Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Me and Mr Darcy - Alexandra Potter

After a string of disastrous dates, Emily Albright decides she’s had it with modern-day love and would much rather curl up with Pride and Prejudice and spend her time with Mr. Darcy, the dashing, honorable, and passionate hero of Jane Austen’s classic. So when her best friend suggests a wild week of margaritas and men in Mexico with the girls, Emily abruptly flees to England on a guided tour of Jane Austen country instead. Far from inspiring romance, the company aboard the bus consists of a gaggle of little old ladies and one single man, Spike Hargreaves, a foul-tempered journalist writing an article on why the fictional Mr. Darcy has earned the title of Man Most Women Would Love to Date.

The last thing Emily expects to find on her excursion is a broodingly handsome man striding across a field, his damp shirt clinging to his chest. But that’s exactly what happens when she comes face-to-face with none other than Mr. Darcy himself. Suddenly, every woman’s fantasy becomes one woman’s reality. . . . 

My thoughts:
I am torn. It was good at times, but at other times it was only ok. Hmmm. Maybe I will go with ok. It's not like I would recommend it after all.

Emily loves the classics, and Austen. She goes on a Tour. Suddenly the book gets all paranormal cos there are timeslips and she sees Mr Darcy. I could so not see him fall for her, nope. Not like she acted. But oh well. If he had been called something else, if his friends had been called something else. Then it would have worked better for me. Now I am all, really? Austen used the real names of people she had met or something? She would not have done that.

Right. She befriends the other women in the tour, some have problems. There is this irritating man (that is still cute).

Conclusion:
So it was ok, bordering on good. But the time slips kind of ruined it for me.

Cover
I actually like it, but it has nothing to do with the book

Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 12th 2007 by Ballantine Books
Romantic fiction
Own


Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Old Mars - Edited by George RR Martin and Gardner Dozois

Burroughs’s A Princess of Mars. Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. Heinlein’s Red Planet. These and so many more inspired generations of readers with a sense that science fiction’s greatest wonders did not necessarily lie far in the future or light-years across the galaxy but were to be found right now on a nearby world tantalizingly similar to our own—a red planet that burned like an ember in our night sky . . . and in our imaginations.

This new anthology of fifteen all-original science fiction stories, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, celebrates the Golden Age of Science Fiction, an era filled with tales of interplanetary colonization and derring-do. Before the advent of powerful telescopes and space probes, our solar system could be imagined as teeming with strange life-forms and ancient civilizations—by no means always friendly to the dominant species of Earth. And of all the planets orbiting that G-class star we call the Sun, none was so steeped in an aura of romantic decadence, thrilling mystery, and gung-ho adventure as Mars.

Join Michael Moorcock, Mike Resnick, , and others in this brilliant retro anthology that turns its back on the cold, all-but-airless Mars of the Mariner probes and instead embraces an older, more welcoming, more exotic Mars: a planet of ancient canals cutting through red deserts studded with the ruined cities of dying races.

My thoughts:
Here are my thoughts then on 15 novellas in this anthology.

Martian Blood by Allen M Steele
There is life on Mars. We invade. I liked this story

The Ugly duckling by Matthew Hughes
A good story about an archaeologist on duh, Mars.

The wreck of the Mars Adventure by David D Levine
Captain Kidd takes his ship and sails to mars. Yes, that was one for the imagination.

Swords of Zar-tu-kan by S.M.Stirling
A kidnapping. A rather meh story.

Shoals by Mary Rosenblum
It started off a bit boring, but then the Martians came and it turned good.

In the tombs of the Martian Kinds by Mike Resnick.
Another one that picked up after a while, and one that I would read more about.

Out of Scarlight by Liz Williams
There had been Martians there once? or not? Good

The dead sea-bottom scrolls by Howard Waldrop
Old Mars. A travel log. meh

A man without honor by James SA Corey
A story entirely in cursive. Whyyyy?

Written in dust by Melina M Snodgrass
I get why there are Martians in every tale. It's old school, before we knew that there are no Martians. Still at least some could live underground or something so I could believe
But hey, still good story about memories, I got off track.

The lost canal by Michael Moorcock
Note to self. Do not stop reading in the middle of a short story, it's hard to get back into it.

THE SUNSTONE, by Phyllis Eisenstein
Another archaeologist finds his way. Good.

KING OF THE CHEAP ROMANCE, by Joe R. Lansdale
A girl finding danger on the ice. Weird old Mars

MARINER, by Chris Roberson
How unlucky can a man be? Ok

THE QUEEN OF NIGHT’S ARIA, by Ian McDonald
Finally a bit of war. We have been way too friendly so far, and humans are not that nice.

Conclusion:
Some good ones, some I wanted more of, some ok ones. You know, the usual find in an anthology. There are always styles you like, styles you do not care for, and styles you did not know you would enjoy, and did.

These are not about Mars now. Instead we have to believe that we knew less about Mars, back to the time where Mars could have held all kinds of wonders. Martians, cities, you name it.

Interesting read, and well, I am all Marsed out now.


Paperback, 512 pages
Published September 25th 2015 by Titan Books (first published October 8th 2013)
Anthology, Science fiction
For review


Monday, 28 September 2015

Dark Secrets Anthology

MARION, MISSING by Rachel Caine 
Valentine is a detective with two major problems: he's been offered a kidnapping case that will probably get him killed, and his partner won't let him turn it down. He owes her that much … since his partner's a ghost, and he's the one who killed her. 

FEMME FATALE by Cynthia Eden 
PI Mick Swayne has seen it all—his clients have included liars, thieves, and even killers. He thinks he can handle anything and anyone. Then she walks into his office. Savannah Moreau is beautiful, seductive, and…a vampire? The gorgeous vamp hires Mick to help her track down a killer who is hunting in Chicago, but as Mick slips deeper into Savannah’s paranormal world, he wonders if he can really trust his new client… 

DANCE WITH THE DEVIL by Megan Hart 
Kathleen Murphy has sold her soul to the devil. Fame, fortune, success...everything she's ever dreamed of is hers, and all she has to do is the devil's bidding. When love comes knocking, the last thing in the world she wants to do is involve Jake in her twisted world, but the devil's started up the jukebox and Kathleen has no choice but to learn the steps. 

THE CONSORT by Suzanne Johnson 
Faulkner Hearne, the captain of the ruthless Fae Hunters, finds his duty at odds with his heart when he’s ordered to capture the consort of Faerie’s cruel Prince of Summer when she flees across the veil into modern New Orleans. Can Faulk turn Liandra over to a certain death at the hands of the prince, or will he risk a war with Faerie in order to save her? 


HEART’S BLOOD by Jeffe Kennedy, a Twelve Kingdoms novella 
Nix is nothing. The Princess Natilde—her former waiting woman—attacked her on the journey to wed Prince Cavan, stripping her of everything and taking her place. With no serving skills, Nix becomes a goose girl. Perhaps if Nix keeps her promise never to reveal who she really is, Natilde won’t carry out her vile threats. Prince Cavan entered his arranged marriage determined to have a congenial, if not loving relationship with his future queen—for the sake of both their kingdoms. But, his wife repels him more each day and he finds himself absurdly drawn to the lovely Nix. 

THE DJINN IN THE MIRROR by Mina Khan, a Djinn World novella 
Dahlia, the step-daughter of a power hungry wizard, promises to free a djinn trapped in a mirror if he rescues her from impending death. But Ashmael the djinn has his own agenda: to trick & seduce his way to freedom. The only problem is he ends up falling for Dahlia. Can he win his freedom and save the girl? 

My thoughts:
A few short stories/novellas with darkness in them.

Marion missing by Rachel Caine 
PI Val tries to find who killed his partner Tilde. Mystery murder and darkness. Good. 

Femme fatale by Cynthia Eden
A vamp and a PI. Kind of boring. I started skimming, even though it was only a novella.

Dance with the devil by Megan Hart
It started off a bit meh, but turned interesting. The devil is cruel.

The consort by Suzanne Johnson
A fae running from a fae prince. I liked this story

Heart's blood by Jeffe Kennedy
It was really good and all, but I just read another retelling of the goose girl, so I was never surprised.

The djinn in the mirror by Mina Khan
I liked the djinn world the best. Would love a book about that. The rest of the story was good, but not as good as the djinn world.

Conclusion:
Some I liked more, some I likes less. But that is the thing with anthologies. There are always the ones you like more, and the ones that might not fit your style. The 3 last were my favorites. Must be because of the fantasy elements.  You all know I love that.

Kindle Edition, 300-400?
Expected publication: September 29th 2015
Anthology UF/paranormal/fantasy
For review


Sunday, 27 September 2015

Joint Discussion: Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope





This month Carole and I will be reading "Sense & Sensibility" by Joanna Trollope.


Author: Joanna Trollope
Title: Sense and Sensibility (Jane Austen Project)
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary set, & Retellings
Pages: 362
First Published: Jan 2013
Where I Got It: Borrowed from library


John Dashwood promised his dying father that he would take care of his half sisters. But his wife, Fanny, has no desire to share their newly inherited estate with Belle Dashwood's daughters. When she descends upon Norland Park with her Romanian nanny and her mood boards, the three Dashwood girls-Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret-are suddenly faced with the cruelties of life without their father, their home, or their money.



As they come to terms with life without the status of their country house, the protection of the family name, or the comfort of an inheritance, Elinor and Marianne are confronted by the cold hard reality of a world where people's attitudes can change as drastically as their circumstances.



With her sparkling wit, Joanna Trollope casts a clever, satirical eye on the tales of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. Reimagining Sense and Sensibility in a fresh, modern new light, she spins the novel's romance, bonnets, and betrothals into a wonderfully witty coming-of-age story about the stuff that really makes the world go around. For when it comes to money, some things never change. . . .




B: I do like Jane Austen fiction, and I have read quite a few *coughs A LOT* so of course I had to try to get one in ;) let’s start.

C: I do love some Jane Austen fiction myself! I especially love “what if” versions. SO. What did you think of this one?

B: Trollope can write, I will give her credit for that. It was a modern version of Sense and Sensibility, BUT, I wish some things could have been changed. Now it was just what it was, a modern version of a version we already know.

