Stacking the Shelves #10

Saturday 30 June 2012.

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, (and filling our kindle) sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process! Hosted by Tynga over at Tynga's Reviews

Hi all. Another week over already. More than that, I can't believe another school year is over already. Where does the time go. Anyway, I am hoping to get loads of reading done over the next eight weeks as I won't have to be running around doing school runs, homework etc. etc. :) That is of course, if I can manage to stay off the laptop. It just calls me every time I walk past it lol. 

Not a huge stack this week, but I am really excited to get my hands on a copy of Knee Deep. I am taking part in the blog tour and my date is the 27th July, so if you get a chance, please stop by. 

Click on the book title for more information.

Tears of the Broken (Dark Secrets #1) Seaweed Prince of Wolves (The Grey Wolves, #1) Knee Deep

Tears of the Broken (Dark Secrets #1) A. M. Hudson (free on Amazon)
Seaweed by Elle Strauss (free on Smashwords)
Prince of Wolves by Quinn Loftis (free on Smashwords)
Knee Deep by Jolene Perry (Tribute Books)

So, that's all for me this week guys. Leave me a link so I can see what books came into your house this week :)


Blog Tour and Giveaway: Pandora's Key by Nancy Richardson Fischer

Friday 29 June 2012.

Pandora's Key (The Key Trilogy, #1)
Pandora's Key by Nancy Richardson Fischer
Published 18th November 2011
Self Published
Target Audience: YA

When everything you believed about yourself is a lie, how do you unlock the truth…

Evangeline Theopolis has nightmares about the violent deaths of women she has never met. Her single mother, Olivia, suffers delusions she can’t hide. And Malledy, a brilliant young man, may have a disease that will leave him paralyzed and insane. Their lives are about to collide.

On Evangeline’s 16th birthday her mother gives her a necklace with an antique key charm—a family heirloom, though no one knows what the key unlocks.

Everything changes. Her mom is hospitalized. Her godmother attempts murder. An ancient Order tries to kill Evangeline, and a lethal sect to kidnap her.

Nothing makes sense—especially Evangeline’s own face, which has morphed from geeky to eerily stunning; the ancient key that feels strangely alive against her skin; and the magical abilities she begins to possess.

Evangeline must use her wits and supernatural powers to fight her deadly adversaries and discover her true identity. But can she accept who she really is and save the world? 

EXCERPT (from Pandora's Key, Book One - The Key Trilogy):

Evangeline climbed a rickety wooden ladder into the hayloft. She wore a cotton nightgown she’d never seen before—ivory-colored with tiny pink roses, long enough to brush the tops of her bare feet…except they weren’t her feet, because they were too small and delicate and the nails were painted cherry-red.

When she reached the loft, she found a lantern on the floor. Raising the glass top, she lit the wick with a match she hadn’t known she carried, and then turned the brass knob. The lantern glowed, illumining lazy dust motes, bales of yellowed hay, and a thick rope coiled in the corner.

Evangeline tossed the free end of the rope over a rafter. She braced herself, leaned out from the ladder, and grabbed the dangling rope. Slowly her hands, which were not her hands because there was a pear-shaped diamond ring on the left ring finger, fashioned the end of the rope into a noose. I don’t know how to make a noose, Evangeline thought as she slid it over her head and tightened it around her neck.

Evangeline watched her pale feet shuffle along the uneven, slatted floor toward the edge of the hayloft. Her pulse raced. This isn’t happening.But she could smell the thick, cloying sweetness of the hay. This can’t be real. But she felt a splinter from the rough wood bite into her heel.Stop! And then she stepped into space, stomach hurtling into her mouth—terror numbing her body—rope tightening—legs kicking…

I was born on the east coast and went to Cornell University. After college I worked as a writer for Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. It was a fun first job and I learned how to write quickly, and also that when elephants sneeze on you it's very (VERY) messy. After a year in the circus, I moved out west. I lived in Aspen, Colorado where I skied as much as possible and worked as a waitress in a Mexican restaurant. Great experience but I learned that waitressing is hard (HARD) and I'm not very good at it.

After Aspen, I moved to San Francisco, California where I worked as a writer for University of California, San Francisco and wrote freelance for LucasFilm. At UCSF I learned that sitting in a cubicle under fluorescent lights dulls my soul. LucasFilm taught me that writing freelance, especially fiction, is fun (FUN). So I headed to graduate school in Boulder, Colorado to further hone my skills.

For the first part of my freelance writing career I wrote sport autobiographies. I'd visit and travel with an athlete like Monica Seles, Bela Karolyi, Nadia Comaneci or Apolo Ohno and then write their book. It was a terrific job, but after ten years and tons of incredible experiences I got tired of writing other peoples' stories and not my own.

I've always loved books with adventure, magic, and dark forces. I'm a huge fan of Stephen King, Peter Straub, Neil Gaiman, Suzanne Collins and George R.R. Martin. Those writers allow a reader to lose themselves in stories that are intense, sometimes other-worldly, yet strangely believable. I feel incredibly lucky that now I have the chance to create books for readers that will hopefully captivate and transport them into a world where the supernatural is possible with characters that they can relate to who are flawed yet totally compelling.

Today I live in the Pacific Northwest with my amazing husband, Henry, and our mostly loveable (but sometimes vorpal) Vizsla, Boone. When I'm not conjuring a story, I love to kite-board, bike, ski or plan adventures with Boone and Henry, who both make me laugh for different reasons and who are the best partners in fun a gal could ever imagine.


Thanks so much to Suzanne for allowing me a coveted space on her blog! The work that bloggers do every day - reading and reviewing books, creating contests, giveaways, and visually super cool sites - really help authors find a niche and an audience. Much appreciated Suzanne!!

A lot of readers have asked me about the process of writing Pandora's Key and if it was an easy one. I'd love to say YES! because that'd make me look good, but it wouldn't be truthful. Pandora's Key started off as a screenplay. I worked on the story for a year, and then spent another six months revising and editing before deciding that the story would work even better as a novel. And that's the thing about writing, at least for me, you have to be willing to let go of your precious words because they're actually not so precious and there are even better words to follow. And you have to be willing to drastically change or even kill off your characters in order to make a story rise above the ashes of a zillion past attempts and become incrementally better and hopefully one day really great.

Once I decided to write Pandora's Key as a YA urban fantasy I spent another year writing and at least six more months editing my novel. Evangeline, my main character, isn't who I thought she was on day one of writing, or even on day three hundred! And Malledy? Jeeze, that kid evolved into who he is today seemingly without my input! Crazy, I know, but Malledy just knew who he wanted to be and told me so. Tim did the same thing... although he was hard to understand when he was drunk!

Anyway, my point is that writing is a LONG process - maybe longer for me than for some other authors - and I just settle in for the ride. Sometimes I feel impatient, but the plot, the story, the characters need time to figure out who and what they are... and I need time to translate that into a fully developed story.

And on that note, I just want to add that the plot is SUPER important to me. Beyond my characters, I try my hardest to place them in an adventure that is twisted, imaginative, and forces them to grow or, sometimes literally, to die. I hope more than anything that when you finish Pandora's Key you've taken the journey with Evangeline from who she was to who she is and that all the twists and turns she faced surprised you as much as they did her... and sometimes even me.

A heartfelt thanks for reading Pandora's Key. I hope you love the story:-D

-Nancy Richardson Fischer

And now, Nancy has kindly provided some ebooks for giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

Thursday 28 June 2012.
Glitch (Glitch, #1)
Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
Published: 7th August 2012
By: St. Martin's Press
ISBN13:  9781250009111
Source: Netgalley
Target Audience: YA

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Glitch is based in a world where nuclear war has already happened. People are chipped so they can't feel any emotion, in the hope of preventing future wars. They live below the earth's surface as the air is now toxic from nuclear fallout. They are like worker drones, just going about their day with no emotion, not caring about anything or anyone. They live by the motto Community first, Community always.

