Sunday, 31 August 2014

Second Opinion: Dark Aemilia - Sally O'Reilly

Author: Sally O'Reilly
Title: Dark Aemilia
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Drama, and Fantasy
Pages: 448
First Published: May 2014
Where I Got It: On my shelf (Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion)


"The daughter of a Venetian musician, Aemilia Bassano came of age in Queen Elizabeth’s royal court. The Queen’s favorite, she develops a love of poetry and learning, maturing into a young woman known not only for her beauty but also her sharp mind and quick tongue. Aemilia becomes the mistress of Lord Hunsdon, but her position is precarious. Then she crosses paths with an impetuous playwright named William Shakespeare and begins an impassioned but ill-fated affair.



A decade later, the Queen is dead, and Aemilia Bassano is now Aemilia Lanyer, fallen from favor and married to a fool. Like the rest of London, she fears the plague. And when her young son Henry takes ill, Aemilia resolves to do anything to save him, even if it means seeking help from her estranged lover, Will—or worse, making a pact with the Devil himself."



Like earlier stated, I was given this book for my honest and unbiased opinion.


Ohhhhh! I totally did not expect the fantasy intertwined in the story - totally took me by surprise! It's not over the top, which I was worried about when the first "supernatural" thing occurred. I was rather surprised when it appeared! The way that the author presents these supernatural elements makes it seem realistic and questionable. The story is told through Aemilia's POV and she sees/talks to these beings. The way its told makes you wonder if it really exists or if Aemilia is imagining it. Honestly....I think she was imagining it due to grief, stress, and anger. The "fantasy" aspect doesn't really make a huge appearance until about halfway through when things escalate. Fantastic!


Poor Aemilia. :/ She had a hell of a time after she meets William Shakespeare. Yes, it is love of a sorts, but it comes back and bites her in the ass. It brings up the question: is love really worth it? This question is battled throughout the book. Just...sighs...I feel so bad for her. William was a butt-cheek at one point and that made me upset. It had to happen, because this is not a Historical Romance by any means, so yeah....and for those that know of Aemilia and/or Willie then yeah.....:(


The beginning was a wee bit slow, but after the first couple of chapters I could NOT put this down. I just really had to know what was happening next. There is some crudeness here and there, which fits the time period well. A few people (I had read some other reviews - like I normally do) really were "offended" and they thought it was "unnecessary", but it honestly fit. Plus, it was not everywhere only in certain moments that seemed like a time Aemilia would really think, say, and feel that way, so it worked. 


Honestly...I could ramble on about this book for a bit, so I shall end it now.


In the end, this was a book worthwhile to read, especially if one loves the time period. It was an interesting look on who could have been William's "dark lady". The author did a good job bringing the world and the people to life. The beginning was a wee bit slow, but it was totally worth it. I shall stamp this with 4 stars. 


Favorite Character(s): Aemilia, William (even though he was a poopstain at one point), Henry (even though he is a brat sometimes), and Hunsdon.

Not-so Favorite Character(s): Alfonso and Tom (I don't know why, but he irked me) 


Thanks Carole! For my review of the book check


Saturday, 30 August 2014

DNFs and #Bookblogwalkers Weekly Check-in Aug. 29, 2014


This challenge is organized by Felicia over at the Geeky Blogger's Book Blog, but this week Jen is hosting

Saturday 1 hour walk
Sunday - 1 hour walk
Monday - 1 hour workout class + 10 km bike
Tuesday - 5 km bike and 30 min walk
Wednesday - 1 hour walk and 5 km bike
Thursday - 10 km bike and 30 min walk
Friday  6 km bike

Sat and Sun

Toad. A "nice" swamp. No explanation needed. And a statue with a  mailbox on, you do not wanna see it in the dark.

---------------------------

DNF time

A girl finds herself in another world. All alone, there are weird animals, buildings, she  meets an advanced race and tries to fit in. Longer blurb

My thoughts:
Ugh I could not go on. Why is this girl still alive? Why is she not sad, depressed, angry or anything? So I gave up quickly. It was the wool thing that did it.

Kindle Edition, 273 pages, Published March 20th 2011 by Andrea K. Hösth. Touchstone #1. YA / Sci-fi. Own

Tries goes to explore the world outside the city and hears new truths. For a longer blurb see

My thoughts:
Do you know what I remember from this book...NOTHING. Well that they talked. I think I listened for 1 minute and then zoned out for an hour each time. I have no freaking idea what this book is about other than it was boring as, ugh, so boring!

SO I gave up like 60% through or something. Then I tried to find the end, gods, more boring talk!! And then more.

But then I found the thing people were upset about but by this time I could not give a f##k. Who cares! But ok I will admit for fans, that endings sucks ass. I would have been mad if I had not been forced to call it quits.

Audiobook, 12 pages. Published October 22nd 2013 by Harper Audio. Divergent #3. YA, Dystopia. Libary

A woman with no ties wanders the world and has great adventures cos she is so awesome. For a longer blurb see.

My thoughts:
Omg, just no. I think I was bored by page 2, suffered through a bit and just no.

World building? What world? There is some epic war going..ok, AND? Nothing.

The main character was stupid. The dialogue did not flow and there was this one thing that was really silly. She has just been kicked out and then she starts to think why the town is called that and I was all? What? And I gave up.

No, I would not recommend it and this book would have needed an editor.

Kindle Edition, 323 pages. Published January 28th 2010. The Book of Deacon #1. Fantasy. Own

The Chathrand is the last of her kind. Built 600 years ago she dwarves all the ships around her. Now, having survived countless battles and centuries of typhoons, it has gone missing. This is her story.

My thoughts:
When it comes to library books I give up quickly, and I knew from page one that this was not for me. Was I supposed to be amused by random silliness. It felt like that I could not wrap my head around what I read.

So I was bored and gave up.

Hardcover, 560 pages. Published February 1st 2008 by Gollancz .The Chathrand Voyage #1. Fantasy. Library

Two people meet, do not like each other but fall in love anyway. For a longer blurb see

My thoughts:
It started of fairly ok (though I saw nothing of PP), but then just in a few pages she manages to throw in religious stuff, and I was all, oh no. Christian fic?

I can do being religious, but I do not like preachy. Do not throw it in my face, I do not roll like that. So DNF.

Kindle Edition, 316 pages. Published 2013. Jane Austen Takes The South #1. Pride and Prejudice variation. Own

A detective needs to solve a big case, and the witness is a former one night stand. Plus politics. For a longer blurb

My thoughts:
I was so bored by page 70 that I had to DNF, I just could not bother caring for anyone or anything. I tried to read the end to find out who killed them but snooze.

Though for once I did see why others might like this one. It was just not my style.
 
ebook, 294 pages. Published June 21st 2010 by Carina Press. Fatal #1. Romantic suspense. Own

Girl  from Sense and Sensibility carves out a life full of adventure and artistic endeavor. For more see

My thoughts;
No, this was a no from page one. The way it was written was not for me, Eliza who cares. I gave up pretty fast, I do not have time for books that do not hook me at once.

Not for me then. Very dry.

ebook, 255 pages. Published November 1st 2008 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published 1994). Jane Austen variation. Own


Friday, 29 August 2014

My Highland Spy - Victoria Roberts

Laird Ruairi Sutherland refuses to send his only son away to be educated by the English. And he most definitely will not appear in Edinburgh to pay homage to a liege who has no respect for Scotland. So he does what any laird would do—he lies to the king. The last thing Ruairi expects is a beautiful English governess to appear on his doorstep.

Lady Ravenna Walsingham is a seasoned spy who is sent to the savage Highlands to uncover a nefarious plot against the Crown. Playing the part of an English governess—a job easier said than done—she infiltrates the home of Laird Sutherland, a suspected conspirator. Ravenna soon discovers that the only real threat Sutherland poses is to her heart. But will the proud Highland laird ever forgive her when he discovers the woman he loves in an English spy?

My thoughts:
Spy meets highlander and falls in love. That is the story.

I did think that the book could have been longer, maybe only 50 pages more to put some meat on the bones. They met and were in lust a second later. I would have wanted more around that. It was too quick. Very insta and in a way not, time went by, we just did not see it.

Ravenna spies for the crown and is sent to see what a certain sexy highlander is up to. Ruairi just wants to be Scottish and not send his son to Edinburgh and what's wrong with that?

She pretends to be a Governess and thinks he speaks no English. Oh watch your tongue then. HA, you will see. They both start to fall in lust. She learns that Highlanders are not brutes. Someone is sabotaging his lands and all the while she continues to lie. Will he ever forgive her?

Conclusion:
A romance with a sexy laird and a woman who knows what she wants.

Cover
Nice. But I do want his whole head

Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: September 2nd 2014 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Highland Spies #1
Historical romance
For review


Thursday, 28 August 2014

In bed with a rogue - Samantha Grace

The whole town is tittering about Baron Sebastian Thorne having been jilted at the altar. Every move he makes ends up in the gossip columns. Tired of being the butt of everyone's jokes, Sebastian vows to restore his family's reputation no matter what it takes.

Feted by the crème of society, the beautiful widow Lady Prestwick is a vision of all that is proper. But Helena is no angel, and when Sebastian uncovers her dark secret, he's quick to press his advantage. In order to keep her hard-won good name, Helen will have to make a deal with the devil. But she's got some tricks up her sleeves to keep this notorious rogue on his toes...

