Tuesday 31 December 2013

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Vanessa Kelly - Secrets for seducing a Royal Bodyguard

I am a part of Vanessa Kelly's Blog Tour for her new book, and we will start with an excerpt :) and after that you will find the giveaway

For a few infernally long seconds they glared at each other, their rasping breaths shattering the clammy closeness of the room.   She shook beneath him, her body slim and lithe beneath the fragile silk of her ball gown.   A heated tendril of scent reached his nostrils, an elusive whisper of roses and summer warmth.   Her chest rose and fell in a pattern of fractured breaths, plumping the fullness of her breasts over the top of her low-cut bodice.

The candle on the crate beside them sputtered and flared, throwing light on her face.   A hectic flush rose in her cheeks, driving a wash of pink across her pale skin.   Her lips, plush and bow shaped, trembled open in a travesty of invitation, and for one demented instant Aden fought the urgent need to taste them, to plumb the sweet temptation they offered.

And then she drew in a breath, preparing to scream.   He whipped up a hand and covered her mouth, disgusted with his lapse in discipline and what it must have revealed to her.   She might be the kind of spoiled beauty he disdained, but he’d consign himself to the darkest hell before he frightened her or harmed a hair on her head.

“Hush, Lady Vivien.”   He lifted slightly, giving her more room although he kept his hand clamped over her mouth.   “Sir Dominic Hunter sent me.   I’m going to get you out of here, but you can’t scream or keep fighting or your captors will hear.”

Her gaze darted to the door and the corridor beyond, then flashed back to his face.

“The guards won’t trouble us,” he murmured in response to her unspoken question.   The terror that glazed her eyes dimmed a notch.   She blinked rapidly as if to chase away her drug-induced confusion.

He held her gaze, willing her to trust him.   “If I take my hand away, you must not cry out.   You will endanger us both if you do.   Understand?”

She stared up at him, eyes rounded with fear.   He could practically hear the turning of the cogs and wheels in her brain and feel her body go still as she weighed her decision.

Blast.   If she continued to fight him, a sharp tap to the jaw to knock her senseless might be the only safe way to handle her.   But then he saw the clearing in her eyes and sensed the beginning of a wary acceptance of him.

“Yes?” he whispered.

The flush leached from her face.   She gave one sharp, economical nod and then settled under him, as if waiting for him to respond.   Cautiously, he removed his hand from her mouth, straining an ear for any noises.   He deliberately pulled his awareness away from her, focusing his instincts, trying to sense traps that might await them in the corridor beyond.

  “Who are you?”   Her voice was a throaty croak.   “You know Sir Dominic?”

“Yes.   I’m a friend.”   Right now she didn’t need to know more than the basics.


Giveaway Details:

One ARC of CONFESSIONS OF A ROYAL BRIDEGROOM, book two of The Renegade Royals series, and one copy of HIS MISTLETOE BRIDE per the total number of stops. (US/Ca only) Please see Terms & Conditions on the Rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vanessa is also hosting a giveaway on her website for a reproduction of the original art for SECRETS FOR SEDUCING A ROYAL BODYGUARD, and original sketches of the heroines from LOST in a ROYAL KISS (#0.5) and SECRETS for SEDUCING a ROYAL BODYGUARD (#1).  

Link to contest on Vanessa’s website:   http://www.vanessakellyauthor.com/contest/

Accomplished spy Aden St. George prefers to stay away from the frivolous ton, especially after the way his mother was used by the Prince Regent. But his latest mission compels him to guard unconventional, vibrant Lady Vivien Shaw. Rescuing her from kidnappers was easy. Resisting her beauty is not. Duty demands he keep an eye on her—and naturally, his lips soon follow. For someone who views entanglements as a weakness, this is pure, delicious folly…

Though grateful for Aden’s help, Vivien has secrets she must keep hidden. Yet with her abductors still at large, she needs Aden’s protection almost as much as she craves his touch…

Genre: Regency-set historical romance
Tone: witty, sexy, emotional 
Heat Level: hot
Elements/Tags: historical romance, royalty, Georgian era
Publisher: Kensington Zebra
Publishing Date: January 7, 2013
Series: The Renegade Royals, #1
Format: digital 
Words: 432 pages

Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1eH7m5J

Meet Author Vanessa Kelly:

Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the "New Stars of Historical Romance." Her sensual, Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Vanessa's next series, The Renegade Royals, is due to hit the shelves in November with an introductory novella, Lost in a Royal Kiss. Book One in the series, Secrets For Seducing a Royal Bodyguard, will release in January, 2014, and Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom will be out in April, 2014.
When not dreaming of plots for her next Regency historical novel, Vanessa also writes USA Today Bestselling contemporary romance with her husband under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.   She's also a member of Rock*It Reads, a group of bestselling traditional authors who are self-publishing, and of The Jaunty Quills.   

Tour Stops:

Additional Event:
Facebook Celebration: January 7th; 7:30pm - 9:30pm EST

Monday 30 December 2013

Review: Clean Sweep - Ilona Andrews

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is...different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, "normal" is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night....Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

My thoughts:
How to explain this book...

Right, so there are Inns and Inns are neutral and the Innkeeper has magic. Everyone can stay at a inn and I mean everyone. It seems the Innkeeper is like the only one in the world that knows that there are aliens and more out there. Vampires from space. Werewolves who blew up a planet. You name it.

