Wednesday 30 December 2009

Review: The Chosen - Ricardo Pinto

The Chosen by Ricardo Pinto
Book 1 of The Stone Dance of the Chameleon

Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 700 (paperback)
Published: 2000

Young Carnelian has spent his entire life alone with his father, who years ago rejected the savage cruelty of the Masters of Osrakum and was sent into exile. But now a ship has come flying through the winter gales to shatter his quiet world. Three Masters disembark, and as they remove their masks of gold, Carnelian is awed by the light that seems to radiate from their skin. In formal conclave they beg Carnelian's father to return with them to Osrakum to oversee the election of a new God Emperor.

And so Carnelian begins to fulfill his destiny. Along his perilous journey to the Osrakum, he is forced to learn bitter lessons in bloodshed, power, intrigue, love, and treachery--and sets in motion the concluding events in a story four thousand years old.

I sadly was not taken by this book, don't get me wrong. He is a great worldbuilder, and has created this rich and complicated race, and he is a good writer. But just because of that I do not have to fall for it.

First up is the main character whom I never connected with, a 15 year old boy who was so more humane than those other Masters that lives back in Osrakum. But I just never cared for him, or anyone in this book. I think this might be a character driven fantasy book and I have seen this year that those do not work for me. But great for those who love those kinds of books.

Also I need magic, wars and stuff in my fantasy, this could just have been in some far away and very creepy country.

The book also gave me a lot of questions and I need answers, there could have been more talk of how things where as they were. I mean the book had over 700 pages, but still I never got close to this rich world.

Also I do not want to read about a 15 year old boy having sex, especially since he always talked about the other one as a boy, did that mean he was younger? I hope not. So that did not work for me, and it felt strange since the road there was so much different than was what to come. Suddenly he was all whiny and lovestruck.

But yes do not listen to me, those were just things that did not work for me. But if you like character driven fantasy then this book is for you.

It is a story about a boy who grows up with his dad and all is fine, then the Masters come. He sees how cruel they are and when they leave for the mainland it gets worse. he might be one of them but he certainly not act like them. How anyone can live in that horrible society I do not know. There are also a lot of Eastern influences and he has built in it to make it a fantasy with those influences. Funny enough I love sic-fi like that but not fantasy. I can already imagine how cool this would have been in

So it is not the writing that did not work, it was just not the story for me. I can't like all fantasy which I have noticed.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner. Fantasy
Reason for reading: My own book
Final thoughts: Did not work for me, but I leave it up to you to make up your own mind. He is a good writer. And the world is complex.

Monday 28 December 2009

Review: Dragon Keeper - Robin Hobb

 Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb
Book 1 of the Rain Wild Chronicles

Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 560
Published: UK July 2009/ US January 2010

Dragon keeper is the newest book by Robin Hobb, and it is book one of The Rain Wild Chronicles. The next and last book in this series will be published next year. This book takes the reader back to Bingtown and the Rain Wilds and familiar characters from the Liveship books makes an appearance.

The dragon Tintaglia has called on the sea serpents and they have migrated up the river to make their cocoons. Many have died getting there and many die making them. When they finally emerge they are nothing like the magnificent dragons of the old. They are broken, deformed, they can't fly, and some do not have the minds they should have. Something has to be done when they prove a danger to the community. The dragons start to speak of the Elderling city of Kelsingra, and soon it is decided that they will be helped getting there.

On this journey are those unlucky of The Rain Wilds, and one is Thymara, born with claws and of the knowledge she should have been put out in the wild at birth. But she is fascinated by the dragons and wants to help. Leftrin, captain of the liveship Tarman also has an interest in these dragons, and last is Alise Finbrook, who has been studying ancient texts about Elderlings and dragons for years.

The dragon keepers have a long road ahead, and there are those that see a profit in dragons, and think of them as dumb cows.

The Liveships series was not my favorite out of Hobbs books, but this one was different. Perhaps because of the mysterious Rain Wilds and its strange and deformed inhabitants. I do hope that this book may give some insight why they are as they are.

It is a good start to a series even though not much happen in the book. First closer to the end they finally start their journey and the whole book up to that is about the journey there. The reader is introduced to all the characters and learns about their lives for a couple of years and what all leads them to this point in life.

One is Thymara, who knows she has no future and who watched the dragons hatch some years ago. A strong girl who wants more but is still following the traditions and ways of her elders. She does act a bit childish longer into the book, but it is to be expected. Captain Leftrin is an interesting character, and as the book moved on I forget if he had done something wrong in the past, and the friendship he seeks from Alise is a refreshing add to the book and adds a bit of hope to the book. Something I do not always expect from Hobb's books because I do know that they tend to get a bit depressing. The main characters is always suffering, and I can't help to be curious about the next book.

Her best characters has to be Alise Finbrook, a woman stuck in a loveless marriage she helped create, and with a husband who is not all he seems to be. Her only happiness is her studies, and her biggest goal is to see the dragons. I can't help to feel sorry for her for her silent suffering. And I can honestly say that I have no idea how the next book will turn out. That is Hobb's strength, because she does not give things away, not even little hints where the books are going. Everything is always a surprise.

But this is mostly a book about dragons, and one of them Sintara, plays an important part. They are born as broken as the people of the Rain Wilds, and as always you feel with them even if they are arrogant. Hobb manages to walk that fine line, and has created a good new book to her tales of this world. There are interesting characters, fascinating towns, and it is easy to follow the story. It can be gripping, and it does get exciting too. Not all see the dragons as the rulers of the sky when they look like these dragons, and that is a good set up and thoughts as you learn to like the characters.

I enjoyed this first book and I am looking forward to the next one.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner. I think this is the US cover, I have the UK one, but I prefer this one cos it it very fantasy, while the UK have a blue dragon on it and that is it
Reason For Reading: I reviewed this for the David Gemmel Legend awards for Fantasy
Final thoughts: Not as good as the Farseer books (but then I looove those), but a good number 2 with the Fool series. But Hobb always writes good fantasy

Wednesday 23 December 2009

Review: The Magical Christmas Cat - Nalini Singh and more

The Magical Christmas Cat 
Stories by Lora Leigh, Nalini Singh, Linda Winstead Jones and Erin McCarthy

Genre: Paranormal romance
Pages: 384
Published: 2008

New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh and top-selling authors Nalini Singh, Erin McCarthy, and Linda Winstead Jones have a special gift for readers this year: never-before published holiday stories featuring passionate romance, paranormal adventure, and a distinctly alluring feline touch. With four new stories - including one featuring Lora Leigh's genetically altered Feline Breeds - this is a collection packed with more surprises than Christmas morning, and more chills than the snowiest winter night.
(fantastic fiction)

I have saved this book since the spring because I wanted to read it near Christmas and I am glad I did it. It was a special feeling.

