Friday, 28 September 2012

Early Review: Move Over Darling - Christine Stovell


When is it time to stop running?
Coralie Casey is haunted by her past. Deciding it’s time for a fresh start, she sets up ‘Sweet Cleans’, a range of natural beauty and cleaning products, and escapes to Penmorfa, a quiet coastal village in west Wales.

Gethin Lewis thinks he’s about to put his home village Penmorfa behind him for good. Now an internationally-acclaimed artist living in New York, he just has to return one last time to wind up his father’s estate.

But the village soon disrupts their carefully laid plans. As truths are uncovered which threaten to split the community apart, Gethin is forced to question his real reasons for abandoning Penmorfa, and Coralie is made to face the fact that some stains just won’t go away.

My thoughts:
Romance in a quaint Welsh village, filled with gossiping ladies.

Coralie is running from her past, what past we do not know, but we learn. Sure it was...something, but I did feel she made too much of a big deal of it. But she is sweet, loves her new place and is just nice you know.

Gehtin hates the same village, he wanted out and out he went. Famous painter and disliked by certain people in Penmorfa. But he also is a nice guy. He had reasons to get out. These two together works, they are both not looking, so we know something will happen. The road there takes awhile. A bit of talking, which leads to flirting, which leads to talking. Yes no rush here. You can't rush love, not even lust at times.

Even with the gossiping old ladies this was a nice village. People felt close, even if they talked dirt behind each other's backs. There is a family that gets a backstory too as they know Coralie, and Gehtin. The parents have marital issues and their daughter is back and preggers. A sidestory that gives warmth and drama to this story.

Conclusion:
Romance that takes time, a village that I want to visit. That is this story.

Cover
Eh

Genre: Women's fiction
Pages: 336
To Be published: October 7th 2012 by Choc Lit
Source: For review

Amazon US
AMazon UK 

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Review: Gunmetal Magic + Magic Gifts - Ilona Andrews


After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea's whole existence is in shambles. She tries to put herself back together by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend. When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano--the male alpha of the Clan Bouda, and Andrea's former lover--die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate. Now she must work with Raphael as her search for the killer leads into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta. And dealing with her feelings for him might have to take a back seat to saving the world... 

My thoughts:
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it. It was just not as good as later Kate books. It was more like the earlier ones and therefore it gets a grade like those.

Andrea was kick-ass, she has always been kick-ass. She has a horrible past, she is also something not that liked, beastkin. Yup her dad was actually an animal first. But she is just so Andrea, she fights, she wants to belong and I like her.

Raphael, oh what to say about him. Sleek, sexy, the favorite of the pack. Some of the things he did here just made me go all awwww, alpha ;) and other thing made me grind me teeth. They have issues to work through. But it was always been a dance between them.

The plot is that Pack members have been killed and it's up to her to find out who. I will say no more as it delivers a lot of different things into the mix.

Conclusion:
I liked it. It gave me what I wanted. And I am a sucker for the mate frenzy shifters go through, all the mine mine mine...But did I wish it was up to Kate standard? Of course.

Cover: Kick-ass

Series: Kate Daniels World #1, Kate Daniels #5,5
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 326
Published: July 2012 by Ace
Source: Own

A dinner date after a hard day at work sounds heavenly. Of course, when that date is between the Beast Lord and Kate Daniels, things don’t go as planned. Before you know it, undead are running amok, heads are being chopped off, lawyers are deployed and used with extereme prejudice, and drunk vikings are calling people out.

This novella takes place around Andrea's book and it's about ..vikings, well that is one clue I can give. Andrews continues to come up with new things and as a novella this story worked well.

So my final word is that I liked it :D Kate and Curran was good, the ending leaves things open for Andrea's book and I can't wait.

Series: Kate Daniels #5,4
Pages: 100
Published: 2011


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Blog Tour: Season for Surrender by Theresa Romain + giveaway


I am a part of the Season for Surrender blog Tour. There is a giveaway for this book too, but first an excerpt from the book:

The scene: 
At the end of a difficult Christmas day, Alexander, Lord Xavier, has come to the library of his country house for the solace of conversation with Louisa Oliver. But the conversation—and the solace—don’t go as he expected…

Part of him wanted to deny this, yet part of him knew that only trickery had brought her here, kept her close. He’d bribed her here with his books, tied her here with a mystery. Counted on her intellectual curiosity to win him ten pounds and sustain his reputation. 
A reputation he didn’t even want anymore. Maybe.
Was he Xavier, or Alex? He was all knotted up, all confusion. Yet no matter who he was, he wanted. He wanted to convince her of his value. She, who was the first to suspect he had a hidden stash of it.
He wanted her eyes on him; her thoughts turned his way. And if he kissed her—when he kissed her—by God, he’d make sure it was a kiss she wanted to hold fast to.
Her hand slipped around his tense forearm, and he flinched. He hadn’t heard her approach. She rested her hand on his sleeve—one second, two. Gently, then, she pressed down on his arm. Let go.
He dropped his hands from the mantel, his shoulders sagging, and turned to face her. Tried for a smile.
She must have seen something dreadful in his face, because she took a step backward. Her hands lifted, palms out, the silk of her gown shushing over the carpet. “You look like you could use some privacy. I’d best bid you good night now, and happy Christmas. Do excuse me.”
Before he could unlock his tongue, she had already backed up several more steps. 
“Wait, please.” He raked a hand through his hair. “Please. Louisa. Don’t leave. Not like this.”
He didn’t want her to ask him any more terrible questions. But he couldn’t let her leave; not before he had an answer for her. Or himself.
She stopped. “How should I leave, then? Shall I recommend a book to you first? Purgatorio was good enough for your ancestors, and they were good enough for the queen.”
“No.” He pulled in a sharp breath. “Yes. Louisa. We don’t have to be only about books, do we?”
She looked away, into the dark depths of the library. “You and I? We don’t have to be anything. I’m just here for your house party, to entertain myself in a safely scandalous way, then retreat to the library whenever real life gets too overwhelming.”
“I see,” he replied. His hands felt blocky and numb at his sides. “Yes. I—I shouldn’t have expected anything else from you.” 
He stammered under a wave of mortification. It welled up from within; it washed over him with every flicker of her dark eyes.
She didn’t leave, though. And she didn’t stop looking at him. With a tilt of her head, she said, “I’ve told you not to expect me to react in the common way.”
She sank to the floor before the fire and extended her hands. The burning coals cast their warm light through the wavy glass of the fireplace screen, burnishing her skin to flame gold as her bronze gown pooled around her.
“In a novel,” she commented, turning her hands before the flames as though toasting them, “someone would surely interrupt our conversation at the decisive moment.”
Xavier stood by the fireplace like an andiron. “Can it be possible that this conversation hasn’t yet reached the decisive moment? I think we’ve had twelve decisive moments already. I’ll have to go directly to bed and pull the coverlet over my head.”
A trick he’d often used with Lockwood: stating the truth so baldly that it sounded like a lie. Lockwood always laughed.
Louisa didn’t, though. She only watched the flicker of flame behind glass. “That’s not much of a way to spend Christmas night, is it?”
His jaw flexed. What on earth was there to say by way of reply? There was no point in denying anything to her. At best, she’d shrug it off; at worst, leave.
He didn’t like the idea of her leaving—and not because of the wager with Lockwood.
“No,” he said. “It isn’t. But then, not much about this Christmas has gone as I wished.”
She rose to her feet, graceful as a danseuse. “And what did you wish for?” 


