Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Book Review: The Legend of Holly Claus by Brittney Ryan

The Legend of Holly Claus
by Brittney Ryan

Genre: Fantasy / Holiday / Romance / Adventure / Middle Grade

Ages: 8 and up

I received an e-copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.


Santa Claus is the King of Forever, Land of the Immortals. When one special boy writes to Santa asking what no other child has ever asked, a miracle occurs: Santa and Mrs. Claus are blessed with a daughter. But the birth of Holly Claus also brings about a terrible curse--from an evil soul named Herrikhan. Holly's heart is frozen, and the gates to Forever are locked, barring exit or entry.

As she grows into a beautiful and selfless young woman, Holly longs to break the spell that holds her people hostage. With four faithful and magical animal friends, she escapes to the wondrous world of Victorian New York, where she will face countless dangers, adventures, and a miracle all her own.

My Thoughts:

I"m not sure what led me to read this book, but I am very glad I did. Maybe it was the pretty cover, or the setting of mid-1800s New York. My family has never done 'Santa Claus' in any way, shape or form, so it was an unusual choice for me. However, from the very first page, I fell in love.

The Legend of Holly Claus is, in essence, a fairytale, and I'm a sucker for fairytales. The infant princess, Holly, is cursed by a terrible warlock and is then raised in a very sheltered, lonely way. She has a few unusual, loyal to the bitter end friends (I love Euphemia and Empy in particular). Holly grows up looking at the world from the outside, yearning to experience life outside of the magical palace that keeps her safe, but isolated. She is a sweet, fairly simple character, which would in other stories come across as boring, but in this one it was in keeping with the straightforward simplicity of the fairytale-style adventure, and with the curse that has frozen her heart in a state of perpetual innocence.

After breaking out of Forever, her homeland, Holly lands on her feet in New York, finding a place to work at a toyshop, which is owned by a man named Mr. Carroll, a brooding, enigmatic figure who lurks behind curtains and never says a word that is not bad-tempered. Then the dashing Mr. Hartman sweeps her off her feet. The men in the story are much more complicated then Holly, adding a bit of darkness to keep the novel from being to sweet.

Ms. Ryan's writing has a certain charm to it that I was unable to resist. While this book is usually to be found in the children's section of a library or bookstore, it has enough weight and intelligence to entertain any age of reader. I've already read and enjoyed it more than once. I'll be reading it again next year, a Christmas tradition in the making.

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence 
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme). Ratings may contain spoilers.

I don't remember any swearing, but there might have been a 'damn' or 'drat'. Sorry, but my kindle isn't behaving today and refuses to do word searches.

I rate it a 1.10 for some mildly sensual vibes and a kiss or two.

I rate it a 5.10 for murder, attempted murder, and some brief violence, never graphically described. 

                          Lieder Madchen

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop!

Hi! This is my first giveaway hop in a long time, but I saw this one and it seemed like the perfect way to celebrate Christmas. The Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop is hosted by the lovely BookHounds and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Make sure to follow the hop along and say hi to her and all of the other participating bloggers.

For my part, I am giving away a hardback copy of Aurorarama by Jean-Christophe Valtat. Just look at the cover; quite frosty and appropriate for the season, don't you think?


1908: New Venice--"the pearl of the Arctic"--a place of ice palaces and pneumatic tubes, of beautifully ornate carriage-sleds and elegant victorian garb, of long nights and vistas of ice.

But as the city prepares for spring, it feels more like qaartsiluni, "the time when something is about to explode in the dark." Local "poletics" are wracked by tensions with the Eskimos circling the city, with suffragette riots led by an underground music star, with drug round-ups by the secret police force known as the Gentlemen of the Night. An ominous black airship hovers over the city, and the Gentlemen are hunting for the author of a radical pamphlet calling for revolt.

Their lead suspect is Brentford Orsini, one of the city's most prominent figures. But as the Gentlemen of the Night tighten the net around him, Orsini receives a mysterious message from a long-lost love that compels him to act.

What transpires is a literary adventure novel unlike anything you've ever read before. Brilliant in its conception, masterful in its prose, thrilling in its plot twists, and laced with humor, suspense, and intelligence, it marks the beginning of a great new series of books set in New Venice-and the launch of an astonishing new writer.

So, fill out the Rafflecopter and the best of luck to you all! Sadly, I can't afford international shipping so this giveaway is limited to the US only. :( I am sending virtual gingerbread men to all of my wonderful international followers, and I promise to try to do an e-book giveaway next time.

The winner has been chosen and contacted, so check your e-mail!

Merry Christmas!

             Lieder Madchen

Friday, December 20, 2013

Book Review: Forgotten Sins by Rebecca Zanetti Sins
by Rebecca Zanetti

Genre: Suspense / Romance / Action / Adventure / Mystery / Science Fiction

Ages: 17 and up

I received an e-copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.


His Secrets Can Destroy Her

From the moment Josie laid eyes on sexy, mysterious Shane Dean, she was in love. Their desire ignited a passionate affair, and within weeks, Shane had slipped a ring on her finger. It seemed her every fantasy was coming true . . . until her new husband disappeared without a trace. Now, two years and one broken heart later, Josie is shocked by the hospital calls: Shane has been found . . . at a crime scene with no memory of how he got there.

Her Love Can Save Him

Shane can't remember the blue-eyed angel at his bedside—or who he even is—but he knows something isn't right. His hearing is razor sharp, his physical strength incredible, and the urge to protect Josie overwhelming. For powerful enemies are hunting him, and Josie is the key to discovering why. As Shane struggles to unravel his past, dangerous new truths come to light. Can he protect the only woman he's ever loved? And can Josie trust a man she thought she knew—one who carries such a deadly secret?

My Thoughts:

I've been on a romantic suspense kick recently and this one really managed to catch my eye. From the first chapter, the characters grabbed me and I started asking questions. There was a bit of a Bourne Identity vibe with hints of sci-fi, fun action scenes and really fun characters. Plus, I simply can't resist a good amnesia story.

Josie's life gets turned upside down when she is called to the hospital to see her husband, who remembers nothing of his life before that day, including walking out on her without a word two years previously. Unfortunately, Josie can't help him remember much since he never told her about himself even while they were married. Things just go downhill from there, or, from a reader's perspective, they just get more entertaining by the minute.

Shane and Josie's relationship is interesting and well written, as bit by bit his mysterious past (I love a hero with a mysterious past, don't you?) is revealed in all its dark, painful glory. Josie struggles with whether or not she can trust him, even as she is forced to rely on him completely to stay alive. There emotions just clicked for me. Shane is almost ridiculously tough in a number of ways, but when it comes to Josie he can't seem to figure out what to do. He sees her as this almost fantasy creature, kind and 'soft' and in need of protection at all times. Josie might be soft in some respects, but she is also feisty and tougher than he thinks, managing to rescue herself on more than one occasion.

I adored Shane's brothers. They each have their own unique talents and personalities - though they try to hide them - and a complete, unbreakable loyalty to each other. They might beat each other to a pulp every once in a while, but heaven help anyone else who so much as lifts a finger to harm one of them. I'm looking forward to reading the upcoming books about Matt and Nathan.

Reading this book is comparable to watching a not particularly original but well made, well acted action movie. It's a fun way to spend a couple of hours on a rainy afternoon, or a cold, frosty afternoon in my case.

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence 
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme). Ratings may contain spoilers.

I rate it a 7.10 for 28 uses of the f-word (Don't you love the search feature on kindle? It makes my job so much easier.), as well as multiple instances of mild to mid-level swearing.

I give it an 8.10 for a few fairly descriptive scenes and some innuendo and references.

I rate it an 8.10 for murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, fistfights, torture (not graphically described), etc.

                                      Lieder Madchen 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Heartbeat Book Blitz + Giveaway!

Hello! Today I'm sharing a very interesting looking book with you, courtesy of Kismet Book Tours, and give you an opportunity to win a copy. So, take a look, enter the Rafflecopter, and come back in a few days to read my review. :) HEARTBEAT:
Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with.
But Emma can’t tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her. bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn’t have interested Old Emma. But New Emma—the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia—New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge. Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death—and maybe, for love?

Praise for Heartbeat

“An intense examination of a family coping with grief, this absorbing character study easily keeps pages turning.”

— Kirkus on Heartbeat Elizabeth Scott - Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Tumbler

ELIZABETH SCOTT grew up in a town so small it didn’t even have a post office, though it did boast an impressive cattle population. She’s sold hardware and panty hose and had a memorable three-day stint in the dot-com industry, where she learned that she really didn’t want a career burning CDs. She lives just outside Washington, D.C., with her husband, and firmly believes you can never own too many books.

And now, for the giveaway! Good luck! :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway