Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Atlantis Rising - Book Review

Today a review by Voodoo Bride

Atlantis Rising by Alyssa Day

What is it about:
Eleven thousand years ago, before the seas swallowed the Atlanteans, Poseidon assigned a few chosen warriors to act as sentinels for humans in the new world. There was only one rule-desiring them was forbidden. But rules were made to be broken...
When she calls... Riley Dawson is more than a dedicated Virginia Beach social worker. She's blessed with a mind link that only Atlanteans have been able to access for thousands of years. Being an "empath" may explain her wistful connection to the roiling waves of the ocean, the sanctuary it provides, and the sexual urges that seem to emanate from fathoms below...
He will come. Conlan, the High Prince of Atlantis, has surfaced on a mission to retrieve Poseidon's stolen trident. Yet something else has possessed Conlan: the intimate emotions-and desires-of a human. Irresistibly drawn to the uncanny beauty, Conlan soon shares more than his mind. But in the midst of a battle to reclaim Poseidon's power, how long can a forbidden love last between two different souls from two different worlds?


What did Voodoo Bride Think of it:
A very nice Paranormal Romance. Conlan and his warriors were hot and the romance between Conlan and Riley was with the right kind of tension and obstructions without getting frustrating. The story was as you could expect from a Paranormal Romance: focused on the romance with a subplot that provided some great action scenes and kept the story going. There were some scenes from the bad guys' point of view that I could have done without and made the story lag at times and there was a romance set up between two other characters that wasn't resolved in this book, but hopefully it will get it's own book.

Why should you read it:
It's a very nice read for anyone who likes Paranormal Romance



Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - Dark Time


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


She stripped, tossing her clothes into a laundry bag - it cost thousands of dollars more per year in "tips" for her laundry service to ignore the occasional bloodstains and to repair knife holes, supposedly obtained during martial-arts training - and stepped into the shower.
(page 65, Dark Time, Mortal Path (book one) by Dakota Banks)


Sunday, 27 June 2010

Ivan and Marya - Book Review


*
Ivan and Marya by Anna Kashina (e-book)

What is it about:
Every Solstice, every year, a young girl dies to prolong the life of a madman.
While the girl's soul is fed to Kaschey the undead by his daughter, the gloriously beautiful Marya, the girl's body drowns in the clutches of Vodyanoy at the bottom of the Sacrifice Pool.

Every Solstice a hero tries to stop them...and dies.
But this is Ivan's year. Though his brothers plot his death, and the villagers whose daughters are dying warn him not to interfere, Ivan the Fool is determined to stop the sacrifice.

With the help of the immortals, gotten by sympathy, force, or guile, Ivan believes his love will save the beautiful Marya from herself.


What did I think of it:
This novel is a re-telling of an old Russian fairytale and as such a very enjoyable read. Kashina manages to capture all the elements that make fairytales such fun to read and adds a voice of her own to it as well. I loved how she wrote a large part of the story through the eyes of Marya, giving Marya a depth that wouldn't have been possible if Kashina had stuck too close to the original fairytale format. Having read tons of fairytales (Russian fairtales included) a lot of the story elements were no surprise to me, but as I said before using an age old idea isn't a bad thing when you succeed in giving it something new and fresh. My one point of critique is that I'd have loved to see more of Ivan and Marya together. The scenes with them together were just too short in my opinion, but all in all I think Kashina did a great job in reviving an old tale and turning it into something that modern readers can enjoy.

Why should you read it:
If you like fairytales you will love this story

* This e-book was send to me for review by the author

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Locus Focus - Cherry Valley


Locus Focus is a meme hosted every Saturday by Enbrethiliel at Shredded Cheddar. "We all know of books that make their settings come alive, and this meme is a chance to write about them and share them with others." Visit her blog and link up!

My Locus focus today is Cherry Valley from the book 'The Brothers Lionheart' by Astrid Lindgren.

Cherry Valley is an almost fairytale like place in Nangijala, a land on the other side of the stars where people go after they die. A place were everyone lives in "the campfires and storytelling times". Cherry Valley is a valley full of cherry trees, little cottages and friendly people and there's a big river where you can go catch fish.

Here's a bit from the book about Cherry Valley. (I translated this myself from my Dutch version of the book, so sorry for any weird translation bits):

"First you wake up in the kitchen by the sun shining through the windows and the birds singing joyfully in the trees...

