's not shitty but most of the townspeople avoid her like the plague or say bitchy things to her. I really do not know how she suffered through that, all cos of something that happened when she was younger. Which we learn about and that just makes me more sad. The poor girl should have some fun because I like her. She is fun, nice and puts up with so much from the shitty town.

In comes hotty vampire Ryu. Sure I liked him too, but his job, his loyalty. Is she really first in his mind? Even as I liked him and high fived her for having fun there was someone else I thought could be fun too... ;)

The world in this one is hidden from humans. Lots of things live among us and not even Jane knew about them all until one horrible day. So many creatures, one I should google if I remember. I do like the mix of things.

As for the story it's all about Jane learning more and the hunt for something... and getting busy with a certain hot vampire. All in all making it a fun story and one that I enjoyed.

Conclusion:
So yes I would recommend this series and I hope book 2 will be good too.

Cover:
I did not like it at first, it looked so YA. But now I think it looks fun

Series: Jane True #1
Genre: Paranormal romance / Urban fantasy mix
Pages: 359
Published: 2009 by Orbit
Source: My own


Monday, 28 May 2012

Wheel of Time Challenge: The Shadow Rising

The seals of Shayol Ghul are weak now, and the Dark One reaches out. The Shadow is rising to cover humankind.

In Tar Valon, Min sees portents of hideous doom. Will the White Tower itself be broken? In the Two Rivers, the Whitecloaks ride in pursuit of a man with golden eyes, and in pursuit of the Dragon Reborn. In Cantorin, among the Sea Folk, High Lady Suroth plans the return of the Seanchan armies to the mainland. In the Stone of Tear, the Lord Dragon considers his next move. It will be something no one expects, not the Black Ajah, not Tairen nobles, not Aes Sedai, not Egwene or Elayne or Nynaeve.

Against the Shadow rising stands the Dragon Reborn.....


My thoughts:
What to say now about my re-read of this book.. I shall ramble on!
First of all, Rand.. Rand, Rand, Rand. I always remembered him so fondly and I did love him in later books. But here, do I love him? Not so much. He is rather crazy, keeps to himself and mumbles. Oh well, maybe I will fall once more.

Perrin, I always remembered not liking his chapters back when, but now, damn that man is cool. Slays trollocks and saves a village.

Mat, he does not have an adventure of his own yet so he is just a follower.

The women, I put them all together since they are alike. Why on earth Nynaeve and Elayne is hunting the Black Ajah I do not know. Who puts "children" after bad guys? Crazy, but done for the story. Anyway they are more fun away from everything *coughs boring White Tower*

Oh yes the boring White Tower fell and people were slaughtered. Finally it got interesting there. Gawyn is an idiot and Galad *eyeroll*

I still hope the Seanchan will go back to the hell they come from. They must burn!! Together with those all holy White cloaks. I hate people who tries to convert others and if they do not want to they are killed.

Lots happened, 1000 pages after all. Aiel, The Waste, revelations about who the Aiel really were, and meeting Asmodean, yum.

Conclusion:
So this was what I had to ramble on about. I can't review something I know too well. This seems to be more for people who know the books.




Series: Wheel of Time #4
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 1006
Published: 1992 by TOR


Friday, 25 May 2012

Interview and giveaway: G.J.Koch and Alexander Outland


This interview is a bit late, an email that got lost, but here it finally is. My interview with G.J.Koch. There is also a contest open to all. So read and enter.

Welcome!

1. Hello there, G.J.Koch J Could you tell me a bit about yourself (and all you’re alter egos).
I write science fiction. Not the hard stuff, though. Because that requires actual scientific knowledge or at least actual scientific research. Knowledge may be power and research may be cool, but they take time away from writing jokes, action, and romance, and being witty in the face of death is what it’s really all about.

Alter egos include the lovely and amazing Gini Koch, the kind and talented Anita Ensal, the dark and dreamy Jemma Chase, the quirky scaredy-cat J.C. Koch, and the tough but fair A.E. Stanton.
Or, as Gini loves to say on her blog: They’re all moi. (It’s a controlled form of schizophrenia, and if it’s working for us, who else is to judge, right? Right?)

2. Your new book is called Alexander Outland:  Space Pirate. What is it about?
Oh, it’s about 360 pages long. (Girl, I cannot TELL you how long I’ve been waiting to make that, admittedly lame, joke but it’s been for AGES.)

Trouble’s brewing out in space, and Alexander Outland -- the least likely hero in the galaxy -- and his eccentric crew have to save the day, despite the fact they’d prefer to take the money and run.

Alexander Napoleon Outland is the best pilot, and ladies’ man, in the galaxy. But Nap, as his friends call him, is more than that -- he’s a schemer with a heart of gold he desperately wants to hide, a soft spot for other people’s cargo and his exotic weapon’s chief, and the unerring ability to find the biggest misfit on any planet or space station and somehow join that person onto his crew.

Nap’s not your classic hero, but that tends to make him the right guy for the job…whatever the job happens to be.

