Sunday, 31 May 2015

Carole Reviews: Indiscretion - Hannah Fielding

Author: Hannah Fielding
Title: Indiscretion
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: ebook
First Published: April 2015
Where I Got It: My shelf (Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion)

A young woman's journey of discovery takes her to a world of forbidden passion, savage beauty, and revenge.


Spring, 1950. Alexandra de Falla, a half-English, half-Spanish young writer abandons her privileged but suffocating life in London and travels to Spain to be reunited with her long-estranged family.

Instead of providing the sense of belonging she yearns for, the de Fallas are driven by seething emotions, and in the grip of the wild customs and traditions of Andalucia, all of which are alien to Alexandra.

Among the strange characters and sultry heat of this country, she meets the man who awakens emotions she hardly knew existed. But their path is strewn with obstacles: dangerous rivals, unpredictable events, and inevitable indiscretions. What does Alexandra's destiny hold for her in this flamboyant land of drama and all-consuming passions, where blood is ritually poured on to the sands of sun-drenched bullfighting arenas, mysterious gypsies are embroiled in magic and revenge, and beautiful dark-eyed dancers hide their secrets behind elegant lacy fans?

"Indiscretion"is a story of love and identity, and the clash of ideals in the pursuit of happiness. But can love survive in a world where scandal and danger are never far away?

Where to even begin?


This was a lovely story. It was so beautifully written! It helped that the location was beautiful as well, but I felt like I was there. At some points I was more curious about the details and location then the actual story. Spain has always been an area that I wished more stories where set in, because it is a lovely area. It certainly added to the drama of the story!


At some points the book did get intense! I think setting made it feel more intense, but I enjoyed every moment of the unnecessary drama. Yes, unnecessary but entertaining nonetheless. This would make for a great movie! Just so much drama and beauty going around.


I was not a fan of Salvador. Yes, he was good looking, but he annoyed me. I would have kicked him to the curb if I was Alexandra. However, I do not care for complexity in my relationships. Not my thing, but not everyone is like me, so I was trying to understand her. I tried to understand and like her. I grew to like her as the story went on, but I just don't get WHY she stayed and WHY she was so in love. Everyone was so MEAN! It just seemed too much for me. I know when I am not wanted and I will not stay. However....that is me....Alexandra, I felt, needed to be loved by them. Poor girl.


Again...this was a lovely written book with some intense drama going on! I am curious to see what else the author is going to bring to the table! I want to read more. :) My only issue was Salvador himself. I grew to understand and like Alexandra, but it was still sad to see such a nice girl get treated like crap for a while. I highly recommend this to those that like historical fiction or what a book set in Spain. I will say it ONE last time....LOVELY! Out of five stars, I stamp this with 4. 




Favorite Character(s): The gypsies (couldn't help it)
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Salvador and the grandmother
















Saturday, 30 May 2015

#FitReaders Check-In: May 29, 2015 and 2 reviews


Join in :D


Sun, 1 h bike
Mon, 4 km bike, 30 min walk
Tue, 8 km bike, 1 h workout class
Wed, 4 km bike, 30 min walk
Thu, 4 km bike
Fri, 30 min walk, 4 km bike

A horrible week :/ I am back to  why even bother? Sigh




.......................................

A Fool Again is the story of Genevieve, who once made a dash to Gretna Greene to marry, but was caught by her father. Now, a few years later, she attends the funeral of her elderly husband (not the man she ran away to marry) and who does she see but The One Who Got Away! Can they make their love work this time around or will Genevieve be A Fool Again?

My thoughts:
This one was kind of boring. I thought about giving up, but eh, it was under 80 pages.

Genevieve ran away, was found and was forced to marry an old guy. Then he dies and she meets that old flame again.

Yawn. She was kind of annoying in a way, yeah did not really like her. Her old flame was better. He wanted her, he gets her. The end.