And then you go riding and the grass is covered in dew, it shines and sparkles everywhere, and bumblebees and bees buzz around the cherryblossom, and you bring your horse to a gallop, and you're almost not afraid anymore. You're not afraid it will suddenly end, like all good things do. But they don't in Nangijala. At least not in Cherry Valley.
"

Doesn't that sound like a wonderful place?
We all know what happens to lovely places like this in fantasy stories, so it's hardly a surprise that some evil overlord has decided he wants to conquer Cherry Valley and enslave the people living there. But because of how Lindgren describes Cherry Valley and because of the beautiful illustrations by Ilon Wikland you can really understand why people are willing to fight and even die to protect Cherry Valley.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Sins & Shadows - Book Review

Sins & Shadows (a Shadows Inquiries Novel) by Lyn Benedict

What is it about:
Sylvie Lightner is no ordinary P.I. She specializes in cases involving the unusual, in a world where magic is real-and where death isn't the worst thing that can happen to you.

But when an employee is murdered in front of her, Sylvie has had enough. After years of confounding the dark forces of the Magicus Mundi, she's closing up shop-until a man claiming to be the God of Justice wants Sylvie to find his lost lover.

And he won't take no for an answer.


What did I think of it:
A great, fast paced story, but with a heroine I couldn't feel for. I loved the writing, the setting, some of the side characters, the storyline, the action, but I actually came close to despising Sylvie. Sylvie is exactly the kind of heroine I'm talking about when I'm complaining about heroines often being too bitchy for my tastes. Of course I like it when the heroine of a story is a strong woman who knows how to take care of herself, but I want there to be something to like about the lead character too and barking and snapping at those who are supposed to be allies isn't something that makes me like a character. Still I might give the second book in this series a chance in hope the events in this book made Sylvie wiser and a bit nicer.

Why should you read it:
It's a great, fast paced UF story!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Character Connection - Tara


We all have characters we love. Let's spotlight these fantastic creations! Whether you want to be friends with them or you have a full-blown crush on them, you know you love them and want everyone else to love them too!

Character Connection host by
TheIntrovertedReader.blogspot.com

The character I connect with this week is Tara from Dark Oracle by Alayna Williams.

Tara is a great character in my opinion:
She's scarred, both mentally and physically, but even though she is afraid because of the things that happened in her past she doesn't let that stop her from doing what she knows needs to be done. A kind of courage that I can really admire.

Besides that she can use tarot cards to help her see things more clearly.
She's an ex-profiler and she used the cards to help her understand the criminals and killers she had to hunt and she uses them to advice her on other things as well. I think tarot cards and their symbolism are very interesting myself so I love how Tara lets them help her, but she never loses sight over the fact who is in control: Her and not the cards!

Throughout 'Dark Oracle' Tara goes through a process of (re)growth that is so good to see and at the end of the book I was both happy and sad. Happy to know how things turned out for Tara, but sad that there wasn't anymore to read about her. so I'm very glad there's going to be at least one more book about Tara: Rogue Oracle, which will be available in March 2011.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Teaser Tuesday on a Wednesday


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


Val was obviously still pissy; usually her leave-me-alones were gentle things, tending to make people recall sudden chores that required them to be elsewhere. But this-
(page 75, Sins & Shadows by Lyn Benedict)




Monday, 21 June 2010

A Question of Courage - Book Review

* A Question of Courage by Marjorie Darke

What is it about:
Emily's life changes as she joins the Suffragette movement to win votes for women. In a short period she learns much about life and politics, friendship and courage and has her first romance. A Question of Courage has been much praised as the best portrayal of a fascinating movement and was shortlisted for many prizes.

What did I think of it:
I love this book! You learn a lot about the long battle the Suffragettes fought to gain the right to vote, but most of all this is the story about one young woman's battle with herself and with life. Emily is a character you just can't help falling in love with, not because she's destined for greatness or because she's powerful, but because she's in fact so very much like you and me. She has her fears and doubts, her good and bad moments and she's not afraid to question herself and those around her and that's what makes her great in my eyes.

Why should you read it:
I'm not sure if this book is still available as a new book, but if you can find it I can advice you to read it: It's interesting as well as beautiful.

* The picture shows the Dutch translation

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Locus Focus - Titanic


Locus Focus is a meme hosted every Saturday by Enbrethiliel at Shredded Cheddar. "We all know of books that make their settings come alive, and this meme is a chance to write about them and share them with others." Visit her blog and link up!

My Locus Focus for this week is about Titanic.

There are lots of books about this steamship and it's tragic fate and I must confess I own a couple of them as the Titanic and what happened with it intrigue me.

From wikipedia:
An Olympic-class passenger liner, the Titanic was owned by the White Star Line and constructed at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland (now Northern Ireland). She set sail for New York City with 2,223 people on board; the high casualty rate when the ship sank was due in part to the fact that, although complying with the regulations of the time, the ship carried lifeboats for only 1,178 people. A disproportionate number of men died due to the women and children first protocol that was followed.