This book was a very slow starter and I felt like giving up. But, something about it just kept pulling me back. I'm glad it did, because it certainly got better as it went along, with quite a climactic ending. Setting up what I feel could be a really good sequel. I think slowed this for me was that there is kind of a repetitive scene, due to the fact that Zoe has memory disrupter inserted so has to learn everything again, before we can really move on with the story.

Then there's the love triangle. When she meets Adrien first, everything moves far too quickly, but as she forgets all this, the build up is better the second time around. This is when we also meet Max. Personally, I took an almost instant dislike to him. But I liked Adrien a lot, except for the way he spoke. He used ridiculous language in place of swear words. He says "shunting", "cracking" and "godlam'd". This annoyed me more than anything (maybe more than it should have), because it made Adrien sound like an idiot. Either write the book to include real swear words or leave them out altogether, don't make up ridiculous ones. Just my opinion.

The world building was really good and I could build vivid images from Heather's descriptions. It's an imaginative idea and was well executed. Most of this book is based below the surface. I'm interested to see more of how people are living on the surface and I think we'll see more of this in the sequel.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read, which if the sequel continues in this direction, I feel could be a lot better than Glitch.

Add it to your TBR on Goodreads

Buy the book: Amazon/The Book Depository

Blog Tour: Spectral by Shannon Duffy

Wednesday 27 June 2012.

Spectral by Shannon Duffy
Published: 10th April 2012
By: Tribute Books
ISBN13: 9780983741879
Source: Publishers for blog tour
Target Audience: YA

My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Spectral opens with Jewel having no idea what she is. As far as she’s concerned, her father did something when she was a baby and they have been in the witness protection programme ever since, often having to run for their lives in the spur of the moment.  They are constantly on the run and moving from place to place. So, she is somewhat surprised to come home from school one day to find her grandmother and an aunt and uncle at her house.  When she overhears them having a conversation about her being the Spectral and coming into her powers on her 17th birthday, one month away, she doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

Then she meets the hot new guy at school, Roman. He tells her that he’s her guardian, that she’s in danger, and he explains to her what the Spectral is.

For the most part, Jewel was an ok, likable character. She seems fairly smart and able to quickly accept things and work things out for herself when required. But then, she comes up with a really stupid reasoning, and follows this up with some stupid actions that had me really mad while reading, at this point to be honest, I felt like giving up. Thankfully, she eventually figures out her mistake. In my opinion it was out of character for her.

There is kind of a love triangle, but personally, I didn’t feel I ever learned enough about Chase to have any strong feelings for him so Roman was always the guy I was rooting for.  Though I think it was always obvious the direction it was going to take. Roman was a good character and I liked him more than any of the others, but I couldn’t say I had a deep connection with any of them.

The relationships move very quickly to start with but do ease off somewhat so that I couldn’t really say its insta love. But not an enjoyable build up either.  

Despite my negativity so far, the overall storyline is quite enjoyable and imaginative. Shannon has a decent writing style and the book had a nice flow. The ending is good with some fast paced action, but also some sad scenes. Spectral was overall, a fairly enjoyable read. 

Add Spectral to your TBR on Goodreads

Shannon Duffy writes MG and YA. She is repped by the amazing Lauren Hammond of ADA Management. She grew up on the beautiful east coast of Canada and now lives in Ontario, Canada. She is a mom of one boy, her angel. She loves writing, reading, working out, soccer, and the sport of champions-shopping. My YA Paranormal romance, SPECTRAL is out now, and my upcoming middle grade fantasy novel, GABRIEL STONE AND THE DIVINITY OF VALTA, is set to release January 1st/13.


Teaser Tuesday

Tuesday 26 June 2012.

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. You know the rules: grab your current read, open to a random page and share a two sentence teaser with us (no spoilers!). Be sure to tell us about the book, so we can add it to our TBR list!

The Vampire of Highgate - Asa Bailey
This week my teaser comes from The Vampire of Highgate by Asa Bailey

The man regarded her carefully, a faint smile playing on his lips, then walked on. That was weird. Kathy thought to herself. I didn't see him reflected in the glass. Something about the man seemed familiar to her. He looked to be in his early twenties, brown hair, and very good-looking.


Blog Tour: In the Shadow of Vesuvius by Liz Carmichael

Monday 25 June 2012.

Author Liz Carmichael has stopped by today with Guest Post and an Excerpt for the In The Shadow of Vesuvius blog tour.

Hi, Liz Carmichael here. First up I would like to thank Suzanne for giving me the opportunity to guest post today. It is very generous of her to give me this time to share a few words with her readers.

Where Do Writers Get Their Story Ideas?

This question comes up a lot, and I guess most of us have no idea half the time, though I can only speak for myself here.

Sometimes the title comes first. Other times it’s a first line, or just a line that sits with me until I do something about it.

Overhearing a conversation can set a writer’s mind racing. This happened to me with one story when I caught part of a conversation: a woman, at the next table, said to her friend. ‘If he fell down the stairs and cracked his skull open, I’d leave him there.’ I’m sure if that actually happened, she wouldn’t have left the poor guy lying there.

Still, those words niggled constantly until I sat at the computer and wrote my version of that story The Widowing of Millie. I’m sure you’ve guessed the type of story it was.

One project I put aside, because I had to get back to In the Shadow of Vesuvius and finish its prequel, is The Portal. That story came to me after a few words popped into my head one night as I was about to fall asleep. I had to reach out for pen and notepad to groggily write it down. The story wasn’t started on straight away, there were other things holding my attention, but it nagged and nagged until I got started on the story, which will now be completed.

One of the pieces of writing I had to submit when applying for the Dip. Art course - Professional Writing and Editing – was one I put together from a children’s story and a rhyme I learned as a child. Don’t ask me why I put those together, it just seemed a good idea at the time – and it did help me get into the course. I know this because it was the story the interviewing tutor took the greatest interest in.

A short piece, Mornings, came after thinking about how different children’s lives are in other countries, how some are working by age five or six helping keep the family fed. And how we take our lifestyles so much for granted.

The Shadow of Vesuvius came to me when I read about a young slave, with a child in her arms wearing a gold chain, was discovered during the uncovering of part of ancient Herculaneum. The image of those two young people haunted me. I had to write the story to give them a life.

Which of the many and varied ways of coming up with story ideas work best for you?

Now Read a Short Excerpt
Dominus and Domina came hurrying out of the inner room just as another violent tremor buckled the ground and brought down one of the temple walls.

Screams from above alerted us to the burning cinders and hurtling rocks bombarding the town.

‘We must go now to the Temple of Neptune. Come. Quickly!’ Octavius strode off to the tunnel, as usual without checking to see if we followed.

My heart raced. At last we were on our way to Neptune’s Temple close to the Neapolis gate: so much closer to my best path to freedom.

‘Help me up,’ I told Levi, ‘we have to hurry.’

‘You’ve a plan?’ He helped me anyway.

I gave no response to his questioning look. Instead I whispered, ‘My gratitude,

Fortuna,’ as Octavius’s second shout got us scurrying towards the tunnel entrance. But before I could reach the opening, an enormous smoking boulder plunged over the wall above Area Sacra.

Although born in Scotland and spent time in other countries, Liz is now happily settled in Melbourne, Australia.
She is an editor as well as a writer and avid reader - especially historical fiction - who loves researching, though she can get so caught up in research she forgets about the story she's researching for.
Liz also draws and paints for relaxation, and will do illustrations for her books whenever possible. She walks her daughter's dog because both need the exercise.

She has a Dip. Art(Professional Writing and Editing), and taught writing and editing for two years until the need to concentrate fully on her own writing took over again.
Her favourite authors, in no particular order, are: Sue Monk Kidd, Sara Donati, Geraldine Brooks, Vanora Bennett, Sarah Dunant, Cormac McCarthy, Markus Suzak, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Robert Harris. For Crime: Michael Connelly, Minette Walters, Jeffrey Deaver, and Dean Koontz for his crime with humour. Newest favourite authors are Anne Obrien and Pauline Gedge - writers of historical fiction, of course.
The book trailer for In the Shadow of Vesuvius was made by Chuck Pride of "American Pride Productions"

Author Links: Website/Twitter

Buy the book: Amazon/Barnes and Noble

Stacking the Shelves #9

Saturday 23 June 2012.

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, (and filling our kindle) sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process! Hosted by Tynga over at Tynga's Reviews

Hi all, hope you all had a great week. I'm really excited about the books I got this week, though not large in quantity, they are high in quality :)

Click on the book title for more information

Before I Wake (Soul Screamers, #6) Spark (Elemental, #2) Dark Seeker (Seeker, #1)

Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent (MiraInk)
Spark (Elementals #2) by Brigid Kemmerer (Netgalley)
Dark Seeker by Taryn Browning (free on Amazon)

What books did you get this week? Leave me your links and I will drop by.

Dark Companion by Marta Acosta

Thursday 21 June 2012.

Dark Companion

Dark Companion by Marta Acosta
Publication Date: 3rd July 2012
By: Tor/MacMillan
ASIN: B007IM0H06
Source: Netgalley/
Target Audience: YA

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Dark Companion is a gothic novel, creepy and dark at times but totally thrilling throughout. Shrouded in mystery and suspense, keeping me glued to the pages.

Jane, a foster child in a group home, in a violent neighbourhood, gets a scholarship to an exclusive girls school, Birch Grove Academy. She moves into a cottage on the school grounds, that is surrounded by birch trees. Jane loves it as she's always felt an affinity to the trees. But at night, she sometimes feels nervous as it can be quite creepy surrounded by trees in the dark.

The headmistress of the school and her family also live on the grounds of the school so it's not too long before Jane meets her two sons, Lucky and Jack. Lucky is totally hot and Jane develops an almost instant crush. Of course, she is sure he will never be interested in her as she is just "plain Jane". She develops an odd type of relationship with Jack where she feels that he doesn't like her. She feels that he laughs at her a lot and keeps telling her about his great and beautiful girlfriend Hatti, who becomes one of Jane's close friends. Jane also makes friends with Mary Violet and Constance. The three girls are really nice and make Jane feel very welcome at the school. Mary Violet especially is really great and the interactions with her were always fun.

Jane herself, was a really good character. She has pulled herself up from the bottom of the barrel by knuckling down to hard work and by learning to ask for help when she needed it, even though people would laugh at her. She has led quite a violent life, and actually died when she was six years old but was brought back to life. Her mother is dead and she never knew her father so when her mother died when she was six, she entered the foster care system. She has been shipped around for the last ten years, finally landing in the group home where she has been for the last four years. Her best friend from the home, Wilde, is a prostitute and a drug addict. Jane teaches herself SAT words to expand her vocabulary and changes the way she speaks from something like ghetto slang to that befitting a "young lady". When she first arrives at Birch Grove, she is nervous and unsure, but with the help of the headmistress, Lucky, Jack and her three new girlfriends, she soon finds herself settling in.

Lucky and Jack were both interesting, very different, characters. I really liked Jack from the start and even though Jane feels as though he is always quite mean to her, I didn't see it that way. Lucky starts off seeming like a great guy, but its not long before he is showing his true colours. Someone who is selfish and completely self centred, with a lot of growing up to do. I wasn't crazy about him at times during the book and I didn't like the type of person Jane was around him. He seemed to bring out her weaknesses.

But, Birch Grove is hiding a big secret and when Jane discovers what it is, she's not sure she wants any part of it. Then there is the mystery of the missing student and the teacher who supposedly killed herself. Both of these were, like Jane, scholarship students previously. This makes Jane anxious to get to the bottom of what happened to them, for fear that maybe she's next. The climax of this plays out really well and ties up some loose ends.

I really enjoyed Marta's writing and Dark Companion captured my attention from the off. I couldn't wait to find out Birch Grove's secrets. I did have some idea as to what we were meeting with here, I was right somewhat, it was a different take than I have ever read before.

This book is stand alone which I was disappointed by as I didn't feel I was ready to say goodbye to the awesome characters yet. I know I will still be thinking about them for a while. The book did end really well though and the result was very satisfying.

Add it to your TBR on Goodreads

Buy the book: Amazon/The Book Depository


Waiting on Wednesday #19

Wednesday 20 June 2012.

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

Taken (Taken, #1)
Taken (Taken #1)
by Erin Bowman
Expected Publication: 16th April 2013

By: Harper Teen

There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends...and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

Add it to your TBR on Goodreads

A world without men, doesn't that sound awesome? LOL just kidding. I really want to know what's over that wall. I'm also liking this cover. What do you think?

Leave me a link so I can visit your WoW :)

Teaser Tuesday

Tuesday 19 June 2012.

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. You know the rules: grab your current read, open to a random page and share a two sentence teaser with us (no spoilers!). Be sure to tell us about the book, so we can add it to our TBR list!

This week my teaser comes from Dark Companion by Marta Acosta

Dark Companion
"I thought you might want company, but it didn't occur to me that you might not want my company."

"I know I'm crazy for a Birch Grove girl. She's the only one I want and I can't stand the thought of anyone else having her. I think about her constantly, I dream about her. I can't imagine living without her."

Stacking the Shelves #8

Sunday 17 June 2012.

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, (and filling our kindle) sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process! Hosted by Tynga over at Tynga's Reviews

Hi guys, hope you all had a great week. I am again really happy with what I received this week. Again, all review books. I really need to stop requesting for a while, but its so hard.

Click on the book title for more information.

Poltergeeks The Assassin's Curse The Goddess Legacy (Goddess Test, #2.5)

Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings
The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter

Bane (Coven, #2) The Blood Keeper (The Blood Journals, #2) Love and Other Perishable Items

Bane by Trish Milburn
The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton

So, that's me. Leave me a link so I can check out what you received this week.

Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test #2) by Aimee Carter

Saturday 16 June 2012.

Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test, #2)

Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter
Published: April 6th 2012
By: Mira Ink 
(first published March 27th 2012)
ISBN: 1848450788
Source: Publisher
Target Audience: Young Adult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goddess Interrupted, the second book in the Goddess Test series, was another amazing read. Again, I was very quickly hooked and couldn’t put this down. It was filled with excitement and anticipation.

Kate has spent the last six months in Greece with James, but now she’s back and she can’t wait to see Henry. Unfortunately, she arrives back to find Henry is not around. Calliope has released a Titus, Cronus, one of the creators of the original six and therefore, they can also be killed by him. When she sees Henry for the first time, he is injured having just come from battle with Cronus. Henry barely acknowledges Kate and Kate’s left feeling like he really doesn’t love her and maybe she has made a mistake in coming back. Things continue like this. Henry doesn’t touch her, hug her, kiss her or show her any affection. It gets worse when Kate has to ask Persephone for help. When nothing changes, Kate decides to leave the Underworld. She loves Henry but she can’t stand it being unrequited anymore.

Once again, Kate was awesome. She is a character I really like. I couldn’t help feel sorry for her with the way Henry is treating her. She constantly tells him how much she loves him and that all she wants is for him to love her just a little bit, not even as much as he loves Persephone. Everyone around her tells her that he does love her, but she feels as though she is to him what he was to Persephone, a spouse of convenience. And she doesn’t want this.

When Henry, and the remainder of the original six are taken and held by Calliope and Cronus, their descendants are happy to just sit and wait it out, and hope that if Cronus succeeds, he will let them live. But Kate will not just sit by and let them die; she has to try to save them, even if she has to sacrifice herself. She knows how much Calliope wants her dead.

As Henry is held captive, we don’t see as much of him in this one, but we see more of James. He, along with Ava, Kate’s two closest friends, accompanies her in her efforts to save the gods from Cronus and Calliope. These are also two really likeable characters that we learn more about in this book. I enjoyed the interactions between these three and Persephone as they made their journey.

This book is based in the Underworld, and again, the world building is well done. I didn’t really like Persephone in the last book, well we didn’t meet her, so I guess it was her memory I didn’t like. The fact that Henry just couldn’t get over the way she had treated him and be open and loving with Kate. Anyway, in this book, I did actually start to like her and understand her better. She spent thousands of years with Henry, so she deserved her own happiness. I would like to see her and Kate build up a sisterly relationship in the future.

