Monday 30 September 2013

Author Interview and Giveway: Shana Galen and True Spies

Today I welcome Shana Galen back on my blog. Be sure to enter the contest too at the end :)


1. Tell me 3 fun things about yourself?
SG: I’ll tell you two true things and one lie. Guess which is the lie.
I majored in opera in college.
I once worked for the CIA.
I’m a major Star Wars fan.

2. Your new book is called True Spies. Now what's it about?
SG: TRUE SPIES is a nod at the Jamie Lee Curtis/Arnold Schwarzenegger film True Lies. It’s the second in the LORD AND LADY SPY series and like that book deals with a married couple trying to reconcile. At least Winn, the hero, wants to reconcile. Elinor has pretty much had it with Winn, especially when she learns he’s not at all who she thought—he’s actually an elite spy for the Barbican group. Elinor has been looking for some adventure and intrigue herself, and she definitely finds it when Winn’s work comes a little too close to home.

3. One a spy, the other one the disappointed spouse. Was this book fun to write as there is lots of place for drama?
SG: It was a fun book to write because even though I’m a mom with a young child, I know a lot of women with older kids who floundered a bit trying to figure out what to do now that their children don’t need them as much. Some had more kids and others went back to work. Like Elinor, everyone is looking for where they belong, where they can do something important. Winn, on the other hand, wants to take a break from life as a secret agent. He and Elinor aren’t quite on the same page about their future, and it was great to write a book where the heroine learns to see herself as more than a wife and mother, and the hero, who loved her in those roles, comes to respect her as so much more.

4. Now what went wrong with these two?
SG: Like a lot of men, Winn loves work more than family. He puts everything into his career and ignores his wife and kids. Elinor is tired of being ignored. She wants to be more than a party planner and society hostess. 

5. This would make such a good movie. But who would be perfect as Elinor and Winslow?
SG: So glad you asked! I have a Pinterest board with some of my inspirations ( 

I see Elinor as looking a bit like Kate Beckinsale and Winn as a young Ralph Fiennes.

6. What's coming next from you?
SG: I’m writing the last book in the Lord and Lady Spy series, LOVE AND LET SPY. That will be out n fall 2014. In March 2014, the last book in the Jewels of the Ton series releases. Lily’s story, SAPPHIRES ARE AN EARL’S BEST FRIEND, is one I can’t wait for readers to see.

Thanks for having me back!

1 copy of True Spies

1. Open to ALL
2. Ends Oct 12
3. Just enter 
or ask a question or whatever you feel like saying :)


He's Getting Tired of Deception...
Baron Winslow Keating is honor-bound to finish one last mission as an elite spy for the Barbican group even though he just wants to go home and be with his family. But after years of secrecy and absence, his daughters hardly know him and his wife has given up on him...

She Wants to Try a Little Intrigue...
Lady Elinor has had enough of domestic boredom. She contemplates an affair with a rakish spy, only to discover a world of intrigue and treachery that she never knew existed. Even more shocking, her neglectful husband is suddenly very attentive—quite the jealous type—and apparently there is much more to him than she ever knew...

Shana Galen is the author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the Lord and Lady Spy Series, the Jewels of the Ton Series, as well as the Sons of the Revolution Trilogy. A former English teacher in Houston’s inner city, Shana now writes full time, and is working on more regency romance novels! She’s happily married to the Ultimate Sportsfan and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Shana loves to hear from readers: visit her website at or see what she’s up to daily on Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday 29 September 2013

Review: Hope's End - Brian McClellan

A Powder Mage short

Captain Verundish has two problems. On campaign with the Adran army and far from her homeland, she is helpless when the young daughter she left at home is threatened. To make matters worse, General Tamas has put her lover in command of a Hope's End—the first charge through a breach straight into the teeth of enemy cannon and sorcery. To save the people she loves, Verundish will have to come up with a deadly solution...

My thoughts:
When it comes to short stories I never have much to say...cos they are short...very short. And this one was..16 page..ish.

The story takes place before Promise of Blood so read it before, read it after, it does not matter. Just read it.

The story was about Verundish who has some...drama in her life (since it's short story I wont spoil it). She is in a tight spot. I liked her, honor and duty, loyal and sacrificing. 

The story is about the charge called Hope's End. As the name says it will be deadly and without hope. What to do is the question?

I usually want more when it comes to short stories and not always in a good way. But here it actually worked as a short story. Sure I want more, but I was also happy with what I got. It was short and good and I enjoyed it.

Short and nice :)


Published September 23rd 2013 by Brian McClellan
Powder Mage 0
From the author

Saturday 28 September 2013

Mishel Reviews: We need to talk about Kevin - Lionel Shriver

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Release Date: May 2011 (First Published 2003)
Publisher: Counterpoint
Pages: 414 (Kindle Edition)
My Rating: 4.5/5 
Source: Library
Cover: The kindle version is a tie-in with the movie. I do like the simplicity of the hardcover though.