C: Yes, it certainly was a modern twist on the classic. Sadly, S&S was my least favorite of the Austen novels. So, yes, I enjoyed the ride, but it was a meh for me ultimately.

B: True, it has never been a favorite of mine either. Maybe that is why I wanted things to change. You know, spice things up. What I would do first is to have Brandon and Eleanor end up together. I have never understood him and Marianne. Ok he had the hots for her cos she was young and pretty, but she just gave up. What do you think?

C: Oooh! I completely agree! I always root for that couple! They make more sense and it would be a great relationship. I can see it ending badly for Marianne and Brandon. Even if it was modern. Honestly, I always think of them of the couple from that movie with Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey (Eternal Sunshine). They had a great month and great sex, but it ends up in flames, because SHE gets bored. Silly girl even in the modern version. smh.

B: I can see that. She will get bored, and she has an affair with Willoughby again, cos she still want him, and he still wants her. Brandon gets depressed and they all die. See, Brandon and Eleanor needs to be a couple! Marianne is young, she could find someone. And Ferrars is an idiot who can make his mind up, he could find someone else too. I never saw the love between E and him either. OH, and I wanted their mum to find someone too ;)

C: The mom was a silly woman too, but yes, I wanted her to end up with someone. Maybe Ferrars? hehehe But yes...poor Brandon. :/ Speaking of Eleanor, what did you think of the occupation the author gave her? I did not think it fit her and it seemed so unsensible! xI

B: I on the other hand thought it was a sensible choice. She likes it to be clean so she draws clean lines. Eh, it fits. I did not mind. Though I never loved her. I liked her, but none of the characters made me love them

C: I would have made her a lawyer or office girl or something organized and clean. I like Eleanor, but I didn’t connect with her (like I did in the original) or with anyone for that matter. Part of the reason it was a meh for me.

B: I did find it to be good. Even if I wished she had taken chances with the story. I do want to read more of the variations, but I guess they are all like this. No one changes anything.

C: It was a fun ride and it was to revisit the characters in a different, modern light. Yes, she should have taken some chances. I am curious to check out the others. Maybe I’ll like the other ones. Has she written the “Persuasion” one yet? It’s my favorite of the Austen’s.

B: They are all done by different authors, and there is Emma, Northanger Abbey already done and Pride in the works.

C: Hmmm, maybe we can do another one someday? haha. Maybe save Emma for last (I wasn’t a huge fan of that one).

B: Emma, well that works in the “olden days” ;) but a modern bossy Emma. Yikes, she would be somewhat of a bitch wouldn’t she?

C: That is why I am scared to check that one out! hahahaha. *shudders* But did you have anything else to add?

B: Hmm, no. I enjoyed it, I wish she had taken chances. That is all. I still want to check the other famous authors doing variations. But my heart belongs to Pride and P variations set when they should be set :)

C: Agreed. It’ll be cool to check out the others. You know what...I’ve never read a “Persuasion” variation! o_o I wonder if there are any out there!? I haven’t even thought about looking.

B: I do want to read one too! Everyone is so PP focused, but it would be cool

C: Maybe I’ll hunt one down for the future ;)

B: Yes :) And remember to pick a book now

C: Will do! The end?

B: The end.




Saturday, 26 September 2015

#FitReaders: Weekly Check-In Sept 24 2015 and DNFs

#FitReaders is hosted by Geeky Bloggers Book Blog  and That’s What I’m Talking About.

Join in :D

Sat 1 h walk
Sun 1 h walk. 6 km bike
Mon 4 km bike. 30 min walk
Tue 20 min walk. 6 km bike. 1 h body combat
Wed 8 km bike. 1 h zumba
Thu, 8 km bike. 45 zumba toning
Fri, 8 km bike. 15 min walk. 1 h yoga
Sat, 1.45 h walk

Good week :)


DNF TIME

Ok so one reason why there are so many now is because I am getting to the bottom of my TBR pile. All those books that have been there for years.

The other reason is that I am also getting to the last of the books on my e-reader. And with last I mean those on it. I still have 1500 more to read on my computer. That is why ok is not good enough.



1. Darcy takes a plunge
Not all JAFF can draw me in. DNF

2. The rogue hunters are not as funny as the argenau books :/  Dnf

3. It felt meh so I gave up.

4. Dream stone
 I really have lost all patience with ok books. DNF. There are better ones out there

5. Eh, why did I give up? Oh right, it was ok. I want more. I got many more freebies to read

6. Eh, why did I give up? Oh right, it was ok. I want more. I got many more freebies to read

7. So I never got to the part where why her mum was so angry (only for that? stupid) cos yes I gave up, but silly.

8. Yawn, dnf

9. This one had more promise (it was a dnf day), bit still could not compel me to read it


Friday, 25 September 2015

Author Post and Giveaway: Clare Chase

Today I have a post from Clare Chase (I reviewed her book earlier this month ;)

Settings for suspense
One of my favourite parts of planning a new novel is deciding what settings to use. Under this umbrella, I have fun considering where the story should take place geographically, in which season, and in what social context. The social context involves working out where my heroine will live and work.

With my debut novel, You Think You Know Me, one setting governed another, and each related to my chosen genre – mystery fiction, with suspense and romantic intrigue. 