3. Where did you get the inspiration for this book?
I actually got the inspiration for this series from a name I randomly stumbled across. I saw it and said, “Wow, that would be a GREAT name for a space pirate! A mega-cool space pirate. I wonder what kind of galaxy he lives in.” The rest, as they say, is history.

Okay, okay, honesty forces me to admit that two different songs also helped in the initial formation of the idea. “Space Boy” by Splender and “Space Cowboy” by, God help me, *NSYNC.

There. Now the whole truth is out there. I hope you’re happy. (There goes my street cred, such as it was.)

4. And now to Captain Alexander. Who would play him in a movie and why?
Ryan Reynolds or Chris Evans. Because Nap (he insists that you, being an attractive lady, call him Nap) is really handsome, and he’s also really funny. Both Ryan and Chris are really handsome and both of them can do humor really well, so either one would work for me. Or both at the same time. (But that’s a different book, innit?)

5. He has quite the crew. But who is your favorite among them?
Oh. Gosh. That’s like asking me which kid is my favorite. (Ha! The chicklet! I only have one, so that makes it easy.) But, since I have faves among my pets, I know I can admit who I favor most in Nap’s crew.
All of ‘em.

LOL, okay, well, I like the Governor because it’s fun to have the cranky, knowing oldster along. I like Audrey because she gets away with so much because, well, she can. Slinkie, of course, because beauty and brains with attitude is always fun to write. Randolph is a great straight man who gets to make the zingers once in a while. And I have to admit, I love the villains, too. A lot. I have a very soft spot for Tanner because of all he’s been through. And Lionside surprised me constantly throughout the book. And Hulky, what a hero. And when you get right down to it, Jabbob and Ol’ Temper really have an edge, just because they crack me up. So, yeah, I love all the characters, basically.

But, honesty compels me to admit the truth. Nap’s my favorite. It’s true, I do love the Outland.

6.  What’s up next from G.J.Koch?
Crossing fingers that it’ll be the next book in this series, Alexander Outland: Space Avenger. That’s up to Night Shade Books, of course. (They’re waiting until August to see how sales do, so let’s all race out there and pre-order and buy lots of Alexander Outland: Space Pirate! Go team!)

7. I do think I want to round this off with something silly. What would Alexander say to Katherine “Kitty” Katt if these two met?
“Yo, babe, c’mere and learn to love the Outland.”

THANKS!


Thank YOU for having me!

Giveaway!
Print/e-copy of Alexander Outland
If the winner is in the US then a print and if International then an e-copy

Rules:
Ends June 3rd
Open to ALL
Just enter or just comment, ask a question, anything your heart desire really.


Contact
You can reach G.J. Koch at Space…the Funny Frontier (http://www.ginikoch.com/GJKbookstore.htm).

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Review: Late Eclipses - Seanan McGuire

October "Toby" Daye is half-human, half-fae-the only changeling who's earned knighthood. But when someone begins targeting her nearest and dearest, it becomes clear that Toby is being set up to take the fall for everything that's happening.

My thoughts:
First of all I just have to get this off my chest; Raysel! You fucking bitch!!! *screams* Honestly it was painful to read the book this time cos I just wanted to go over and slap Raysel and then leave her to rot. I always did hate that bitch but here it got even worse. At the moment she is one of my most hated characters of all time.

*breathes in and out* I am trying to calm down but this book took it out of me. At one time I almost cried too, I seriously hate a few people in this series. They are not evil, they are despicable. Poor poor Toby. *screams a bit more*

I started this book, I smiled at a point, and then I came to that point where I no longer could put it down. Where I wanted to scream and rage against injustice. Where it just got so freaking good that I could almost not hold on. You know when it comes to the point where it is just too good, too exciting, and it feels like you can't breathe.

I think I am too worked up to write a review...a few thoughts then. I still love Tybalt, hello cat, duh, I love those. Sure Connor is nice, but..but...May her fetch is just too fun. Exciting things are going on as Toby tries to figure out who is going after her friends. Revelations are made about her past, still one piece is missing and I want to know. Perhaps in the next book.

*swears over Raysel, the evil bitch again* then again, it's not her fault that she is fucked up. See, I did finally calm down.

Conclusion:
Yes do read this series! Recommended, and I am glad I have book 5, but I will wait a while since book 6 is coming first this fall.

Cover:
The dress and the jacket, yup, just like she was. even a pointy ear.

Series: October Daye #4
Genre: Urban fantasy
Pages: 372
Published: 2011 by DAW
Source: my own


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Review: Etiquette for an Apocalypse - Anne Mendel


It’s the 2020 Apocalypse and Sophie Cohen, former social worker turned neighborly drug dealer, must keep her family alive amid those pesky end of the world issues: starvation, earthquakes, plagues, gang violence and alas more starvation.She investigates a serial killing and takes down the sinister emerging power structure while learning to use a pizza box solar oven, bond with her chickens and blast tin cans from the perimeter fence with a Ruger 9MM.

In order to accomplish all this she must find a way to love her mother, accept her daughter’s adulthood and reignite her moribund marriage.