Unfortunately, this ends on a spectacular, totally unexpected cliff hanger with left me astounded. Roll on Goddess Inheritance, I can’t wait!

Add it to your TBR on Goodreads

Buy the book:  Amazon/The Book Depository


Blog Tour: The Orphan, The Soulcatcher and The Black Blizzard

Friday 15 June 2012.
Today, I'd like to welcome author Kimberlee Ann Bastian, who has stopped by with a guest post and an excerpt for her blog tour. Check it out!

The Soundtrack and Score
Out of all the historic elements that make up The Orphan, the Soulcatcher, and the Black Blizzard, being able to pick its soundtrack was fun. Music has always been a big part of my life, whether it was performing, playing an instrument or dancing to it. When trying to come up with songs to feature in the book, the 1930s staple Big Rock Candy Mountains (watch on youtube) came to mind. The folk song was a good start, but my setting takes place in Chicago, so I knew I needed something more. I did a little digging and after a time I came across a singer who apparently was kidnapped by the gangster, Al Capone to play at his birthday party. This singers name was Fats Waller and his song Honeysuckle Rose proved to add lightness to a tense scene. (Listen: youtube)

For my other featured song, I realized I needed a jazz song and potential something I could use as plot device. It was much harder than I thought to find as I went through lists of songs released in the early 1930s and then having to listen to them if I could. I just about threw in the towel when I stumbled on a Ethel Waters’ 1933 song, Stormy Weather. Originally sung and recorded by the singer at the Cotton Club in Harlem, Waters song worked on the two levels I needed. Highlighted a song and using it as a plot device to foreshadow the coming of the Black Blizzard. (Have a listen to her jazz single: youtube)

In addition to the three songs, I needed an overall score to the story and I could not think of a better instrument to feature than the harmonica. The mouth organ or blue’s harp as it is sometimes known, became a character all its own, weaving a tone a regret, wickedness, and a somber lullaby throughout the story which at times was accompanied by strings, a steal guitar, or a washboard. Of the characters in the story that can the harmonic, Hades’ theme resonates with mischief and malice, blending with the sound of a screechy fiddle. Charlie on the other hand, who learned how to play the harmonic from his Uncle Gert, plays with minor, somber notes forming a sort of lullaby known as Jimmy’s Song. The story also briefly featured the swanky sound of a jazz piano to accompany the singing voice of the Canary (slang for a woman who sings) at Ziemba’s Speakeasy. If the book ever makes it to the big screen, I would be able to share the score with you, but until then, the music will sadly remain in my head, as I cannot write it, I can only read it.

And now, a short excerpt from Chapter 10: Lament – After a long day, Charlie battles of the ghosts of his dead family as he falls asleep......Enjoy!!

Charlie hates himself, but he hates the slight sense of relief he feels buried beneath his sorrow even more. He is free to do as he pleases without the burden of someone else’s life on his shoulders. No longer does he have to listen to his mother’s voice telling him to look out for those smaller than he. Charlie lets out another wail, this time conflicted. He presses his head to his knees, not wanting to have to shoulder the weight of responsibility any longer. He does not want to take in any more strays. Someone else can do it. The only person he wants to worry about is himself. The pressure builds in his head and fatigue finally takes hold of him. As his sobs wane, he falls asleep, his mind escaping to happier times.

Charlie’s five-year old head lies in his mother’s lap while they swing on the front porch of their farmhouse. His older brother, Wendell sits on the white-painted rail, leaning against one of the support columns, grumbling about being too old for Sunday afternoon story time. A stern look from his father, Cletus, however, changes his tune. Charlie’s twin sisters, Ursula and Yanka, sit cross-legged on the porch floor, their matching bluebell day dresses are clean for once. Charlie and his siblings, and even his father and Uncle Gert who are rocking in their chairs and talking in low voices, listen to Adele as she reads from her favorite book—the only possession she has from Czechoslovakia. She runs her fingers through his hair as she reads. Charlie nuzzles his head in appreciation. 

Today’s story is entitled, “The Trickster and the Shepherdess.” Wendell calls it a watered-down version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but Ursula and Yanka disagree. The argument ensues, until Cletus settles the matter with yet another stern look—well, and it does help that it is his favorite story. 

Charlie’s mother continues with her voice tranquil. “It was no secret the Shepherdess was in love with the Trickster. For under the pettiness and uncouth deeds, beat the silent heart of a man more giving then even he knew possible. She did all she could to help him regain his gentle nature, but at times, the Devil’s twisted hold on him could not be tamed, even by her. One day the Shepherdess approached the Trickster and without warning, he turned on her. Grief-stricken by what he had done, the Trickster knew he could no longer put his faithful love in danger. Her injuries were more than he could bear and so he made the decision to leave—but he could not just sneak away into the night. He owed it to his love to say goodbye. Heartbroken, the Shepherdess ran out into the stormy night in search of her love’s rival, the Devil himself.”

Buy The Orphan, The Soulcatcher and The Black Blizzard: Amazon/The Book Depository

Reviews: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Thursday 14 June 2012.

The Goddess Test (Goddess Test, #1)

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Published:  September 2011 (first published 19th April 2011)
By: Mira Ink
ISBN: 1848450400
Source: Copy from Publisher
Target Audience: Young Adult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Goddess Test was a book I, initially, wasn't interested in reading, but when I was offered a review copy along with a copy of Goddess Interrupted, to be reviewed at my leisure, no pressure, I accepted. And I'm really glad I did. I hadn't realised I was missing out on a fantastic book. This has become one of my favourite series. I was caught up from the first few pages and I just couldn't put it down.

I really enjoyed the mythology in this book. It is loosely based on the story of Hades and Persephone. Having never had much interest in mythology, I really know very little about it. I've learned some in the last few mythology based books that I've read. This was very easy to keep up with though. I didn't feel like I was getting lots of mythology information thrown at me to try to remember throughout the book which I have in the past.

Our protag, Kate, agrees to spend the Autumn and Winter with a stranger, Henry, in exchange for the life of her friend. Her mother is dying and she doesn't want anyone else around her to die. She figures she will have very little in her life once her mother dies anyway as she has spent the last four years nursing her mother.

The world that Kate creates around Eden Manor is fascinating and exciting, I really enjoyed being immersed in it. Kate finds herself living among the dead and enjoying it. There is some mystery too. Someone wants Kate dead, and has killed the eleven girls who were there before her. Kate has ladies in waiting, a food taster and personal guards. She is rarely left alone. During the six months that she stays with Henry, she must pass a total of seven tests, then she can become immortal, Henry's wife and the Queen of the Underworld. Then she will be required to spend the autumn and winter of every year for eternity with Henry, but for the other six months, she can do as she pleases.

I really liked Kate. She steps up to the mark for other people constantly. Even when she has no real feelings for Henry, she wants to pass the tests for him, so she can see him happy and keep him from fading. She is fair when she has to judge and treats people equally.

I liked Henry too. But when he was first introduced, I wasn't sure if he was supposed to be a good or bad guy. Was he just a jailer who would lock a young girl away for six months of her life. After all, he had kidnapped Persephone. Henry was quiet and distant with Kate at first but he made sure she was comfortable and had everything she required. She just couldn't leave the grounds of Eden Manor. He was always kind and friendly, with a sadness about him, and I really warmed towards him. He is still deeply in love with Persephone and heartbroken over her leaving him. He tugged at my heart strings, but I also felt for Kate, as she really tries hard to get close to him.

The interaction and relationship between Kate and Henry was well done and I enjoyed it thorougly. Things move really slowly and we see Kate making most of the advances, which was different.

There is an enemy within the walls who wants Kate dead and it was interesting to find out who it was and the reason behind it. But Kate does make a couple of good friends in Ava and James. The ending has a few twists and turns, some of which I did see coming. From the way this ends, I do have a small concern going into the next book, a love triangle. I really hope not.

Add it to your TBR on Goodreads

Buy the book: Amazon/The Book Depository
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