Sunday 31 October 2010

Reading Outside the Comfort Zone

Once in a while I try to read something that falls outside my normal reading comfort zone. Sometimes I discover something that expands my comfort zone and sometimes I pick something that just falls way too far outside my comfort zone

To Serve and Submit by Susan Wright is one of those book that fall way outside of it.

Don't get me wrong: the book is well written, the story original, but the lead character is a submissive and a large part of the story is focused on that.

I couldn't deal with it!

Someone who submits totally to another person and doesn't stand up and fight for herself is not someone I can relate to. I wanted to kick both the lead character and the guy she submits to for acting like they did. I wasn't even able to finish the book as it all bothered me too much.

How about you?
What kind of book or theme is way out of your comfort zone?

Friday 29 October 2010

Lots of Winners!

All three giveaways have ended and winners have been picked by the random and fickle number generator!

An ebook copy of Keta Diablo's Where the Rain is Made has been won by Nina.
Nina: I will send your email addy to Keta and she will send the ebook to you.

An ebook copy of Wolf Signs by Vivian Arend has been won by Alice Audrey.
Alice: I will send your email addy to Vivian and she will send the ebook to you.

And lastly:
Blameless by Gail Carriger has been won by Titania86.
Titania: I will send you and email to get your snailmail addy.

Congrats to all three of you!!

Thursday 28 October 2010

Renovation stress once more

The coming month I'll be busy with repainting, redecorating and recarpeting our house after it has just been renovated, so it might be that I will have less time to read and therefor review books.

Don't fear though: I'll try to keep posting as often as I can so you won't be without me completely and at the end of November I will be posting regularly again.

Don't forget to enter my giveaways while you still can: tomorrow I will draw the winners.

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Bespelling Jane Austen - Book Review (part2)

Bespelling Jane Austen by Mary Balogh, Colleen Gleason, Susan Krinard and Janet Mullany

What is it about:
What if Austen had believed in reincarnation and vampires? Join four bestselling romance authors as they channel the wit and wisdom of Jane Austen.

Today I will review the last two stories in this anthology.
Find the first part of this book review here.

Blood and Prejudice by Susan Krinard
Set in the business world of contemporary New York City, Liz Bennett joins Mr. Darcy in his hunt for a vampire cure.

What did I think of it:
Krinard really tries to do a good job, the writing is very good, the vampire angle cool, but she shows a bit too much respect for Austen's story by sticking too close to the original. And let me be honest (with the fear of getting clobbered), Pride and Prejudice just isn't that interesting if you do not add some serious zombie mayhem to the story. Nice job all in all, but it falls flat for me.


Little to Hex Her by Janet Mullany
Present-day Washington, D.C., is full of curious creatures in Janet Mullany's story, wherein Emma is a witch with a wizard boyfriend and a paranormal dating service to run.

What did I think of it:
I didn't expect to like this one as I think the Emma story and the paranormal dating agency thing have both been over used, but I ended up really liking it. It was a funny and breezy read. Mullany does a nice job in bringing Emma into the 21st century and her writing style is so pleasant I will gladly try something else she has written.


Why should you read this book:
If you like Jane Austen and/or Supernatural stories I think you'll like this anthology as well.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - Downsiders

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 tried to shake off the shivers, telling herself that she had no reason to be concerned... until she noticed the dusty footprints on the hardwood floor.
(page 52, Downsiders by Neal Shusterman)

Monday 25 October 2010

Little Women and Werewolves - Book Review

Little Women and Werewolves by Louisa May Alcott and Porter Grand

What is it about:
Little Women is a timeless classic. But Louisa May Alcott’s first draft—before her editor sunk his teeth into it—was even better. Now the original text has at last been exhumed. In this uncensored version, the March girls learn some biting lessons, transforming from wild girls into little women—just as their friends and neighbors transform into vicious, bloodthirsty werewolves!

Here are tomboy Jo, quiet Beth, ladylike Amy, and good-hearted Meg, plus lovable neighbor Laurie Laurence, now doomed to prowl the night on all fours, maiming and devouring the locals. As the Civil War rages, the girls learn the value of being kind, the merits of patience and grace, and the benefits of knowing a werewolf who can disembowel your teacher.

By turns heartwarming and blood-curdling, this rejuvenated classic will be cherished and treasured by those who love a lesson in virtue almost as much as they enjoy a good old-fashioned dismemberment.

What did I think of it:
I really liked this book. I originally read Little Women in Dutch so don't know if Grand stuck to the original text or not, but it was a great read and the added werewolf stuff flowed right into the rest of the story. I really liked how Grand used the werewolves to add extra tension to exsisting storylines, making them better in my opinion. Had Jo been my favourite character when first reading the original Little Women, I now can safely say she's been dethroned in this book and her place has been taken by Mr. Laurence. I can recommend this book to anyone who likes Alcott's classic, but always thought it lacked some werewolves!

Why should you read it:
It's a classic that has now got werewolves!!

Sunday 24 October 2010


The random number generator has spoken and picked two winners for me:

Winner of a signed copy of 'She Smells the Dead' is:
Demented Wench

And the winner of the bookmark giveaway is:


I have contacted the winners and am waiting for them to get back to me.
Thanks to everyone who entered.