The Titanic was designed by some of the most experienced engineers, and used some of the most advanced technologies available at the time. It was a great shock to many that, despite the extensive safety features, the Titanic sank. The frenzy on the part of the media about the Titanic's famous victims, the legends about the sinking, the resulting changes to maritime law, and the discovery of the wreck have contributed to the interest in the Titanic.


What intrigues me most about the Titanic is not just the great tragedy of the sinking, but human behaviour. Reading about the sinking and the stories about how people acted fill me with wonder about human nature I can tell you. What is it that makes one man give his life so others can live, while another man thinks only of himself? What makes one person act like a hero and another like a coward?

It also makes me question myself: How would I react when faced with danger? I can only hope I never get in a situation where I'll find out the answer.

Titanic, a survivor's story - Book Review

Titanic, a survivor's story by Colonel Archibald Gracie

What is it about:
'...there arose to the sky the most horrible sounds ever heard by mortal man except by those of us who survived this terrible tragedy. The agonising cries of death from over a thousand throats, the wails and groans of the suffering... none of us will ever forget to our dying day.'
Archibald Gracie was probably among the last to leave the sinking Titanic on that cold April night in 1912. his record of the terrible events remains the most vivid and accurate first-hand account of the disaster ever published.


What did I think of it:
As the title of the book already says: this book is the story of one of the survivors of the sinking of the Titanic. This alone makes this book for anyone who's interested in Titanic a must-read.
The first five chapters of the book are Colonel Gracie's story of what happened to him the last day on board of the ship and during the actual sinking and thereafter.

What makes this book really special is that Gracie also tracked down as many people as he could find who survived the sinking to collect as much information as possible about the lifeboats.
The last two chapters are a list of all the lifeboats and who were on board of them as far as he could figure that out, and some anecdotes about what happened on each lifeboat.

That he managed to get so much information is a feat in itself, but when you know he did all his information gathering in the summer of 1912 while feeling ill and that he died in december 1912 (the after-effects of his ordeal) you really have to admire his strong will.

It may be clear that I really love this book because of the richness of information and because of the personal aspect: a lot is written about Titanic, but a book about what happened written by someone who actually was there cannot be missing in any Titanic-collection.

A critical note:
Gracie was absolutely a man of his time.
It's amazing how almost every man who was on board of a lifeboat is either a sneaky foreigner or had been given personal permission to be there.

Why should you read it:
This book is a must read for anyone who is interested in the sinking of the Titanic.

Other books about Titanic:
A night to remember - Walter Lord
882 1/2 Amazing Answers To Your Questions About The Titanic - Hugh Brewster
The Discovery of the Titanic - Robert D. Ballard

One other interesting read:
Futility: Or The Wreck of the Titan - Morgan Robertson
(This book was written in 1898, and is of historical interest for the number of similarities between the ship in the story and the Titanic, which sank some fourteen years later. Both the Titan and the Titanic had watertight compartments (which made collision a smaller worry), both carried as few lifeboats as the law allowed, both sailed in April heading for New York, both struck icebergs around midnight, and both sank with heavy loss of life.)


Friday, 18 June 2010

Crusade in Jeans - Book Review


Crusade in Jeans by Thea Beckman

What is it about:
Rudolf Hefting of Amsterdam thought he was engaged in an experiment that would take him back to the Middle Ages to a tournament of knights. But by a miscalculation of the computer, he arrives in the Rhineland at the exact time that the Children's Crusade is passing through. A stranded traveler in time, Rudolf joins the immense children's army -- almost 10,000 strong. With Rudolf, the reader struggles to understand how it was possible that children between the ages of 6 and 15 thought they could travel across Europe, then cross the sea to drive away the Saracens from the Holy Land. They had no weapons, transportation, or money; they experienced hunger, epidemics, and death. The dreadful conditions he encounters compel him to use his 20th-century knowledge to try to create order out of chaos. In spite of himself, he becomes a leader and organizer. And along the way he also experiences loyal friendships, courage, and devotion to God.

What did I think of it:
I love this book! First of all there's plenty of action and a great, suspenseful story. It's very well written too, at least the original, Dutch version, I haven't read the English version I must confess. But the best thing is the interaction between all the characters. There are characters that you can love, hate, feel pity for, have double feelings about, you name it. Even though it's set in the Middle Ages the way people act in this story is timeless and very recognisable and I can read this book again and again. (I just have to name my favourite character: Dom Thaddeus, a monk who leaves his convent to joins the crusade to help the children on their perilous journey.) It's a pity that so far this is the only book by Thea Beckman that's been translated to English (as far as I know) as her books are all wonderful!

Why should you read it:
If you like historical fiction and YA/teen books, you will love this book.

(Don't watch the movie if you like this book. The only good thing about the movie in my opinion was the ending.)

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Night Myst - Book Review

Night Myst by Yasmine Galenorn

What is it about:
Eons ago, vampires tried to turn the Dark Fae in order to harness their magic, only to create a demonic enemy more powerful than they imagined. Now Myst, the Vampiric Fae Queen of the Indigo Court, has enough power to begin a long prophesied supernatural war. And Cicely Waters, a witch who can control the wind, may be the only one who can stop her-and save her beloved Fae prince from the Queen's enslavement.

What did I think of it:
I wasn't impressed by this story I must confess. I couldn't really understand the characters or why they acted like they did. I got the feeling Galenorn should have taken a bit more time to build up their personalities and backgrounds. Only later in the story you discover a bit more about Cicely and her lover, but even then I didn't feel the connection between them. All in all the lack of knowledge about the characters motivations kept me from feeling for them or caring about the unfolding events. I must say the setting and story idea were cool though, but not cool enough to overlook the lack of character depth.

Why should you read it:
It has Vampire Fae

Character Connection


We all have characters we love. Let's spotlight these fantastic creations! Whether you want to be friends with them or you have a full-blown crush on them, you know you love them and want everyone else to love them too!

Character Connection host by
TheIntrovertedReader.blogspot.com

I have a confession to make. The character I'm going to point you to today is barely mentioned in Mind Games by Carolyn Crane and isn't even referred to by name in the book.

So why do I love him?

Just go here and watch the video!

The name alone is enough to love Professor Diogenes Teufelsdrockh in my opinion, but he's doing great in the interview as well I think.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

My Attempt at Poetry


Enbrethiliel of Shredded Cheddar organised a poetry game where everyone got a word and a question and should try to make a poem with it.

My word: Epicurean
My question: What is the meaning of existence?

I had fun trying to come up with something, but it was hard as I'm not very good at writing poetry.
Here's my final result:

Humans always look for answers
Hunger for more, hunger for higher
Trying to find joy in another life
By striving for eternity
Not living for today, but living for later

Is there meaning in existence
If you can't find meaning
In the true moment of now?

Animals don't try to find the reason of being
They have already found it
By taking life one step at the time
Enjoying each moment when it's there
With epicurean joy


Monday, 14 June 2010

Dark Oracle - Book Review


Dark Oracle by Alayna Williams

What is it about:
As a criminal profiler, Tara used science and her intuitive skill at Tarot card divination to track down the dangerous and depraved, including the serial killer who left her scarred from head to toe. Since that savage attack, Tara has been a recluse. But now an ancient secret society known as Delphi’s Daughters has asked for her help in locating missing scientist Lowell Magnusson. And Tara, armed with her Tarot deck, her .38, and a stack of misgivings, agrees to try.

Tara immediately senses there is far more at stake than one man’s life. At his government lab in the New Mexico desert, Magnusson had developed groundbreaking technology with terrifying potential. Working alongside the brusque but charismatic agent Harry Li, Tara discovers that Magnusson’s daughter, Cassie, has knowledge that makes her a target too. The more Tara sees into the future, the more there is to fear. She knows she has to protect Cassie. But there may be no way to protect herself—from the enemies circling around her, or from the long-buried powers stirring to life within. . .


What did I think of it:
I've been wanting to read this book since the first time I heard about it as it sounded really cool.

And it is! I love this book.
The mix of tarot and profiling is very well written and Williams sure knows her tarot too I can tell you. The story is suspenseful and compelling with rich and vivid descriptions and even though Williams uses various viewpoints this didn't distract me from the story as sometimes happens, but instead it felt right as it gave me extra insight in the story that made it come even more alive.
Tara is a character you can really care about and I was happy to see her grow throughout the story. Voodoo Bride wants me to add she loves the romantic storyline in this book and I have to agree with her that it really fits within the overall story. All in all I hope there'll be many more books in this series as I want to know what's next for Tara.

(The next book Rogue Oracle will be released in March 2011)

Why should you read it:
Anyone with an interest in tarot will love this book as well as anyone who likes a decent Urban Fantasy story that doesn't focus on creatures, but more on personal magic powers.

Alayna Williams also writes under the name Laura Bickle.
Check out my review of Embers by Laura Bickle here
and my interview with Laura Bickle here


Sunday, 13 June 2010

The Betrayal - Book Review

The Betrayal by Pati Nagle

What is it about:
The noble and magical aelven were riven by war when a rogue clan embraced a forbidden source of magic: the drinking of blood. In the bitter fighting that ensued, the vampiric Clan Darkshore were cast out of the aelven and driven across the Ebon Mountains. Stripped of their various clan colors, they were thenceforth known only as “alben,” hated and shunned. An uneasy peace now holds over the land, but it is whispered that Shalár, the beautiful and bloodthirsty queen of the alben, is readying a surprise attack to win back all that was lost–and none can say where or when she will strike.

The fate of the clans will depend on two young aelven lovers, Eliani and Turisan, who are blessed with a legendary gift: the fabled power of mindspeech. But this ability comes with great risks. Time is running out as the alben mount their attack–and their ultimate betrayal.


What did I think of it:
A very decent fantasy story. The world building was great, the writing style really fit the fantasy setting and the storyline was interesting. I liked how you got to see things from both the aelven and the alben side of the story and Nagle even managed to make me feel for the alben, making it hard to pick a side. I was disappointed that the character that intrigued me the most (won't tell you the name of the character) was the one who didn't survive this book though. And I must confess I thought the book was too short. The story ended at a point where I wanted much more to happen and I felt frustrated by that. There is going to be a sequel luckily enough in January 2011 though: 'Heart of the Exiled'.

Why should you read it:
If you like elves and fantasy I think you'll like this story.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Locus Focus - Spinalonga


Locus Focus is a meme hosted every Saturday by Enbrethiliel at Shredded Cheddar. "We all know of books that make their settings come alive, and this meme is a chance to write about them and share them with others." Visit her blog and link up!

My Locus Focus today is a place from 'the Island' by Victoria Hislop, one of Voodoo Bride's favourite book.

Spinalonga is an island in Greece that has been used for a long time as a colony for lepers. And I'm not talking somewhere in the middle ages, I'm talking about the 20th century. People who suffered from lepracy where send to this island to live and eventually die there. Only when a cure was finally found for lepracy was the island abandoned and today it can be visited as a tourist attraction.

I think Spinalonga is a very intriguing place. I wonder how it must have been to live there, knowing you couldn't ever leave and would never see your friends and family again. How do you pick up your life when dislodged from your world and planted on this island where you are expected to rebuild your life (or what's left of it), going on day after day with the only certainty that you will only get worse and never better? The thing that really got to me in the book is reading how people did indeed manage to go on and start a new life on this island.

You may ask what kind of life they had . Well when you visit this island you will see where we dissembark at the big stone entrance to the Street of Pain. you will be walking walking along the lines of shops and small houses which were situated at the bottom of the hills , along the coastline and near the main gate . At certain times during the day there must have been an atmosphere of busy life - even there, with people coming and going, chatting and may be laughing, not all, of course, being deadly ill. some of the lepers were married to each other, and lived together in small apartments, having a a garden outside to tend. Perhaps they had some hens, a dog or cats. (Shamelessly borrowed fom another website)

Friday, 11 June 2010

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel - Book Review


'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel'
by: Tony Lee (Adapter), Jane Austen (Author), Seth Grahame-Smith (Author), Cliff Richards (Illustrator)

What is it about:
It is known as “the strange plague,” and its unfortunate victims are referred to only as “unmentionables” or “dreadfuls.” All over England, the dead are rising again, and now even the daughters of Britain’s best families must devote their lives to mastering the deadly arts. Elizabeth Bennet is a fearsome warrior whose ability with a sword is matched only by her quick wit and even sharper tongue. But she faces her most formidable foe yet in the haughty, conceited, and somehow strangely attractive Mr. Darcy. As the two lovers meet in the ballroom and on the battlefield, they’ll soon learn that nothing—not even bands of ninjas, hordes of flesh-eating zombies, or disapproving aunts—can stop true love.

What did I think of it:
Well, having read the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies novel the story was familiar to me, so no surprises there; but the artwork! Just look at it: Isn't it awesome! Cliff Richards did a great job in capturing this story in my opinion and the graphic novel is a feast for the eyes. I did feel (just as I did with the novel) that the stilted dialogues could have been modernised a bit, but then again I'm not a fan of Austen's writing style, so I'm probably alone in this and will now get clobbered by her many fans for saying this.

Why should you read it:
Just look at the beautiful artwork! And it has zombies!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Character Connection - Piglet


We all have characters we love. Let's spotlight these fantastic creations! Whether you want to be friends with them or you have a full-blown crush on them, you know you love them and want everyone else to love them too!

Character Connection host by
TheIntrovertedReader.blogspot.com

My Character Connection of today is about Piglet from A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh.

I love Piglet. Piglet is such a sweet, kind creature with a weird sort of logic that somehow sounds logical anyway.

Here is the introduction to Piglet from the book:

"The Piglet lived in a very grand house in the middle of a beech-tree, and the beech-tree was in the middle of the forest, and the Piglet lived in the middle of the house. Next to his house was a piece of broken board which had: 'TRESPASSERS W' on it. When Christopher Robin asked the Piglet what it meant, he said it was his grandfather's name and had been in the family for a long time. Christopher Robin said you couldn't be called Trespassers W, and Piglet said yes, you could, because his grandfather was, and it was short for Trespassers Will, which was short for Trespassers William. And his grandfather had had two names in case he lost one - Trespassers after an uncle, and William after Trespassers.
'I've got two names,' said Christopher Robin carelessly.
'Well, there you are, that proves it,' said Piglet."


I can't help but absolutely love a character with a logic like that! And Piglet being a pig is ofcourse cool too.

Another one of my favourite bits about Piglet:

"Piglet had got up early that morning to pick himself a bunch of violets; and when he had picked them and put them in a pot in the middle of his house, it suddenly came over him that nobody had ever picked Eeyore a bunch of violets, and the more he thought of this, the more he thought how sad it was to be an Animal who had never had a bunch of violets picked for him. So he hurried out again, saying to himself, 'Eeyore, Violets' and then 'Violets, Eeyore,' in case he forgot, because it was that sort of day, and he picked a large bunch and trotted along, smelling them, and feeling happy, until he came to the place where Eeyore was."

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The Scent of Shadows - Book Review


The Scent of Shadows (Sign of the Zodiac, Book 1) by Vicki Pettersson

What is it about:
When she was sixteen, Joanna Archer was brutally assaulted and left to die in the Nevada desert.
By rights, she should be dead.
Now a photographer by day, she prowls a different Las Vegas after sunset—a grim, secret Sin City where Light battles Shadow—seeking answers to whom or what she really is . . . and revenge for the horrors she was forced to endure.
But the nightmare is just beginning—for the demons are hunting Joanna, and the powerful shadows want her for their own . . .


What did I think of it:
To be honest.... I didn't like it.
But why that was is hard to explain. I mean: it is well written, it has a good, intriguing plot and a nice dark mood. Maybe a bit too dark though: The story felt really frustrating at times as one crappy thing after another came flying at Joanna. And another thing I didn't like was how Joanna reacted to things. One moment she was agonising over something supposedly 'evil' she had done and which was in my opinion not exactly nice, but certainly not evil. The next moment she does something that in my opinion was really, truely evil and she doesn't even bat an eye, worse even: not only she doesn't think it's evil, the other good guys don't even seem to think so. Well, there's a few raised eyebrows, but that's it.
Now it can be argued that it's part of who and what Joanna is, but to be honest: in that case she isn't a person I want to read about.
So all in all I think I won't be reading anymore of the books in this series.

Voodoo Bride wants to add that she was disappointed by the (lack of) romance in this book. It does set up a possible love triangle for future books though.

Why should you read it:
It is well written and has an original plot.


Tuesday, 8 June 2010

I won a Signed copy of The Betrayal


I just had to show off the book I got in the mail today!
I won this signed copy of The Betrayal by Pati Nagle over at Book Lovers inc and I'm really curious about it as it sounds like a really cool fantasy story. I'm going to read it as soon as I've finished 'The Scent of Shadows' so you can expect a review of this book soon.

Here's what it is about:
The noble and magical aelven were riven by war when a rogue clan embraced a forbidden source of magic: the drinking of blood. In the bitter fighting that ensued, the vampiric Clan Darkshore were cast out of the aelven and driven across the Ebon Mountains. Stripped of their various clan colors, they were thenceforth known only as “alben,” hated and shunned. An uneasy peace now holds over the land, but it is whispered that Shalár, the beautiful and bloodthirsty queen of the alben, is readying a surprise attack to win back all that was lost–and none can say where or when she will strike.

The fate of the clans will depend on two young aelven lovers, Eliani and Turisan, who are blessed with a legendary gift: the fabled power of mindspeech. But this ability comes with great risks. Time is running out as the alben mount their attack–and their ultimate betrayal.


Teaser Tuesdays - the Scent of Shadows


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


I poured another glass to the rim. One thing was certain: whatever I was going to do, I wasn't doing it sober.
(page 184, The Scent of Shadows, the First Sign of the Zodiac by Vicki Pettersson)

Monday, 7 June 2010

On the Prowl - Book Review


On the Prowl

What is it about:
These all-new paranormal romances from today's hottest authors feature a female werewolf who comes into her own; a Lord who crosses paths with a fiery mage; a mixed-blood Child of the Moon who faces an uncertain future; and a woman whose sixth sense proves to be a dangerous talent.

What did I think of it:
There's four stories in this book and I loved two of them!
I'll tell you my thoughts about all of them.