Social context
I decided I wanted to set my story in the arts world. It’s perfect for a mystery: you get paintings that exchange hands for millions, bitter rivalries between artists, and private buyers who are desperate to possess something unique. And it’s big business in the criminal world: proceeds from arts and antiques crime are second only to those from drugs in the UK. 

So the main connections my heroine has are in the arts world. But I also wanted her to have friends outside work, who could lend some perspective, so I set her up in a shared town house.

Geographical setting
This followed on from the social setting. I had to have most of my story taking place in a city where it would be natural to find fashionable art galleries, frequented by wealthy people. London was the obvious choice for me. I went to university there, and I still like to visit as often as possible. I love the buzz created by the hubbub and crowds; there’s always something going on, day and night.

But at the same time, London has its eerie side. There are so many people that it’s relatively easy to blend in with the crowds; handy for anyone who’s up to no good. And it’s hard to tell if you’re being followed when there are thirty people behind you, rather than just one, on a lonely country road. 

Later on in the story, though, I wanted to isolate my heroine, away from her home territory. Anna travels up to the Lake District in her search for the truth. This location was perfect for the point in my story where danger closes in. Mobile phone coverage is very patchy, and that proved handy for my plot, though not in the way you might imagine… It’s also a part of the country that can put you at a disadvantage if you don’t know your way around. An enemy who’s familiar with the territory has a good chance of catching you up, however fast you negotiate the hairpin bends… 

And then there’s the area’s lonely beauty. It’s a part of the country I love, but in the right sort of conditions, it can feel threatening. The weather can close in very quickly, and even though the vast slabs of rock disappear into the clouds, you still feel their presence. Meanwhile the lakes themselves, blue and benign on a calm summer’s day, take on a whole different feel when they turn steel grey in stormy weather.

Seasonal setting
You Think You Know Me starts on Halloween, and by the time my heroine travels north, it’s close to Christmas. Again, choosing autumn going into winter worked well for the story I wanted to tell. It meant the parties in London could be glittery affairs after dark, and it’s always creepier if you run into trouble after the sun’s gone down…  It also heightened the tension once my heroine travels to the Lake District. The summer holiday season is long past, the Christmas one not yet begun, so the area’s relatively empty, with inclement weather, and dark, deserted roads. 

And when my heroine comes out the other side, it’s nice to find Christmas is in sight; it’s a romantic time of year and she’s more than ready for a season of celebration. Those life and death adventures are exhausting…

Thanks so much for having me on your blog!

Thank you Clare!

Giveaway
1 e-copy of You think you know me

1. Open to everyone
2. Ends Oct 3rd
3. Enter by commenting
PS. Do remember, if I can't find you, you can't win


Thursday, 24 September 2015

Beyond the veil and Lady Falls

“They say I’m half a demon, but I like to think of myself as half human, especially as the demons want me dead.”

Charlie Henderson is living a lie. Her real name is Muse and her attempt at a normal life is about to go up in smoke. 

When a half-demon assassin walks into her life, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake, Muse must return to the one man she hoped never to see again and ask for help. The Prince of Greed isn’t known for his charity. The price is high and the cost could tear her apart.

Trapped between the malevolent intentions of a Prince of Hell, a bounty-hunter with ulterior motives and all of demon-kind, Muse must embrace the lure of chaos at her core; the demon inside her, in order to survive.

If your ex is the Prince of Greed, you’d better be ready to raise hell. 

My thoughts:
I think I enjoyed this one the most until she meet a certain group of people. I wish they had not been included. Which means book will be about them a lot, and that makes me feel meh...

Anyway. Muse is a halfdemon and someone is trying to kill her. I did like that she was pretty messed up after having been a slave. Ok that sounds bad. Let me rephrase that. She has a real inner demon, and INNER demons. She had stuff to work through.

What she also has was one hot hot demon who wanted to help her, and do her. I get it, I was not supposed to like Akil. But I liiiiiiiiiiiiiked him. He was one fine prince of hell. She will end up with some boring other guy. Sucks for sure.

Conclusion:
But even though I enjoyed it, will I read more? Doubtful. The series is taking another turn 

Kindle Edition, 1st Edition, 250 pages
Published February 7th 2014
The Veil #1
Urban fantasy
Own


Raven Wells is no ordinary girl. Plucked from an orphanage by a scheming earl, she has been raised like a thoroughbred, groomed for one purpose: Revenge. Unfortunately, the Earl of Trent never let her in on the plan, so when she meets the man of her dreams, Sir Phillip Warrick, she has no idea that every lesson, every tutor and every impulsive inch of her was crafted for his seduction and destruction. What she does know is that love is the prize she wants most and that nothing should stand in a woman’s way to getting what she wants. 

Phillip Warrick is simply trying to recover his friendship with the earl, unaware that the man has spent years laying the foundation for destroying Phillip’s peace of mind. What he does know is that the earl’s ward, Raven Wells, is mesmerizing, fascinating and apparently without reserve. Witty, beautiful, impulsive and impossible—she is like a siren beckoning him to forget the rules and seize only the pleasures of the moment. 

Together, their love will set in motion a series of events that no one can foresee. Revenge creates more than one victim, but also more than one winner. Raven Wells will be transformed into a force of nature the likes of which Victorian London has never experienced before. LADY FALLS is the birth of the Black Rose and the end of innocence. 

My thoughts:
The first 100 pages were good, I could look past things, but then the 100 after I just could not turn a blind eye to things anymore.

Raven is the most naive girl ever. Fine I know it's historical romance, but you have known him for a few days and boom, there goes the virginity. It was just too fast. And I am so tired of reading about men encountering virginal barriers and pushing through. Those poor women.

Anyway Raven met Phillip. Oh how they fancied each other. But her benefactor has plans for her. Which I saw through at once. And then it got depressing! And that was the end of book 1. And if you forgive him, which you will. You stupid woman.

Conclusion:
Started good, ended not so good. Will not read more.


Kindle Edition, 186 pages
Published June 23rd 2014
Black Rose Trilogy #1
Historical romance
Own


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Rosie Hopkin's Sweet Shop of Dreams - Jenny Colgan

Were you a sherbet lemon or chocolate lime fan? Penny chews or hard boiled sweeties (you do get more for your money that way)? The jangle of your pocket money ...the rustle of the pink and green striped paper bag ...Rosie Hopkins thinks leaving her busy London life, and her boyfriend Gerard, to sort out her elderly Aunt Lilian's sweetshop in a small country village is going to be dull. Boy, is she wrong. Lilian Hopkins has spent her life running Lipton's sweetshop, through wartime and family feuds. As she struggles with the idea that it might finally be time to settle up, she also wrestles with the secret history hidden behind the jars of beautifully coloured sweets. Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop of Dreams - a novel - with recipes. 

My thoughts:
Rosie goes to stay with her great aunt Lillian, who owns a sweet shop. A sweet shop that has stood empty since Lillian is not feeling well. Mmm candy! Yes there was a lot of candy mentioned in this book, especially since every chapter started with that.

A nice little village where everyone knows each other. 
A store that can get on its feet again.
A woman looking for a second chance.
A man looking for healing.
Aunt L looking back at her own love life, oh btw, I did not like that the flashbacks were in cursive. Her life made me a bit sad. She said she was happy, but still. Men are such eejits.
And then, Rosie looking at her own life. At her work. At her stupid boyfriend, omg, I so wanted her to ditch him. A mama's boy, who would never do anything for Rosie.

Conclusion:
It was a sweet book. It made me have candy, evil book that it was. 

Paperback, 465 pages
Published March 28th 2012 by Sphere
Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop #1
Romantic fiction
Own


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Tall, Dark and Hungry - Lynsay Sands

It bit: New York hotels cost an arm and a leg, and Terri had flown from England to help plan her cousin's wedding. The new in-laws offered lodging. But they were a weird bunch. There was the sometimes-chipper-sometimes-brooding Lucern, and the wacky stage-actor, Vincent. (She couldn't imagine Broadway casting a hungrier singing-and-dancing Dracula.). And then there was Bastien. Just looking into his eyes, Terri had to admit she was falling for him - someone even taller, darker and hungrier than the other two. She was feeling a mite peckish herself. And if she stayed with him, those bloodsucking hotel owners wouldn't get her! 

My thoughts:
What I missed most in this book was the humour. The other ones had me giggling. This one, well the humour missed its mark, if it was supposed to be humour. It was still good cos it was light, and not PNR serious. So for that it still gets an ok mark, even if it was bordering good sometimes. I just missed the giggling!

Bastien meets Terri. A cousin of Kate who is marrying Bastien's brother. Most of the book takes place during 2 weeks. Terri is helping with the wedding and Bastien is falling for her. And of course at the end there is the usual OMG YOU ARE A VAMP! Drama, well with a twist.

So they help with the wedding. Sees NY. There is kissing, there is more. There is the part that was supposed to be funny? It wasn't. And there is a HEA.

Conclusion:
I still miss the funniness. 

Cover
meh

Mass Market Paperback, Reissue, 372 pages
Published December 1st 2009 by Leisure Books (first published July 1st 2004)
Argeneau #4
Paranormal romance
Own


Monday, 21 September 2015

Foreign Devils - John Hornor Jacobs

The world is on the brink of war.

Fisk and Shoe - mercenaries, very much not wanting to get caught in the middle of a political whirlwind - must deliver a very important message, and find a very dangerous man. They have caught the eye of the powerful men of the world, and now the stakes are higher than they like.

And the Emperor has decreed that Livia Cornelius, pregnant with Fisk's child, must travel to the far lands of the Autumn Lords on a diplomatic mission. It will mean crossing half the world, and facing new dangers. And in the end, she will uncover the shocking truth at the heart of the Autumn Lords' Empire.

A truth which will make the petty politics of war and peace unimportant, and will change the world.'

My thoughts:
It is part 2, but it works as a stand alone. I had managed to forget that when I started the book. So just cos I was curious I read a few reviews about book 1. But yes it worked as a stand alone as I said. I came in with no expectations and knowing nothing about the two characters.

Shoe is the main character, a half dwarf, half human. A mercenary. His companion and friend is Fisk, the son of a traitor. Fisk is married to Livia, another main character. As her letters to Fisk tells of her journeys to a foreign land.