She might discover that a decentralized, consensus driven life—without fossil fuels, iPhones and chocolate éclairs—isn’t the end of the world, after all.

My thoughts:
That which  made me want to try this book was the cover, I mean look at it! So cool and weird, I love it.

It's the end of the world but some are struggling to survive (it helps having a genius for a brother who can make painkillers:) It's a new world where those with a skill has survived. Sophie sells drugs, but even in this bleak bleak world the book itself does not feel overly bleak. Because the book is so much more than just another dystopic apocalyptic story. It's a story about a mother trying to do right by her daughter, a girl becoming a teenager in this kind of world. Oh yes she is not happy. About a marriage that is not as passionate as it used to be. And it's not easy to be loving when you have nothing to eat and people die around you left and right. And last, dealing with a mother who does not want to accept that the world has changed.

But the family drama and issues aside the book is also a bit of a mystery as women are being murdered and Sophie wants to find out who is doing it. Because no one else care. And by digging around in things she should not more happens, I can't go into details but it gets exciting.

A bleak world about a family trying to cope. It has this certain feel to it, bleak yet so normal. Many apocalyptic books are awesome, but in the end they are just so freaking big. So much happened, the world has changed too much. Here it feels like this could happen. A supervolcano would just have to explode and that would send ripples through out the world. This is how people would try to get by.

Conclusion:
I have said it before, but a different sort of end of the world book, one that I enjoyed and one that felt like it was happening right now.

Cover:
Cool!

Genre: Apocalyptic
Pages: 276
Published: April 2012 by Bracket Press
Source: For review

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Review: Shadow Blizzard - Alexey Pehov

Shadow Harold, Siala's master thief, is on a quest for the Rainbow Horn that will restore peace to his world. After the loss of friends and comrades, after betrayal and battle, Harold finally reaches the dreaded Hrad Spein. But before he can complete his quest by stealing the magic Horn, he will have to brave the most fearsome obstacles yet--obstacles that have destroyed everyone before him...and Harold must do so alone.


My thoughts:
Where to begin? The journey started in previous books has come to an end, well ok not really. It's just getting started if you think about it.

Harold (I do love thieves) and his gang are approaching Hrad Spein. Kli-Kli, it's always good with a comic relief, the dark elves, and human warriors are with him. And they have lost a lot of friends already. Pehov does have a way of killing off people. But then not all should make it, people must fall during the way cos it's a dangerous road so I liked that he is not afraid to do just that.

Much of the book takes places in the darkness that is Hrad Spein. Fights, horrors, revelations, all to save a kingdom and the world. So much more than others think are actually going on. The Dancers, the creators of world, the Houses, and the person that created Siala. Not to mention that Harold is supposed to be a dancer too, which means that he could create a world. He is such an unlikely hero and that makes him better.

The second part took place outside of Hrad. The quest is not yet done and more battles are to come. It's fighting and quest fantasy. 

I did feel that there is so many more stories still to tell and I would like to stay in this world, but sadly this was the end of this trilogy. But Pehov has created a very interesting world, and a world I would he happy to visit again. And it feels like home too, it's a world I know, yet it's so very new.

Some of the fight scenes at the end did feel a bit jumpy, but eh, that's life and war. And something did happen that made me sad, but again that's life and sadness is needed in books too.

Conclusion:
I do think there needs to be another Harold trilogy ;)

Cover:
ok
Series: Chronicles of Siala #3
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 464
Published: April 2012 by Simon and Schuster UK

Monday, 21 May 2012

Review: Alexander Outland: Space Pirate - G.J. Koch


Captain Alexander Outland of the Sixty-Nine (short for Space Vessel 3369, of course) is the best pilot in the galaxy. He’s also a pirate, a smuggler, and loved and loathed by women in umpteen solar systems. His crew of strays and misfits includes an engineer of dubious sanity, a deposed planetary governor, an annoyingly unflappable Sexbot copilot, and a slinky weapons chief who stubbornly refuses to give the captain a tumble.

Outland just wants to make a decent living skirting the law, but when an invisible space armada starts cutting into his business, he soon finds himself in hot water with the military, the mob, mad bombers, and an extended family of would-be conquerors. And that’s not counting an occasionally telepathic spy . . . .

Like any sensible scoundrel, he hates heroics. They’re risky and they don’t pay well. But to keep his ship and crew in one piece, and make time with a certain hard-to-get weapons chief, he might just have to make an exception–and save the galaxy in spite of himself!

Series: Alexander Outland #1, Genre: Sci-fi, Pages: 300, To be published: June 5th, 2012 by Night Shade books, Source: Blog Tour/for review

My thoughts:
Something just did not work for me as it should have with this book. I really tried to like it, I mean I love her other books, but here, no, I just couldn't fall helplessly in love with it.

Captain Alexander Outland..a pig really. Sure I like a good rake, but this guy, well it just felt like he would have picked up a few things on the way. Can’t say I loved Slinkie either, the woman he is lusting after. Though I really liked how she did not fall for his crap. And I did like that Alexander did do the right thing when it comes to everything else. He says he does not want to be a hero but he was a hero. A reluctant awesome hero. So as long as he keeps his hands to himself then he is ok in my book.