My thoughts:
Most of the time when someone has a secret, it ends up being a rather silly secret. Or still a good secret, but nothing major. Helena is different, she has a real secret. A secret that would make her an outcast. The ton is cruel yes, but yes her secret is not good for that time.

Yes this is book 2 but it reads well as a stand alone. Sebastian was jilted in book 1. Now the ton wonders what's wrong with him. As his father was mad, and his sister was left at the altar too. But he proves to be more than the dashing rogue here.

Like I said, Helena has a secret, more than one actually. And while dealing with that secret she meets Sebastian who starts to fall for her. While she holds back, she does not want a new husband.

I liked discovering what secrets she held and wondering if they would be all over town or not. And I enjoyed seeing her and Sebastian together.

Conclusion:
A lovely romance.

cover
good

Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Expected publication: September 2nd 2014 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Rival Rogues #2
Historical romance
For review


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Longbourn - Jo Baker

If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, she’d most likely be a sight more careful with them.

In this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice, the servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs. When a mysterious new footman arrives, the orderly realm of the servants’ hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended.

Jo Baker dares to take us beyond the drawing rooms of Jane Austen’s classic—into the often overlooked domain of the stern housekeeper and the starry-eyed kitchen maid, into the gritty daily particulars faced by the lower classes in Regency England during the Napoleonic Wars—and, in doing so, creates a vivid, fascinating, fully realized world that is wholly her own.

My thoughts:
This was a nice re-telling as it dealt with the servants at Longbourn. Yes things are going on upstairs, but they got their own issues downstairs.

We have of course Mrs and Mr Hill. Going on with their daily life of chores and something later on that I shall not talk about.

We have the maid Sarah who wishes Elizabeth would not walk through muddy fields when it's Sarah who has to spend a day trying to clean that damn petticoat. Sarah who catches the eye of a Netherfield servant.

Then there is Polly the younger maid, and James, the mysterious new servant who shows up. But who is he? I liked his story, it worked.

While the Bennets deal with heartbreak and balls, the servants clean after them. It also gave a portrait of Wickham that made sense, he is not a good man. But to my surprise I actually kind of kind of liked Mr Collins, he was nice. That too made sense.

Conclusion:
Dirty linens, making food, blasted petticoats, running to Meryton to deliver letters. it's another world for the downstairs folk. And it makes it into a great re-telling. It's their story, not the Bennets.

Cover
Nice
 
 
Hardcover, 332 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Knopf
Historical fiction / Pride and Prejudice variation
Library


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.

My thoughts:
Did I think I would like it? HA, no. It was YA, come on. You know me. Did I like it anyway? YES!!! I am sorry YA, but most of the time you are angst filled love triangle stuff that makes me want to bang my head against the wall. But then once in a while I like YA, and once upon a blue moon I actually really like one. Yes it surprised me. But then it had nothing of those things I do not like, and everything of what I do like.

It was set in Prague, at once a win win. I have been to Prague, it's a beautiful city and a perfect setting for this book.

Karou is an art student. Her family consists of  monsters and she is sent all over the world to get things. She has seen a lot, she has made mistakes but most of all she is lonely. She does not belong here or there. Whatever there is. She was different, she was sad, lonely, angry. I liked her.

The world was great. I am not gonna go into details but I liked Elsewhere. I really liked the Elsewhere aspect.

There is also some romance coming, and that, well at first I was unsure but ok it works, and it worked even better when I understood.

I want book 2 now. I need more and I hope, hope! that it will be good too. Because when I finally liked a YA book then the rest is meh. Oh I am such a pessimist. 

Conclusion:
I just really enjoyed this book, I do not know what more to say. Everything fell into place and worked for me. I could not stop reading. So yes I recommend it.

Cover
 Beyond boring

Hardcover, UK, 418 pages
Published September 29th 2011 by Hodder & Stoughton
Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1
YA, Paranormal
Library


Monday, 25 August 2014

The thinking woman's guide to real magic - Emily Croy Barker

Nora's life is not quite going as planned. Her career has stalled; the man of her dreams is getting married, but not to her; and there's a mouse in her kitchen... Getting away for the weekend for a friend's wedding seems like perfect timing, especially when she stumbles across the glamorous Ilissa, who is determined to take Nora under her wing.

Through Ilissa, Nora is introduced to a whole new world - a world of unbelievable decadence and riches where time is meaningless and everyone is beautiful. And Nora herself feels different: more attractive; more talented; more popular... Yet something doesn't quite ring true: was she really talking to Oscar Wilde at Ilissa's party last night? Or transported from New York to Paris in the blink of an eye?

It is only when Ilissa's son, Raclin, asks Nora to marry him that the truth about her new friends becomes apparent. By then, though, it's too late, and Nora realises she may never be able to return to the world, and the life, she knew before. If she is to escape Raclin and Ilissa's clutches, her only hope is the magician Aruendiel. A grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past, he might just teach her what she needs to survive and perhaps even make it home: the art of real magic.

My thoughts:
I always find "falling into a world fantasy" like a different sort of fantasy. With regular fantasy it's that world, and we do not exist. But with "falling into a world" we do have our world, and that world. And this did have more of a fairy-tale vibe to it too.

Let me begin. Nora takes a walk, meets some new people and parties, drinks and enjoys herself for once. But alas, something is strange. Why is she partying? Who are these people?

Which leads us to the fantasy world. Two races fighting. A world with magic. And to this world Nora comes with the knowledge from her world. And she is certainly not like other women. Demure, no, respectful, no. She also hates the world because what is she in it? Nothing. And the only person she knows is a magician who is grumpy.

I did want a bit more from this world, but at the same time I liked how it was. It was more fairy-tale like, and it's not a nice fairy-tale. Life is hard, dirty and degrading. But Nora sure tries to make the best of it.

But I warn you, the ending is..well it was an ending and it could be left like that. But at the same time, it was not! Omg, I need more, I need stuff to happen ;)

Conclusion:
An interesting book, good characters and somewhat of a silliness over it all too. It managed to be both serious, strange and fun.

Cover
nice

Paperback, 576 pages
Published July 29th 2014 by Penguin Books (first published August 1st 2013)
Fantasy / Fiction
For review


Sunday, 24 August 2014

Author Interview: Christina Courtenay

Today I am interviewing author Christina Courtenay.

Welcome!


1. Tell me 3 strange things about yourself?  
I eat chocolate for breakfast
I don’t like champagne so if I have to drink it I mix it with 7Up, Lemonade or Sprite
I can swear or say something rude in eight languages (not sure that’s a good thing though!?)

2. Tell me about your new book Moonsoon mists?
It’s a historical romance and adventure story, set in India in 1759, and it’s the third book in my Kinross series. It features Jamie Kinross, younger brother of Brice from the second book in the series, Highland Storms. Jamie is a gem trader who embarks on a dangerous mission, carrying the stolen talisman of an Indian Rajah. When he encounters Zarmina Miller, he’s instantly tempted by the so called “Ice Widow”, but he soon begins to see another side to her – a dark past to rival his own and a heart just waiting to be thawed. But is it too late? And what is he to do with the talisman?

3. Why did you decide to set it in India?
The hero, Jamie, wants to escape his past and needs to get as far away from his native country of Sweden as possible. In the 1750s that usually meant going to the Far East, but his brother and parents have already been there so he decides on India instead.

From the author’s point of view, I chose India because I found a wonderful journal from that time with an account of a Swedish man’s journey to Surat in India so I was able to see things through his eyes which was very helpful. And having already written about China and Japan, I wanted to try something new and exciting.

4. This is something many readers always wonder when a book is part of a series. Do you recommend that they read book 1 and 2 first, or can it work as a stand alone?
The book definitely works as a stand alone, but it is probably more satisfying for the reader if they have read books 1 and 2 first as there will be things they recognise and little snippets of information about characters from the previous stories. And the ending, where everything comes together, includes characters from the previous books who have cameo roles in this one. So yes, I’d recommend reading all three, but it’s not essential.

5.Did you always plan to write about Jamie or?
No, and in fact, I hadn’t planned to write a trilogy at all! When I finished the first book in the series, Trade Winds, I thought I had finished with the Kinross family, but the characters wouldn’t leave my head and I ended up writing the second book about Brice, the son of the couple in Trade Winds. Then his younger brother Jamie seemed to be the villain of that story, but he had his reasons and he wouldn’t give me any peace until I’d written his take on it down too. And there were readers who egged me on to write Jamie’s story as well, so in the end, I did. And I’m glad, because I’ve enjoyed spending more time with this family.

6. What are you working on right now?
I’ve just sent my publisher the third book in my Japanese trilogy (provisionally titled The Snow Ghost) and now I’m about to start work on a time slip novel set partly during the English Civil War, a period in history that I love. There’s something very special about the Cavaliers so I’m looking forward to writing this one!

Thanks!
Thank you for having me as your guest!

Blurb for Monsoon Mists
Sometimes the most precious things cannot be bought … 
It’s 1759 and Jamie Kinross has travelled far to escape his troubled existence – from the pine forests of Sweden to the bustling streets of India.

Jamie starts a new life as a gem trader, but when his mentor’s family are kidnapped as part of a criminal plot, he vows to save them and embarks on a dangerous mission to the city of Surat, carrying the stolen talisman of an Indian Rajah.

