Tuesday 30 March 2010

Guest blog with Michele Hauf + giveaway "Her vampire husband"

Today I welcome Michele Hauf to my blog, she is giving away an e-book of her new book Her Vampire Husband so be to sure to check that out.
Hi all!  I'm doing a blog tour through mid-April, and at each blog I'll be talking about a different part of HER VAMPIRE HUSBAND, so do check the dates at my blog to follow me!

Today I want to chat about using characters from other books in a story.  I love working in the paranormal world I've created.  I call the overall world, BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, and you can view character sheets at my web site.  One of the advantages of keeping all my paranormal stories in the same world is that I can borrow characters from stories if I want to.

In HER VAMPIRE HUSBAND quite a few characters from previous stories show up.  Nikolaus Drake (Kiss Me Deadly) has a role throughout the book.  I love having him back because he is one of my favorite heroes (besides Creed, that is).  Ravin, his wife, stops in, as well as his son Ivan.  And for those who love Himself, I could resist giving him a walk-on part. That guy shows up everywhere!  And even though this line showed up on the cutting room floor, I should probably let you know what Ravin said when she saw Himself.  "Johnny!"  If you've read Kiss Me Deadly, you can interpret that one however you will.  The great part about sharing characters across books is the community I can create.  The world feels more real to me.  And with paranormals, some have lived centuries, so they have such interesting back stories, I could write about them forever.  And maybe I will.  ;-)

I have a copy of Her Vampire Husband (e-book copy)to give away to one commenter.  (MK is Severo's story, and yep, he shows up in HVH, too.)  Tell me if you like to see characters in a series of books sharing stories and crossing over into other books. 

1. Open Worldwide
2. Ends April 5th (since the holidays are coming up)

3. Leave your email if it is not in your profile (or email it to me, Blodeuedd)
4. Have fun

She may resist his bite, but she can't resist his charms…
Werewolf princess Blu Masterson won't allow her seductive vampire husband to consummate their marriage with his bite, marking her forever. Alone in a secluded estate with her sworn enemy, Blu curses the marriage arranged to bring their rival nations together, especially since Creed Saint-Pierre calls out to her most feral desires.
When Blu uncovers her pack's secret plot to destroy the vampire nation—and Creed—she is forced to confront her growing feelings for her sexy undead husband. Will she choose the only life she's ever known or accept his vampire bite?

Find Michele online here:
Website - michelehauf.com
Blog - dustedbywhimsy.blogspot.com
Facebook - facebook.com/michelehauf
Twitter - twitter.com/michelehauf
Visit the Beautiful Creatures page - michelehauf.com/worldcharacters.html

For a limited time get the audio version of Vampire's Tango free at Audible.com
If you purchase HER VAMPIRE HUSBAND at Audible.com you receive Vampire's Tango included free.
All through 2010 download KISS ME DEADLY free at your favorite online retailer or at tryharlequin.com.
Read the first chapter of HER VAMPIRE HUSBAND: michelehauf.com/hvh.html
Read the first chapter of Vampire's Tango: michelehauf.com/tvt.html

Watch for these releases from Michele in the coming months:
"Vampire's Tango" - March - Nocturne Bites
Her Vampire Husband - April - HQN
Rogue Angel: The Bone Conjurer - May - Gold Eagle (Alex Archer pseudonym)
Angel Slayer - June - Nocturne
"Halo Hunter" - June - Nocturne Bites

Blurb for Vampire's Tango:
Vampire Alexandre Renard never met a more intriguing woman than Veronica Marshall. He waited for weeks for the mysterious woman to make her move...and wasn't disappointed when they shared a seductive dance at a Paris tango club. Their passion made him want to savor their embrace forever--even though he knew that Veronica was waiting for her chance to destroy him....

Faced with an early death, Veronica wants to do some good in the world before being forced to leave it. But as her game of cat-and-mouse with Alexandre turned into nights of unforgettable pleasure, how could she destroy the man she came to love?
With time--and their enemies--against them, they will have to fight to win just one more day in each other's arms....

Thank you Michele for visiting :)

Monday 29 March 2010

Review: Ode to Joy - Shifra Horn + a happy birthday

 Ode to Joy by Shifra Horn

Genre: Fiction
Pages: 300
Published: 2006

Following a terrorist explosion on a bus in Jerusalem, Yael, a married mother who narrowly escaped the attack, is haunted by the last image she recalls before the horror: a little blonde child waving to her from the window of the bus, and the sound of Beethoven's Ode to Joy, which was playing on her car radio. Yael's husband, Nachum, seems unable, or unwilling to understand what she has been through, and although her friends and colleagues are sympathetic, they cannot share her pain. 

Still traumatised, she feels compelled to seek out the blonde child's grieving father, the enigmatic and mysterious Avshalom. Drawn to him through their mutual suffering and fascinated by his unusual background, Yael begins to fall helplessly in love with him. Avshalom too, cannot deny his own feelings, but his belief that the loss of his wife and child is divine punishment for past sins overshadows any glimmer of hope for their future.

This was a strange read in a way. I started reading, and then I though, no, let's stop, but I couldn't. So I read some more, and then more. I can't say what pulled me in, but something did.

I think it was the realism of the story. There is nothing pretty about this book. It is every day life. No sex lust, taking car of her kid that wets his bed, arguing with her mother, doubting her love for her husband. Fantasizing about another man. Going on with life. A lot of small things that gave it that feeling that this could haev happened.

Then there is the bigger part, the trauma. Yael is driving her car and waving to a kid. The next minute every thing is on fire and people are screaming. She comes out of it unharmed but her soul has shattered. None of her friends, or her husband understands why she keep on dwelling in the darkness. They want her to snap put of it, but the shock hit her hard and she keeps on thinking of that kid she waved at. Which leads to her finding the father and falling for him. A love that can never be.

There was no right or wrong in this book, I liked that. It stayed neutral in the way and if it brought something up it looked at it from both points of views. It is because she kind of caught in between it all, and gets called a leftist a lot. But I liked it because I wanted the story and not getting into something else, and yes I could pick my own battles in the book. But I will not bring that up here. Never talk about religion or politics.

I liked this book, but do not ask me why. The story had me reading, what would happen? Would she get better, and get over her fears. It is a strong book in a way, and I know that I would be to afraid to live where she did. It also deals with her thoughts about her dad who was a survivor.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner. Simple
Reason for Reading: Library book
Final thoughts: Nice book

To something else....


I see that the two of you are ready to hit the town ;)
Have a great day!!

And one more thing. Tomorrow  I have Michele Hauf over for a guest post. She is giving away her newest book, Her Vampire Husband. Will see you all then :)

Sunday 28 March 2010

Review: The curious incident of the dog in the night-time - Mark Haddon

The curious incident of the dog in the night-time  by Mark Haddon

Genre: Fiction and YA
Pages: 226
Published: 2004

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger's, a form of autism. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour's dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down.

This book was just utterly amazing, it sucked me in and I could to stop reading. It was a teacher who brought it up and she said that afterward she had been a bit strange and been looking for red cars cos they had a meaning in this book. I on the other hand started to philosophy about black holes, white holes, God, the big bang and how I am related to the wall...yes I get weird when I stay up late.

I think it was cos this book was so strange, and I have no idea how to review it.

This book is not only text, it is filled with little maps, lists, math problems, and signs that Christopher sees. They fit perfectly cos that is how he is. Maybe I should make a list.

1.Christoper is 15 and has aspberger's
2. He does not like yellow or brown, and he does not want to touch those colors.
3. He does not like to be touched.
4. 4 red  cars in a row means it will be a good day, 4 yellow a bad day.
5. He loves math and is really good at it.
6. The food must not touch.
7. He does not like strangers.

That is Christopher. He lives with his dad because his mum died. He is in school and will get an A in the A-level math. One day he finds his neighbors dog killed with a garden fork and decides that he will find out who killed the dog. This will lead him outside his house and to talk to strangers, and he does not quit even though his dad tells him to. Even though he can't tell lies.

It was a lovely book, a strange book, a book that jumped between things. It felt like I was in his mind, and I can only say that this is a great creation by Mark Haddon. A truly wonderful tale that also made me really sad in places. The mystery is great, but there is also other things happening, and it is just something you have to read.

I can only say that I am glad I liked this book. I read that it was simultaneously published for adults and YA so both can read this tale. So go and read it. I hope you will find it as mesmerizing as I did.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: I like it and it fits the story
Reason for Reading: Library book
Final thoughts: What are you waiting for, read it!

Friday 26 March 2010

Review: Spider's Bite - Jennifer Estep

Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep
Elemental assassin book 1

Genre: Urban fantasy
Pages: 384
Published: Jan 2010

"My name is Gin, and I kill people."

My name is Gin Blanco. They call me the Spider — the most feared assassin in the South (and a part-time cook at the Pork Pit BBQ joint.) As a Stone elemental, I can hear the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet and feel the vibrations of the soaring mountains above me, though I don't use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.

After a ruthless Air elemental double-crossed me and killed my handler, I'm out for revenge. And I'll exterminate anyone who gets in my way. I may look hot in a miniskirt, but I'm still one of the bad guys. Which is why I'm in trouble when irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine agrees to help. The last thing a coldhearted killer needs when she's battling a magic more powerful than her own is a sexy distraction ... especially when he wants her dead just as much as the enemy.

I have read a lot of great reviews, but sadly this one was for me, ok. I never got sucked in, and sure it was a good book but it didn't manage to really grab my attention.

The concept of this world is good. Everyone knows what is out there. Some people have elemental powers, but just because of this they are not any higher up than others. Everyone has to fight their way to the top (of course if you do have the power of fire that might help.) There are also giants, dwarfs, and vampires. Many of those women tend to be hookers that high on sex and blood. Because of this mix of magic and races no one can take control over the other.

The world Gin lives in is pretty dark, but then again she is an assassin. The can see the downside to it all, the vampire hookers, the poor elementals that have gone insane and the beggars. And there is her, she gets paid to kill people. But she does have standards and kill only the bad guys, or people that is said to be bad. She is rather cool and kick-ass (oh my fav word, I can use it again.) To her help she has her handler Fletcher, a dwarf that cleans up after her, Finn an old friend and Fletcher's son. Finn I do like, he has style, even if he is a total playboy.

In this book Gin is sent to kill someone but it all goes wrong and the dead bodies are piled up and she is on the run. Here is where the love interest comes in, the last honest cop, Donovan Caine. There is an attraction there and they are both pulled in. No romance here, just animal attraction, but hey maybe it comes later.

I liked the word, I liked the action, but for me something was missing. Something to pull me in and make me want to read more. I struggled in the beginning to keep my focus so perhaps not all UF books are for me. Still don't think I didn't like it, it was ok and it was a fun ride while it lasted. You better go on and read  one of those glowing reviews and have a look at them too.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Kick-ass, but I do not like the little text, "her love life is killer"
Reason for Reading: My own book
Final thoughts: Ok UF

Wednesday 24 March 2010

ARC Review: Shadow Prowler - Alexey Pehov

Shadow Prowler
The Chronicles of Siala, book 1

Genre: Fantasy
Published: UK April 2010 Simon &Schuster
Pages: 400

Check out a sample here of the first 3 chapters

After centuries of calm, the Nameless One is stirring.

An army is gathering; thousands of giants, ogres, and other creatures are joining forces from all across the Desolate Lands, united, for the first time in history, under one black banner. By the spring, or perhaps sooner, the Nameless One and his forces will be at the walls of the great city of Avendoom.

Unless Shadow Harold, master thief, can find some way to stop them.

Epic fantasy at its best, Shadow Prowler is the first in a trilogy that follows Shadow Harold on his quest for a magic Horn that will restore peace to the Kingdom of Siala. Harold will be accompanied on his quest by an Elfin princess, Miralissa, her elfin escort, and ten Wild Hearts, the most experienced and dangerous fighters in their world…and by the king’s court jester (who may be more than he seems…or less).

I love fantasy, I have said it before and I will say it again. it is my true love. So when I read on twitter about Simon and Schuster looking for reviewers for this book I jumped at the chance. And I was not disappointed.

This book and series is very popular in Russia and has now been translated into English. For that I am grateful. This is great epic fantasy and just what I like to read.

It is the story about Shadow Harold, a thief in Avedoom, the capital of a Northern kingdom. He lives his lief like he always have when things suddenly change. he has two choices, get the horn or rut in jail. The choice is not as easy as it seems. The horn is hidden far away in caves filled with dangers and magics from different races that have buried their dead there. With him he has an elite band of warriors, a Princess, and a jester.
This world has all sorts of races, the elves (dark and light)  who are not as fair looking as you would imagine. Orcs that wants the world for their own as they are the first race of Siala. Ogres, gnomes, goblins, dwarves and of course men. In the far north there is the danger of the Nameless one, but there are more dangers than just him stirring. This world is heading for a war, and this time the orcs might just win.

I liked Harold, but then I do have a soft spot for thieves and assassins. He is an unwilling hero, and they are the best. But my fav is by far the jester Kli-Kli, a goblin who is more than he seems. And I can't wit to see what he really is about, until then I will laugh in amusement. Miralissa, the princess most be some sort of love interest, cos Harold is interested, fangs and all. But I just have to wait and see. The wild hearts are a great bunch too, the constant bickering between the dwarf and the gnome being what i enjoy the most.

Negative part, I love maps, and there was no map. I like to see where everything is located, and where they are going. It gives me a sense of direction that is useful in fantasy. But I am well aware that many forget about those maps.

This had everything I need, a quest, danger of war, and war that is surely coming, a bunch of characters that are both amusing and likable. There was danger, there was darkness, and there was history. Which I of course always want.

Now, oh sighs, why didn't I take that course in Russian in high school instead of German. If I would have I could have read the next book in Russian. Now I just have to wait to get hold of book 2 whenever that one comes out. Because this was a good start to a fantasy trilogy, and it made me want more.

Blodeuedd's cover corner: What can I say, it looks like fantasy so I like it
Reason for Reading: Review copy from the publisher
Final thoughts: I do want to read more Pehov, and especially the next book in the series.

Ok tried to create a rating system, will show you all later. This book would then get a 4 (an amazing read)

Sunday 21 March 2010

Review: Queen of Babble in the big city - Meg Cabot

Queen of Babble in the big city by Meg Cabot

Genre: Chick-lit
Pages: 288
Published: 2007

Lizzie Nichols is back, pounding the New York City pavement and looking for a job, a place to live, and her proper place in the universe (not necessarily in that order).

"Summer Fling" Luke's use of the "L" (Living Together) word has her happily abandoning plans to share a one-room walk-up with best friend Shari in exchange for cohabitation with the love of her life in his mom's ritzy Fifth Avenue pied-à-terre. Lizzie's landed a non-paying gig in her chosen field—vintage wedding gown rehab—and a paying one as a receptionist at Shari's boyfriend's father's posh law firm. So life is good . . . for the moment.

But almost immediately her notoriously big mouth is getting her into trouble. At work she's becoming too chummy with society bride-to-be Jill Higgins, inflaming the ire of Jill's troublesome future mother-in-law. At home she's made the grievous error of bringing up the "M" (Marriage) word to commitment-shy Luke. Once again joblessness and homelessness are looming large for hapless blabbermouth Liz—unless she can figure out some way to babble her way to a happily ever after.

I do like chick-lit, it is always funny, sweet and totally silly, and a girl needs silly now and again.

This is the second book about Lizzie Nichols, in the last book she found her prince charming, and he is really a prince too, if one of many French ones. They are living together on 5th Avenue until she can find something with her friend Shari. She also wants to find a job working with what she loves, wedding dresses. Things do not go as she expected and she ends up living with Luke, working as a receptionist, and working free in a little shop. Not really what she wanted but she is not about to let New York chase her away.

She wasn't really a blabbermouth in this one, perhaps she has learnt her lesson. Still she is too curious and she keep making seeing things that aren't there. It doesn't help that she goes a bit wedding crazy, and she barely knows the guy. But come on, it is chick-lit and the genre needs misunderstandings and embarrassing moments.

I do like Lizzie, yes she is silly, has some wired ideas about little animals and men, and looses it when they talk about marriage. Ok there I didn't see the problem, break up with someone who doesn't want to get married, even though they are the love of your life. One can be in love and not  married. So yes she has some ideas, and she is also only 23, what is the rush? The younger chick-lit books are always so, well you know.

Luke is somewhat grey to be honest, I am not sure any more if I want them together, but since the 3rd book is called getting hitched then I guess they live happily ever after.

What I did like about this book was that it had through out it pages with paintings of different weddings dresses, gloves, what do do during the wedding, after, and a lot for a bride to be to know. All belonging to Lizzie, I guess she is working towards her wedding dress shop goal. So those were really cute.
All in all a cute and funny book that took no time at all to read.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: That is the Swedish cover, the book is green and it looks very nice and chich-litish.
Reason for reading: Library book
Final thoughts: Cute chick-lit

Thursday 18 March 2010

Review: Zan-Gah and the beautiful country - Allan Richard Shickman

Zan-Gah and the beautiful country by Allan Richard Shickman

Genre: Historic adventure YA
Pages: 2009
Published: 151

The prehistoric saga continues in Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country, the sequel to the award winning Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure. In this story, Zan s troubled twin brother, Dael, having suffered greatly during his earlier captivity, receives a ruinous new shock when his wife suddenly dies. Disturbed and traumatized, all of his manic energies explode into acts of hostility and bloodshed. His obsession is the destruction of the wasp men, his first captors, who dwell in the Beautiful Country. When he, Zan-Gah, and a band of adventurers trek to their bountiful home, they find that all of the wasp people have died in war or of disease. The Beautiful Country is empty for the taking, and Zan s people, the Ba-Coro, decide to migrate and resettle there. But the Noi, Dael s cruelest enemies and former tormentors, make the same migration from their desert home, and the possibility develops of contention and war over this rich and lovely new land.

This is the second book about Zan-Gah and his adventures in a prehistoric environment. In the last book he saved his brother and invented the sling. In this book he is married and his brother has lost his wife and is only getting stranger and more violent. The torment he suffered while a slave has put deep wounds in his soul. Dael is a tortured soul. Zan-Gah only wants to help. He finds a bit of hope when the tribes move away to a new land.

Dael is really really far along in this book, Zan-Gah has my sympathizes and he dearly loves his brother and tries to protect them. But his brother is leading them to ruin because he is violent and hateful.

Zan is the same nice person who wants peace and to give the tribes a better future. He is also rather blind at times, when it comes to his wife and when it comes to his brother.

This book is darker and more violent than the previous. I think it said 11 and up and there I do agree because there is death and war and bloody murder in this one. Still he writes it in regard for the age group so nothing violent and such written. But it is there, and yes it was another time but still the age should be held here because since it was a different time they might wonder how everyone got married early and had kids and such.

This book is about the journey towards a new land, settling there, the rift between two brothers and how wrong things can be. it also has a strong woman in it, Zan's wife Pax, and it deals with a lot of emotion. Serious things among the rest. An interesting YA book about an era we do not get to read much about.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: That is Dael, the scary looking one
Reason for reading: From the publisher
Final thoughts: I do think teenage boys could like it, the action, the adventure

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Review: Ink Exchange - Melissa Marr

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
Wicked Lovely, 2

Genre: YA/Urban fantasy romance
Pages: 328
Published: 2008

 Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance among the Faery Courts has altered, and Irial, ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly vulnerable fey together. If he fails, bloodshed and brutality will follow.

Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their intrigues. When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo of eyes and wings, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life.

The tattoo does bring changes; not the kind Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that are more than symbolic. Those changes will bind Leslie and Irial together, drawing Leslie deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils.

The first book was ok, nothing to write home about. This one I liked more, but only in the aspect that it was dark.

First I do have to take up something. Irial and Niall is what like, 500 years old?  More, less? And they do not look like a teenagers either (I am thinking of you Edward). Honestly, can't they just find a woman? Instead they lust after teenage girls. When I was younger I would have liked that, cos I would have seen myself as that teenage girl in love with some older guy...now  I just look at them at semi-old dirty men who should go for someone older instead.

This is then the story about Aislinn's friend Leslie who is living in hell. She has experienced rape and abuse. This is a darker YA book. Because the world she then is thrown into is even darker with death and more. The dark court is a truly dark one that feeds on humans, and fairies alike. Here I got confused, was it supposed to be a love story? It is not like she wanted to be with Irial, that tattoo made her, so that whole sexual relationship they is then wrong, and I do not know what to think. She  likes Niall, even if he would somehow kill her if they were together. But he does keep his dark side under control, and I wish they could be together. If I have to like someone it would be him. I'd like to like Leslie, but I do not know. And I would have liked to like Irial, but absolutely no. Nothing could be more wrong that what he is doing.

Aislinn, Keenan and Seth makes a couple of appearances, and by them only Seth is still a good guy. The rest seems to, I do now know.

I did like this book, because it is how fairies is supposed to be. They are not cute and sparkling. They are wicked and they steal babies, drown people and tease and kill.

Then there was the end, or what am I saying. There was no ending. I hope Marr writes something up because after a book like this the ending seemed like..well like she reached the end, wasn't sure what to do and just did something. Still I will rather read this dark fairy books than cute YA vampire books. These have an edge to them. Even if this might have been a bit too dark, no happiness at all in the entire book.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Dark and beautiful
Reason for reading: Library book
Final thoughts: Dark YA with little hope in it

Saturday 13 March 2010

Review: Zan-Gah - Allan Richard Shickman

 Zan-Gah by Allan Richard Shickman
A pre-historic adventure

Genre: YA adventure
Pages: 160
Published: 2007

The hero, Zan-Gah seeks his lost twin in a savage prehistoric world, encountering suffering, captivity, conflict, love, and triumph. In three years, Zan-Gah passes from an uncertain boyhood to a tried and proven manhood and a position of leadership among his people. Themes: survival, cultures, gender roles, psychological trauma, nature's wonders and terrors.

I wanted to read this book in order to really read a book and think about those it was meant for. To try to look past me.

This is the story of Zan who in the beginning kills a lion, one the tribes are hunting because it had eaten a child. By this people have new respect for him, and this is the time he sets out to find his twin that was lost 1 year ago. The road there is filled with dangers from animals, nature and hostile strangers.

This is a book that I would recommend for young boys, yes sure girls could like it too but I do think boys would really fall for this one. First there is the danger of the hunt for young Zan, the hunt where he manages to bring down a might lion. Then there is his dangerous trip. He only has himself. He have to find his own food and kill it. He invents a new kind of weapon, the sling and with this he can catch rabbits, and more. He learns how to take care of himself, he gets taken captive by a hostile tribe and he does have one great adventure trying to find his long lost brother.

He is a strong character and even though it is never mentioned how young he is, I knwo he is pretty young. The author also explains things that people back then did grow up more quickly, and had children early. And also that they died earlier. That is a good part of this book, the subtle explanations of things that is good to learn. Without it being to, learn this and by that perhaps making it boring. Now it really a part of the story.

He also deals with some darker issues like a trauma someone gets, how Zan-s uncle got tired of was and killing, and how harsh reality was back then. If they did not find food, the tired got weak and soon the were too tired to even hunt.

For myself this was an interesting little adventure about a young boy coming of age in such a different time. It made me think that there is not much fiction out there about this era, ok I know some but it would be nice with more.

It says ages 11 and up, somewhat younger kids could read it too, and of course adults too,

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Come on, boys could pick that right.
Reason for Reading: The publisher sent it to me
Final thoughts: I do think young boys would enjoy this one

Thursday 11 March 2010

Review: Gringa in a strange land - Linda Dahl

Gringa in a Strange Land by Linda Dahl

Genre: Fiction
Pages: 256
Published: Jan 2010

Gringa in a Strange Land brings back the 'counterculture' of the early 70's, an exhilarating and confusing time for so many young people then. Erica Mason, an American woman living in Mexico, is torn between working to become an artist and the lure of the drug culture. Set mostly in the colonial city of Merida in the Yucatan peninsula, the story then moves among Mayan ruins, laid-back beaches and the cities of Belize and Oaxaca. A host of bohemian expats and Mexicans, and the complex character of Mexico itself, infuse this portrait-of-the-artist-as-a-young-American, that culminates in an unexpected resolution.

Once again I found myself pleasantly surprised. This was a really good book, by the blurb I was intrigued and it was so much more than just that blurb. There was something in the tone of things, the language, and we lal know I love good language.

This review in the beginning spoke about a Bildungsroman, and yes I see that. They did also mention a certain book by James Joyce, the book that shall not me mentioned since I get bored even thinking about it. So I shall pretend not to have read that. 

I on the other hand came to think about On the Road by Jack Kerouac, why, I do not know, I read that book years ago but still I came to think about it. There must have been something about the way she wrote and how the story flowed.

This is the story about Erica Mason, a young artist living in Mexico, a child of the hippie era and revolution. She spends her time with a bunch of characters, she meets a lot of men. Bad men, men she like,  and men that are married. She sleeps with the, and she also feels bad because of this. Because when she wakes up it is all alone again. But the biggest problem for her are the drugs, the ludes that she is hooked on, she does try other things too, but she crave quaaludes. She is addicted, struggling with her art and life in Mexico.

I had to like her, I could feel her pain sometimes, the wanting of something more. Yes she was hooked, didn't choose her men that well, but she had soul, she had spirit. In the end she was lost. There are a lot of other cha characters that come and go in this book. Sharon that she lived with, the Doctor that gives her the ludes, and many more colourful characters. But it is Erica that has the centerstage, this is her journey.

Why did I like this book then? Well it is the tone, the language, her journey, the little things the book takes up. The story feels so real and present. It had this easy flow to it, and sometimes I felt caught up in her head while she was high.
The culture is also present, Linda Dahl mentions stories, places, the old Mayans. And of course we can't forget the era, hippies, flower children, angry youths, revolution in the air. That it catches well, the 70's is perfect for this book.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: I want to live in a blue house too
Reason for reading: I got this copy from the author
Final thoughts: Just let yourself get swept away

Tuesday 9 March 2010

Review: Nightwalker - Jocelynn Drake

This is a post previously posted over at Royal Reviews

Nightwalker by Jocelynn Drake

Series: Dark Days, book 1
Genre: Urban fantasy
Copyright: 2008
Pages: 384
Rating: 3.5/5

For centuries Mira has been a nightwalker -- an unstoppable enforcer for a mysterious organization that manipulates earth-shaking events from the darkest shadows. But elemental mastery over fire sets her apart from others of her night-prowling breed...and may be all that prevents her doom.

The foe she now faces is human: the vampire hunter called Danaus, who has already destroyed so many undead. For Mira, the time has come to hunt or be hunted.

But in a dimension just beyond the worlds boundaries, a banished race stirs dangerously, hungry for power, for domination, for vengeance. Already a protective seal has been breached: already blood flows like a river through the world's great cities.
And only the collaboration of two sworn enemies can save humankind...and its ferel brethern.

This is urban fantasy that had me pleasantly surprised. It is not just the eternal struggle between the vampires and the hunters. There are darker beings in this book, and my attention was caught.

Mira is a vampire, living in the US, away from the Coven and the vampire Elders. She holds the peace in her territory, and the thing about her is that she can create fire. A strange thing since that can kill vampires, and no other nightwalker has ever held this power. She is different. Then there is Danaus, the strange hunter that has been stalking her, and who would love to kill her. The chemistry between them is there, but it's being held back. Since he think all vampires are bloodthirsty monsters, and since she knows he would love to stake her. I can only imagine that the tension will continue to build, and it did make me want to read more.

There is also some werewolves in this book, and warlocks, so magic and strange things are out there, but humans do not know. And then we come to my favorite part of this book, the strange Naturi, those we call elves and pixies, of course they are nothing like that and they want to kill all humans and nightwalkers. There is also a even darker force, but those are not mentioned more than by word. But it is this rich history and mythology that makes this book great, ad which holds my attention. Drake has done well with creating a world that echo of long lost myths, and darkness hidden in shadows.

It is an easy book, not that much romance, but enough to tempt me that there might be more. Some fights, but in a way not too much action. It is hard to explain, there is action, of course, but at the same time there is this other tone in the book. About understanding, magic, and even older forces that keep us in place.

This was great Urban fantasy, and I want to read more about Mira, and the troubles she is facing as the Naturi wants to come back into the world. And who said it was easy to co-exist with your fellow nightwalkers either. It will keep you on your edge, and I do recommend this book to fellow UF fans out there. Mira is worth the chance, and I liked her at once.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Hm, she kind of looks like a nightwalker
Reason for Reading: Own copy
Final thoughts: Good UF

Sunday 7 March 2010

ARC Review: Into Suez - Stevie Davies

Into Suez by Stevie Davies

Genre: Fiction
Pages: 448
Publication date: March 8th 2010

The year is 1949: Great Britain, victorious but bankrupt after WWII, attempts to reassert itself as an Imperial power by its military presence in the Suez Canal zone. Egypt's struggle against its British occupiers has some implicit truths to tell about the recent invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. When Israel declares its statehood and drives out the Arab population, Joe, an RAF sergeant, his wife Ailsa and daughter Nia leave Wales for Egypt.

Joe is the everyday working man, in whom racism and misogyny become a sickness. Alisa, an independent, free thinking woman, yearns to explore her new homeland of Egypt. It's here that she meets the exotic Mona, who opens Ailsa's eyes to what lies beyond the horizon. In a world of terrorism and political struggle, her friendship with Mona and an act of murder pitch the happily married couple into tragedy.

Nia, looking back in late middle age, follows in her parents' wake to sail the Suez Canal. On this journey Nia will face difficult life lessons about love and betrayal.

I read that the author was longlisted for the Booker prize and I understand why. She is a great writer, and such a great story teller.

This book is about Ailsa  who leaves England with her young daughter Nia to go to Egypt to be with her husband. The troubles start at once at the ship where she meets Mona, an officers wife. They are not supposed to friends because of their husbands ranks. But there is deep friendship and love between them, and even though Ailsa tries to stay away in Egypt in the end she cannot. Egypt that is in turmoil, the Egyptians wants the invaders out, and terrorism and murder is part of the day.

In the middle of this story there is another story, Nia later in life who wants to knwo what really happened in Egypt and she goes back to find out more about her mother and father.

First of all it is so hard to understand why everyone frowned upon Ailsa being friends with Mona, Joe was really horrified. It all had to do with rank, and I find it rather silly but that was life back then. Mona and her husband would have loved to be friends with them. But Joe was a regular soldier and he knew his place. He also didn't liek intellectuals, he had grown up a poor miner in Wales and had little education. He didn't take too kindly to Ailsa reading either.

But I did understand Joe, and he was a great guy, at first. Then came jealousy and doubt and the trouble that was Egypt. I liked Ailsa too, she was strong and she so wanted to knwo more about Egypt all while Joe looked down upon everything there. Racism was clear as day in this book, but it isn't as easy as it looks. Yes the white looked down upon the Egyptians and called them names, but the Egyptians in turn looked down upon the black population and so on.

Politics did have an importance here, it was the last days of the British Empire in Egypt, the Suez Crisis, and it also dealt with Israel-Palestine since Mona was a Palestine refugee. Though here I wished they would have looked more at both sides, it was a bit one sided in one way. When they spoke of the refugee camps they never mentioned the unwillingness of the neighboring countries to take them in. But I shall not go in to politics no, that is one hot topic I do not want to touch, and Davies does make a good job and looking at things from every angle at least once.

This was a good  book that had me turning the page and wondering how it all would play out. Since I knew from the start that Joe would die in Egypt and I had a pretty good idea how since the situation was like it was. But then there was the fact that Ailsa was a certain way after she came back to Wales and I wondered why that was so. Nia remembered her mother one way, a way that I could not understand reading the book from Ailsas POV. But it became clear later on.

Then there is the friendship between Ailsa and Mona, am I supposed to see more, or is it my imagination? They like each other so much, they never do anything, but it does feel like there is something more between them. Something that can never be.

I liked this book, I liked to see how it was in Egypt, the politics, the life, the friendship between Mona and Ailsa, normal life was an army wife, the love between husband and wife, and Nia's sharp eye. A well-written book about a heavy topic sometimes. And the eternal question, what happened?

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Historical and fiction like
Reason for Reading: Seems the publisher sent it to me
Final thoughts: I liked it.

Friday 5 March 2010

Review: The Way of Shadows - Brent Weeks

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks
The Night Angel trilogy, book 1

Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 645
Published: 2008

For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city's most accomplished artist.

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he's grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people quickly - and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins' world of dangerous politics and strange magics - and cultivate a flair for death.

There is a reason for why fantasy is my one true love, I may cheat on fantasy but I always come back and I love it the most. This book I got from googling "fantasy authors who write like Raymond E Feist and Robert Jordan". This series I was told I would like if I liked Feist and Jordan. The truth, I did like it, and I can see Feist in it. So thank you google.

This is not a pretty book, right there in the beginning the harsh reality of street kids is shown and it is horrible beyond imagining. Kids hurting kids. Azoth is a thief grown up in the slum and who knows he has no real future. One night he encounters the mysterious Durzo Blint, the greatest assassin, or wetboys as these masters are called. He sees a way out and after some events he seeks Durzo out and he is given an ultimatum. He begins his training and Azoth dies and he severs all ties with his past. Even with Doll Girl who he only wants to see saved. As Kylar Stern, a noble, he has a new path.

As I said, the beginning is harsh and raw. It sets the tone, because he does kill people in later life. And he is not some nice assassin who only kills the wicked. He kills those he is told to kill, and if someone innocent crosses his path that person dies too. Still I have to like Kylar, he is a hero, the way he wants to save poor Doll Girl, and the rest of the gang. And he is likeable, more so than his master Durzo. But then he has been a killer for a much longer time.

This is the kind of fantasy that I enjoy, magic, darkness, war, a lot going on. Yes perfect for me. Epic fantasy that left me wanting more. The kingdom is in turmoil and to the north there is a shadow, a godking who wants more. Which means war, and political intrigue and assassinations.

Weeks has created a nice world where cultures has mixed and in the city where this takes place 9 rule the underworld, and I like his creation. The wetboys are also interesting because they all have talents, magic.