I did like the Governor though..yes, I can’t say more. And a certain crewman who made a sexbot, well good for him.

The story (even if sadly not for me), was very cool in theory. A wicked plan is set in motion in the galaxy, pirates who want everything. And the crew ending up on a military planet, one have to love a place that keeps order *laugh ironically*. It sure made it interesting and the action was sure to be had after that.

In the end I still do not know why I did not love this book. Going with my old record I should have liked Alexander, cos he really wanted Slinkie. In a good way. And the plot was amazing and kicked ass. But this time it just was not the book for me.

What others had to say:
Here is a  quote from someone who really liked it.
My World in Pages ..and more

I loved this adventure and this crew!  I CAN NOT WAIT for the next Alexander Outland book!!
So go and read Melissa's review and see the other side of the story.



Sunday, 20 May 2012

Flash Fiction Friday - better late than never

Every Monday Dottie over at Tink's Place posts a picture and then on Friday (Flash Fiction Friday) we post a story to go along with the picture. The story has to be about 350 words, give or take. 


(pic has been removed: dryad in tree)
The Dryad and the Lumberjack
by Blodeuedd



Trees could be cruel, especially in the Forest of Shadow and Light. But men still ventured there, men with their axes and they tried to bleed the trees who screamed in pain. But men could not hear it; they could not feel the trees grow angry, big and vengeful.

As a dryad Zora felt it all and she did her best to soothe the trees and make them sing as they should. But lately that did not work either and she slept in her tree and tried to forget the world outside. Only when she grew restless she went outside and saw that the trees still fought but that men came in greater numbers. With sorrow in her eyes she watched fallen sisters and knew that to change the world they had to change with it. So she went back to her tree and watched the leaves fall around her, she watched the seasons change until he came. With his axe whistling a tune. The first cut was the deepest and she screamed in pain and the trees shook its roots and dragged him under. But this was the chance so she jumped out and dragged him out. When he lay on the moss, bruised and broken she just watched. Her thigh was bleeding from where the axe had cut and she sang to the tree until it calmed down. Then she cut her horns and trimmed her nails. Her clothes she could not change so she came down from the tree and dragged the man to the shadow of the tree. There she waited.

With a scream in his lips he awoke and she did her best to soothe him and gave him water to drink. He was a good man; she saw it in his eyes as he accepted her help and later how he worried over the wound in her thigh. So she told him that bandits had killed her family and how she had been lost in the woods and mountains for weeks. He took her home with her and later he made her his wife. And she was a good wife, very nurturing and kind. They had a big loving family, a family who all loved trees. He did not think much of that, neither did he think of the strange bald patches they all had at the side of their heads, covered under hairs. Bald patches where horns used to be, horns she taught her kids to file down. Just as she taught them to go out in the world and teach man to love nature.

-------------
Hm, what kind of story did this turn out to be? A message, oh well, that happens.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Review: The Penny Bangle - Margaret James

When should you trust your heart? It's 1942 when Cassie Taylor reluctantly leaves Birmingham to become a land girl on a farm in Dorset. There she meets Robert and Stephen Denham, twins recovering from injuries sustained at Dunkirk. Cassie is instantly drawn to Stephen, but is wary of the more complex Robert - who doesn't seem to like Cassie one little bit. At first, Robert wants to sack the inexperienced city girl. But Cassie soon learns, and Robert comes to admire her courage, finding himself deeply attracted to Cassie. Just as their romance blossoms, he's called back into active service. Anxious to have adventures herself, Cassie joins the ATS. 

My thoughts:
This is actually part 3 in a series but it can well be read on its own. Book 1 took place during WWI, book 2 was about that couple's daughter and this book has a new heroine named Cassie who arrives at a farm to work. The farm owned by the couple from book 1. It's her story.

I have read the other two books but this was actually my favorite. I can't say what made it so, was the writing better? The story? The heroine? Who can tell what tiny detail makes me fall more? I did like the two previous books too but I guess Cassie won me over more. She was brave, did not give up and most of all, she was sweet.

The story is about the war, family and love. Cassie falls for the son in the family, luckily the Denhams are good people and not snobs as they come from a better family and she is gutter trash. All is good on that front. But the war is always there and Robert goes back. Their romance takes some time to blossom and I liked this. No rush, even if we know it will happen (as he does not like her from the start.) And as he is away fighting and she does her best to serve her country there is always that amount of danger in the air. It's not showed though.

It was nice to meet the Denhams again and Daisy from previous books. And the twins Stephen and Robert were so alike, but nice young men. There is also another landgirl named Frances who befriends Cassie.

One thing I did not like, but as this was about the story, it's a very personal opinion. Because of something that happened I would rather have the book end unhappily then how it ended now, all happily. Somethings I do not forgive.

Conclusion:
Easy to read; romance, conflicts and war always present. Heartache and happiness is promised. 

Cover.
I do like how all covers fit their era.