There were 4 short stories and my fav was by far Nalini Singhs story that took place in her psy changeling world. Stroke of Enticement. It is a story about Zach, a Dark Rivers soldiers, and Annie who teaches children, and who is not a changeling. It is s sweet story how they fall in love, how she is afraid to let him close and how he knows she is his mate. This story really made me want to read more Nalini Singh. And the cat in this story is then of course Zach, and what a yummy cat he is, grrrr.

My second fav, well, prehaps not fav. The next two were ok.

Lora Leigh had a story from her Feline Breeds books. Christmas Heat is the story about a librarian who hears some plans see shouldn't and Noble, the jaguar from the Sanctuary who will protect her. They seem to have been looking at each other for some time but never made a move. This story has got some danger, and love. It was ok to me, dunno of I had liked it more if I had understood the world better. Then there is this thing about the heat, and how it takes hold of you and wont let you go. Mates for life.

Christmas Bree is Erin McCarthy story about three witch sisters, and Bree is the empath. She has been having sex dreams about this guy, then someone shows up. She knows he wants her, she wants him, but they are so different. he is a lawyer, and she is a witch in strange clothes. They have a long way to go, and some sex some try first. This one was ok too. Oh and the cat here is running around with mistletoe, magic mistletoe.

Sweet Dreams by Linda Winsted Jones is the story about Ruby who owns a bakery and who gets a strange jade cat from a secret admirer. And Zane across the street who is not all what he seems to be. dark powers are at play in this story. This story was rather hm for me.

But Singh totally made this anthology for me, I so want to try her out now. I really enjoyed her changeling-psy world.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Sweet and cute.
Reason for Reading: Own book
Final thoughts: Nice sweet Christmas stories for xmas.

Sunday 20 December 2009

Review: Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready

Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready
WVMP Radio, book 1

Genre: Urban fantasy
Pages: 361
Published: 2008

Recovering con artist Ciara Griffin is trying to live the straight life, even if it means finding a (shudder!) real job. She takes an internship at a local radio station, whose late-night time-warp format features 1940s blues, 60s psychedelia, 80s Goth, and more, all with an uncannily authentic flair. Ciara soon discovers how the DJs maintain their cred: they’re vampires, stuck forever in the eras in which they were turned. 

Ciara’s first instinct, as always, is to cut and run. But communications giant Skywave wants to buy WMMP and turn it into just another hit-playing clone. Without the station—and the link it provides to their original Life Times—the vampires would “fade,” becoming little more than mindless ghosts of the past. Suddenly a routine corporate takeover becomes a matter of life and un-death. To boost ratings and save the lives of her strange new friends, Ciara re-brands the station as “WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock ’n’ Roll.” In the ultimate con, she hides the DJs’ vampire nature in plain sight, disguising the bloody truth as a marketing gimmick. WVMP becomes the hottest thing around—next to Ciara’s complicated affair with grunge vamp Shane McAllister. But the “gimmick” enrages a posse of ancient and powerful vampires who aren’t so eager to be brought into the light. Soon the stakes are higher—and the perils graver—than any con game Ciara’s ever played…

I am feeling very uninspired to write a review right now, so I doubt I will have much to say but I will give it a go.

Ok so Ciara is pretty tough and can take care of herself, she con people and take their money to pay for tuition and she didn't exactly have a normal childhood. She is studying at college and she needs a job for it, an internship at this radio station could be something. Oh yes a radio station where the djs are vampires, I do like that idea and how that have stayed in their own time period and that they do not live forever. They just loose touch with reality. I also like  that they have OCD in order to keep focus on things. This is an interesting takes on vampires and I appreciate the freshness of it.

Then there is Shane, the grunge vampire who falls for her. Sad thing here is that I see no future what so ever for them. He will be stuck in his time and perhaps make it a bit longer thanks to her, but still. Though there is hope so perhaps she will get that HEA. Or perhaps she will date a nice normal human, there is one. But I like Shane, he has no excuses.

There is a bit of romance, there is a bit of danger since there are those big bad vampires out there that do not appreciate this gimmick.

It is an easy flowing book, it feels nice to read it. Strange really since I would place it at ok, but I still read it really fast. So it is good (even if just ok for me) but I know that others would enjoy this book, and yes I would like to read the next book too. It is one of those strange ok books that I still wanna read more off. And I love a book that I can just read easily without thinking, a book that reads itself. It keeps me focused, something always happens.

I also like that each chapter is the name of a song.

Yup that was my not so inspiring review, but nice book, that is all I say.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner. Not liking it, mostly cos I can't see her eyes.
Reason for Reading: My own book
Final thoughts: Never anything wrong with some UF, and if book 2 would come my way I would happily read it.

Friday 18 December 2009

Review: Seducing a Scottish bride - Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Seducing a Scottish Bride by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Genre: Historical Romance Paranormal
Pages: 400
Published: March 2009

Gelis MacKenzie is one of the most desirable heiresses in all the Western Highlands. She is the youngest and much adored daughter of the indomitable Black Stag of Kintail, Duncan MacKenzie. 

But now Duncan has received an offer for Gelis's hand in marriage that he is honor-bound to accept-and it comes from the worst possible quarter. The suitor, Ronan MacRuari of Castle Dare, is the last man Duncan MacKenzie would wish for a son-in-law. Known as the Raven, Ronan is the scion of a dark clan that has been marked by a deadly curse. Ronan and Gelis are instantly attracted to one another, but they are immediately estranged. Ronan's last two wives have died abruptly and he doesn't want to see his vivacious newly-wed Gelis suffer the same fate, so he distances himself from her as much as possible. In the meantime, Ronan searches for the Raven Stone, a fabled treasure that he believes holds the power of the curse over his clan. But Gelis has fallen in love with her new husband, and she's determined to help him. Though Ronan doesn't know it, Gelis also has the gift of second-sight, and she has seen a future in which she is destined to help redeem her cursed husband.

First I do must say that the title is rather incorrect, it should more be Seducing a Scottish groom, because Ronan tried everything not to seduce her, and she on the other hand tries everything to seduce him.

I do love Scotland, and who doesn't love Scots who do not wear anything under that plaid. How they got anything done is beyond me. But ok enough with what they wear.