The first part of thsi book was amazing and I was swept away, the second part wasn't as good. Do not get me wrong, it was still good, just not that I can't stop, go away all who wants to disturb me amazing. I think it might have been because I got a bit upset with a certain person who accused Kylar of something he didn't do. And because the second part mostly took place around one fatal night. While the rest of the book moved along. Still, yes the whole book was great anyway. Don't think otherwise.

Read one review where he was called  a sadistic genius, but let's not go all George RR Martin on him now, I didn't see him like that.Yes he kills people, but not everyone like the king of character massacres. But he does dare to kill off some people in this book, that is true.

Great fantasy, how I love amazing fantasy, and wonderful characters. I want to read more by him! I wish I could convert everyone to fantasy readers, there is truly no better genre to read. Fantasy rocks my socks off, yes go read this series.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Fantasy :D
Reason for Reading: My own copy.
Final thoughts: I just came back from the bookstore, I had them order me book 2. That pretty much sums it up.

Thursday 4 March 2010

Beth Kery interview + giveaway of Release *updated* *CLOSED*

I would like to welcome Beth Kery, the author of Release! Thank you so much for stopping by.

I am also giving away a copy of Release

1.If your email is not included in your profile then leave it here, or you can email me it.
2. If you already have the book or do not want to be included please say so.
3. Open worldwide.
4. Ends March 10th

Ok my first author interview ;)

Uh oh, the pressure is on. I hope I do a good first for you.

Tell me something about yourself, so we get a better understanding about the woman behind the author:

Well, I live and work in downtown Chicago and consider myself a city girl. When I’m not writing, I like to venture out to museums and historical neighborhoods. I also enjoy traveling. I love to soak in experiences and am always looking for story ideas. I come from a family of scientists, and so I’m acting a bit of the rebel by writing romance novels. J I have a brilliant husband who likes to tell me I’m a walking paradox. I think he means it as a compliment…I hope anyway…

What kinds of books do you read, any fave authors?

In the romance arena, I enjoy Julie James, Sandra Brown and Sarah McCarty, among many, many others. I don’t get to read as often as I did when I wasn’t writing. I dream about vacations where I can sit lake or Oceanside and just read.

I have read that many authors like to listen to music while they write. Do you do this, and if so then what kinds of music?

I don’t listen to music while I write. However, music has often inspired me for books…usually while I’m in the car driving and stuck in traffic. I’m a huge Soundgarden and Audio Slave fan, but I like a variety of music. My parents love music, and I’m the youngest of five, so I was exposed to a lot of different genres and bands growing up. 

Your newest book is called Release; can you tell me what it is about?

Release is a really intense love story between a man and a woman who fall in love at the wrong time and place. When the husband of the woman offers to share her in bed one night with the hero, the two are too tempted after months of longing to say ‘no’. What follows is a scorching night of passion, but regret comes at the end because of the circumstances. When the husband of the heroine is murdered five days after the ménage a troi, both the hero and heroine are terrified that the other killed him. They are torn apart, even as they both try to protect the other from the police and prosecution. The book begins three years later, when the h/h are thrown together during the blizzard of the century, and their passion erupts again, stronger than ever. But an old, lethal threat—and the truth—is surfacing as well…

What else have you written?

I started writing erotic romance at Ellora’s Cave in 2007. Since then, I’ve also published with Samhain. My first Berkley book, Wicked Burn, came out in December of 2008, followed by Daring Time, Sweet Restraint, Paradise Rules (all in 2009) and Release in 2010. I have a novel called Velvet Cataclysm coming out in May from Samhain Publishing and a book titled Explosive due out in December from Berkley Heat.

Did you always want to write?

I do remember when I was really young, my mother, who is an educator, had a peer who had me write a little story and do my own crayon drawing illustrations. It was part of a graduate student education project for her. Afterwards, this lovely woman bound it by hand. I was stunned that she’d made it into a little book! That really amazed me, as I was an avid reader. Maybe that incident stuck with me, even though I really didn’t start writing until 2006 or so.

I can see that you have written in many genres, from suspense, historical to paranormal. Is there any genre or subgenre that your heart belongs in?

Well…I’m a bit of a tramp with my heart when it comes to genres. J I love doing contemporaries, and it’s probably been my most regular genre. However, paranormals are also a favorite—both to read and write. I have a paranormal vampire novel coming out from Samhain in May called Velvet Cataclysm, the first in the Princes of the Underground series, which I’m very excited about. I also love anything to do with gothic mansions, ghosts, ESP, etc. I find it extremely romantic. I’ve also enjoyed writing the few historicals I’ve done—especially Fire Angel, because I got to do a woman with psychic powers in late Victorian London, which is a favorite topic and time period of mine.

Any advice for wannabe writers?

I give this advice pretty often, but I believe in it completely: if you want to be a published author, you’ve got to write. Don’t wait for the muse to strike you; give her an offering of your words and she’ll bless you. I get the impression from a lot of writers who want to publish that they second guess themselves a lot, which is normal. You have to push past the doubts, though, and the best way to do that is to just sit down at the keyboard and write a prescribed number of words daily, without fail. No amount of books you read on writing, no amount of talking to other writers, no amount of studying others’ work is going to get you what you need, which is product. I recommend shooting for a certain word count every day and writing down your daily progress in a notebook. If you need someone to keep you on the up and up, report your progress to a writer-friend, and have her or him do the same to you in return.

I had someone say to me once when it comes to writing and finishing a project…you gotta eat your vegetables.

Writing is a discipline. It’s art too, but trust me. The muse likes to see some results…and sweat.


I recently read about an author who gets up really early and start writing, before going to her day job. When and where do you like to write?

It depends. I have a varied schedule throughout the week. When I’m on a deadline, I have to get in word count, though, no matter how hectic my schedule is.

Who is your favorite hero or heroine from your books? What makes them so special?

Difficult to say…I’d probably say Niall and Vic from Wicked Burn. I acquired an agent with WB, and I first got published with it in the New York market. I think Niall’s and Vic’s story is incredibly romantic and passionate, but I also think the same of most of my heroes’ and heroines’ stories. J Because Wicked Burn exposed me to a wider reader market and because of its ‘first’ status, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for it.