Genre: Women's fiction /romance, Pages: 304, Published: May 7th, 2012 by Choc LitSource: For review

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Review: Embers - Laura Bickle


Truth burns. Unemployment, despair, anger—visible and invisible unrest feed the undercurrent of Detroit’s unease. A city increasingly invaded by phantoms now faces a malevolent force that further stokes fear and chaos throughout the city. Anya Kalinczyk spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, and her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a team of eccentric ghost hunters. Anya—who is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern—suspects a supernatural arsonist is setting blazes to summon a fiery ancient entity that will leave the city in cinders. By Devil’s Night, the spell will be complete, unless Anya—with the help of her salamander familiar and the paranormal investigating team—can stop it. This time she’s risking everything: her city, her soul, and a man who sees and accepts her for everything she is. Keeping all three safe will be the biggest challenge she’s ever faced.

My thoughts:
I do love a good sidekick and this book had such a good one. A salamander named Sparky who chased cats and licked toasters cos he likes electricity. 

But to the book then. Anya can see ghosts and eats them. Well the bad ones as she does not always feel good afterwards. She is a Lantern. She was not kick-ass but at the same time she was. She was more protective kick-ass. A former firefighter turned fire investigator. To serve and protect. That is who she is. She loves this city.

The story is about her chasing after an arsonist. Can I say more? Well it has darker undertones and here we learn so much more about this world. Demons, ancient mythology, dragons. It's really interesting and we also learn more about Anya. As she does not know much about her gifts, or curse.

I have book two so I will read it, I actually started it first by mistake, oh bad me, so I quickly started book 1 instead ;) But book 2 seemed good too.

Conclusion:
A good world, interesting story and characters I'd like to learn more about. It felt like a solid beginning to a series.

Cover:
it works

Series: Anya Kalinczyk #1
Genre: urban fantasy
Pages: 359
Published: 2010 by Pocket
Source: My own

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Blog Tour: Genevieve Graham interview


Today I have author Genevieve Graham over to talk about her new book Sound of the Heart. You can also enter in the grand prize giveaway at the bottom

Welcome!


1. Could you tell me a little about yourself?
Sure. I'm Canadian, I'm 47 and happily married to a wonderful, patient man, with two teenage (!) daughters (11 & 14). We live in a very quiet, remote part of Nova Scotia because we couldn't stand being in a busy city any longer. Until my daughters were about 8 or so, I could never find the time to read. Then I read “Outlander” and I haven't been able to stop! I'd never written a word until 2007 when I started to write UNDER THE SAME SKY. Now I'm working on the 4th of the series and I see no end in sight! I also run my own editing business, working with authors worldwide.

2.  Your new book is called Sound of the heart. What’s it about?
First, I should let you know that my books, despite their beautiful covers, are not fluffy romances. I believe in submersing myself and my readers in real history, and I don't pull any punches. I don't know how to sugarcoat the truth! So … this is not for the faint of heart, though it is less disturbing in many aspects than UNDER THE SAME SKY.


Dougal MacDonnell is a Highlander who is taken prisoner after the Battle of Culloden in 1746. He survives imprisonment, then manages to escape with one of the other prisoners, experiencing adventures as they flee to the Highlands. Once he is safely settled, he falls in love and it looks like a happily ever after … until the English arrest his love, Glenna, for poaching. Dougal has to find her, but he is captured again. It is only when he discovers that she has been shipped to the colonies that he realizes what he must do. He is offered a position in the Highlander division of the English army, and though he hates the thought of joining the English, he must do it if he even hopes to find her again. We follow his adventures, but we also experience Glenna's life when she is taken as a white slave. It seems impossible that they will find each other, considering the vastness of the colonies and their completely separate lives, but neither is willing to give up hope.


3.  Could you tell me about the McDonnell brothers?
We meet both in UNDER THE SAME SKY, along with their brother, Ciaran; however that book is focused on Andrew. SOUND OF THE HEART is Dougal's story. The brothers were raised to not only be fierce warriors, but to value education. They also have grown up as witness to the love between their parents, and none of them will settle for a loveless marriage. Unfortunately, Ciaran doesn't survive the war. The other two brothers, who have an innate ability to read each other's minds, cannot find each other, and assume the other is dead … though they're not sure. Andrew has a host of “gifts”, including the ability to see the future and to communicate with a girl across the sea through dreams, and that is the story behind UNDER THE SAME SKY. Dougal can also see into the future, but his other gift is reading the minds of men.

I love both of them. Andrew is the more introspective of the two. Dougal has a wonderful sense of humour and really loves people, on the whole.

4. Glenna sure sounds like a strong woman. Who was your inspiration for her?
I don't really have an “inspiration” for her. My characters pop into my head out of nowhere, which is my most favourite aspect of writing. With this story, I met Dougal first, and he took me through the battle. It took quite a while for Glenna to reveal herself to me. She has a lot of secrets, and she was very private about them—even with me! She started out as a very strong, self-sufficient woman, but grew into a woman who truly believe in herself and her worth by the end. I really admire her.