The gripping international bestseller about motherhood gone awry…
Eva never really wanted to be a mother and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin's horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.

 I came across this some time ago while searching through upcoming DVD releases online. The title grabbed my attention and I’m a fan of some of the actors so I looked up the trailer for the movie. The trailer was good but didn’t tell me much so when I dug a little more I found out what it was about. I had no idea the movie was about a school shooting or that the movie was adapted from a novel. (I love when I see a good movie, or movie trailer in this case, and find out it’s based on a book!!) I still haven’t had the chance to get my hands on the movie but I remember watching the trailer several times throughout my reading. This is not a happy story. It does not have happy or even likeable characters. But the story is gripping and the relationships inside have made me appreciate things more in my life. The depth of emotion caused me to take my time reading the book. I didn’t want to skim or miss anything important. The school shooting itself is more of a backdrop to Eva Khatchadourian’s life; because this story isn’t about just Kevin and his actions on that fateful Thursday. This is about Eva herself, her relationship with the world before and after Kevin entered it, and her ability to pick up the pieces of her life and get them working again. 

My only real issue with the book is the author’s use of vocabulary words. Bring on cuss words, bring on made-up words, and bring on lame dialogue that makes me roll my eyes any day! But bring on extravagant and excessive language and you’ll have to give me a moment to look that up please. I mean thank goodness I was reading the book on my Kindle or I’d have to have a dictionary or thesaurus with me. I literally had to highlight at least one word every other page (if not every page) to see what a particular term meant. Maybe that says poorly about my own use of terminology…I know my vocabulary could be much better. I know I could be more sophisticated, but hot damn some of those words were crazy. Of course context clues can be your best friend while reading but sometimes after I highlighted and looked up a word I literally said “Seriously?!? You couldn’t have just said *insert something a little less over the top here* But I digress; the vocabulary usage is more a problem for me because I’m not a literary critic and honestly, it was probably above my level in many different aspects. 

While the characters aren’t the people you want to be your friends, neighbors, or even live anywhere near you so you might run into them kind of people I was still completely fascinated by them. Eva and Kevin both are impossible to forget and I have a feeling I’ll want to re-visit them many times in the future. I’ve always wanted to be a mother and I love every minute of it. However, how would my life be if I had a child that seemed to hate me and the world? I don’t know… and that scares me. Putting myself in Eva’s position is very unsettling and I like that that this story has affected me so. I like books that make me question things, that make me uncomfortable, and can make me cry and cringe. The author has certainly accomplished something with their book if it can affect readers on such an intimate level. I enjoyed Shriver’s writing (even with her excessive vocabulary lessons, thank you by the way) and I’m looking forward to more of her work. No matter how difficult this book can be for certain readers I think one is missing out if they pass up on Kevin.

Friday 27 September 2013

Review: Ill Wind - Rachel Caine

Joanne Baldwin is a Weather Warden - waves her hand to tame the most violent weather. Now she races against accusations of corruption and murder. Her only hope is Lewis, the most powerful warden known. Because he stole three bottles of Djinn, he is now the most wanted criminal on earth. Can she find him before the bad weather closes in?

My thoughts:
Honestly this one fell flat for me from the first page. I tried reading it, then I started skimming and finished it cos sometimes I hate giving up. Especially with my own books.

What's her name... ok I do remember it, Joanne is running. I did not care why she was running. Why she had a mark on her. Why there was a need for constant jumps in time. Why there were wardens. I just did not care.

Ok I am lying, David seemed hot and was intriguing. But that whole story was stupid too.

In the end it was one big fail and I would not read any more even if one fell down from the sky.


Paperback, 337 pages
Published December 2nd 2003 by Roc
Weather Warden #1
Urban fantasy

Thursday 26 September 2013

Review: The Crimson Shield - Nathan Hawke

Fantasy needs a new hero. Meet Gallow - Truesword, Griefbringer and trouble for anyone who crosses him.

I have been Truesword to my friends, Griefbringer to my enemies. To most of you I am just another Northlander bastard here to take your women and drink your mead, but to those who know me, my name is Gallow. I fought for my king for seven long years. I have served lords and held my shield beside common men. I have fled in defeat and I have tasted victory and I will tell you which is sweeter. Despise me then, for I have slain more of your kin than I can count, though I remember every single face.

For my king I will travel to the end of the world. I will find the fabled Crimson Shield so that his legions may carry it to battle, and when Sword and Shield must finally clash, there you will find me. I will not make pacts with devils or bargains with demons for I do not believe in such things, and yet I will see them all around me, in men and in their deeds. Remember me then, for I will not suffer such monsters to live. Even if they are the ones I serve.

My thoughts:
Think Vikings, then again you only need to see the cover to think that. And they are a way. This is a fantasy world after all.

A world where the Forkbeards from the North hold a country across the seas. The Marroc (guess they are England then) who lives there are not happy. But that is not the end, oh no, there is a third army trying to conquer the Marroc and the Lhosir (the vikings) tries to hold them back. Yes you can guess that there is a lot of fighting. 

Who to root for? The Lhosir plunder, The Vathan too (oh and I guess they are Hun/Mongols). The Marroc are beaten down and have given up. And the main character, oh Gallow. He is a Lhosir who settled and married a local woman. He is hard, a true fighter.

I am more of a epic fantasy reader, you know, adventure, quest (I blame the early books I read). While this one felt, almost historical at times. And I do love historical novels. I feel he should write a fiction book about real vikings too cos he has the words for it.

The ending, oh, yes I had to read the blurb for book 2 cos I was SO curious. It was a cliffhanger.

What to say then, yes at times it was a bit too action filled for me.

Yeah.....I need a title and author name. I do not like it

Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 11th 2013 by Gollancz
Gallow #1

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Carole Reviews: The Bad Death - Naima Haviland

Author: Naima Haviland
Title: The Bad Death
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Historical
Pages: ebook
First Published: August 21st, 2013
Where I Got It: Given to me by publisher/author to read and review for my honest and unbiased opinion

"Passion rules the heart and terror rules the night…
South Carolina, 1788. The African beauty emerging from his family crypt is a stranger to Julian Mouret, the refined owner of Lion’s Court plantation. A dancer and a mystery, she spins a strange, dark, and impossible tale of peril and flight. Though he fears she must surely be mad, the handsome slave owner is soon himself a slave, lost to the seductions of this enchantress called Anika and determined to lead her North to safety. 

But there can be no safe haven for Julian or the exquisite Gullah girl who has bewitched him, not while monsters roam the night. A series of horrifying mutilation murders screams of the presence of “plat-eyes”—shape-shifting blood-sucking supernatural creatures feeding at will on the plantation workers—and only Anika can end the rampage. But to face the vampire horde she will have to master the darkness within. And the price of victory in the battle ahead may well be the eternal soul of the man she is coming to love."

Like earlier stated I read this for the publisher/author to give my honest and unbiased opinion. 

The moment I read the summary I needed to read this. I needed to know what happened. That's pretty much how I got through the book so quickly...I needed to know what happened next. It's such an interesting concept. 

A slave girl, Anika, was an interesting character. She had two souls in her. A dancer and a slave girl who together need to fight the bad ol' vamps running around South Carolina. Poor Julian...getting sucked into the middle of this just because he's bewitched by her. I'm sorry, but if I was Julian I would have been freaked out by the fact that she popped out his family crypt. Plus...she's odd. She has two different personalities going (the reader learns about that quickly, but poor guy was in the dark). 

Naima Haviland has SUCH a great way of sucking the reader into the story. I felt like I was there and in the same room or crypt. I also felt like she had a great knowledge of both the rich, white culture and the slave culture. It wasn't over the time (ie the dialect writing), it was perfect. Kuddos!

There was one thing I was upset about...I was confused. Perhaps it was my fault, but I wasn't sure what was going on half of the time.*shrugs* I can't much else on this without letting out many spoilers. I think there may have been too much going on at once. That may be it. Not only did she have a love triangle going on (or should I say a love square?), evil vamps, weird dou-souls in one body, ballet dancing, discovering of power, and so much more. Too much for my little brain, perhaps. Like I may have just been me. 

Besides for too much going on and me getting confused, I really liked this book. The setting set-up was fantastic, the characters were awesome, and the action kept me on the edge of my seat. I can't wait to see what more Naima Haviland has to offer. ^.^ Out of five stars, I shall give this....3 stars. I would recommend this to those that love a good gothic, historical, action, romance. 

Favorite Character(s): Prince, Marcus, and Anika

Not-so Favorite Character(s): Julian (I liked him at the beginning, but as the story so much) and the vamps 

Carole owner of

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Review: The False Prince - Jennifer A.Nielsen

NARRATOR: Charlie McWade
FORMAT: 7 CDs, Unabridged

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Three orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point—he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

My thoughts:
The worst thing with an audio book is that I have no idea how to spell anything at all 0_o And with fantasy it can be tricky, but never mind that.

I liked the male narrator, he did a good job. Though why all the poor people had to sound stupid I do not know. Maybe cos they are poor. Still all in all a good voice to listen to.

The story was good too. A noble man gathers a few orphans and will make one of them king. They learn how to act and there are a few plot twists in there too.