And Dina is an innkeeper at a run down inn. Not many stars in the Inn Keeper's Book, but hey she is working on it. She was cool and determined, and I liked her.

Then there was a sexy werewolf, a vampire from space, a monster who ate dogs and a whole new world to explore.

The tempo was fast, the punches kept on coming and it was just really fun to read. Relaxed, different and just weird in a good way

Would I read more


ebook, 175 pages
Published December 2nd 2013 by Ilona Andrews
Innkeeper Chronicles #1
Genre...urban sci.fi fantasy
For review

Sunday 29 December 2013

Mishel Reviews: Rowena's Key - AJ Nuest

Mishel Reviews

Series or Stand Alone: The Golden Key Chronicles, book one
Release Date:  November 2013 
Publisher: HarperImpulse 
Pages:  109
Author Site:  http://ajnuest.com/
My Rating: 4/5 
Source: Received for review from author/publisher
Cover: It’s nice, I like the colors.

The key would unlock his future and the safety of his kingdom, but he never imagined the sorceress would unlock his heart…

Antiques restorer, Rowena Lindstrom, finds herself the owner of an ancestral armoire containing a hidden key and a magic mirror leading to another realm!

But the handsome warrior prince waiting on the other side is truly the final straw. This must be an elaborate joke, right? As she struggles to discover the truth, Rowena learns Prince Caedmon Austiere needs the key to save his kingdom. In the end, she cannot deny him anything. Including her heart.

Rowena’s Key is a great start to a series that I think a lot of people will enjoy. I honestly wasn’t expecting to like this one as much as I did. I’m glad I decided to give it a go when the author asked me to review it. I liked the heartfelt but subtle romance, the fantasy and magical elements, and the modern and believable characters. Everything flowed nicely into a quick and satisfying read.

We meet Rowena shortly after she impulsively buys a rather old and beat up armoire from overseas. As both a business owner and antiques restorer, she probably should have held on to the expensive shipping fees and thought a little bit more about what she was purchasing. Beginning to suffer from buyer’s remorse she sees firsthand how much wear and tear the piece has endured over the years. What makes matters worse, besides the obvious smoke and water damage, is the fact that the doors won’t even open! But life quickly changes for Rowena after she discovers a beautiful chain with a key and entire other world inside the armoire. 

Kind of makes you think of Narnia, doesn’t it? The idea of alternate realms, especially inside furniture!, is always fun in my opinion. I liked the fact that Rowena didn’t automatically accept that what she was seeing was real. Of course, what she thought was a little far-fetched as well…thinking her best friend Ollie had somehow set up some masterful play-acting through the mirror of the armoire…yeah, makes much more sense. The interaction between Prince Caedmon and Rowena was one of my favorite aspects of the story. Even though they were in different time periods, spoke and acted differently, the attraction between them was genuinely felt.

I’m getting a little burned out from the meet-and-greet insta-love thing. I used to be a firm believer in the idea of ‘love at first sight’! But I suppose after reading so much about it, I started rolling my eyes more than sighing dreamily when the heroine/hero swooned seconds/minutes/days after meeting their perspective soul mate... I do believe in insta-attraction though. This I have experienced, even though I haven’t acted on it…I’ll work on that though (maybe). Rowena and Caedmon have an attraction between them despite the odds set against them.  I like that the two shared intimate details about each other before even thinking of the future or the ‘L’ word. It was a nice change and made the story and romance more satisfying.

While it was a bit short for my taste I still felt pretty content with the plot, characters, pacing, and ending. I of course wanted more, but I have a good feeling that the things I was looking for in this first book will head my way with the next installments. And while the ending was a semi-cliffie, I could totally deal. It left me wanting more without feeling cheated or like I’m going to die waiting. I’m looking forward to seeing the story and the author’s writing grow in the upcoming books.

Saturday 28 December 2013

Mishel Reviews: Daughters of the Nile - Stephanie Dray

Mishel Reviews

Series or Stand Alone: Cleopatra’s Daughter, book three
Release Date:  December 2013 
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Pages:  576
My Rating: 5/5 
Source: Received for review from author/publisher
Cover: Thumbs up! It goes very well with the other two books and shows the growth of the main character. I also like that Selene’s daughter is featured on the cover.

Based on the true story of Cleopatra’s daughter…

After years of abuse as the emperor’s captive in Rome, Cleopatra Selene has found a safe harbor. No longer the pitiful orphaned daughter of the despised Egyptian Whore, the twenty year old is now the most powerful queen in the empire, ruling over the kingdom of Mauretania—an exotic land of enchanting possibility where she intends to revive her dynasty.

With her husband, King Juba II and the magic of Isis that is her birthright, Selene brings prosperity and peace to a kingdom thirsty for both. But when Augustus Caesar jealously demands that Selene’s children be given over to him to be fostered in Rome, she’s drawn back into the web of imperial plots and intrigues that she vowed to leave behind.

Determined and resourceful, Selene must shield her loved ones from the emperor’s wrath, all while vying with ruthless rivals like King Herod. Can she find a way to overcome the threat to her marriage, her kingdom, her family, and her faith? Or will she be the last of her line?

Daughters of the Nile has to be one of THE most satisfying conclusions to a trilogy I have ever read. I closed the book sighing with contentment as I wiped the remaining tears off my face. Yes, folks it was THAT good! I can’t help but write this review with the previous two novels in my head. The overall reading experience was epic in my opinion. I’ll try not to be a fan girl as I review this one but please excuse the moments when my cup runeth’ over. 

Selene has come a long way from the captured prisoner she once was as a child when she first set foot in Rome. She has now lived over two decades, gotten married, become a powerful Queen, had children of her own, and continues to stand up and defy the most powerful man in the empire. One of her biggest desires is to reclaim her rightful place in Egypt and Selene has been fighting non-stop for it. However, when her ambitions become close enough to taste and grab with two hands she hesitates. Although she’s lost so much for her dreams already, can she risk losing her new family, her fragile relationship with her husband, her beloved kingdom, or the new life she has come to embrace? Selene must choose between her past and her future, as she has always had to do, and risk losing it all.

Again, I must comment on how much I love the characters in these books. I’m pleasantly surprised to report that none have been stagnant. Each person has had ample time to develop and not once did I feel overwhelmed by any of their stories. Everyone had their share of high, happy times, and low, heartbreaking times. It was amazing to see everyone treated as if this was their story to tell, not just Selene’s. 

Coming in under 600 pages I hardly noticed the heaviness of them. I couldn’t believe how the words were flying off the pages and how I still wanted more after I finished. I have to say that the emotional peaks and low points were so numerous that I was shocked. After each critical, climactic point I felt that the story was probably ending soon and things couldn’t possibly get worse and there was no way there could be more to read in the remaining pages. It has been an emotional journey, through this book especially, that has made the entire trilogy a favorite of mine. I adore this author’s writing and I know I will be revisiting Selene again in the future.

I suppose I can’t give all props to Stephanie for putting my emotional investment to the test time and time again. I suppose I should thank history itself and all the players involved. While Stephanie may have been expanding on true events she did so with a beautiful style and with not too much to go on if you think about it. Although I’m sure her extensive research was time-consuming and exhausting there isn’t much known about Queen Cleopatra Selene, before she was Queen of Mauretania or after. And in each of the Author’s Note provided I felt Stephanie was fair in explaining all, or most, of her reasons for writing the story the way she did with the information she had at hand. Basically this small rant is to give the author her deserved props for surrounding real people from the past in a beautifully brutal world that I quite frankly hated to leave. I highly, highly recommend this book and the entire trilogy as a whole. You may of course read this as a standalone but the true enjoyment and experience will come when read them all, in order and hopefully back to back. 

Friday 27 December 2013

Paranormal Friday: x3 short reviews

Elizabeth Phoenix once used her unique skills as a psychic to help in the Milwaukee Police Department’s fight against injustice. But when Liz’s foster mother is found viciously murdered—and Liz is discovered unconscious at the scene—her only memory of the crime comes in the form of terrifying dreams...of creatures more horrific than anything Liz has seen in real life. What do these visions mean? And what in the world do they have to do with her former lover, Jimmy Sanducci?

While the police question Jimmy in the murder, Jimmy opens Liz’s eyes to a supernatural war that has raged since the dawn of time in which innocent people are hunted by malevolent beings disguised as humans. Only a chosen few have the ability to fight their evil, and Jimmy believes Liz is among them. Now, with her senses heightened, new feelings are rising within Liz—ones that re-ignite her dangerous attraction to Jimmy. But Jimmy has a secret that will rock Liz to her core…and put the survival of the human race in peril.

My thoughts:
What to say? It did not work for me and I started skimming...a lot. I just never connected to the world or the characters. In UF that is important for me. For some reason I can read PNR and feel eh, but UF, no!

Stuff happened, the heroine did things, yawn. Honestly it failed for me. The reason is connection and that I just do not care or have anything more to say. It had promise, just not for me.

I did see that later books have better ratings so many it improves, but for me it will be too late.

Paperback 352 pages: Published November 4th 2008 by St. Martin's Paperbacks: Phoenix Chronicles #1: Urban fantasy: Own

Jane Yellowrock is the last of her kind—a skinwalker of Cherokee descent who can turn into any creature she desires and hunts vampires for a living. But now she’s been hired by Katherine Fontaneau, one of the oldest vampires in New Orleans and the madam of Katie’s Ladies, to hunt a powerful rogue vampire who’s killing other vamps...

My thoughts:
I do not know what made this one just ok for me. It might have been that it was on audio. The narrator was not bad, but I just felt that the book did not work on audio.

Again I have nothing to say. Jane was cool, there was interesting stuff going on. But then there were other things, the first person narration, beast talking, the ways she said French names, and I did not like the French accents.

I am also sure I missed half the book when I was half asleep at times. Not a good sign. Good audio will keep me from missing things.

But it was ...ok, but I'd rather read it and see if I still find it ok.

Audiobook, Unabridged, 12-15 hours, I can't remember: Published April 13th 2010 by Audible Frontiers (first published May 22nd 2009): Jane Yellowrock #1: Urban fantasy

Sullivan Quinn didn't travel 3,000 miles from his native Ireland and his wolf pack just to chase rabidly after the most delectable quarry he's ever seen. Quinn is in America on a mission--to warn his Other brethren of a shadowy group willing to use murder and mayhem to bring them down. But one whiff of this Foxwoman's delicious honeysuckle fragrance and he knows that she is more than a colleague or a conquest…she is his mate.