Ronan is dark and brooding, he has lost 2 wives and the castle and grounds are a dangerous place since there is a ancient curse over the family. I did think just like Gelis here, curse, tsk, but then it kind of changed. No there is a curse, there is magic and druids and power therefore the paranormal in the genre category too. Because else I do not know how to describe a mist snake and bull with red eyes. There is true magic here, but then the Highlands have always been enchanted.

Gelis is strong spirited, she has the sight, and the sees a raven, when she then hears she is bound to marry Ronan MacRuari she welcomes the idea, even if her father does not. She goes to the dark castle with open arms. Of course Ronan wants nothing to do with her, he is afraid of her dying, and she, well she knwo they are meant to be.

There is magic in the air, and foul play, and she tries her best and seducing him. She sure knows whats she wants and is not afraid to take it. Though someone who wants some hot romance soon must wait, and wait, and wait, the first kiss comes way into the second half of the book. But I do not mind it. It is keeping with character, even is the passion is sizzling underneath and he seems to be obsessed with her hair.

The language is pretty easy flowing, but there is something that could bother people, and which has me wondering sometimes. It is not that they like to say Scottish words, no, it is the spelling of Scottish as they said it with a Scottish accent.

A cute romance with two strong characters, some kilts, and some magic.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: I am not saying no to a kilt ;)
Reason for reading: My own book
Final thoughts. A nice little romance

Thursday 17 December 2009

Review: Paradise Rules - Beth Kery

This comes from an idea Parajunkee @ Parajunkees View had. So I too will put up a little warning sign. And look, now and went and found a sparkling one, lol. So people know, and hey perhaps some will come over faster ;)

Paradise Rules by Beth Kery

Genre: Romance
Pages: 336
Published: October 2009

She didn’t believe in paradise…

To most people Hawaii’s crystal blue shores are an inviting opportunity to escape reality. But for Lana Rodriguez who grew up there, the picture-perfect vacation getaway disguises the bitter truths she escaped years ago, and not without some emotional scars. Now a successful blues singer, Lana’s returning to Waikiki with a different outlook on the past, and a bold defiance when it comes to men, romance, and sex. This time, it’s on her terms.

Until she found it in him.

Local celebrity, businessman and island god, Jason Koa, may be every woman’s dream. For Lana, it’s not exactly love at first sight. Though their start is rocky, they can’t deny the passions they arouse in each other. Jason refuses to become Lana’s pawn. It’s time to show her who makes the rules on this island—and in the bedroom. But will Jason’s attempt at breaking Lana’s shell reveal secrets that neither are prepared to face, or will they allow themselves to get swept away by a tidal wave of desire?

Oh, oh, what can I say other than my fingers burned cos of this book. Yes it is one of those books that puts fire to the room. Very hot, scorching.

These two dislike at first sight, but at the same time there is lust at first sight. And that will soon lead to some hot Hawaiian nights. Jason wants her to let loose. She seems too rigid, uptight, and bitchy now and again. This surely comes from the fact that she hates the Islands. Why, well we will learn that later but it is pretty obvious that she is hiding some deep secrets. And he, well he does come off like somewhat arrogant but hey it is still smoking between those two and he clearly wants to be in control.

Here is a lovestory that does not want to be a lovestory. He does not need some non-Islander looking for a fling coming in and trying something, she just wants sex. But then things are never that simple, the attraction is clear and something else is sizzling underneath too.

And while those too are working things out, something else will happen too, that might drive them apart, and what about that haunting past?

Ok hot is the word of the day, yes very hot. I will never look at Hawaii the same way after this. Jason is a true alpha, dominant and controlling, and gorgeous. Lana let go of some control and finds that she likes it. He is also nice, and he who can talk about his childhood tries to get her to talk about it. He wants to fix things, and I melt away there. He has fallen. Great romance between two very different people in a way, and there is one thing at the end that I like and find really sad. But you just have to look for that yourself.

I like Kery's style, it is easy flowing and the pages moves fast forward, and never gets stuck anywhere.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Very nice, and I so wanna go there at once.
Reason for Reading: Own copy
Final thoughts: If you are looking for a hot read then this is it.

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Miss X Reviews: It's in the Eyes - Charles Toftoy

It's in the Eyes by Charles Toftoy

Genre: Thriller
Pages: 326
Published: August 2009


It's spring in Washington, DC - a beautiful time of year in the nation's capital, yet its citizens are uneasy. Their heightened restlessness is reminiscent of the recent 9/11, sniper, and anthrax scares. But this time the enemy is a psychopathic killer responsible for the deaths of four local university co-eds - raping and murdering them using rituals practiced by the Thuggees, killers for the Goddess Kali who were responsible for the deaths of more than two million travelers in India in the 17th and 18th centuries.

It's up to Lars Neilsen, a college professor and part-time sleuth, and his highly skilled Alpha Team to find out who is committing these atrocious murders. But Lars and his team are in for a few nasty surprises along the way..

Charles Toftoy’s book “It’s in the eyes” is a thriller, but the author was inspired by true events. The book tells the story of a series of deaths that have occurred in Washington, D.C.

Four young women have been brutally raped and murdered, with the same MO that Thuggees in the 17th and 18th centuries used when they killed millions of travelers in India to honor Goddess Kali. The parents to one of the murdered women, unsatisfied with how the local police department has handled the case, ask professor Lars Neilsen and his team to investigate the murder, in co-operation with the FBI. Professor Lars Neilsen’s team consists of Nathan Greene who works at a funeral home, Doris Wagner who is a former FBI profiler, and the journalist, Brenda Little. Together they form a tightly knit group where everyone has something to offer to the investigation.

In their hunt for the people responsible for the deaths of the four young women, Lars Neilsen and his team will realize that they themselves are in danger and they must quickly solve the difficult case before someone else is brutally raped or murdered.  They must also ask themselves if they are looking for just one person who has raped and murdered these women or if several people are involved. The investigation leads Lars Neilsen all the way across the ocean, to Ireland, in search of the murderer.

The book is very good and offers many thrilling scenes, among which can be mentioned a snake bite and a lethal spider. It is a book that truly shows that everything is not what it first seems to be. The book has a very surprising ending. It was certainly not the ending I suspected when I read the book.

It was truly enjoyable to read “It’s in the Eyes” and I warmly recommend it to everyone that is a fan of thrillers.

Thank you Miss X for your thoughts on this exciting thriller. A dangerous psychopath using century old rituals, sounds pretty scary.  Something for all you thriller, mystery murder fans out there.

I hope you enjoyed this new feature, I called in an expert on the subject to really get to bottom of this book, and to give this blog some diversity.

And now for a couple of my own thoughts since I usually end my own reviews in a certain way.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner. That is one creepy cover.
Reason for Reading: From the publisher, but Miss X reviewed it and the thoughts she expressed are her own.
Final thoughts: A scary thriller on a dark night perhaps.

Monday 14 December 2009

Review: City of Thieves - David Benioff

City of Thieves by David Benioff

Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 272
Published: 2008

Four months into the siege of Leningrad, the city is starving. Seventeen-year-old Lev fears for his life when he is arrested for looting the body of a dead German paratrooper, while his charismatic cellmate, Kolya, a handsome young soldier arrested for desertion, seems bizarrely unafraid. Dawn brings, instead of an execution squad, an impossible challenge. Lev and Kolya can find a dozen eggs for an NKVD colonel to use for his daughter's wedding cake, and live. Or fail, and die. 

In the depths of the coldest winter in history, through a city cut off from all supplies and suffering appalling deprivation, man and boy embark on an absurd hunt. Their search will take them through desolate, lawless Leningrad and the devastated countryside surrounding it, in the captivating journey of two men trying to survive against desperate odds.

This was a great book, the language flowed and he has real talent. He also writes screenplays, and I have seen the movies but I can say I like this book better.

The book takes place during the siege of Leningrad (St Petersburg), young Lev gets caught stealing from a dead German and brought to prison. There he and another man, a deserter gets a choice, bring him 12 eggs and they will get back their freedom. Not the easiest thing to do since the siege has lasted for a long time and there is nothing to find in the entire city. Only one thing to do, leave the city.

This book has it all cannibals, the horrors and brutality of wars, the civilians who suffer, and those who just try to get by. It is not really a tale about war. Since it focus on the hunting for the eggs, but while they hunt they see all these things. What the war has done to the people of the city and those behind enemy lines. The truth is always horrible.

I like Lev, he wants to survive, and being Jewish does not help later on. Kolya boasts about everything, women, his knowledge, and he also complains about not having gone to the bathroom for 9 days. They are a odd couple, and Kolya is trying to learn his little friend a thing or two about women.

It is a captivating story, great characters, and they are not entirely caught up in the whole propaganda machine. The book was researched and he captured the country. Not to mention he managed to make it less horrible too, they could still smile about things and that sure helped the reader too.

I do not think I have ever read a book about the "enemy", since when I think about those years I think about the 2 wars we fought against the Russians. Since they and the Germans had divided up Europe between them and tried to take everything they could. And we who were on the side the Russian wanted were the only ones to so to say get away. And we were mentioned too. Of course they had to mention the knives, honestly even I think about Finns like that. I also learnt something new, did not know we had the worlds best sniper. Funny that, learning something new about your own history. He sure did his homwork.

Blodeued's Cover Corner: Nice and fitting
Reason for reading. Library book
Final thoughts. Highly recommended

Sunday 13 December 2009

Review: Golden Opportunity - Donna Marie Rogers

Golden Opportunity by Donna Marie Rogers

Genre: Contemporary romance
Pages: 94
Published: 2008

James McMillan is a third generation owner of the most prosperous horse ranch in Golden, Colorado. When a gorgeous little filly shows up at his door waving what she says is the deed to half his ranch, James is unconvinced. But the document is authentic, according to his lawyer - James' brother Reese sold her his half of the Double M during a poker game in Atlantic City. So not only must James find a way to get back those shares, he needs to fight his growing attraction for his luscious new business partner, who turns out to be a lot more than just a pretty face.

Having been on her own since she was a teenager, Angela Roberts has never wanted nothing more than the security of a real home. Her dreams come true when the chance to own half of a Colorado horse ranch falls into her lap. If Reese McMillan is too blind to appreciate what he has, that's his loss. Only she hadn't counted on  the hostile reception she receives from his brother. Surly as a bear, James McMillan is also much to handsome for her peace of mind. Refusing to be intimidated, Angela sets out to win him over by proving she has what it takes to help him run the ranch - and ends up losing her heart to both.

This was a short story, not so good at reviewing those. Hm where to start, well James did something that made me want to kick him, what an ass. Then again he barely knew her, so I guess he could be an ass. It is hard just to trust anyone like that.

Anyway Angela was a sweet and naive thing, James very hot, one big cowboy. They were both looking for something, and then they ran into each other since she showed up and said she owed half the ranch. What starts of as two upset people evolved into a love story with some steamy sex. Yes that it sure was. But it was a nice little romance.

Not much more I can say without giving the whole thing away.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Now why can't I meet a cowboy, yup the cover looks sweet.
Reason 4 Reading: Gift from the author.
Final thoughts: Sweet little story.


Friday 11 December 2009

Review: A Duke to die for - Amelia Grey

A Duke to Die For by Amelia Grey
The Rogues' Dynasty, book 1

Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Published: April 2009

The handsome fifth Duke of Blakewell is more interested in card parties, horse racing, and carousing than in settling down to manage his extensive estate and vast fortune. When young Miss Henrietta Tweed arrives on his doorstep and announces he's her new guardian, she also tells him that a family curse accompanies her, and each of her previous guardians has met an untimely end. Finding her remarkably capable and cool-headed, Blake sets about to get her a husband, but finds something wrong with every one of her suitors.

When Blake suffers a series of accidents, Henrietta is more than ever convinced she must free him from the cursed guardianship. Just as Blake realizes he wants nothing more than to marry her himself.

Nothing like a cute little historical romance now and again. But I have found out that I have the most stupid pet peeve. I grew up with Cartland and other "nice" writers of romance. So now every time some one has sex, I shake my head and tell her in a stern voice, what improver behavior for a young lady. You will never get married now! Sometimes it works for me, but here I just shook my head. I mean that is so silly, if this had taken place 100 years later I would have just shouted , you go girl!

So yes there was sex, no one missed that after my little conservative speech. I honestly think I will never get over it because I know better and I know they would have been ruined. Luckily they always get to marry the man who ruins them ;) Though here the first sex scene, well I mean I would have been broken after it. She didn't seem that affected that he just went out and left her. For a naive girl who hadn't even been kissed before him that was weird behaviour.

Ok enough with my conservative blabber. I blame Barbara Cartland!

She was a sweet naive girl who believed that there was a curse upon her, and her guardians sure kept on dropping like flies. In comes her last guardian, a handsome young duke and my attention had been earned. She wants to be independent, he wants to see her married and gone from him. Well we all know that things are not that simple, nope, she falls for him, and there are some situations where he fights his emotions, or should I say lust. He, a no good rake has fallen for her too. But of course she has this stupid notion about a curse, or is it stupid?

No kick in the back for these, yes they should have known they were in love, but they were just so clueless that is was sweet. And he was really cute and smart at the end. I liked them as a couple, and there was some nice scenes were things started to get steamy.

Good side characters, I liked his cousins, they have the next two books, so good to see more of them. Their uncle Gibby was a sweet old man, and I find myself liking Blake's old mistress Constance. i never like the old mistresses, but Grey had put it so nicely. They had slept together, and realized they were just to be friends. Gotta love that. I'd like to see her in a book too, the widow who gets married again.

A sweet and easy read that kept my attention through out the book.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Nope not liking it, no head on him, and she is turned away. Oh I just saw, rather girly lips on him.
Reason 4 Reading: Own copy
Final thoughts: You never go wrong with a historical romance now and again.

Thursday 10 December 2009

Review: Graceling - Kristin Cashore

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Genre: YA fantasy
Pages: 480
Published: 2008

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight - she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug. She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po. She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace - or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away, a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

 I will once again go against the flow. I have heard great things and I expected so much, but honestly, it was ok, nothing more nothing less.

Katsa was supposed to be really dangerous, and everyone was scared of her since she killed her cousin when she was eight. She saw herself as a monster, a beast, well, yes that is ok, but I was not scared of her. I know she was doing all these kinds of right things so make herself feel better. But I wanted to be scared of her, at least a tiny bit. To see her as others saw her. But there was nothing. And that actually went on through the entire book. It was rather sweet. This was a killer, there was blood, treats, but that atmosphere did not change and the book felt too cute.

Other than the overall cuteness of the book, and that I never felt oh no danger danger, Katsa was a good heroine. I liked her, she was nice. Po was a cutie too, and they made a good couple. if you can call them that.

Which brings me to my other point, ok yes yes she is all kick ass and stuff, but does she has to go out of her way to be so anti-girl, I hate my hair, cut it off, I do not want babies or a relationship. This love story, yikes. Just cos she is anti-woman does not mean she can't be in a relationship, that does not mean you give up your freedom, and that you can only see each other a few times in a year because or else my freedom will suffer.

Ok by now you might have seen that this is turning out to be one of those negative reviews. But it was ok, and that is the problem. I always get so disappointed when a book turns out to be ok. I always expect more and had so from this one. But it was too cute, too YA. Too simplistic.

 But yes do not listen too me, I always find faults in ok books. They just makes me sad cos they have so much potential, and I expected more.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: I do like both, the first really shows how she is, and the other is rather mysterious. Nice covers.
Reason 4 reading: Borrowed from a friend
Final thoughts: Everyone else loves it so go on give it a try.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Review: Kissing Games of the World - Sandi Khan Shelton

Genre: Fiction
Pages: 400
Published: 2008

If there's one point that Jamie McClintock and Nate Goddard can agree upon, it's that love is overrated. Jamie doesn't have time for it. Nate doesn't need it. And they certainly don't want it from each other.

Jamie, a struggling free-spirited artist, is a devoted single mother who hasn't been in a serious relationship since her boyfriend abandoned her after their son was born. Nate, a charismatic jet-setting salesman, is widowed and estranged from his father and five-year-old son, Christopher. Jamie would rather glue glitter to pinecones than go out on a date. Nate spends most of his nights wooing his clients. Then one afternoon Nate's father drops dead of a heart attack. In that moment, their highly guarded worlds collide.

When Nate shows up at his childhood home to settle the estate and reclaim his son, he discovers that Jamie has been living in the Connecticut farmhouse as his father's roommate. Mistrustful of each other's motives, Nate and Jamie bicker about everything from children's nicknames to Jamie's fashion choices to Nate's home renovation methods. It doesn't help that Christopher prefers Jamie to his absentee father.  But after the funeral, Nate and Jamie begin to see each other in a more forgiving light. And both begin to realize they don't know as much about love as they thought. Still wounded by past heartbreak and sorrow, can they learn to trust each other and open their hearts?
This was a wonderful book. It had this easy, slow pace, like drinking ice tea on the porch a nice summerday. I am not saying it was like that all the time. Oh no, it had ups and downs and I wanted to kick someone. But the language was like that.

They all had issues. Jamie had man issues, she was overprotective of her son, but that was understandable since he had asthma. But she did not let anyone get close really. She had let Harris though. Then there is Nate who had severe father issues. These two clashed at once. He did not like to find her in his old home, and he was thinking she had slept with his dad. She saw him as he was, a harsh idiot sometimes. Those were also the times I wanted to give him a kick. He was certainly not nice, but yes, issues. The only two that had some hope and seemed normal were the kids. Oh they were lovely, talked all the time and saw truth. The author did a wonderful job with everyone really. People do have issues.

This is not a romance, it is a book about loss, finding yourself, hope and love. These two people really deserve to be loved. Nate does have a fiancee' but does he love her, or does he just need someone there. It is not like he meets her a lot either. Jaime is a single mum with a minimum lovelife. Her sister tries to get her to date but to no avail. Then these two meet, harsh words, but passion underneath, and slowly something starts to build up. Something that could get torn down any minute.

This book grabs a hold of you, and you keep reading, while sitting on that porch. The language flows easily. There is no I either hate or love these characters, no grey zones. They all had flaws, they were human, and yes they did and said stupid things. But she made it easy to still like them, and love some. And yes get angry at some too of course.

I can't remember who talked about it, but it was about titles in books, and I found this one here. It fitted  Nate perfectly.

This book did have some underlying sexual tension and sparkling romance wanting to get through. I enjoyed their awkward dance and waited for them to see the light. They were meant to be, but the road there seemed rocky to say the least.
It was a book with many layers, and I did enjoy them all. To see life go by in their lives as they struggles with their new roles. I was pleasantly surprised.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: A nice, simple yet beautiful cover that fits the tone of the book.
Reason 4 Reading: Review copy from the publisher
Final thoughts: A sweet, and nice read.

Thursday 3 December 2009

Review: Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead + guestblogging

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Book 1

Genre: YA paranormal
Pages: 336
Published: 2007

St. Vladimir's Academy isn't just any boarding school, t's a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They've been on the run, but now they're being dragged back to St. Vladimir's, he very place where they're most in danger.

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy's ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi, he world's fiercest and most dangerous vampires, make Lissa one of them forever.

This is about teen vampires, and their guardians. Those are so called dhampirs, half human half vampire. There are also the strigoi, those vamps and alike that have gone over to the dark side. I read that she had borrowed these things from Romanian vampire and I liked the different mixes. That the vampires had noble families and how the dhampirs was treated sometimes. The history and those things were ok.

But it does feel so very YA, teen angst, cliques, drinking, sex. Drama and more drama. Those parts just made me realise why I stopped reading YA in the first place.