Read the next part of the excerpt tomorrow, 9/27, at Romancing Rakes for the Love of Romance: http://romancingrakes4theluvofromance.blogspot.com/


Giveaway Details:

One randomly drawn commenter will win an autographed copy of SEASON FOR SURRENDER by Theresa Romain.

Contest is open internationally.

Contest is open the duration of the tour. (Ends 10/5)

 Winner(s) will be randomly selected and notified via email.

I usually do not do this, but you will get 1 extra entry if you like Theresa on facebook 
                                                         
 1 extra entry if you follow her on twitter



Author Bio: 
Historical romance author Theresa Romain pursued an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on. She then worked for universities and libraries, where she got to read even more. Eventu­ally she started writing, too. She lives with her family in the Midwest.

Connect with Theresa at:
Website: http://theresaromain.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/theresaromain
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTheresaRomain
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4844891.Theresa_Romain




Tour Stops: 
Additional tour stops can be found at:
http://events.litconnect.com/season-for-surrender-by-theresa-romain
The more stops readers comment on, the greater their chance of winning.


 Back Cover Blurb: 
HONOR AMONG ROGUES 
Alexander Edgware, Lord Xavier, has quite a reputation— for daring, wagering, and wickedness in all its delightful forms. But the wager before him is hardly his preferred sport: Xavier must persuade a proper young lady to at­tend his famously naughty Christmas house party—and stay the full, ruinous two weeks. Worse, the lady is Louisa Oliver, a doe-eyed bookworm Xavier finds quite charming. Yet to refuse the challenge is impossible—he will simply have to appoint himself Miss Oliver’s protec­tor… 

MISCHIEF AMONG MISSES 
Louisa knows her chance for a husband has passed. But she has no desire to retire into spinsterhood without enjoying a few grand adventures first. When Lord Xavi­er’s invitation arrives, Louisa is more intrigued than insulted. And once inside the rogues’ gallery, she just may have a thing or two to teach her gentlemen friends about daring… 

Purchase Links:
Amazon.com: 
Barnes & Noble: 
Book Depository: 
Books-a-Million: 



Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Review: Kiss of Steel - Bec McMaster


Most people avoid the dreaded Whitecapel district. For Honoria Todd, it's the last safe haven. But at what price?

Blade is known as the master of the rookeries--no one dares cross him. It's been said he faced down the Echelon's army single-handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood-craving he's been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.

When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She's so...innocent. He doesn't see her backbone of steel--or that she could be the very salvation he's been seeking.

My thoughts:
The steampunk aspect, well there was not much mention of it, except for a mechanical spider or two. The paranormal aspect, oh yes, that was there, and because of the steampunk vibes it felt much darker than usual.

Honoria is hiding with her siblings in a part of London that is ruled by the mysterious Blade. The rest of London belongs to the vampire council. And they are not good guys. But then they are the rules of England. Vampire beings who keep humans as thralls to feed upon. And humans pay taxes in blood. It's a darker world. It's a good world, and interesting world to read about.

Honoria is kind, too kind at times, she wants the best for her poor siblings. I liked her, I felt sorry for her, and I could respect her too. She could take back. Blade, our vampire renegade hero was, well let's just say he was alpha. Tough, and doing all to protect those within his realm. They are not a couple that should be, him bloodthirsty, and she not wanting anything to do with that world. But we all know the old story, passion is a sure thing when they meet. Even if they try to fight it. Some should just be together.

Conclusion:
An interesting world. A good couple and evil vampires that rot in the end.

Series: London Steampunk #1
Genre: Steampunk romance /historical paranormal romance
Pages: 448
Published: Sep 2012 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: For review

Monday, 24 September 2012

Review: The Age of Miracles - Karen Thompson Walker


“It still amazes me how little we really knew. . . . Maybe everything that happened to me and my family had nothing at all to do with the slowing. It’s possible, I guess. But I doubt it. I doubt it very much.”

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.

My thoughts:
I liked the prose in this novel. It fit the book perfectly. There was a slow rhythm to the book, a gradual slowing to life just like to the earth. Nothing crazy happened, it was not the usual kind of apocalyptic fiction which is more like standing on top if the roof shouting. Here we just watched those on the roof and contemplated our fate.

Julia is 11 when the earth starts moving slower. There is much to deal with. White nights, long cold dark days when the sun never rises. The world is crumbling around them. Life needs darkness and light to survive, but here they get to much of both. Gravity is turned on its head, the magnetic fields suffer. But people try to go on, they try to cope, they have hope. And that is the beauty in this book, life goes on. Sure there is looting, sure people goes into hiding, but we watch a normal family adjusting to the slowing. All while the main character Julia is dealing with her own crisis. There is s boy she likes, her friends grown apart. It's a coming of age story in an age of silent despair. 

The slow building melancholia hit me in the end. Marvelous. It felt real, it felt scary. No one knew why it happened, but it happened. An earth that does not turn, well turn fast anyway.

This was an end of the world that I liked. It was scary in another sort of way. It kind of does not hit you at first. It creeps up upon you and festers like a bad sore. The end of the world does not need to be all violence and crazy turn of events. It can be silent too.

Conclusion:
A great book that I recommend. Just get into the rhythm.

Cover
Not a favorite, but, well, it kind of fits in the end

Genre: Fiction, apocalyptic
Pages: 288
Published: June 2012 by Random House
Source: For review

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Review: Before Versailles - Karleen Koen


Louis XIV is one of the best-known monarchs ever to grace the French throne. But what was he like as a young man--the man before Versailles? 
After the death of his prime minister, Cardinal Mazarin, twenty-two-year-old Louis steps into governing France. He's still a young man, but one who, as king, willfully takes everything he can get--including his brother's wife. As the love affair between Louis and Princess Henriette burns, it sets the kingdom on the road toward unmistakable scandal and conflict with the Vatican. Every woman wants him. He must face what he is willing to sacrifice for love. 
But there are other problems lurking outside the chateau of Fontainebleau: a boy in an iron mask has been seen in the woods, and the king's finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet, has proven to be more powerful than Louis ever thought--a man who could make a great ally or become a dangerous foe . . . 


My thoughts:
First I must mentioned that I have read this book before. I think that is a sign I have become too much of a book lover, I thought the title was familliar but the cover was different and, oh yes I started to read and look at that. I had read it before, well let's just read it again then.