With this being a YA book I also appreciated it not being too long ;)


Audio CD, Unabridged
Published April 1st 2012 by Scholastic Audio Books
The Ascendance Trilogy #1
Fantasy / YA

Friday 20 September 2013

Review: Season for Scandal - Theresa Romain

Jane Tindall has never had money of her own or exceptional beauty. Her gifts are more subtle: a mind like an abacus, a talent for play-acting—and a daring taste for gambling. But all the daring in the world can’t help with the cards fixed against her. And when Edmund Ware, Baron Kirkpatrick, unwittingly spoils her chance to win a fortune, her reputation is ruined too. Or so she thinks, until he suggests a surprising mode of escape: a hasty marriage. To him. On the surface, their wedding would seem to satisfy all the demands of proper society, but as the Yuletide approaches, secrets and scandals turn this proper marriage into a very improper affair.

My thoughts:
This romance was different. I can't say all the ways it was different because that would be to spoil things, but yes it was different.

First we have Jane who marries Edmund after a certain thing she was involved in. They are not in love, and he does try to treat her well. But yes the whole marriage is kind of blah. I wished for love but after a while I knew the truth. If these two want a happy loving marriage they will have to work for it. And so they did but it sure took time before they realised that.

Jane was strong, again I can't say the situation I am thinking of. She also wanted a bit too much. But she was cool. Edmund was kind and was the sort of guy who danced with spinsters at the balls. But he has a secret and it could tear everything apart. And then there is danger hidden in the darkness.

So do not expect a whirlwind romance at once. No, expect two people, one wanting more, the other one all self-sacrifice. Two people who eventually will find love and happiness.

I like it

Paperback, 352 pages
Expected publication: October 1st 2013 by Zebra
Holiday Pleasures #3
Historical romance
For a review

Thursday 19 September 2013

Review: Promise of Blood - Brian McClellan

The Age of Kings is dead . . . and I have killed it. 

Field Marshal Tamas' coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas's supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces. 

Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.

Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should...

My thoughts:
I can never do good fantasy justice. You know how I ramble on. The book was good, the book was excellent. What more is there truly to say? If you like fantasy I will definitely recommend it.

But I will try.

Fantasy and guns. I have come across it before and thought it was cool, and yes it was still cool cos it is different. On top of that we have an interesting magic system where some snort in gun powder and get more powerful. Gotta love that idea. But the ones with a different power do not like the powder mages. Good start for some drama.

As for the premise think the French Revolution. Down with the king and nobles and send them to the guillotine. Just add in magic and Gods.

The book had me hooked from page 1. The story was good and the characters fascinating. Tamas who orchestrated the whole thing to save his country from a neighboring one. Adamat, a former police officer who is sent to find some answers. Taniel who is know to have killed Privileged (those with great powers). Then we have others like a young woman trying to protect a boy from a noble family, another woman who wreaks havoc in the city after the fall, and others who I grew to like.

The book kept up a good pace and at the end I needed more. Because more is sure to come. I like where he left it. Enough to want more, but not ending with a horrible cliffhanger.

So like I said I recommend it. And book 2 is coming out in February, I am so glad that there is not a long wait.

Hardcover, 548 pages
Published April 16th 2013 by Orbit
The Powder Mage #1

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Carole Reviews: Betrayal - Sandra Schwab

Author: Sandra Schwab
Title: Betrayal 
Genre: Historical Romance, Drama
Pages: ebook
First Published: July 21st, 2013
Where I Got It: Given to me by publisher/author to read and review for my honest and unbiased opinion

"On a golden day in early summer, two young boys meet in the crowded streets of Florence and change the lives of a man and a woman forevermore...

For seventeen years Ash has been eaten up alive by bitterness and hatred, caught fast in the clutches of the past. For seventeen years he has not been able to look at the boy he raised as his heir and not remember the terrible betrayal he had to endure. And yet, for seventeen years he has closed his eyes against the even more terrible truth ...

Seventeen years ago Georgina fled from England and all she ever held dear. But for the sake of her child, she must return to confront the man whom she once loved more than life itself until lies and deceit tore her life and marriage apart.

Will their love stand a second chance?"

Like earlier stated I read and reviewed this for the publisher/author for my honest and unbiased opinion.

This would be my third novel I've read by Sandra Schwab and yet again she has dazzled me. She keeps getting better and better. I'm having a hard time letting this be labeled in the Historical Romance. It was more of a tragedy with a HEA at the very, very end. It was so sad and I felt bad for both Georgina and Ash. They were torn apart for seventeen years due to betrayal and lies. It was so sad and the way Sandra Schwab made you connect with the characters.

I loved how she based this story of the famous 'Parent Trap' movies and the original German play. It was a unique and cute way to make the two separated lovers reunit. It makes me want to re-watch the movies. However, I always wonder the chances that the twins would be at the same place at the same is so unlikely. 