Didn't win?
There's still time to sign up for one of the other giveaways.
Links are in the sidebar on the right.

And don't forget to check out my interview with Jess Haines!

Saturday 23 October 2010

Interview with author Jess Haines

Those who read my review of ’Hunted by the Others’ will know I loved that book and should have gone out to buy it themselves by now ;-)
And when I recently read 'Spark of Temptation' and also loved that story I wanted to know more about this series and about Jess Haines, the mastermind who wrote it. She kindly agreed to an interview.

Hi Jess!
Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview and welcome to Pearls Cast Before a McPig.

My first question is probably asked before, but as I haven’t run across it I will ask it anyway:

How did you get the idea for this series?

Hey, no worries. I can’t remember if it’s been asked before, so it’s all good!

Many moons ago, I used to roleplay on AOL (“Gasp!” I hear you say. “The horror! Say it ain’t so!”). In the late 90’s, I went to the movies and sat down to watch something involving lots of violence. A preview for Blade hit the screen—and I knew I had to have a vampire hunter character of my very own! I would love her and hug her and squeeze her and call her… Shiarra Waynest.

The Shia of today and the Shia of yesteryear are very different in terms of personality. However, I gave a wink and a nod to her bad ol’ self in the belt with the trio of stakes, and kept her physical looks pretty much the same as they were way back when.

The series itself crept up on me. I wrote the first book, HUNTED BY THE OTHERS, purely for shits and giggles, setting aside my Oh-So-Serious High Fantasy™ back in late 2007/early 2008. I needed a palate cleanser after getting far too involved in the writerly woes that come with taking yourself too seriously. I started writing the second book, TAKEN BY THE OTHERS, almost as soon as I finished HUNTED. My friend Binah pushed and poked and prodded at me to seek publication when she read HUNTED, so… here I am!

Phew, I’m glad you had friend like Binah to push you into publishing, I must confess.

Are any of the characters based on yourself or people you know?

Absolutely! But you will never drag past my lips which characters or who they are based on. *g*

I must say I love Arnold, he’s a very recognisable character for me. What I was wondering is if you yourself are a roleplayer and if so, what kind of rpg’s you’ve played. (I myself have played quite a few, but Vampire the Masquerade is my favourite)

Arnold is quite possibly my favorite character. I have a hard time choosing between him and the vampire, Royce. (Shia? Who’s that?! Pfft.)

I am indeed a roleplayer. I haven’t had much time to sit down to do tabletop games in a while, but I was a fan of AD&D (3.5 edition, don’t give me none o’ that 4E). I played Vampire: the Masquerade, Werewolf: the Apocalypse, Mage: the Ascension, etc, etc, back in the 90’s/very early 00’s. I’ve done online RPGs as well; most notably, EverQuest and World of Warcraft. Oh, and we cannot forget Munchkin! Someone pass me my Dues Ex Machinegun and Freudian Slippers.

Wow! That’s an impressive list. If you were a pig I’d fall in love with you.
Let me follow this question with two questions to satisfy the roleplay geek in me.

What kind of clan would Royce be if he was a Vampire the Masquerade vampire?

Ventrue. He’s too much of a domineering, controlling snob not to be. *g*

What kind of character would Shiarra pick if she was forced to play (Advanced) Dungeons and Dragons? And how about Arnold: what character does he like to play?

Poor Shia! She’d be so at sea. I imagine for the race she’d stick with human (‘cause, ya know, that’s familiar and all). As for class? I can’t see her as anything but a warrior—at least the first time or two. I’m sure she’d eventually become brave enough to try an elvish ranger or a human paladin, but I doubt she’d ever get creative enough to try being a wizard or dwarf.

As for Arnold, his favorite character to play is his half-elven bard, Dorian Silvertongue the Goblinslayer of Thoracin. (Don’t ask.)

Any chance we might run into other were-creatures than werewolves in future books? (like were boars for example. I think everyone would love to read about were boars, I know I would ;-) )

*wary look* Have you been sneaking peeks into my third book, DECEIVED BY THE OTHERS? Naughty!

I wouldn‘t dare! *tries to hold back excited squeal*

Speaking about creatures: Will there be any other new creatures we’ve not heard about yet in future books?

I’m not quite done exploring overdone fantasy tropes. *g* I don’t expect to throw in any brand spankin’ new fantasy critters into the H&W series, but if I ever tear my Far Too Serious™ high fantasy manuscript from the clutches of the dust bunnies under my bed, you might!

If faced with a zombie what would Shiarra do? And any chance btw she will be faced by one or more zombies?

I imagine it would go something like this:

SHIA: Ew, what’s the smell?

ZOMBIE: …Braaaaaiiiiinnnnssss….

SHIA: Uh, ew? EW!

ZOMBIE: *shuffleshuffle*

SHIA: Oh, sick. Did a piece of you just fall off?? *sprays Lysol* Get away! Shoo! I am so serious. Don’t you touch me!

ZOMBIE: *shuffleshuffle*



As for whether she’ll actually encounter one, well… that depends! I’ve plotted out a number of books, but I’ve only been contracted for three in this series—so far. If it turns out there will be more, than yes, you can expect them in book five. *g*

*plots to hypnotise people into buying Jess' books to increase chances there being a book five*

How many books are you planning in this series?

