Friday, April 29, 2011

Review: Redemption by Laurel Dewey

Redemption (Jane Perry Series, Book 2)
by Laurel Dewey
Release Date: May 26, 2009 (Hardcover), March 1st, 2011 (Paperback)
2009 The Story Plant
Hardcover Edition; 381 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-9816087-5-4
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Source: Review Copy from Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Tour

4 / 5 Stars

After a series of life-changing events, detective Jane Perry has resigned from the Denver Police Department. Trying to make a living as a private investigator, she finds her past haunting her at every turn and old demons rising up to torment her.

Then Jane meets Kit Clark, a woman who wants Jane to drive with her from Colorado to Northern California in search of a man who matches the description of the killer who murdered her granddaughter many years before. Kit's convinced that the man has started to kill again and she wants to stop him. Jane thinks the woman is crazy--especially when she discovers that she's a New Age devotee--but Jane is desperate for work. They head on the road, gathering critical information about the killer, and themselves, along the way. Jane has recently experienced several events in her life that seem to border on the paranormal, though she is a complete skeptic in that regard. Now, those experiences come with greater frequency. And when the trail of the killer leads to a fundamentalist church, the consequences of belief and faith propel her toward a deadly confrontation.

My Thoughts
Redemption is the second novel in the Jane Perry series, a terrific story that meshes suspense and mystery with personal insight and deep human emotions.  Despite a difficult childhood full of physical and mental abuse, and a personal battle with alcoholism, Jane has made a name for herself as an intelligent and intuitive detective and is called upon to search for a missing twelve-year-old girl.  Although full of misgivings, Jane takes on the case, tracking down an assortment of clues to the whereabouts of the missing Charlotte Walker, but at the same time, is lead on a path to self-discovery as she delves into her own past and her own emotions, emotions that often dictate the choices she makes in her own life, some good, some bad. 

Jane is a character whom I really admire as she is courageous and vulnerable, but at the same time, she can really kick butt and be ultra-tough when she needs to be.  She trusts very few people in her life, a result of a difficult childhood, and often runs even from those people in whom she trusts.  She avoids situations and her phone like anybody when she doesn't want to deal with something that is too difficult to handle, and takes on Charlotte's case in order to get out of town.  There were times I would have liked to shake her however, especially when offered a job by one of the few people she does trust, Sergeant Weyler.  I liked her vulnerability however, and the fact that she was a flawed character, as it made her seem very approachable and identifiable.  I absolutely connected with her on a very high level and her character is one of the reasons I enjoyed this novel so much. 

Kit is an interesting character as well, and Jane's polar opposite.  She is into new-age methods and spirituality and has a calmness and peace about her that at first gets under Jane's skin.  But Kit's firm belief that we choose our path in life and choose whom we meet is very strong and she is the catalyst by which Jane begins delving into her own pain and background and begins her own healing.  I love these words, "Be courageous and find out who you really are.  Self-analysis is not for the weak, but it's infinitely more satisfying than running blindly into the night." p380  It pretty much sums up their relationship and the trust that built between them.  I do have to admit to being somewhat skeptical about someone who professes to be perfectly at peace with the world.

Upon reflection, I have to admit the plot of the novel was kind of predictable and the events of the novel didn't always reflect the search for Charlotte.  In other words, it wasn't your typical police detective story where you find someone going door-to-door searching for clues, meetings with various police officers, and such; there are moments when you do wonder what the events have to do with Charlotte and the plot, until it all clicks together at the end and you realize how it all fits.  Jane is working on the side, so we get the perspective from how it would be from the outside and it's very different.  Jane can't always get what she wants by flashing a badge, but has to be creative, and it's that creativity that really surprised me. That being said, I enjoyed the novel tremendously, and thought Ms. Dewey's writing skill was fantastic as she has this ability to just draw you in and connect to the characters and the events.  This was an intelligently written novel,that focused on the human emotions as much as on the search for Charlotte.  There are some interesting and thought-provoking spiritual beliefs woven throughout this novel that may turn some people off, but for me, it wasn't about that, it was about the characters and what they were suffering and dealing with in their lives. 

Redemption was a fun, thoughtful, page-turning novel that I enjoyed tremendously.  It's gritty and tough, and while you may want to sometimes shake Jane, you will always be rooting for her and hoping she succeeds.  The story feels very realistic when compared to what you see and hear in the news every day and for every parent, definitely one of their worst nightmares.  Although Redemption is the second novel in the series, you can definitely read this as a stand-alone as few references are made to the previous novel.  I am looking forward to reading more Jane Perry novels in the future.

About the Author
Laurel Dewey was born and raised in Los Angeles. She is the author of two nonfiction books on plant medicine, a Silver Spur nominated Western novella, hundreds of articles, and the first Jane Perry novel, Protector. She lives in Western Colorado with her husband.

To find out more about Laurel and her books visit:
Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review: Steel by Carrie Vaughn

by Carrie Vaughn
Release Date: March 15, 2011
2011 HarperTeen
Softcover Edition; 304 Pages
ISBN: 978-0061547911
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Review Copy from Publisher

3 / 5 Stars

Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure.

The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate's life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain.

My Thoughts
Steel was an interesting novel about swordsmanship and piracy, and while it didn't blow me away with adventure scenes and out of this world suspense, I did find it enjoyable.  It is one of those novels that I read purely for entertainment purposes, but it leaves no lasting impressions once finished and I've moved on to another novel.  I enjoyed the concept of the novel, thought the descriptions of life on the ship were pretty interesting, but in reality, the lack of suspense and intrigue wore me out in the end, and I was counting the pages down, glad to be finished.

I liked Jill very much, but I couldn't relate to her all of the time.  As a competitive athlete myself, I know what it feels like to be down after a competition, but I found her character to be distant and I couldn't seem to attach myself to her feelings and emotions.  Again, it wasn't that I didn't like her, I just couldn't seem to relate to her on an emotional level.  I did however, really like Marjory Cooper, the captain of the ship, and really felt a connection for her.  I kind of wished the story revolved more around her as I found her fascinating and her story so tragic.  She would have had so much to say, I am sure.   The other characters just seemed to be around, and I would have liked to have known more about them as well, as I think it would have made the novel so much more interesting.  I felt like the characters took a back seat to the descriptions of life on the ship and this bothered me to a certain extent.

I found the plot to be somewhat predictable and even Ms. Vaughn mentions that the pirates didn't always act true to character of the time period.  While maybe she was downplaying the violence and tone because this was a young adult novel, for someone who knows a little about piracy during this time period, the events do come across as somewhat false.  While I understand the possible thinking, I wish it was somewhat grittier at times.  That being said, I really did enjoy the descriptions of life on the ship, the sailing terms, and the fencing aspects as that is something I know little about.  I think the shock for Jill when she realized she was fencing for life or death instead of for medals and ribbons would have been far bigger than it was. 

I was a little disappointed in the ending.  I wasn't expecting a big farewell or anything, but I was expecting something a little different.  It just felt anticlimatic, and unfortunately, that's all I can say or I will give away too much. 

I enjoyed Steel, but I wasn't overly crazy about it.  It did have some good moments about it, especially concerning the descriptions of pirate life on board the ship which I really thought were interesting.  And while Ms. Vaughn is a beautiful writer, the plot just didn't live up to expectations and I found it predictable and forgettable.  It is evident that Ms. Vaughn put a lot of research into this novel and I have to commend her for that.  Despite the formidable amount of research that went into this novel, and the amazing descriptions, the lack of plot and character development made it a disappointing read. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey.  It's such a fantastic way to get that TBR pile organized and take a look at what you read last week, what you are currently reading, and what you need to do in the following week.

My computer crashed last night.  Just went 'caphooey'!  That's the closest word I can think of for what it did.  All I could think of was the reams of information I haven't saved the last few weeks, thinking I was fne.  Knowing a lot about software, but little about my hard drive, I had to run it out and have someone assure reassure me he could at least save the info if it wasn't worth fixing.  The last thing I need right now is to go computer shopping.  Have I mentioned I hate shopping?  And the ebooks I have on that computer?  I hope he can save those files!!! Some of them I haven't yet transferred to my ereader and are not protected.  Just thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach.

I had reports due last week, so my reading wasn't that great.  I hope to remedy that this week.

Books I Read Last Week:
The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

Books I am Currently Reading:
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (Audiobook)
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (Audiobook)
Steel by Carrie Vaughn
Redemption by Laurel Dewey
Death Echo by Elizabeth Lowell
Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Books Needing to be Read:
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas
Hellforged by Nancy Holzner
Purgatory Chasm by Steve Ulfelder

How was your reading week everyone?
Sunday, April 24, 2011

In My Mailbox: Goodies and Some Oldies

This weekly meme is hosted by The Story Siren.

For Review:
The Restorer by Amanda Stevens (See my review here.)
Eona by Alison Goodman
Time Riders: The Doomsday Code by Alex Scarrow
Ada: Legend of a Healer by R.A. McDonald
The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman
Ravenwild by Peter J. Plasse
The Beloved Dead by Tony Hays
The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas
Hellforged by Nancy Holzner
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach
Relic Master: The Dark City by Catherine Fisher
The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn
Heart of Evil by Heather Graham
The Poisoned House by Michael Ford
The Card by Jim Devitt
The Valley of Heaven and Hell - Cycling in the Shadow of Marie Antoinette by Susie Kelly

From the Library
Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

Bought (with gift points I earned, therefore still sticking to buying ban with cash)
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (I didn't have enough time to finished when I borrowed this from the library, so I decided to purchase my own copy using my hard-earned points.)
Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart
Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

I've been feeling nostalgic lately and am going through a gothic phase, hence the purchases above.  Can't explain the phases in my reading so I just go with 'em until they run their course.

Review: The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

The Restorer (The Graveyard Queen Series, Book 1)
by Amanda Stevens
Release Date: April 19, 2011
2011 Mira Books
Softcover Edition: 384 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-7783-2981-7
Genre: Fiction / Paranormal
Source: Review Copy from Publisher & NetGalley

5 / 5 Stars

My name is Amelia Gray. I'm a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I've always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.

It started with the discovery of a young woman's brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I've been hired to restore. The clues to the killer - and to his other victims - lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. I've vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.

My Thoughts
I found myself thoroughly absorbed by the events and setting in this novel.  As a young child, I was also drawn to cemetaries and found comfort in them, often spending many happy hours reading in the one that was near to my home.  As a result, I found Amelia's job completely fascinating and really loved this novel.

Amelia has spent her life working alongside her father, a cemetary grounds keeper, and it is only natural that she would become a cemetary restorer as she feels completely comfortable in that setting.  It is also the perfect setting to hide from the world, as Amelia and her father both have a secret;  they can see ghosts and both understand the importance of keeping that secret to themselves.  They live by a rigid set of rules that doesn't allow for outsiders, including the ghosts, into their lives.  They understand that if they allow people, and their ghosts, into their lives, it can seep their vital life energy away and destroy them.

Amelia, in the midst of a cemetary restoration, walks right into the center of a murder investigation and is needed to help solve the mystery.  With a series of clues given to the police that only a cemetary restorer can solve, Amelia slowly breaks her own rules and is drawn into John Devlin's haunted world, something that terrifies and excites her at the same time.  As she strips away the barriers and rules she has lived by her whole life, Amelia learns to trust others and herself.  She is a heroine I have come to totally admire;  I love her courage, her sarcasm, her willingness to help, and her loyalty to her family.  And it is here where all the secrets begin as well, and as the story begins to unveil, we learn there are many secrets, many of which are given to us in tantilizing bits.  It also makes you begin to question Amelia's family background and exactly what it is they have to hide.  We learn Amelia is adopted, but we never learn the origins of that story.  Hopefully more will be given to us in future installments as it is so interesting.

The ending has many twists and turns in it, and I really had to pay attention to the many little bits of information that were given as they all played an important role.  I was taken by suprise by the ending and I love that that can still happen as I thought I had it all figured out.  I also really liked that the romance between Devlin and Amelia wasn't central to the story, but the author kept the mystery central to the story.  So often the romance can overpower everything else and that sometimes bothers me. 

I absolutely loved the language used in this novel and some of the new terms that came with it.  Before this novel, I had no idea the term taphophile existed and I am one of those people who read the dictionary as a child.  I love novels that take place in creepier settings, and what gets more creepy than an old cemetary?  Combine this with a paranormal aspect and introduce ghosts and other 'creepies' and you've got one hooked reader.  And then place this novel in a city such as Charleston, a city I just love to visit, with all of its Southern charm, and all of those secrets and history, and it's a place where charm and history and creepy and secrets just ooze from its walls.  It's no wonder I was drawn to this novel.

The Restorer was an entertaining, suspenseful novel that kept a good balance between the living and the dead, and between the romance and the mystery.  I thought the author did a brilliant job by giving us just enough tantalizing bits of information to keep us reading frantically to the end, then holding back enough to make us want to read the next book in the series, The Kingdom, released November 2011, right now.  I thoroughly enjoyed the setting, the characters, and the plot and can't wait to read the next two books in this series. 
Friday, April 22, 2011

Books That Influenced My Reading And Life

I had an interesting conversation with a student the other day, and it really made me think about those books that really influenced my reading over the years. It all started innocently enough when one of my students, who is an avid reader herself, and I, got into a conversation about our reading habits.  Eventually, the conversation turned to those books that really had an impact on our lives and not unexpectedly, I was asked about those books that I have found to be unforgettable for me over the years.  I've always found that question to be quite difficult to answer as I've never been drawn to books because of their popularity, but because I had to be interested in the subject.  And they had to connect to what I was currently interested and involved in researching in the 'real' world. I also went through definite phases as a younger reader with an absolute ferocity that just stymies me to this day.  

Naturally, once the idea got in my head, I thought about it all day, even writing on my sticky notes the titles of all sorts of books I could think of that I thought had an influence on my life.  Anyone who knows me well knows about my addiction to post-it notes and I even carry them in my purse and my coat pockets for emergencies.  It's an on-going joke in my family and at school.  Anyways, I've come up with a partial list of books that I know for sure had an impact on my life for various reasons.  Hope you enjoy. It also looks like there will a part 2 to this post as I am amazed at how many books really had an impact on my life.

Anne of Green Gables
by L.M. Montgomery

I can't think of any other book that had such an impact on a young Canadian girl.  Anne, an 11-year-old orphan girl is mistakenly sent to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, elderly sibilings who had been expecting a boy.  Her bright, overactive imagination gets her into a lot of trouble initially and drives the austere Marilla into total distraction, but her loyalty and love break down Marilla's stiff reserve in the end.  I can't tell you how many times I've read this book and all the sequels over the years.  I even own the made-for-television movies.  I have now introduced my daughter to 'Anne' and the fanaticism is continuing to the next generation.  Visiting Cavendish, PEI where Montgomery drew her inspiration is still on my Bucket List of to-do items.

The Chronicles of Narnia
C.S. Lewis

Anyone else try to get to Narnia through their own wardrobes when they were young?  I know I did every time I opened a closet door.  These books just fueled my belief in the fantasy and boy, did I believe.   I wanted to go there so badly and have adventures just like Lucy.  I see these books as being the first books that drove my interest in reading Fantasy Fiction as a child.  There isn't a time when I walk in a closet, even today, and wonder "What if?"

The Nancy Drew Mysteries
by Carolyn Keene

I know today that these books were written by a variety of authors under the pseydonym "Carolyn Keene", created by Edward Stratemeyer.  When I was young, I didn't care about all of that.  I was in awe of Nancy and wanted to grow up to be like her and have all of these adventures.  It didn't matter to me that she never grew older or that she never went to college, not when I was 7-years-old.  I still have the set sitting on my shelf and I will never sell them.  Every once in a while, I pick up a book and read it, remembering the child I used to be, with the whole world in front of her.  The Hidden Staircase was my favourite book in the series.

Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott

This book has the unsual impact on me by being the first book I read (I was seven years old), where I realized that tragic moments can happen.  I remember crying after finishing the book and I barely slept that night because I kept thinking about poor Beth.  I slept with the book under my pillow.  I realized for the first time that books can have a huge impact on your emotions and really affect you.  I still have the version on the right on my shelf, and will never get rid of it.  I also spent the next six months reading whatever I could find on the American Civil War, which, at seven years old, wasn't much.  Libraries didn't carry a lot of non-fiction things for children at that time.

Little House on the Prairie
by Laura Ingalls Wilder

These novels developed a lifelong interest in learning about the history of the Pioneers as well as the Native Americans.  Until I read this series, I didn't know a lot about them and wanted to learn more.  Luckily, the libraries stocked a lot of non-fiction books for children about the various groups in North American and I got my fill of details, at times gory and grusome, about life as a native.  I still have the entire series on my shelf, but have not as yet been able to develop an interest in my children. 

The Giver
by Lois Lowry

This one ranks as one of my favourite dystopian novels ever.  The scene with the twins still haunts me today and boy, did this one have a huge impact on me.  I couldn't stop thinking about it for days after reading it.  Despite the literary criticism, I still admire this novel if entirely for the message it sent to my soul.

Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children, Book 1)
by Jean M. Auel

I have always claimed this to be one of my favourite books ever written, not just for the amazing story, but also for the amount of research involved.  This first came out when I was in grade 10, and it developed a lifelong interest in things archaeological and anthropological.  If I was not doing what I was doing, I have always said I would have become either an anthropologist or an archaeologist.  This book first developed that interest as I was fascinated by the research in this novel.  I have since spent many hours reading books about both archaeology and anthropology, even going so far as to take courses in both subjects.

The Chrysalids & The Day of the Triffids
by John Wyndham

This book was required reading in grade 9 English and I was completely against it at first.  Dystopian literature was foreign to me at the time and totally against form, I wasn't interested.  Guess what?  Loved it, and I credit it for developing my interest in science-fiction and dystopian literature.  Read The Day of the Triffids right after and probably never should have as to this day I refuse to watch a meteor shower.  Anyone who has read this book will totally understand my completele unreasonabless for this rationality. 

Agatha Christie Mysteries

And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express are two of my favourites mysteries from this collection, but I went through a phase where I had to read every single one of her mysteries back to back when I was in high school.   I also credit this series for developing a taste for good mystery stories as well as gothic literature such as Rebecca, which is what I read after these. 

A Tale of Two Cities
by Charles Dickens

While this isn't my favourites Charles Dickens novel, I still enjoyed the story in this classic tale set during the French Revolution.  What this novel did do what influence my historical research and I developed an obsession with the French Revolution.  I remember doing my grade 13 research paper on the topic as well as studying it in university.  I'm quite passionate about it and read about it whenever I can.  There was a question last week about what would someone tell about you if they looked at your bookshelves.  They would definitely notice my interest in the French Revolution as I have at least two shelves full of non-fiction books on the subject and at least that many shelves full of fiction novels.  And those are just the ones I've purchased. 

The Bourne Identity (Book 1)
by Robert Ludlum

This may seem like an odd choice to put on this list, but I chose it for a specific reason.  I absolutely loved this series, yet this reminds me constantly how how much a movie can totally wreck a really good book.  While the movie is good for those who have never read the book, for someone like me who loved the novels, and adored Jason Bourne, the movies were downright awful.  It just reminds me to maybe watch the movie first, then read the book, especially if I really loved the book.  Or else, just stay away from the movie. 

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

I have chosen this poem by Frost as the last item on this list as this has always been one of the most influential poems of my life.  I still have it posted on practically everything, and I have lines from the poem everywhere as they remind me constantly not to take the safe road whenever it's time to make a decision in my life.  The last five years, my husband and I have had to make some fairly large decisions in our life, have uprooted our family and moved them to another city, I've had to quit my job and find another, and it hasn't always been an easy transition.  But the rewards have been great!!!!  I live my life by this poem and I would like to teach my children to do so as well.  Thank you to that very influential grade 9 teacher who introduced me to dystopian literature as well as this poem.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WOW: Second Grave & Island of Bones

I haven't had a chance to post this in a while and I really enjoy sharing books that I am looking forward to reading.  Work is catching up with me and is incredibly busy at the moment, but it should calm down in a couple of weeks before it picks up again for the end of the season.  And then I'm on holidays!!   Here are a couple of books I am definitely looking forward to reading when I can finally get some relaxation time:

Second Grave on the Left
by Darynda Jones
Release Date: August 16, 2011

When Charley is rudely awakened in the middle of the night by her best friend who tells her to get dressed quickly and tosses clothes out of the closet at her, she can’t help but wonder what Cookie’s up to. Leather scrunch boots with a floral miniskirt? Together? Seriously?

Cookie explains that a friend of hers named Mimi disappeared five days earlier and that she just got a text from her setting up a meet at a coffee shop downtown. They show up at the coffee shop, but no Mimi. But Charley finds a message on the bathroom wall. Mimi left a clue, a woman’s name. Mimi’s husband explains that his wife had been acting strange since she found out an old friend of hers from high school had been found murdered a couple weeks prior. The same woman Mimi had named in her message.

Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally) has left his corporeal body and is haunting Charley. He’s left his body because he’s being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can’t let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they’ll have a portal to heaven. And if they have a portal to heaven…well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty. Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Will Cookie ever get a true fashion sense? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel them as they do?

Island of Bones
by Imogen Robertson
Release Date: June 15, 2011

Gabriel Crowther's brother was hanged for their father's murder in 1751. Thirty years later, his sister returns with her wayward son to their childhood home of Keswick. A body has been found on the little 'island of bones' in nearby Derwent Water, and the town is sick with rumours and suspicion. All eyes turn towards Crowther and his friend Harriet Westerman to cure them, but he finds that his own past will not stay buried.
Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Follow Blog Hop

Hi everyone! I haven't participated in any of these for quite a long time and I thought it was time to join in the fun again.  I have an extremely busy schedule and I don't usually have time to be really social, much to my everlasting regret, but today I am visiting family and a few extra minutes to play.  And for those doubters and skeptics, I really am not running away from my family.  Really!!  Take a few minutes and visit Parajunkee's View and see what this is all about. 

Question: Do you have anyone that you can discuss books with IRL? Tell us about him/her.

I have always enjoyed discussing books with my sister.  She is an avid reader, actually both of them are, but I see one sister more than the other as we live closer to each other.  No matter where we are, we always tend to turn the discussion around to books at some point.  Once we've exhausted the other subject most often discussed, our jobs, as we are both teachers.  Teachers can talk about their jobs night and day, so we like to talk about books as they have always been our escape.  And we can talk about them for as long as we talk about our jobs, which is pretty much forever, much to my husband's chagrin.  We sometimes have different tastes, but that's what makes it so interesting as she will mention books I have not yet read, and vice versa.  You know what though, I can talk about books to about anyone who can stand listening to me!!!

Happy reading everyone, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Guest Post: 5 Reasons Historical Fiction Should Get More Respect

5 Reasons Historical Fiction Should Get More Respect
Guest Post by Alexis Bonari

As a young reader, I had no idea historical fiction had a bad rap until I attended my first writing workshop in college. There, my colleagues pursued a heavy-handed line of genre-bashing, citing the following works as archetypes:

• Dear America, those books that they were forced to read ad nauseum in middle school.

• Bodice rippers, historical romances with little literary merit and only mention the characters’ antiquated attire when they’re being removed.

• Books like Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl, which some critics accuse of “fooling” readers into believing what more well-informed audiences know are creative freedoms taken at the expense of portraying historical inaccuracies.

Miffed, I pursued my own defense of historical fiction that sounded something like this:

1. If Dear America is the epitome of historical fiction, my high school English teacher would have had us recite Mother Goose rhymes instead of Hamlet’s soliloquy my sophomore year. There are good examples and bad examples within any genre. Some people like Dear America—some get tired of reading gimmicky books about different wars through the eyes of children. Likewise, there are good and gimmicky books in every genre that deal with romance and sex. That historical fiction gets so poorly represented by one of its sub-genres is a shame.

2. If historical fiction hasn’t done it for you, it might be because you’ve been reading the wrong books. (I stress might be. Some people just don’t get into it, and that’s dandy.) There’s a reason Gone with the Wind and War and Peace are classics. My personal favorites include Mists of Avalon and Pillars of the Earth.

3. (Good) historical fiction takes a lot of research. Topics and breadth of research vary from case to case, from studying the casualties of the War of 1812 to how much a condom cost in 1944. Because most historians focus on socio-political trends rather than mundane facts about prophylactics, writers must often go to great lengths to obtain a speckle of information that may amount to a single sentence in their 400-page novel. When I say great lengths, I don’t mean just hours spent on Google; I mean traveling across continents to meet with scholars or war veterans, spending months obtaining permission to access records in government or national archives, and tons of networking. Read about the misadventures of historical novelist/researcher John Crowley here.

4. Truth and fact are two vastly different concepts, and there is often more truth in fiction than fact. Studying numbers and years in a survey history textbook often does nothing for the intellect after the final exam. Historical fiction can not only make history interesting to otherwise uninterested parties, it can also reveal truths overlooked by “factual” books. Having studied WWII extensively and currently working on a historical fiction on the Pacific War myself, I can attest that the history I grew up with was no more than the victor’s version. Historical fiction can broaden minds with varying perspectives from different sides of history.

5. The downside of revealing truth through fiction is that some readers will criticize authors for going halfway on both. Take, for example, The Other Boleyn Girl. Mary is portrayed as sexually inexperienced; history alleges that by the time she begins her affair with the king, she’d already been with Francis I of France. Gregory was skewered by some critics (especially in that writing workshop where I sat fuming) for more of such inaccuracies she told for the sake of the story.

Here’s the thing, though: the spine of the book says historical fiction for a reason. If some readers take everything they read at face value, they’re morons to begin with. If they truly care about history and how its players are represented, they have every opportunity to visit the local library or Google the facts for themselves. Crucifying the author and the genre when they’re waving the white flag of fiction is hardly the way to go.

So, did I get dirty looks from a few students in that workshop for defending the underdog? Yes, but seeing as I got an air high five from the professor, it was totally worth it.

Alexis Bonari is currently a resident blogger at College Scholarships, where recently she’s been researching both grants for disabled students as well as grants for nursing students. Whenever she gets some free time, she enjoys watching a funny movie or curling up with a good book – historical fiction or not.

Enquiring Minds Want to Know

Hi everyone!  I really enjoy this meme, hosted by Dollycas's Thoughts, as I get to share some personal information with all of you that I don't really get to discuss with my usual posts.  It's fun and interesting and different.  Blogging is such a small part of my world, and I don't have time to post all of the really interesting things that make up my life every day, but one of the things on my bucket list is to start a blog that is completely different from a reading blog, one that features all of the funny and unusual anecdotes that make up my day.  Perhaps when I retire?  In about 200 years from now?

1. How often do you go to the hair salon or the beauty parlour?

I have really curly hair and it's long, so it's not as imperative for me to go every three months unless I have highlights.  As I don't currently have highlights right now, I tend to put it off until I absolutely need to go.  I enjoy going as I like having my head massaged.  I know that seems weird, but my hairdresser used to be a massage therapist.  She has an injury that prevents her from doing her regular job full-time, so she supplements her job with hairdressing.  The head message is unbelievable and really relaxes me. 

2.  Have you ever had a massage?

Every month.  When I ran six days a week, I found as I got older my body couldn't handle the constant pounding and marathon training pretty much killed me, so I turned to a massage therapist for help.  She was a miracle worker and worked out all of the kinks every month.  It's amazing how tightly wound up we can get, and type A personality that I am, I especially feel it around my upper back and neck.  I especially loved it when I was pregnant.  Now I take my children regularly and they enjoy it too.  As they are pretty involved in the martial arts, with my daughter also doing gymnastics, it's good for them to learn how to relax and it makes them feel good.  And if insurance pays, why not?

3.  Have you ever been able to enjoy a full day of pampering at the spa?

Absolutely!  Love it!  Can't wait to do it again!  It makes you feel so good (and hubby likes it when I come home all relaxed, as well!!!).

In a related question to last week’s–

I was reading the other day a quote from JFK Jr who said on the death of his mother, that she died surrounded by family, friends, and her books. Apparently, Jackie’s books were very much a part of HER, her personality, her sense of self.

Up until recently, people could browse your bookshelves and learn a lot about you–what your interests are, your range of topics, favorite authors, how much you read (or at least buy books).

More and more, though, this is changing. People aren’t buying books so much as borrowing them from the library. Or reading them on their e-readers or computers. There’s nothing PHYSICAL on the shelves to tell strangers in your home, for better or worse, who you ARE.

Do you think this is a good thing? Bad? Discuss!

The people who know me best already know about my addiction for reading.  When visitors come to my house, they always comment on my bookshelves as they are always overflowing and I can never seem to get a handle on the organization part of things.  People will definitely know I am an eclectic reader, there is no doubt in my mind as I have every type of genre sitting on my bookshelf in no particular order.  While I have an e-reader, it will never replace the physical pleasure I get from handling books.  I hope that people will think I am well-read as I have everything from popular fiction to historical fiction to classics to non-fiction sitting on my shelves.  In the long run, the shelves are for me and not for others. They also contain momentos and pictures from all of my travels and my family.   I will also continue to frequent libraries as I adore them and can lose myself there for hours.  It's like a home away from home, and a library has always been a safe spot for me, other than my own home, of course. 