'Alpha and Omega' by Patricia Briggs
Well, I must confess I bought the book for this story. I read that it was about Charles, a character that appeared in 'Moon Called' and who I immediately liked, so I really wanted to read this story which is the first story of a series about Charles and his mate Anna. I loved this story! Although set in the same world as the Mercy books and using characters that also appear in those books,
it's very different, but all the things why I love the Mercy books are also in this story. If all the other stories had been horrible I would still think my money was well spend on this book just for this story alone.

'Inhuman' by Eileen Wilks
I didn't much care for this story. I think it's because the characters didn't appeal to me and when the plot unraveled there were more things that I didn't particularly like.

'Buying Trouble' by Karen Chance
This story was my introduction to Karen Chance and I loved it! Its a rather different kind of shifter story and both fun and unique I thought. I wouldn't have minded if this story had been a bit longer though, I finished it way too fast.

'Mona Lisa Betwining' by Sunny
Well..... This story was about 95% smut and 5% trying to fit in a storyline to justify the smut. Not saying I've got anything against smut, but if I buy a book with shifter stories I want those stories to actually have shifters and a decent plot, not just one big smut fest. So, didn't much care for this one.

Why should you read it:
If you like to try out some shifter stories by different authors this might be your book.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Arrows of the Queen - Book Review


Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey

What is it about:
Chosen by the Companion Rolan, a mystical horse-like being with powers beyond imagining, Talia, once a runaway, has now become a trainee Herald, destined to become one of the Queens's own elite guard. For Talia has certain awakening talents of the mind that only a Companion like Rolan can truly sense.

But as Talia struggles to master her unique abilities, time is running out. For conspiracy is brewing in Valdemar, a deadly treason which could destroy Queen and kingdom. Opposed by unknown enemies capable of both diabolical magic and treacherous assassination, the Queen must turn to Talia and the Heralds for aid in protecting the realm and insuring the future of the queen's heir, a child already in danger of becoming bespelled by the Queen's own foes.


What did I think of it:
This is the first book of a trilogy and the first of many books Lackey has written that is set in Valdemar. I love this book! It introduces you to Valdemar and the Heralds who help rule this country while being a really suspenseful and compelling story as well. Lackey's worldbuilding is excellent and the characters she creates are well worked out and rounded too from Talia all the way down to the lesser important characters. You could argue that the premise of a poor, mistreated girl being chosen for greatness is something that's been done and done again, but I must say that if someone uses an idea like that and writes an excellent story with it, I do not care how often it's been used before.

Why should you read it:
If you like well written fantasy you should try this book.
(Take a look at yesterday's post to see what books to read after finishing this one.)


Saturday, 5 June 2010

Locus Focus - Palace-Collegia at Haven


Locus Focus is a meme hosted every Saturday by Enbrethiliel at Shredded Cheddar. "We all know of books that make their settings come alive, and this meme is a chance to write about them and share them with others." Visit her blog and link up!

Today I want to tell you about the Palace-Collegia at Haven featured in many of Mercedes Lackey's books about Valdemar (a wonderful fantasy setting).

The Palace-Collegia is made up out of three different collegia:

First there is the Bardic Collegium.
Here the bards are being trained in their musical gifts. And let me tell you these bards aren't just any singing or musical instrument playing minstrel. They have a sort of magical gifts that make it possible to influence their audience, so next to their music lessons they are taught how to use their gift wisely.

Next up is the Healer's Collegium.
As you might guess this is the place that trains the healers.
And yes: Healers have a magical gift too that helps them in their healing.

And last but not least the Herald's Collegium.
Now this is were the real action is! Here the heralds are being trained. The heralds are very important to Valdemar, they are a lot of things: administrative overseers, dispensers of justice, information gatherers, even temporary military advisors. All in all they help rule the country and help to keep it safe. To help them in their task and to make sure they don't abuse their powers they are guided by a magical creature that takes the shape of a horse: the Companion. At the collegium the students learn how to do their job, how to bond with their Companion and if they have a special gift (like telepathy, empathy, firestarting and cool stuff like that) how to use that gift.

Each of these Collegia has it's own main building, but as there's lots of things that are important to learn for each of these three groups there are shared lessons too, like Weapon's Class, Court Manners and Survival among others.