Which book of those you have written is your favorite, and what makes it so?

Oh, you are evil to put an author on the spot. (Just kidding).

You know, I think I change my answer for this question depending on how I feel, but today, I’ll say Daring Time. (I just watched the movie Déjà vu again, and it reminded me of why I loved writing DT so much). Daring Time is a time travel that takes place in the historic Prairie Avenue district of Chicago—a place of elegance, grandeur and industry unparalleled in history. I researched the area on foot; I toured the mansions. I find the topic to be over-the-top romantic.

Daring Time is the story of a modern day Chicago cop who unexpectedly inherits one of the grand Prairie Avenue mansions. He begins to see a beautiful, alluring woman in the house. While his friend tries to convince him she’s a ghost, Ryan absolutely refuses to believe this woman is dead. He does discover from the historical archives that Hope Stillwater had lived in the house and was murdered in a heinous fashion in 1906. Like many of my heroes, Ryan is stubborn. Once he falls in love, he refuses—against all logic—to allow Hope to come to harm. He crosses the boundary of time through the means of raw desire, growing love, and a touch of magic in order to save her.

Daring Time best represents me out of all my books, I think. Maybe “why” relates to your earlier genre question and my disinclination to say I write only in one genre. Daring Time is a contemporary, it’s a crime drama, it’s a shamelessly scorching erotic, it’s a historical, and it’s a paranormal. It’s all those things. Plus…it’s the book I had the most fun writing.

I love covers; they are the best thing about the book. I wonder, do you have any say in them at all?

The best thing about the book? Really? That’s so interesting. Are you an artist, or do you just enjoy the visual?

I have very little input or ‘say’ on my Berkley covers. I find I have more input at publishers like Samhain. One thing I didn’t realize before I became an author is that most covers are designed from photo images in a library…stock photos. They aren’t created ‘just’ for my book.

The publisher’s art department knows what sells, and they try to match up character description (although often in rough format) to images that already exist. They add color, fonts and various points of interest.

I think I’ve been blessed with some truly beautiful covers, so I’m not complaining. But no, at this point in my career, I have relatively little input on my covers.

Are you working on something new and exciting right now?

I am, thank you for asking. I was invited by Berkley to participate in a Heat anthology with talented authors Megan Hart, Emma Holly and Lauren Dane which will come out in 2011. I just received a contract with Silhouette Special Edition to write a very emotional series of romances about three very different families that are bound together by one night of tragedy, their ensuing conflicts, and eventual healing through love. At the moment, I’m writing a Berkley Heat book slated to come out in 2011, tentatively called Taking Advantage.

Thank you for this. I hope my first ever interview went well, no idea what kinds of questions to ask or if they are too few or too many. But it is good to break out of the always having others over for guestblogs thing.

It was a terrific first interview, Linda, and I thank you for taking the time and effort. I wish you the best!

Please have a look at my review if you want to know a bit more about the book.
Or Visit Beth Kery at her webpage 

I just got a peak at her next cover so here it is :D
 The book will be out December 2010

Tuesday 2 March 2010

ARC Review: The Highlander's Sword - Amanda Forester

The Highlander's Sword by Amanda Forester

Genre: Historical romance
Pages: 352
Published: March 2nd 2010

Scottish Highlands romance is a perennial favorite, especially when it's as intriguing and sexy as The Highlander's Sword. Set against the backdrop of the rugged Scottish Highlands and the tumultuous 14th century, Lady Aila Graham is destined for the convent until her brother's death leaves her an heiress and her father hastily arranges a marriage for her with a Highland warrior she's never met. Misunderstandings between the battle-hardened knight and his lady are exploited by their enemies and threaten the entire clan. Only by throwing caution to the winds and forging a powerful bond together can they rout a traitor and save their people, and their love, from destruction.

What can I say, I have a soft spot of Highland romances, or perhaps just Scotland in general.

Aila Gordon is the heiress to the lands, but she has been destined to join a convent ever since a little girl. No one has never looked twice at her. This all changes since her father does not want her to join a convent, he needs soldiers because his neighbour is causing mischief, and the way to do this is to marry her away. He will get soldiers, the husband her rich dowry.

Aila was a sweet woman, she did what she was told, and never thought much of herself. She doesn't say much either when she is married away. If that is her duty then it is, of course it helps that she remembers him from before, and that he is good looking.

Padyn MacLaren has one big chip on his shoulders. In the beginning we see him leaving France after having his heart crushed. He does not trust women, and especially not pretty woman. Honestly he is an ass, and I got upset with him now and again cos of his serious trust issues. I am just waiting for him to redeem himself and see the woman before him is just perfect for him, and no lying hag. But then again what kind of book would that be.

Their marriage is of to one rocky start and the misunderstandings keep on coming. This is not love at first sight, or perhaps it is but they are way to blind to see that. They have to work for it, well he have too, Aila I just like.

There are some great side characters too, I am thinking of Sir Chaumont, the French knight that comes back with Padyn in particular. He also has a little sidestory. Then there is her mother, who has not left her room in 15 years. And the mysterious traitor that shows up here and there, but we never learn his name, and I sure did not figure who it was. There is a mystery here too, to find the traitor, to stop the neighbour, and try to stay alive. Not many is happy about the marriage.

I can give you bit of a warning and that is that every time they speak it is with a Scottish accent, it took a while to get all the words for me. But I tried to look at it the way that I was watching a movie and then those accents are just so hot.

So romance, mystery, danger, a stubborn Highlander, a bonny lass, and there is our story. A sweet book that made me wish I could visit Scotland.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner. Hum, is that shirt a bit too modern? Anyway not saying no to plaid a castle and sword.
Reason for Reading: Copy from the publisher
Final thoughts: A nice romance


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