Friday, 29 March 2013

Rameau Friday: Unrivaled - Siri Mitchell


This is a sweet story.

Yes, it tells about two rivalling families making candy to the point where you start to drool reading the descriptions—or was that just me?—but it also tells about overcoming past mistakes and accepting second chances. Forgiveness. Things Christian fiction revolves around.

I know, it’s shocking, but sometimes I try to read out of my comfort zone and anything to do with religious fiction is way, way out of my comfort zone. Sometimes it pays off, other times it doesn’t, but look at that blurb:

Lucy Kendall always assumed she'd help her father in his candy-making business, creating recipes and aiding him in their shared passion.

A young woman wanting to go into business with her father and to make little bites of heaven? Yes, please.

But after a year traveling in Europe, Lucy returns to 1910 St. Louis to find her father unwell and her mother planning to sell the struggling candy company. Determined to help, Lucy vows to create a candy that will reverse their fortunes.

So here’s the conflict. Not only is her father unwell, Lucy lives at a time when when women in business were frowned upon. At least if you were of a certain social class it was a no no. There are also other more personal obstacles than figuring out the recipe for the next best candy or how to sell it. She has the spirit but is it enough to succeed?

St. Louis newcomer Charlie Clarke is determined to help his father dominate the nation's candy industry.

I was surprised to see that Unrivaled was told from two alternating point of views and that of the two, I liked Charlie’s voice better. In a way it was indistinguishable from Lucy’s voice, but his actions didn’t make me sympathise with the “bad parent” or want to pull my hair out like Lucy’s did.

Compromise is not an option when the prize is a father's approval, and falling in love with a business rival is a recipe for disaster when only one company can win.

I don’t think this is quite true. For someone who isn’t willing to compromise Charlie goes along with his parents’ plans and lets his life be turned upside down without a word of protest. Nor is his father’s approval the top most thing on his mind. Charlie’s more interested in learning why he left in the first place.

The rivalry itself was quite fun. Lucy especially did a few callous things to sabotage her competitor.

Will these two star-crossed lovers let a competition that turns less than friendly sour their dreams?

If you can’t guess the answer to that, let me introduce you to Agatha Christie, an author who’ll blow your mind. But in all seriousness, as long as we’re talking about the future in candy making their dreams look to be quite safe even if not in a way they imagined. As for the romance riddled with insta-love, the outlook isn’t as bright. I wasn’t exactly moved by the sweetness of that side of the novel, but that’s better for my teeth anyway.

It is a sweet story and I’m glad I read it but I’m ready to go back to darker themes.



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

3 stars

Series: N/A
Pages: 400 (ebook)
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
ISBN: 9780764207976 (paperback)
Published: March 1st 2013
Source: NetGalley


Thursday, 28 March 2013

Review: Left Hand Magic - Nancy A. Collins


Located on Manhattan's Lower East Side, Golgotham has been the city's supernatural neighborhood for centuries. Populated by countless creatures from myth and legend, the neighborhood's most prominent citizens are the Kymera, a race of witches who maintain an uneasy truce with New York City's humans...

Tate Eresby has accepted the unusual sights and sounds of Golgotham and made it her home. Unfortunately, a magazine has alerted trendsetting hipsters to its existence and they've descended upon the community-along with an anti-Kymera faction known as The Sons of Adam. The sudden influx of tourists escalates racial tensions to a boiling point when two Kymerans are murdered and rioting fills the streets.

My thoughts:
A series that got even better with book 2, I do love when that happens.

In this one things are heating up between humans and, well non-humans. Tate is in the middle of it all as she lives in Golgatham. Yes Tate, I do like her cos she is not kick-ass, neither is she a damsel in distress. She is just your average kind of human who loves to make things in her studio. She has a warlock boyfriend and she is very curious. Yes that puts her in trouble too. I do love kick-ass heroines, but it's a nice change to have someone like Tate. She also puts all her faith in love, because when things got tricky in Golgatham, well I would have left. It was scary there for a long moment of the book.

Oh look I made this short :D

Conclusion:
A great series, that I do recommend.

Cover: Good

Series: Golgotham #2
Genre: urban fantasy
Pages: 293
Published: 2011 by Roc
Source: Own


Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Review: A red sun also rises - Mark Hodder


My name is Aiden Fleischer. I was forced from my home, moved among the victims of Jack the Ripper, was tortured by a witch doctor, and awoke on another planet. Throughout it all, my assistant, Clarissa Stark, remained at my side.

On Ptallaya, we were welcomed by the Yatsill. The creatures transformed their society into a bizarre version of our own, and we found a new home beneath the world's twin suns. But there was darkness in my soul, and as the two yellow globes set, I was forced to confront it, for on Ptallaya...
A RED SUN ALSO RISES
... and with it comes an evil more horrifying than any on Earth.

My thoughts:
Now how to explain this book...I do not think I will able too. It's an adventure that you just have to read to truly get.

We have a hero and a heroine. Aiden, a priest who is not good at being a priest, and Clarissa, who is so smart but disfigured and therefore she has to beg for bread. But then she starts to work for Aiden, and they become friends and discuss religion among other things. This is a theme through out the book, what is good and evil? Anyway the weirdness has not even started, that starts when he becomes a missionary and we end up with this Alice in Wonderland kind of story. A freaky new world, complex and just really weird. Now I will tell you no more as the world needs to be explored on its own. And then you will come to realize things  as it evolves.

There is a lot I would like to say, but just think of two people put in a new world. A world that makes no sense at all, and take it from there. You will experience a world like no other.

Conclusion:
Also throw in some politics, philosophy, religion, and of course steampunk.

Cover
Cool

Genre. Steampunk /adventure / historical
Pages: 288
Published: January 2013 by del Rey
Source. for review


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Review: Black Howl - Christina Henry


Something is wrong with the souls of Chicago's dead. Ghosts are walking the streets, and Agent of Death
Madeline Black's exasperating boss wants her to figure out why. And while work is bad enough, Maddy has a plethora of personal problems too. Now that Gabriel has been assigned as her thrall, their relationship has hit an impasse. At least her sleazy ex-fiance Nathaniel is out of the picture--or so she thinks...

My thoughts:
The best book in the series to far, and it was also completely evil! By Lucifer it was so evil.

In this one ghosts are behaving strange, Gabriel is Maddy's thrall and neither one is happy. Our favorite gargoyle wants donuts. Wolves are missing and as always the courts of the fallen are conspiring. And Maddy is in the middle of it all.

Maddy is somewhat of a klutz, she will fall into the worst situation and still mouth off. I have to love her. Yes she is stupid in a way, but I like her. The series is not Mercy awesome. Instead it's just truly enjoyable because the story keeps me wanting more all the time. It made it hard for me to put it down. Sure it's simple at times, but when it makes me want more it makes me want more.

And the end, I mentioned it in the beginning, but it was just so evil! Not cliffie evil (cos it was that too), but yes Lucifer evil. Now I need more cos I can guess what Lucifer wants now.

Conclusion:
Fun!

Cover
Cool

Series: Black Wings #3
Genre: Urban fantasy
Pages: 274
Published: 2012 by Ace
Source: own


Monday, 25 March 2013

2x Amanda Stevens: The Prophet and The Kingdom


Deep in the shadowy foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies a dying town...…

My name is Amelia Gray. They call me The Graveyard Queen. I've been commissioned to restore an old cemetery in Asher Falls, South Carolina, but I'm coming to think I have another purpose here.

Why is there a cemetery at the bottom of Bell Lake? Why am I drawn time and again to a hidden grave I've discovered in the woods? Something is eating away at the soul of this town—this withering kingdom—and it will only be restored if I can uncover the truth.

My thoughts:
Omg, omg people! This book was so good. Yes I liked book 1 and it was so hard to put down but this one was even better! I started it and was unable to put it down, I realized that I had missed lunch and tore myself away for 5 minutes. I was utterly lost in this world and did not stop until I reached the end. The only thing stopping me from reading the next one at once is that I need to breathe.

The eerie feeling echoed through out the whole book. A creepy town, freaky things in the woods and questions needed to be answered. And the answers were just as creepy as the questions. What an atmosphere she builds!

I could keep on gushing. I even felt the urge to give it a 5. I know right, from me?! Crazy. I wont though even if it deserves it. I reserve those for books I will re-read over and over again. This one, well the eeriness is there, but now I know. So leave it at 4,5. Best book so far this year. It left me empty now. I have only one book left in the series and I will sad. Especially if it's not equally good.

Conclusion:
I recommend it. I love when a story pulls me in and refuses to let me go. I could not have torn myself even if I had wanted to.

Series: Graveyard Queen #2
Genre: Southern Gothic mystery
Pages: 376
Published: 2012 by Mira
Source: own

I am the Graveyard Queen, a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. My father passed down four rules to keep me safe and I've broken every last one. A door has opened and evil wants me back.

In order to protect myself, I've vowed to return to those rules. But the ghost of a murdered cop needs my help to find his killer. The clues lead me to the dark side of Charleston—where witchcraft, root doctors and black magic still flourish—and back to John Devlin, a haunted police detective I should only love from afar.Now I'm faced with a terrible choice: follow the rules or follow my heart.

My thoughts:
This book had another feel to it than the intense book 2. That one was eerie and haunted me. This one is more calm, but not in the good way that calm is. No it's more like being drugged and calm. Waking around in a mist.

“Never acknowledge the Dead. Never stray from hallowed ground. Never associate with the haunted. Never tempt fate.”
All things Amelia has done and in this book we see what it does to her. She is on the case to find a murdered, she associate with a ghost, and she is back in Charleston and can't stay away from Devlin and his ghosts.

Strange drugs, old magic and trickery. A Charleston where the darker side is shown. Amelia meets new friends, and new enemies and we get a few questions answered. But when the book ends, there is still so much left to be told and I was happy to read that Stevens is working in 3 more books. Things are yet to be told and Amelia will surely deal with the darkness that is gathering.

Sure it was not as good as book 2 but then that book was utterly amazing! It was because it was intense while this one had that weird calmness over it.

Conclusion:
A southern Gothic mystery. A series I recommend to everyone.

Series: the Graveyard Queen #3
Pages: 347
Published: 2012 by Mira


Saturday, 23 March 2013

Review: Road trip of the living dead - Mark Henry


With her zombie gal pal Wendy and vampy sidekick Gil, celebrity party girl Amanda Feral is ready to take a big bite out of Seattle's supernatural nightlife. But what's a zombie chick to do when her "Mommie Dearest" gets sick? If you're Amanda Feral, you can either ignore the wicked old witch--or bury the past by visiting Ethel before she kicks it.
Packing their stiletto pumps and plasma into a sketchy rattrap on wheels that used to be a Winebago, Amanda, Wendy, and Gil hit the highway. Of course, they'll have to navigate past some neo-Nazi skinheads, a horny dust devil, a hunky werewolf cop, and an unsightly horde of Kmart shoppers. But for this glamorous gang of ghouls, this trip is about to take a dangerous detour that could give road kill a brand new meaning. . 

My thoughts:
What went wrong? I liked book 1, even when she ate people, but here, I was just lost. I just found myself sitting up and saying what? all the time. Maybe it was me, tired, not interested, maybe I should have put it down. But as it was now it was one big what? How did that happen? Excuse me?

It still was semi funny and weird, and then I have nothing more to say. I was confused! What can I write in a review then?

Conclusion:
'I was going back and forth between a 2 and a 1. But I just wished the book to be over so I could get out of the maze in my head. It's a shame, but I can't say I like the book then can I?