Anthropologist Cassidy Poe is a world-renowned authority on social interaction, but the overpowering desire she feels around Quinn defies every ounce of her expertise. Working by his side to uncover The Others' enemies poses risks she never expected--to her own safety, to those she loves, and to her heart, as every encounter with Quinn proves more blissfully erotic than the last…

Now, with no one to trust but each other, Quinn and Cassidy face a foe that's edging closer every day, threatening to destroy the life they've always known, and the passion they've just discovered…

My thoughts:
This one was horrible, it was boring, I could care less and pretty soon I skimmed and then I mostly just jumped over pages to get to the end.

Not the book for me. Do not ask me to say more..sigh.

Fine ok something... Quinn was totally rapey at first. The girl whatever her name was, was lame. I mean what the? Stand up for yourself and kick him in the nuts or something.

Then some blah blah was going on. Dunno what happened but I never connected to anything at all.

Not my kind of book

Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by St. Martin's (first published March 2nd 2006)
Novels Of The Others #9
Paranormal romance

Thursday 26 December 2013

Audio Reviews: Hounded and The Raven Boys

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old - when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power - plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish - to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

My thoughts:
Yeah...no..no. Sadly the book did not work for me, and I doubt the print would have worked better.

The things that went wrong..Atticus. I mean honestly. I get that he needs to act like 21, but why do it with those who already know his secret? He was an annoying stupid kid. I did not like him and I did not get why every freaking woman and Goddess wanted to sleep with him.

The narrator, ok he was good. But his Irish voices! No, I mean what? Why are they wee leprechauns all of them? And do not even get me started on the voice of the dog, FAIL.

And then the fact that I fell asleep a couple of times and one time for a longer period. It just did not keep me hooked.

I will not read or listen more.

Audiobook, Unabridged,8 hours 11 min
Published April 19th 2011 by Brilliance Audio (first published January 1st 2011)
The Iron Druid Chronicles #1
Urban fantasy

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive. Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them - not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain. He has it all - family money, good looks, devoted friends - but he's looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

My thoughts:
I do not know what to say, at times I was interested and at other times not. And at those other times I was not really listening and therefore missed things.

The narrator, oh this was hard...I am still unsure whether I like him or not. His voice does fit in a way cos it feels eerie. But at the same time not.

Blue was...eh. Ganzy was...weird rich boy. Why was he her true love when she had butterflies for Adam? Oh I do not get YA love triangles.

The whole ley line thing as interesting and about Owain Glyndrw. 

But do I want to listen to more? Nah. It was ok, but nothing more.

Audiobook, Unabridged, Audible Download, 11 hours or so
Published September 18th 2012 by Scholastic
The Raven Cycle #1
Paranormal YA

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Review: A kiss for Midwinter - Courtney Milan + Seanan Mcguire short

Miss Lydia Charingford is always cheerful, and never more so than at Christmas time. But no matter how hard she smiles, she can't forget the youthful mistake that could have ruined her reputation. Even though the worst of her indiscretion was kept secret, one other person knows the truth of those dark days: the sarcastic Doctor Jonas Grantham. She wants nothing to do with him...or the butterflies that take flight in her stomach every time he looks her way.

Jonas Grantham has a secret, too: He's been in love with Lydia for more than a year. This winter, he's determined to conquer her dislike and win her for his own. It all starts with a wager and a kiss...

My thoughts:
I am not a big a fan as two people I know, you know who you both are...but I did love one of her novellas. Then I read a book that was rather meh, and now I read this one and it was good. Very strange, I usually do not like novellas.

I like how she takes things a bit darker. Lydia has made her mistakes in the past and paid for it. Jonas falls in love with her but the past is there ever present.

It was short (but not too short). The story felt fleshed out and they had time to fall for each other and I enjoyed the tale. It does make me want to try more by her again.

ebook, 121 pages
Published December 18th 2012 (first published December 16th 2012)
Brothers Sinister #1.5
Historical romance

For ten years, the young King of Cats known throughout the Kingdom of Londinium as Tybalt—once known to family and friends as "Rand," a gentle Prince who had never aspired to the throne—had ruled his Kingdom alone, refusing to let any other of his kind enter the city while it is in his care. But even a King can get lonely...

When Tybalt meets a Selkie stranger named Dylan, it seems almost inevitable that they should become entangled with each other—the lonely King and the man without friends or family in London were virtually designed to be together. But sadly, designs can only hold for as long as they are left alone, and when the Undersea inevitably arrives looking for their missing son, Tybalt will have to choose. His Kingdom, or Dylan?

Either way, he loses.

A short, under 30 pages, story about how Tybalt meets Dylan. They become friends and we get to see how lonely poor Tybalt was in London during those years.

A nice little story that showed another story of Tybalt.

Published September 18th 2013
October Daye 0.2

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Review: Duchess of Sin - Laurel McKee

Blonde and beautiful Lady Anna Blacknall is in the mood for mischief. Entering Dublin's most notorious den of vice, she finds herself in the arms of a mysterious, emerald-eyed Irishman. And although he is masked, his tender kiss is hauntingly familiar.

Conlan McTeer, Duke of Adair, has come to Dublin to fight for a free Ireland. But he's suddenly reunited with the young Englishwoman who had once claimed his heart, and his passion turns from politics to pleasure. When their sizzling encounter brings danger to Anna's door, she must decide where her loyalties lie-and quickly. For someone will do whatever it takes to destroy Conlan . . . and anyone he dares to love.

My thoughts:
This was different, cos usually I read books that take place a bit later, but this was 1799. Ok so that does not sound like a lot, but it was. Not to mention that the setting was Ireland and the fear after the last uprising was still in the air.