Oh, back up. I need to tell you what this is first. Why am I speaking of characters without mentioning the weirdness that is this book.

Right. So this takes place in a fantasy world. A fantasy world that reminds us of our world. There is Rume, ruling a vast land. There is Tchinee where Livia goes as an ambassador. And in the Ruman empire there is something that compares to the wild west. It's a steampunk world where engineers use demons to power machines. There are dwarves and elves (the latter being bloodthirsty beasts.) It's a weird world, a mix of things. Our world, so familiar, and yet not. So for this the fantasy world works, yes there is Rume. Tchinee. But it never feels like it's just borrowed from our world. It is its own world.

And in this world Fisk and Shoe tries to find an engineer on the run. Livia has her own issues as the emperor is angry with her family.

It took some getting into, mostly cos it was so strange. But then it became hard to put down and the end! Damn that emperor! Yes it does end with a cliffie. I thought it would be settled, but nope. It will make you want more.

Conclusion:
Such an interesting world.

Paperback, 480 pages
Published September 17th 2015 by Gollancz
Fantasy
for review


Sunday, 20 September 2015

Carole's Sunday review: My brother Sam is dead - James and Christopher Collier


Author: James & Christopher Collier
Title: My Brother Sam is Dead
Genre: Historical Fiction & YA
Pages: 240
First Published: 1974
Where I Got It: My shelf (From a Book Fair when I was like 12)

All his life, Tim Meeker has looked up to his brother Sam. Sam's smart and brave -- and is now a part of the American Revolution. Not everyone in town wants to be a part of the rebellion. Most are supporters of the British -- including Tim and Sam's father.

With the war soon raging, Tim know he'll have to make a choice -- between the Revolutionaries and the Redcoats . . . and between his brother and his father.



It has been yeaaaaaaaaaaars this I've read this. I believe I got this book when I was young. At the time I was super into the American Revolution. This was one of my first full novels in regards to the war. It was a different viewpoint and I loved it. A young boy is stuck between his father's ideals of being loyal to the King and his older brother's ideals for freedom from tyranny. They both make great points and both are wrong in many aspects.



What I loved and do still love about this is that it shows the American soldiers in the true light: they are human and not really different from the British. It's not a spoiler, so I'll say it. Sam is arrested by the American army for stealing cows. They want to execute him even though the proof is right there in their faces that he is innocent. Poor Sam. But yes, its beautiful that the novel took the American army off their "hero" pedestal and showed the reader that they are not perfect and amazing. They are simply men who make mistakes and can be as brutal and heartless as the British soldiers.

This is labeled as a YA and it is. There are some spots where it becomes very, very adult-ish. I would recommend not having anyone under 10 read this due to those scenes and the couple of swear words that pop up here and there. My only real complaint is the dry spots throughout the book. There was a couple that made me bored. Ugh. Once they were over, I was hooked. 

I feel SO bad for the mom. She is caught in the cross fire between son and father. She loves both, but she can't really do anything. :/

The irony! The son, Sam, and the father succumb to SO much irony in this. Like Sam being killed for those who supported and fought with. Even when I was younger and just learning that literary device was like "holy cow! There is so much of that irony thing in there".


Ooooh, the ending was good. I loved the ending still. Especially the epilogue. Even though I was and am a huge fanatic of this war, I still wonder if there wasn't an easier and better way to gain independence from England. I'm sure there was, but it would have taken more time. No families would been torn apart and so many people's lives would have been spared. 

In the end, this was a nice re-read for me. I still really like this book. It was one of my first American Revolution novels that I read. Honestly, it helped keep my peek in the time period alive. There are a couple dry spots and a couple non-YA scenes, but it was still good. I highly recommend this for those that like the time period and for those that have kids that are 10+. If your kid has any interest in history or the American Revolution, have them read this. 

I shall stamp this with 4 stars.










Saturday, 19 September 2015

#FitReaders Check-In: September 18, 2015


Join in :D


Sat, 1 h walk
Sun, 50 min walk
Mon, 4 km bike, 30 min walk
Tue, 8 km bike, 1 h workout class
Wed, 4 km bike, 1 h zumba
Thu, 8 km bike, 45 zumba toning
Fri, 4 km bike

And my cold is back. The curse of working where I work.



Friday, 18 September 2015

Author Interview and Giveaway: Rhoda Baxter

Today's interview is with Rhoda Baxter. Welcome!

1. Please tell me about yourself.
Hello, I’m Rhoda. I live in the north of England with my family, where I like to read, write, bake cakes and gaze wistfully at those clothes I’m not going to fit in again. When I’m not doing that, or at work, I write romantic comedy for Choc Lit. 

2. And your new book, Please release me.
Please Release Me is about Sally, who is trapped in a coma; Peter who is trapped in a limbo of not knowing if his wife will ever recover, and Grace, who is struggling to get back to being ’normal’ after years of being a carer. It’s set in a hospice and deals with the emotions involved when someone you love is chronically ill, but, because I write comedy, there are lighter moments. I firmly believe that humour can mix with darkness, if only to make the darkness more bearable.

