Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Carry on the Flame Blog Tour: Book Excerpt

Hello! Today I am happy to participate in the blog tour for Carry on the Flame by Jodine Turner, hosted by The Bookish Snob Promotions. This novel is a fascinating mixture of modern fantasy and Celtic mythology, and I get to share an excerpt with you!

Carry on the Flame: Destiny’s Call Book One is a YA/adult magical urban fantasy, paranormal romance novel.
In Carry on the Flame, humanity is in the midst of the greatest crisis in their evolution. Sharay is the one chosen to show the way forward and  help humankind move through the fear and dark times of today’s world. Born into a lineage of priestesses in modern day Glastonbury, England, Sharay’s way is blocked by her jealous Aunt Phoebe, who uses black magic against her to steal her fortune and magical power. When Phoebe commits Sharay to a psychiatric ward and accuses her of murder, Sharay struggles with the temptation to fight Phoebe’s vengeance with her own. Through the ancient Celtic ceremony of Beltaine, Sharay experiences profound sacred union with the Welshman Guethyn, who shows her how to open her heart. But Sharay must learn to transform her hatred for her aunt in order to claim the mystery held deep within her cells that will allow her to fulfill her destiny and prove that the ultimate magic is the power of love. 
Carry on the Flame: Ultimate Magic Book Two releases October 31, 2011.


Sharay rolled her eyes. “No, silly. What am I to do about this?” she said, spreading her arms wide open to indicate the hospital room, the psychiatric ward.
“Simple. You’re to go on an Imram,” Dillon said.
“On a what?” She leaned back on her legs, and sat on the floor, her spine against the side of Dillon’s bed for support. She was exhausted, and the old man was talking in riddles.
“On an Imram. It’s an important journey. A physical journey navigated by your soul.”
“My soul will navigate a journey?”
“Yes – it will be both an inner and an outer journey. The Imram is the outward form of an inner mystical journey. It’s much like a vision quest. You’ll travel the land, and as you do, you’ll visit the Inner Realms of your dreams and visions.”
“But they call my dreams and visions hallucinations.”
“They know nothing.”
Sharay stared, wide-eyed. “I’m not hallucinating?”
“Of course not.”
Sharay noticed how his dimples burrowed deep within the crevices of his cheeks.
“The Imram will be a splendid adventure. Just like it was for our ancestors, the Celts. They crossed the seas on mythic travels to foreign lands. They went on the Imram.”
Sharay imagined huge wooden sailboats, mermaids carved on the bow, sailing by star navigation across deep blue waters, heading far into the west. She shook her head. “I’m afraid I’m in no shape to go on a sea voyage. I don’t see how your Imram will help me.”
Dillon chuckled. “The Imram is not limited to the sea. It’s not about where you go but how you get there.”
“So, how do I get there?”
“Trust the Imram. You’re in good hands with your soul as your navigator.”
“How can I go on an Imram? I can’t even leave this hospital,” Sharay said desolately.
“Indeed, you’ve been made a prisoner.” Dillon’s face grew serious. “Still, the grimmest place you are imprisoned is in the depths of that black hole inside you.”
The tendrils from the black hole reached out seductively.
“You don’t need the black hole, Sharay. It will do you more harm than good. But I’m afraid extricating yourself from it will prove even more difficult than freeing you from this hospital.”
“I can be free of it if I want to,” she said defiantly. She didn’t for a moment believe her own lie. The hole was strong on its own now, but especially so when combined with the medicine. Sharay swallowed, remembering her promise to it.
Dillon gazed at her intently and then waved his hand. “First things first. We have your Imram to plan.”
Despite her unease, Sharay felt excitement flutter in her chest.
“We won’t use a boat. A van will do nicely. We’re no longer in ancient times, you know.” He winked at her.
“I’m going on an Imram, traveling through my dreams and hallucinations…I mean, my visions…and I’m going in a van?” Sharay asked skeptically.
“Yes,” Dillon answered matter of factly. “Now, how do we get you out of the hospital?” Dillon pulled on his beard, deep in concentration.
Sharay put her head in her hands. Her thoughts jumbled, this new information stirring up the remnants of her old life, when her parents were still alive. A time when her visions were accepted as common-place, expected and encouraged. No one called her psychotic and dangerous then.
 “Aha,” Dillon cried.
Sharay lifted her head and found Dillon gazing at her, a mischievous grin spreading across his face. “To plan your escape, I’ll need the help of my grandson.” Dillon beamed. “Yes. I’ll call on Guethyn to help us.”
Sharay began to worry about the mysterious plan Dillon was making. Imrams and soul journeys and grandsons with odd names. “What kind of name is Guethyn?”

Now, doesn't that leave you curious?

About the Author:
Jodine Turner is an author of YA/adult fantasy, paranormal romance, and magical realism. She is also a therapist, and a consecrated priestess. While living in Glastonbury, England, the ancient Isle of Avalon, Jodine began writing the Goddess of the Stars and the Sea series about priestesses who had lived in Avalon throughout the ages and today.
Jodine’s series is a dark and edgy saga of a young priestess who's reborn during three different critical junctions in history in order to help humankind move through fearful and bleak times - the demise of Atlantis, the Dark Age's suppression of the feminine, and today's turbulent world. 