Anna flutters from party to ball to anything to live and dance and forget the fears she had 2 years ago. She was interesting as she could seem feather brained at on moment and smart the next. She changed as it suited her.

While Conlan is dark and brooding and wants Ireland to be free, and to able to be Catholics that is what you want. So he works in the open and in secret for that.

They met before and now they meet again. He tries to stay away as he is in danger, while she can't stay away. Cos hello, hot dark and brooding.

There is danger, passion and will they wont they moments. And I read it cos it takes place near Christmas. So here it was, my xmas book.


Would i read more

Mass Market Paperback, 351 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by Grand Central Publishing
The Daughters of Erin #2
Historical romance

I am ending xmas with a holiday book. As you might remember today is the big day in Finland. We open our pressies in the evening of the 24th. But BF and I did exchange gifts before we go to my parents for dinner. And they were awesome :D So Have fun everyone!

Monday 23 December 2013

Author Interview and bookgiveaway: Emily Greenwood

I have one more author interview before Christmas. Today's author is Emily Greenwood and there is a giveaway at the end too.


Thank you so much for having me here today to celebrate the release of GENTLEMEN PREFER MISCHIEF!

1. Tell me about yourself
I love to read and cook, and I love writing when it’s going well, and not so much when it isn’t J I have watched a decadent number of TV and movie productions of nineteenth century books. Austen, Bronte, Dickens, Eliot—I find them all enduringly fascinating. I have two teenage daughters and a husband, who are all super supportive about my writing. 

2. Your new book is called Gentlemen prefer Mischief.  Tell me about the book too :)
It all starts with haunted sheep. Or rather, rumors that the sheep belonging to Miss Lily Teagarden have become possessed by the evil spirit that’s believed to inhabit the woods between her family’s property and the estate belonging to their neighbor, Hal, Viscount Roxham. The rumors are causing trouble and she needs Hal’s help, however much she doesn’t want to ask for it— he’s pretty much her least favorite person.

A teasing, playful rake, Hal broke Lily’s heart four years ago without even knowing it. When this prim, cool beauty appears at his estate and insists he resolve the problem in the woods, he’s instantly intrigued, both by her ridiculous problem, and the way she’s changed since he last saw her years ago. But hardly has he begun to investigate when she mysteriously begins throwing mischief in his path. Soon, the fascinated Hal can’t seem to get enough of Lily—too bad she’s the only woman in England who doesn’t think he’s Lord Perfect.

3. Why is Roxham the man to fall in love with this winter?
Roxham would definitely keep a reader feeling cheery over the long days of winter. He’s a golden boy from the top of his blond head to the soles of his polished black boots, and it’s hard to miss the spark of mischief in his blue-green eyes. In addition to being witty and smart, he’s all about play and pleasure…what’s not to like? 

4. What made you drawn to writing historical romance?
Many of my favorite books were written in nineteenth century Britain. In addition to loving the pretty settings and clothes, I’m fascinated by the tensions in a society so ruled by class and gender. So when I discovered authors like Mary Balogh, Jo Beverley, and Judith Ivory, I was hooked on historical romance.

5.  What is coming next from you?
The final book in my Mischief series is MISCHIEF BY MOONLIGHT, which will be out in June 2014. Here’s the story in a nutshell: Engaged to the perfect man, Miss Josie Cardworthy wants her sister to find the same bliss—with Josie’s dear friend, the Earl of Ivorwood. But when Josie gives Ivorwood a love potion, she’s the one who falls under the handsome earl’s spell.


1 copy of Gentlemen prefer mischief

1. Open to US and Canada
2. Ends Jan 4
3. Just enter :D Ask questions if you wanna too

Sunday 22 December 2013

Author Interview and giveaway: Kim and Ariadne

I have a special treat for you all today, Mishel interviews the authors of Pure steel and there is a giveaway at the end. And it's open to all :)

Welcome Kim and Ariadne! Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by.  Can you both tell us a little bit about  Pure Steele and the inspiration behind it?

KIM: Yes!

ARI: Funny story. Kim and I wanted to work on a creative project together and we started brainstorming about using podcasts to bring back the old school radio drama. We thought of this whole story about a ‘great white hunter’ and we could have a fun companion book for people to follow along with. It didn’t take long before we realized that a podcast was beyond us and the companion book morphed into ‘Pure Steele’.

The layout of Pure Steele is such a creative and amazing way to tell a story. What was one of your favorite and least favorite things about writing the story and completing the project?

KIM: Thank you! My favourite bit was the writing process, I think. Laying it out by hand was a lot of fun sometimes, but it could get a bit tedious after a long night. Building the story and characters was almost always a great time.

ARI: This may sound stupid but I loved being able to physically sit there and craft each page but it was also the worst. If we noticed a typo or changed the story, I would have to go back and redo the whole page! 

Which of the characters did you two enjoy working with the most?

ARI: I loved writing Mapsgoode and Thomas. I came up with all of the Uncle Georgie stories on the spot
and was afraid that Kim would think that they were too silly for the book. Each one of those stories made me laugh. I also had a lot of fun with Thomas because we only ever see one side of his conversations. He is reacting to these horrible letters from his boss that Flemyng has chosen to omit from the book.