This is a book of many POVS, at times. Princess Henrietta's maid of honor Louise  is a main character but there are many others that want to say something, or think something. Since there are many players at this court.

It takes place during 4 months in 1661, Louis XIV is a young ruler in love with his sister in law and they have an affair. Then Louise comes along as a maid of honor, and of course he starts an affair with her, madly in love again. Affairs are going on left and right. People are young and in love.

Viscount Nicholas is spying on everyone, someone is questiong the king about his paterneity, and in the woods a boy in an iron mask is seen. A plot thread involving the Queen Mother and Cardinal Mazarin.

You know it will not be a happy end for Louise (of course I checked). He was a young king and he grew tired and cast her aside. He will have many more lovers. But that is not the story here, no here they are in love, for a while. They are happy, for a while. They are young and silly. And he does what kings do.

Sometimes it was hard to get a feel for everyone. Maybe it was the short period of time we knew them.

Conclusion:
A book for the lovers of French history. Love, lust, betrayal and intrigues. 

Cover: Fitting

Pages: 480
Genre: Historical fiction
Published: Sep 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first pub 2011)Source: For review
.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Review: A Crown of Swords - Robert Jordan


Elayne, Aviendha and Mat come ever closer to the bowl ter'angreal that may reverse the world's endless heatwave and restore natural weather. Egwene begins to gather all manner of women who can channel - Sea Folk, Windfinders, Wise Ones, and some surprising others. And, above all, Rand faces the dread Forsaken Sammael, in the shadows of Shadar Logoth, where the blood-hungry mist, Mashadar, waits for prey..

The WOT re-reading challenge continues

My thoughts:
What should I say about book 7 then...hm...I mean the last book I talked and talked about the characters and truth be told not that much has happened to make me feel one way or another.

Well Nynaeve met Lan again, I liked her more at once as they got it on. But he needs to remove that stick from his behind. All Warder and stiff. Maybe she will stop tugging that braid now.

Oh Mat, quite the rake these days...grrrrr The Seanchan are coming.

Not much happened when it all comes down to it. Elayne and Nynaeve looked for a bowl to fix the weather. Mat drunk and chased women. Rand was Rand, must get Sammael, can't sleep with Min and be in love with A and E. Some Forsaken learned a lesson. And that was pretty much it.

Conclusion:
By now the books move slooooooooooooower. Still I love it, and I did read it over a month so it went slow indeed. But that is the pace I have set for this re-read challenge.

Cover:
These UK covers are boooooooring.


Series: The Wheel of Time #7
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 762
Published by Orbit (first puböished 1996)
Source: My own

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Review: When you Give a Duke a Diamond - Shana Galen


He had a perfectly orderly life...
William, the sixth Duke of Pelham, enjoys his punctual, securely structured life. Orderly and predictable—that's the way he likes it. But he's in the public eye, and the scandal sheets will make up anything to sell papers. When the gossip papers link him to Juliette, one of the most beautiful and celebrated courtesans in London, chaos doesn't begin to describe what happens next...

Until she came along...
Juliette is nicknamed the Duchess of Dalliance and has the cream of the nobility at her beck and call. It's disruptive to have the duke who is the biggest catch on the Marriage Mart scaring her other suitors away. Then she discovers William's darkest secret and decides what he needs in his life is the kind of excitement only she can provide...

My thoughts:
Sometimes I think too much when reading historical romance (while still really enjoying the book of course). And yes of course I thought about things here. A duke and a courtesan? Oh no! The ton would be horrified, their future children would suffer from it. And sure there was that point when I was all and she is a courtesan cos? But this is historical romance, this is meant to make you smile and feel happy and that is does do just that.

William is, oh how to describe him, he has a stick up his ass. He is everything a Duke should be and he lives his life according to rules that he has set before himself. And goals, one of those is to find a nice lady and breed a kid of two. But he is lovable, because you know he has some issues, and even in his dumb moments he is nice..underneath. Even if I wanted to smack him over the head once or twice. Courtesans are people too!

Juliette on the other hand lives life to the fullest, the nicest dresses, the best parties, the best the town has to offer when it all comes down to it. She is free and she loves it. And I liked her, she was so free and happy, most of the time.

As you can see these two are totally wrong for each other. Personality wise and station in life. But like a moth to a flame he is drawn to her and she is drawn to him and it can only end in disaster. Poor Juliette :/

There is also danger and adventure. I shall not tell you about what but something is going on.....

Conclusion:
A good historical romance with a very unlikely couple. And those are the best to watch fall in love.

Cover
Cute

Series: Jewels of the ton #1
Genre: Historical romance
Pages: 356
Published: Sep 4th 2012 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: For review

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Emma by Jane Austen. Discussion with Anna from Diary of an Eccentric

Jane Austen famously described Emma Woodhouse, the title character of her 1815 novel, as “a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like.” Yet generations of readers have loved Emma, as much for her blunders as for her wit and vivacity. Emma, “handsome, clever, and rich,” has nothing else to do but try to pair off her friends, and she consistently misreads the relationships and situations around her as much as she misreads her own heart. The novel features a wonderful cast of characters, including Emma’s hypochondriac father, the odiously prideful Mrs. Elton, the mysterious and reserved Jane Fairfax, and Miss Bates, who never stops talking.

Anna from Diary of an Eccentric is a big Austen fan, just like me ;) So we decided to read Emma and talk about it. I sent her questions and then can be found here. She sent me questions and they can be found in her post here.

I decided not to read the book, instead I listened to the audio on my way to work. It took a while, but it was fun :D And the truth is that it was more fun that reading (as I tried that too.) I am truly the worst Austen lover ever.

But listening made it better, and some things stood out more too. My annoyance with Miss Bates and the horrid Mrs. Elton. I swear that if I ever hear the word Barouche Landau ever again I will have a fit. It made me think of things I had not seen before, and it made me like this novel more.

So a long story short, here are my answers. They will be my review.



1. Be honest, would you have been annoyed by Mrs Elton just as Emma was?
Anna:
Yes, she was the most obnoxious character in the book.  I think it's funny that she called her husband "Mr. E," but she was really rude in how she addressed the other characters.  And poor Jane Fairfax!  Of all the women in Highbury who could have became her "protector," it had to be Mrs. Elton!

B:
Arghh, two words: Barouche Landau! She kept going on and on and on and on! The things she had, her sister. She drove me insane.  I felt sorry for anyone that had to keep her company.

2. Did you wonder what kind of person Emma would have been, had her mother lived?

Anna:
It would have been great to have learned a little about Emma's mother, whether she praised Emma up and down like everyone else.  Even when Emma drove me crazy, I reminded myself that if everyone is always telling you how wonderful you are, you're likely to have a bit of a swelled head.  I'd also love to know how her mother put up with her father's health obsession and desire to stay at home all the time.

