Thursday 30 September 2010

Cover Love - Alien in the Family

Gini Koch uncovered the cover of her third book yesterday:
Alien in the Family

Cover art by Daniel Dos Santos

And I'm in love!!

The amazing Daniel Dos Santos did it again and created a cover that is not only beautiful, but makes you eager to read the book to find out what's going on.
I can think of no better cover artist to catch the awesomeness of Gini's books.

December 7th and the release of Alien Tango can't come soon enough in my opinion.
Alien in the Family will be released April 5th 2011.

Be sure to check out Daniel Dos Santos' website and drool over more amazing artwork and if anyone knows which book this is, please let me know as I'm so curious about it:

Artwork yet again by Daniel Dos Santos of course.

A Safe Harbor - e-book Giveaway

Win a copy of A Safe Harbor by Moira Rogers!

A Safe HarborFind out how it all began...

During the bite of the Great Depression, sole female dominant Joan Fuller struggles against the rise of cruelty among her alpha counterparts. The men tolerate her interference--until she breaks from the pack and allies with a witch and a vampire. Now the Boston alpha intends to bring them all forcibly back into the fold--and teach her a lesson she may not survive.

Seamus Whelan and his werewolf bootleggers intend to retire from smuggling and savor their fortune, but first they must do a favor for an old friend: escort some female wolves to safety. An easy job, if their leader wasn't a prim ex-debutante with enough power to challenge Seamus himself. Chance makes them allies; powerful need makes them lovers.

Together, they have the opportunity to build a sanctuary for their kind, but first they must free themselves from Joan's past, and the powerful man who would see her destroyed.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of A Safe Harbor!

This contest is a part of Moira Rogers' & Vivian Arend's Fall Frenzy Event. For your chance to win books, gift certificates, ereaders and more, visit

Some extra info:
Winner will be picked on october 14th so leave a comment before then.
It's international
You don't have to be a follower of my blog
Leave a way for me to contact you

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Demon's Fall - A Book Review by Voodoo Bride

Demon's Fall by Karalynn Lee (e-book, novella)

What is it about:
When Kenan, an incubus, finds a caged angel for sale in the Hellsgate marketplace, he sees her as a challenge. Certain that his skills in seduction will work as well on a heavenly creature as they do on mortal women, he buys Jahel, intent on having her soul as a novelty in his collection.
Knowing he must gain Jahel's trust if she is to come to his bed willingly, Kenan treats her more as his guest than as his slave. When she reveals what brought her to the mouth of Hell in the first place-retrieving the soul of a young girl she was guarding-he even offers to help her complete her mission.
Though he has promised Jahel freedom, Kenan soon realizes she has captured his heart instead. And as their passion for one another grows, they find themselves caught in a struggle between Heaven and Hell, one that will lead them to the very edge of the apocalypse...

What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
I must say I had expected that this story would have a bit more bite as the lead character is a demon, but it leans more to the lighter side than the dark side so to speak. That being said: it is a fun story and nicely written. It could have used a bit more obstacles or more challenge to the excisting obstacles, but it does it's job as a hot, romantic read just fine. I really liked the setting of Hellsgate in particular and hope Lee will consider writing more and longer stories set in this city.

Why should you read it:
If you want to relax with a nice romantic story you can't go wrong with this one.

* I got this book for review from the publisher through Netgalley and it will be released on 10/25/2010

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - Grave Sight (teaser 2)

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!

Yup, still haven't finished this one. I put it away to read some other books, but making good progress at the moment.

I said: "There's the cat. On the bathroom counter. A marmalade color cat."
"Patpaws," said Geneva smiling. I was willing to bet the lawyer wasn't smiling.
(page 63, Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris)

Monday 27 September 2010

The Undying Heart - Short Story Review

The Undying Heart by Zoe Archer (part of Half Past Dead)

What is it about:
Samuel Reed had no idea magic existed, until it almost destroyed him. Thirsting for vengeance against the enemy who made him something less than human, Sam returns to England and crosses paths with Cassandra Fielding. His best friend's little sister has become a fearless woman on a dangerous mission of her own. And against all odds, she sees past what he's become, and stirs a desire he thought he'd lost forever...