Each novel in the series is a standalone read. First in the series is the highly acclaimed The Awakening: Rebirth of Atlantis. The second novel is the award winning The Keys to Remember. The third novel, Carry on the Flame: Book One Destiny’s Call, is already award winning. The story of Carry on the Flame concludes in Book Two, Carry on the Flame: Ultimate Magic, which comes out October 31, 2011.

Follow the rest of the tour for reviews, interviews and giveaways! The next post is tomorrow at Coma Calm's Corner.

To purchase a copy of this book, you can find it on Amazon.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Review #93: Burden of Blood by Wenona Hulsey

Burden of Blood
by Wenona Hulsey

Genre: Fantasy / Paranormal / Urban Fantasy
Ages: 16 and up
I received an e-book of this from the author as part of a blog tour hosted by The Bookish Snob Promotions.

No one wants to know everyone’s darkest secrets, especially not police officer, Nicole Keenan. All she wants is a blissfully normal life in the small, Alabama town where she was born. But as generations of power running through her veins start to wake up, an ancient grudge is ignited that threatens to push her over the edge. She can hardly believe in what she is, let alone that a dark force will not stop until she's joins them. Or is dead.
Nicole Keenan's life enters into a dangerous dance with warriors and gothic fairies. Southern tradition collides with Irish folklore as she learns about love, heartbreak, and The Burden of Blood.
My Review:
I liked this book right from the beginning. Nicole is a smart, tough police officer with a very interesting ability. She can hear people's bad thoughts. This is really hard for her sometimes because she can only hear the worst in people, but still she manages to keep from going insane and uses her talent to help people. Her abilities grow stronger and change throughout the book as she learns more about her heritage.

Luke, her partner, complements her perfectly. He is understanding and kind, but full of surprises and a stubborn streak. Because both he and Nicole are such strong and smart protagonists, it is a lot of fun watching their relationship develop.

This book is fast-paced and from beginning to an end that leaves you begging for more, though not torturing you with an evil cliffhanger. I can't wait until book 2 comes out.

I would recommend this book to lovers of urban fantasy and strong heroines.

Content Ratings: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I rate it an 8.10 for a few uses of the f-word.

I rate it a 5.10 for attempted rape, possible off-scene rape, and some sensuality.

I rate it a 7.10 for attempted murder and torture.

I was lucky enough to have a chance to ask Wenona Hulsey a few questions, so you can read her answers here and enter to win an e-copy of her prequel novella, Blood Awakening.

                          Lieder Madchen

Sunday, August 28, 2011

100 Most Popular YA Books

I saw this list on Starry Sky Books and decided to give it a try. I will high-light all of the ones I have read in blue. :)