Rose, well she is just so so, angry, slutty, made me wonder about her self respect at times. I actually liked Lissa more, too bad we didn't see much of her. She had just more of everything.  And I liked the what if she slips to the dark side angle. But yes they worked together, but I still did not like Rose.

As for other characters, I did like Christian. His anti-social status, no on liking him and darkness. He was a good character. Dimitri, well he was hunky, but can't he look at girls his own age.

Oh and then there was drama girl, oh sighs, the drama, too much to bare. They spent the entire book at the Academy so yes a lot of teens, and drama, and mean girls.

It's not that I did not like it, no it was ok, but too much drama more me. Mean girls with vampires .

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner:The girl looks to bitchy, I do not like this cove at all. Oh and she looks like Angelina Jolie, scary.
Reason for reading: My own copy
Final thoughts: If you like vampires, with a bit of romance and drama then yes. It was ok.

I am guestblogging today over at Booklust. Aarti has this fun feature called Rosie's Riverters. 
Go have a look :)

Tuesday 1 December 2009

Review: Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Book 2, The Hunger Games

Genre: YA futuristic
Pages: 400
Published: September 2009

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

I tried to hold out for the library to get the English copy, but when they got another Swedish copy I could no longer wait and got it. And started reading at once. I can't say how it is holding up so let's say that the English version is even better. (Yay I do get to find out and wont have to wait months for them to get that copy.)

I think the beginning might have been like the first book, good, and then suddenly great. I meant to read for 5 minutes but I started in that good/great gap and I could not stop reading. I did not want to put the book down. It was so intense and I had to know what happened next. She sure has a way to get a hold on you.

Katniss and Peeta are on their victory tour. Really creepy actually, it gives the president a chance to show the horror of the games again and to control the people. We don't get to see much of the victory tour and I would have liked more since that would have given us a chance to learn more about the districts. Then they get home and President Snow is still not happy and Katniss fears for her and her family. And a revolution is growing as the people turn their rage towards the capitol.

It's a great book, perhaps not as good as the first one because that first book is always amazing. But this one may start good, and it only gets better. At a certain point in the book it gets really intense and it stays that way. Now I can't wait for book 3 and see how it turns out. I want freedom for these people, The Hunger Games, I can't even start to explain my horror for them and how the districts are ruled with an iron hand. I love the world she created, a grim future without any hope.

The romance then, well I do not know if I am for Peeta or Gale. It changes, they both are great, and can be good for her. I do not know which she will choose, and I do not know who I want her to choose.

Still loving Katniss, she sure can be kick-ass, and the supporting characters are great too, this time you learn more about everyone.  And they all have something, if good or evil.

One thing though, I felt like the book stagnated at one time, sure it was great writing, but the story could have moved forward in a more different way.

The second book did not let me down, and how I will be able to wait a year, I do not know. The ending is good, and leaves you wanting more.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Not liking it, but it does show the bird, and the simple cover suits the mood.
Reason for Reading: Library Book
Final thoughts: Read this series, if you haven't read a YA book then start with The Hunger Games. It's amazing.

Saturday 28 November 2009

Review: Stray - Rachel Vincent

Stray by Rachel Vincent
Shifters book 1

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: 2007
Pages: 624

I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.

Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.

I'd been warned about Strays , werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female, and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.

This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back , for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I'm no meek kitty. I'll take on whatever and whoever, I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays, 'cause I got claws, and I'm not afraid to use them.

Oh I truly enjoyed this book. It was fast paced, and kept my attention. The only reason it took so long to read it was that I was too busy and that it was really long.

Faythe is a kick-ass heroine, I am not just saying that. No, she has been taught to fight since she was little and has played with the boys on the family farm. That is the other werecat boys that lives with her family since her dad is the alpha for a big area. She has claws, and she can keep her own. What she mostly want is freedom. The ratio female-male cats is huge, and her family would like to see her settled with babies, she is to take over. Instead she ran off to college. But now she must return. Someone is hunting tabbies and she has been targeted.

I was not sure if I would like her because she is so aggressive and more at times, but the more I read the more I understood. So much was hanging over her shoulders. She has a right to some privacy, but still there were some things I did not like. When she laughed at a couple of places, she should have been more terrified, angry or something other than that. It continued, and I mean yes she is strong but that felt wrong.

What about romance then, oh yes I got some of that too. First some sexual tension and then so more sexual tension. Still she did forget about her boyfriend pretty fast when she went on flirting with Jace. And then there was Marc, the guy she left when she went to College. Oh he was all Alpha, and everyone knew it, she knew it too and that is part of the problem. I could not wait to see sparks fly again there. I do wonder how that will play out.

The latter part of the book was so intense, it kept me on the edge of my seat and I just wanted to turn the pages faster and faster. It gets pretty terrifying and there is a lot of violence and horror.

Sure this book was very long, but it was needed. You had to see it all before the end can come. And those very intense long pages went pretty fast since I had to know what happened, at that second.

This was a great start to a series, and I will read more. If the other books are as good then I am in for an awesome ride. And hey I have always like cats.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: I like it, it is so her.
Reason 4 Reading: My own book
Final thoughts: Oh liking it :D Yes a series to read.

Sunday 22 November 2009

Review: Fire Study - Maria V Snyder

Fire Study by Maria V Snyder
The Study series 3

Genre: YA fantasy
Pages: 448
Published: 2008

The apprenticeship is over— now the real test has begun.

When word that Yelena is a Soulfinder—able to capture and release souls—spreads like wildfire, people grow uneasy. Already Yelena's unusual abilities and past have set her apart. As the Council debates Yelena's fate, she receives a disturbing message: a plot is rising against her homeland, led by a murderous sorcerer she has defeated before.

Honor sets Yelena on a path that will test the limits of her skills, and the hope of reuniting with her beloved spurs her onward. Her journey is fraught with allies, enemies, lovers and would-be assassins, each of questionable loyalty. Yelena will have but one chance to prove herself—and save the land she holds dear. 

I am sorry to say that I did not enjoy this last book. It took a week to read it because I just could not read long enough each time. Nothing kept me wanting more.

The first book was excellent, the second wasn't excellent but it was still great and I could not put it down. This one was ok, and I could easily put it down. It was rather dull at times and for a book named Fire it did not have the same fire and essence like the first two. I really thought I had found an amazing series, but considering book 1 she could have done better.

Yelena has lost her fire and not she is only a Mary Sue. People love her, or they hate her. Nothing in between. She is always in trouble. And even people who are enemies become friends because they both parties love her, oh very well.

The book has so much promise. Wicked magicians who steal powers and kill people. A forbidden lovestory that just drifts away and there is no danger or anything forbidden there. Everyone just accepts that she loves the scourge of all magicians. But it does not evolve and bring that darkness to this one. It's so light and easy to read even if there are massacres and more. Too light really.

Here wicked magicians wants to rule Sithia and Ixia and gain power. She wants to stop them, so she has to feel the country, and honestly I did finish it today but i am already starting to forget what happened. It does not stay with me.

Also the ending, yes good in a way and an ending, but at the same time not and I felt we were left hanging there.

I hate saying these things, but frankly it could have been done like book 1 and made into pure excellence, but sadly it was not.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Still a lovely cover, a bit hard to see though. But it goes well with the theme.
Why I read it: My own book
Final Thoughts: 3. I am afraid that in the future I will just read book 1 and 2.

Saturday 21 November 2009

New Moon: The movie

I am going to keep this short.

- The movie was better than the first.
-The lines were still so CHEESY it was killing me.

-Lautner did a great job, and the wolves were awesome.
-Can't say the same thing about Stewart and Pattison and they lack chemistry.

-Better directing and special effects

-Much much better than the book.

Bottom line: Better than than the books, better than the first movie, and if you survive the cheesy then one can watch it without feeling you're throwing away the money.

Oh I am gonna get so much hating from fans now. But it's not that I am dissing it, no it was ok :)

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Review: Magic Study - Maria V Snyder

Magic Study by Maria V Snyder
The Study series, book 2

Genre: YA fantasy
Published: 2006
Pages: 448

You know your life is bad when you miss your days as a poison taster . . .

With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way to be reunited with the family she'd been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But though she has gained her freedom, she can't help feeling isolated in Sitia. Her Ixian background has changed her in many ways -- and her newfound friends and relatives don't think it's for the better .
Despite the turmoil, she's eager to start her magic training -- especially as she's been given one year to harness her power or be put to death. But her plans take a radical turn when she becomes involved with a plot to reclaim Ixia's throne for a lost prince - and gets entangled in powerful rivalries with her fellow magicians.

If that wasn't bad enough, it appears her brother would love to see her dead. Luckily, Yelena has some old friends to help her with all her new enemies .  
 I did like this book, perhaps not as much as book 1 but that is often the case. It was a great start to a series. This one is a bit lighter in its tone, and even if it deals with some dark things it feels more YA and safe. Let's see if I can get some darkness in book 3.

Here Yelena is back in her birth land, and she remembers nothing. She finds her family in the jungle and soon she is too leave and go with Irys to the Academy of magic. Here she is to learn about her powers. But she soon finds herself in trouble. Her brother hates her, and everyone else sees her as a spy from Ixia. She really does not have any friends, but she does have a way of finding her way anyway.
She does have a way of making enemies and friends, oh my now I really see what Aarti from Booklust meant. Well I shall not mention it any more, but she does have a good point.

The romance was a bit lacking here, and I did find one thing strange. In the last book she and Valek discovered they loved each other. It went pretty quickly, bit too quick. And here when they finally met again he kept calling her love, and she never did say anything. Bah, who am I not to believe in sudden love and soul mates. Good for them. She sure needs a strong man and that she got. He needs a good woman who can keep him on his toes. And she does get into a lot of trouble.

I got to meet some favs from the first book and some new favs, like her horse. Trust me, it's a good horse.

This book deals with magic, finding yourself, and fighting for what you think is right. She finally gets a real family, but I do wonder. More things are to come, more problems with her magic and especially with her lover. All of Sitia hates Valek since he kills everyone with magic in Ixia. That part I have a problem with too, how can these parts get a nice ending? I guess she will go back to Ixia with him, not that I am too fond of Ixia either. I don't like the military dictatorship they have over there, and Snyder seems to be preferring it cos Sithia has beggars and Ixia has not.

But it was a good book, I could not stop reading and it was an easy and light read. I liked it a lot. Snyder creates good characters and worlds.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: There are many different ones but this cover series is my fav. They are beautiful, and this one really shows the second book for was it is about.

Reason for Reading: My own Book.

Final Thoughts: 4 and with a recommendation for reading this series.

Sunday 15 November 2009

Review together with Aarti from Booklust: The Kingmaking - Helen Hollick

The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick
Pendragon's banner, book 1

Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 604
Published: 2009

Pendragon arrives at Gwynedd to ally himself with Cunedda against the tyrant Vortigern, but is slain in battle. A boy, Arthur, is revealed as his son, but he must bide his time. Not until the Saxons plunge the country into chaos is he able to claim the kingship and his love Gwenhwyfar as his.

This review is a bit different, I read this book at the same time as Aarti from Booklust, and we discussed the book together. The review came to be in form of some questions and is in 2 parts, the first part can be found on my blog and the second on her blog (later today.)

Did you like this more realistic version of Arthurian legend?  Did you miss seeing some of the more traditional aspects of Arthur's story?  I.e., Merlin and Lancelot?

B: In a way I liked this more realistic version because it was a it should be, no magic, no Merlin and no shining knights at a round table. Here there was dirt, no one was honorable and everyone only thought about themselves. Ok that I did not like, her attempt at making the legend more realistic only made it not so. I am sure there were nice people even back then.

I missed Lancelot in a way, mostly cos when Arthur slept around with every woman who walked by I felt Gwen should get some too ;)

A: I know what you mean.  I liked how gritty the story was- it seemed very true to what life would have been like in post-Roman Britain.  But Merlin has always been my favorite character in Arthurian legend, so it was sad not to see him.  However, it was interesting to see that in this book, Arthur had a wife before Gwenhwyvar.  From what I've heard, it's likely that he had three wives (possibly all named Gwenhwyvar- I guess it was a common name).  This is the first time I've seen an author go that route, which was interesting to see.  Also, there are still two books in the series to go, so maybe more of the traditional aspects of the story will come into play later on.  This was kind of a prequel, it seemed, as Arthur was still working under another king for much of the story.

What did you think of Arthur?  What did you think of his relationships with other people, like his friends and his wife and the servants?

B: Oh my fav subject. I loathed Arthur! He was a manwhore. He slept with every woman, he looked at every woman. He did not care if they were married or not, he was highborn and they should serve him. That he left a trail of bastards he could not have cared less about. He said he always loved Gwenwhyfar but nope that did not keep him at her side.

He was also whiny in a way, poor little Arthur did not get her as his wife so he married someone else who he abused, raped and hated. But well that did not keep him from her side and she still liked him. All women loved Arthur and I can't see it. They said he was not that handsome still everyone wanted him, and I would sure stay away from a wifebeating drunk. No I cannot understand it, I guess women are stupid according to her.