3.  A woman in a coma. That is different. Where did the inspiration come from?
The book arose from a dream. I woke up with an image of two women, sitting together, one in a wedding gown. I knew (in that way that you just know in dreams) that the women needed each other. I also knew that the women in the wedding dress was a ghost. 
I worked backwards from that image to work out who they were, why they needed each other and who the man was who was pulling them together and pushing them apart at the same time.
Although Sally is in a coma for most of the book, she is very much present. She can hear what’s going on, but can’t respond and, being the sort of person that she is, this makes her very angry. Sally was a really fun character to write.

4.  Was it difficult getting to the HEA in this one?
Oh yes. I wrote three separate endings before I found one that worked. The book starts ten months after Sally’s wedding, when Sally’s been in a coma for ten months. She’s starting to hear things and piece together what’s going on, and things have changed. Peter has changed. 
Thankfully, Sally’s not the sort to take things lying down. 

5.  Tell us 3 things about Sally...
1. She works as an estate agent, but has an eye for interior design. If you want someone to tell you how to make the most of the light in your living room, Sally’s your woman.
2. She’s angry with the world. Oh boy, is she angry.
3. She loves forget-me-nots because they remind her of her dad.

6. And to something else, what are you working on right now?
I’m currently writing a book about Sahan, a middle class young man, who is a student with a promising future, who falls in love with his cousin’s nanny. The nanny (I keep changing her name because I haven’t found the perfect fit yet) has her own secret. This book is different from my other books because all the main characters are Sri Lankan. 

I like setting books in fictionalised versions of places, so I’ve set the book in the Avenues in Hull, not too far from where I work. It’s beautiful round there.

Thank you!


Book Giveaway
E-book of Please release me

1. Open to everyone in the world
2. Ends Sep 26
3. Enter by commenting

Blurb:
What if you could only watch as your bright future slipped away from you?

Sally Cummings has had it tougher than most but, if nothing else, it’s taught her to grab opportunity with both hands. And, when she stands looking into the eyes of her new husband Peter on her perfect wedding day, it seems her life is finally on the up.

That is until the car crash that puts her in a coma and throws her entire future into question.

In the following months, a small part of Sally’s consciousness begins to return, allowing her to listen in on the world around her – although she has no way to 1. Please tell me about yourself?

Hello, I’m Rhoda. I live in the north of England with my family, where I like to read, write, bake cakes and gaze wistfully at those clothes I’m not going to fit in again. When I’m not doing that, or at work, I write romantic comedy for Choc Lit. 


Thursday, 17 September 2015

Xeelee: Endurance - Stephen Baxter

Return to the eon-spanning and universe-crossing conflict between humanity and the unknowable alien Xeelee in this selection of uncollected and unpublished stories, newly edited and placed in chronological reading order.

From tales charting the earliest days of man's adventure to the stars to stories of Old Earth, four billion years in the future, the range and startling imagination of Baxter is always on display. As humanity rises and falls, ebbs and flows, one thing is always needed - the ability to endure.

Contains eleven short stories and novellas.

My thoughts:
A couple of novellas, a couple of short stories, spanning billions of years of mankind's expansion of space. I did say I wanted to try more sci-fi, and branch out in my sci.fi. I think I have done pretty well over the summer with that.

Return to Titan
I was hooked  at once, and the end. Omg. The end! I wanna know more. But this is just the early days of space exploration. And this trip was about the Moon Titan. Intriguing and good.

Spacefall
The first galactic war. So I get why the war began, still asshole way of doing it.

Remembrance
This was a good one. I could not stop reading. The squeem came and conquered earth. It was hellish.

Endurance
The Qax occupation. Poor earth, but they do seem better than the Squeem.

The seer and the silverman
Humans are free and they are now the conquerors. And they are not nicer than the ones that conquered them.

Gravity Dreams
Ad 978,225. They find people in a beta universe.

Periondry's quest
AD 3,8 billion years. Humans are turning creepy and weird.

Climbing the blue
Earth is so weird now. The rest of space seems to be lost.

The time pit
We are now so far into the future that I can not relate to them as humans, even though they are.

The lowland expedition
As in a few earlier stories, earth has time zones (in an effort to same them from aliens). And by this I mean that if you go up you can be away for 40 years, but only 1 year pass below. And in this story they visit a timepit and find strange strange things. Earth is messed up!!

Formidable caress
5 billions years.
As time pass humans seem to be going backwards. Technology lost and found again. Nothing new getting done. Buildings are alive and ruling. Scary future.


As you can see, the more time that passed, the more bizarre it got. Humans had spread back over the universe, and then they died and earth was left. But humans stayed as before. Idiots all of them.

Conclusion:
I could not put it down. First there were invasions. Then we invaded space. Then things got weird. So interesting.

Cover
it does look sci.fi

Hardcover, 448 pages
Expected publication: September 17th 2015
Sci fi
For review


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Diver's clothes lie empty - Vendela Vida

In Vendela Vida’s taut and mesmerizing novel of ideas, a woman travels to Casablanca, Morocco, on mysterious business. Almost immediately, while checking into her hotel, she is robbed, her passport and all identification stolen. The crime is investigated by the police, but the woman feels there is a strange complicity between the hotel staff and the authorities—she knows she’ll never see her possessions again.