5. Are there more books coming?
I've written the third book, OUT OF THE SHADOWS, which focuses on Adelaide, the sister of Maggie in UNDER THE SAME SKY. I have to admit that right now, it's my favourite of the three. I have recently started working on the fourth book, the story of Janet MacLeod, who traveled with Andrew back in the first book. She's not a member of their family, but she had a very strong personality … and she's demanding her own book right now!

6. What made you start writing historical romance?
I fell in love with Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER series, then Sara Donati's INTO THE WILDERNESS series, then books by Penelope Williamson, Jennifer Roberson and others. I think the part of historical fiction that I love the most is the possibility that somewhere along the line … it might just not be fiction! Think of this: no one from the 18th century is alive today, right? (not including reincarnation or whatever) When I write, I feel like I'm just the typist, receiving these stories and putting them down for others to read. How are those stories coming to me? Could it be that they actually happened and the characters feel they need to share them with me? Could they have really happened? See why I love historical fiction so much?

7. And last, the sexiest Scot ever?
Wow. EVER? Well, you didn't actually say he had to be real … I'm going with Jamie from “Outlander” … but I have to say that Dougal from SOUND OF THE HEART is a very close second for me. And if you need me to pick a “real” one, I'm going to go with what I know best, and that'd be actor Gerard Butler (why do I know him best? Because I watch his movies almost obsessively …).

Thanks for having me here today!

About the Author
 Genevieve Graham graduated from the University of Toronto in 1986 with a Bachelor of Music in Performance (playing the oboe). While on a ski vacation in Alberta, she met her future husband in a chairlift lineup and subsequently moved to Calgary to be with him. They have recently settled in a small, peaceful town in Nova Scotia with their two beautiful daughters. Writing became an essential part of Genevieve’s life a few years ago, when she began to write her debut novel, Under the Same Sky. The companion novel, Sound of the Heart, will be in stores May 1, 2012.

CONNECT ONLINE


Grand Prize on the book tour is ...
A signed copy of Sound of the Heart PLUS a four cd set of relaxation cds created by my incredibly talented musical friends, Cori Ashley and Ed Franks. I'll give you a little insight into why I chose these cds as my prize - I'm NOT saying Sound of the Heart is about relaxing … considering the wild adventures Dougal's in for, I doubt he was too relaxed! But Dougal has a gift, similar to his brother's gift. He can relax his mind and hear the thoughts of other men, but he can also sink into his thoughts and hear the sounds and voices of his loved ones as if they were right there with him. These cds were created to help you escape the stress and craziness of your days. Grab a cup of tea or glass of wine (your preference!), light a candle, maybe slip in to a bubblebath, and listen to the sound of your heart.

The contest runs May 1-31/12 and is only open to entrants in Canada & U.S.).


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Review: The Shadow Reader - Sandy Williams


There can only be one allegiance. It’s her time to choose.

Some humans can see the fae. McKenzie Lewis can track them, reading the shadows they leave behind. But some shadows lead to danger. Others lead to lies.

A Houston college student trying to finish her degree, McKenzie has been working for the fae king for years, tracking vicious rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn’t her only secret. For just as long, she’s been in love with Kyol, the king’s sword-master—and relationships between humans and fae are forbidden.

But any hope for a normal life is shattered when she’s captured by Aren, the fierce and uncompromising rebel leader. He teaches her the forbidden fae language and tells her dark truths about the Court, all to persuade her to turn against the king. Time is running out, and as the fight starts to claim human lives, McKenzie has no choice but to decide once and for all whom to trust and where she ultimately stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.

Series: McKenzie Lewis #1, Genre: Paranormal romance urban fantasy, Pages: 307, Published: 2011 by Ace, Source: My own

My thoughts:

That is the world in general was good, and I like the idea of it all, but I fear I had higher hopes and I got disappointed.

Why was this? I have spent some time thinking (and I never think when i review) and here reason is simple, McKenzie. Look at her all kick-ass with a katana and, oh wait, she has no katana, she was certainly not kick-ass. She was a sheep. She did what people told her and she never questioned it. She let a man string her along since she was 16. She never fought in this book, she was meak. She was not even a damsell in distress, she was more a shadow of something. A follower.

Ok so would I have questioned things? Perhaps not, but 10 years is a long time to believe what others tell you, Fae who will not even let you learn their language. A man who tells you it's forbidden for Fae to be with humans. Did she believe all those "bad" Fae she hunted down was put in prison? Come on, that is just stupid, of course they would be killed and tortured. In this book she learns that other Fae tells their children if they are not good then she will come and get them. And she never knew this? So yes her sheep tendencies irritated me.

The men then, of course the rebel leader fall for her like at once. Does she? Did not feel it. And why did he fall when she was such a sheap? And then we have the guy who has strung her along since she was a kid, first, bad Fae! Still him I got, he was conflicted and all. But why she did not give up that I do not get. She got nothing from the relationship..not even sex.

Now I have spent paragraphs dissing her, but the book was still good. I enjoyed how the rebels fought the King. Learning more about the Fae world (would have wanted more). It was interesting and it was good.