What did I think of it:
You wouldn't think so when reading the description, but this is a historical zombie story, which is very entertaining and nicely written. The story does lag a bit in the beginning, which is mostly because there's lots of explaining to do to understand the story. But I can tell you once it gets going it's going strong. The action and romance are nicely balanced and the story does it's job of kicking of a series: I want to read more!

Why should you read it:
It's got zombies!!

(read my review of 'Simon Says' here)

Saturday 25 September 2010

Catching Fire - Book Review

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games #2)

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

What did I think of it:
Warning: this review is rather negative, so if you like the book you might want to skip it.

Did I think the first book in this trilogy was a great, entertaining though not very original read, this book was a not so great, not very original read.

The plot was shaky at best and unbelievable at worst. Collins is bending over backwards to be able to re-use the plot devices that made The Hunger Games popular and is pulling rabbits out of hats to start up a second storyline. I would have liked to see her trying just a little bit harder to make that second storyline (that will continue in the third book) more real. Now I was left with a feeling I got half a regurgitated story and half a story that was forced in like a Deus Ex Machina to keep the series going.

I must say after reading this book I didn't feel like reading the last book in this trilogy, but some raving reviews and the fact that I can borrow the book from a friend have made me decide to give the last book a chance so I will be reading it soon to see if this series can be redeemed.

Why should you read it:
If you liked The Hunger Games you might like this book too.

Thursday 23 September 2010

Nocturnal - Book Review

Nocturnal by Jacquelyn Frank, Kate Douglas, Jess Haines and Clare Willis (Anthology)

What is it about:
"The Phoenix Project" by Jacquelyn Frank
Held captive, Amara is subjected to bizarre experiments that test the limits of her sanity. But nothing prepares her for being locked away - naked - with a sexy ex-cop...after they've been pumped full of drugs that increase their sexual appetites to animalistic intensity...

"Crystal Dreams" by Kate Douglas
When Lemurian Guard Darius chases a demon spirit to Earth, he faces a lethal battle between good and evil. His ally is Mari, a breathtakingly beautiful human who unknowingly holds the key to victory. But before the war is over, Darius' desire for his mortal companion threatens to erupt - and could cost Mari her life...

"Spark of Temptation" by Jess Haines
Blackmailed into taking a treacherous case, P.I. Sara Halloway is thrust into a demon war. Sara seeks guidance from a charismatic mage, but their hunger for one another soon becomes a deadly distraction...and the danger surrounding them only makes their urges more powerful...

"My Soul to Take" by Clare Willis
New Orleans native Dr. Maggie Dillon thought she left her past behind her - until she's enraptured by a handsome patient who has been possessed by a malevolent spirit. To find a cure, Colby revisits her magical roots - and unleashes a primal lust too vital to ignore...

What did I think of it:
"The Phoenix Project" by Jacquelyn Frank
I'm not too sure of this story. The writing was good, the idea intriguing, but the story didn't get off the ground. It was merely a vehicle for some heavy smut (which was good smut I must confess) and when it came to actual non romantic action it faded to black or it was talked about after the fact. Not my favourite of the four.

"Crystal Dreams" by Kate Douglas
Nicely written and interesting enough to hold my attention even though it was a bit fluffy and predictable. I didn't feel a connection with Darius and Mari so that's why this story was enjoyable, but nothing more than that.

"Spark of Temptation" by Jess Haines
If I can say one negative thing about this story it's that it doesn't fit in with the other stories in this anthology. Where the others are heavy on the romance this story is more focused on the action. I must confess I bought this book for this story as it features my favourite character from 'Hunted by the Others': Arnold. Haines doesn't disappoint in this short story and delivers a suspenseful tale. It probably won't surprise you that this is my favourite story of this anthology.

"My Soul to Take" by Clare Willis
This story didn't sound too appealing when reading the blurb, but it surprised me by turning into an engaging read and the second best story from this anthology. I was really concerned about the characters and actually creeped out at times. I will be checking out more books by this author.

Why should you read it:
As I said before: anthologies like this are great ways to discover new writers.

Wednesday 22 September 2010

The Hunger Games - Book Review

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

What is it about:
In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.

What did I think of it:
In short: a very entertaining, though not very original story.