I’ve plotted nine total for the series. Whether that many get published, well… we’ll see!

Any chance we’ll get another short (or longer) story featuring Arnold and Sara or other supporting characters?

I would love (LOVE) to do another one featuring those two! The novella in NOCTURNAL was the setup for something bigger involving Arnold and Sara. Not sure if they’ll get their own novel, but they will be involved in some issues that strongly impact the aforementioned book five.

I’ve been tossing around some ideas for stuff to work on as soon as I get my current projects off my plate. With four novel manuscripts and a novella in progress, I probably shouldn’t go off onto another tangent just now. *g*

And my last question: Any other projects you’re working on?

Absolutely! Ever hear of a TV series called The Real Housewives of New Jersey/New York/Orange County, etc, etc, etc? Get this—I’ve got a novella coming out sometime next year in an anthology called THE REAL WEREWIVES OF VAMPIRE COUNTY.

The hilarity. We haz it.

I am also hard at work on a paranormal romance that features characters mentioned briefly in book two, TAKEN BY THE OTHERS. It’s a co-written novel featuring characters from my work and from a friend’s. It’s an unlikely pairing—a werewolf named Christoph from a pack that has a tendency to hunt down and eat vampires, and a mute vamp named Mouse (who makes her first appearance as one of Royce’s house guards in TAKEN). Christoph and his packmate Ashi make some spectacularly stupid mistakes that land them in Royce’s hands. Wackiness ensues. Said wackiness includes a fashion makeover from the gayest vampire in all the land, an angry French chef, werewolves in fetish collars, an epic battle over ice cream, a naked Highlander, and a bit of male strip-dancing.

As you might have gathered, this isn’t your typical romance.

The PNR manuscript is written but undergoing some heavy editing and such before I pass it on to my agent or to Kensington, so no promises that it will ever see the light of day.

I must say it sounds like a blast, so I’ll be hoping it will get published. Thanks so much for dropping by and answering my questions.

Thanks very much for having me over!


Hunted by the Others and Nocturnal (which features the Novella 'Spark of Temptation) are both out and are waiting for you to buy them.
Go on, don't wait: I want book five!!!
Taken by the Others will be released in January 2011
Deceived by the Others will be released in July 2011

And now to tease all those who still haven’t read any of Jess’ books into buying them I will leave you all with the start of chapter 10 of ‘Hunted by the Others’, which features Shia and Arnold:


“Don’t touch anything while we’re inside without asking first,” Arnold said before we walked through the doors. ”Some of the stuff in here is dying to get out and might try to attach itself to you.”
Oh great. Sentient artifacts, just the sort of thing to make my day.
He led the way inside. The walls here were of red sandstone marked with runes similar to the ones on the doors. Every few feet there were arches with burning torches for light. The flickering lights drew my attention to the runes that moved and swirled in a way that was making me feel dizzy. I had the sick feeling we left New York behind the minute we walked through those arches.
“What did you need exactly anyway? Vero didn’t tell me what to give you.”
I sighed hoping I wouldn’t sound too ridiculous and unprofessional. “I was hoping you might be able to tell me. I was hired to find a statuette in the possession of a vampire.”
He snorted laughter, drawing my attention sharply to him and off the weird walls. “Oh, that. I’ve got just the thing.”


Friday 22 October 2010

When a Stranger Loves Me - A Book Review by Voodoo Bride

When a Stranger Loves Me by Julianne MacLean

What is it about:
I saved his life . . . and I had much to demand in return.

When he washed up on shore, I knew my prayers had been answered, and that I, Lady Chelsea Campion, need no longer fear poverty and heartbreak. To secure my family's estate, all I needed was a child. Handsome, clearly noble-born, and with no memory of his previous life, the mysterious man was perfect. All I had to do was visit his bedchamber and seduce him. I had expected him to be a skillful, scandalously wonderful lover, but once in his arms I was overcome by something more than mere passion. I had fallen hopelessly, desperately in love.

My plan has gone shockingly awry. But I will not give up a man who makes me feel such wicked ecstasy. No matter his true identity, no matter the secrets he struggles to remember, I will do anything in this world to make this stranger love me.

What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
If you're thinking this book is written in 1st person: It's not.
That out of the way: I really liked this book. Chelsea is a sweet, innocent character thinking she's quite the clever, scheming seductress and this is what makes the story work for me. Had she really been as scheming as she thinks she is I wouldn't have liked her, but in this case I really felt for her and got dragged into the story, hoping she wouldn't get herself too tangled up in the mess she's creating and really wanting to see her get her happy end. The one negative thing in this story is that I think the plot got unnecessary complicated near the end as some extra obstacles got thrown up that could have easily been left out and which would have lead to a more balanced story in my opinion. Still it's one of the better historical romances I've read lately.

Why should you read it:
It's a very nice Historical Romance

Thursday 21 October 2010

Stray - Book Review

Stray by Rachel Vincent (Shifters #1)

What is it about:
I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.
Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.

I'd been warned about Strays -- werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female, and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.
This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back . . . for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I'm no meek kitty. I'll take on whatever -- and whoever -- I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays -- 'cause I got claws, and I'm not afraid to use them . . .

