Friday, September 30, 2011

End of the Month Fall Recap

Let's see... this month was full of giveaways! I predict *looks in crystal ball* that next month will also have a great giveaway... or two! ;D

My reviews this month:
YA Reviews

Adult Reviews

Review by Anachronist:

Review by AimeeKay:

Winner Announcement!
Winner of:
is
(confirmed)

Don't forget that there are still time to enter for:

Just go HERE to enter!

Oh and a quick note to those that loved Tyger Tyger or those that want to know what this book is about...
It's now in paperback!
I wonder if I should have a giveaway for the next book in this series... hmm... ;)

~~~~~~~~~~
I haven't forgot, but this month I also told the sad, sad tale (tail?) of my poor wittle puppy who got snipped...
I'm happy to report that it hasn't fazed him OTHER than he is acting even more like a puppy! His *clears throat* frustrations are gone and he is still showing his butt off. What can I say? My boy is butt proud! Oh and yes, he's still trying to pick up the girls. He's a ladies dog no matter what! ;)

Before I go, don't forget to root for:
Boo!
It's almost here!!!
Don't forget to get your team buttons!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blood Rights by Kristen Painter

Description:
"The lacy gold mapped her entire body. A finely-wrought filigree of stars, vines, flowers, butterflies, ancient symbols and words ran from her feet, up her legs, over her narrow waist, spanned her chest and finished down her arms to the tips of her fingers."

Born into a life of secrets and service, Chrysabelle’s body bears the telltale marks of a comarré—a special race of humans bred to feed vampire nobility. When her patron is murdered, she becomes the prime suspect, which sends her running into the mortal world…and into the arms of Malkolm, an outcast vampire cursed to kill every being from whom he drinks.

Now Chrysabelle and Malkolm must work together to stop a plot to merge the mortal and supernatural worlds. If they fail, a chaos unlike anything anyone has ever seen will threaten to reign.
I really enjoyed the world created within this story. The vampires have different levels of power and being. They are part of the otherworld hidden from the humans. Noble vampires who belong to the most notorious "houses" and are connected to human's bloody history. They are also the kind of vampire that Chrysabelle is most familar. She is a comarré who has powerful blood which feeds only those that can pay for her service. She is a blood servant and her physiology has been changed to be a powerful donor. The world she lives has lots of rules where the nobel vampires are her better and the better of all humans.

This world holds a lot of information and lore that can easily become too complex. Luckily, I really didn't have a problem figuring out how things worked, but I do admit it took me a moment to figure out who was who. By the time she meets Mal (Malkolm) on his territory, I had most of it worked out and then relaxed and enjoyed the ride of the story. This is where it really started to get interesting. In fact I thought from that point it might go the way of a total PNR, but the twists and turns in this book didn't make it so. In fact, the twists kept me guessing as to which way the story would end.

I also loved the secondary characters. Even though we only really get a glimpse of who they are and why they are involved, you find yourself wanting to learn even more about them. You become excited for the next novel since you know (and hope) that they will be there to continue the adventure with Chrysabelle.

Ah but what else can I say without spoiling anything? That is what makes this a hard review to write. There is so much complexity within this book that to say one thing might spoil another. Yet, in the complexity there is order so you don't get lost. There are important aspects within like loyalty, personal rights, honor, love, and finding yourself. All these aspects are there but yet none are solved for our characters as to what it means personally to them nor if they achieved it within. Ah, but there I go, almost saying too much.

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. This book leans hard toward fantasy but and there is a possible romance in the future. There is no cliffie, but yet things unsolved that makes you crave the next book which luckily isn't too far away.
I received this ARC from the publisher, Orbit, and no compensation for my review was given.


Remember only a few days left to win a signed book of Blood Rights! Just go HERE to enter!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shadowman by Erin Kellison

Description:
Ghosts
They haunt the halls of the Segue Institute, terrifying the living, refusing to cross over. But one soul is driven by a very different force.
Love
It survives even death. And Kathleen O'Brien swore she would return to those she was forced to leave too soon.
Shadowman
He broke every rule to have her in life; now he will defy the angels to find her in death.
The Gate
Forging it is his single hope of being reunited with his beloved, but through it an abomination enters the world. Leaving a trail of blood and violence, the devil hunts her too. Pursued through realms of bright fantasy and dark reality, Kathleen is about to be taken...
OMG! Can I just say OMG! I LOVED this book! I SO need to add Shadowman to my man harem. *sigh* Can I has him PLEASE? ;) He is your dark mysterious tortured man who is in total love with one woman. I mean really... can you resist?

Hey, get away from him! Resist! He's mine! *growls*

This is the story I think I've been wanting since I read the first book. We were introduced to Kathleen and Shadowman, but then they became secondary characters. Important and essential but not central to the stories. This book is their own. It is not a book of the past but a continuation of the series. All questions you might have had between these two in the past books will be answered in this story. That is all I am willing to say since I refuse to reveal my man further to you wanton readers. I mean really... didn't I already claim him? ;D

Well, I will say that PNR fans who were worried that this is too UF for their tastes will LOVE this story. UF fans won't be let down either. There is non-stop action and mysteries that open this world up even more to us. The fae are terrifying and the angels aren't exactly maleable. Nope, not a fluffy love tale, but one of heartache and strength on all the characters involved. Oh, and surprise! I actually liked Adam in this book! Finally! *whew*

I give this book 5 stars. I really love the idea that the person who truly does not fear death does not fear life either. Embracing death is only embracing change and that change is not always what we expect. Heh... I'll let you chew on that one for the moment. ;)
I received this book from the author and no compensation for my review was given.


Don't forget! Erin rocks so much that she is giving someone a set of these books! Plus, it's international! Just go HERE to enter! And this is a series that should be read in order. HERE are my mini reviews of the first 2. Do read this series. I think you'll enjoy them!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Erin Kellison Author Blog Post and Giveaway!

Beauty and the Beast 

First of all, thank you to Mel for having me at Books and Things today. And thank you to readers for stopping by and reading. I’m giving away a set of my Shadow series books, including Shadow Bound, Shadow Fall, and Shadowman to a random commenter who answers the question below. Also, part one in my Shadow world novella series, Shadow Touch, is currently a free download on Kindle and Nook. 

I like a good fairy tale, but I’m not so much into damsels in distress. And I’m not so keen on squeaky clean heroes either. No cardboard cut-outs for me. My Shadow series tagline is Dark Fantasy meets Modern Fairy Tale, which means I like a contemporary, twisted take on old favorites. And dark, scary dark. 

In the case of my September release, Shadowman, I use Beauty and the Beast. Great story. Enchanted (or cursed) castle. A beast in dire need of reform. A lost heroine, in this case, lost in time. A rose. A magic mirror. I add a gate to Hell, an escaped devil, a freaky ghost, a host of angels looking to take our hero down, and wicked-twisted Fate, who wants the heroine for herself. 

The castle is my Segue Institute, a paranormal research facility housed in a renovated turn-of-the-century hotel. Yes, the place is haunted. And my beast is Shadowman, also known as the Grim Reaper, and he’s looking for his lost sweetheart. He will stop at nothing to have her back, no matter what the consequences are. Beauty is Kathleen O’Brien, who has been searching for him too, on her own perilous path. I’ve got the flowers that Beauty always loves in the fairy tale, but my “Rose” is a little closer to a nightmare. And the magic mirror is set up by Fate, a puzzle without a real solution. 

You can find an excerpt of Shadowman here: http://www.erinkellison.com/books/shadowman.html 

And now for the contest question: What’s your favorite fairy tale? 

Links: 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Erin, Thank so much for coming on the blog! I have to tell everyone that I have met her and if you get the chance to meet, take it! She SO rocks!!
I also have to say that I'm not much for damsels in distress and love dark twisty novels! Oh and yes, my fave fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast. I really was never into princessess. :)

Giveaway!
You will SO love what Erin is giving away. A SET of the Shadow books! Yes! Shadow Bound, Shadow Fall and Shadowman (review tomorrow)! PLUS it is INTERNATIONAL! Just answer Erin's question and fill out the rafflecopter form! Easy!
(if you are having a bit of trouble with the rafflecopter form, try to refresh. Sometimes it has taken it, but doesn't show right away)
Good Luck!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Trick or Treat for Books

In the best Spirit possible, I'd like to announce...
Trick or Treat for Books Event!

What is it?
It's a month long event where there will be lots of fun halloween posts, mini giveaways and a great INTERNATIONAL grand prize winner!! 

How to enter?
Well, every Monday one of  us will have a post with a mini giveaway. Visit each post and fill out the form! The more you trick or treat, the more chances you have to win! Squee! Uh, I mean Boo!

Schedule:
Mon. Oct, 3: The Unread Reader~ Vampires! Mini Giveaway
Mon. Oct. 10: The Geeky Blogger~ Witches! Mini Giveaway
Mon. Oct. 17: Books and Things~ Ghosties! Mini Giveaway
Mon. Oct. 24: The Bookish Brunette~ Zombies! Mini Giveaway
Oct. 31st. Grand Prize Winner Announced!!

The Grand Prize:
Book Bag provided by Dani Harper

One person wins it all!

All buttons for this event is listed HERE on this page and they will be there throughout the giveaway. I'm also listing them below for ease of grab! :D Woo! Watch it there! ;)


<a href="http://melissawatercolor.blogspot.com/"> <img src="http://i1214.photobucket.com/albums/cc489/BooksThings/GhostPinuptot2.gif" width="200"></a>



<a href="http://www.theunreadreader.com/"> <img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-s3lYjnAGnp4/TnWG2VrbJiI/AAAAAAAAC3Q/8ZSGrW-P89o/vampire-pinup.jpg" width="200"></a>



<a href="http://www.geekybloggersbookblog.com/"> <img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XoVDWWxcF3E/TnSkprozxoI/AAAAAAAAGi4/gYx2XhA2kDg/s320/witch-pin-up.jpg" width="200"></a>




<a href="http://www.bookish-brunette.com/"> <img src="http://i1231.photobucket.com/albums/ee514/Bookish_brunette/TrickorTreatZombie-1.png" width="200"></a>

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Shadow Bound and Shadow Fall by Erin Kellison Mini Reviews


Description:
Death
Some people will do anything to avoid it. Even trade their immortal souls for endless existence.
Wraiths
Secretly, inexorably, they are infiltrating our world, sucking the essence out of unsuspecting victims with their hideous parody of a kiss.
Segue
Adam Thorne founded the Institute to study and destroy his monster of a brother, but the key to its success is held in the pale, slender hand of a woman on the run. There is something hauntingly different about Talia O’Brien, her unknowing sensuality, her uncanny way of slipping into Shadow.
Twilight
This is the place between life and what comes after - a dark forest of fantasy, filled with beauty, peril, mystery. And Talia is about to open the door.
I really enjoyed this PNR! There was a slightly different take to the fae and lots of philosophy in the book which I love. Erin takes the philosophy and makes it interesting and opens a door to further discussion on your own if you like, but keeps it light enough you don't feel overwhelmed to those that do not like to dive in that deep. It creates a perfect backdrop for the story.

Those that like romance will like this one although I have to say I didn't and don't like Adam, the main hero of this book. However, I still rooted for him throughout the book and wanted him to get the girl in the end. So, even if you don't like the hero, you will still enjoy the romance. Strange, but interesting, eh?

I give this book 4 stars! I recommend it for PNR fans and there is enough action for UF fans as well. It's dark but there is always a light on within them.


Description:
Sacrifice
Custo Santovari accepted pain, blood, even death, to save his best friend. But a man with all his sins just isn't cut out to be an angel.
Mystery
One moment he's fleeing Heaven; the next, he's waking up stark naked in Manhattan. In the middle of a war. Called there by a woman who's desperately afraid of the dark.
Shadow
It gathers around Annabella as she performs, filled with fantastic images of another world, bringing both a golden hero and a nightmare lover.
Wolf
He pursues her relentlessly, twisting her desires even as she gives herself to the man she loves. Because each of us has a wild side, and Annabella is about to unleash the beast.
In this book we get Custo, Adam's best friend as the main hero of the book. Now, this was a hero I really did like and rooted for as I did Adam in the first book. The fae are as dark as ever and created a new problem in the form of a shapeshifting "wolf".  I also enjoyed more of Erin's foray into the world of arts which is connected to shadow. She really brings the world of the arts to life within this action packed story. So, you know I was fully involved in the story!

I give this book 4 stars as well and again, I recommend it to PNR and UF fans alike. The world is dark but as before never devoid of light.

Below is a short vid of Giselle as a Wili (ghost) Grade Pas which plays a big part within the story. It's done by the Bolshoi Ballet:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Winners!

Have some more winners to announce!

Winners of
are
Barbara E. 
Desi R.
(both confirmed)

The Winner of:
is 
AimeeKay

Congrats to the new set of winners!

Don't forget the blog posts and giveaway of 
Go HERE to enter!

AND
Go HERE to enter for this one!

On My Wishlist...



Illuminate by Aimee Agresti
tbp: March 6, 2012

Description:
Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything begins to change when she turns sixteen. Along with her best friend Dante and their quiet and brilliant classmate Lance, she is awarded a prestigious internship in the big city— Chicago—and is sent to live and work at a swanky and stylish hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous and shockingly young-looking strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit.

As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers a network of secret passageways from the hotel’s jazz-age past that leads her to the heart of the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?

Illuminate is an exciting saga of a teen’s first taste of independence, her experience in the lap of luxury, and her discovery she may possess strength greater than she ever knew.



Vamparazzi by Laura Resnick
tbp: Oct. 4, 2011

Description:
Playing a scantily clad vampire victim in an off-Broadway play, struggling actress Esther Diamond now may be the target of someone who claims to be a genuine bloodsucker...

Okay, I admit, I was drawn to this cover. It is #4 in the Ester Diamond series which I have yet to read. I mean, it's a Dan Dos Santos cover! I was doomed as soon as I saw it!

So, tell me... are you doomed? What is in your wishlist this week?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Kristen Painter Author Blog Post and Giveaway!

I'd like to welcome Kristen Painter to the blog! I asked her a few fun questions and at the end she is giving away her new book!

Welcome Kristen! Now down to the questions... 

Why vampires? In other words, why do they appeal to you?
Vampires have a great allure - strength, beauty, power, immortality - and yet, they're still monsters, something a lot of work today doesn't deal with. I wanted to bring back a little of that darkness to the creature in my books.

Play list? Many people like to have a playlist with songs any quick ones off the top of your head that would go well with Blood Rights?
I actually need complete silence. I find music distracting since I usually end up singing along and scaring my cats. 

Favorite book(s) that lead to the creation of this series?
The only "books" that might have in some way been an inspiration would be the Cloak and Dagger comics I read in high school (and still have carefully preserved with my other comics in individual plastic bags). I loved comics then and I still do today.

Favorite movies? 
After Dark is a great lesser known vampire movie that I could pretty much watch every day. Other than that, I really love Steve Martin movies like My Blue Heaven and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

We are getting ready for Halloween. What was your favorite costume you have worn? 
When I was in college in NYC, I had this fabulous vintage '50's leopard print dress. I sewed a tail on it, wore some ears and did a full face of cat makeup, then went to the Village parade with a friend of mine who dressed as a panther. We had people taking pictures of us!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks for answering my strange questions. I also need silence to concentrate and I would love to see that dress!
Now... 
Giveaway!
Kristen is giving away a signed book, Blood Rights (review next week). All you have to do is fill in the rafflecopter form. This one is US only and will end on the 30th.
Good Luck!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jennifer Estep Blog Post and Giveaway!

Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to say thanks to Melissa for having me on the blog again today. Thanks so much, Melissa!

So today, Melissa wanted me to write something about villains in urban fantasy. My heroine Gin Blanco is getting ready to go toe-to-toe with her nemesis Mab Monroe in Spider’s Revenge, the fifth book in my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series that will be released on Sept. 27.

For those of you who haven’t read the series, Mab used her Fire elemental magic to kill Gin’s mother and older sister when Gin was thirteen. Mab also tortured Gin and wanted to kill Gin’s younger sister Bria as well. So Mab is definitely not a nice person.

So what makes a good villain in urban fantasy? Here are some characteristics that I think make for entertaining villains in any genre:

1) They have to be, well, evil: Your villain doesn’t have to be bathing in blood on every single page, but she definitely has to be evil. Maybe she killed someone close to the heroine, or wants to take over the heroine’s business, or simply wants to crush everyone who dares to stand up to her. Whatever it is, your villain should be ready, willing, and able to do whatever she has to in order to achieve her goals – no matter how evil or underhanded it is.

2) They have to be a threat to your heroine: You want your villain to be more than a match for your heroine. In urban fantasy, that usually means that the villain has a magic/power that is the equal to or even greater than the heroine’s – like Mab’s Fire magic versus Gin’s Ice and Stone power. Not to mention all the folks who work for Mab and are trying to find out who Gin really is. Whether your villain is a single operator or has dozens of minions at her disposal, she has to threaten your heroine in some way – whether it’s physically, emotionally, or even financially.

3) They have to be cool and charismatic: To me, some of the most interesting and entertaining villains in urban fantasy (and beyond) are the ones who are the most charismatic – the ones you want to read about and watch just to see what they’ll do next, no matter how terrible it is or how much it hurts your heroine. One of the best examples that I can think of is Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He was such a cool character that you almost didn’t want Buffy to defeat him.

4) They have to be powerful: In urban fantasy, most of the villains have some sort of magic/power that makes them especially dangerous. But magic isn’t the only power out there. Maybe a villain is so wealthy that she can buy whatever and whomever she wants. Maybe she’s an exceptionally good liar who has everyone fooled but the heroine. No matter what it is, the villain has to have some sort of power that she uses for her own evil purposes – one that she relishes using to achieve her goals.

5) They have to take your heroine to the brink – and beyond: A good villain is one that could realistically win at the end of the story. No matter how strong your heroine is, you want her to have to give 110 percent to defeat the villain – and even then the outcome isn’t certain. When I’m reading a book or watching a movie or TV show, I know that the heroine will probably triumph in the end – but I want the journey to be as exciting as possible. Those are the kind of books that I like to read, and that’s what I try to write in my books as well.

So there you have it – some qualities that I think make a good villain.

What about you guys? Who are some of your favorite villains and books in urban fantasy and beyond?
~~~~~~~~

USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assassin codenamed the Spider who can control the elements of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing people and righting wrongs, Gin runs a barbecue restaurant called the Pork Pit in the fictional Southern metropolis of Ashland. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vampires, and elementals – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone. Books in the series are Spider’s Bite, Web of Lies, Venom, and Tangled Threads.

Jennifer also writes the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington. Touch of Frost, the first book in the series, was released in August. First Frost, a prequel e-story to the series, is available as a 99-cent download. Kiss of Frost, the second book, will be released Nov. 29.

For more information, excerpts, and more, visit Jennifer’s website at www.jenniferestep.com.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Jennifer, thanks for coming by the blog! I love a good vilain. Makes the heroine so much more... well... heroic! :D So, would you like to have even more fun? Well...

Giveaway!
Jennifer is giving away one signed book to a winner! Squee! All you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter form and leave a comment! Answer Jen's question or ask one. I will end the giveaway on the 29th. Giveaway is US only. Good luck!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Spider's Revenge by Jennifer Estep

Description:
Old habits die hard. And I plan on mur­der­ing some­one before the night is through.

Killing used to be my reg­u­lar gig, after all. Gin Blanco, aka the Spi­der, assassin-for-hire. And I was very good at it. Now, I’m ready to make the one hit that truly mat­ters: Mab Mon­roe, the dan­ger­ous Fire ele­men­tal who mur­dered my fam­ily when I was thir­teen.

Oh, I don’t think the mis­sion will be easy, but turns out it’s a bit more prob­lem­atic than expected. The bitch knows I’m com­ing for her. So now I’m up against the army of lethal bounty hunters she hired to track me down. She also put a price on my baby sister’s head. Keep­ing Bria safe is my first pri­or­ity. Tak­ing Mab out is a close sec­ond.

Good thing I’ve got my pow­er­ful Stone and Ice magic — and my irre­sistible lover Owen Grayson — to watch my back. This bat­tle has been years in the mak­ing, and there’s a chance I won’t sur­vive. But if I’m going down, then Mab’s com­ing with me...no mat­ter what I have to do to make that happen.
Oh this is going to be another hard review for me. Hard because I refuse to spoil it for anyone not yet caught up to this book in the series. This book is #5 and yes... I have read them in order (which I suggest you do!). *brings smelling salts around*

This book is what we have all be waiting for. The one we knew would come. It is the showdown between the Spider and Mab Monroe. However, the story woven between that showdown also has us captivated. Her relationships are somewhat redefined. Owen is FINE as he ever was and if Gin ever wants to get rid of that man, he needs to walk my way. *fans self*

*rouses self from delusion of having Owen giving me a come hither look*

Sorry, back to the review...

The thing you often worry about is if the showdown will live up to the hype. I really think the way the story was built toward that end really pushed you toward the edge of your seat wondering how anything will get solved... or will we be heartbroken in the end with an ending we simply don't want! Oh you know it's coming... *evil laugh* I'm not telling you anything. You'll have to find out for yourself.

I will add here that we get a bit more glimpse into the lives of some of the secondary characters like the mysterious Sophia. Of course Bria gets to know Gin more which made me so happy. Ah but that is all I dare to say other than if you are looking for a good UF with some romance (ah... Owen!) then pick up this series!! Go NOW! DO EET! Seriously, what are you waiting for? Go!

Oh, WAIT! Before you go, 2 things. One... remember Owen is mine (Book Boyfriend... see I claimed him!) and two, come back tomorrow for a author blog post by Jennifer Estep and a giveaway!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Book Boyfriend Revisited!


Since a review, author blog post/giveaway is about to come up with this very soon to be published book I thought I'd revisit one of my Book Boyfriends, Owen! Oh no, I have not recast him but thought I'd just revisit the manly vision played by Jason Momoa!

Owen is just as sweet, strong and loving as before. Yes, I know... shut it girl... give us some pics!

I figure if I'm going to show him in his suit, you should still get some flesh nearby!
Waving to Gin, uh I mean me! ;)
Upset that anyone would have even thought to mess with me! 
Aw...

So, what is in your moob, uh I mean harem this week?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Winners!

Oooh! Look who won!

Winner of:
is Kelly!

The Winner of:
is Victoria!

The winner of:
is Barbara
new winner: SpadesHighReads (confirmed!)

The Winner of:
is Amy!
(confirmed)
All have been e-mailed.
Congraties!!

Crushed Seraphim by Debra Anastasia: Review by AimeeKay

Greetings from the Rusty Dagger! I feel we might be close to finally catching that elusive Narwal! We are currently in the Iron Seas. Feel free to come see some of the beautiful treasures we have found there. This time Melissa sent me Crushed Seraphim by Debra Anastasia. So lets get on with the review.

Amazon

Summary from Amazon:


How does a foul-mouthed angel end up as the last hope for all of Heaven and Earth?
When Seraph Emma is maimed and tossed from Heaven by a rogue angel who's taken charge, she fears she'll never be allowed to return. Tasked with the impossible job of showing the self-loathing (and not even human!) Jason his worth, Emma is sure she's doomed to fail. 
Meanwhile, having wormed his way into Heaven, the corrupt Everett has trapped God in Hell and has designs on unleashing evil everywhere. Fortunately, if there's one thing Emma can't do (in addition to minding her language), it's give up. Determined to save Jason and get back to Heaven-even if it means going to Hell-Emma's plan is simple yet impossible: trick the Devil to save God. 
What she doesn't count on is the devotion and, well, humanity she finds in Jason; the spirit, hidden compassion, and raw sex appeal within the Devil; and the vulnerability of her own heart. With the help of two unlikely allies, she'll wage the battle for Heaven. But will Emma be sidetracked by a new sort of heaven along the way? 
What's truly more dangerous? Falling from Heaven, or falling in love?
*sigh* I really liked this book, at first. I really liked Debra Anastasia's take on angels and God. I really loved her descriptions. Especially of the angels and their wings. And I really enjoyed Seraph Emma as a character at first. She was amusing and determined. ***Massive spoiler alert*** Yes she saves heaven.If the story had ended there it would have been fine The problem is it didn't and I finished it simply because I was hoping it would make sense why it didn't if I finished the book. I know each writer tells a story their own way. That the paths they see their characters taking aren't necessarily the ones I think they would take. Generally that is fine. That can make a story go from average to amazing, It can make heroes or heroines more realistic and make it easier for the reader to connect with them. However in this case, at least for me, the path Seraph Emma chose to take just made me lose all respect for her and actually start disliking her immensely. I also understand that a good love triangle can really add something to a story. But this one just well, just ugh. It made the main character seem selfish, careless and stupid. Yes I know they are just characters in a story, they are not real. But if I fail to connect to the main character or I don't find them interesting or whatever, it tends to make me not enjoy the story. I found myself forcing myself to read the rest of the book hoping that something would redeem Emma for me.

That's were the other main problem with this story came into play. The book ended mid story, right as the heroes were preparing to go to Hell, literally! Now read/reviewed books that have ended mid story before. Generally it annoys me when a story just stops........

See isn't that annoying? Sorry trying to prove a point. (kinda hard to pull off in a post so please forgive me) Anyway. It generally annoys me when I am zipping along enjoying a story and *BAM* no more story. A good example of this was The Unfinished Song. But the writer knew she was going to end the book right then and there, and even wrote a sort of apology combined with giving a teaser of the next book. While I was agitated that I couldn't finish the book right then and there, I still was eager to get my hands on the next book and find out what happened to them. With Crushed Seraphim I was annoyed but I found myself not really caring. I had become so detached from the main character at that point that I kinda didn't care if she made her way outta Hell or not. ***End Spoiler alert***

The sad part is I really liked Anastasia's writing. I liked her descriptions, and I enjoyed her characters, even Emma, at least up to that one point. I wouldn't not read another book by the author simply because of this one. I might however think twice about reading the sequel to Crushed Seraphim, if only because of my dislike of the main character. If you've read this book and would like to share your opinion in the comments, whether you agree with me or not, please do. I would love to know what others have thought of this one..

Til next time
AimeeKay


P.S.: For all those who saw my review of the first two Unfinished Song books, the third book Unfinished Song: Sacrifice is finally out!
Here's the link to it on Amazon!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Cambridge List by Rober Clear: Review by Anachronist


Mini review: The Cambridge List by Robert Clear

Synopsis:

James Connor, a young English teacher in one of many Cambridge language schools for foreigners, is being seriously depressed. Not only his job is tedious to the extreme and not exactly well-paid but he also can’t find anything better. He desperately wants a change. Flanoxiride, a new anti-depressant developed by one of his flatmates, a PhD biotech student, still not tested on humans due to lack of funds, seems to be his chance to turn over a new leaf. He has nothing to lose, doesn’t he?

Soon enough he is able to hear a beautiful tune in his head, sung by a woman. He knows that probably something is not entirely right with him but the tune is so enticing he doesn’t want to interfere – it’s better to hear that than his students’ poor English, right? The woman sang about existence itself – of stars and galaxies, atomic and subatomic life. Who wouldn’t want to listen to it? After a while James has a whole Greek pantheon in his head – Hera, Athena, the Muse (like in Homer’s Iliad), all of them. They have a plan concerning James – they want him to kill five people who defy Greek deities the most and whose names are on an appropriate list. James will be the human agent or “wessel” of Olympians’ wrath. Call it a promotion.

Very conveniently, the first victim, Harriet Mason, happens to be James’s previous academic mentor, a monstrously fat woman and a lecturer in Ancient Greek who hates men (or so people think). That way we find out more about James’s classic studies at Midsummer College and the hidden plot which prevented him from obtaining a hard-earned degree and starting a very promising scholar career at the Faculty. Small wonder gods themselves had to intervene. ;) As the story unravels it seems that the Cambridge University’s Classics Study Division hides more unpleasant secrets than any decent mafia…or Greek tragedies. Small wonder- after all, believe it or not, classics is the study of death and sex…

Will James carry out that grim task? Will a young reporter, Wendy, help him? Will gods be finally appeased?

What I liked:

The premise was perhaps not the most original one (Greek gods have been featuring a lot in different nowadays) but it certainly was presented in a refreshing way. Hera, Aphrodithe and the Muse (a.k.a Muesli, the teenage single mother of four) were fun to read and had a lot of character.

All other deities were presented in a very human manner – they quarrel and fight, they swear and plot, all in poor James’s brain. If you think it is a bit too homey you should read the Greek myths themselves in which gods were exactly like these presented here: true, they used another language but, by and large, they remained a mirror reflection of their worshippers, not above stealing, raping, murdering and killing, even women and children. It’s obvious Mr. Clear understands Greek mythology rather well.

What I didn’t like:

Two-dimensional characters. If James was supposed to grow up and shoulder any responsibility he didn’t let it be seen (sly dog).

Sometimes the sense of humour, which was supposed to be dark, became too close to those lavatory jokes, dealing with any secretions a human body can excrete. Not my kind of fun (but undoubtedly appealing to some dumb teenage boys), I prefer something a tad more intelligently dark. Giving you a hint I do not recommend eating anything, even the best dark Lindt chocolate with cherry filling and a dash of chili, while reading some parts of this book – your gag reflex might still surprise you rather nastily. When I come to think about it you might actually think twice before visiting the lovely and ancient town of Cambridge, England. I am not sure the reputation the author gave that place in his novel was fair but it was certainly horrible. And a bit funny too.

Finally there was a lot of swearing in this one. If it was supposed to make the atmosphere even more hilarious for me (imagine Hera saying to Dionysos something like: “I could f*****g well wring you clean”) it failed. It made the dialogues between gods merely ludicrous.

Final verdict:

A book with some good scenes and ideas but also one that overall failed to impress me. Not my type of humour, not my kind of fun. Pity, because I do like mythological variations and thrillers.