KIM: I think probably Eleanor, in the end. It’s funny, because I think we, like Flemyng, started off telling a story that was largely about James Steele, but it was Eleanor who kind of shone through, in a very subtle way. Her entries are usually very personal and very self-contained rather than sweeping plot elements, but I think it’s kind of cool that way. She’s always in the moment and she’s always working toward something and I just really love writing her. Flemyng is fun, too. So many exclamation marks. 

If you had the chance to do it all over again would you change anything?

KIM: We would definitely write everything and edit it all before we made the pages by hand. We have this big folder at Ari’s place just full of completed pages that we had to throw out because we changed a plot element or made some small mistake. I don’t know what we were thinking.

ARI: My genuine hope is that someday, someone will want to take a look at those pages to see the ‘Pure Steele’ that could have been.

KIM: Yeah, the orphan pages. They’re like the ‘deleted scenes’ from the book.

If  Pure Steele  were made into a movie who would be your ideal cast for the main characters?

ARI: Kim and I have this conversation a lot and we rarely agree. I’m just going to throw these out there and see if Kim agrees. Michael Fassbender as Steele for no good reason. Emily Blunt as Eleanor because I like her face. Tom Hiddleston as Flemyng because I know that it will drive Kim nuts.  Chiwetel Ejiofor as Thomas because he is excellent. Steve Coogan as Alan because of his outstanding performance in ‘The Trip’. John C. Reilly is a perfect Mapsgoode. Lee Pace as Jacques because I can’t get enough of his face. Sean Bean as Pryce because he was Boromir and now seems to be a mess. And Christoph Waltz as The Dutchman because I figure he can pull of a Dutch accent and I want to troll Kim.

KIM: No, come on. I would go with Chris Hemsworth for Steele; he’s too young, but he’s just so big. He’s larger than life. Camilla Luddington for Eleanor because she was amazing in Tomb Raider. Someone like Stephen Merchant for Flemyng; he’s just such a keener. Paul McGann for Pryce, I think, and the Dutchman is obviously Philip Seymour Hoffman, even appearance-wise in the picture of him. I’m in for the rest of Ari’s choices, though, sort of. 

If the two of you could write a book about absolutely anything with any other author (dead or alive) what would it be about and who would you choose? It can be separately or a collaborative effort =)

ARI: Kim, help!

KIM: Oh my God. Okay, I don’t know if this is cheating, but I’d like to write a story with Amy Hennig, who wrote the Uncharted and Legacy of Kain series of games. I love her stuff; it’s so great. If I’m going by just straight-up book people, I think I’d like to work with Mary Roach. I’m not sure what we’d write together, but I know we’d go on some amazing field trips. 

What career would the two of you pursued if neither of you had a passion for books?
KIM: Well, both of us work for Ubisoft, so I think we’d still have gone into the video game industry in some measure, eventually. But man, I would have so much more free time. 

I’m always looking for books to add to my ginormous TBR (to be read) pile. What books are you guys currently reading or have read recently? Any good recommendations?
ARI: I don’t read! I’m the worst.

KIM: Okay! I think you should check out “A Frenchman in America” by Max O’Rell. I’d also suggest all of Mary Roach’s books, especially “Stiff”. Right now I’m reading Nick Offerman’s book and then next I’m starting my friend Eric Smith’s book, “The Geek’s Guide to Dating”. I’m hoping it helps. 

What are some of your favorite things to do when given a break from the writing life and other work-related things?  
KIM: Travel, for sure. I travel a ton, whenever I can, and that’s usually what I’m looking forward to. On average nights, though, I’m usually just playing video games or watching something awful on Netflix.

ARI: Video games, bad movies, good TV, sports, D&D, and board-games. 

Are you guys currently working on any projects that we may in the future? Either collaboratively or separately =)

KIM: I’m always working on something small or coming up with little ideas to pitch to Ari. We’re thinking about doing a couple shorter stories or side projects, but the big thing right now is completing the Pure Steele sequel, Heart of Steele, and finishing that story.

Thanks again for stopping by guys! It’s been a real pleasure =) Where can readers find out more about the two of you and your work?

KIM: You can find us at PureSteele.com! We try to update that every so often, so anything we’re doing can be found there.

A signed hardcover copy of Pure Steele

1. Open to everyone in the universe.
2. Ends Dec 27
3. Just enter :D
And if you want to, be free to ask questions

Saturday 21 December 2013

Mishel Reviews: Pure Steele - Ariadne MacGillivray and Kim Belair

Mishel Reviews

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Release Date:  November 2013 
Publisher: Blind Ferret
Pages:  240
Book Site:   http://puresteele.com/
My Rating: 5/5 
Source: Received for review from author/publisher
Cover: Before reading it I didn’t much like the plainness but the symbol of Steele has left its mark and I quite like the simplicity of the cover after reading the book =)

When an aging treasure hunter goes missing in ‘Darkest Africa’, his daughter Eleanor recruits the world’s greatest explorer to hunt him down. Set in 1910, PURE STEELE is the story of a ramshackle expedition into the heart of the Dark Continent, told in its own words. Part satire, part loving homage to pulp adventure, Pure Steele is an illustrated romp that brilliantly captures the spirit of the era with the winking wit of the modern day.

A bold new direction for Blind Ferret, Pure Steele represents our first foray into original prose fiction, while maintaining a striking aesthetic. Crafted over three years, every page of this 240-page tome is expressed as a full-colour, period-accurate collage. It must be seen to be believed.