What did I think of it:
Another book that I'm in two minds about. The writing is good, the story suspenseful, emotional and with some powerful action. So far so good. It's two things that hold me back from embracing this series however.

First there's Faythe, the lead character.
While I can understand her half of the time and feel for her, the other half she's just not thinking and doing stuff no one in their right minds would do. It kept me from really liking her.

Second there's the cats.
The males kept frolicking (for a lack of better word) with each other and while I understand this was meant to display the playful side of cats, I myself have never seen adult male cats act anything close to playful or frolicky towards each other. Now this might be just me and maybe male cats are more playful than the cats I've been around, but it just didn't feel real to me.

So all in all I did enjoy the story and the writing, but I don't think I will be picking up the next book in this series.

Why should you read it:
It's a well written, suspenseful Urban Fantasy story.

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Deadtown - Book Review

Deadtown by Nancy Holzner

What is it about:
They call it Deadtown: the city’s quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its borders — but Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demon slayer, isn’t exactly human…
Vicky’s demanding job keeping the city safe from all manner of monsters is one reason her relationship with workaholic lawyer (and werewolf) Alexander Kane is in constant limbo. Throw in a foolhardy zombie apprentice, a mysterious demon-plagued client, and a suspicious research facility that’s taken an unwelcome interest in her family, and Vicky’s love life has as much of a pulse as Deadtown’s citizens.

But now Vicky’s got bigger things to worry about. The Hellion who murdered her father ten years ago has somehow broken through Boston’s magical protections. The Hellion is a ruthless force of destruction with a personal grudge against Vicky, and she’s the only one who can stop the demon before it destroys the city and everyone in it.

What did I think of it:
I loved this book. It's fun, original and action packed. Vicky is a great character: kick-ass, smart, gutsy, but also vulnerable, stubborn and with a foot in mouth syndrome from time to time that keeps her from becoming a bitchy heroine I can't relate to. All the characters were rounded and well written I must add, down to the ones with tiny roles. I adored Tina, the teen zombie, and I hope that Tina will return in future books and gets a bigger part to play. I also hope the other zombies will get more screentime as well, as I found Holzner's take on zombies cool (and they're not even the brain eating kind!) and would love to read more about them.

Why should you read it:
It's a fun Urban Fantasy story with shapeshifters, demons and zombies!

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - the Lord-Protector's Daughter

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!

Rachylana's words were cold, but behind them was pure fury. "You'd think you were the eldest son. You're not. You're a daughter, just like the rest of us, and it might be a good idea if you occasionally remembered that."
(page 53, The Lord-Protector's Daughter by L.E. Modesitt, Jr)

Sunday 17 October 2010

Mercy - A Book Review by Voodoo Bride

Mercy by Eleri Stone (ebook, novella)

What is it about:
To the Yaguara, an ancient jaguar shape-shifting people living deep in the Amazon jungle, nothing matters more than strength. Iada is their champion; genetically pure, she has been trained since birth to fight. Her destiny is to become the next Queen of the Yaguara by winning the tournament of succession—a battle to the death.

Her opponent is Gabriel, a half-blooded outcast whose mother was human. To everyone's shock, he defeats Iada but does not strike the death blow—instead, he extends mercy, thereby claiming her as his mate.

Despite their enmity, the attraction between them is powerful, and soon they are mates in more than name only. Their mutual distrust serves only to fuel their passion—two champions bested only by their overpowering desire for each other.

But Gabriel has an agenda that threatens the most basic tenets of Yaguara society—and that will force Iada to choose between her people or her King.

What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
A surprisingly well rounded story for a novella. There's lots of hot, steamy romance, but the action storyline that frames this romance is well worked out as well. I liked that you got to see in both Gabriel's as Iada's thoughts so you can root for them both.
The whole Yaguara society sounds really cool, but as a large part of the story takes place outside of the Yaguara city it is only hinted at. So if I have one thing to say against this story it's that it makes me hungry for more Yaguara and their fascinating society and that I now have to hope that Stone will write more (and hopefully longer) stories set in this world.

Why should you read it:
Hot Shapeshifter Romance!

* I got this book for review from the publisher through Netgalley

Saturday 16 October 2010

Blameless - Review and yet another Giveaway

Blameless by Gail Carriger (The Parasol Protectorate #3)

What is it about:
Quitting her husband's house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes the scandal of the London season.

Queen Victoria dismisses her from the Shadow Council, and the only person who can explain anything, Lord Akeldama, unexpectedly leaves town. To top it all off, Alexia is attacked by homicidal mechanical ladybugs, indicating, as only ladybugs can, the fact that all of London's vampires are now very much interested in seeing Alexia quite thoroughly dead.

While Lord Maccon elects to get progressively more inebriated and Professor Lyall desperately tries to hold the Woolsey werewolf pack together, Alexia flees England for Italy in search of the mysterious Templars. Only they know enough about the preternatural to explain her increasingly inconvenient condition, but they may be worse than the vampires -- and they're armed with pesto.

What did I think of it:
I wasn't happy with the ending of Changeless (the second book) so it took me awhile to pick up Blameless, but I can tell you I'm glad I did. Where I found Changeless a bit stiff and emotionless Blameless makes up for that and got me firmly addicted to this series again. It's a fun, actionpacked story with old and new cool characters you can't help loving or in some cases hating.

I loved the fact that my favourite returning character Professor Lyall had quite a cool storyline and lots of screentime in this book and I must even admit I thought his storyline was cooler than Alexia's storyline (not that her storyline wasn't cool I must say).
There were quite a few events that may have their consequences in future books, but luckily this time it didn't end in such a grueling cliffhanger to keep me upset for months to come. So now I'm eagerly awaiting any further installment in this cool, steampunk series.

Why should you read it:
It's got Steampunk, Templars, Werewolves and Vampires!!
(review of Soulless can be found here and of Changeless here

And now for yet another giveaway:

Due to a mix up a friend of mine ended up with two copies of Blameless and kindly donated her second copy to giveaway to one of the readers of my blog.

So if you want a chance to win Blameless:
- Leave me a comment to let me know you want to be entered
- Leave a way for me to contact you
- You do not need to be a follower (only become a follower if you like my blog)
- Giveaway ends on Oktober 29th so comment before then.
- Open internationally

ps: Don't forget to check my other giveaways. Links to those are in the sidebar on the right.

Friday 15 October 2010

Wolf Signs - Ebook Giveaway

Win a copy of A Wolf Signs by Vivian Arend!

Wolf Signs

Robyn Maxwell doesn’t care that her brother has to cancel out on their backcountry ski trip. She can do it alone. The fact she’s deaf doesn’t make her survival skills any weaker. The chance to get away from it all and relax in the Yukon wilderness is just what she’s been craving.

Meeting wilderness guide Keil at the cabin starts cravings of another kind. Keil’s one hot hunk of ripped, tasty male. Now she has to deal with raging hormones as well as strange questions about wolves and mates and challenges to the death.

Keil was trying for a nice reflective retreat before challenging for the Alpha position of his Alaskan pack. He wasn’t planning on meeting the woman destined to be his mate, or finding out she’s not aware she has the genes of a wolf.

Between dealing with his accident-prone younger brother, a deaf mate with an attitude and an impending duel to the death, his week—and his bed—is suddenly full.

Far from the relaxing getaway any of them had in mind...

Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of Wolf Signs!

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 29th 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

Read Voodoo Bride's review of this book here

Thursday 14 October 2010

Winner of A Safe Harbor

The winner of the Moira Rogers Giveaway of the ebook A Safe Harbor is:

Tracey D (booklover0226)


I will send your name and email on to Moira Rogers so the ebook can be send to you.

ps: Don't forget to check my other giveaways. Links to those are in the sidebar on the right.

Where the Rain is Made - Review and Giveaway

Where the Rain is Made by Keta Diablo (ebook)

What is it about:
After a decadent-looking savage captures Francesca DuVall and her brother Marsh, she spends every waking moment planning an escape. She didn’t count on the powerful draw of desire interfering with her scheme while in the clutches of the brutal Cheyenne Dog Soldiers.

Ethan Gray is a curator at a national museum . . . most of the time. When he travels through time to help his beloved People he’s Meko, leader of the most revered and feared tribe of the plains. Their worlds are decades apart and yet Meko can’t resist the dark beauty he kidnapped during a raid. Violent battles loom on the horizon, but there’s only one he must win at all costs – the capture of Cesca’s heart forever.

From the windswept plains of Colorado and the harsh life of a Dog Soldier to the placid life of a curator, their love was fueled by passion and kindled by destiny.

What did I think of it:
I absolutely loved this story. It paints a rich and vivid picture of the Dog Soldiers and their way of life, fitting this history into the story in such a way you learn a lot about the Dog Soldiers without being lectured. I really liked how Diablo doesn't try to turn the Cheyenne into 'noble savages' as sometimes happens in romance, but how she writes them with both their good and bad sides, making them more real and recognisable this way.

The romance and action in this story are well balanced and fit together perfectly, weaving a bittersweet lovestory that's not just about Cesca and Meko, but about a whole way of life. The one thing I could say against this story is that I would have loved to read more from Meko/Ethan's point of view as he's a very cool and intriguing character and I'd have loved to read a bit more about what makes him tick. I really hope Diablo decides to continue this series as I for one will surely read any sequel.

Why should you read it:
It's a powerful lovestory set in a really intriguing environment

And now for the giveaway I promised in the title of this post:

Keta Diablo has kindly offered to send one follower/reader of my blog a copy (ebook) of Where the Rain is Made.

So if you're interested in reading this cool lovestory leave me a comment telling me you like to be entered in the giveaway.

- Open internationally
- You don't have to be a follower to enter
- Leave a way for me to contact you
- Ends on October 28th, a winner will be announced October 29th

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Ghost Girl - Book Review

Ghost Girl by Tonya Hurley

What is it about:
Charlotte Usher feels practically invisible at school, and then one day she really is invisible. Even worse: she's dead. And all because she choked on a gummy bear. But being dead doesn't stop Charlotte from wanting to be popular; it just makes her more creative about achieving her goal.

What did I think of it:
I really liked this book. It's funny, has great characters and is recognisable even though the main character is dead. I especially liked Scarlet, the Goth girl who helps Charlotte on her quest to become popular even in death. The relationship between Charlotte and Scarlet is an awkward one and it was fun to read how it develops. Hurley is clearly not one of the authors who suffer from Gothphobia and also manages to avoid the dreaded 'depressed Goth turns into happy pastel colored teen and gets popular' cliché, which certainly gains her extra points in my book. All in all a nice, fun read.