Anyways, it was a cute, but tragic book. I really wanted to punch Ash though, because he had claimed to loving her SO much, but when one person tells him that she had laid with another man HE believed it. Even when Georgina denied it, he still divorced her. There was no proof...only word of mouth...he divorced her. GAH! MEN! So bull-headed. He was lucky she didn't take both of the babies with her. >.> However, there was one way that Georgina could have avoided all that (which I can't say) but she didn't play that card, which she should have played, but she didn't. C'MON! You're marriage is going down in flames and you wouldn't do anything to save it? GAH! I just wanted to scream when I found out the card that could have saved the marriage to begin with. Tsk.

I loved everything about this book, besides for one thing...I hated the ending. Yes, I was glad they got their HEA, but it was rushed. I wanted more one-on-one between the two. I wanted more cuddling and sweet words. For heaven's sake they had been apart for 17 years. IDK. All this build up and the ending left me wanting more. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot. I would really like a prequel of the couple. It would be fun to see how they got together in their youth and then the crumble of the marriage. Maybe someday. *fingers crossed*.  The ending felt super rushed, but the rest of the book was great and I want more! I can't wait to read more by Sandra Schwab. ^.^ I would recommend this to those that love Historical Romances. Out of 5 stars I grant this one 5 stars. It is more like 4.5, but I rounded since I don't give decimals. 

Favorite Character(s): The twins (a pair of rascals), Georgina, Frau Else and Guy
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Dowager Countess (*grumbles* bitch *grumbles*)

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Review: Ascension - Caris Roane

Alison Wells is no ordinary woman. Born with supernatural powers, she can never make love to a man without putting him in grave danger. But when her special vision reveals a glorious muscled man soaring overhead on mighty wings, she feels an overwhelming attraction she cannot resist—even as he tells her: "I have come for you. Your blood belongs to me." 

Kerrick is a vampire and a warrior who has fought his hunger for a woman's love for the past two hundred years. As a Guardian of Ascension, he is sworn to protect Alison from the death vamp armies who crave her blood and her power. But Kerrick has cravings of his own—a forbidden longing to open his heart and veins to Alison. To share his blood...satisfy his thirst...and seal their fates forever.

My thoughts:
I had problems with this book. It was good, but the whole world felt stupid to me. When I think ascension I think of good people, wise people, ascending. Here, not so much. There are people that have powers and they can then ascend to 2nd earth...another dimension. And all these people seem to be total idiots, power hungry, violent apes. Yes, the author talks about gardens in the beginning but those are forgotten when we near the end get a vision of "Rome and fighting to the death in an arena". Oh and did I forget to tell you, those who ascend becomes vampires for some reason. I just could not deal with the world.

Anyway, Alison is gonna ascend, baddies come after her. She is really really powerful. Kerrick is a mighty warrior with a chip on his shoulder. They lust for each other, they smex around...and now I remember the world again. I can't get over it!

It was good to a point where something happened and after that I just felt the world was too stupid...I will put a spoiler in my review on my blog edit:.....and damn now I have forgotten what that was as I read the book a month did not really stay with me.

The whole holding thing looks weird if you look close

Mass Market Paperback, 461 pages
Published December 28th 2010 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Guardians of Ascension #1
Paranormal romance

Monday 16 September 2013

Review: True Spies - Shana Galen

Baron Winslow Keating is honor-bound to finish one last mission as an elite spy for the Barbican group even though he just wants to go home and be with his family. But after years of secrecy and absence, his daughters hardly know him, and his wife has given up on him.

Lady Elinor has had enough of domestic boredom. She contemplates an affair with a rakish spy, only to discover a world of intrigue and treachery that she never knew existed. Even more shocking, her neglectful husband is suddenly very attentive—quite the jealous type—and apparently there is much more to him than she ever knew.

My thoughts:
I tried my best not to think of True Lies while reading this book, I mean who wants to see that person when reading about Baron? Yes not me.

I liked the fact that they had been married for ages. Winslow was always away (cos he was a spy and she did not know) and Elinor grew tired of being stood up. Their marriage was not a loving happy one. She had been forgotten, and it had never been a love match. Now how can it go wrong with a premise like that?

I did feel sorry for Elinor, but then again, those were the days. Maybe she should not go and try to be involved in an affair to spice things up. Winslow could have cast her out and she would never have seen the kids again....

And Winslow, really, spend some time with your kids and wife. You are both idiots in the end.

But the book is not gonna end like that. Winslow started to think his wife was hot. She was not gonna forgive him that easily and if you have seen True Lies you know where this is gonna go. There will be danger and spy games for both of them.

But I was not that happy about a certain thing at the end...can't tell you why. But it was irresponsible. spoiler She becomes a spy too...hello, you have kids. And you were almost killed way too many times through out the book. It will end with her or both dead and the kids have no parents. End

Spies, danger and romance between two people who have been married a long time, but not been in love before now.