As for his servants, well he slept with the girls, and it is not like they ever could say no, or that he ever asked them what they wanted. Yes I could go on and on about Arthur because he has not a single good trait in him. Vortigern was supposed to be the bad guy but I feel Arthur was the bad guy in this story. He made his life and then he was angry about it. That he created a legend is beyond me.

His friends, well I guess he was nice to them, as long as they did not have a pretty wife.

A: I agree that Arthur was a jerk in many parts of the story.  I think Hollick explained herself a bit in her Author's Note, saying that she did reading about the people Arthur's character might be based on and they are generally sketchy people.  To one extent, I can see why to be a leader, he had to really make himself seem larger than life and more powerful than everyone else- thus he drank more than others, had more women than others, fought harder than the others, etc.

However, I also think it's sad that realism in this era means rape, pillage and drunkenness.  I suppose that is a product of war to this day, and in that era, war was ever-present, everywhere.  But it was really disturbing.  And then the girl would get a coin for her troubles, but she'd oftentimes have to either abort a baby or raise it.  I guess it will all hit Arthur when Mordred comes along (if he comes along in this version, that is), but it is sad and just seems very careless to me.

As for me- I did think Arthur was pretty charismatic with people he liked.  I can see why people followed him and liked him, but I can also see why some people hated him.  His whole relationship with his first wife, Winifred- well, I don't want to give anything away to anyone who has not read the story, but it is just disturbing.  I read in another story about hate becoming love, or at least really bringing out passion in people.  And that is certainly true of Winifred & Arthur's relationship.

What did you think of the women in the story?  Do you think they acted the way they did to get noticed?  To do what they thought best?  To try to make an impact?

B: Oh the women, I should not use the word but they were bitchy. What kinds of women act like that? I did not care of her portrait of women. They were scheming, mean and some were killers. They used what they had to get their way, and they liked it. They were not nice, and could sure get seduced fast. The exception was Gwen, she was like the shining beacon but that did not make me like her either. She was a tomboy, she could use a dagger and she could ride a horse. Oh what an accomplishment, I am sure other women then her could ride in those days. There were no between, there were Gwen and there were the bitchy women. And why she kept liking him I do not know.

It was like they weren't that smart either. They could only think so far, silly women, playthings for men. I know that in those days it would be hard for women, but they still lived in a land were women had been powerful. And still at least one could have been nice.

A: My completely made-up theory is that authors who write about really strong, dominating men sometimes fall in love with them and the other characters fall flat in comparison.  I get the impression that Hollick really loves the character of Arthur- his complexities, his demons, warts and all.  I didn't get the impression that she enjoyed writing about the women nearly so much.  They certainly seemed one-dimensional when compared with Arthur.  Morgause and Winifred didn't have a positive trait between them, and spent most of the book "raging" or being evil.  I could almost hear their cackles.  I completely understand that this how Morgause is usually portrayed.  But it would have been nice to see what motivated her to act the way that she did.  To know what made her so hard and difficult to deal with.  As for Winifred... I could have done without her in the story at all.

As for Gwenhwyvar, I spent most of the book disliking her, too, and then towards the end became more reconciled to her.  I have never liked the character of Gwenhwyvar, in any Arthurian tale, so I went into the story biased against her.  But I agree she was the only woman who seemed able to do anything useful, which was odd in a story when the men were often away fighting wars.  Someone would have to know how to do the things Gwen did or nothing would get done at all.  I thought she became more real towards the end of the book, and I liked that Hollick made her relationship with Arthur more true, rather than just based on the romance of the moment.  It will be interesting to see how they evolve together.

More can be found at Aarti's blog :D Go on over later to see what we feel at the end.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Review: Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 560
Published:  2009

In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political power

England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. The quest for the king's freedom destroys his adviser, the brilliant Cardinal Wolsey, and leaves a power vacuum.

Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell is a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people and a demon of energy: he is also a consummate politician, hardened by his personal losses, implacable in his ambition. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph?

I knew this book had won the Man Book prize this year and I did have high hopes. I was glad to see that they came through. There is nothing I love more than excellent writing, beautiful writing, an author that proud can call herself an author. Mantel manages this. She has a certain sort of style that I do not know how to describe. It makes the words move slowly, it's a slow pace to the book like it holds on to you so you will not miss a single word. I should know because I have been known to jump pages and still read them. Here is steadied myself and read slowly. She has a nice style.

This could have been a boring book, but Mantel saves it with great writing and my favorite part, gossip. She tells the story of Thomas Cromwell, a man born in obscurity who worked his way up and at last became a trusted advisor to Henry VIII. This book sets place at the time of Anne Boleyn. After having met Thomas as a young boy running away we meet him again when he works for the bishop of York. He is known for making money. And at this time the streets are buzzing with the kings new mistress. It will be Cromwell that finally gets the kings divorce so that he can marry Anne.

The title Wolf Hall comes from the ancestral seat of the Seymour. Sure they do not play a big part of this book since it's all about the Boleyns. But we all know as we read that we should look in the shadows for Jane Seymour and she does show up. A gray little thing, and as the book will close with Wolf Hall. A new beginning, or rather a new try.

She writes about every day life, and the struggle for the king to marry Anne Boleyn. A woman who does not come across favourable in this book, now that is rather her poor sister who longs to be free in the end. It's a truthful and well researched book about what really went on. No over excessing glamour, sex or people made out to be heroes. No, real life as it was then. Power struggles, and death.

Gossip was a big part of the book and at that time I am sure they would have gossiped a lot about the situation going on. But it's told as it is, gossip, no truth, because that we can not know. But I still enjoyed it a lot. It was very interesting and it gave a good feel of that era. There was also some talk about those kings that came before, and yes a bit more gossip. They were really a fascinating bunch of people and I can't remember I learned this much about English history or the Royal family.

It is a book that is worthy of it's award. A great style and a way of writing that makes you see ordinary things in a new life. And a truthful look at life back then, and on one of the most famous and written about times in English history.

One confusing thing though was that sometimes it was hard to know who was speaking. It didn't always say, I assumed Cromwell up to certain points.

And yes it had me googling like crazy at the ending to know more about everything. Nothing like brushing up your history about the Tudors. I did not know he was related to Boleyn, I knew she was related to a wife but not a another. It was a family feast.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: To be truthful, these kind of award winning books never do have pretty covers. But here it is not the book cover that is important. It's the kind of book you want to pick up cos it promises great things.

Where I got it: A free review copy from the publisher

4 because I love great writing.


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