There he encounters Zarmina Miller. She is rich and beautiful, but her infamous haughtiness has earned her a nickname: “The Ice Widow”.   Jamie is instantly tempted by the challenge she presents.
When it becomes clear that Zarmina’s step-son is involved in the plot Jamie begins to see another side to her – a dark past to rival his own and a heart just waiting to be thawed. But is it too late?
Links:

Buy links:-


Saturday, 23 August 2014

#Bookblogwalkers Check-in and Turn it Up review


This challenge is organized by Felicia over at the Geeky Blogger's Book Blog, but this week Jen is hosting

Saturday 30 min walk
Sunday - 1 hour walk
Monday - 1 hour workout class + 10 km bike
Tuesday - 5 km bike and 30 min walk... I think
Wednesday - 30 min walk, 1 hour zumba and 5 km bike
Thursday - 5 km bike and 15 min walk
Friday  6 km bike

Bad me! If I do not mention it on twitter I can't remember! So a bit unsure about the weekend, and Tuesday. No pics either cos it was raining, and raining, so I got a few rainbows, that's all


----------------------------------
On to a review then 


Maxwell Turner considers his stubborn and resourceful attitude a plus. After all, it usually gets him what he wants—except for Natasha Bellingham. The long-time family friend may be ten years older than he, but so what? He’s plenty old enough to know they belong together. Now all he has to do is convince her. Over the past few years Natasha’s love life has degenerated into a series of bad clichés. Her biological clock is ticking—loudly. As a proven architect with her own house-design company, she’s financially ready for a baby. Who says she needs a permanent man in her life for that? She just needs a “donation”. When Max discovers Natasha’s future plans include artificial insemination, he’s outraged. She wants to get pregnant? No problem. He’s more than willing to volunteer—no turkey basters involved. But there’s one non-negotiable clause: He wants forever. And he intends to do everything in his power—fair and unfair—to make it happen. 

My thoughts:
A short 200 pages book with lots of hot loving in it. Between the hot loving we have the story of Tasha who wants to have a child, and Max who has been in love with her forever. But she is 34, he is 24 and his cousin is her BFF.

Max sure knew what he wanted. HER. Only her, so when he learned what she needed he was sure to offer hos services, in hope she would fall in love too. I do love when it's the guy who is in love first and does all the chasing. I also liked that while the pregnancy moved forward she started to fall too. it took time, they build this relationship, and they both knew what they signed up for.

So if you are in the mood for short, a good romance, and hot smexing then this is the book for you.

Print, 232 pages
Published February 8th 2011 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Turner Twins #2
Contemporary romance
Own


Friday, 22 August 2014

Romance Friday: Surrender of a Siren / A Lady of Persuasion - Tessa Dare

Desperate to escape a loveless marriage and society's constraints, pampered heiress Sophia Hathaway jilts her groom, packs up her paints and sketchbook, and assumes a new identity, posing as a governess to secure passage on the Aphrodite. She wants a life of her own: unsheltered, unconventional, uninhibited. But it's one thing to sketch her most wanton fantasies, and quite another to face the dangerously handsome libertine who would steal both her virtue and her gold.

To any well-bred lady, Benedict "Grayâ" Grayson is trouble in snug-fitting boots. A conscienceless scoundrel who sails the seas for pleasure and profit, Gray lives for conquest - until Sophia's perception and artistry stir his heart. Suddenly he'll brave sharks, fire, storm, and sea just to keep her at his side. She's beautiful, refined, and ripe for seduction. Could this counterfeit governess be a rogue's redemption? Or will the runaway heiress's secrets destroy their only chance at love?

My thoughts:
I read it really fast. Sweet, enjoyable romance. And it can be read as a stand alone, I read book 1 like 5 years ago so ;)

Sophia did not want to marry someone she did not love so she ran away. I get that. She did not want to be proper either, which I also get. It was fun seeing her find herself.

Gray is the captain who has to look after this proper governess who is an enigma. He falls, but she is a passenger so he stays away. But we all know he will not be able to forever. And it is a long way to the West Indies, and the ship is not that big.

They dance around each other, we see the daily life on a ship, they fall in love. Can they be in love? There is a bit of drama, heart ache, and then they live happily ever after.

A cute book.

cover
good

Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Ballantine Books
The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy #2
Historical romance
Own

Only one thing could convince Sir Tobias Aldridge, an incorrigible libertine, to profess undying fidelity to a woman he's just met. Revenge. What better way to get back at an enemy than by stealing the scoundrel's sister? Not that Toby finds it a chore, seducing a beguiling, sultry beauty freshly arrived from the West Indies. When the prize is Isabel Grayson, vengeance is doubly rewarding. 