Cover
Not good

Series. Amanda Feral #2
Genre: Horror humour
Pages: 261
Published: 2009 by Kensington
Source own


Friday, 22 March 2013

Review: Dark Haven - Gail Z Martin


In Dark Haven, the effects of Jared the Usurper’s reign of terror strike at the stability of the Winter Kingdoms. Undead forces align against Lord Jonmarc Vahanian of Dark Haven in a struggle for power between mortals and the vayash moru. Some among the vayash moru are unhappy that a mortal lord is returning to Dark Haven. 

Jonmarc must win the trust of Dark Haven’s mortal residents while playing a dangerous game of politics with its vayash moru. As everyone keeps reminding him, the last four lords died young. Throughout the Winter Kingdoms, magic has become a dangerous and unpredictable force.

My thoughts:
It was good, but I just feels that it's so light and simple, almost YA like. Sorry YA, I know you can be dark and all that. But, yes but there is a simplicity over this series. Even when someone is dying it's just light. And I am not saying I need bloody and complicated fantasy. I just want it to feel a bit more ...mature. iI feels too YA. 

Our young king and queen worry over the state of the land (is that what makes sound so YA, cos they are young? It hould not be like that). Dark Haven a new lord and some of the "vampires" are not happy. A idiotic lord is trying to sow doubt and cause war. We have conspiracies, war, battles and romantic feelings.

As the book has that simple feel it reads fast and I do want to know what happens next. I fear I will get very angry and hope everyone in the kingdom dies. People are always so stupid when they are scared.

Conclusion:
If you are looking for an easy epic series then this is for you.

Cover
I like it

Series: Chronicles of the Necromancer #3
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 606
Published: 2009 by Solaris
Source own


Thursday, 21 March 2013

Review: The Emperor's soul - Brandon Sanderson

Shai is a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skillful magic. Condemned to death after trying to steal the emperor’s scepter, she is given one opportunity to save herself. Though her skill as a Forger is considered an abomination by her captors, Shai will attempt to create a new soul for the emperor, who is almost dead. 

Probing deeply into his life, she discovers Emperor Ashravan’s truest nature—and the opportunity to exploit it. Her only possible ally is one who is truly loyal to the emperor, but councilor Gaotona must overcome his prejudices to understand that Shai’s forgery is as much artistry as it is deception. 

My thoughts:
This book was short, so very short, but that does not matter. I will in the end read anything by Brandon Sanderson.

In 175 pages he tells the story of Shai, who is a forger (do not make me go into details. She creates things, let's leave it at that.) She is in prison, and those in power need her forging. She is clever, insightful and very good at what she does. As the book is very short we see her hurrying with what she is tasked to do, cos else she will die.

The world building and magic is not laid out open as there is not enough time, but Sanderson still manages to explain what forging is and hint about an interesting world. Of course I would have loved to see it grow even more, to explore it more and about Shai. But we can't have it all, and I will take what I get. 

Conclusion:
It was an easy book that can be read in a few hours.

Cover
Well..it does look kind of cool

YA /fantasy
175 pages
Published October 11th 2012 by Tachyon Publications
Own


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Interview and Giveaway: Gina Lamm - Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl


Today I interview Gina Lamm and give away a copy of her new book, The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl.

Welcome!

1. Who is Gina Lamm?
Well, I’m a woman. I’m sometimes too emotional, impatient, hard to get along with, and stubborn. I’m occasionally brilliant, usually clever, and more sarcastic than is good for me. Like a lot of creative people, I sometimes feel that the ”real” world is to much for me. I’m in desperate love with my husband, and my family is the most important thing in the world to me. Oh. And I make stuff up. J

2. Can you tell me about your new book, The geek girl and the scandalous girl?
I’d love to! Here’s the official blurb:
The Stakes Have Never Been Higher...
An avid gamer, Jamie Marten loves to escape into online adventure. But when she falls through an antique mirror into a lavish bedchamber—200 years in the past!—she realizes she may have escaped a little too far.

Micah Axelby, Earl of Dunnington, has just kicked one mistress out of his bed and isn't looking to fill it with another—least of all this sassy, nearly naked woman who claims to be from the future. Yet something about her is undeniably enticing...


Jamie and Micah are worlds apart. He's a peer of the realm. She can barely make rent. He's horse-drawn. She's Wi-Fi. But in the game of love, these two will risk everything to win.


I think that most modern geeks and historical fans alike will enjoy this mashup of modern technology and Regency sensibilities. It’s a fun, romantic read, and it’s meant to be enjoyed.

3. Where did you get the inspiration for this time-travel romance?
I’m a Regency-reading gamer myself! It was a natural fit to mash together two things that I loved. Gaming and history don’t really ”go” together, but neither did peanut butter and chocolate at first, right?

4. If you accidently went back in time, how would you react?
Oh gosh, I imagine I would feel a lot like Jamie did! I could deal with the strict rules, the odd food, even the difference in clothes, though I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. But the whole toilet situation? Yeah. I’d sooner go squat in the woods than to go in a chamber pot, if you know what I mean!
But I do think I’d enjoy the pageantry, if I were lucky enough to be able to attend some society events. I’ve read way too many books about them not to!

5. And with that I need a follow-up question, if you could choose, then to wich time period would you go?
Well, I’d love to go to the Regency era, but then again I’d hate for my overly romantic vision of it to be shattered! Maybe Victorian times. Things started changing so rapidly then, and I’d adore seeing that first hand.

6. What is coming next from you?
I’m happy to say that in September I’ll have a sequel coming out! It’s entitled GEEK GIRLS DON’T DATE DUKES, and it follows Jamie’s best friend Leah as she takes a journey into the past to find her own true love. This one was a lot of fun to write too, and I hope everyone enjoys it!

Thanks!
Thanks again for having me! 

GIVEAWAY
1 copy of Geek Girl and the scandalous earl

1. Open to US and Canada
2. Ends March 31st
3. Just enter :)

Good luck!


Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Briggs x2: Frost Burned and Fair Game


Shapeshifter Mercy Thompson's life is calming down, at least enough that she can focus on mundane matters like Black Friday sales. But on her return, Mercy is unable to contact her mate, Alpha Adam Hauptman, or the other members of their pack. All she knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. With the werewolves fighting a political battle to gain acceptance from the public, Mercy fears Adam's disappearance may be related - and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outclassed and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from the most unlikely of allies: the vampire seethe.

My thoughts:
 I do not think it was as good as the rest of the series, but it sure was better than River Marked. But then I was really disappointed in River marked.

Anyway, the book starts with a bang as all the wolves are missing. Why and who is behind it? Therefore I do think the book lacked a bit of Adam even if we got his POV too. But I wanted more Mercy and Adam time.

We did get Stefan and Ben, and I really like Ben more and more. Not much of Sam but then he has moved on and then I am just not interested anymore ;)

As many times before I do not know what to say. Action, tense moments and conspiracies. All good things, but after having read Fair Game and compared they were just not the same. Fair Game was better. Hopefully it will get better again by the next book. Something is just missing.

Conclusion:
But, it was a good book :)

Cover: SUCKS. Why are these UK covers so ugly?

Mercy Thompson #7
Urban fantasy
342 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Orbit

It is said that opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son—and enforcer—of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant Alpha. While Anna, an Omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.

When the FBI requests the pack’s help on a local serial-killer case, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston to join the investigation. It soon becomes clear that someone is targeting the preternatural. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer’s sights.

My thoughts:
I usually spend these reviews talking about what a hottie Bran is. But not this time. I have not liked the Alpha and Omega series as much as the Mercy books, not before now. This book was awesome, it made me love and hate! It made me love Anna and Charles as couple, now I truly saw it. And it made me hate humankind. Ignorant asses all of them. We are the real monsters.

Charles is having trouble with his job. Anna is fearing for him and the Marrok sends them both on a mission. A serial killer is loose. Fae, were and humans have tried to live together, but it will surely all come crashing down. If we can't tolerate each other then how could we tolerate other beings? As they search for the killer I sit in the edge of my seat, and when the ends grows close I fear. Because Briggs is not kind to her characters.

But the end, what an ending. It made me cheer and fear.

Conclusion:
I do hope there will be more, I finally love the ALpha and Omega books.

PS: Oh and Bran, well even if we did not see him much I still love him and hate his wife. He needs someone else, pleeeease Briggs.

Cover: much better

Series: Alpha and Omega #3
Genre: Urban fantasy
Pages: 280
Published: 2012 by Ace
Source: Own


Monday, 18 March 2013

ARC Review: Grave Secret - Sierra Dean


Sometimes a secret goes to the grave. Sometimes Secret puts you there.

It’s been a hell of a year for Secret McQueen, and the last thing in the world she wants is to get caught up in werewolf drama. But when her former fiancé Lucas Rain shows up asking for her help, she knows there’s no easy way out.

After making it known she wants nothing to do with him, Secret agrees to help find Lucas’s wayward sister Kellen. After all, how much trouble could one socialite get into in the city that never sleeps?

Unless that socialite has been spirited away by fairies.

Trying to track down a missing girl in an alternate reality is just the start of Secret’s problems, though. Someone appears to be killing teenagers, and the MO looks eerily similar to something for which the half-fairy oracle, Calliope, might be responsible. Throw in a rogue wolf pack claiming allegiance to Secret’s mother, Mercy, and she’ll have miles to go before she rests.

My thoughts:
The last book ended with such a cliffie...of the passionate kind. I could not wait to see where it lead. Not to mention that Sierra was devastated after Lucas being a total ass and not showing up to their wedding. There was drama to be told and I needed to know.

Sierra was a bit messed up but was doing better. Des was nowhere to be found (still Team Des!) and Holden, well I will not tell you whatever happened in the beginning. Whether I am Team Holden or not, well, no not really. I just do not feel him. Can't be that team then. But trust me, not team Lucas at least, and that leaves Des. He is just such a good beta and I want to hug him.

Away from the teams. This book gives us fairies, murder and a twist that kept me reading and reading. Then I cursed our tiny flat as I could not continue to read, but I did wake up earlier the next day so that I could finish this book. And the end, oh she is evil. She leaves such an opening for more and I know the next book will be filled with action. I can't wait to read it.

The romance will not get resolved in this one, I do wonder how she will play it at the end. I am just so curious and want to know, like right now. This is an author that makes you want more.

Conclusion:
This is a great series that I recommend to everyone.

Cover Cool

Series: Secret McQueen #5Genre: urban fantasyPages: 301To be published: March 19th 2013 by SamhainSource; For review


Saturday, 16 March 2013

Lady Scoundrels' Saturday: Song of Scarabaeus - Sara Creasy


March is well under way and Lady Scoundrel Saturday is back and this time with a review of a sci-fi book., and a new concept of presenting it. Let me present:

Song of Scarabaeus (Scarabaeus #1) by Sara Creasy

Blod: I did not finish, I am horrible, but I have reached the point where I just can’t read everything, I have to say no once and again. And for me this was a DNF. I was bored by page 1. They told me to go for 30, still bored, so I read (and skimmed) to 100 and said NO! 

Ram: And you chose the book! Thank you for that by the way. 

Ana: Yes, the choice was very nice, but not exactly fortunate for the chooser. I personally liked this novel and I was surprised Blodeuedd had so many problems with it. Life of a reader is never easy.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about this book?

B. Boooooooooooring! I did not give a rat’s ass about it.

Ram: Which I still can’t understand. For me, it’s the musical analogies. How what Edie does is like composing or playing music to her, which kind of makes sense if I start to think about coding and the mathematics of it. 

Ana: I immediately thought about the human race and the fact that too often we act as a major parasite - whenever we go we want to colonize, change and adapt and everything should submit. If it doesn’t work of if we are attacked by not-so defenceless locals we scream blue murder. 

Not what comes first to mind to me, but it’s true. We’re a horrible race.