Don't get me wrong. I really liked this book and the characters, but couldn't help seeing lots of similarity with one of my favourite movies 'Battle Royale' which is based on the novel 'Battle Royale' by Koushun Takami.

Teens having to fight each other to the death for the amusement of an audience: check
Using items/weapons that they have been given at pot luck: check
An announcer giving the death toll every day: check

I could go on for a while, but you get the point.
So I can honestly say I raised an eyebrow when reading that Collins claims to have never read or seen 'Battle Royale'.

That being said: The Hunger Games is well written and despite its lack of originality it's a great read.

Why should you read it:
If you like dystopian YA books you will like this book.

Tuesday 21 September 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - Nocturnal

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!

Thick swirling black mist surrounded Darius, but the darkness was alight with flashes of sparks and bursts of blue flame. The stench of sulfur made Mari's eyes water, but she finally got the key turned and the door unlocked.
(page 167, Crystal Dreams by Kate Douglas from the Antholgy Nocturnal.)

Monday 20 September 2010

Steampunk Mail

There was mail from the US for me today.

It turned out to be from Velvet from vvB32 Reads. She send me a card with info on Steampunk and on the book 'The Iron Duke' by Meljean Brook because I'm participating in her Iron Seas challenge.

I hope I will win the challenge as that will mean I win 'The Iron Duke'. It's got zombies! And I probably shouldn't say this as it will lower my chances, but you can still enter!

Saturday 18 September 2010

The Undead Next Door - A Book Review by Voodoo Bride

The Undead Next Door by Kerrelyn Sparks (Love at Stake #4)

What is it about:
Three signs that something is very different with your new man:
He sleeps all day…which would be annoying except he’s so attentive at night.
He’s attacked by sword-wielding assailants, yet insists he can handle it on his own.
He never seems to age.

Heather Westfield has always lived a quiet life, but that all changes when she helps a very handsome, very mysterious stranger. There’s something not quite right about Jean-Luc, but still, she’s never been with a man so charming, so attractive…so wonderful. Now if only a murderous villain wasn’t after them, they might get their happily-ever-after.

What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
Yes, I'm totally reading this series out of order, but I couldn't resist a French vampire! Just as The Vampire and The Virgin this book is a nice, fun, romantic read. On the positive side there wasn't as much Scottish accent thrown around as in that book, but on the negative side the romantic tension was less, but that might be because Heather had a little daughter running around so her attention was divided. What I do like is that the romance and the action are nicely in balance in these books and that they're light, entertaining reads so I will surely read more in this series.

Why should you read it:
Looking for a light, entertaining, vampire romance? This might be your book.

Friday 17 September 2010

Secret Vampire - Book Review

Secret Vampire by L.J. Smith

What is it about:
The pain was something Poppy couldn't ignore. The diagnosis was death. There was no hope -- until James appeared in the darkened hospital room. James, her best friend and secret love, the handsomest boy in El Camino High. But this was a James she didn't know, menacing yet irresistible as he offered Poppy the gift of eternal life. Only he could open the door to the Night World, and spirit her into its lonely, secret universe. One dizzying kiss and she can see into his soul. She finds that he has always loved her. They're soulmates -- but can she follow him into death and beyond? It's a desperate choice, and Poppy's time is running out...

What did I think of it:
I must confess I didn't have much faith in this book. Having seen and discarded the Vampire Diaries on tv I thought this story would be teen vampire drama at it's worst. *ducks to avoid the stuff getting thrown by Vampire Diaries fans*

I was wrong! There I said it.

This story turned out to be an entertaining and (while a bit angsty) decent YA read. I liked the world building and while Poppy was a bit tiring at times I liked the characters. The story did derail a bit near the end I think, but set against the rest of the story I can overlook this flaw and I will certainly try other stories set in the Nightworld (starting with the other two stories in this omnibus).

Why should you read it:
If you like Young Adult Vampire Romances this is a story for you.