What do your bookshelves say about you?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Review: Descent Into Dust by Jacqueline Lepore

Descent Into Dust (Emma Andrews, Book 1)
by Jacqueline Lepore
Release Date: March 15, 2010
2010 Avon Books
Softcover Edition; 359 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-187812-1
Genre: Fiction / Paranormal / Historical / Gothic
Source: Local Library

4 / 5 Stars


Twenty-five-year-old widow Emma Andrews grew up in the shadow of her mother's madness, so when she arrives at Dulwich Manor in the midst of a mysterious plague and soon thereafter begins to see specters, her family fears fate has finally caught up with her. But one guest among them knows Emma's visions are more than a trick of the mind. Valerian Fox has hunted the great vampire lord Marius through time and across continents, and he knows Emma has a remarkable destiny. She is Dhampir - a vampire hunter.

Surrounded by those who would use her powers for their own ends, Emma does not know who to trust or what she can believe. But when her young cousin is marked for death, she must embrace the terrible inheritance that lies in her very blood to save those she loves.

My Thoughts
The idea of a vampire gothic novel brought this one to my attention, and I was intrigued by the concept.  I've been fascinated by the paranormal since learning how to read, and pretty much devoured every gothic romance / suspense book in sight as a teenager.  The combination was an irresistable draw, and I am happy to say this book met my expectations.  With plenty of action, suspense, and mystery to make the events rather intriguing and with the age-old secrets that you just can't wait to discover, I eagerly read each page from beginning to end.  With a burgeoning romance on hand as well, this book captured my attention and was very engrossing.

Descent Into Dust is your typical "vampire" novel, but engaging characters and interesting byplay gives the story a fresh take and breathes new life into what could have been a predictable story.  Emma Andrews arrives at her cousin's country home, Dulwich Manor, to visit family after the death of her husband, to find her young cousin, Henrietta, under the thrall of a man named Marius, a man whom only Emma can see properly and whom the others think is Henrietta's imaginary friend.  Soon she sees and hears other things around the Manor and in the countryside, things that make her question her sanity and her very being.  Emma soon learns some very shocking truths about her mother and her own heritage that will change her life forever, and make her realize that she is not as powerless as she thought.   And make her realize that she is definitely not insane.  The question is, will she be able to live up to the expectations now being put on her shoulders?

Emma is not your usual vampire hunter heroine considering the story is set during the Victorian Era and Emma behaves exactly like a Victorian lady would behave.  You will not see someone running around in men's clothing, shunning society, or doing some of the other things you sometimes see in other novels.  Emma continues to behave exactly like a lady would behave during this period and drinks her tea, minds her manners, gets in trouble when being alone with a man, and pleads a headache when she can't stand the company of those around her; mind you, she also does some sneaking around, and involves herself in some butt-kicking scenes, all with long skirts.  Just learning to control her powers, I love how she always seem so confused when they manifest, and doesn't always know what to do with them.   At the same time, she gives in to family duties, and forces herself to spend time with her sister embroidering baby clothing although it is not something she would rather be doing.  Spending most of her life on the outside, trying to fit in, Emma is trying to find her destiny and her path while others are continuously watching her for the signs of insanity that befell her mother before she died.  Used to making herself feel normal, Emma endures all of the vampire scenes with an abnormal calm, perhaps a result of her upbringing where any signs of emotional duress would put her under the microscope, so to speak.

I enjoyed the byplay between Emma and Sebastian, the stereotypical gay character, someone somewhat sarcastic and catty and a bit of a dandy, a character I adored although I am tired of the stereotyping, as well as between Emma and Valerian Fox, a character I found rather intriguing as he has secrets that I wish to know.  The emerging relationship between Fox and Emma is becoming interesting and I can't wait to see where the author takes it in the following books.

Although Ms. Lepore's novel is rather formulaic in that we have the gothic setting, the old Manor house with its dark, mysterious etchings, the stormy nights, the creepy characters, and things that go bump in the night, I didn't find it formulaic in the least while reading.  While there were some things to nitpick, such as the immense knowledge of vampires in the common folk, something I found interesting since I don't believe the tales took place until much later and it definitely wasn't common knowledge, they were minor and didn't really bother me too much.  I love secrets and this book had plenty of them, and plenty more to reveal in books to come. 

Descent Into Dust was a pleasant surprise and I enjoyed it very much.  I was glad to return my Gothic reading days and can't wait to read the second book in the series, Immortal With A Kiss.

WOW: Follow My Lead & Darkfire Kiss

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that highlights books we are looking forward to reading.  I am going through a weird phase right now where I don't really know what I want to read, but I kind of want to read everything at the same time.  It's really weird as I usually know what I want to read next.  No accounting for mood swings!!  Anyways, it's not too often I choose a romance to highlight so here is my WOW for this week:

Follow My Lead
by Kate Noble
Release Date: May 3, 2011

Being the most sought-after bachelor in London can be trying. Jason Cummings, Duke of Rayne, should know. But when he winds up an unwilling escort to the headstrong Winnifred Crane on a trip across Europe, he realizes he'll do anything to keep this independent beauty safe-even if it means marrying her.

Darkfire Kiss (A Dragonfire Novel)
by Deborah Cooke
Release Date: May 3, 2011

Rafferty Powell has resolved to destroy his hated arch-nemesis, Magnus Montmorency. The pair have exchanged challenge coins, and their next battle will be their last. But Rafferty never expected to meet a woman whose desire for Magnus's end matches his own-and whose soul sparks the firestorm within him...
Monday, April 11, 2011

Review: Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

Demonglass (Book 2, Hex Hall Series)
by Rachel Hawkins
Release Date: March 1st, 2011
2011 Hyperion
Hardcover Edition; 359 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-423-12131-2
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Local Library

4.5 / 5 Stars

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.

That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie's a demon, one of only two in the world - the other being her father. What's worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They're demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they're using Acher to do it. But it's not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

My Thoughts
I thoroughly enjoyed Demonglass, the second novel in the Hex Hall series.  It had everything I could pretty much ask for in such a novel: there was a nice romantic triangle where I can't decide which boy I like better for our heroine, suspense, plenty of action, and enough magic to satisfy even me.  With a few surprising twists and turns, and an ending that was satisfying, but at the same time frustrating, Ms. Hawkin's second novel was full of interesting and intriguing characters, a lot of mystery, and I found myself engrossed from beginning to end.

First of all, I really enjoy Sophie as a heroine and find her sarcastic wit and biting humour to be hilarious.  She is strong and funny, yet vulnerable at the same time, needing her friend Jenna, another favourite character of time, to boost up her self-esteem on a number of occasions.  It is this combination of toughness and gentleness that I find endearing in Sophie as she grapples with newfound mysteries surrounding her in England where she is spending the summer with her dad at Council Headquarters.  Trust is a difficult thing to come by and as she learns to trust those around her, she soon learns that not everyone in the Council may be trustworthy. The only thing I couldn't really understand is why she wanted to go through the Removal process so badly, as pretty much everyone at Hex Hall has the power to kill and to go 'beserk'.  It just seemed like a strange thing to want to go through.

Dad was the biggest surprise in this novel.  I was prepared to dislike him after reading the first novel, but I really enjoyed his personality and his characters.  He tried really hard to get to know Sophie and understand her and her friends, and the pressures of running the Council were really getting to him.  I really enjoyed the banter and bickering that went on between the two of them and can't wait until Sophie's mother re-enters the drama - the possibilities are endless. 

I really liked learning more about the Prodigium and some of the history of how things happened to Sophie and her family; it was fascinating and made some events in the first novel make more sense.  I found the interplay between Sophie and Cal and Sophie and Archer to be intriguing and I am really on the fence as to whom I want her to choose as I like both of them for different reasons.  I really like Cal and don't want to see anything happen to him as that would be devastating.  As always, I enjoyed Ms. Hawkin's writing style as I found it to be smooth and easy to read.  I enjoy the fact that all of the characters are flawed, with many shades of gray in both the plot and in them, so you are not really sure who is villain and who is hero, all of the time.  It makes it really easy to connect with everyone, and not just the heroes. 

Demonglass was a fantastic sequel to Hex Hall and I enjoyed it tremendously.  The cliffhanger ending was frustrating, but after dealing with the Karen Marie Moning endings these past few years, I've started to adapt and get used to them.  Sophie is an endearing character and I am looking forward to her continuing adventures when the next book is released in 2012.

Cover Reveal: Master of the Veil by Daniel Cohen

Hi everyone!  Several months ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing The Ancillary's Mark by Daniel Cohen.  Daniel has just signed on with Spencer Hill Press for his next novel, Masters of the Veil, the first in a planned trilogy, to be released March 1st, 2012.   I am really thrilled to be one of the first to be able to show you the cover reveal of this novel, and I can't wait to read it.   I love the colours, don't you?

Life can’t get much better for Sam Lock. Popular, good-looking, and with a future as a professional football player… every guy at Stanton High School wishes he were Sam. That is, until his championship football game, when Sam accidentally links with an ancient source of energy known as the Veil and reveals his potential to become a powerful sorcerer.

Sam’s dreams are crushed as he is whisked off to Atlas Crown, a community of sorcerers who utilize the Veil as a part of everyday life. Once there, he trains beside a mute boy who speaks through music, an eternal sage who is the eyes and ears of the Veil, and a beautiful girl who's pretty sure Sam's an idiot.

As it becomes clear that Sam is meant for power magic—the most feared and misunderstood form of sorcery—people beyond Atlas Crown learn of his dangerous potential. An exiled group of power sorcerers are eager to recruit Sam, believing that he is destined to help them achieve their long-held goal. If they succeed, they could bring about the downfall of not only Atlas Crown… but all of humankind.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Review: The Night Season by Chelsea Cain

The Night Season (Book 4, Archie Sheridan Series)
by Chelsea Cain
Release Date: March 1st, 2011
2011 Minotaur Books
Hardcover Edition; 336 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-312-61976-3
Genre: Fiction / Suspense / Murder / Mystery
Source:  Review Copy Provided by Anna Suknov

3.5 / 5 Stars

With the Beauty Killer Gretchen Lowell locked away behind bars once again, Archie Sheradan - a Portland police detective and nearly one of her victims - can finally rest a little easier. Meanwhile, the rest of the city of Portland is in crisis.  Heavy rains have flooded the Willamette River, and several people have drowned in the quickly rising waters.  Or at least that's what they thought until the medical examiner discovers that the latest victim didn't drown: She was poisoned before she went into the water.  Soon, Portland has a new serial killer on its hands, and Archie and his task force have a new case.

My Thoughts
What I found really difficult with this novel is that it came on the heels of the highly intense and immensely satisfying Gretchen Lowell novels and I had a hard time reconciling the fact that the lovely and extremely dangerous Gretchen was no longer to play a part in this novel.   While The Night Season was interesting, it just didn't seem to have that same intensity and 'punch' that was in the previous novels.

Archie Sheridan has several major problems with which to deal in this novel:  the rising flood waters that were overtaking Portland, a mysterious serial killer who was taking out his victims a most unusual method, the disappearance of a nine-year-old boy, the finding of a body on a carousel in a local amusement park, and the discovery of a sixty-year-old skeleton.  I found the setting of the novel to be fascinating as the constant rain and the floodwaters made for some dark and eerie backgrounds and has a way of making events seem even more macabre than they are.  The characters spend much of their time in wet clothes, being rescued from the river or some such area, or having to deal with situations and events that take place in areas that are flooded or are in danger of being flooded. 

Archie is back to work, clean and fairly healthy, having spent a considerable amount of time in the hospital dealing with the after-effects of his time with Gretchen.  I enjoyed this aspect of the novel, learning how he is coping with the events in the previous novels, and how it has affected his relationships.  I adore Archie and want him to succeed in every aspect of his life.  We also see much more of Susan Ward in this novel, a wacky reporter who always seems to be around when things happen.  Susan kind of drives me nuts because she seems to lack a total sense of preservation and common sense at times, as one particular scene will show you very clearly, and walked into danger that was just screaming with warnings.  I just wanted to shake her silly more than once.  I really don't know what to think of her and will wait to reserve judgment in future novels.

I do have to say that the plot did not pack the intensity that the previous novels in this series did.  In fact, it really seemed to play a background role to the rains and floods that were occurring and I did not find it as interesting as the flooding scenarios.  The method the serial killer used to kill his victims seemed interesting, but I felt the author was reaching a little to try to make it interesting when really, a needle would have done the same thing.  The language and the writing style were, as usual, great, and Ms. Cain has a way of drawing you into the events, and into the characters, so that you have difficulty putting the novel down, despite the lack of intensity in the plot. 

The Night Season was still an interesting and fascinating read.  Despite the lack of intensity, perhaps marred because I enjoyed her previous three novels so much, I still enjoyed this novel and found it engrossing because Ms. Cain's writing style just wraps you in the story and in the characters.  The novel works because the police and National Guard procedures are interesting, the setting is dark and foreboding, and the flooding scenes are fascinating. 
Thursday, April 7, 2011

Giveaway: Dark Jenny by Alex Bledsoe

Dark Jenny (Eddie LaCrosse Mystery, Book 3) 
by Alex Bledsoe
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Tor Trade Paperback

For twenty-five gold pieces a day, plus expenses, Eddie LaCrosse will take on most any case.  But the unexpected delivery of a coffin in the dead of winter forces Eddie to look back at a bygone chapter of his life - and the premeditated murder of a dream.

Ruled by the noble King Marcus Drake, the island kingdom of Grand Braun is an oasis of peace and justice in an imperfect world.  At least until the beautil Queen Jennifer is accused of adultery and murder.  In the wrong castle at the wrong time, Eddie finds himself drafted at sword's point to solve the mystery.  With time running out, and powerful nobles all too eager to pin the murder on Eddie himself, he must unravel a tangled web of palce intrigues, buried secrets, and bewitching women - before the entire kingdom erupts into civil war.

Giveaway:  Tor Books is giving one copy of Dark Jenny to one lucky reader of Curling Up By The Fire.  To enter, all you need to do is comment and leave your email address.  Contest ends Friday, April 29, 2011 at midnight.

Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Review: The Twinning Murders by Shelly Frome

The Twinning Murders
by Shelly Frome
Release Date:  September 27, 2010
2010 Beckham Publications Group, Inc.
Softcover Edition; 228 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-98279432-6
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review Copy from UK & Beyond Book Tours

3.5 / 5 Stars

The Twinning Murders is a modern day classic mystery centering on the ventures of Emily Ryder, a thirty-something rambler and tour guide.  The story opens just before she embarks on this year's Twinning: a ritual exchange between her historic New England home and its sister village deep in Dartmoor, a wild upland area in the west of England.

Presently, Emily becomes involved in a suspicious death that affects her personally.  A few days later, at the Twinning itself, her main client meets the same fate.  As Emily's world continues to unravel, and though she has little help, she finds herself compelled to piece together the games being played on both sides of the Atlantic.

My Thoughts
The Gordon Development Company has shaken up the small community of Lydfield, Connecticut, a community that prides itself on its laid-back ways.  With the advent of a large condominium complex on the horizon, people are desperate to either get in on what they see is a piece of the money pie, or voice their concerns that the development will change the sleepy town ways forever.  Chris Cooper, roofer and head of the town's planning committee, had many concerns over the new development, and after finding a loophole in the Company's plans, finds himself the victim of several nasty pranks, ending in his death after a nasty fall from the roof.  This is where the story first becomes an intriguing murder-mystery as Emily sets out to discover the people involved in Chris's death.  The Twinning Murders is an interesting tale set in two very different communities, with definite links to each other in ways that I didn't suspect.

What I really found interesting about this novel were the characters.  I was especially fond of Pru despite her vague ways and found her personality to be fascinating.  She is that type of character who reminds you of the elderly neighbour you had on the street when you were little, the one who baked you cookies, yet always seemed to have her mind on something else.  She was endearing and sweet, but at the same time, she could be irritating too.  Yet, you just couldn't help but enjoy her nor stay mad at her for long.  While I found Emily to be a strong character, I just couldn't feel the empathy or sympathy that I think was needed to bond with her as a reader.  I understood her feelings and emotions, but I didn't connect with her on any level and felt detached from her a lot of the time.  This takes away from the reading experience for me.  I couldn't place my finger on it, yet I just couldn't seem to connect with her.  Will, I enjoyed, although I don't really know what he saw in Emily as I thought she was always too cold and elusive around him. 

While I enjoyed the plot to a certain extent, I can't say that I found it truly engrossing.  There were times when I had to re-read entire sections because my mind drifted off and I couldn't stay focussed on what I was reading; I didn't always find the material absorbing or interesting.  This has nothing to do with the more formal writing style as I have read this type of British 'cozy' before and enjoyed it tremendously.  There were moments I really enjoyed in this story, but I found parts of it to be too disjointed for me.  I did however, enjoy the descriptions very much and think Mr. Frome's writing style when describing atmosphere and setting was extremely well done.  I did have the pleasure of reading Lilac Moon several years ago and his writing style when it comes to description is amazing. 

The Twinning Murders is an interesting murder mystery story set in both the United States and in Great Britain.  I truly enjoyed the characterization and the development in most of the characters, and as always, the descriptive language is always well worth reading in any of Mr. Frome's work.  While I don't feel this novel lives up to Lilac Moon, it is still worth picking up and having a look, especially for anyone looking for good, clean, 'murderous' fun.
Friday, April 1, 2011

Fool For Books Giveaway Hop!

Fool For Books Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Fool For Books Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and The Bookish Snob.  What is a giveaway hop, you may ask?  It is a contest giveaway that allows you to enter a multitude of different contests easily, as the contest sites are all linked together.  You also have the chance to discover some wonderful new blogs that you may now have known existed.

Each blog will host their own giveaway.  Have fun checking out the variety of items available for you to win on the 200+ blogs participating.

But hurry, as the contests only run from April 1st - April 2, 2011.

My Giveaway:  One lucky reader will have the chance to win Demon Song (Blood Song, Book 3) by Cat Adams.

Mandatory Entry:  Comment below with your email address.  Pretty simple, eh?

Here is a list of the participating blogs: