Thursday, 28 February 2013

Review: A soldier's duty - Jean Johnson


Ia is a precog, tormented by visions of the future where her home galaxy has been devastated. To prevent this vision from coming true, Ia enlists in the Terran United Planets military with a plan to become a soldier who will inspire generations for the next three hundred years-a soldier history will call Bloody Mary.

My thoughts:
I always have a hard time remembering what people are named in books. Of course I keep track of who is who, even if there are lots of characters. But as soon as the book ends names slip my mind. Well not this time, Ia is an easy name to remember ;) That and the fact she was totally kick-ass.

Anyway, I did not end up liking the book as much as I wanted to. As always do not get me wrong. That does not mean the book is bad. No, it was well-written, thrilling and interesting. Will she save the universe? (even if I mostly want to travel forward in time to see if it all works out). 

The negative thing is that it was very very heavy on the tech and military jargon. Not something I find particularly interesting to read about. Also this one character was so hard to understand. 

Just like I tend to skip sex scenes in other books (none here though, nothing of that sort at all, no romance no sex), when it came to be too much military stuff I skimmed. It's not that it was heavy, just boring for me.

But I do wonder what happens next. It's quite the undertaking to write about someone trying to save the universe hundreds of years before things go bad. And I do wonder what will go wrong?

conclusion:
If you like sci-fi then yes give it a go, or if you like military books, action, suspense.

Cover
Kick-ass

Series: Theirs not to reason why #1
Genre: Sci.-fi
Pages: 432
Published: 2011 by Ace
Source: Own

Tomorrow there will be a review of book 2 and Rameau is taking care of that.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Review: Succubi are forever - Jill Myles


Tasked by the Archangel Gabriel, Jackie Brighton must find two more lost archangel halos before she's free of her deal. But she's not the only one hunting for the immense power the halos bring, and everyone around her has motives - succubi, serim, and vampire. It's a race to the finish line, and only one person is going to come out on top. 

But will Jackie stand tall when even her allies are set to betray her? Noah Gideon is back, and he's never liked taking 'no' for an answer. The mysterious assassin Sophie is helping out, but Sophie has her own agenda. So does Jackie's newest rival, the ancient hetaera Phryne, who wants to use the halos to give a new world to succubi everywhere - one that doesn't involve their masters. 

Every immortal wants those halos, but Jackie's not sure they're worth her life, or Zane's freedom. 

But she might not have a choice..

My thoughts:
I was so sad when book 3 ended, cos even if the ending worked, it was obviously not the end since so many things were left hanging in the air. The publisher wanted no more books, grrr. But luckily Myles self published this last one to give Jackie and Zane some closure.

Jackie still needs those halos, and the hunt is on. She is awesome as always. Together with BFF former porn star Remy, Remy's boyfriend a former monk (Ethan is awesome too), and of course Zane, awww I love my fav fallen angel turned vampire.

The book is all about the hunt, hot hot passion, heartache (Myles managed to tear my heart into pieces, I was so sad)), and then she managed to make me happy at the end. Lots of twists and turns, and I am happy she wrote this last one so that I could be satisfied with the ending I got.

Conclusion:
A fun series that you should read.

Series: Succubus diaries #4
Genre: Paranormal romance
Pages: 222
Published: 2012
Source: Own

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Blog Tour: Sarah-Jane Lehoux - Women in Fantasy

I am part of Lehoux's Blog Tour and today she stops by to talk about women in fantasy. Welcome!

Years ago, when the first of the Lord of the Rings movie was being released, I joined an online forum to get info on the films (yes, I was a Tolkien geek back then), and I stumbled into an RPG thread. I thought it sounded fun and that it would be a good way for me to practice my writing. I was all set to create my Middle Earth avatar and join in, but then I read one of the RPG’s rules, which went something along the line of: If you are playing as a female, you are not allowed to be a warrior, and should be such things as a bar wench, farmer’s wife, etc. The reasoning was that women didn’t do stuff like fight.

And let’s face it: Tolkien’s world was pretty testosterone-based, so maybe this rule made sense to the thread’s moderators. But it pissed me off to no end. I loved the books just as much as any of the men on that forum. I wanted to create a character in that universe and have fun with it, just as much as any of the men were. But I was only allowed to join if I made my character become what they thought a woman should be in a fantasy realm: pretty much invisible or arm candy.
Thanks, but no thanks.

See, when I write, I like to bring as much of the real world into it as I possibly can. The fantasy aspect is a bonus, but it’s not the whole show. I like fully realized characters, and believe that even if they are only minor characters, they still need to be individuals, not just cut and paste copies of outdated gender role ideas. And since I base my fantasy world (The Sevy Series) on more than just a romanticized verison of medieval Europe, my female characters can be any damned thing they want to be.

Warrior? Sure. Assassin? No problem! Queen, priestess, healer, politician, pirate, scientist, philosopher…you name it, you got it. A simple Google search reveals that women have been all these things and more throughout the centuries, even if they aren’t often mentioned in history class.

And let’s not stop at profession. What about family structure? Sick of one man + one woman (ie his property) or one man + his harem? Me too. That’s why I love looking at different cultures, with different family structures. Guess what? The reality of humanity is that we are very versatile, and traditional fantasy has not even begun to explore all the possibilities that real life civilizations have.

See to me, that’s what fantasy is…possibility. It’s a tool I use to explore the human condition. So why on earth would I limit myself, my characters, and my world to such boring, played out stereotypes when I have thousands upon thousands of cultures, and millennia of history to draw inspiration from?

My female characters are not invisible. They are not arm candy. They are proud and strong because they are based on generations of proud and strong women.

In the end, I did not join that little Tolkien RPG thread. I joined another RPG thread, on another forum, and thanks to that, I created Sevy, my feisty orphan who grew up to be one bad-assed bitch. The main character of the eponymous series, Sevy was just the first of many female characters to fill my universe. Each one of them is different, as cookie cutters should be reserved for, you know, making cookies, not in helping making characters.

And now I want cookies. Thanks for that.  

thank you S-J!

Never trust a liar, especially when they’re telling the truth

Starting over isn’t easy, especially when the world isn’t ready for you to change. Sevy, thief turned assassin turned mercenary, isn’t having any fun adjusting to a normal, law-abiding life. Luckily for her, an old partner in crime arrives with an irresistible proposition: a getaway to a tropical island, an adventure of a lifetime, and an amazing friendship ready to blossom into an even more amazing romance.

Things are looking up for Sevy. That is, until a pack of maniacal fairies with a taste for human flesh arrive on the scene.

Now she must unravel a web of magical intrigue hidden behind the outwardly idyllic atmosphere of the islands of Belakarta. Nothing is as it seems, and no one can be trusted. Trapped under the spell of a handsome and mysterious stranger, Sevy must fight fairies and tricksters to regain her freedom.

Or spend an eternity as a sorcerer’s plaything. 

Monday, 25 February 2013

Review: Wings of Wrath - Celia Friedman


Kamala, a peasant woman, has claimed the powerful sorcery of the Magisters as her own-the ability to draw on the power of the human soul without dying for it. But in her rise to power she finds herself hunted by the brotherhood, and flees to a land where spells are warped by a fatal curse. A land that even Magisters fear... 

My thoughts:
Exciting stuff. I love fantasy! I was not a fan of Kamala in book 1, but here I liked her better. I think much of my dislike had to to with poor Andovai, whom I really liked and then he died cos of her sucking the soulfire out of him. Seems Friedman sure like killing people.

Right, great world. Magisters who use magic by taking other people's lives. Witches who die by using too much magic. And a world where winged beasts from legend are coming back to suck the souls out of everyone. What is there not to like? 

Kamala is right at the front lines here. Queen Gwynofar is trying to find her heritage. Her son Salvator is taking the throne (oh I hate pompous religious a'holes who think their way and God is the only way!) and then there are many more. Like the witch queen Sidarea..bitch. I am also intrigued by Magister Colivar, I was already in book 1 and here the end, oh how Friedman taunts me with riddles! I need to know what he is!

A good sequel to this saga and the epic battle will continue and surely Friedman will kill more. Because this is a dark world. Magic kills.

Conclusion:
I read it fast. It was not as good as book 1, because there I was enthralled by the darkness, but still awesome enough that I need book 3. And why did I now tell the library to get it before?

Cover
Booooooring

Series: The Magister trilogy #2
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 448
Published: 2009 by Orbit
Source: Library

Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Sunday Post - 18th edition

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. 

Birthday week :D

Last week on Mur-y-Castell:
Third grave dead ahead by Darynda Jones, review
Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson, review
Interview and giveaway: Joanne Kennedy - Cowboy Tough
The Clippie girls by Margaret Dickinson, review
The cat's meow by Stacey Kennedy, rameau review
Dirty by Megan Hart, Lady Scoundrels review

Coming this week on Mur-y-Castell:
Wings of Wrath by Celia Friedman, review
Sarah-Jane Lehoux author post
Succubi are forever by Jill Myles, review
A soldier's duty by Jean Johnson, review
An officer's duty by Jean Johnson, Rameau review
The Lady Most willing by Julia Quinn, review

Books Received

Freebies

Happening in the Blogging world
It's ending soon so check it out as the blogs participating have so many contests going on

Giveaways on my blog
Win Cowboy Tough by Joanne Kennedy

Friday Flash Fiction
My entry here


New Cover Find


How was your week?

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Lady Scoundrels' Saturday: Dirty - Megan Hart


Lady Scoundrels are back and this time we review Dirty by Megan Hart. First up is Scorn.


Synopsis 
What I liked: 
What comes to your mind when you see erotica novels? Of course plenty of graphic sex scenes, a skeleton plot, a very superficial psychological make-up if any at all, characters often limited only to a description of an appearance. Small wonder plenty of readers shun these books considering them a waste of time and money. I am usually one of such readers. However Megan Hart managed to break that mould. 

I would compare ‘Dirty’ to ‘Bitter Moon’, an old movie by Roman Polanski which told a story of a romance in a very intelligent, funny and moving way. With the emphasis on ‘intelligent’ which always, entices me more than anything and makes me cave in even if, officially I am hardly a romance fan, let alone erotica reader. I found Elle a surprisingly complex heroine, taking into account what genre we are talking about. Her actions were fully justified by her sad experiences and reading about her I felt as if she was really alive, not one more sex-crazed cardboard character you can find galore in such novels. After a while you understand why she has acted they way she did but the full story is revealed at the end and the more you read the more you want to find out. You sympathize with her and with Dan who tries to lure her out of her shell and engage in a mature relationship. 

What I didn’t like: 
Although, up to a point, I could relate to Elle, I doubt such generous, understanding and patient men as Dan exist at all. He was like that fairy tale prince – a well-rounded lover, ready to be taken, without major commitments or vices. I can’t help thinking that in real life he would have a wife and at least several part-time bimbos hidden somewhere in the closet; that and a nasty habit or two ;p. 

Final verdict: 
If you feel like reading erotica go for something intelligent and read this one. The love scenes are really steamy hot and when you finish you won’t despise yourself for spending so much time with a ‘pink’ novel. 

Warning: 
It is an erotica romance novel - it contains a lot of graphic sex scenes which are highly inappropriate for underage public. Such issues as incest, suicide and sexual abuse of a minor are mentioned as well. Keep it in mind while deciding whether you want to read it or not.

 Sense says:
You don’t need to know who she is or who he is. All you need to know is that they meet by chance, they start fucking each other everywhere, he bosses her around, and she turns frigid after each fuck. And that it’s all boring.

As refreshing at it is to read about a successful—and surprisingly a total pushover—woman who fully embraces her sexuality, reading about said woman fucking a stranger in public places without preamble is not. When connecting with the characters is a problem, even the hottest sex scenes fall flat.

After all that it’s a bit too late to start fixing things. Although. If you’d take Dan and all the sex out I’d probably give this book four stars, because the only thing interesting in this book is Elle’s relationship with Gavin, the boy next door. Her secret might hit red on your squick scale but it’s quite obvious from the start. It was actually my first theory after reading couple of hints in the book. 

The end reveal was rushed and disappointing in all its telling—as opposed to showing. 

And last Sensitivity
I will give you that, it was dirty and hot...really dirty and hot. But as I am a known sex scene skimmer I do want more than that. And here it just did not work.

Elle was, well yes I know the whole point was that she was cold and needed to find the way to love and be loved again. But I never connected to her. As for Dan, him I never knew at all. I did not understand why he was with her, I did not feel a thing.

So I am stuck with 2 people I do not care about. Which leaves me with dirty sex scene (that I end up skimmin anyway cos I get bored by too much sex). I did like the whole plot though. Why she was so fucked up.

But I was bored, a lot. And while reading I actually fell sleep. There was still something good over the book, the emotional drama, the hot scene, the writing. But in the end not the book for me. No connection, no deal.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Rameau Friday: The Cat's Meow - Stacey Kennedy


In Charleston there have been several magical cat murders and it’s time for the Pet Detective local Enchantress to step in and put a stop to it.

In the “About the Author” section it says:

Stacey Kennedy’s novels are lighthearted fantasy with heart-squeezing, thigh-clenching romance, and even give a good chuckle every now and again. But within the stories you’ll also find fast-paced action, life-threatening moments, and a big bad villain who needs to be destroyed.

Having read The Cat’s Meow I can vouch for the lighthearted fantasy part with a good chuckle or three. The heart-squeezing element relied heavily on my overactive imagination as Kale Griffin was kept as a mystery for far too long and his personality was mostly built on a handful of action descriptions and guesswork. This would apply to the thigh-clenching part too, because once Kale was allowed a moment of honesty and openness the book rushed to its inescapable conclusion. 

The fast-action and life-threatening moments make this book a compulsively readable and fun as long as the reader has firmly switched off their brain and any sign of logical thought. The big bad villain was unfortunately of the cardboard sort—easily sketched and depthless—and burned down just as easily as any paper doll would. It’s fun and entertaining as long as you’re not expecting the story to be anything more than a simple romp.

Libby as a character has her good moments. She’s a witch responsible for tracking down and stopping anyone who practices dark magic or threatens to expose the magical community to humans. She mostly stands up for herself against the Alchemy, her mother, and the occasional free-range warlock. She has clear motives for protecting herself and her friends from harm, she’s smart enough to figure out Kale’s secret mostly on her own, and she doesn’t let her sex-addled brain dictate her actions. Until she does. This again is my complaint about the ending—the speed. I’d have much preferred had Libby’s and Kale’s relationship taken several books to develop to the point it reached here.

So all in all, it’s a quick and fun read for the fans of paranormal romance.

Unless you’re one of those people who actually care about accurate portrayal of Wicca and respect for other religions. I admit Kennedy never uses the word Wicca or its equivalents and that I’m not an expert on the subject, but I know enough to be miffed. Very much so. I would have gladly let Kennedy get away with murder in her portrayal of modern magic, had she not dragged in the Goddess and made the deity an integral part of Libby’s characterisation. None of the witches or warlocks show appropriate respect towards their Goddess while practicing magic. Would this be a Christian praying, I have no doubt the handling would be very different.

I also didn’t particularly care about the patriarchy bleed into this system of magic or the general attitude shown by men—even the hero—towards women. Men are the strong ones in power and women, no matter how special, are weak and to be protected. 

If you want to read a light witch version of The Southern Vampire Mysteries, this might be the book for you. If you expect anything thought provoking or progressively feminist, you’d be better off skipping The Cat’s Meow.

3 stars

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



Series: Witch's Brew #1
Pages: 256 (ebook)
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
ISBN: 9781622668
Published: December 13th 2012
Source: NetGalley

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Review: The Clippie Girls - Margaret Dickinson

Sisters in love. A family at war. A city in peril.
Rose and Myrtle Sylvester look up to their older sister, Peggy. She is the sensible, reliable one in the household of women headed by their grandmother, Grace Booth, and their mother, Mary Sylvester. When war is declared in 1939 they must face the hardships together and huge changes in their lives are inevitable. For Rose, there is the chance to fulfil her dream of becoming a clippie on Sheffield’s trams like Peggy. But for Myrtle, the studious, clever one in the family, war may shatter her ambitions.
When the tram on which Peggy is a conductress is caught in a bomb blast, she bravely helps to rescue her passengers. The shock waves that ripple through the family will affect each and every one of them and life will never be the same again.

My thoughts:
This was a family saga about 3 sisters, their mother and grandmother, in the time of WWII.

The war starts and sisters Peggy and Rose becomes clippies (conductresses). Peggy is the oldest, pretty levelheaded and careful. I liked her and understood why she was not over the heals in love with the man she was going out with. While Rose is the hellion (well almost) and who is in love with her sister's boyfriend. As you can see tension from the start.

Then we have a grandmother who says what she wants and has very firm opinions about things. A mother who stands in her own mother's shadow and the youngest sister who loves to study.

But it's mostly about Peggy and Rose. Their lives during the war as it changes everything. It's a book about friendship, love, family and heartache.

When the book reached a certain point I did not want to put it down. I needed to know what would happen to certain characters and I feared my heart would break.

Conclusion:
A good family saga.

Cover
meh, but at least it shows what it's about


Genre: Women's fiction
Pages: 438
Published: February 14th 2013 by Pan Publishing
Source: For review

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Interview and Giveaway: Joanne Kennedy - Cowboy Tough


1. Instead of the usual introduction tell me 3 silly things about yourself :)
JK: Let’s see… I am an absolute nut about birds, and seeing a new species can make my day (in Wyoming, I often have to settle for a new breed of chicken at the State Fair). I write about cowboys and love horses but ride incredibly badly (I fall off a lot). And I practically live on Dreyer’s Slow Churned Caramel Delight ice cream (no explanation needed!). 

2. Could you tell me about your new book Cowboy Tough?
JK: Cowboy Tough stars Mack Boyd, a rodeo cowboy who’s called home by his mother. She’s in financial trouble, and needs him to help turn their working cattle ranch into a dude ranch. Their first project: win a contract from Art Treks, Inc., a company that promotes painting tours of scenic locations. The ranch’s backcountry is scenic enough for any artist, but can they make the trip go smoothly? Artists are a lot harder to herd than cattle, but once he meets the talented artist who leads the group, Mack’s determined to make it work.

Cat Crandall just quit her steady job in advertising because she wants to travel and put her talent to use—but she was hoping to go to Italy or France, not Wyoming. Still, the scenery is attractive…and so is the wrangler!

3.  What made you want to read western romances?
JK: Living here in Wyoming is an inspiration. You can drive ten minutes in any direction and find spaces so vast you feel like the horizon is unreachable. It makes you want to get on a fast horse and just run (without falling off)! I wanted to give readers that feeling, and I also wanted to write about the people here. Cowboys have done their jobs the same way, with the same equipment and clothing, for over a century. They’re strong, determined men whose old-fashioned values are born out of the challenges they face every day.

4. Tell me why Mack is the cowboy to read about this month.
JK: Mack has a lot of the qualities you’d expect in a cowboy. He’s honest and straightforward, hardworking, and looks pretty danged good in Wranglers. But he’s also the father of a teenaged girl, and he’s a great dad. That’s a quality that drew me to my own cowboy; I loved the way he lit up when he talked about his daughter. I think being a caring father is one of the most attractive qualities a man can have.

5. Who would your perfect cowboy be?
JK: The one I live with every day! He’s a sky cowboy, not a horse cowboy – he flies jets. He’s the kindest and most compassionate man I know; a great dad and a wonderful husband. 

6. What’s up next for you?
JK: I’m working on a series, The Cowboys of Decker Ranch, about three men who were adopted as foster kids by the same rancher. He taught them about love and family, but they have a lot to learn about trust—and about women. 

All my previous books have been stand-alones, and I’ve been surprised how much fun it is to write a series. Creating my little towns and the surrounding ranches is way more fun when I know I’ll be coming back for the next book, and the next. Hopefully it’ll be fun for readers, too!

Thank you so much for inviting me to visit, and thanks for highlighting so many other great romance books! You’ve helped me discover lots of great reading material. I’ll be checking the comments all day long and answering any other questions readers might have.

Thank you so much Joanne :)

Giveaway
1 copy Cowboy Tough

1. US and Canada only
2. Ends March 4th
3. Just enter :)

COWBOY TOUGH BY JOANNE KENENDY – IN STORES FEBRUARY 2013
She’s hardly a cowgirl…
Cat Crendall left a successful advertising job in New York to teach art workshops in the wild west.  The Boyd Ranch is hardly her dream destination, but if the outing’s a success, the company will send her to more exotic locations.

But once a cowboy…
Mack Boyd was in the middle of the best bronc-riding season of his life when his mother asked for help with an artists’ retreat at the ranch.  Mack might be able to ride a wild stallion to a standstill but he can’t say no to his family.

Cat and Mack are complete opposites…but when the ranch is threatened financially, can they set aside their differences and work together?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joanne Kennedy’s lifelong fascination with Wyoming’s unique blend of past and present inspires her to write contemporary Western romances with traditional ranch settings. In 2010 she was nominated for a RITA award for One Fine Cowboy. At various times, Joanne has dabbled in horse training, chicken farming, and bridezilla wrangling at a department store wedding registry. Her fascination with literature led to careers in bookselling and writing. She lives with two dogs and a retired fighter pilot in Cheyenne, Wyoming. For more information, please visit http://joannekennedybooks.com/ and on Facebook.

To Purchase Cowboy Tough

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Review: Alloy of Law - Brandon Sanderson


In the three hundred years since the events of the Mistborn trilogy, science and technology have marched on. Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads, electric lighting, and even the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

Yet even with these advances, the magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for those attempting to establish order and justice.

One is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will. After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax must now put away his guns and assume the duties incumbent upon the head of a noble house—until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.

My thoughts:
I do like Sanderson's works, but please focus on one thing! He has a crazy amount of books going on. This one, that is a stand alone continuation of the Mistborn series will have a follow up in 2014. Or whenever. And will it be a real follow up? I do not know, but I hope so as things sure were left unfinished.

Still it was a good, if weird fantasy novel. As it takes place after the Mistborn apocalypse (or whatever we should call it). The world has turned to steam and guns. It's a western world. And it certainly is nothing I have come across. I am sure some would talk about steaampunk too, but nah, would not say that it's that. Just normal progress,

Into this returns Lawkeeper Wax to become Lord of his House. A pretty cool guy. A nice sidekick turns up too. Wax tries to be a good Lord, and he also tries to marry to get some money into the house. All while things and people are stolen in the city and he is soon on the case.

Conclusion:
So we are left with a western fantasy mystery. An easy read that I enjoyed. Still maybe to new for me. I like my fantasy old. I also wanted more and I do hope I get come closure.

Cover Cool
Series: Mistborn #4
Genre: Fantasy, mystery, "fantasy mystery western"
Pages: 392
Published: 2012 by TOR
Source. own

Monday, 18 February 2013

Review: Third Grave Dead Ahead - Darynda Jones


Paranormal private eye. Grim reaper extraordinaire. Whatever. Charley Davidson is back! And she's drinking copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake because every time she closes her eyes she sees him: Reyes Farrow, the part-human, part-supermodel son of Satan.

Granted she did imprison Reyes for all eternity, but how is she supposed to solve a missing-persons case, deal with an ego-driven doctor, calm her curmudgeonly dad, and take on a motorcycle gang hell-bent on murder when the devil's son just won't give up on his plan of seduction..... and revenge?

My thoughts:
You who have read this series know what I am gonna say, and sighing while doing so...Reyes Reyes Ray'ziel. Yes, oh did other things happen too? I did not notice ;)

This book was just awesome, funny, it had me giggling, and totally swoonworthy as it had me melting into puddles. The reason for that? Reyes, even when he is angry, so very very angry, he has me going weak in the knees. Totally psychotic by the way but Jones writes it so well and I just can't think properly when he shows up. But as always he is in jail, or her dreams. Still plenty of Reyes for me.

Ok we covered funny and the most droolworthy man on the planet, go son of Satan ;)

The plot in this one is to find a missing wife (and then more things happen that I can't tell you about but holy cow!).

Conclusion:
The book was much better than book 2, which also was a good book. I read this one in a day and I seriously crave book 4 but must wait for the paperback *curses the sky*.

Cover:
Cool and meh at the same time

Series: Charley Davidson #3
Genre: PNR UF mix
Pages: 343
Published: 2012 by St: Martin's Paperbacks
Source: Own

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Review: My Soul to Take - Rachel Vincent


She doesn't see dead people. She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next.

My thoughts:
Was it as good as her other series? Eh, not really. Sure it was good, I read it fast, but there was not that frenzy to get the next book like with her Shifter books. Still a good light YA paranormal.

Kaylee screams and people dies. Why she does not know. Ok at first I thought it all good, but then it was like come on! Why not tell the poor child who can shatter eardrums. Stupid! Made no sense. Not gonna say why she screams, a possible spoiler even if easy to figure out.

She meets a boy, Nash, insta love (but I can buy it there cos of...things). 

What to say. People are dying, she thinks something fishy is going on and investigates all while figuring out who she is.

Conclusion:
YA PNR. Light. That's all.

Cover:
Oh look, a girl in a dress in a YA cover. 

Final Note.
Lis actually reviewed the first 3 books on my blog back in 2011 and here is her review of book 1

Series: Soul Screamers #1
Pages: 279
Genre: YA / Paranormal romance
Published: 2009 by Harlequin Teen
Source. Own

Friday, 15 February 2013

Rameau Friday: Yesterday's Sun - Amanda Brooke


This is a difficult review for me to write. While I liked the book, I had several issues with it.

This is a gentle novel. It’s a slow moving story about a young couple who move into their new home and are on the cusp of new phase in their lives: They are about to start a family. Only, real life demands like work and economy conspire to keep them apart. Tom’s new job demands he travel far away and for long periods of time. And there’s trouble closer to home too. Namely Holly’s own insecurities about becoming a mother. That’s a good set up for a character centric story where a character faces her own fears and learns to overcome them. Unfortunately, the story shifts into something completely different. 

Holly finds a forgotten moondial that gives her a chance to see eighteen months into the future. She sees her unborn child, falls in love, and suddenly loses all her doubts about becoming a mother. What bothers her from thereon isn’t her fears about being a bad mother, it’s her perfectly natural self-protective instinct—her will to live. Holly never doubts her love for Tom or for the unborn, un-conceived, child. She doubts her choice to put her own life first.

What’s worse, Holly confides in a total stranger without ever considering asking her husband’s opinion. Admittedly confiding in him about the supernatural time machine—sort of—would make her sound like a crazy person, but she could at least talk with him in hypotheticals. When writing out their five year plan, neither Holly nor Tom stop to ask the other a single what if question. What if Tom quits the job he hates and do something he likes? What if Holly can’t get pregnant? What if there’s a problem with the pregnancy? What if Tom was asked to choose between Holly and the baby? Who would he choose.

Brooke does a huge disservice to Tom’s character keeping him so far away from the story and all of the decision, and doing so Brooke also undermines her main character, Holly. She comes across like a selfish, manipulative shrew instead of the loving wife and would-be mother Brooke would have us believe in. Holly selfishly manoeuvres Tom’s career in the direction she wants it to go, she selfishly decides not to conceive and then changes her mind about it. And all this happens because of visions that could as easily be hallucinations of a sick mind as flashes from the future. She risks everything because she thinks she knows best.

The epilogue and the “about the author” part convinced me that above all else this book was written to be wish fulfilment. Nothing more, nothing less. A wish.

Despite all this, I liked novel. I liked the writing, the charm and the magic of it.

3 stars


<i>I received an Edelweiss ARC of this book from the publisher.</i>

Series: N/A
Pages: 336 (paperback)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: Harper
Published: February 12th 2013
Source: Edelweiss

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Review: Lady Eve's Indiscretion - Grace Burrowes


Lady Eve's Got The Perfect Plan

Pretty, petite Evie Windham has been more indiscreet than her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Moreland, suspect. Fearing that a wedding night would reveal her past, she's running out of excuses to dodge adoring swains. Lucas Denning, the newly titled Marquis of Deene, has reason of his own for avoiding marriage. So Evie and Deene strike a deal, each agreeing to be the other's decoy. At this rate, matrimony could be avoided indefinitely...until the two are caught in a steamy kiss that no one was supposed to see.

My thoughts:
Almost all the Windham siblings have found love now. Left are Eve and Jenny. Eve does not want to marry, cos of a secret in her past. This time the secret was good as back then being ruined is not exactly a good thing.

Eve was sweet, she does want more from life, but how to get it? She leaves disappointed suitors in her wake. This goes on from season to season. But we all know she will fall eventually and in comes Lucas, their neighbor. Sure they fight, but something is there. But she does not want marriage and he really needs an heir.

The romance plot and these falling in love is only a part of the book. There is also how Lucas wants to take care of his niece as he promised his sister but the father does not want to let go. And Lucas trying to make some money from his estates. More secrets lie in wait in this book.

Conclusion:
As always the focus is still on Eve and Lucas. It's their book, their love story. Their drama. It's truly about them even with all the other things going on.

Cover
meh

Series: The Duke's Daughters #4, Windham #7
Genre: Historical romance
Pages: 416
Published: Feb 5th 2013 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: For review

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Interview and Giveaway: Victoria Roberts - X Marks the Scot


Today I welcome Victoria Roberts to my blog for an interview J And there is also a giveaway at the end.

Welcome.



1. Instead of the usual introduction tell me 3 silly things about yourself :)
First, thanks so much for having me here today.
Three silly things. Mmm... Let me see. I don’t know about silly, but I can tell you about dumb stuff that I’ve done. On my 21st birthday, I walked out of the restroom with my dress caught in the back of my pantyhose. Yep, I’m still thanking my sister for pulling me out of that one! I rode my husband’s motorcycle on a drag strip, reached 80 mph and realized this was probably the dumbest thing I’d ever done. And lastly, my Mom and I had a food fight with Boston Creme pie. Ah, great fun. 

2. Could you tell me about your new book X Marks the Scot?
This story is about Declan MacGregor (Laird Ciaran MacGregor’s bad boy brother from Temptation in a Kilt) and Lady Liadain Campbell (the bloody Campbell’s sister from Temptation in a Kilt.) I think the back cover blurb says it best.

He was a Highland Rogue—Wicked with a Bow and Just as Wicked with the Ladies.
Declan MacGregor hadn't a care in the world beyond finding a soft bed and a willing woman...until he had to escort Lady Liadain Campbell to the English court. The woman needles him at every turn, but he can't just abandon her to that vipers' nest without protection.

She Never Asked for a Bodyguard...
Liadain wasn't thrilled to be left in the care of her clan's archrival. It was as if the man never had a lady tell him no before! And yet as whispers of treason swirl through the court and the threat of danger grows even sharper, her bitter enemy soon becomes the only one she can trust...

3.  Liadan and Declan's clan used to be rivals. Was it fun to write a enemies to lovers book?
Oh, most definitely. Declan and Liadain’s sparring matches made it so much fun. And since Declan is definitely the biggest bad boy of the series and everything that escaped his mouth was basically a sarcastic remark anyway, sparks flew, and tempers definitely flared.

4. Who would your perfect Highlander be?
Gerard Butler. Who else?

5. When I read book 1 I wished for Declan to get a book and so he did. But now I wonder. Who is the hero in book 3?
Alexander MacDonell (Rosalia’s cousin from Glengarry in Temptation in a Kilt.) Alexander’s story will be released in September 2013.

6. Do you have any other writing plans if not counting To Wed a Wicked Highlander, book 3?
I’m currently working on a new series about a family of English spies. There is still a heavily based Scottish theme, no worries.

Thanks so much for having me today.

Giveaway:
 Sourcebooks will give away one copy of X Marks the Scot
  1. US and Canada only
  2. Just enter
  3. Ends Feb 25

Praise for X Marks the Scot:
5/5 - Reviewer Top Pick
"Enthralling Highlander romance. One of the best Highlander stories I've ever read. This is one author who just keeps on getting better."


―Night Owl Reviews
“For a complex story brimming over with pride and passion, betrayal, trust and most of all the power to make a bad boy a hero, pick up this read."

―RT Book Reviews/4 ½ Star Review

About Victoria Roberts:
Victoria Roberts writes sexy, Scottish historical romances about kilted heroes and warriors from the past. She was named by RT Book Reviews as "one of the most promising debut authors across the genres" and is also a 2012 Reviewers Choice Nominee for Best First Historical novel for her debut, Temptation in a Kilt.

Her second novel, X Marks the Scot, is available February 2013 and the third, To Wed a Wicked Highlander, September 2013.

Victoria is a member of Romance Writers of America®, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, Western Pennsylvania Romance Writers, as well as a contributing author to the online magazine, Celtic Guide.

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.

Purchase/Links:
Celtic Guide: www.thecelticguide.com

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Interview and giveaway: ML Buchman - Wait until dark

Please help me welcome ML Buchman to my blog today. There will also be a giveaway of two books.

Welcome!

1. Could you introduce yourself to my readers?
MB: I’ve built computer systems, managed million-dollar projects many times in a variety of industries, developed and delivered corporate training, and was VP of a firm that consulted in data architecture for a Fortune 100. I’ve also run sound for professional theater, rebuilt a fifty-foot sailboat, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world during a mid-life crisis on wheels.  I’m an East Coast refugee who has spent recent years ensconced happily in the Pacific Northwest. My passion is to tell story that champion the human spirit (it says so, right there on the wall of my office).



2. Your new book is called Wait Until Dark. Could you tell me about it?
MB: Wait Until Dark is a stand-alone book that also sits as third in my “Night Stalkers” series. The real-life Night Stalkers are the Special Forces helicopter unit for the U.S. Army. Grenada, Panama, Takur Ghar, the take-down of bin Laden… these were the folks that were in the air. Others were as well, but the very nastiest places always belong to the 160th SOAR(a), Special Operations Aviation Regiment (airborne). 

I became fascinated by the people, why they served, why they chose to stay, what they cared about. The more I learned about them, the more I came to respect their choices and their action. I became overwhelmed by them until I simply had to try and tell even a small part of their story. The tiny slice I selected is that they fly a very unique version of the Black Hawk called the DAP, or Direct Action Penetrator. It is made specifically for them alone. There are very few DAPs, a dozen or so of the thousands of Black Hawks flying for the military. It is probably the most sophisticated and lethal helicopter ever launched into the night sky.

The DAP has four seats and the first four books are centered on the first women to ever fly for SOAR (there aren’t any at present). Book three finds the first three women of SOAR, along with the men they just happen to deserve, facing their greatest challenge yet. And, as with any good romance, they first and last thing they have to face are themselves and the person they love.



3. I found it interesting that you are actually a man. You do not find many men that write romance. How did you start writing in this genre?

MB: Oddly enough, I sold my first science fiction novel to a small romance publisher. I’d never read a romance nor been to a writer’s conference. She took me to my first one at the Romance Writers of America (RWA) national conference. Eighteen hundred women and seven men, most were assumed to be someone’s boyfriend, come together to talk about the business and craft of writing love stories. I read a half-dozen during the conference, I didn’t sleep much, and I was hooked. It would be years before I understood enough to write a romance, they’re much harder than they look, but I was fascinated by the challenges of telling the stories about falling in love. I mean what better moment is there?

As to why there aren’t more men writing romance? You’ve got me. I just have so much fun doing it I can’t stop. I get to think about women and love and sex and happiness. What guy on the planet wouldn’t want to spend his days thinking about such things? I just don’t get it.

4. This series is a mix of romance, suspense, and military life. Does it make it harder or easier to put some romance in?
MB: For me, the romance is at the core, everything else plays off that. The military setting allows me to explore several things. Soldiers are in many ways outside of a civilian’s norm. If somebody at work were shot, you’d just be glad to be the one alive. If a member of a helicopter crew is shot, everyone has a really hard time that it wasn’t them instead. There are values of what defines duty and family that a civilian wouldn’t normally consider.

The suspense pushes against the romance as well. I find that it centers even drives my attention on the couple, bringing a focus and a stress that when applied, reveals true character and true feelings. It is the integration of the three that brings these characters and these books to life for me.



5. Tell me why Connie and John make a great couple to read about? =)
MB: Hmm… How to answer that without giving away anything? This is a romance, we know in the end that they will be together, it is the journey that is so intriguing. Connie is so introverted that she can barely speak in public, but she is also brilliant in her own way, so much so that everyone is eventually forced to notice her, including John. I have talked to so many women over the years who have learned to hide some piece of themselves, sometimes even large pieces, behind a veneer so that others can’t see through.

I brought Connie to life to learn more of what that might be like. And who will she be least comfortable around? I gave her Big John. He’s an outspoken man filled with joy and caring. The storyteller who can make everyone laugh at his stories. It is their differences that make them interesting, it is what they can allow to come forth in the other that brings them together. We always want to be a better person in our significant other’s presence. That’s Connie and John all over.



6. And last, what is coming next from you?
MB: So many things that my head is spinning. Book #4 in “The Night Stalkers” series Take Over at Midnight will be out this fall. Sourcebooks has also contracted for two more Night Stalker novels and a spin-off series. “Firehawk” follows a team of aerial forest firefighters who fly the Black Hawk fitted with firefighting equipment. There are some crossover characters and it will be an immense amount of fun.

I’ve also recently taken the jump to writing full-time so I will finally be adding the next books in my “Angelo’s Hearth” contemporary romance series, as well as other launches in fantasy (almost done as Matthew Lieber Buchman), thrillers (the idea is sketched out as Matthew J. Booker), and of course, always another romance.

Thanks!

GIVEAWAY
A prize pack of I own the dawn and The Night is mine

  1. US and Canada
  2. Ends Feb 24th
  3.  Just enter J

WAIT UNTIL DARK BY M.L. BUCHMAN – IN STORES FEBRUARY 2013

Name: Big John Wallace
Rank: Staff Sergeant, Chief Mechanic and Gunner
Mission: To serve and protect his crew and country.

Name: Connie Davis
Rank: Sergeant, Flight Engineer, Mechanical Wizard
Mission: To be the best...and survive.

Two Crack Mechanics, One Impossible Mission…
Being in The Night Stalkers is Connie Davis’s way of facing her demons head-on, but mountain-strong John Wallace is a threat on all fronts. Their passion is explosive, but their conflicts are insurmountable. When duty calls them to a mission no one else could survive, they’ll fly into the night together—ready or not.

Praise for I Own the Dawn:
“A rousing mix of romance and military action thrills...Buchman blends tender feelings with military politics to keep readers riveted.”—Publishers Weekly

“I can’t wait for the next book.”—RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

“Filled with action, adventure, and danger.”—Booklist Starred Review

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
M. L. Buchman has worked in fast food, theater, computers, publishing, and light manufacturing. It's amazing what you can do with a degree in geophysics. At one point he sold everything and spent 18-months riding a bicycle around the world. In 11,000 miles, he touched 15 countries and hundreds of amazing people. Since then, he has acquired a loving lady, the coolest kid on the planet, and lives in Portland, OR. For more information, please visit http://www.mlbuchman.com/.

To Purchase Wait Until Dark:




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