Stripped of her identity, she feels both burdened by the crime and liberated by her sudden freedom to be anyone at all. Then, a chance encounter with a film crew provides an intriguing opportunity: A producer sizes her up and asks, would she be willing to be the body-double for a movie star filming in the city? And so begins a strange journey in which she’ll become a stand-in—both on-set and off—for a reclusive celebrity who can no longer circulate freely in society while gradually moving further away from the person she was when she arrived in Morocco.

My thoughts:
You go into this book thinking you know what will happen. But you are wrong, and realize that you do not know anything. You do not even know who is speaking, or if you are you.

Ok so the whole point with that was to show how the book is written in 2nd POV. At first I was a bit what? I can't even remember the last thing I read anything in 2nd POV. But in the end it did help with the dilemma the main character is facing.

The main character, who has no name, since we are on the outside and in her head. She comes to Casablanca, her things gets stolen. She takes on another persona. She gets a job all the sudden. She wonders about her stolen persona. She is lying to everyone. And then we found out that she is also lying to herself. Little by little the pieces fall aside and we learn about her. That is when I really started to feel sorry for her.

The book feels intense even though it's short and not intense. It might feels so cos we are stuck in her head. You feel what you feel.

The end was rather sudden, I did want more. But I wish her the best.

Conclusion:
Enjoyable. 

Cover
eh

Paperback, 224 pages
Expected publication: September 17th 2015 by Atlantic Books
Fiction
for review


Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Charlotte - Karen Aminadra

When Charlotte Lucas married Mr Collins, she did not love him but had at least secured her future. However, what price must she pay for that future? She once said she was not romantic, but how true is that now after almost one year of marriage? 

Mr Collins is submissive in the extreme to his patroness, and his constant simpering, fawning and deference to the overbearing and manipulative Lady Catherine de Bourgh is sure to try the patience of a saint, or at least of Charlotte. 

As Charlotte becomes part of Hunsford society, she discovers she is not the only one who has been forced to submit to the controlling and often hurtful hand of Lady Catherine.  She feels trapped and realises her need for love and affection. She is not as content as she once thought she would be. The easiest thing to do would be to maintain the peace and do as she is told. But as Charlotte witnesses the misery around her due to her inimitable neighbour, she must decide to remain as she is or to begin a chain of events that will change not only her life but also the lives of those around her in the village of Hunsford forever. 

But...after all, doesn't every girl deserve a happy ending? 

My thoughts:
So this was Charlotte's book. It takes place after Lizzy and Darcy married. And someone is maaaaaaaaaaaaaaad. Lady Catherine is such an idiot.

This book then. Charlotte finds herself content, but wishing for more. So she tries her best to change her simpering fool. But he is as we all know all about Lady C. BUT, he does change, slowly over time. And to my surprise I even found myself liking him...but it did take to the end ;)

We have Charlotte trying to teach Collins some manners. We have Lady C ruling with an iron fist. And we have the good people of the village.

What I did not like was a certain situation C found herself in. I could have approved, but not after certain things that happened. It felt really strange.

Conclusion:
But all in all, I enjoyed it.

Cover ok

Kindle Edition, Second Edition, 348 pages
Published August 3rd 2012 by Carriage Publishing
Pride & Prejudice Continues #1
Pride and Prejudice sequel
Own


Monday, 14 September 2015

The Mage Storms - Mercedes Lackey

Karse and Valdemar have long been enemy kingdoms, until they are forced into an uneasy alliance to defend their lands from the armies of Eastern Empire, which is ruled by a monarch whose magical tactics may be beyond any sorcery known to the Western kingdoms. Forced to combat this dire foe, the Companions of Valdemar may, at last, have to reveal secrets which they have kept hidden for centuries... even from their beloved Heralds. 

My thoughts:
This is an omnibus with 3 books from the obvious trilogy that it is.

First up we have Storm Warning.
In this one I realised that there has been 2 trilogies before this one, my bad. So yes some people and events are totally new to me. But what was good is that it's from the pov of Karal. A priest from another country. So we meet everyone through his eyes, and I am saved that way. This book was mostly build up. 2 countries wants to make peace. An empire wants to destroy them all, and storms are coming with devastating effects.

Storm Rising is book 2
This book mostly deals with the aftermath of the first storms and more storms, and people talking about what to do with the storms.
On personal fronts Karal is dealing with what his God wants of him.
His friend is having love issues
And the most interesting part. The Empire sent a man to a neighboring country to take over. They had been ruled by an idiot so they were happy about it. I liked how he came in and understood that he had to care for his new subjects. Now if he can get that he should not take over more countries, than all will be good.

Storm breaking book 3
It's a fact. Duke Tremane is the best character in this book. I found myself reading his passages fast. I like what he is doing in the country he is meant to conquer.

So, all 3 books then. Book 1 was the best. Book 2 the weakest. Book 3 has the best character arc. So for that book 3 was the best, but only when it was about Tremane. He was interesting to read about.

Still I do feel like to really understand this world, those 2 other trilogies should be read first. It took a lot of the pleasure from me when I had not read them. Also the end, yes it was an ending, people are happy. But I felt more could come. Then again I need to check that if there is more...

For Lackey lovers this is a must.

Paperback, 1000 pages
Published September 4th 2015 by Titan Books
Fantasy
For review


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