B:
I find it hard answering my own question. As I know nothing about Emma's mother, except that she was good, I really can't say anything. But Emma being Emma I think she would have been pretty much the same as she had a good influence from her governess. Still had her mother lived then her father might have been different and that would have made Emma different too.

3.  Mr. Knightley has loved Emma for a long time, but is this not a bit creepy? Considering her age then?

Anna:
The 16-year difference is a bit much for me, but I didn't think their relationship was creepy.  Mostly because I don't think Mr. Knightley realizes that he's actually in love with Emma until he fears she'll marry Frank Churchill, and by then she's 21.  I guess the way he scolds Emma like he's her father might be a bit odd, but he's the only one who sees Emma's flaws and offers her some guidance.  I guess someone needed to tell her, and he's the closest friend she has.

Blodeuedd:
I did not use to think it was creepy but then he went and said something and I went all euwwwwww! So I will try and forget about that and instead think of them as good friends, as him as an older brother (kind of euww that too). And then as someone who realises that he loves her..when she is old enough. Then the age does not matter anymore.

4. Do you think Mr. Knightley and Emma will live happily ever after?

Anna:
Yes, I do.  I think they're good for each other.  He's mature and wise enough to balance out the annoying parts of Emma's personality, and I think her youth would be refreshing for him.

Blodeuedd:
I guess I have to say yes :) This is romance, they should live happily ever after.

5. Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax. Is everything perfect in that relationship or not? Did you believe in their love?

Anna:
Now that's the relationship that worries me!  How Frank flirted with Emma right in front of the woman he supposedly loves...I can only imagine how hurt Jane must have been.  I don't know if I could've forgiven him for that, but then again, marrying him would save her from a life of service, so it certainly would have been easier to believe that Frank meant well but just messed up.  Because you don't see them falling in love, all you see is his bad behavior, it's hard to believe in their love.  We just have to hope for the best.

Blodeuedd:
How many times I read or watch this story I will never ever understand this relationship. I can't see that they love each other. I know they hid it but come on! He flirted shamelessly with Emma, he was mean to Jane when she was around, and not around. How can that be a man in love? And she, no, she is so cold, and she just let him. I think they had been in love, passionately, crazy in love. But it was a passion that will burn out and then they will just be bitter.

6. Has Emma truly learned her lesson, or are more matches in the future?

Anna:
One could only hope.  I wonder how she'd act when her children are grown.  I'd like to think that Mr. Knightley's love and attention would keep her in line.

Blodeuedd.
Ha, no, she has more to offer.

7. Miss Bates, annoying or not?

Anna:
I didn't find Miss Bates annoying because I was always laughing at her babbling.  Of course, I wasn't subjected to an entire afternoon of her chattering.  Mostly, I felt sorry for her.  She really needed a friend, someone to talk to and listen to her, especially with her mother so old and no husband or children.  And that comment Emma made to her at the picnic...poor Miss Bates!

Blodeuedd:
I did not use to think it but then I listened to the audio and it was horrible I tell you. She kept going on about trivial things and changed the subject every few minutes. It drove me crazy. So to listen to her for an extended time, no thank you. I do understand her, and feel sorry for her, but yes I was annoyed by her.

Thank you Anna!

Now go to Anna's blog for the rest

Diary of an Eccentric


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Review: The Twelve Rooms of the Nile - Enid Shomer


Before she became the nineteenth-century’s heroine, before he had written a word of Madame Bovary, Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert traveled up the Nile at the same time. In reality, they never met. But in award-winning author Enid Shomer’s The Twelve Rooms of the Nile, they ignite a friendship marked by intelligence, humor, and a ravishing tenderness that will alter both their destinies.

On the surface, Nightingale and Flaubert have little in common. She is a woman with radical ideas about society and God, naive in the ways of men. He is a notorious womanizer, involved with innumerable prostitutes. But both are at painful crossroads in their lives and burn with unfulfilled ambition. In Enid Shomer’s deft hands, the two unlikely soulmates come together to share their darkest torments and fervent hopes. Brimming with adventure and the sparkling sensibilities of the two travelers, this mesmerizing debut novel offers a luminous combination of gorgeous prose and wild imagination, all of it colored by the opulent tapestry of mid-nineteenth century Egypt.

My thoughts:
This is not an easy book to review. There is a lot of talking, thinking within it. Just living life. A flow of words, excellent writing and just a look into the souls of two famous individuals. 

Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert did travel the Nile at the same time, but no they did not meet. This is a what if book, what if they had met. Become friends and what else.

Two intelligent people who crave more meet, become friends and confidantes. Flaubert wants to write a novel, but is having problems with it. He does not want to marry and he loves his prostitutes. 

Florence wants something more from life. Not the drudgery of marriage, being shackled and not being able to do more. What that more is she does not yet know. She wants to find her calling, the calling God has promised her. Their friendship is raw somehow, they share, they talk. But they also wish and that is not the path they should take.

What to say really. Shomer has a way with words, even if not much happen, and even when things to happen. Well things just are. There is something sobering over this novel. 

They travel Egypt, together, apart. And maybe in the end they find their calling.

Conclusion:
It's not a book you race through, you take your time, and wonder. I did like her style.

Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 464
Published: August 21st 2012 from Simon & Schuster
Source: For review

Monday, 17 September 2012

Interview and Contest: Victoria Roberts - Temptation in a kilt


Help me welcome Victoria Roberts to my blog today :) And there is also a chance to win her new book Temptation in a kilt.

Hello! I’d like to thank everyone at Books for Life for having me today. I’m glad to be here.

Who is Victoria Roberts?
I often ask myself the same question. I’m a hard-working wife and mother of two beautiful kids. Home is in western Pennsylvania, but let me quote Robert Burns by saying, “My heart’s in the Highlands.”

Could you tell me about your new book, Temptation in a Kilt?
When I sat down to write Temptation in a Kilt, I knew I didn’t want to pen “just another romance novel.” Suffice it to say, I put my hero and heroine through a lot. Not only does each of them have to grow personally, but they both have family issues that need resolved before they can move on with their own lives. What Lady Rosalia Armstrong and Laird Ciaran MacGregor need to figure out is whether those circumstances warrant them to be together or forever apart. Let me share with you the back cover blurb.

She’s on her way to safety
It’s a sign of Lady Rosalia Armstrong’s desperation that she’s seeking refuge in a place as rugged and challenging as the Scottish Highlands. She doesn’t care about hardship and discomfort, if only she can become master of her own life. Laird Ciaran MacGregor, however, is completely beyond her control…

He redefines dangerous…
Ciaran MacGregor knows it’s perilous to get embroiled with a fiery Lowland lass, especially one as headstrong as Rosalia. Having made a rash promise to escort her all the way to Glengarry, now he’s stuck
with her, even though she challenges his legendary prowess at every opportunity. When temptation reaches its peak, he’ll be ready to show her who he really is…on and off the battlefield.