Authored and illustrated by Ariadne MacGillivray and Kim Belair, with additional illustrations by Glenn Belair, Richard Clark, Benjamin Dewey, Karl Kerschl, Stephen Morrow and Brian Patterson.

I haven’t had the time (or money) to really delve into the graphic novel or comic world. But believe you me if I had it all I’d dive in head first. I think having pictures (and not just the pictures in your own mind) accompany your reading can add so much to the overall reading experience. Maybe its nostalgia from picture books or just the fact that someone is going above and beyond just words to tell the story they want to tell. Either way it’s a win-win scenario. The reason I bring the world of comics and graphic novels up is because PURE STEELE is closely related to the family but also very unique. Speaking of going above and beyond I must comment on how surprised I was when I first received it. I knew the book was different in structure, not really a graphic novel but not just an adult picture book either. Instead I’d describe PURE STEELE as a cleverly made collage of sorts, one that actually uses both words and pictures equally to tell an exciting adventure that I couldn’t quite stop reading. I had no idea exactly what I was going to be reading and I had no idea I’d like it as much as I did. Lucky me!

PURE STEELE is a remarkable tale of one James Alexander Steele. Courageous, handsome, heroic, he’s a very manly man that seems almost god-like. When Eleanor Pryce’s father goes missing on a treasure hunting trip she hires the famous Steele and his many skills to help find out what has become of the poor fellow. The hodgepodge expedition consists of a handful of unforgettable characters that sets out on an adventure that none of them were truly expecting. 

I was surprised I didn’t find at least one flawed character. The entire cast all contributed some major or minor part to the plot. And these characters actually become the story-tellers. PURE STEELE is written through letters, journal entries, and posters from the characters themselves which added a lot of fun to the reading experience. Their tone of voice came through with their particular language use and handwriting style which actually helped develop their personalities and distinguish them from just plain, stand-in characters.  It was such a delight getting to know these people, not from reading from a normal first or third person point of view, but rather through their own words. It’s a highly creative technique and I loved it! 

Each drawing and piece of artwork is smartly chosen to accompany whatever is actually being written on the page. This is why I mentioned above how clever the picture usage is. I’ve never read any book where words and art collaborates so well together. PURE STEELE is sort of like a scrapbook/collage. I actually appreciated the story MORE knowing the authors put so much tender loving care, for lack of better words, into each page. It took my normal author respect level to all new height!

I’m pretty sure the two authors, very nice and funny gals I might add, are working on a sequel to PURE STEELE that I simply cannot wait for. I can be patient though…hopefully =) I think many graphic novel fans will appreciate the differences PURE STEELE has to offer and really enjoy it. For those that do and don’t like graphic novels, are not financially inclined to start their graphic novel passion, or just really enjoy pictures, artwork, and an overall fantastic adventure read I highly recommend! You can’t possibly know how great the book is until you get a copy and discover the layout. Whatever you’re thinking the book is, it’s probably very different. I hope you’ll give in to your curiosity and find out!


PS from Blodeuedd.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow cos then I have an interview with the authors done by Mishel. And there is an international giveaway of a hardback copy of the book

Friday 20 December 2013

Review: Flying Blind - Deborah Cooke

The next generation of shape-shifting dragons from the popular author of the Dragonfire novels. 

Zoë Sorensson is perfectly normal, except she's been told she's destined for great things. Zoë's the one female dragon shapeshifter of her kind. But Zoë is at the bottom of the class when it comes to being Pyr and her powers are AWOL, so she's sent to a Pyr boot camp.

Zoë quickly realizes that she has to master her powers yesterday, because the Pyr are in danger and boot camp is a trap. The Mages want to eliminate all shifters and the Pyr are next in line-unless Zoë and her friends can work together and save their own kind.

My thoughts:
Hm, I wanna make this short.

I did like Zoe but the guys, eh. Sure the whole point is that there were friction but still..eh. Though Isabella was nice.

She had a crush. There is no real romance. There are crushes.

The kids are here to save the day and learn about their powers. Still bad job from the parents for not seeing it all coming.

It ended well with no real cliffie.

I enjoyed the book. It was one of those what? 200 pages? Where did that go? books :)

Would I read more by this author?

Eh, the only reason I read it now is cos it's snow on it, lol

Paperback, 308 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by New American Library
The Dragon Diaries Trilogy #1
Paranormal YA

Thursday 19 December 2013

Review: Moon's artifice - Tom Lloyd

In a quiet corner of the Imperial City, Investigator Narin discovers the result of his first potentially lethal mistake. Minutes later he makes a second.

After an unremarkable career Narin finally has the chance of promotion to the hallowed ranks of the Lawbringers - guardians of the Emperor's laws and bastions for justice in a world of brutal expediency. Joining that honoured body would be the culmination of a lifelong dream, but it couldn't possibly have come at a worse time. A chance encounter drags Narin into a plot of gods and monsters, spies and assassins, accompanied by a grief-stricken young woman, an old man haunted by the ghosts of his past and an assassin with no past.

On the cusp of an industrial age that threatens the warrior caste's rule, the Empire of a Hundred Houses awaits civil war between noble factions. Centuries of conquest has made the empire a brittle and bloated monster; constrained by tradition and crying out for change. To save his own life and those of untold thousands Narin must understand the key to it all - Moon's Artifice, the poison that could destroy an empire.

My thoughts:
I guess cops are the next big thing in fantasy ;) Here we got Narin who is a Lawbringer, so when he "accidentally" knocks down a guy he sets out to investigate what on earth is going on. There are baddies, demons, poison and something that would rock the empire to it's core.