All in all I really love this setting and the possibilities this setting gives. and best of all: Lackey knows just how to use it too! So if you like fantasy and this sounds appealing I can advice you to start reading about Valdemar in this order:

The Heralds of Valdemar trilogy:
- Arrows of the Queen
- Arrow's Flight
- Arrow's Fall

The Last Herald Mage Trilogy:
- Magic's Promise
- Magic's Pawn
- Magic's Price

There are many more books set in this world, so after you read and enjoyed these there are tons of other books you can read.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Nightwalker - Book Review


Nightwalker by Jocelynn Drake

What is it about:
For centuries Mira has been a nightwalker -- an unstoppable enforcer for a mysterious organization that manipulates earth-shaking events from the darkest shadows. But elemental mastery over fire sets her apart from others of her night-prowling breed...and may be all that prevents her doom.
The foe she now faces is human: the vampire hunter called Danaus, who has already destroyed so many undead. For Mira, the time has come to hunt or be hunted.
But in a dimension just beyond the worlds boundaries, a banished race stirs dangerously, hungry for power, for domination, for vengeance. Already a protective seal has been breached: already blood flows like a river through the world's great cities. And only the collaboration of two sworn enemies can save humankind...and its ferel brethern.


What did I think of it:
This is a very decent Urban Fantasy story. It has lots of action, a compelling story and a nice dark mood. It is the first in a series and the ending clearly reflects this and left me a bit frustrated, but eager to read the next book. The lead character Mira was a bit difficult to grasp at first: she's a centuries old vampire, but she didn't feel that way. But as the story went on she grew on me and I could forgive the lack of age in her personality. I did run across one thing that keeps happening again and again with me though: my favourite character in the book was one of the bad guys and I fear for the life of this character in future books.

Oh, one more thing:
Comparing a kiss with a baby's breath? Don't do it!

Why should you read it:
Great story and lots of kick ass action.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Character Connection - Sparky


We all have characters we love. Let's spotlight these fantastic creations! Whether you want to be friends with them or you have a full-blown crush on them, you know you love them and want everyone else to love them too!

Character Connection host by
TheIntrovertedReader.blogspot.com

Today I want to talk about Sparky, the familiar from Anya in Embers by Laura Bickle.

I LOVE sparky! He's so cool and fun. Let me show you by some snippets from Embers:

"A fire spirit, a salamander, was unleashed from the necklace. He shimmered with semitransparent light, large as a Rottweiler. Sparky took the shape of the massive speckled salamanders found in mountain streams, the monsters that folks called hellbenders."

"He padded across the floor to a large flannel dog bed placed against the wall. Resting in the bed was his favorite toy: a Gloworm.
....
Sparky placed his foot on the Gloworm. It lit up. He removed his paw, and the light winked out. He cocked his head, watching it, then patted it again."

"Sparky padded across the room, tail switching. He could smell the testosterone in the air, and wasn't about to let *** get away with hitting on his charge. He stomped up to *** and savagely bit him in the knee."

(name blanked out to avoid being too spoilery)

Well, if that doesn't make you curious to learn more about this really cool familiar I don't know what will, except that I can tell you that there will be even more of Sparky and other fire salamanders in the next book: Sparks.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Succubus Blues - Book Review


Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

What is it about:
When it comes to jobs in hell, being a succubus seems pretty glamorous. A girl can be anything she wants, the wardrobe is killer, and mortal men will do anything just for a touch. Granted, they often pay with their souls, but why get technical?

But Seattle succubus Georgina Kincaid's life is far less exotic. Her boss is a middle-management demon with a thing for John Cusack movies. Her immortal best friends haven't stopped teasing her about the time she shape-shifted into the Demon Goddess getup complete with whip and wings. And she can't have a decent date without sucking away part of the guy's life. At least there's her day job at a local bookstore--free books; all the white chocolate mochas she can drink; and easy access to bestselling, sexy writer, Seth Mortensen, aka He Whom She Would Give Anything to Touch but Can't. But dreaming about Seth will have to wait. Something wicked is at work in Seattle's demon underground. And for once, all of her hot charms and drop-dead one-liners won't help because Georgina's about to discover there are some creatures out there that both heaven and hell want to deny...


What did I think of it:
I really liked this book. Georgina is a cool character and the whole demons and angels running around on earth without us mortals knowing about it is well worked out and intrigiung. Georgina's co-workers, friends and superiors - both demonical and those at the bookstore - are fun and interesting characters. I mean: a demon who looks like John Cusack, an angel who'd rather socialise with demons than his fellow angels and a bookstore manager who is lead singer of a band at night, doesn't that sounds like the kind of characters who are fun to read about!?

There's just one thing I didn't like about this book: Seth! I just thought he was bland and even annoying at times so that made it hard for me to understand why Georgina is so lovestruck with him. But luckily the romance thing isn't the only storyline in this book so I could live with it.

Why should you read it:
It's a cool Urban Fantasy story featuring demons and angels!
(It's the first book in a series of 6 of which 5 are released so far)

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - Nightwalker


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


A ghost of a smile slipped across Jabari's face, but it could have just as easily been a trick of the light. "At least we know that is impossible. I do not know what secret he holds, but he needs to be watched for a time."
(page 164, Nightwalker by Jocelynn Drake)