What made you want to write about sexy Highlanders?
That’s actually a funny story. I didn’t actually read romance novels until my adult life. My friend constantly had her nose in a book. I mean, even when she walked! Many years ago, I asked her what was so interesting that she couldn’t lift her head. She handed me a Highlander book, and I think it was Hannah Howell. Thinking the book would be the equivalent of watching a bad Highlander movie, I declined. My friend replied, “Don’t knock it until you try it.” Reluctantly, I took the novel. And was I ever wrong! I was hooked from the first chapter and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Between the Highland lairds, beautiful lasses, gigantic horses, the Scotland backdrop, it was the moment that changed my life forever. This was my calling.

I’ve always dabbled with writing, and this only fueled my fire. And that friend who handed me the novel? She turned into my phenomenal CP (critique partner) and we’ve been moving forward ever since.    

Why Ciaran is the Scot to read about this fall?
Like many other Highland lairds of his time, Ciaran is bound by duty. Between following the commands of King James, keeping the feuding neighboring clan under control, having a reckless brother on a self-destructive path and adhering to a vow made to his father… Life is trouble enough. Now he makes a promise to escort a woman the whole way to Glengarry who tempts him at every turn. I think readers will appreciate the growing relationship between Ciaran and Rosalia as they develop trust, honor, and temptation…

Have you always been interested in history?
I didn’t start to develop an appreciation for history until later in life. I’m also fascinated with antiques. I love thinking about the history of the object. Where did it come from? Where has it been? 

What’s coming next from you?
The next book in the Bad Boys of the Highlands series is X Marks the Scot. The release date is February 2013 and this is Declan MacGregor and Lady Liadain Campbell’s story.

Thank you so much for having me here today. Those were some great questions!

Happy Reading!
Victoria

Giveaway
1 copy of Temptation in a kilt

1. US and Canada only
2. Ends Oct 1st
3. It's easy, just enter :D
Or if you wanna, tell me who your fav Scot is.

Praise for Temptation in a Kilt: 

“Roberts’s debut features appealing  characters and an interesting background  of ancient clan feuds and spurned lovers.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Well written, full of intrigue and a sensual,  believable romance, this book captivates  the reader immediately”
—RT Book Reviews/4 stars

About the Author:
Victoria Roberts writes sexy, Scottish historical romances about kilted heroes and warriors from the past. 
An avid lover of all things Scotland—simply, she writes what she loves to read. Prior to ever picking up a single romance novel, she penned her first young-adult novella (never published) at sixteen years old. Who knew her leather studded motorcycle hero would trade in his ride and emerge as a kilt donning Highlander wielding a broadsword? 

Victoria lives in western Pennsylvania with her husband of nineteen years and their two beautiful children—not to mention one spoiled dog. When she is not plotting her next Scottish romp, she enjoys reading, nature and antiques.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Review: Temptation in a kilt - Victoria Roberts

She's On Her Way to Safety
It's a sign of Lady Rosalia Armstrong's desperation that she's seeking refuge in a place as rugged and challenging as the Scottish Highlands. She doesn't care about hardship and discomfort, if only she can become master of her own life. Laird Ciaran MacGregor, however, is completely beyond her control...

He Redefines Dangerous...
Ciaran MacGregor knows it's perilous to get embroiled with a fiery Lowland lass, especially one as headstrong as Rosalia. Having made a rash promise to escort her all the way to Glengarry, now he's stuck with her, even though she challenges his legendary prowess at every opportunity. When temptation reaches its peak, he'll be ready to show her how he really is...on and off the battlefield.

My thoughts:
Highlander romance, awww, there is just something about those sexy Scots.

In this one we have poor Rosalia, she does not come from a happy home, and now she must marry some English idiot. She did not see herself as pretty, brave, or anything really. She was beaten down, but she learns her own worth.

Then we have the sexy Highlander she meets. Laird Ciaran McGregor who is trying to hold his household together while feuding with those bloody Campbells (and yes they were not nice at all.). He saves her, he wants her, they dance around each other, there are stolen kisses, and in the end the question is, can he let her go? He was strong, a gentleman (most of the time ;), and I liked him. He was something that she needed.

We have the romance, troubles with the Campbells, a bitchy woman that wants Ciaran for herself, and get to know Ciaran's family. One brother is already married, but the other one is single, and a rogue. I hope he gets a book soon, and I hope..something (oh! I just read the blurb for the next book and hihi, that is all I am saying). There is also Rosalia's old friend James, and he is also someone I'd like to see fall in love with a nice girl.

Conclusion:
A nice highlander romance. You have it all, love, passion, fights and trouble in a kilt.

Series: Bad Boys of the Highlands #1
Genre: Historical romance
Pages: 352
Published: Sep 4th 2012 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: For review

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Review: Riveted - Meljean Brook


A century after a devastating volcanic eruption forced Iceland’s inhabitants to abandon its shores, the island has become enshrouded in legend. Fishermen tell tales of giant trolls guarding the land and of seductive witches who steal men’s hearts. But the truth behind the legends is mechanical, not magic—and the mystery of the island a matter of life and death for a community of women who once spilled noble blood to secure their freedom.

Five years ago, Annika unwittingly endangered that secret, but her sister Källa took the blame and was exiled. Now Annika serves on the airship Phatéon, flying from port to port in search of her sister and longing to return home . . . but that home is threatened when expedition leader David Kentewess comes aboard.

Determined to solve the mystery of his own origin, David will stop at nothing to expose Annika’s secrets. But when disaster strikes, leaving David and Annika stranded on a glacier and pursued by a madman, their very survival depends on keeping the heat rising between them—and generating lots of steam . . 

My thoughts:
Iron Sharks, Airships and scary trolls. I do love steampunk and the world is just so fascinating, things that could have happened (even if not likely ;). I did miss the zombies though, I never thought I would say that but they do give a nice chase.

This book works fine on it's own, we do not see the previous characters around but if you want to know more about the Horde, the tower, zombies, then you really must start with book 1.

Annika is a mysterious woman who does not talk about her past. She hails from Iceland, the land of trolls and witches...or what is really going on? Annika was hard to get to know, but that was the idea, as she kept her secrets close. We knew them, but she would not let anyone else know. So it was not easy at times to get to know her, and therefore like her.

The hero, David is from the new world, and would by some not be called pretty exactly as he has legs of iron, fake eye and scars. But such a  nice and sweet guy. Love him.

There is adventure as bad things are coming. David are off to explore volcanoes, Annika has secrets to guard. Friendship is growing, passion is slowly emerging. And when it finally does come around, then it's hot and fast.

Conclusion:
I did feel a bit sad that there was no Mina or Rhys, but I can live with that. And I do hope that there will be more from this fascinating world.

Cover:
Love it! Though I'd want more color on her clothes as she loves and wears that.

Series: The Iron Seas #3
Genre: Steampunk romance
Pages: 416
Published: September 4th 2012 by Berkley Trade
Source: Won

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Review: Head Rush - Carolyn Crane


In an attempt to put her unhappy past behind her, Justine Jones throws herself into nursing school and planning her wedding to Otto Sanchez, the man of her dreams. But something is off. Random details aren’t adding up, and is it her imagination, or are her friends and fiancé keeping secrets from her? And what’s with this strange sense of unease, and her odd new headaches?

Justine tries to stay upbeat as Midcity cowers under martial law, sleepwalking cannibals, and a mysterious rash of paranormal copycat violence, but her search for answers leads her into the most dangerous mindgame yet.

With the help of unlikely allies, including her paranoid dad and best frenemy Simon, Justine fights her ultimate foe…and unravels the most startling mystery of all.

My thoughts:
I am so weird, I wanted patiently for the print to come out. Even though book 2 was this biggest OMG! No you didn't!!!!! of last year. And what do I do when the print is out...much much later. Yes I buy an ebook *groans, I am an idiot*. But to my defense I could not read ebooks before and now the library has an e-reader. Still idiot here.

But at last I read it and I was on the edge of my seat all way through. Justine thinks Packard killed Avery. She does not know Otto had Sophia change her memories and now Justine and Otto are getting married! Noooooo!

Still I do not hate Otto because in the end everyone is out of their mind in this series. Justine thinks she could die any moment. Otto is..well insane and powerhungry but but, he loves her! I just can't hate him. 

And Justine, she has doubts but she loves him..or? I kept wanting her to remember what she shared with Packard. Still it is weird that I still like Otto more but still want her to be with Packard? Yes that is how loopy you get from this crazy book.

Conclusion:
What a ride! Thrilling! Filled with crazies and just a great ending to this series.

Series: The Disillusionists #3
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 323
Published: 2011 by Samhain

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Review: A Place Beyond Courage - Elizabeth Chadwick


The early twelfth century is a time for ambitious men to prosper, and royal servant John FitzGilbert is one of them. But when the old king dies and his successor is appointed, John faces a terrible choice: he must join the rival faction-his enemies- or risk losing everything. His new wife helps him carry his burden, but his final choice will seal not only her fate, but those of his young children. 
As the fight for England's crown enters a new phase, John may be forced to make a terrible sacrifice...

My thoughts:
When I think of medieval fiction writers I think of Elizabeth Chadwick. She is the go to author for me and this was another great novel.

John FitzGilbert was the father of the more famous William Marshal. But this is John's book. He was King Henry II's marshal, he was young and went for what he wanted. I liked how he was portrayed, even in his darkest moments. Because in the end you can't know what he thought and felt and I felt what she wrote here was very possible.

His first wife was Aline, yeah, the less we talk about her the better. She was weak. His second marriage was a political one since he was feuding with his neighbor. So he out aside Aline and married Sybilla. Again this could have made me dislike him, but to save his children, his future and life it was just something he had to do. Life back then was not easy for women, but we all know that already.

The novel takes place during the civil war when Matilda and her cousin Stephen fights for the throne. And of course we got John in the middle of it all, trying to pick a side and stay alive. Not that easy in a time like that.

Chadwick is always so good with the little details. I feel like I am there over 800 years ago. It feels real. I am watching the story in my head while reading it.

And the things I learn, it was the Marshal's job to take care of the royal whores. Yes, he brought in new blood and saw to that they kept their standards. He did sample the wares too ;)

Conclusion:
I know that when I want good historical fiction then Chadwick's books are the ones to read. Medieval life comes alive in them.

Cover: 
Works

Series: William Marshal #1
Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 512
Published: Sep 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published 2007)Source: For review

Monday, 10 September 2012

Review: The Road Back - Liz Harris


The Road Back is a split era novel set in the 1950s and 1995; it's a novel about relationships and how the past impacts upon the present. Set against a cultural background rarely featured in novels - that of the Buddhist part of Ladakh, a country to the west of Tibet - it tells of a passion that crosses cultures, of a love that lasts a lifetime, and of hope that can only come from revisiting the past.

When Patricia accompanies her father, Major George Carstairs, on a trip to Ladakh, north of the Himalayas, in the early 1960s, she sees it as a chance to step out from the shadow of her dead brother, James, and finally to win her father’s love.

What she doesn’t expect to do is meet Kalden – a local man destined by circumstances beyond his control to be a monk, but fated to be the love of her life.

Despite her father’s fury, the lovers are determined to be together, but their plans go tragically awry, and thirty -two years later a young woman comes knocking at Patricia’s door, looking for answers.

My thoughts:
This book takes place in the in the past, and a bit in the present too. But we know from the start that something went wrong. Patricia's daughter wants answer. So what happened?

The heroine Patricia is the perfect good girl, trying to to the best she can to make her father proud. Oh her dad, he was an ass, he mourned that his son never would follow in his footsteps. I could not have put up with it like Patricia did, but I understood why. And it is rooted deep within her since childhood.

Then we come to the love story that takes place in the early 60s when Patricia and her father go to Ladakh. To watch the scenery, take in the sights, and just explore.

While watching Patricia we also watched a young man grow up, Kalden, destined to be a monk. And when these two meet sparks fly. First love, so bittersweet. But it was such a different time, and with that prologue in mind I wondered what would happen to these too. For that reason I wish the prologue had not been there.

Conclusion:
It's a love story about a young man and a woman from different cultures. A different time, but then love will overcome anything and everything. It was a sweet story and I liked that the setting was so different. But it also made me cry.

Genre: Women's fiction
Pages: 356
Published: Sep 7th 2012
Source: For review

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Review: Dangerously Close- Dee J. Adams


Dangerously Close
I wish I could say I was disappointed, but I’m really not. I got what I expected to get after reading the first chapter: 

A bunch of deus ex machinas tied together and with a nice bow on top starting with Ashley’s blindness. 

I was positively surprised that Adams at least appeared to have done her research into blindness. There were two institutions mentioned and the way Ashley and her assistant, Lizzie, behaved rang true to me. Still, reading about spotty vision or hazy peripheral vision made it clear that Ashley wasn’t going to stay blind forever. That didn’t stop me from hoping that the author would surprise me.

There’s a slow build romance with the neighbours, Ashley and Mel, getting to know each other and become friends first. They’re both hiding from the world and trying to learn to cope with their new selves. Ashley at least was being mostly honest with herself, while Mel’s tendency to speak of himself in the third person was understandable but distracting. He had a secret to keep, but it felt more complicated than that; it felt like the character or the author didn’t really know who he was. I think this is why I found the couple’s chemistry lacking. 

The writing, I mostly liked. Some plot details like Roamer felt more contrived than others like the initial avoidance of Ashley’s accident and the cause to her temporary blindness as well as the final confrontation. If the characters had acted naturally instead of being driven by plot points, Mel would have told the truth to Ashley before leaving. That would have only shifted the emphasis of their argument spoiler and there wouldn’t have been need for that awkward moment where Ashley recognizes Mel from his picture before ever seeing him spoiler.