Isabel is determined to marry a wealthy, powerful lord and become a lady of influence, using her rank and fortune to fight social injustice. Sir Toby, with his paltry title and infamous reputation, is unsuitable husband material - but he makes her blood race, her heart pound, and her long-buried passions come to the surface. If she can reform the charming devil, she'll get exactly what she craves: society's respect. But it's a dangerous gamble. For if Toby wins this battle of persuasion, Isabel could lose her heart.

My thoughts:
Cute and fun, honestly I could just end this there and be done. But I will say a few more words.

I kept waiting for the big drama, but the big drama was not that big and they talked it through, argued and later made up.

Isabel, I did find her tiresome at times. She was just so self sacrificing with her constant I shall do charity!!! I shall not enjoy myself!!! I will not love and go mad like mama!!! Yes charity is good, but do have fun once in a while too.

Toby, awww Toby. I kept waiting for him to be all revenge! But he saw her, wanted her, thought a second about revenge, and then about ripping her clothes off. Yes he fell in lust and love.

Conclusion:
Cute and fun like I said earlier.

cover
good

Mass Market Paperback, 345 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by Ballantine Books
The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy #3
Historical romance
Own


Thursday, 21 August 2014

Carole Reviews: The way the world is - Yael Politis

Author: Yael Politis
Title: The Way the World Is (Olivia #2)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: ebook
First Published: November 30th, 2013
Where I Got It: On my shelf (Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion)


"Detroit Michigan, 1842


After the devastating trauma she suffered in Olivia, Mourning and finally knowing the reality with which she must deal, Olivia strives to rebuild herself – emotionally, socially, and financially.
She starts a new life in Detroit, the young and exciting city on a river where she has come to feel at home. New friends help the healing process, while she continues her search for the two people she loves, who have disappeared from her life. She finds the greatest solace in helping fugitive slaves escape over the river to Canada. She believes, as one of her new friends says, “In this time and place it is the most worthy thing a person can do.”
Olivia remains a compelling protagonist on a journey to find a way to do the right thing in a world in which so much is wrong."


Like earlier stated, I was given this book for my honest and unbiased opinion.

This is the second book of the Olivia series, however, it could be read as a stand alone - kind of. There are a lot of references that one would miss, so I highly suggest reading the first one (which was really good by the way). 

Poor Olivia. :( She has had a hell of a time over the last two books. However, she keeps being her sweet self and trying to be a better person and make the world a better place. I just feel soooooooooooo bad for her. I'm so happy things do seem to get better when she goes back to Michigan and decides to make her life there - not as a farmer, but she finds something else (I will not say). She is so ahead of her time, it's tragic. The world is a shitty place sometimes, but with people like her there is hope. 

The author is eviiiiiil. All I wanted was a reunion between Olivia and Mourning. She kept teasing me, because Olivia and Mourning would pretty much JUST miss each other. She would leave Five Rocks and a day later he would arrive. They do finally get their reunion, but it broke my heart, because it was not as I expected it to go. :( I will say no more for it will spoil it.

UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH! The ENDING! It wasn't long enough! I need to know more!!!!!!!! EVIL, but brilliant author. Honestly, a part of me knew what was going to happen, but I denied it and I was hopeful and begging for it to end a certain way. HOWEVER, that is not the way the world is (haha, see what I did there?). The author is amazing, yet again, because she does not shy away from the truth of the era. Life is not simple and full of rainbows; bad things happen and not everyone get a happily ever after. 

I really liked this book. The beginning was a little choppy, but once Olivia got out of her head and began her journey back to Michigan, things got better and more flowy and smooth. I think I liked it, but I liked the first one more. Mainly because Mourning was there and I really liked the two together. This one was still really good, but I was left empty without him. I cannot wait to read the third one to find out more about what happened to Olivia and Mourning. I would recommend this one to historical fiction lovers out there. :) Out of five stars, I grant this one 4 stars. 

Favorite Character(s): Olivia, Michelle, Jettie, Mr. Abraham, and Jeremy (yayy! My wish was kinda sorta granted).
 Not-so Favorite Character(s): The slave hunter (I can't remember his name tho)




Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

My thoughts:
I have only read one book by her before but it was dark. I like that, the world is not all roses and sunshine. Especially not when you throw in vampires. 

Tana lives in a world where vampires came out by mistake. Now some are free, and some are stuck in Coldtowns. Together with humans who wants to become vampires, and those who are infected. And those unfortunate souls who got stuck behind. It's not a fair system, it's unfair and cruel at times. But that's life.

After a massacre at a party she flees with her infected friend. There is only one place to go. She could be safe or not so I got why she had to go there. And there she sees cruelty by humans and vampires. It's a dark and cold world, but there is also kindness.

The one thing I was not a fan of was the romance. I am sorry but I am so over some 100 year old falling for a teen. If I was that old I would not fall for some silly slip of a boy or girl who was all angst and teen issues. I got why he had to be old, I got why she had to be young (this is YA) but it's just so done!

Conclusion:
Still, a good story, even if she was a bit perfect at times. Suddenly nothing could take her down. And there was no blurb for book 2 so now I am do want to know what happens.

Cover
eh

Paperback, 422 pages
Published February 6th 2014 by Indigo

YA, paranormal romance
Own


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen

Welcome to Bascom, North Carolina, where it seems that everyone has a story to tell about the Waverley women. The house that's been in the family for generations, the walled garden that mysteriously blooms year round, the rumours of dangerous loves and tragic passions. Every Waverley woman is somehow touched by magic.

Claire has always clung to the Waverleys' roots, tending the enchanted soil in the family garden from which she makes her sought-after delicacies - famed and feared for their curious effects. She has everything she thinks she needs - until one day she waked to find a stranger has moved in next door and a vine of ivy has crept into her garden . . .

Claire's carefully tended life is about to run gloriously out of control.

My thoughts:
I love her books, what more is there to say? The magical realism in them is just wonderful. I believe it, I want to visit and experience that magic.

In this small town we have the Waverley's who have a magical garden and apple tree. But they are not the only ones. There is the family whose men always marry older women, and the family whose women always marry well and who knows how to use sex. But none are like the Waverleys.

Claire loves her garden, she mixes flower with food and suddenly you feel happy, nostalgic etc. But she is also stuck in her ways and afraid to get close because people leave.

Sydney her sister comes back with a daughter. Sydney left because she wanted to be normal, but does she have "magic" of her own? She is running from her own problems but as this is an Allen book everyone will get what they need. 

Magical realism is just awesome. It's done so well that you do not know what to believe. No one is holding a wand, is's just life, maybe it's nothing. Maybe it's everything.

Conclusion:
A lovely story that I read slowly to savor everything.

cover
ok

Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by Bantam Discovery
Magical realism / fiction
Own


Monday, 18 August 2014

The Crimson Campaign - Brian McClellan

"The hounds at our heels will soon know we are lions". Tamas's invasion of Kez ends in disaster when a Kez counter-offensive leaves him cut off behind enemy lines with only a fraction of his army, no supplies, and no hope of reinforcements. Drastically outnumbered and pursued by the enemy's best, he must lead his men on a reckless march through northern Kez to safety, and back over the mountains so that he can defend his country from an angry god. In Adro, Inspector Adamat only wants to rescue his wife. To do so he must track down and confront the evil Lord Vetas. He has questions for Vetas concerning his enigmatic master, but the answers might come too quickly. With Tamas and his powder cabal presumed dead, Taniel Two-shot finds himself alongside the god-chef Mihali as the last line of defence against Kresimir's advancing army. Tamas's generals bicker among themselves, the brigades lose ground every day beneath the Kez onslaught, and Kresimir wants the head of the man who shot him in the eye.

My thoughts:
I was I could be all eloquent, but alas, I am the kind of reviewer that goes OMG and amazeballs! I feel like I should go all proper with this one, say those fine words and analyse. But like I said, that is not me. So imagine a long thoughtful review while I go on with my business ;)

This book is so amazing! Flintlock fantasy is just so cool, it's different when it mixes magic and guns. And it's another era.

Our 3 main guys are Tamas, who gets stuck in Kez and is hunted by the enemy army. Sure he brought down a king and nobility, but he cares for his soldiers and his country. But most of all, his revenge. I like him.

Adamat is still trying to find his wife and kids. He is kind of the normal guy that is not so normal. He is a good ex-cop, and he never gives up.

Then we have Tanil who brought down a God. But he has new battles to fight and I got to know him and Pole better in this book. They are quite the pair. 

Then we have others, baddies, army folk, Nila who is still trying to save that kid and others. All in all making is a great cast of characters who I care for, and who I hate.

War, guns, magic and a country that does not know which foot to stand on. This book has it all and more. Rich characters, a good world, interesting magic and characters who feel real. They are not heroes all the time, they are just people.

Conclusion:
Totally a fantasy series that I recommend. I read it in a day :) A good day it was too.

Cover
cool

Hardcover, UK edition, 596 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Orbit (first published January 1st 2014)
The Powder Mage #2
Fantasy
Library


Sunday, 17 August 2014

Carole Reviews: Devil's Return - Sandra Schwab

Author: Sandra Schwab
Title: Devil's Return (Allan's Miscellany #4) 1847
Genre: Short story, Historical Romance
Pages: ebook
First Published: August 15th, 2014
Where I Got It: On my shelf (Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion)


"Seven years ago Fran and Alex were very much in love. Yet because Alex was only a younger son with no prospects to speak of, Fran’s family pressured her into breaking the engagement and marrying a rich, titled man instead. Filled with bitterness, Alex left England for the New World.



Now he is back, more dangerous and more cynical than ever before. He has found fame and fortune as an adventurer, traveling the world from America to the Near East and writing about his travels for Allan’s Miscellany. He has come to London to drum up interest for his friend’s archeological excavations. Soon, he finds himself the darling of London society, admired by men, wooed by women.

Fate has not been so kind to Fran. After a disastrous marriage, which has left her with deep emotional and physical scars, she is widowed and now lives in genteel poverty.

By chance, Alex and Fran’s paths cross again. They have both changed so much, and past betrayals and past hurts still divide them. So surely there can be no second chance for their love…"


Like earlier stated, I was given this for my honest and unbiased opinion. 

Oooooooooooooooooooooh silly families breaking up love matches JUST because they don't think the boy has any prospects. And then after they break up the couple, years later the man comes back richer then ever and the family drools all over him (like Fran's bitchy sister Victoria). Ugh. Victoria...what a snot. How did she manage to marry such a good guy? >__> I hope he leaves her and finds someone better and nicer.

Poor Fran. She was forced to leave her true love and forced to marry an old man who is abusive and mean. Then something bad happens to her and she is physically scarred for life. I cannot say what happens, but its big and it almost cost her her life. I didn't expect it honestly, so it was a twist when the truth came out. Poor girl. Stupid Alex for leaving the country over a hurt pride. I wished he had stayed, so at least ONE person would have cared for her. Hell, the sweet Dr. Grant was the only one who cared about her throughout her ordeal. 

Honestly, I think this is my favorite out of the series so far (I still need to read #2)! I loved the 'Persuasion' mix to the story. That was my favorite book, so when a story mirrors it, even just a little, it makes me happy. Alex reminded me a little of Captain Wentworth, but not as bitter and he got over his hurt pride quicker. He also decided to not write a letter and hope his love forgives him and takes him back, he ran to her and made her understand and make her take him back. It was romantic and made me happy, because she needed a good kick in the arse to get out of her I-hate-myself-and-Alex-could-never-love-me-again-because-I'm-ugly-now. Psh. He is no Prince Charming now either, a bear smacked him across the chest and he has an ugly scar! 

Anyways....

I can't wait to read more! I cannot wait for Mac to get his own story. I simply adore the man even though he is cynical and a grump; he totally reminds me of my own love, so I can't help but like him. haha. 

In the end, this is the best out of the series so far. I can't wait to see what is next for the poor men of the magazine! Especially for Mr. Mac. I wish these were not short shorties, but I'll take what I can get. ^.^ Out of five stars, I stamp this one with 5. 

Favorite Character(s): Alex, Fran, Dr. Grant, Beaton, and Mac
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Victoria (I wanted to punch her in the face)



Saturday, 16 August 2014

#Bookblogwalkers Check-in and Review of Orcs War Fighting Manual

This challenge is organized by Felicia over at the Geeky Blogger's Book Blog, but this week Jen is hosting

Saturday 6 km bike
Sunday - 1 hour walk
Monday - 1 hour workout class + 10 km bike
Tuesday - 5 km bike and 30 min walk
Wednesday - 20 min walk, 1 hour zumba and 10 km bike
Thursday - 5 km bike 
Friday  10 km bike

I have not taken any pics! Booo. Ok so instead I will post a pic from where I live, some of you have already seen it, but that is mostly the bookblogwalkers :) So that is why I always take my nature pics ;)



--------------------------------

Written in the form of a soldier's manual on strategy, tactics and weapons THE ORCS WAR-FIGHTING MANUAL is an innovative and fun way for readers and gamers to add colour and excitement to their knowledge of fantasy's premier villains. Translated from the original Orcish the book contains details on Orc strengths and weakness, key tactics, survival and field tips and accounts of notorious battles from Orc history as well as key tips on defeating Elves and Dwarves. Puny humans are not considered worth discussing. With companion volumes for Elves and Dwarves, gaming and comics writer Den Patrick builds up his very own fantasy world and tells its history in a unique and entertaining way. Illustrated throughout and comes complete with battle and formation maps.                                                                                              
My thoughts:
This was witty and fun. It's what the title says, an Orc war manual. A human scribe tries to learn as much as he can so we learn where to fight, what weapons are best and more. Would you find that amusing? Well it was! I found myself smiling because Orcs are not creatures to joke but the book had the best footnotes. Witty remarks by the scribe.

Humans and elves are silly things. The abuse they took here, ha. The only race that had some worth (when not eaten) were goblins. And it did seem that dwarves got some respect. 

This book did made me wanna check out the elf war manual too. As I found this one witty, then how would the elf one be? Proud beings as they must be.

If you want to learn about orcs, or just have a good laugh then this one will fit you

Hardcover, 129 pages
Published August 15th 2013 by Gollancz
Fantasy
Own



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