Mass Market Paperback, 346 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Lord and Lady Spy #2
Historical romance /suspense
For review

Saturday 14 September 2013

Movie Discussion: World War Z

Ram and I discussed the book here, and back then we decided that we at a later date would discuss the movie too.

Ram: What did you think of the film?

Blod: The movie was actually better than I thought it would be. Cos yes the book bored me, and yes the movie was nothing like it. But still it was...tolerable.

Ram: It was just like any other summer blockbuster, mindnumbing action flick. But you’re right, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

Blod: I do like mindnumbing action so it was in that aspect I really liked it.

I like action too, I just wish it to be entertaining. The fact that the zombies were fast kind of ruined it for me, because there was no explanation to their evolution and if you’re going to change the a myth you better explain it. It felt like a deus ex machina to get the action rolling.

I love fast zombies! They scare the shit out of me, but yes why were they fast?

What about the other changes to the book, what did you think about those?

The whole oh a cure! We can make everyone immune was a cop out. I did not like that.

Invisible, not immune. No, I didn’t like that either. It felt like an obvious set up for a sequel, which I don’t want to see.

I would see it, I hate and love zombies ;)

If I have to pick between zombies and vampires I’ll take vampires and I’m burned out on those as well. I did like the wife, Brad Pitt’s character’s. I liked that she seemed capable of taking care of herself and her family even without any of his training. And then they ruined it by having her make that call, which she as a seasoned distance spouce should have known better than to make.

Eh, I barely saw the wife, I did not register the wife. This was Brad’s movie, it was all Brad Brad Brad...Israeli girl...Brad Brad Brad.

Which is why my Mum said she didn’t want to see the film. I don’t think he’s a bad actor but I don’t think he alone is worth a film ticket either.

Yes I can’t say I am a Brad fan either. But then who would have been better? It was just his character all the time anyway. And he was the bringer of dooooom.

I blame the script. The interviewer and the bringer of doom (to the reader) was invisible in the book. There’s no way of making that format work on the screen but this version didn’t work either, not for me.

I did miss things, it was all too easy. And they had taken away some good things from the book. For example Israel falling into civil war...yes let’s forget the politic and just show Brad instead and zombies running over a wall cos of sound.

I hated that it had to be him who figured out the danger. It should’ve been the Israeli soldiers.

That would have been better, but I guess ...oh I do not know. Brad’s movie, he saves them all. Everyone else is blind. Oh and why did NO ONE, almost, think zombies?

His phone, I don’t think it should’ve worked after that EMP but miraculously it did and no one even fixed it.

Oh I did not even think about that!

I saw it coming the second that mushroom cloud appeared. At least they didn’t have him pull that thing that went through him and miraculously NOT bleed to death right away.

Lol, oh that, yes he lived...sure. Let’s see, what else annoyed me….why was sound such a trigger, but no sight or smell? How did they go zombie so damn fast?

There really isn’t much to say about the film, is there?

No. Zombies were FAST. Brad Pitt saved the world. The end. Zombies were really fast. There I said it all.

Book or film? Which do you prefer? You’ve not said that.

Movie. The book was too boring at times with the military talk.

Book. The film was throwaway entertainment but I might pick up the book again.

So 1 for the movie and 1 for the book ;)

And that’s all.

PS. To the movie lovers out there, if you like zombies then yes see the movie. If you expect anything more, then do not. It’s like Ram said mindnumbing action after all.

Friday 13 September 2013

Review: Chimes at Midnight - Seanan McGuire

Things are starting to look up for October "Toby" Daye. She's training her squire, doing her job, and has finally allowed herself to grow closer to the local King of Cats. It seems like her life may finally be settling least until dead changelings start appearing in the alleys of San Francisco, killed by an overdose of goblin fruit.

Toby's efforts to take the problem to the Queen of the Mists are met with harsh reprisals, leaving her under sentence of exile from her home and everyone she loves. Now Toby must find a way to reverse the Queens decree, get the goblin fruit off the streets--and, oh, yes, save her own life, since more than a few of her problems have once again followed her home. And then there's the question of the Queen herself, who seems increasingly unlikely to have a valid claim to the throne....

To find the answers, October and her friends will have to travel from the legendary Library of Stars into the hidden depths of the Kingdom of the Mists--and they'll have to do it fast, because time is running out. In faerie, some fates are worse than death. October Daye is about to find out what they are.

My thoughts:
This book brought up some things and yet again I am dying for some answers about Toby's origin and mostly regarding her mother. Yes there are still things there I need to know.

Book 7, not much to say. Toby is cool as always, and dating Tybalt. YAY! There is trouble brewing and she is in the middle of it.

We have goblin fruit, danger to changelings, a bad queen, and the search for answers. Also McGuire taunts the reader with more answers about Toby's mum, but still not enough. No, instead of all the answers I get a new question and I am dying to know it.