I hesitate too mention this because I’m not a native English speaker and I could be completely wrong, but some of the expressions used in the book sounded childish to me. Like Ashley’s comments about something being wowie zowie or aces or her and Mel’s nickname for Paula—Smelly. 

The sex scenes did take a good portion of the book when they finally got into bed together, but luckily they weren’t gruelling. Not worst I’ve read, but not the best either. I was glad to see the unprotected sex addressed though I wasn’t very happy with the conclusion either.

If Ashley spoiler hadn’t regained her vision spoiler, I would be giving this book three stars.

2 stars



I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

Series: Adrenaline Heighs #3
Pages: 322 (paperback)
Publisher: Carina Press
ISBN: 9781426894121
Published: July 23rd 2012
Source: NetGalley

Bad-boy rock star Seger Hughes hit rock bottom after a near-fatal tragedy at his concert. He hates how his life has spun out of control. After changing his appearance and his name, he transforms into a different man: Mel Summers. Now he just needs a place to hide out from rabid fans and paparazzi.
An isolated cliffside mansion is perfect. Ashley Bristol, his only neighbor, is blind—and her assistant is a classical music fan. They have no clue who he really is, but someone else does and she’s waited her whole life to be with him.
Struggling to find her way after an accident that took her sight, Ashley is determined not to feel anything. Yet she gets to know Mel and can’t help falling for him. When her assistant mysteriously disappears, Ashley must rely on Mel more than ever. But then his past comes back to haunt them both, and just when they must pull together to avoid danger, betrayal and lies threaten to tear them apart...

Friday, 7 September 2012

Interview and Giveaway: Tammy Falkner - A Lady and Her Magic

Today I have author Tammy Falkner over for an interview, and at the end there will be a giveaway, and this time, open to all :)

Welcome!


Could you tell me a little about yourself? 
TF:  I am a mom of two boys, and have been married to the love of my life for almost twenty years.  I believe in the “happily-ever-after” and it’s why I write romance.  I am the quintessential sports mom, and will travel all over the place just to embarrass my boys from the benches.  I am not a sports fan, not when it comes to sports on TV.  But I LOVE school age sports.  My oldest is a wrestler and a football player, and my youngest is an aspiring gymnast.  One of my boys is almost 18 and the youngest is eight.  

Your book is called A Lady and Her Magic, could you tell me a few things about it?
TF:  Rules are made to be broken, and scandals are destined to be shocking.  The dangerous Duke of Robinsworth was rumored to have killed his wife, and his daughter was there when it happened.  Sophia is of the fae world, and her mission is helping Lady Anne, the duke’s troubled offspring.  Little does she know that her fate is not in her own hands when his melancholy piano playing draws her to his chambers in the dead of the night.  She can’t marry a human, nor can she fall in love with him, so she has no idea what to do with all the emotions that are shaking the serenity of her well-ordered world.  

You have written about werewolves and vampires. What about the magic here then?
TF:  I love vampires and Lycans, and might write more of them one day.  I like fantasy and paranormal.  I like to suspend reality when I read, and be taken to meet people I would never encounter.  Magic in this story is one more reason why the hero and heroine can’t be together.  It also makes for some interesting happenings as the garden gnomes step into the picture, as well as the shimmering dust that paints pictures of real life.  You’ll find out more about fae magic when you read the book, but I had fun making the world!

The hero is a man rumored to have killed his wife. Was it hard to make a love story out of this?
TF:  Not at all!  Everyone loves a rakish hero. Ashley is tortured every day for his wife’s death, for which he does feel responsible. It’s not until he finds someone worthy of pulling him out of seclusion that he attempts to rejoin society.  It’s too bad she can’t accept what he has to offer.

What’s coming next from you?
TF:  In November, Ava Stone and I (writing as Lydia Dare) have a release called WOLFISHLY YOURS.  And then I have the next installment in the fae series.  The next one is the story of Claire Thorne, Sophia’s younger sister and the Duke of Robinsworth’s younger brother, Lord Phineas.  

What makes paranormal historical romance so fun to write?
TF: Like I mentioned, I like to be taken out of the mundane when I read for pleasure.  I like the ball gowns and the lords and ladies, and feeling like I’m in a world filled with handsome gentlemen and beguiling ladies.  Add some garden gnomes, some faerie dust, and some glittery wings, and I’m in heaven.

Giveaway

1 copy of A Lady and Her Magic

1. Open to ALL
2. Ends Sep 20th
3. The rules are simple, just enter :)

But do be free to ask questions, comment or tell me what you think about the Fae....


A LADY AND HER MAGIC BY TAMMY FALKNER – IN STORES SEPTEMBER 2012

Rules Are Made to be Disobeyed...
Sophia Thorne is new to the Regency's glittering high society, which resembles her magical homeland only insofar as both places are filled with ridiculous rules. Which means no matter where she goes, she's bound for trouble...

And Scandals Are Meant to be Shocking...
The Duke of Robinsworth has flaunted and shocked society for years. In a moment of fateful mischief, Robinsworth encounters the enchanting and distinctly scandalous Sophia. Between her streak of magical mischief and his penchant for scandal, they're about to take rule-breaking to a whole new level...

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As half of the Lydia Dare writing team, Tammy Falkner has co-written ten books, including A Certain Wolfish Charm and In the Heat of the Bite. A huge fan of Regency England, her new series explores the theory that the fae can walk between the glittering world of the ton and their own land. Tammy lives on a farm in rural North Carolina with her husband and a house full of boys, a few dogs, and a cat or two. For more information, please visit http://www.tammyfalkner.com and follow her on Twitter, @TFalkner.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Review: A Lady and her Magic - Tammy Falkner


A Lady and Her Magic
Rules Are Made To Be Disobeyed...
Sophia Thorne is new to the Regency's glittering high society, which resembles her magical homeland only insofar as both places are filled with ridiculous rules. Which means no matter where she goes, she's bound for trouble...

And Scandals Are Meant To Be Shocking...
The Duke of Robinsworth has flaunted and shocked society for years. In a moment of fateful mischief, Robinsworth encounters the enchanting and distinctly scandalous Sophia. Between her streak of magical mischief and his penchant for scandal, they're about to take rule-breaking to a whole new level...

My thoughts:
Cute is the word. What else to expect when Fairy (and then I mean wings and all) meets a handsome, brooding duke.

Sophia was a breath of fresh air, she was fun, sweet and not always thinking where her feet took her. She was just cute. She is also a fairy with a mission.

Our handsome duke is a recluse as everyone things he killed his wife..and he also says this on the first page. So I did wonder about that, but he was so nice and all so of course couldn't he have killed her. Well this at least I hoped.