Well, I liked the music references as well but after a moment they were kind of drowned by the purpose of Edie’s work.

B, why didn’t you like the book?

B: I got kind of confused at once, and the feeling never left me. I was bored, it felt heavy, I was lost and I just never felt a connection.

Ram: Did you just immediately lose interest and give up on it? The book never really had a chance to win you over after that bad start? Because I did think the beginning was difficult to get through but once I got on the other side it more than redeemed itself for me.

Ana: In my humble opinion there was too much nerdspeak at the very beginning. It was indeed difficult to swallow in one big gulp.

B. To answer Ram’s question, yes. Sometimes I feel at once that it will not work. Sometimes I can struggle, but at other times I need to give up. And the nerdspeak, I have read heavy nerdy books but at least they did not make me wanna tear my eyes out ;)

Ana: Ouch!

Ram: Ouch indeed.  I didn’t mind the nerdspeak, I minded the undefined abbreviations. But then again, I’d just finished reading another Scifi novel so it wasn’t a huge jump. 

What do you think of the main heroine, Edie? Could you relate to her easily?

B: Nope, I did not care really. I need to care when I read and she, well I felt nothing this time around. Yes I had issues with everything.

Ram: I liked that although she was the best of the best in one thing, she was basically innocent and ignorant in all others. Basic human interactions seemed like a difficult concept to her and her antisocial tendencies made it almost impossible for her to understand the larger implications of her actions. That’s why I felt like she and Finn made a good team. They balanced each other.

Ana: I found Edie difficult to like at first but learning more and more about her background made me more understanding. I appreciated her compassion and care, especially towards an alien planet she simply didn’t want to despoil. It was brave.

Ram: Brave and thoughtless. It turned out okay for her to a certain extent, but it could have gone horribly wrong for everyone. And it did.

There are certainly different kinds of bravery...

Ram: What do you mean? 

What did you think about the world building?

B: I am not the person to ask, but it seemed promising...some parts

Ana: I loved the descriptions of Scarabeus, the planet. The rest was so-so, especially the ship Hoi Polloi made me shrug more than one time. Less interesting than your average car ;p.

Ram: The ship and the space-bandits were quite a simplistic concept, but when I think to the beginning of the book and how Creasy mentioned something in passing only to expand on it later, and how it eventually became a pillar of a larger story, a guiding light to Edie’s purpose, I can’t but be awed. The relationship between Crib and the Fringers, the politics and the history that was only hinted at. I want to know more about it, and there is the second book, which hopefully will continue exploring concepts introduced here. A book I need to hunt down and read, soon.

What about Finn? A clever manipulator or a victim of politicians? 

B: Sadly I never got to know him cos you make him sound interesting

Ram: Can’t he be all those things? I think, in this book, he started out as a victim of his situation and a manipulator of the people directly around him..

Ana: Which is kind of awesome, taking into account the fact that he was a slave.

Ram: It is. He goes through a change, just like Edie, but different. He’s been enslaved and his voice had been taken from him. But his first word is a choice that costs a man his life and earns Finn his freedom. All his actions after that balance on a similar line. He’s protecting himself first and he’s willing to do anything including manipulating Edie to stay alive. I also think that towards the end, I saw the possibility of him becoming a skilled politician, but that’s Edie’s compassion having an influence on him.  

Did you like the title? Song of Scarabaeus? 

B: Sure, the title sounds cool.

Ana: Horrible and misleading ;p

Ram: It was the Scarabaeus I had trouble with. Made me think of a bad (wannabe) Egyptian erotica.

Ana: *dies laughing*

B: I have to put in a LOL here ;) It shows I did not read it

Ram: What can I say? Previous bad experiences are bad.

Would you recommend the book and to whom? B, we’re not trying to exclude you or anything...

B: Ha, guess my answer. It’s a no. No one should read this book.

Ana: I would recommend this one to people who liked Wall-e and Star Wars :)

Ram: I fail to see how you connect Wall-e to this. I’d recommend this to people who like rogue alien worlds and don’t mind giving a book fifty pages to win them over. Yes, I upped it from thirty because obviously it didn’t work on B. I’ve not read enough Scifi to say more.

Ana: My connections with Wall-e? What about music? Space ships? A planet which needs saving? Eh, ok, Sirantha Jax fans then or those who like Scott Orson Card. 

Until next month then. I hope you enjoyed our programme.
:D


Friday, 15 March 2013

Review: Etiquette and Espionage - Gail Carriger


It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners—and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies learn to finish...everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage—in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year's education.

Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail Carriger's legions of fans have come to adore.

My thoughts:
I do not know what to write! I am really conflicted when it comes to this book. It was good, but at the same time that I liked it, I was bored.

Oh this is so sad. But I did not connect at all with this book. I was standing on the outside looking in. It looked fun, but I was not there.

I can't say what went wrong. It was funny, well-written, but at the same time maybe it tried to be too funny. Too witty, quirky, cool. Just too much. Or maybe it was that it was YA, and I either love it or feel disappointed. Never the middle way like with so many other books. 

By giving this a 2, well maybe it does not deserve it. I have given 3s to books that were not as good. But at the same time there was that not connecting thing. I just could not even if I tried.

Conclusion:
It should have been awesome, but sometimes a book does not work. And I do not know why when it still is a good book.

Cover Thoughts
Once again I forgot and Chris made me remember so ok..looks good but head please. Then again I saw the head and it did not look like a young girl

Series: Finishing School #1
Genre: YA / steampunk
Pages: 312
Published: Feb 5 2013 by Atom
Source: Own


Thursday, 14 March 2013

Review: The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl - Gina Lamm


An avid gamer, Jamie Marten loves to escape into online adventure. But when she falls through an antique mirror into a lavish bedchamber—200 years in the past!—she realizes she may have escaped a little too far.