Still..at times the storytelling felt a bit disconnected. Like I was hearing it from afar. Something still made this book good at times but when thinking back i just feel annoyed and that is not a good sign. When annoyance takes over. I did have it down as a 3 first, cos of the good parts, but now I just feel all meh.

Conclusion:
Make up your own mind, sadly I can't recommend it even if I liked some things. 

Cover:
Cool, but so not her.


Monday, 14 May 2012

Review: Mr. Darcy's Proposal - Susan Mason-Milks

A Pride and Prejudice "What If?" Story... This retelling of Pride and Prejudice asks “what if” events prevented Fitzwilliam Darcy from proposing to Elizabeth Bennet that day at Hunsford parsonage? Darcy arrives with marriage on his mind, only to find Elizabeth has just received news her father is critically ill and not expected to live. In the process of offering his help to her in traveling home, Darcy discovers what she really thinks of him—and it’s not good. Should Darcy deliver Elizabeth home to be with her family and then disappear from her life, or should he propose another kind of help? Will Elizabeth be willing to sacrifice her future happiness to save her family from financial ruin? Or, do she and Darcy, two very stubborn people, have a chance of finding happiness together?

Pages: 408, Genre: Pride and prejudice variation, Published: 2011, Source. My own

My thoughts:
I got a JA addiction and I like it ;)

This was quite the different what if. Since it all happens pretty quickly it's not like I spoil things. Lizzy's dad has a heart attack and Darcy offers to take her back home as she is visiting Charlotte. Here is where the story differs as he also waits with his proposal and asks her when she is back home. When she knows her dad will not get better. When the whole family's future is at stake. And she says yes. This is a story of how he loves her and she is pretty indifferent. She sees that he has hidden depths but she does not love him. 

The story worked so well. I loved seeing him trying. Her not knowing how to act, trying to be a nice little wife. It was all so wrong, but at the same time so good. Because they had to find their way together another way. They had to take their time to fall in love, well Lizzy had to. It was quite heartbreaking at times too.

There are many what if stories out there, and they all manages to bring something new. And this was new and fun (and sad) to read.

Conclusion:
I will end this with a I do like reading JA variations :)

Cover Corner:
Nice


Saturday, 12 May 2012

Flash Fiction Friday, when? on Saturday of course

Every Monday Dottie over at Tink's Place posts a picture and then on Friday (Flash Fiction Friday) we post a story to go along with the picture. The story has to be about 350 words, give or take. 

(pic has been removed: ballerina)
Prima Ballerina
by Blodeuedd

It was not her gift. It was stolen from someone else. She was not a famous ballerina, well, she was, and it was just that it was not her that made it so. Her feet were magic, her body floated through the air. She was famous and she was loved.

Love and fame comes with a prize. The prize was a soul. When Sophie turned 11 she grew tired of the constant struggle, of never truly getting it right. So she made a deal. It was easy really. Her grandmother had been a witch so she just dug out the spellbooks and it worked. Much to her surprise. Maybe she should just have been a witch. But instead she asked to be famous and to be the best dancer in the world. That is where the prize came in and she did it willingly. 3 of the girls in her class went missing over a week. 3 girls who excelled at ballet. She knew what had happened and now 15 years later she was there. Fame, adoration…sleepless night and being haunted. That is not what she had signed up for. To see a face in every mirror, every puddle, everything! To hear their voices and to feel their cold fingers. To dream about them.

She shuddered where she sat, resting and wondering where the hell it went wrong. She was so tired. So very very tired.

“Soooophie.”
She closed her eyes in an attempt to keep the voices at bay but they would not stop. Always, always! She could almost not dance anymore. They whispered and her concentration was at on all time low. Her feet still had the magic but her head and soul was suffering. She had tried every spell possible; she had even called for the demon that she made the bargain with but nothing. She took another sip of her drink.

Alice, Ingrid and Zena. That is what they had been called. She turned around and saw Zena’s face in the mirror. Her long nails tried scratched the surface in an attempt to get out.

So very tired. She took the bottle in her head and started drinking. A few pills might dull their voices…


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

I was not that inspired this time so it's a bit meh

Friday, 11 May 2012

Kate Daniels - Curran reviews megapost


It's time for a bunch of reviews of short stories told from Curran POV:

Curran Vol 1
Pages: 29
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Kate Daniels

It seems I had forgotten to ever write a review so I read these stories again :)

The first one will be my fav as it takes place at their first meeting and Kate says the famous first words, Here Kitty kitty. And of course I did love the chicken-soup scene from his perspective and how he felt when he saw her and Saiman. All goof stuff.

A great companion to the Kate Daniel books and who would not like Curran's POV! ;)  A collection of scenes from the first few books.

Curran volume 2
Pages: 21

Curran is angry, you do not want to see him angry.

Again a nice novella how Curran feels after he wakes up and finds out that his pack has been challenging Kate. As this one takes place after Magic Bleeds, it has to be read after that to be appreciated.


Curran #3
Ohh I really liked this one. Jim is telling the story of who Kate really is, and who her father is. Exciting stuff. Sure I know it already but Curran sure has a few things to think about.

Yup I need more Ilona Andrews :=D This story takes place after Magic Strikes.


Curran #4 Hot Tub Scene
18 pages
I do fear that I am all reviewed out today, I have read a lot of short stories ;)

Anyway hot tub scene, hot. And the end where he thinks that she will be his mate *melts*

I love Curran. The scene takes place in Magic Strikes.

Conclusion: If you love the Kate Daniels books then these are a must, and best of all..they are free!



Thursday, 10 May 2012

Review: The Duke and I - Julia Quinn


After enduring two seasons in London, Daphne Bridgerton is no longer naive enough to believe she will be able to marry for love. But is it really too much to hope for a husband for whom she at least has some affection?

Her brother's old school friend Simon Bassett - the new Duke of Hastings - has no intention of ever marrying. However, newly returned to England, he finds himself the target of the many marriage-minded society mothers who remain convinced that reformed rakes make the best husbands. To deflect their attention, the handsome hell-raiser proposes to Daphne that they pretend an attachment. In return, his interest in Daphne will ensure she becomes the belle of London society with suitors beating a path to her door...

There's just one problem, Daphne is now in danger of falling for a man who has no intention of making their charade a reality.


Series: Bridgertons #1, Genre: Historical romance, Pages: 339, Published: 2006 (2000) by Piatkus, Source: my own

My thoughts:
It seems that this was not my first Bridgerton book, now I had actually read the 8th and last first, but totally forgotten about it since it had bored me a bit. I can't even remember what happened in it..a wedding and a carriage at the end? Well I am pleased to say that this one was better and it did not matter that I read out of order. Welcome to the Out of Order reading club.

Oh and I did try to read..book 3? And gave up cos I just grew angry...end of story (even if it still annoys me).

Still I do prefer her newer books, but I did enjoy this first Bridgerton books and all the siblings (8 if you are wondering). But at the moment only 4 are out and about. Daphne is nice and all, but men just want to be her friend. We all know men can be such idiots sometimes. I did like her in the book too, she was fun and I am sure we would have been friends.

The hero, well he has issues, he had stutter as a kid and the relationship with his dad was horrible. He is carrying a lot of anger. Even though we know that this well end up in a HEA there are obstacles first as he never wants to marry or have kids. Poor guy is pretty messed up.

The tone is fun and cute. They fit so well together from the very beginning. Yes Simon was an ass, yes maybe Daphne should have know better. But the drama at the end was actually one of the best parts. It seems I like an unhappy couple who has to solve a big crisis.

Conclusion:
Sweet is the word. Sweet with sugar on top, but at the end there is some salt, but then it's all sugar and happiness again.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Review: Nadia Knows Best - Jill Mansell

When Nadia Kinsella meets Jay Tiernan, she's tempted. Of course she is. Stranded together in a remote Cotswold pub, with a snowstorm raging outside—let’s face it, who would ever know? But Nadia’s already met The One. She and Laurie have been together for years—they’re practically childhood sweethearts, and she still gets goosebumps at the sight of him. Okay, maybe she doesn’t see that much of him these days, but that’s not Laurie’s fault. She can’t betray him. Besides, when you belong to a family like the Kinsellas—bewitchingly glamorous grandmother Miriam, feckless mother Leonie, stop-at-nothing sister Clare—well, someone has to exercise a bit of self-control, don’t they? I mean, you wouldn’t want to do something that you might later regret.

Genre: Contemporary romance / Brit Lit, Pages: 480, Published: May 1st 2012 (2002) by Sourcebooks Landmark, Source: for review

My thoughts:
First of all, the blurb is very hinting that she is tempted and all that. But she is only looking and who would not. So no funny business, this is not a book about how the grass is greener in the other side.

As with other Mansell books this one is not only about Nadia. We have her sister Clare who is an artist and who dates this posh idiot and they are having issues. Then there is the father who has never really dated since their mum left them ages ago, and perhaps he should find love too. The grandmother Miriam is keeping secrets while the neighbor tries to make her fall for him. Clare was a bit of a bitch sometimes, Miriam was a very cool granny and their dad was sweet. It was nice reading about them all.

As for Nadia, honestly it feels I spoil things if I say what this book really is about. But I can talk about other thing, how she wants to do more than work at the boring place she works at. How Laurie is drop dead gorgeous, but that's it, he is a model and he is never home. And how things are not always what they seem to be. Nadia will have her own relationship troubles but as with all books like this she founds her way, and it's the right way for her. I liked her and how she helped take care of her family. They may not always be the best of friends but they all still love each other.

Mansell's books are like scones and tea (yes I had to go very British). The book is a nice mix of romance, family drama and real life troubles. Nothing is glossy and perfect, they all got issues of their own. And I enjoyed it for just that reason.

Conclusion:
It was just like how I like my Mansell books. Fun and it kept me guessing about what would happen to them all.

Cover,
Eh


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