Together they are not so proper. She is not bound by the ton's rules (just by fairy rules which she breaks too). And he feels alive for the first time since his wife's death. They were cute and passionate.

It was amusing and different. A paranormal romance in a historical setting. A fun sweet story about loosing your head and heart. 

Conclusion: 
I did not want to put it down after having started it.

Cover: Cute

Note: Tammy Falkner will stop by tomorrow for an interview and contest :=) See ya then

Genre: Historical paranormal romance
Pages: 352
Published: Sep 4th 2012 Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: For review

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Review: The Kingmaker's Daughter - Philippa Gregory


The Kingmaker’s Daughter is the gripping and ultimately tragic story of the daughters of the man known as the “Kingmaker,” the most powerful magnate in England through the Cousins’ Wars. In the absence of a son and heir, he uses the two girls as pawns in his political games, but they grow up to be influential players in their own right. 

At the court of Edward IV and his beautiful queen, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne grows from a delightful child brought up in intimacy and friendship with the family of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, to become ever more fearful and desperate when her father makes war on his former friends. Her will is tested when she is left widowed and fatherless, with her mother in sanctuary and her sister married to the enemy. Fortune’s wheel turns again when Richard rescues Anne from her sister’s house, with danger still following Anne, even as she eventually ascends to the throne as queen. Having lost those closest to her, she must protect herself and her precious only child, Prince Edward, from a court full of royal rivals.

My thoughts:
The War of Roses, what a mess, what a bunch of power hungry backstabbing maniacs. What a time (I would sure not have liked to live then), and  in the end a time that is fascinating to read about.

This book is about Anne Neville, daughter of the Warwick the Kingmaker. Anne who was married to the not so successful Lancaster Prince Edward and later to Richard of York. Always a pawn in the hands of men.

I did like her at first, she has a brain, she thought about things, but the later part of the book started to change that. She was paranoid, she never used her head, she believed everything told to her, she never questioned things, she was always scared, she was a grey little mouse, a sour cow, and the b word too. I kind of lost respect for her there at the end. Always with the constant we hate the Rivers. She was cold. At least she felt like this to me. And she was naive too. But hey, then I always hated the Nevilles. Do not ask me why. But even if I disliked her at the end it sure did not take away the pleasure of reading a good novel.

Richard I liked, he was portrayed as honorable (for the most part). Sure he had his hidden agendas but hey who has not.

I can read a lot of books about the same time it seems, I never get tired. Because every time it is through the eyes of someone new, a new perspective. And here, oh it just shows what backstabbers everyone was, Warwick, the York boys. It was never enough for any of them, always more more more. Some issues for sure.

A turbulent time viewed by a woman, not always at the center of things, but always behind the men who were. 

Conclusion:
A great tale from Gregory and I look forward to her next book which will be about Princess Elizabeth of York.

Cover:
I do feel a bit meh about it

Extra Info:
The White Queen, book 1, is to be made into a 10 part mini-series from BBC :D I can't wait!

Series: The Cousins' War #4
Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 426
Published: Aug 16th 2012 by Simon & Schuster UK
Source: For review

Monday, 3 September 2012

Leigh Morgan interview + giveaway


Help me welcome Leigh Morgan to my blog today :) There will also be a giveaway at the bottom.

Welcome!


Thank you for this opportunity to engage with you and your friends again about writing and about my most recent release, Fighting Fate.

You asked about combining my writing life with my work life and how I do both. Since June of this year I've been able to spend more time writing and I'm loving it. I try to write somewhere between 1500 and 3500 words a day consistently. Some days I can do that in a few hours. Others I write and revise most of the day. Many writers also have other occupations and seem to manage their time more efficiently, but having these rough parameters seems to work for me.

My inspiration for Fighting Fate just kind of blossomed from a trip to the Glastonbury plain. I knew I wanted to write about Jesse, Reed's adopted son from Sparring Partners, and I thought it would be interesting to throw the daughter Reed gave up for adoption as a teenager into the mix and see what happened. Then when I visited Chalice Well in Glastonbury the spirituality and magic of the place hit me and I knew I had to weave those mythic elements into this story. Fighting Fate just developed from there. It's sent me on a path I'm loving and my current work in progress, Defending Destiny takes that mythical, magical theme and carries it into Scotland and the Kilmartin Glen area of Argyll. Reed's youngest child, Daisy, is the heroine in that book and we learn more about this secret society of Finders and Bringers of the Light in Defending Destiny. There's so much magic in these areas, you can almost taste it. They're like a writer's playground where anything can happen. I hope I answered your question, sometime I seem to ramble when I'm enthused about a topic.

I choose names for my characters I either love or hate depending on their personalities. When I see them in my mind's eye, I usually get a sense of who they are and I try to pick names that evoke that image for me. I pick names I would name my children or one of my pets; good strong, often Celtic, names. If I write a slime-ball character I choose the name of someone I don't particularly like, or has hurt someone I care about. It's cathartic (evil grin). I played around with Reed's name and shamelessly tried to influence people with that one: phonetically her name is Read More...here's hoping I can keep readers reading more!

Writing gives me the opportunity to explore why people do what they do and how different people react to stressful and sometimes life-threatening situations. I observe and I get to explore motivation, my own as well as the characters I write about. I get to create worlds I'd like to live in and that is really cool. I enjoy telling stories, especially ones where flawed, likeable people love deeply and live fully.

My plan for the Dojo series, which Pen & Sword publishing has re-titled the Warrior Chronicles, is to publish Defending Destiny, book three later this fall. Then I'm going to plot a Scottish historical that will take place in the time of Somerled, about 1000 A.D. where we'll learn how the spiritual artifacts Taryn and Daisy are searching for in Fighting Fate and Defending Destiny, came to be hidden. I'm going to tie the contemporary and the historicals together, but they will all stand on their own as well. I'm really looking forward to that. The Warrior/Dojo series doesn't really have an ending point. I'll keep adding books as long as the stories are solid and people enjoy reading them.

This weekend is the Wisconsin Scottish Highland Games. I'm doing a book signing later today in the MacDonald Clan tent there. My family and I also take our Scottish Deerhounds to the games, the eldest of which is named: Somerled after the founder of our Clan.  Next weekend we'll be in Colorado for the Highland Games in Estes Park. My husband and I have a Scottish food and gear business; we sell haggis and pasties as well as hand-carved leather sporrans and other Celtic leather goods under the name Macskis Highland Foods & Gear. To say that all things Scottish influence me and my writing is like saying humans require water to survive. It's an inescapable elemental truth that is so much a part of who I am and everything I do that I don't even think about it. I love that part of who I am and I bring it out to play whenever I can in my life and in my writing. (Huge smile).

I'm happy to talk Scotland, writing, food, gear and Deerhounds (the most perfect creatures under heaven) anytime! Thanks so much for having me. Look for Defending Destiny this fall!

Much love and happy reading,

Leigh

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