I will have to wait a year for the next one. A YEAR. I know, horrible. Why did I have to read it at once! Sighs. I love Toby too much.

If you have not started this series then what are you waiting for!?

Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by DAW
October Daye #7
Urban fantasy

Thursday 12 September 2013

Review: Noble Endeavours - Miranda Seymour

In 1613 a beautiful Stuart princess married a handsome young German prince. This was a love match, but it was also an alliance that aimed to weld together Europe's two great Protestant powers.
Before Elizabeth and Frederick left London for the court in Heidelberg, they watched a performance of The Winter's Tale. In 1943, a group of British POWS gave a performance of that same play to a group of enthusiastic Nazi guards in Bavaria. When the amateur actors suggested doing a version of The Merchant of Venice that showed Shylock as the hero, the guards brought in the costumes and helped create the sets.

Nothing about the story of England and Germany, as this remarkable book demonstrates, is as simple as we might expect. A shared faith, a shared hunger for power, a shared culture (Germany never doubted that Shakespeare belonged to them, as much as to England); a shared leadership. German monarchs ruled over England for three hundred years - and only ceased to do so through a change of name. 
My thoughts:
A lot of history, a lot of interesting people.

The thing about this book is that I liked some of the chapters and some not so much. The problem I had with some chapters is that the writing style was too much at once. It seemed like the author wanted to put in a lot of information and by doing that she jumped from one interesting person to another one and to another one and to another one, and then back to the first one.

So with those chapters I would have wanted less and more. Less people, and more information about the people in the book. I am like that, I always want more and here there was not enough.

Ok to the chapters I liked then, they were more fleshed out but I would have wanted even more. As I said there are A LOT of people mentioned in this book and some interesting ones were about Queen Victoria and her children. And the Winter Queen.

For the historical non-fiction lover this is a true treasure. 300 years of history between Germany and England. A lot of people that were new to me, some I did not know a lot about and all the rest. And they sure wanted to better the relationship between the countries.

Hardcover, 512 pages
Published August 29th 2013 by Simon & Schuster UK
From the publisher for a review

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Author Interviews: Liz Harris and Beverley Eikli and giveaway

Today I am interviewing both Liz Harris and Berverley Eikli. And the winner gets to choose which book to receive :)


1. Who is Beverley Eikli?
I'm one of those incredibly fortunate people who was born with a disability - being unable to walk properly - and then was 'fixed'. At seven, I was the first child in the world to undergo a new ground-breaking operation which redesigned my left hip, enabling me to walk and run like the other kids in my class.

I'm sure that had a big influence on my personality and made me more accepting of whatever curve-balls are thrown my way, though I can't think how much luckier I could have been in my life.

I grew up in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, with loving parents and a wonderful Masuto nanny called Francina and her three little children, so even though where we lived was so remote my younger sister and I had lots of attention and playmates. We moved to Australia when I was five but on a return visit 20 years ago to Botswana, where my father was born, I met and married a handsome Norwegian pilot.

As my darling husband's 'trailing spouse' I've had the most exciting and adventurous life, living and working in 12 countries and cities, including Namibia, Botswana, Norway, Greenland, French Guiana, Solomon Islands and Japan. We've been settled for the past five years in a pretty town north of Melbourne, Victoria, and have two beautiful daughters aged eight and twelve. 

2. Tell me why The Relucant Bride is the book to read in September...
As one reviewer puts it, The Reluctant Bride "has a slow boil. It starts as a romance story and ends in a fantastic mystery/action storyline." 

So if you enjoy the darker side of Regency life and are looking for a gripping, suspenseful page-turner with a tortured, conscience-stricken but self controlled hero determined to protect his 'reluctant bride' from a truth he fears will destroy her, then this is the book for you.

3.  You mix together spies, romance and suspense. What was the inspiration behind this book?
The Reluctant Bride first won Romance Writers of New Zealand's Single Title Competition six years ago but I put it on the back burner while I wrote five other novels and novellas, published by Robert Hale and Total-e-Bound.

At that stage The Reluctant Bride encompassed a six month period in 1812, several years after the 1809 Retreat to Corunna which is where my hero, Angus, faces his life's nightmare. He's still burdened by guilt when he meets Emily and as she's in need of rescuing, he sees an opportunity to atone for his past.

When I returned to writing the book after some years I realised I needed to know a great deal more about my heroine, Emily's backstory, which meant immersing myself in the violent and bloody events of the French Revolution, particularly the September Massacres of 1792. I did enormous amounts of research on Robespierre and a variety of revolutionaries to decide which personalities my heroine's family would have associated with so I'd know how these influences would have played out 20 years hence, when my book starts.

When The Reluctant Bride won Choc Lit's Search for an Australian Star competition I was over the moon. Choc Lit focusses on the hero's Point of View and I loved the fact that their 'tasting panel' thought Angus as honourable and compelling a hero as I did.