  1. Alex Finn – Beastly
  2. Alice Sebold – The Lovely Bones
  3. Ally Carter – Callagher Girls (1, 2, 3, 4)
  4. Ally Condie – Matched
  5. Alyson Noel – The Immortals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  6. Anastasia Hopcus – Shadow Hills
  7. Angie Sage – Septimus Heap (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  8. Ann Brashares – The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (1, 2, 3, 4)
  9. Anna Godbersen – Luxe (1, 2, 3, 4)
  10. Anthony Horowitz – Alex Rider (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
  11. Aprilynne Pike – Wings (1, 2, 3)
  12. Becca Fitzpatrick – Hush, Hush (1, 2)
  13. Brandon Mull – Fablehaven (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  14. Brian Selznick – The Invention of Hugo Cabret
  15. Cassandra Clare – The Mortal Instruments (1, 2, 3, 4)
  16. Carrie Jones – Need (1, 2, 3)
  17. Carrie Ryan – The Forest of Hands and Teeth (1, 2, 3, 4)
  18. Christopher Paolini – Inheritance (1, 2, 3, 4)
  19. Cinda Williams Chima – The Heir Chronicles (1, 2, 3)
  20. Colleen Houck – Tigers Saga (1, 2)
  21. Cornelia Funke – Inkheart (1, 2, 3)
  22. Ellen Hopkins – Impulse
  23. Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
  24. Faraaz Kazi – Truly, Madly, Deeply
  25. Frank Beddor – The Looking Glass Wars (1, 2, 3)
  26. Gabrielle Zevin – Elsewhere
  27. Gail Carson Levine – Fairest
  28. Holly Black – Tithe (1, 2, 3)
  29. J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
  30. James Dashner – The Maze Runner (1, 2)
  31. James Patterson – Maximum Ride (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
  32. Jay Asher – Thirteen Reasons Why
  33. Jeanne DuPrau – Books of Ember (1, 2, 3, 4)
  34. Jeff Kinney – Diary of a Wimpy Kid (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  35. John Boyne – The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
  36. John Green – An Abundance of Katherines
  37. John Green – Looking for Alaska
  38. John Green – Papper Towns
  39. Jonathan Stroud – Bartimaeus (1, 2, 3, 4)
  40. Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl – Caster Chronicles (1, 2)
  41. Kelley Armstrong – Darkest Powers (1, 2, 3)
  42. Kristin Cashore – The Seven Kingdoms (1, 2)
  43. Lauren Kate – Fallen (1, 2, 3)
  44. Lemony Snicket – Series of Unfortunate Events (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
  45. Libba Bray – Gemma Doyle (1, 2, 3)
  46. Lisa McMann – Dream Catcher (1, 2, 3)
  47. Louise Rennison – Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  48. M.T. Anderson – Feed
  49. Maggie Stiefvater – The Wolves of Mercy Falls (1, 2, 3)
  50. Margaret Peterson Haddix – Shadow Children (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
  51. Maria V. Snyder – Study (1, 2, 3)
  52. Markus Zusak – The Book Thief
  53. Markus Zusak – I am the Messenger
  54. Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
  55. Mary Ting – Crossroads
  56. Maureen Johnson – Little Blue Envelope (1, 2)
  57. Meg Cabot – All-American Girl (1, 2)
  58. Meg Cabot – The Mediator (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  59. Meg Cabot – The Princess Diaries (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  60. Meg Rosoff – How I live now
  61. Megan McCafferty – Jessica Darling (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  62. Megan Whalen Turner – The Queen’s Thief (1, 2, 3, 4)
  63. Melina Marchetta – On the Jellicoe Road
  64. Melissa de la Cruz – Blue Bloods (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  65. Melissa Marr – Wicked Lovely (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  66. Michael Grant – Gone (1, 2, 3, 4)
  67. Nancy Farmer – The House of the Scorpion
  68. Neal Shusterman – Unwind
  69. Neil Gaiman – Coraline
  70. Neil Gaiman – Stardust
  71. Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book
  72. P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast – House of Night (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 )
  73. Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials (1, 2, 3)
  74. Rachel Caine – The Morganville Vampires (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  75. Rachel Cohn & David Levithan – Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
  76. Richelle Mead – Vampire Academy (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  77. Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Olympians (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  78. Rom LcO’Feer – Somewhere carnal over 40 winks
  79. S.L. Naeole – Grace (1, 2, 3, 4)
  80. Sabrina Bryan & Julia DeVillers – Princess of Gossip
  81. Sarah Dessen – Along for the Ride
  82. Sarah Dessen – Lock and Key
  83. Sarah Dessen – The Truth about Forever
  84. Sara Shepard – Pretty Little Liars (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
  85. Scott Westerfeld – Leviathan (1, 2)
  86. Scott Westerfeld – Uglies (1, 2, 3)
  87. Shannon Hale – Books of a Thousand Days
  88. Shannon Hale – Princess Academy
  89. Shannon Hale – The Books of Bayern (1, 2, 3, 4)
  90. Sherman Alexie & Ellen Forney – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
  91. Simone Elkeles – Perfect Chemistry (1, 2, 3)
  92. Stephanie Meyer – The Host
  93. Stephanie Meyer – Twilight Saga (1, 2, 3, 4)
  94. Sue Monk Kidd – The Secret Life of Bees
  95. Susan Beth Pfeffer – Last Survivors (1, 2, 3)
  96. Suzanne Collins – Hunger Games (1, 2, 3)
  97. Suzanne Collins – Underland Chronicles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  98. Terry Pratchett – Tiffany Aching (1, 2, 3, 4)
  99. Tonya Hurley – Ghost Girl (1, 2, 3)
  100. Wendelin Van Draanen – Flipped
I hadn't even heard of some of the books on this list before, so my to-read list just got a little longer. A few more are sitting next to my bed waiting for me. How many have you read? :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Follow Friday (10) and Book Blogger Hop (10)

 Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee.

This week's topic is: In books like the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series the paranormal creature in question "comes out of the closet" and makes itself known to the world. Which mythological creature do you wish would come out of the closet, for real?

Dragons! Not the evil ones of really old stories, but the ones with personalities like in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles or Eragon.

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Crazy for Books.

This week's topic is: Non-book-related question this week! Do you have a pet?

Oh yes, I have a pet. Or rather, pets. At my house, we have seven goats named Lily, Holly, Mimsy, Daisy, Zephyr (also called Twiggy), and Zinnia. We also have four cats who go by the names of Kindle, Cricket, and Fritz. There has been so much debate over our little black kitten's name that he doesn't have one yet, but people are leaning towards Zorro. Added to that, we have a giant Schnoodle named Brodie who thinks he is a lapdog. Out of this plethora of beasts, Mimsy the goat and Cricket the cat are mine. My poor Cricket is a lovely little cat with orange and grey and white markings, six toes on her paws and only half a tail. She is extremely skittish after some bad experiences with dogs who wanted to play tug-of-war and the engine belt in my dad's work truck.

If you think that is a lot of animals, you should have seen it back when we had twice the goats, another dog and another cat.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Burden of Blood Blog Tour: Interview with Wenona Hulsey & Giveaway!

I am so happy to be part of the Burden of Blood Blog Tour. Thanks to Bookish Snob Promotions and the lovely Wenona Hulsey, I have a copy of this wonderful story to share with you today as well as an interview with the author. I hope that you will enjoy Wenona's answers and her book as much as I did. :)

Hello! Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I loved your book so I am very excited about getting to ask you a few questions. :)

Hi Lieder! Thanks for letting me visit your beautiful blog.  I’m so glad you loved my book, but I should have known you would, we Gemini’s think alike. :)

How did you start writing?

I’ve always loved to write. As a teen I kept a journal where I wrote down random teenage drama with the occasional short story or very bad doodle sprinkled in.  The more I read the bigger that creative fire for writing grew.  Finally about eight months ago, I decided it was time to reach for a dream, so I went to work and out came my short story, Blood Awakening, that doubles as a prelude to my novel Burden of Blood.

What was your favorite part to write in Burden of Blood?

That’s a hard question, but I guess it would have to be when Sage almost kills Nicole trying to draw her powers to the surface.  I love the reactions of all the characters in this part.  I really love how Sage gets under Luke’s skin with her “Fairies are the bomb” attitude as Nicole starts to hear all the thoughts, good and bad, around her.

Nicole has an interesting talent in being able to hear bad thoughts, where did you come up with that?

I’ve always loved books with mind reading involved but I felt like those characters had it way too easy.  I mean how hard is your life if you know everything, good and bad, that is going on around you.  I wanted to present a woman struggling to be normal as she is weighted down by the evil of others.  I one point Nicole tell us that she wishes she could hear some of the good so maybe it would balance out.  But she makes the best of it by becoming a police officer.  I wanted her to be real, as in dealing with hard situations like normal, everyday people, even though she ends up with some superhuman abilities.

Were any of your characters inspired by real people?

No, all of my characters are 100% fiction but I did try to make each character as distinct to where they are from as I could.  As in, I made Nicole and Kat both bold, stubborn but caring Southern women.  That’s honestly how I see most women from the South, myself included lol.  Luke was a bit harder because I wanted you to feel like he belonged in Alabama so I made him polite and chivalrous but I do let you see a bit of his roots when he is talking to Rhys in a smooth Irish accent. Oh and good Ol’ Rhys. He was a fun one to create, I liked that he was a bit hard to understand but his physical presence told it all. He didn’t need to be understood for us to get that he was one daring and HOT warrior.

Can you give us a hint as to what Nicole, Luke and the others are up to now?

I’m not too far into the next book yet but I can tell you that Nicole is in Ireland and Luke is not by her side.  But don’t worry, we all know Luke isn’t going to let her get away that easy.  You will get to meet several new characters in the next book along with seeing who, yes I said WHO, Nicole ends up with. Luke may have some competition in my next novel, Blood of Fire.

(I can't wait to read it!)

Random Fun Stuff:

If you could go on a date with either Luke or Rhys, which would you pick?

I love the polite, sweet guy who will hold the door for me and kiss me on the forehead so I’m would say yes to Luke.  I’m afraid Rhys is one of those love ‘em and leave ‘em type of guys.

If your main characters were ice cream flavors, what would they taste like?

Nicole would be fudge ripple ice cream, she tries to be plain but it just doesn’t work out.
Luke would be vanilla, pure and yummy.
Kat would be strawberry ice cream because she is so much fun and loves to have a good time.
Rhys would be rocky road.  You don’t know what you’re going to get when you take a bite but you now it’s going to be Oh So Good!
Sage would be chocolate ice cream. She’s bold and there’s nothing you can add that would make her better.

(Ooh, yum.)

If Burden of Blood was to be made into a movie, what actor would you like to be in it?

I recently spotted Chris Hemsworth and, after wiping the drool away from my lips, I thought he would make the perfect Luke.  And maybe Cam Gigandet (played James in Twilight) as Rhys if he was a little more pumped.  I think Mila Kunis would make a good Nicole if she had curly hair.

About the Author:
Author Wenona Hulsey is a lover of all things written. When she was a child, you could find her reading anything from Edgar Allen Poe to the back of cereal boxes. Today you will find her with an e-book reader glued to her hands except for the times when she is writing or spending time with her family. She is also an avid social networker who loves to meet new people. You can friend her on Twitter, like her on Facebook or follow along on her blog.

About the Book:
No one wants to know everyone’s darkest secrets, especially not police officer, Nicole Keenan. All she wants is a blissfully normal life in the small, Alabama town where she was born. But as generations of power running through her veins start to wake up, an ancient grudge is ignited that threatens to push her over the edge. She can hardly believe in what she is, let alone that a dark force will not stop until she's joins them. Or is dead.
Nicole Keenan's life enters into a dangerous dance with warriors and gothic fairies. Southern tradition collides with Irish folklore as she learns about love, heartbreak, and The Burden of Blood.

And now, for the giveaway! I get to give away two e-book copies of Blood Awakening, the novella prequel to Burden of Blood, to two commenters. All you have to do is leave a round of applause for Wenona along with your e-mail address. For an extra entry, spread the word and leave a link. This giveaway ends on Sept. 2nd at 11:59 Pacific Time.

Even if you don't win a copy, you can purchase Blood Awakening and Burden of Blood on Amazon.

Follow along the tour for more fun posts and chances to win this book. The next tour stop is tomorrow at Fangtastic Books. Good luck, everyone!

                            Lieder Madchen

Check out this epic giveaway!

You have to go see this awesome giveaway at Missy's Reads!

Prize Packs
There are going to be FIVE themed prize packs that you can choose from. It's up to you how many you'd like to enter to win, so enter just one... or a few... or all of them! Each one has a specific theme and all the books in the prizes will come brand-spanking-new from Book Depository, which makes each and every one eligible to be INTERNATIONAL.

Prize Pack #1: The Beach Bum Prize Pack
All books in this category are beach-related in some way, shape or form. If you win this prize pack, you will get your choice of three books.

Prize Pack #2: Bitten & Smitten Prize Pack
These books are all about vampires. Again, I'll list some of my favorites and you will get your choice of three books.

Prize Pack #3: Boys, Boys, Boys Prize Pack
Some of my favorite books, all written by male authors. Pick three.

Prize Pack #4: Everything In-Between Prize Pack
The books listed here are some of my absolute favorites of the year. If selected, you will choose three.

Prize Pack #5: Surprise Prize Pack
This prize is pretty much all about the winner, but with a twist. On the entry form, there will be a place where you will write down your top six books on your wishlist. If you're selected as the winner of this prize pack, I will choose three of those six books to order and send to you.

Bonus Prize Pack: Ultimate Follower Prize Pack
Okay, I lied... there's one more prize pack. This one is made specifically for you to show my gratitude.

In this prize pack, you will get the following:
· Your choice of three books.
· Two random ARCs that I have lying around.
· A whole bunch of swag - bookmarks, bookplates, charms, stickers, notepads, etc.

These will be shipped in two packages. Your choices will be mailed from
Book Depository, and the ARCs and swag will be mailed from my place. The ARCs are a total surprise but I will say that they will be recent releases. I will be shipping these in a medium package, and will use the swag to fill the box the rest of the way. The last time I did this, someone got over 50 pieces of swag.

So there you have it, SIX PRIZE PACKS! All for you guys because I appreciate all that you do.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved But Never Reviewed


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is: Top Ten Books I Loved But Never Reviewed. I would like to add a Yet onto the end of that, as I will probably be reviewing some of these books in the future. As usual, my Top Ten list is in no kind of order.

Die For Me by Amy Plum
I loved this book when I read it a few months ago, but for some reason I never got around to writing a review.

Archangel by Sharon Shinn
I have been meaning to review this one, but it hasn't happened yet. I love the world and the characters and the wonderful romance.

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
This book is so cute and so much fun! My sister and I both read it and now I have loaned it to my cousin, maybe I will review it when she has finished it.

Divergent by Veronica Roth
I really meant to review this one, but when I read it I got so caught up in the story that I forgot to pay attention to language content for my ratings. I don't think there was really any swearing, but I guess I am going to have to read it again...just to make sure...

Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce
This is one of my favorite books in the whole world. I can't count the many times I have re-read it and at some point I am going to have to tell you people how wonderful it is. :)

The Sand-Reckoner by Gillian Bradshaw
I even went so far as to borrow this from the library to review it because it had been a year since I first read it and I was a little fuzzy on things like swearing and sexual content but things came up and I had to return it without re-reading. It is a wonderful book, though, and I will make sure to review it someday.

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
I love everything by Lois McMaster Bujold, but this, the first book I read by her, is special. I could read this book ten times in a month and still find new things to think about.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I am a little scared to take on a classic such as this in a review. What could I say that someone else hasn't said better before? But it is such a wonderful book that I am sure I will gather up my courage one day.

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
I love the Scarlet Pimpernel. I love his adventures, his girl, his century, his disguises, the trouble he gets into...this is one of my very favorite historical classic romance.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini
I used to be utterly obsessed by this book when I was younger. This is the first novel that had me trolling fan-sites in search of book news and movie development. I have got over my obsession, but Eragon still has a special place on my bookshelf.

                                Lieder Madchen

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Book Review #92: The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Knight
by Julie Kagawa
Genre: YA Fantasy
Ages: 14 and up
This is the fourth novel in the Iron Fey series after The Iron King, The Iron Daughter and The Iron Queen.
I received an advance e-book from NetGalley for review.

My name—my True Name—is Ashallayn’darkmyr Tallyn.

I am the last remaining son of Mab, Queen of the Unseelie Court.

And I am dead to her.

My fall began, as many stories do, with a girl…

To cold faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl—smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the unwelcome company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end—a quest to find a way to honor his vow to stand by Meghan’s side.

To survive in the Iron Realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible.  And along the way Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

My Review:
This book was simply beautiful. I had not read any of the Iron Fey series until I heard about this one and then I went through the whole, wonderful series in less than a month. After the ending of The Iron Queen left me sighing I was so glad that I had this one on my computer, just waiting for me. I read it in a single afternoon, reveling in every page of heartbreaking tragedy and irrepressible joy. This is a perfect ending to a perfect series.

This book is all about Ashallayn' darkmyr Tallyn, the darkly handsome, dangerous prince of the Winter Fey. Did you ever want to know more about his life before he fell in love? Or how he truly felt about Ariella and how he feels now about Meghan? I was always on Team Ash, despite Puck's devious attempts to steal my heart, and this book made me love him even more. He has done terrible things in the past, things that were hinted about before but were never fully revealed, but he overcame his ruthless nature and upbringing because of the love of two young women. In this book, he is tempted and tested in every possible way until everything he thought he was is stripped away. It was nearly painful to watch at times, but oh how wonderful were the results...

The Iron Knight focuses a lot on the characters and their interactions. Puck and Ash, longtime friends and arch-enemies, have such a wonderful and complex relationship. They go from trying to kill each other to saving one another. Puck would get on anyone's last nerve and I completely understand the impulse to slice that grin off his face, so it was a lot of fun to watch the tension and, surprisingly, the trust between them. Despite everything, they know that they can count on each other completely.

Meghan is only barely featured in this book, and at times it seems hopeless that Ash will ever see her again. This, combined with the surprise introduction of a new player, leads to a whole new level of emotional pain for Ash. Even with Meghan off-page, the romance in The Iron Knight is wonderful.

I love the world of the Iron Fey series. The Fey are deadly and beautiful, just the way I always imagine them. No sparkly Tinkerbells here. Nothing is done for nothing and make promises at your peril. I can practically see the creatures of the wyldwood peeking through the leaves, watching for you to make a mistake.

As an ending to my review, I would like to add a chuckle for the fun little interview attached to the end of the book and a virtual smack on the head for Puck because he got that song stuck in my head.

I would recommend this novel to lovers of fantasy, epic romance, sacrifice and wonderful characters. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Content Ratings: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I rate it a 4.10 for brief mild and mid-level swearing and name-calling

I give it a 4.10 for a couple of discreet fadeaways.

I give it a 7.10 for fighting and death.

                                Lieder Madchen

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Evil Authors


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week is a freebie, so I get to pick my Top Ten. In honor of the visit of Lacey Weatherford on Songs and Stories, I have decided to finally write down my list of Evil Authors who torture me with awful cliffhanger endings.

This list is in no particular order.

Lacey Weatherford, author of the Of Witches and Warlocks series. Every single on of her books ends at the wost possible moment, leaving you pounding your head against the wall and begging for the next book to come out just a little bit faster. And she thinks it is funny! (Go here to read my review of one of her books and an interview with the lady herself. She is giving away e-books to every commenter!)

Cassandra Clare, author of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. She has not one, but two cliffhangers tormenting readers at the moment. After reading City of Fallen Angels I was in a cliffhanger fueled high for over a week. Plus, she posts teasers every few days, exacerbating the pain.

Lauren Oliver, author of Delirium. The evil cliffhanger at the end of Delirium was so convincing that it made me cry. I hadn't had a book make me cry in years.

L. Carroll, author of the Lor Mandela series. Yes, her endings are evil, but I promised to forgive her if she sent me a copy of her third book when it comes out, so I will try not to complain too much. I will just say, that ending was not nice. At all.

Matthew Reilly, author of the Shane Schofield series, the Jack West series, Contest and Temple. I am not actually annoyed with this author at the moment, but I can still remember the ending of one of his books where one character had literally fallen off of a cliff, another was captured by villains and the rest were in mortal peril. It was perhaps the most exaggeratedly evil cliffhanger I have ever read, and I had to wait a whole year for the next one.

Veronica Roth, author of Divergent. The ending wouldn't really have been a cliffhanger if it hadn't been for those hints...grr.

Scott Westerfeld, author of the Uglies, Midnighters, Peeps, Succession and Leviathan series. I really can't wait for Goliath to come out after the ending of Behemoth.

Christopher Paolini, author of the Inheritance Cycle. OK, so his books do not necessarily end with the worst cliffhangers, but there are always so many hints and loose ends and unresolved issues that I want to smack him for taking so long to finish the last book.

Sherrilyn Kenyon, author of the Dark-Hunter series, the Chronicles of Nick and numerous other series. The Chronicles of Nick have me so confused. I read some of the Dark-Hunter books before them, and  the time paradox and merging realities thing is driving me nuts! I can't wait to see what happens in Infamous.

Becca Fitzpatrick, author of the Hush, Hush novels. I just read Crescendo a few weeks ago and I may go crazy before Silence comes out. That ending was just mean.
                 Lieder Madchen

Blood of the White Witch Book Tour: Interview with Author Lacey Weatherford + Giveaway!

I am so excited to be a part of the Blood of the White Witch Blog Tour! I had never read any of the books in this series before, but they are so much fun! And Lacey, the wonderful authoress, is such a fun lady. While I was reading her books, we had a crazy Twitter conversation that made me laugh and want to interview her even more. So I am thrilled to have her as a guest here, where she has answered a few of my questions and is giving away e-copies of her book to every commenter. Be warned, once you read one of her books you have to read them all. :)

How did the Witches and Warlocks series come into existence?

It was a total fluke actually.  I’d just finished writing my first book ever, with the intent of getting it bound for my bookshelf so I could say, “Hey, I did that!”  It took me 14 years to finish that book and I didn’t have any plans to write anymore.  I was sitting in my room laughing at my daughter who had just dyed her hair from a very light blond back to her natural brunette color, but the color had gone on black.  We laughed and her boyfriend teased her that everyone was going to think she was a witch.  For some reason that comment stuck in my head and the story about a high school age girl with black hair becoming a witch began to form. 

I resisted at first.  I was happy I’d finished my previous book and it had taken so long I didn’t want to write another.  But after about a week I couldn’t ignore the voices anymore.  They wanted their story told.  Six weeks later the first book was finished.  Seven days later I finish book two.  Three weeks later I finished book three.  And the ball just kept rolling on from that point.

What parts of the story were your favorites to write?

Well, I’m an incurable romantic, and I love kissing, so anything that had kissing with Portia and Vance was always a favorite with me.  I also enjoyed stepping outside of myself and getting into the heads of the villains.  That delicious evilness is so fun to play around with.

(Note from the blogger: There were some pretty awesome kissing scenes. :)

Was Vance Mangum inspired by a real person?

Yes!!  When I very first thought of the character for this story I had an image of this hot guy I’d seen on television pop into my head, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember where I’d seen him.  I finally tracked him down and discovered his name was Matt Lanter. (9O21O, Vampires Suck, Liar’s All)  I ordered all of his movies and what television shows I could get on DVD or the internet and watched them all while I developed the character in my head.  From the way he swaggered as he walked, to the cocking of his eyebrow, were all incorporated into the character.  Matt has the books and he’s been a wonderful support too.  I received a lot of my initial contacts I made in the book world after he retweeted the release of my first book.  He’s awesome! 

******** Spoiler Alert!********

Is there any way on earth your parents would have let you marry at sixteen?

LOL!  Maybe...if I was pregnant! No, not even then because my dad would have shot the guy! Ha! I would’ve happily gotten married at sixteen though.  I was ready to get on with life!

I’m definitely not advocating teenage marriage, but that being said, many people in my family were married very young because we were lucky enough to find that special someone early in life.  We’ve had some who married at seventeen, and I was eighteen married when I married my handsome, swoony, nineteen year old husband.  I’m happy to say all those marriages have been wildly happy and successful!  I think age is irrelevant most of the time.  It depends on the maturity of the individual.  Some thirty year olds aren’t ready for marriage because of the wild and crazy lifestyles they live.  Some young people have good heads on their shoulders and a clear vision of their futures.  It’s all subjective. (Once again...not saying a fourteen year old should be allowed to marry because they’re mature!  Don’t shoot me!)

(While I read this book, I just had to go ask my mom if she would have let me marry at 16, or even now, and she started grilling me on my potential husband's stats. I described Vance and she said absolutely not, LOL.)

******** End of Spoiler ********

Are there any authors or books that have influenced your writing?

Every time I read something by L. M. Montgomery I feel like writing something.  Her Anne of Green Gables series is one of my favorites and her description are akin to chocolate being served to you by angels on a ray of sunshine—complete word perfection that melts in your mouth and brings joy to the heart.  What a gifted writer! I love her work!

(I love Anne of Green Gables! That series is wonderful.)

Do you plan on continuing to write after finishing this series? If so, what will you be working on next?

Yes.  I have the rough draft of my next release done already.  It’s a fairytale/fantasy called Castle in the Clouds.  I also have about six other stories in the works right now, from YA to Adult, contemporary to paranormal.  There are a lot of ideas buzzing around in my head!

(Now you have me all excited! I can't wait!)

Is there any music that you like to listen to while writing? Or songs that come to mind when you think about certain characters?

I have a massive playlist for the series.  It definitely helps me to get into the mood for some of my really big scenes.  Some of the most influential songs have been:
Apologize, by One Republic (Book 1- The Trouble with Spells)
Pictures of You, by The Last Goodnight (Book 1- The Trouble with Spells)
Fall For You, Secondhand Serenade (Book 2- The Demon Kiss)
If Today Was Your Last Day, by Nickelback (Book 3- Blood of the White Witch)
Running Up That Hill, by Placebo (Book 3- Blood of the White Witch)
Whataya Want From Me, by Adam Lambert (Book 4- The Dark Rising)
Bad Romance, by Lady Gaga (Book 4- The Dark Rising)
I Can’t Stay Away, by the Veronicas and Naturally, by Selena Gomez puts me in Portia’s head.
Give Me a Sign, Anthem of the Angels, Into the Nothing, I Will Not Bow, Blow Me Away, Had Enough, and Lights Out, by Breaking Benjamin are songs that instantly connect me to Vance voice.  My playlist for book 5, Possession of Souls, is exclusively Breaking Benjamin, since Vance has been who I’m most connected with in that story.

(I listened to these songs while working on this post and they are great! Running Up That Hill and Fall For You are now stuck in my head. :P My brother is a huge Breaking Benjamin fan.)

If you held the same powers as Portia or Vance, what would you do with them?

I have no idea.  I always joke around that I would use them to clean my house!  I really would too!  I’d hope I would use them for good and the betterment of society.  I know many people in my family are very sick with things like cancer or other debilitating diseases.  I would use that ability to heal them before I did anything else.

Thanks so much for hosting me!! I really appreciate it and I enjoyed your questions! :D

Thank you for visiting! I had a wonderful time reading your books and interviewing you, I can hardly wait to read what you write next!

Lacey Weatherford has always had a love of books. She wanted to become a writer after reading her first Nancy Drew novel at the age of eight. Lacey resides in the White Mountains of Arizona , where she lives with her wonderful husband, six beautiful children, one son-in-law, and their energetic schnauzer, Sophie. When she's not out supporting one of her kids at their sporting/music events, she spends her time writing, reading, blogging, and reviewing books.

You can contact Lacey by following her on her social medias:
Facebook Fan Page at Of Witches and Warlocks- Paranormal Book Series
Series Site

I was scheduled to give away one e-copy of Blood of the White Witch, but Lacey has generously decided to give a copy to every commenter! Just leave your e-mail address and something nice for Lacey about her books or the interview. :)

You can go here to read my review.

There will be lots of fun posts and giveaways during this tour, so go check them out! The next post will be at Readergirls tomorrow on Aug. 17th.

                                 Lieder Madchen

Book Review #91: Blood of the White Witch by Lacey Weatherford

Blood of the White Witch
by Lacey Weatherford

Genre: YA Romance / Paranormal / Fantasy
Ages: 15 and up
This book is the third in the Of Witches and Warlocks series.
I received a copy of this in exchange for a fair and honest review as part of the Blood of the White Witch Blog Tour.

A perfect romance.
A heartbreaking betrayal.
An ancient ritual.
A fight to the death.
Who will survive?

When love came knocking on the door of novice witch, Portia Mullins, in the form of handsome bad boy, Vance Mangum, she had no idea how quickly the attraction between them would escalate. Now she finds her relationship with Vance taken to a whole new level, in a way she had never dreamed possible at this point and time of her life. Yet even as the personal connection between them explodes, the two quickly find themselves in a world of shifting balances. While searching for Vance’s missing mother, they realize they are suddenly unsure of who to trust, learning that sometimes things are not always as they appear. When Vance’s demon characteristics abruptly begin to resurface again without warning, the horrible truth comes out, crashing down upon them and shattering some of their most precious dreams. Once the deadly plan is uncovered, Portia and Vance find themselves hastily rushing against the hands of time in an attempt to stop an ancient ritual from being performed. But will they be successful before fate reaches out to twist them cruelly, possibly separating them and changing magic forever? Passion, loyalties, powers, and family ties, will all be tested when dangerous adventures abound in this third installment in the Of Witches and Warlocks series, Blood of the White Witch.

Note:First of all, I have to warn you that this most definitely the third book in a series. To read this one, you have to read the first two. And you won't regret it. These books are way too much fun. My mom often calls the books I read "candy." This appellation usually irritates me, but in this case it fits. Think of this series as a bag on M&Ms; once you devour one, you just have to have the rest. They are extremely addictive.

I have decided to divide this review into two parts; the Spoiler-Free and the Tell-All. I can't really do justice to this book without giving away the huge surprise at the beginning because it affects the entire story. So, the first part of this review may have some hints and such, but the second part will be for those who have already read it so that I can share my opinion.

My Review, the Spoiler-Free Portion:
Blood of the White Witch jumps right into the story with a shocking and highly original twist. I will leave you the delight of gasping over it in surprise. I had my hand over my mouth to stifle my giggles for the first five minutes of the book.

I love Vance and Portia. They are both so very young but in possession of wisdom beyond their years. They have real problems sometimes in their relationship (though often exaggerated by magical mayhem) and they work through them intelligently and with understanding.

Vance is totally swoonworthy. He is handsome, strong, very protective, occasionally fierce, passionate, kind and loyal. He also has a strong belief in God, which is unusual and welcome in a YA hero.

The characteristic that stood out most in Portia, to me anyway, was her pure stubborn determination. No matter how bad things get, she finds hope and no matter what happens with Vance, be it evil relatives or demonic possession, she retains her belief that they will prevail. I also love their sense of humor. They are forever teasing each other and their friends, reminding you that they are still teenagers.

The plot is interesting, full of strange developments and disturbing twists. With this series, one never knows precisely what will happen next...and where would the fun be if you did?

I would recommend this book to lovers of (mostly) light YA romance and paranormal fantasy.

Content Ratings: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I rate it a 2.10 for one dang and one insult.

I give it a 5.10 for multiple fadeaways, references and innuendos, all of which were pretty clean.

I rate it a 7.10 for multiple murders and a brief threat of rape.

It is my great pleasure to have Lacey Weatherford herself visit my blog today, I got to ask her a few questions and she is giving away e-copies of Blood of the White Witch to every comment on the interview post! Just click on the button on the upper left sidebar and go get your copy!

Now, here is the part of the review where I tell you the rest of my feelings about more specific events in the book, and if you haven't read it yet you should turn back now. I mean it, I am putting a nice big gap in the post and writing the spoiler in a tiny font so you won't read it accidentally. I also put the semi-spoiler (aka, the spoiler that doesn't spoil much) on top of the huge spoiler so that if you glance down you will just see that.

**********SPOILER ALERT!**********

Lacey Weatherford has the dubious distinction of being very high up on my list of Evil Authors. Evil Authors being those who have perfected the exquisite form of torture that is a cliffhanger. I read her first three books, ending with this one, in a single day because I couldn't stand the cliffhangers that lurked at the end of each one. And then this one! I was left with the dilemma of knowing that the fourth book, The Dark Rising, was available on Amazon but also knowing that it would have a cliffhanger as well and that the fifth one has not yet been released. I gave in the next day and bought it, reading it in just a couple of hours and tearing my hair out once again from the ending. And the next one doesn't come out until February!!! I know this because I Tweeted my frustration at the author and she told me she was working on it. Lacey is a lovely lady and I had fun talking to her, even though there are moments when I could throttle her for her endings....

Vance and Portia got married!!!! First paragraph and I went into a state of happy shock. I love the way Lacey handled it, with Vance getting permission from her parents and everybody there to celebrate with them. In the previous books, I had really liked that they decided to wait for sex until after marriage (a wait that is sadly underrated in modern culture) and I really liked the way it was handled after their marriage. There is definitely passion and sensuality, but no details past kissing and some caresses. Also, when it comes to the idea of possible pregnancy, abortion is never considered an option despite the terrible circumstances. It is wonderful to read a story featuring teenagers who share the same values that I do.

                   Lieder Madchen