Micah Axelby, Earl of Dunnington, has just kicked one mistress out of his bed, and isn’t looking to fill it with another—least of all this sassy, nearly naked girl who claims to be from the future. Yet something about her is undeniably enticing…

Jamie and Micah are worlds apart. He’s a peer of the realm. She can barely make rent. She’s wi-fi. He’s horse-drawn. But soon the pair will do anything to avoid a Game Over.

My thoughts:
Time-traveling, yay. Who doesn't want to go back and meet a sexy earl in regency clothes? I would go, well if I only stayed the day because in the end I want to go to the toilet, a real one. Have certain products etc etc. Much more fun to read about then then going ;)

Jamie falls through a mirror and into a room. And let's just say that shorts and a top is not exactly what a proper young lady would be wearing. She and Micah are like dogs and cats. She says her meaning, swears, he is a true gentleman and does not know what to make of this..person. Talk about a when cultures clash. They are also meant to be, but she is nobody, he is an earl. She is staying at his place (an unmarried woman!). Scandalous.

Cultural differences, the ton and one spiteful ex-mistress is what these two will have to deal with. It will not be easy. But it makes for a fun and entertaining run. 

Conclusion:
A light cute read.

Series: Geek Girls #1
Genre: Historical romance
Pages: 352
Published: March 1st 2013 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source For review


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Review: The Blue-ribbon jalapeno society jubilee - Carolyn Brown


Everything is calm in Cadillac, Texas until Aunt Agnes declares war on Violet Prescott, the president of the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society, just in time for the annual jubilee. But after the festivities—and the hostilities—are over, it's four friends who are left standing, proving once again that friendship is forever.

My thoughts:
This book is about 3 women (and so much more). A small town, gossip, a group and how everything falls apart.

First we have Trixie who had a cheating husband (she still fools around with him cos she can't resist him). She was nice, but yes dump that idiot and move on! Then we have the twins Cathy and Marty. They could not be more different. The quiet and the loud one. Cathy is set to marry a boring man with a horrid mother. Marty is free and outspoken. I liked them both, maybe Cathy more since we followed her road to finding what she wants.

And then we have their aunt Agnes, the horrid Violet (Cathy's future mother-in-law!) who wants to rule the town and the society they are a part of. Darla Jean, the former prostitute who turned preacher,  and that  X (I will not say it cos I am a lady *coughs*) Anna Ruth who stole away Trixie's husband. Quite the set of characters and all with their agendas and dreams.

A nice story to read. Though I would not want to live there, maybe visit cos they all sound so fun! But before that Violet needs to go ;)

Conclusion:
Drama, gossip, romance, secrets and most of all friendship.

Cover
Both Meh and ok

Pages: 321
Genre: I do not really know where to place it...women's fiction /contemporary romance, something
Published: March 1st 2013 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source. For review


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Interview and giveaway: Elizabeth Chadwick - Shadows and Strongholds


Today I am thrilled to have Elizabeth Chadwick over at my blog. And there is also a giveaway of her book, Shadows and Strongholds.

Welcome!

Could you tell me a little bit about yourself?
 I’ve been writing historical fiction set in the Middle Ages ever since I was a teenager, and have been a published novelist for more than 20 years.  During that time several of my novels have won awards, one of them presented by HRH the Prince of Wales.  I am passionate about the history of the Middle Ages and enjoy researching it both for my novels and for general interest.  Writing is my full time occupation, but when I’m not sitting at my desk, I enjoy walking with my husband and our dogs. We have two Jack Russel/Patterdale terrier crosses and a pure Patterdale puppy who has recently joined the family.  I enjoy visiting historic sites and taking photographs.  I’m also very fond of baking (and eating!) home-made cakes.  When I get time I like to do cross-stitch and watch movies.  Last year we moved to a cottage in the country with views over open fields, and we’ll be growing most of our own fruit and vegetables.

Can you tell me about your book, Shadows and Strongholds?
Shadows and Strongholds is a coming of age story set in 12th century England.  It’s based on a family chronicle about a family called the FitzWarins who lived on the Welsh borders at a place called Whittington.  The story concerns young Brunin FitzWarin who is something of a misfit at home, but when he is taken on as a squire by Joscelin de Dinan, lord of the great castle of Ludlow, he begins to flourish and emerge from the shadows.  It is also the story of his lord’s daughter, Hawise, who is the same age as Brunin. As they grow up together and become a young man and a young woman,  their relationship changes and she  has her own lessons to learn about taking responsibility.

You have written so many books, about so many interesting people. How did you come across FitzWarin and decide to write about him?
I came across the FitzWarin family by accident actually, while researching a character called Eustace the Monk for another novel.  I was reading a book  titled Two Medieval Outlaws which was a translation of two thirteenth century chronicles, one about Eustace the Monk and the other about Fulke FitzWarin.  Having researched what I needed to know about Eustace, I then read the chronicle of  Fulke FitzWarin and discovered that as well as the outlaw Fulke (whom readers will meet in a later book titled The Outlaw Knight, due out in September), there was also his father, Fulke le Brun, who had led a fascinating and conflicted life, especially as a young man. The FitzWarin men and the women who became their wives, were characters too interesting and vibrant not to write about!

How much time to you spend researching?
I research alongside the novels as I write them.  I research as much as I need to know to get started, and then continue to read up on the necessary details as I develop the various drafts of the novel. I began writing Medieval fiction when I was in my teens and that was a few decades ago now (!), so I have plenty of background information already under my belt.  If I suddenly decided to change era and write in the Regency period, I would have a tremendous amount of research to do just to bring me up to a  base line awareness.  I have never added up the hours of how much research I do, but it is pretty much a constant part of my life.  There is never a time when I don’t have a research book on the go.

Is there someone you have not written about but would sure love to?
I would love to write a novel about what William Marshal did during the two years he was in the Holy Land.  I didn’t cover this in The Greatest Knight and I am sure he had many adventures and learning experiences during his pilgrimage.  I also think William Marshal’s great grandfather would be interesting to write about.  He was an English thegn (nobleman) who managed to survive the Norman Conquest and even flourish in its aftermath at a time when other men of his culture and station were falling beneath Norman swords and losing their lands.  I’d love to find out he managed to succeed and grow.

What is coming next from you?
Currently I am writing a trilogy about Eleanor of Aquitaine (she is called Alienor in the novels, which is what she would have called herself).  I feel that although Alienor has been written about before, this will be a fresh story with some insights that have not previously been explored.  The first one, THE SUMMER QUEEN comes out in the UK this summer and will be followed by THE WINTER CROWN and THE AUTUMN THRONE.  I expect they will be coming to the USA fairly soon but I don’t have a set date as yet! 

Thanks!

GIVEAWAY
1 copy of Shadows and Strongholds

1. Open to US and Canada
2. Énds March 24th
3. Just enter :)

OUT NOW - Shadows and Strongholds
A medieval tale of pride and strife, of coming-of-age in a world where chivalry is a luxury seldom afforded, especially by men of power.

England, 1148---ten-year-old Brunin FitzWarin is an awkward misfit in his own family. A quiet child, he is tormented by his brothers and loathed by his powerful and autocratic grandmother. In an attempt to encourage Brunin’s development, his father sends him to be fostered in the household of Joscelin de Dinan, Lord of Ludlow. Here Brunin will learn knightly arts, but before he can succeed, he must overcome the deep-seated doubts that hold him back.

Hawise, the youngest daughter of Lord Joscelin, soon forms a strong friendship with Brunin. Family loyalties mean that her father, with the young Brunin as his squire, must aid Prince Henry of Anjou in his battle with King Stephen for the English crown. Meanwhile, Ludlow itself comes under threat from Joscelin’s rival, Gilbert de Lacy. As the war for the crown rages, and de Lacy becomes more assertive in his claims for Ludlow, Brunin and Hawise are drawn into each other’s arms.

Now Brunin must defeat the shadows of his childhood and put to use all that he has learned. As the pressure on Ludlow intensifies and a new Welsh threat emerges against his own family’s lands, Brunin must confront the future head on, or fail on all counts....



Monday, 11 March 2013

Reviews: Shadows and strongholds - Elizabeth Chadwick


Nothing worthwhile is easy. Not becoming a knight. Not when you don't fit in anywhere.

Brunin Fitzwarin knows this better than anyone. Lost in his own home, he's now a knight-in-training to the Lord of Ludlow—and still utterly alone. That is, until the youngest daughter of the house befriends him.

But England is in turmoil, and Brunin must fight with his lord to support King Stephen for the English crown.

As the war rages on and his particularly close to home, Brunin must defeat the shadows of his childhood and take on the mantle of knight, confronting the future head on.

A rich tale of coming of age in a world where chivalry is a luxury few can afford. Shadows and Strongholds is a tale of earning your place and finding your way home.

My thoughts:
I do love Chadwick's books. There is just this feel to them. They even make me want to live in that age. Even if I totally would have been dead by now.

This on is about Brunin FitzWarin, another character found in the mists of time. He was sent away for fostering, grew up and married the daughter of the house. But the story has more to tell than that. There is the shaky ground his family sits on regarding their lands. And the same thing is true about the de Dinan family. There is always someone else who has claim. And of course the beginning of the book also shows the power struggle for the English throne.

And midst all that we have a boy growing up, he is made to be unsure of himself (he did not have the easiest time at home). But he grows into a strong and sensible young man. Hawise de Dinan is a nice heroine, strong, but willful. There is also some rivalry between her and her foster sister (who I wanted to smack, that idiot!). I like the way she portrays daily life, because even when there was war and campaigns life went on. It was a rough life, but interesting to read about.

Conclusion:
What more can I say than this was another Chadwick win for me.

Cover
Nice

Series:
Pages: 544
Genre: Historical fiction
Published: March 5th 2013 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: for review


Saturday, 9 March 2013

Rameau Reviews: Between two worlds - Emma Newman


There’s a difference between theory and practice. In science, theories are meaningless without the empirical evidence to support them. In fiction—no matter how brilliant the idea—the execution of a story is everything. Here, it fails. 

In theory, reading about two worlds co-existing in modern Britain and reading about the adventures of the fae in the mundane worlds sounds intriguing. The possibilities of seeing different cultures clash and compete are endless. In practice, every author has to choose a line to walk on. I don’t think Emma Newman has any idea which line she’s straddling let alone how to tread on it. 

The problem lies with the characters. It’s not that they’re particularly horrid—I actually liked that they were described either as ugly or dull—and unlikeable. It’s not even the fact that Cathy is the most frustrating, spineless, insipid heroine I’ve stumbled on recently. It’s that their characterisations aren’t properly supported by their actions. Both the fae and the mundane talk and think alike. Even Max, the most interesting character of the bunch, doesn’t quite act like someone whose soul has been disconnected is apparently supposed to act. 

It’s like Newman created these rules for herself and then forgot to follow them. That is, if there were any rules to begin with. Never did I get the sense that the author had fully internalised and adopted this alternative world she had created, let alone that she’d fully applied it to the characters she was writing about. 

And with that, whatever there may have been unique about the story—about the idea of a few young, rebellious fae touched challenging Nether’s customs and traditions—unravels into an uninteresting mess. 

I’m not a fan of fairies, but I never open a book wanting to hate it. Between Two Thorns had its chance to win me over and it failed. I started skimming and speed-reading around 20% mark and only stopped a few times to read scenes with Will in them. 

P.S. Every time I wrote the word mundane, I wanted to substitute it with the word muggle.

2 stars



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

Series: The Split Worlds #1
Pages: 384 (paperback)
Publisher: Angry Robot ISBN: 9780857663207
Published: February 26th (expected)
Source: NetGalley


Friday, 8 March 2013

Review: A shot of Sultry - Macy Beckett


Welcome to Sultry Springs, Texas: where home can be the perfect place for a fresh start.

For West Coast filmmaker Bobbi Gallagher, going back to Sultry Springs is a last resort. But with her career in tatters, a quick trip to her hometown might get her the footage she needs to salvage her reputation. She just can't let anything distract her again. Not even the gorgeous contractor her brother asked to watch over her. As if she can't handle filming a few rowdy Texans.

Golden boy Trey Lewis, with his blond hair and Technicolor-blue eyes, is a leading man if Bobbi ever saw one. He's strong and confident and--much to her delight--usually shirtless. He thinks keeping his best friend's baby sister out of trouble will be easy. But he has no idea of the trouble in store for him...

My thoughts:
This is book 2, but as I was reading it I did feel that it also works great as a stand alone.

Bobbi is the heroine in this book. She was a bit messed up but she has learnt to cope. Her brother was the hero of book 2 and while he lives in Texas, she is a California film maker. She comes to Sultry Springs for a reality show. She is serious about her job (you'll learn) and she needs to let loose a bit.

Then we have Trey, a flirty guy who is friends with her brother. He has his own issues and wants to leave Sultry soon. The attraction is there at the start, sure they argue a bit, she tries to stay away as she is filming him. But some things you just can't stop. Some things are bound to happen.

Conclusion:
A nice story, a love that takes a bit of time. And a side character that I really look forward to reading more about. Book 3 is his and I want it. Sultry Springs is a good place to read about.

Cover. Adorable

Series: Sultry springs #2
Genre: Contemporary romance
Pages: 352
Published: March 5th 2013 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source for review


Thursday, 7 March 2013

Review: Kaylea Cross - Tactical Strike


This is going to be a “let’s dissect the blurb”-review.

Gunship pilot Captain Candace Bradford has worked long and hard to earn her rank and position within the male-dominated world of Air Force Special Operations.

This is the set up and since I’ve not read the first book in the series I’m going to take this at face value. She does crash a plane but technically that’s not her fault, so I’m guessing she’s worked hard to earn her wings but there’s very little in the book to show she’s worked particularly hard to earn her rank or that her gender made it especially difficult for her. 

She's not about to let anything or anyone jeopardize that, let alone one sinfully tempting man who seems determined to cause her nothing but trouble. Even if she's starting to fall for him.

This too is part of the set up but I didn’t find it particularly well done. For being such a stickler for rules, she’s having difficulties articulating a denial. Even if she’s starting to fall for someone she works with, if the rules mean that much to her she should be saying no at every turn. She’s not. She’s offering vague denials, mixed signals, and avoidance. None of these actually work. There are other ways to show her inner struggle, but this author doesn’t spend any time on developing those feelings for Candace’s character. 

As an elite Combat Controller, Staff Sergeant Ryan Wentworth is used to overcoming adversity in order to complete a mission.

Now that I think about it, this actually has some basis within the story. Ryan keeps remarkably calm during the action sequence as long as we ignore the utter unprofessionalism prompted by Candace’s presence. 

Breaking through Candace's prickly exterior and into her heart is a challenge he can't let go.

This is the main problem with his character. He’s like a dog with a bone; he can’t let things go not even for a second. He pushes, he stalks, he doesn’t take no for an answer, and I’m baffled why would Candace think Ryan has anything remotely resembling a softer side in him. There are a couple of instances when the author glimpses into his psyche that could constitute as his more humane and understanding feelings, but they were sparse and easily missed. 

But just when he's begun to gain her trust, they're thrown together in the field facing an overwhelming enemy force.

When exactly did that happen? I know when they faced the “overwhelming enemy force” but I’m at a loss to understand when she started trusting him and why. 

Candace and Ryan find themselves on the run, searching the skies for an emergency extraction. But one dangerous enemy has an agenda in mind and he'll use whatever means necessary to achieve it, including using American forces to do his dirty work….

I’m guessing this is part of the longer plot that may have started in book one of Bagram Special Ops and continue if not conclude in book three. 

Instead of character growth, this novel focuses on action and sex—the first being entertaining and the second being rushed. The romantic relationship is woefully underdeveloped. As I’m not an expert on military matters I can hardly comment on the accuracy of their portrayal within the book other than to say that the abbreviation jungle was in sore need of the glossary found at the end of the pdf I read. I actually hope the epubs have footnotes inserted in them for those who need them. 



I received a copy of this book through Lit Connect in exchange for an honest review.

Series: Bagram Special Ops #2
Pages: 214 (ebook)
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Carina Press
Published: March 11th 2013
Source: Lit Connect


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Review: Double Enchantment - Kathryne Kennedy


When Lady Jasmina accidentally creates a double of herself who knows nothing about Society propriety, the mix-up brings her into a very compromising position with a sexy were-stallion.

My thoughts:
This is book two, but it works perfectly as a stand alone and you can just jump straight in. There is a little prologue at first explaining why and what magic is.

And on to the book. Jasmine is a proper young lady, until a spell backfires on her. Which leads her to meet a shapeshifter, and those are just so beneath her social standing. Too bad Sterling is a total hottie and sparks fly. The book is about Jasmine trying to find a missing magical relic, and the twin she created with magic. Her very naughty twin. Sterling is sent to help her, and he wants her. But he does seem to have a few issues to deal with.

Oh and there is a gnome! At first I did not like him, but he was fun in the end. And annoying! Poor Jasmine. Also loved her aunt Nettie. So glad about a thing that happened *giggles*

A magical story set in an alternate England.

And now on to the spoiler....

Sterling meets the illusion twin first and has sex with her! Wtf? And lusts after her. Then he gets disappointed when he meets the real deal. But oh she is after a while nice too. All while All I can think of is that he had sex with her TWIN! Fail!

Conclusion:
A very different kind of London, and rules will be broken.

Cover:
Can you see the little gnome, creepy

Series. Relics of Merlin #2
Pages: 352
Genre: Alternate history /paranormal historical romance
Published: March 5th 2013 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: For review


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