4. What's coming next?
Within the next few days I'll be starting on edits for my March 2014 release The Maid of Milan. I took a bit of a risk with this one - some readers will hate it when they get to that point, but to say why would be a spoiler - however I believe that the only unbreakable rule in a romance is that it has a Happy Ever After and that what happens along the way is just that - 'it happens'. As long as the characters can come to terms with it and find their HEA, then I've done my job.

Here's the blurb:
After five years of marriage, Adelaide has fallen in love with the handsome, honourable husband who nurtured her through her darkest hours.

Now Adelaide’s former lover, the passionate poet from whose arms she was torn by her family during their illicit liaison in Milan six years previously has returned, a celebrity due to the success of his book The Maid of Milan.

High society is as desperate to discover the identity of his ‘muse’ as Adelaide is to protect her newfound love and her husband’s political career.

If only the men had not been childhood friends.

Thank you so much for having me here today. I've really enjoyed it.

1. About me,  Liz Harris  
I was born in London. After graduating from university with a Law degree, I decided to see the world and I moved to California. It seemed a pretty good place to start, I thought. I went there for one year, but stayed for six! As you’ll realise, I had a brilliant time there, leading a very varied life, from waitressing on Sunset Strip to a stint as 'resident starlet' at MGM to working as secretary to the CEO of a large Japanese trading company.

Eventually, though, real life intervened, and I returned to Britain, did a London University degree in English and taught for a number of years, during which I contributed weekly articles on education to a local newspaper.

By way of hobbies, I love reading - naturally - and I'm nuts about the Daily Telegraph Cryptic crosswords. I also like language and travel.

In addition to my novels, I've written several short stories, and in my non-writing hours, of which there are few, I'm the organiser of the RNA’s Oxford Chapter, a member of the Oxford Writers' Group, and I was on the committee organising the HNS Conference, 2012. 

My two sons live in London, while my husband and I now live in South Oxfordshire. 

2.  Three great things about A Bargain Struck.

I'm trying to suppress my typically British nature, which makes me instinctively recoil from promoting myself - ahem - and I'm going to force myself to be truly honest when telling you about three of the many great things about my novel, an historical novel set in Wyoming 1887.

When I read a book, the first thing I thing I want to find is a story. So when I write a book for others to read, the first thing I make sure about is that I have a really good story. There’s a strong story in A Bargain Struck, which is true to the period and the characters to whom I gave birth, which will engage your emotions and make you want to turn the page.

Secondly, what’s the point of reading an historical novel if the details are so inauthentic that they jar and the characters are modern characters in all but name and garments, I always wonder.  I loved researching the background to my novel to ensure authenticity, so much so that I forced myself to go to Wyoming and stay in a working ranch at the foot of The Rockies, surrounded by hunky wranglers. The sacrifices we authors make!

The third great thing is the strong romantic element in A Bargain Struck. I think the idea of mail order brides in the American west is so romantic, and when the widower ordering the bride is as gorgeous as Conn Maguire, a second generation homesteader in South Wyoming, well, I’m quite lost for words. Or almost.

3.  There is sure a difference, between your last book and your new one. Did you always want to write a Western romance?
Yes, The Road Back, a split era novel, set in the 1950s and 1995, and located in both London and Ladakh, is a very different sort of story on the face of it. It’s historically authentic, though, just as is A Bargain Struck, and the characters in both novels are complex in the way that real people are. In neither book are the characters cardboard cut-outs, and the emotions both books elicit in the reader are very real emotions.

But the American West is much more laid back and casual than London, certainly, for all there’s a strict divide between the work of the sexes, and the tone of A Bargain Struck is of one romance and the wide open plains of Wyoming, where men are men and women are … that does sound like a cliché so I’ll stop here.

As you’ll see from the bit about me, I used to live in the US. I love the place, and when I heard a radio article about mail order brides in Russia, which gave me the idea for the novel, locating it in Russia didn’t grab me, but the idea of Wyoming did -  mail order brides were prevalent in Wyoming in the mid1800s - and that was that.

In a month’s time, I’m going to start on another western novel. This will tell you how much I enjoyed writing A Bargain Struck, and how reluctant I would be to leave the world of Conn, Ellen and Bridget.

4. What's next?
I shall shortly be submitting A Far Place to Choc Lit. I’m in the final stages of editing it myself – I don’t like handing in rough drafts.

The idea for the story came from a number of those who read The Road Back. I’ve had a great many letters from readers, several of whom have asked what happened to the missionaries’ son, Peter. In A Far Place, I tell them.

Many thanks for inviting me to talk to you today.


Thank you both!

The winner gets to chose either a copy of A bargain struck or The Reluctant Bride

1. Open to ALL
2. Ends Sep 22nd
3. Just enter :D


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