Narin was a good guy, sure he did not make the best of choices (one in particular), but that just made him human. And he really did love working as a Lawbringer and protecting the innocent. It was a true cat and mouse game. Luckily he had some help, very mysterious Enchei who was a tattoo artist. Kesh, a young woman on the run. Rhe, Narin's mentor, whom I really liked. And of course a strange assassin without any memories.

I think that what I liked most was that it was a world where some humans had found a way to ascend and become Gods. I would have loved to learn more. If they were really good at what they did, then they might just become the god of that, like the God Lawbringer. It was also a world that had known it's fair share of war and there empire was made up of powerful Houses who ruled.

And of course I must mention that it's gun powder fantasy. But yes some of the powerful are allowed to have guns. A world caught between the old and the new is always fascinating.

What I liked most was the end, do not get me wrong. There was a conclusion so I was all yay! But at the same time I now want more, so that was bad in a good way ;)

An interesting world, likable characters, and evil baddies ( I love evil baddies)! I look forward to reading more set in this world

Would I read more?


Hardcover, 432 pages
Published November 21st 2013 by Gollancz
For review

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Early review: Mistress of the Wind - Michelle Diener

Bjorn needs to find a very special woman . . .The fate of his people, and his own life, depends on it. But when he does find her, she is nothing like he imagined, and may just harbor more secrets than he does himself.

Astrid has never taken well to commands. No matter who issues them . . . She's clashed her whole life with her father, and now her lover, the mysterious man who comes to her bedroom in darkness and disappears to guard his mountain by day as a bear, is finding it out the hard way. And when he's taken by his enemies, no one is prepared for Astrid's response. 

It is never wise to anger the mistress of the wind . . . 

A captivating and magical adult retelling of the fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon.

My thoughts:
I have always liked this fairy tale,  my earliest memory of it was the Psyche one, or the Swedish version (something prince hat under the mountain). They are both different but East of the Wind became my favorite of them. I guess when I heard it. I connected to the fairy tale better than any other.

And Diener sure made it her fairytale too, I do love remakes and this one stays very true and still not. It's the story about an enchanted prince named Bjorn, poor thing can't do much. Astrid, the poor woodcutter's daughter could be a savior, but as the story go, something happens. Maybe that is why I like the story, there is no damsel in distress. Instead it is Astrid who sets off on a journey to save her prince. It's not always easy but she does not stop before she is reunited with her love. So she is the hero of the story. Poor Björn is under his enchantment and even though he does get to fight a few fights, the stage is Astrid's.

The book is light and I read it fast. First, when I start a Diener book I always read 200 pages in a go, and then I have to do something else. Same thing this time, 200 pages and the rest later. The pages sure fly by fast.

A delightful story with heartache and pain in it too. I'd love to read more.

Would I read more

Might be my fav cover of the year

Paperback, 342 pages
Expected publication: December 19th 2013 by Michelle Diener
Fairy tale

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Review: The Better part of Valour - Tanya Huff

Best known for her Quarters series and vampire novels, Tanya Huff stunned critics and fans with Valor's Choice, her first military science fiction novel. This thrilling sequel follows the Confederation's investigation of a seemingly abandoned alien spaceship.

My thoughts:
Torin continues to kick ass in this book, though kick ass is not the right thing to say in a way. She is a marine, she does her duty, the follows orders (tries too), she takes care of those serving with her.

The old gang is not in this book as she has to work with new people and a idiot who is hungry for media attention. Yeah, one of those idiots who gets his squad killed and manages to come out looking like a hero. I did not like him or the politics for promoting him. While regular soldiers got to suffer and die under him.

It was more space ship action here, and I do tend to enjoy it more when they are on...land or what I should call it. But it would sure make a cool action movie. Creepy alien space ship that I did not know what to make up, insert some music of doom and we are all set.

Action, danger, and a strange space ship stranded in space. Death and destruction promised.

This was the reason I was meh over cove 1, they are the same except for the background and color

Paperback, 348 pages
Published December 2013 by Titan Books (first published March 1st 2002)
Confederation #2
For review

Monday 16 December 2013

Review: Valour's Choice - Tanya Huff

In the distant future, humans and several other races have been granted membership in the Confederation--at a price. They must act as soldier/protectors of the far more civilized races who have long since turned away from war....

My thoughts:
Sci-fi, military and action. That is what you get when you read this book. And for the history buffs out there one of the battles is based on a battle in the Zulu war.

In the future a confederation of planets is formed to guard against the threat of an alien race called The Others (I totally want to know more about them btw). Humans are welcomed to serve as the military as those who formed this federation do not fight. But many others fight too so in Torin's (our heroine) squad there are many more lifeforms, "elves", big spiders, the gluttony alien, you get the picture.

Torin is a true marine, kicking ass, liking the life. Even if she is higher up than the foot soldiers they can trust her. She is a good leader and in this book she gets to prove it too.

There is lots of fighting, but also an interesting introduction to a new planet that wants to join. Reptiles who really likes to fight, and I would not want to meet them. They are pretty crazy.

Now what to compare it too? I have read too few as I can only think of one book by Jean Johnson, but not in every way. So anyway, if you like action, new worlds, adventure, then this is for you.


Paperback, 320 pages
Published 2013 by Titan Books (first published April 1st 2000)
Confederation #1
For review


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