* this story is part of an omnibus containing 3 stories (Secret Vampire, Daughters of Darkness and Enchantress

Thursday 16 September 2010

The Nightingale's Nest - Book Review

The Nightingale's Nest by Sarah Harrison

What is it about:
Left a young widow by the Great War, Pamela accepts employment as amanuensis to the Jarvises, a charmingly eccentric couple whose elegant Highgate house is a mecca for artists. She is particularly drawn to the work of a young woman, Suzannah Murchie, whose powerful portraits adorn the Jarvises’ walls, and to the subject of one of the portraits, John Ashe.
Ashe is a man of contradictions– handsome, but horribly disfigured; ruthless, but charitable; wealthy, but secretive. When she agrees to work for him, Pamela is only half aware that she is entering into a pact with the devil.
For Ashe has gained wealth and influence by preying on the weaknesses of others, and although Pamela keeps her distance from his activities, she cannot avoid being tainted by them.

What did I think of it:
I'm having very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand it's very well written, there are some very interesting characters and the story is also very intriguing. Then on the other hand...... there's Pamela.

Pamela was accusing people of things and condemning them for it while she was doing those things herself as well. An in other things she had a very twisted view on the world as well. I got the feeling the people she interacted with were not how she saw them and I really wanted to see things from another viewpoint to get a beter grip on them. All in all I read this book totally engrossed in the story but still feeling some disgust for it which turned out to be directed at Pamela when I tried to pinpoint my feelings of dislike.

So I would both recommend this book as speak out against it as it was a very mixed up read for me.

Why should you read it:
Read this book if you're looking for intriguing characters with a dark edge to them. Don't read it if you want to like the main character.

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Interview with Sparky from the Anya Kalinczyk series

Today I have a very special guest: Sparky, the salamander familiar of Anya Kalinczyk.
(Both Sparky and Anya appear in Laura Bickle’s Anya Kalinczyk series.)
I’m a big fan of Sparky ever since reading Embers and my admiration for this brave familiar only grew after reading Sparks, so I’m very happy Sparky has been so kind to grant me an interview.

"Hello Sparky, welcome to Pearls Cast Before a McPig."

"Thank you so much for having me! I'm very excited to be interviewed. In Anya's world, I don't get to speak. It's delightful to be able to communicate with another familiar!" *Sparky wriggles his speckled tail in excitement.*

"So, the most important question first:
How did you get Anya to buy you a Gloworm? I’d love to have one, so any tips on how to convince my owner are welcome."

"Ah, well, as a fire salamander, I love to play with electronic devices. In Anya's world, I can only affect ghosts and electronic fields. Most of the electronic devices and appliances I chew on, such as cell phones and televisions tend to short out or explode. Anya figured out that the Gloworm was the safest toy for me. It lights up when I touch it." *Sparky looks side to side with his marble-like eyes and blushes.* "It's sort of a security blanket for me. I cuddle with it when I go to sleep."
"I must confess I have my own security blanket as well. Mine is an actual blanket and it is green." * coughs * "Good, on with the questions.
What is your favourite electrical appliance?"

"The microwave!" *Sparky slaps his tail on the ground and his eyes shine in delight.* "They make most impressive explosions when I punch the buttons. Beep...beep...beep...boom!"

"Hmmmm…. I should get myself a microwave if they do that.
I’ve heard you are quite a bit older than Anya. Is this true and if I may be so bold: what is your age?"

"Ah-ha. Yes, I've been around for quite some time. Anya doesn't know it, but I'm many centuries old. I was a pet of Paracelsus and listened to Scheherazade tell the tales of the Arabian Nights. was a good thing that Scheherazade was such an accomplished storyteller. She was kind of a dog in person."

"Wow. That is impressive!
Can you share a bit more with us what you’ve been up to before teaming up with Anya?"

"Um, yeah." *Sparky scratches the back of his head with a hind foot and looks away.* "There was this little incident on the Hindenberg. You could kind of say that I got put on elemental probation after that."

"So you’re famous actually! I’m glad your probation didn’t stop you from becoming Anya’s familiar."

"I loved reading about your nest of eggs in Sparks. Is this the first time you’ve become a father?"

*Cue Al Green's "Let's Get It On" in the background.*

"Actually, this is my second litter. I admit, laying eggs in Anya's bathtub was suboptimal, but it sure beat the time that I laid eggs in Joan of Arc's armor. Joan wasn't too happy with that, either. She picked up her helmet, saw the eggs, and swore a blue streak."

"And she always is depicted as such a nice pious girl. Thanks for telling us the truth about her.
Do you know any other elementals? And can you tell us a bit about them?"

"Elementals are everywhere. My favorites are the earth elementals. Like pigs." *Sparky winks at Sullivan.*

* blushes * "Well, I will keep my eyes open for them. Wouldn’t mind talking to some elemental relatives.
When you’re in Anya’s necklace is it cramped in there or are you in some kind of different dimension once you get into the necklace?"

"Did you ever see that television show, I Dream of Jeannie? It's kind of like the interior of Jeannie's bottle. Very plush. But not as pink. I do have a nice sparkly disco ball, mini-bar, and an ass-kicking stereo system in there."

"Speaking about dimensions: Are you able to travel between the dimensions and if you are: have you ever visited a dimension with zombies?"

"I usually have my hands full with this dimension, but I do travel to the astral plane every once in awhile. Gets a little trippy, even for me. I haven't yet met any zombies, but I'm certain they're out there!"

"And lastly:
What is your favourite memory of you and Anya?"

"Anya doesn't remember this, but when she was a baby, I would climb up into her crib to sleep with her. She'd be lying on her back, dozing. I'd lie on my back beside her in the sunshine, swatting at the mobile spinning lazily over the crib. She's always had me, and always will."

"She’s a lucky person, I must say.
Sparky, thanks for your visit and your answers. I will now let you get back to Anya and your mini-bar. I hope we’ll get to read much more about you and Anya in the future."

Those of you who haven't read Embers and Sparks yet: Go to your bookstore now and buy both books, they're awesome!

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - Grave Sight

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!

Seeing we were slipping from her grasp, Dinah thought of a few more questions to ask us, and we dodged them more or less politely. "The Ozarks breed women of strong character," I told Tolliver. He nodded a little grimly.
(page 160, Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris)

Sunday 12 September 2010

And the winner is......

As promised I picked a winner for my 60 followers giveaway today and the winner is:


Congrats Nina, I will be emailing you for your address.

And a big thank you to all my followers!
You're what makes blogging fun.

ps: keep an eye out for an interview with a very special guest this wednesday. (Hint: the book Nina won is by the same author (although under a different pen-name) as the books that are connected to my special guest.)

Saturday 11 September 2010

Machete - Movie Review

Directed by Ethan Maniquis and Robert Rodriguez
Starring Danny Trejo as Machete

What is it about:
After being betrayed by the organization who hired him, an ex-Federale launches a brutal rampage of revenge against his former boss.

What did I think of it:
I have hoped they would make this movie ever since seeing the fake-trailer for it back when I saw Planet Terror. And I can tell you I'm glad they actually made it as this movie is totally awesome! Danny Trejo shines in his first ever lead role and (apart from his trusted machete of course) he gets to be creative with lots of improvised weapons with satisfying results. The action is over the top, but extremely cool and at times laugh out loud funny (especially the final show down between good guys and bad guys had me laughing). There's also lots of great oneliners and cool dialogue:

Padre Benito del Toro: It's not safe for you to be here.
Machete: I'm not looking for "safe".
Padre Benito del Toro: No, I mean it's not safe for me for you to be here!

All in all I absolutely love this movie! Even if they had added zombies to it, it couldn't have been better!

Why should you see it:
Danny Trejo with a machete!!

Thursday 9 September 2010

The Vampire and The Virgin - A Book review by Voodoo Bride

The Vampire and The Virgin by Kerrelyn Sparks (Love at Stake #8)

What is it about:
FBI psychologist Olivia Sotiris is looking for a cool ocean breeze, sand between her toes, and a break from her crazy, and sometimes dangerous, life. But when she escapes to the Greek island of Patmos, all she gets is a meddling grandmother trying to marry her off. None of the men there interest her—except a mysterious Scotsman named Robby MacKay.

Robby needs to cool off, too, since all he can think about is revenge on the Malcontent bloodsuckers who once held him captive. But then he meets Olivia, the beauty with wild curls and a tempting smile. When a deadly criminal from one of her cases back home tracks her down, Robby will have to save her life, along with giving her a first time she’ll never forget …

What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
In short: A funny vampire romance.
I feared I wouldn't understand a lot of things as I jumped in in the middle of a series, but have discovered that these books are perfectly readable as stand alones as each book focuses on one couple. There are some things mentioned reguarding the action storyline that have happened in earlier books, but never in a way that it takes away the enjoyment or understanding of this book. For a romance the action storyline was thought out very well and flowed very nicely together with the romance storyline. There was one thing that annoyed me a bit and that was Robby's Scottish accent. It took me quite a while to get used to the ye's, dinna's and lasses he threw around and it did push me out of the story more than once. But all in all I enjoyed this book enough to read more in this series.

Why should you read it:
Fans of Vampire Romance will like this story.

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Kiss of the Rose - A Book Review by Voodoo Bride

*This review might be a bit spoilery about the romance storyline*

Kiss of the Rose by Kate Pearce (The Tudor Vampire Chronicles #1)

What is it about:
Desperate to defeat King Richard III and gain the crown, Henry Tudor made a pact with the Druids binding him and his heirs to the Druids' struggle against vampires. Ever since, the Llewellyns, a vampire- slaying family, have been in the king's employ. Now Henry VIII reigns, and his father's bargain has been almost forgotten-until bloodless corpses turn up in the king's bedchamber. To save the king, Vampire hunter Rosalind Llewellyn must form an uneasy alliance with Druid slayer Sir Christopher Ellis. But soon, Rosalind must face an unthinkable truth: that her sworn enemy may be her soulmate...

What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
I love it when two of my favourite genres are combined, so this historical paranormal story sounded like something I had to read. The writing is pleasant and I loved the world building. There was enough historical detail to make the setting believable and I liked the two warring factions: the druids and the vampires.

The action storyline was a bit overshadowed by the developing relationship between Rosalind and Christopher and if the romance is good I don't mind this, but the romance storyline was a bit too angsty and problematic for my taste. I don't mind some obstacles along the way, but in this case both Rosalind and Christopher were acting way too difficult in my opinion and I felt like whacking their heads together, something I normally leave to Sullivan.

The next book in this series will conclude the story about Rosalind and Christopher and I will most probably buy it to see how the action storyline will work out and in the hope that both hero and heroine will shape up and they actually stand up and fight for their happily ever after.

Why should you read it:
If you like both historicals and paranormals this is a book for you

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - The Vampire and the Virgin

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!

He hadn't realised Carlos was capable of telepathic communication while in cat form. What are ye doing here?
Waiting for you to chase me off. Come on, dude. Rescue the fair maiden. Be a hero.
(Page 89, The Vampire and the Virgin by Kerrelyn Sparks)

Monday 6 September 2010

Say My Name - A Book Review by Voodoo Bride

Say My Name by Tatiana Caldwell (e-book, novella)

What is it about:
Due to her father’s constant bragging, word of Anna Miller’s beauty and virtue piques the interest of King Thomas. Upon taking the boasting of her father too literally, the king of Grimbros imprisons Anna and threatens to kill her and her father if she fails to spin straw into gold.
A mysterious and sensual magical being finds himself drawn to the castle – and the beautiful Anna. He offers his help in exchange for the most intimate, precious gifts she could possibly give. Soon Anna finds herself wanting far more than just his help. But he threatens to consume her and all she holds dear.

Unless she says his name.

What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
This is an adult retelling of the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin and from the looks of the cover and by reading the description you might get the idea it's rather dark, but I found it quite the opposite. Say My Name is a hot, romantic, almost fluffy retelling and I really enjoyed it. It is a predictable story, both because it's a retelling and because the added storyline isn't that hard to see through, but I can't say I minded. If you're looking for something new and fresh, you might be disappointed, but those looking for a light, romantic fairy tale retelling will certainly find it in this story.

Why should you read it:
If you like fairy tale retellings I think you'll enjoy this novella

Sunday 5 September 2010

Locus Focus - Ramblings about Schools

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!

This Locus focus is a bit different as I'm not going to talk about which school setting is my favourite, but I'm going to ramble about one thing that I keep noticing about boarding school settings and that surprises me:

The schedules those poor students have to keep!!

Take the schedule that Spirit White has to keep in Legacies by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill. It's so packed I'm surprised she even has time to sleep. Lessons, after school activities, study hours, etc... I get tired just reading about it.

And the poor students in Lackey's Valdemar series aren't better off, they have so many things they have to do besides their lessons I applaud them for being able to graduate.

Another example:
Lyle House from the book The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong.

Not only do the 'troubled' teens who are 'rehabilitated' in Lyle House have a list of activities they have to do as long as my book wishlist (and that's a long list I can tell you) they're not even allowed some privacy when they need it.

How do all these kids cope?! I myself have no experience with boarding schools, but I do wonder if these books have a realistic view on boarding schools or if the writers of these books aren't aware they pack the days of these students too full of stuff they have to do. Because really: a full time job is nothing compared to what these teens have to do and they're not even getting paid.

Am I the only one to think this?
Does anyone have experience with boarding schools and can you enlighten me about the schedules that are kept?
Any book recommendations where the students are given some more time for themselves?
Let me know.

Saturday 4 September 2010

Sparks - Book Review

Sparks by Laura Bickle

What is it about:
Anya Kalinczyk is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern, who holds down a day job as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department—while working 24/7 to exterminate malicious spirits haunting a city plagued by unemployment and despair. Along with her inseparable salamander familiar, Sparky, Anya has seen, and even survived, all manner of fiery hell—but her newest case sparks suspicions of a bizarre phenomenon that no one but her eccentric team of ghost hunters might believe: spontaneous human combustion.

After fire consumes the home of elderly Jasper Bernard, Anya is stunned to discover his remains—or, more precisely, a lack of them; even the fiercest fires leave some trace of their victims—and she is sure this was no naturally occurring blaze. Soon she’s unearthed a connection to a celebrity psychic who preys on Detroit’s poor, promising miracles for money. But Hope Solomon wants more—she’s collecting spirits, and in a frantic race against time, Anya will face down an evil adversary who threatens her fragile relationship with her lover, her beloved Sparky’s freshly hatched newts, and the wandering souls of the entire city

What did I think of it:
Sparks is the second book in the Anya/Sparky series. I loved the first book Embers, especially because of Anya's familiar Sparky who outshone everyone and everything in my opinion.

That being said: I absolutely love Sparks!
And this time it's quite a bit harder to name one specific thing that outshone the rest I can tell you. Sparky does shine ofcourse (both while guarding his bathtub full of newts and while wreaking havoc on an unsuspecting Baby Super Store) but Anya shines as well in a way she didn't and most probably couldn't in Embers. Where she was emotionally quite closed off in the previous book she's opening up in this one, making her vulnerable in a way that makes you want to hug her and kick some butt among those who pester her. The other characters are very intriguing as well, some raising some questions about who and what they truly are and others making you wish you had them as a friend. The one negative thing I can say is that at the moment it's not clear if there will be more books in this series. I really hope there will be because I want lots and lots more Sparky and Anya!

Why should you read it:
In my honest opinion sofar this book is one of the five books you should read this year.

Friday 3 September 2010

Shalador's Lady - Book Review

Shalador's Lady by Anne Bishop

What is it about:
For years the Shalador people suffered the cruelties of the corrupt Queens who ruled them, forbidding their traditions, punishing those who dared show defiance, and forcing many more into hiding. And even though the refugees found sanctuary in Dena Nehele, they have never been able to call it home.
Now that Dena Nehele has been cleansed of tainted Blood, the Rose-Jeweled Queen, Lady Cassidy, makes it her duty to restore the land and prove her ability to rule. She knows that undertaking this task will require all her heart and courage as she summons the untested power within her, a power capable of consuming her if she cannot control it.

And even if Lady Cassidy survives her trial by fire, other dangers await. For the Black Widows see visions within their tangled webs that something is coming that will change the land—and Lady Cassidy—forever…

What did I think of it:
This book continues the story of Cassidy that began in 'The Shadow Queen' and I can advice to read it only if you read the previous book. It does have a bit more bite to it than 'The Shadow Queen' although it still doesn't reach the gritty, dark atmosphere that hangs over the original Black Jewels trilogy. Which doesn't make it a bad book btw, it's beautiful and as well written as any other book by Bishop I've read sofar. (I'm beginning to supect Bishop can make a grocery list sound beautiful if she set her mind to it.) I like how characters introduced in the previous book got even more character depth and how Bishop succeeds in introducing new characters that impress however small their roles were in some cases. And I absolutely loved the Scelties (some sort of magical and intelligent dogs), that have been mentioned in other books before, but shine in this one. I want a Sceltie as a friend now.

Why should you read it:
Don't tell me I have sofar failed in getting you interested in the Black Jewels books! They're awesome.

Thursday 2 September 2010

The Ugly Truth About Unicorns

Yes! I'm a proud member of Team Zombie!
And today I'll tell you the ugly truth about unicorns.

Take a good look at the following picture:

Noticed the goat on the right?

That's a unicorn!

Yes, it's true: Unicorns are goats!!
Now I can understand people think goats aren't as glamorous as horses and it looks like the unicorns thought so too, so they hired an excellent spin doctor and so the myth of the prancing, horsey unicorn was born.

But now you know the truth: behind that nicely spun illusion of a horse there's actually a goat!

Zombies don't need some fantastic scheme like that to be cool!

And if this revelation didn't convince you, think about this:
Unicorns go for Virgins, Zombies go for Brains!

The Shadow Queen - Book Review

The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop

What is it about:
Dena Nehele is a land decimated by its past. Once it was ruled by corrupt Queens who were wiped out when the land was cleansed of tainted Blood. Now, only one hundred Warlord Princes stand—without a leader and without hope… Theran Grayhaven is the last of his line, desperate to find the key that reveals a treasure great enough to restore Dena Nehele. But first he needs to find a Queen who knows Protocol, remembers the Blood’s code of honor, and lives by the Old Ways.

Languishing in the Shadow Realm, Lady Cassidy is a Queen without a court, a castoff. She is not beautiful. She thinks she is not strong. But when she is chosen to rule Dena Nehele, she must convince bitter men to serve once again.
Theran’s cousin Gray is a Warlord Prince who was damaged in mind and body by the vicious Queens who once ruled Dena Nehele. Yet something about Cassidy makes him want to serve—and makes him believe he can be made whole once again.
And only Cassidy can prove to Gray—and to herself—that wounds can heal and even the whisper of a promise can be fulfilled…

What did I think of it:
Compared to the original Black Jewels Trilogy this addition to the Black Jewels books is a fluffy, romantic read, but certainly a beautiful read as well. Next to revisiting characters from the original trilogy this story adds more depth and new characters to the Black Jewels world. And there are some really cool characters I can tell you. (My favourite of the new characters has to be Ranon, who was featured in my teaser tuesdays post.) Bishop's writing is vivid and rich as always and just one of the many reasons I can reread her work time and time again. Having read this book before having read the original trilogy I can safely say it can be read seperately, but I will warn you that after reading this book you will want to read the other books as well.

Why should you read it:
It's beautifully written fantasy

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Simon Says - Short Story Review

Simon Says by Bianca D'Arc (part of Half Past Dead*)

What is it about:
Special Forces soldier Simon Blackwell ended his affair with Mariana Daniels three years ago, but he hasn’t stopped protecting her. Mariana has no knowledge of the dark, deadly creatures that lurk in the forest surrounding her clinic, or of the mysterious powers that make Simon the only one who can defeat them. But soon he’ll have no choice but to reveal the truth, and urge her to trust in an explosive passion that never faded…

What did I think of it:
This short story is the prequel to 'Once Bitten, Twice Dead' and as I really liked that book I gave this short story a try. The romance/smut part of the story is overwhelming the action/zombie part of the story I must say, but that's probably to be expected from a short story. The extra info on the zombie infestation and the zombie action in this story were very cool though and while not as good as 'Once Bitten, Twice Dead' I thought it was an enjoyable read. The aftermath of the story felt a bit drawn out even creating a tension as if maybe something more would happen, but sadly enough this was not the case. I still will continue to read this series though.

Why should you read it:
It's an enjoyable read for PNR lovers and zombie fans who don't mind all the extra romance.

*The other story in Half Past Dead is 'The Undying Heart' by Zoe Archer and has zombies too for as far as I understand, so I'll probably be reading and reviewing it soon.