Why should you read it:
It's a well written, ghostly Young Adult read.

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - Blameless

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!

Floote watched. Alexia wondered if her father's faithful valet mistrusted Madame Lefoux because she was French, because she was a scientist, or because she was so consistently inappropriately dressed. With Floote, all three qualities were likely to engender suspicion.
(page 73, Blameless (An Alexia Tarabotti Novel) by Gail Carriger)

Monday 11 October 2010

Eagerly Waiting For:

Here's three books that are on the top of my Wishlist, but as they're not released yet I'll have to be patient.

Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard
(Releases November 2nd 2010)

After a stint in an alien prison torpedoes her military career, Captain Ari Idylle has to wonder why she even bothered to survive. Stripped of her command and banished to her father's scientific expedition to finish a PhD she doesn't want, Ari never planned to languish quietly behind a desk. But when pirates commandeer her father's ship, Ari once again becomes a prisoner.

Pirate leader Cullin Seaghdh may not be who he pretends to be but as far as Cullin is concerned, the same goes for Ari. Her past imprisonment puts her dead center in Cullin's sights and if she hasn't been brainwashed and returned as a spy, then he's convinced she must be part of a traitorous alliance endangering billions of lives. Cullin can't afford the desire she fires within him and he'll stop at nothing, including destroying her, to uncover the truth.


Alien Tango by Gini Koch (Katherine "Kitty" Katt #2)
(Releases December 7th 2010)

It's been five months since marketing manager Katherine "Kitty" Katt started working with the aliens from Alpha Centauri, and she and Jeff Martini are getting closer. But when an experimental spacecraft is mysteriously returned to the Kennedy Space Center, Kitty and the rest of her team are called in to investigate. Now the team must survive murderous attacks, remove a space entity from a group of astronauts, and avoid an unhinged woman with a serious crush on Kitty's high school boyfriend. And that's all before evil masterminds decide Kitty's extermination is vital.

Rogue Oracle by Alayna Williams (Oracle series #2)
(Releases February 22nd 2011)

Criminal Minds meets Fringe in this urban fantasy series featuring Tara Sheridan, a criminal profiler who combines Tarot card divination with her training as a forensic psychologist.

Agent Harry Li asks criminal profiler Tara Sheridan to consult on a case in which a half-dozen Cold War-era intelligence operatives have disappeared. Harry suspects a high-level conspiracy, but Tara isn’t so sure: despite the lack of bodies, Tara’s Tarot cards strongly suggest there is a killer at work.

Beset with strange visionary dreams, both helped and hindered by her tenuous connection to an ancient secret society connected to the mythic Delphic Oracle, Tara must find a shadowy killer who, if not stopped, will continue to poison the future of all humanity.


What books are you eagerly waiting for?

Sunday 10 October 2010

Desperate Choices - A Book Review by Voodoo Bride

Desperate Choices by Kathy Ivan (ebook)

What is it about:
When psychic Theresa Crawford's former beau walks into her New Orleans New Age shop, she senses trouble. Big trouble. Max Lamoreaux hasn't come to discuss their relationship—the private investigator is on a case, and he needs Theresa's help.
Max's godson is missing. The police have declared Tommy a runaway, but Max's gut tells him otherwise. While he's highly skeptical of Theresa's abilities, her visions provide the only clue as to who's taken Tommy. The longer Max works with Theresa, the harder it is to resist his desire for the sexy woman.
As they inch closer to finding Tommy, Max and Theresa also discover that time hasn't diminished their powerful attraction. But Theresa harbors her own dark secrets from her past. Secrets that broke them up before—and could drive them apart again, unless Theresa can learn to trust Max with everything...

What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
Going by the title of this book I had expected it to be a bit more darker and...well... more desperate. Instead it's a very nice suspense/romance story, but at times a bit too easy. I got the feeling that the real romantic struggle between Max and Theresa happened before this story even begins while I would have liked to read about it in this story instead of only knowing they had trouble in the past. I also would have liked to read more about the missing godson. There's a nice little storyline about him, but it doesn't touch deep enough in my opinion. All in all this story is a nice, relaxing read where it could have been something with a bit more bite.

Why should you read it:
It's a nice suspense/romance story.

* I got this book for review from the publisher through Netgalley

Saturday 9 October 2010

Mind the Gap - Book Review

Mind the Gap by Tim Lebbon and Christopher Golden

What is it about:
Always assume there's someone after you. That was the paranoid wisdom her mother had hardwired into Jasmine Towne ever since she was a little girl. Now, suddenly on her own, Jazz is going to need every skill she has ever been taught to survive enemies both seen and unseen. For her mother had given Jazz one last invaluable piece of advice, written in her own blood.

Jazz Hide Forever

All her life Jazz has known them only as the "Uncles," and her mother seemed to fear them as much as depend on them. Now these enigmatic, black-clad strangers are after Jazz for reasons she can't fathom, and her only escape is to slip into the forgotten tunnels of London's vast underground. Here she will meet a tribe of survivors calling themselves the United Kingdom and begin an adventure that links her to the ghosts of a city long past, a father she never knew, and a destiny she fears only slightly less than the relentless killers who'd commit any crime under heaven or earth to prevent her from fulfilling it

What did I think about it:
I got very mixed feelings about this book. The story starts out really suspenseful and exciting, but then suddenly turns into some kind of Oliver Twist in the Underground as Jazz meets some people who're not as much persons as rather grotesk caricatures. I was really waiting for the moment Jazz would (like Oliver Twist) run into her benefactor and swoon in his arms and was getting a bit disappointed by the story I must confess. Just when I was about to totally lose my patience however a new character turns up and steers the story away from the all too Dickensian plot and towards something more promising. From there on the story does indeed get full of action and suspense once more and leads to a cool conclusion. So.... In the end I did enjoy the story although I could have done without the Oliver Twist caricatures.

(I must say I wonder if Lebbon and Golden meant this whole Dickensian stuff as some kind of tribute as at one point one of the characters is reading a novel by Dickens.)

Why should you read it:
It is well written and if you don't mind the Dickens stuff a good story.

Friday 8 October 2010

The Rest Falls Away - Book Review

The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason
(The Gardella Vampire Chronicles #1)

What is it about:
In every generation, a Gardella is called to accept the family legacy of vampire slaying, and this time, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is chosen, on the eve of her debut, to carry the stake. But as she moves between the crush of ballrooms and dangerous, moonlit streets, Victoria's heart is torn between London's most eligible bachelor, the Marquess of Rockley, and her enigmatic ally, Sebastian Vioget. And when she comes face to face with the most powerful vampire in history, Victoria must ultimately make the choice between duty and love.

What did I think of it:
Having read Northanger Castle, Gleason's contribution to the anthology Bespelling Jane Austen, I was very eager to read this book and I was glad to discover it was just as cool as I had hoped. Next to this being a story about vampires and vampire hunters, this book is about choices and I really liked how this theme was apparant throughout the story without it becoming preachy or forced. The Regency setting added to the story in my opinion and was well described. Victoria is a strong, though at times (too) stubborn character, but also very likeable. My favourite character in the book has to be Max, a fellow vampire hunter, his brooding demeanor was a nice contrast to Victoria's innocence. All in all a great start of a series and I will most certainly pick up the next book.

Why should you read it:
Regency Vampires!

Thursday 7 October 2010

She Smells The Dead - Giveaway

Sometimes you run across a book with such a cool title you want to read it no matter what. 'Victoria: Demon Hunter' was such a book as was 'Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter' and now I found another one:

She Smells The Dead by E.J. Stevens

Isn't that title brilliant?!
And it's not just the title. Just look at that gorgeous cover or better yet, read the cool premise of this book which is the first one in a series:

It's the beginning of senior year and Yuki's psychic awareness of ghostly spirits is threatening to ruin her life. Her ability to sense spirits of the dead isn't glamorous like the ghost hunting on television.


The smell impressions are becoming stronger. Yuki is being visited in her dreams, and she suspects that her friend Calvin is involved in something strange. To make matters worse her crush on Garrett is going unrequited, Yuki's friend Emma is on a rampage against bee oppression, and annoying Calvin Miller mysteriously disappears.

Will Yuki be able to focus her powers in time to save the lost soul who is haunting her? Meanwhile, who will save Yuki from following the spirits into the light?


If that doesn't make you curious about this book, I don't know what will!

And have I got something awesome for my followers and readers from the US:

E.J. Stevens has offered me a signed copy of She Smells the Dead to giveaway to a US mailing address! (Meaning that international readers can join if they have an address in the US where the book can be send to.)

Some extra rules:
- You don't need to be a follower of this blog. I appreciate people following me, but only if they actually like my blog.
- Leave a comment telling me you want to be entered in the giveaway and leave a way for me to contact you.
- The giveaway will end on October 23th and a winner wll be announced on October 24th.

International readers without a US mailing address can't win this book, but as I feel sorry about leaving you out, I'll be giving away a bookmark to international readers. (Not a bookmark of this book, but I will buy one international reader a cool bookmark.) So if you're one of my international followers/readers and can't join the book giveaway:
leave a comment telling me you want a chance at winning a bookmark and leave a way for me to contact you.

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Bespelling Jane Austen - Book Review (part 1)*

Bespelling Jane Austen by Mary Balogh, Colleen Gleason, Susan Krinard and Janet Mullany

What is it about:
What if Austen had believed in reincarnation and vampires? Join four bestselling romance authors as they channel the wit and wisdom of Jane Austen.

Today we'll review the first two stories:

Almost Persuaded by Mary Balogh
In this Regency tale of Robert and Jane, New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh brings together former lovers who have seen beyond the veil of forgetfulness to their past mistakes, and are determined to be together in this life, and forever.

What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
A charming lovestory with a hint of the supernatural. Robert and Jane are two people you just can't help liking although I did want to slap Jane from time to time for not listening to her heart. And I fell totally in love with Robert's aunt who is a lovely and sweet character and gave the story just that extra bit of feeling and depth to make it a reread favourite.


Northanger Castle by Colleen Gleason
Caroline's obsession with Gothic novels winds up being good training for a lifetime of destroying the undead with her newfound beau.

What did I think of it:
Now this is my kind of historical vampire story. Well written and full of action. Caroline is a great character: She's likeable (even though she's a bit too hasty in her conclusions from time to time) she isn't afraid to take action when she feels it's needed and she's funny! Although short, the story was well rounded and the whole regency vampire hunting idea was so cool I was very happy I had the first book in Colleen Gleason's 'Gardella Vampire Chronicles' next on my 'to be read pile' as this story sure made me hungry for more.


Why should you read these stories:
If you like Jane Austen and/or Supernatural stories I think you'll like these two stories as well.

* We'll review the other two stories in a future post

And expect a review of The Rest Falls Away (book 1 in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles) by Colleen Gleason later this week.

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - The Rest Falls Away

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!

Moments later he was propelling her across the ballroom, dodging anyone who appeared eager to stop and talk, when the Marquess of Rock-something materialized. Victoria froze; Max could feel it all the way along the arm he'd been using to steer her through the crowd.
(page 60, The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason (The Gardella Vampire Chronicles #1)

Monday 4 October 2010


Look at the cool reward I got from Velvet from vvB32 reads for participating in her Zombie event last month!!

Be sure to check out her blog as she always has the coolest events and giveaways!

Sunday 3 October 2010

Locus Focus - the Scary Settings Challenge

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 week the Theme of Locus Focus is Scary Settings, so I want to tell you about the scariest setting of all:

The Human Mind!

There are lots of books that have the human mind as a very scary setting, but I want to tell you about the first book I read that made me see the human mind as a scary place to be:

Out of Mind by the Dutch author J. Bernlef

(note on the title: The dutch title is 'Hersenschimmen', which translates directly as 'Brain Specters', but a less direct translation would be 'Figments of the Imagination'

This story is about an elderly man afflicted by Alzheimer's disease. The book is written from the viewpoint of this man so as a reader you slowly get lost in his deteriorating mind. What makes the story even more claustrophobic is that the lead character is a Dutchman who moved to America. While his memory is failing him he begins to lose his knowledge of the English language, falling back on Dutch, which isolates him even further from the world around him. By the end of the book his (and therefor also the reader's) world has become so small and different he doesn't even recognise himself anymore when he looks in the mirror. The first time I read this book I really felt trapped at the end of the book and was overcome with relief when I closed it and could open myself to the normal world again. Not a happily ever after story I can tell you, but beautiful and touching in its sadness.

The book was made into movie as well, but it isn't as strong and scary as reading the book in my opinion.

Saturday 2 October 2010

Double Cross - Book Review

Double Cross by Carolyn Crane
(The Disillusionists Trilogy: Book 2)

What is it about:
Justine Jones lived her life as a fearful hypochondriac until she was lured into the web of a mysterious mastermind named Packard, who gifts her with extraordinary mental powers—dooming her to fight Midcity’s shadowy war on paranormal crime in order to find the peace she so desperately craves.
But now serial killers with unheard-of skills are terrorizing the most powerful beings in Midcity, including mastermind Packard and his oldest friend and worst enemy, Midcity’s new mayor, who has the ability to bend matter itself to his will.
As the body count grows, Justine faces a crisis of conscience as she tests the limits of her new powers and faces an impossible choice between two flawed but brilliant men—one on a journey of redemption, the other descending into a pit of moral depravity.

What did I think of it:
I loved Mind Games, the first book in this trilogy, so I've been looking forward to reading Double Cross for a long time.

And I must say: Wow!

Double Cross blew me away! Had I thought this series was already at its best in the first book, Crane proved me wrong and wrote such a brilliant sequel it had me laughing, crying and cursing throughout the book. My favourite characters from the previous book were back and some got more screen time this time, like Shelby, who is second only to Justine I think. The ending of the book had me shocked and eager for book three and I think Crane is one evil genius to get me so addicted to this series I'll be rereading this book and Mind Games to at least get my fix until the last book is released.

And I have to add that yet again I wasn't distracted by Crane's use of present tense. Somehow she manages to write it in such a natural way that I'm not even aware of it unless I'm looking for it. Other authors writing in present tense should read her books to learn from her.

Why should you read it:
It's a brilliant, amazing thrill ride of a read

Friday 1 October 2010

Grave Sight - Book Review

Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

What is it about:
Harper Connelly had a lucky escape when she was hit by lightning: she didn't die. But sometimes she wishes she had died, because the lightning strike left her with an unusual talent: she can find dead people - and that's not always comfortable. Harper and her brother Tolliver make their living from finding the dead, for desperate parents, worried friends . . . and police departments who have nowhere else to look. They may not believe in her abilities, but sometimes the proof is just too much for even the most sceptical of police chiefs to deny. But it's not always easy for someone like Harper, for the dead *want* to be found - and too often, finding the body doesn't bring closure; it opens a whole new can of worms.

What did I think of it:
A well written and suspenseful story. Harris makes Harper and her weird gift not only believable, but also very likeable. The clues throughout the story are of the kind that you could solve the mystery yourself, but certainly not so easy that it's a dead giveaway. The characterisation of the other characters is also really good and realistic. All in all I really enjoyed this story and will read more books in this series. I might even go as far as to claim this series might be able to surpass Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, depending on how this series will develop from here on.

Why should you read it:
It's a very original murder mystery.