Meh.

ebook, 74 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by HarperCollins e-books
Duchess Quartet #1.5


1 Ley Line Drifter by Kim Harrison - Pixy Jenks faces murderous dryad locked inside statue 
2 Reckoning by Jeaniene Frost - Bones, faces New Orleans ghouls who eat victims alive - horror 
3 Dark Matters by Vicki Pettersson - JJ superhero has illicit affair with Shadow agent Solange 
4 The Dead, the Damned, and the Forgotten by Jocelynn Drake - Savannah vampire Keeper Mira investigates murder 
5 Two Lines by Melissa Marr - Eavan resists sex and murder that morph her into a glaistig until Daniel Brennan, sex slaver, tempts her into both. 

My thoughts:
How to review a book where I dnfed half of it?

1 Ley Line Drifter by Kim Harrison 
Yawn. So very boring about a pixie, fairy whatever doing stuff. DNF

2 Reckoning by Jeaniene Frost 
It was about?...oh right Bones. DNF

3 Dark Matters by Vicki Pettersson 
This one I actually read, and kind of liked it.

4 The Dead, the Damned, and the Forgotten by Jocelynn Drake 
I also finished this one. I can't say I was all wow, but eh. Read it.

5 Two Lines by Melissa Marr 
Yawn. What was this about? DNF

A very boring anthology. I guess you need to love those series to like it.

Paperback, 358 pages
Published September 2009 by Eos (first published August 18th 2009)
The Hollows, #7.5; Night Huntress, #0.5; Sign of the Zodiac, #4.5; Dark Days, #0.6)
Urban fantasy, anthology
Own


Friday, 29 May 2015

Hugh and Bess - Susan Higginbotham

Forced to marry Hugh le Despenser, the son and grandson of disgraced traitors, Bess de Montacute, just 13 years old, is appalled at his less-than-desirable past. Meanwhile, Hugh must give up the woman he really loves in order to marry the reluctant Bess. Far apart in age and haunted by the past, can Hugh and Bess somehow make their marriage work?

Just as walls break down and love begins to grow, the merciless plague endangers all whom the couple holds dear, threatening the life and love they have built.

My thoughts:
I read the book about Hugh's dad, and I must say this one was much better. This one I could actually enjoy. Though I do not like that she made it..cute? They liked each other too much. Is that fact or fiction?

Ok, Bess is told she must marry Hugh. She is 13, a widow, he is 30. The age thing did not bother me. Marry them away young before they do something stupid. It was the 14th century after all. They waited until she was mature enough for that other business.

Hugh is the son of a traitor. Bess the daughter of a newly made Earl with the king's ear. It was a political match. In this book they grow to like each other, and I guess that was nice.

Oh that time. I had forgotten that 3 of his sisters (kids!) were forced to become nuns when their father was executed. Women were cattle. Horrible :/

Conclusion:
All in all, I enjoyed this book. It felt very light historical fiction (the previous one was actually too heavy and felt like a textbook). An interesting couple too. 

cover
boring

Paperback, 287 pages
Published August 1st 2009 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published October 29th 2007)
Historical fiction
Own


Thursday, 28 May 2015

Retribution - Mark Charan Newton

Having just solved a difficult case in his home city of Tryum, Sun Chamber Officer Lucan Drakenfeld and his associate Leana are ordered to journey to the exotic city of Kuvash in Koton, where a revered priest has gone missing. When they arrive, they discover the priest has already been found - or at least parts of him have. But investigating the unusual death isn't a priority for the legislature of Kuvash; there's a kingdom to run, a census to create and a dictatorial Queen to placate. Soon Drakenfeld finds that he is suddenly in charge of an investigation in a strange city, whose customs and politics are as complex as they are dangerous. Kuvash is a city of contradictions; wealth and poverty exist uneasily side-by-side and behind the rich facades of gilded streets and buildings, all levels of depravity and decadence are practised. When several more bodies are discovered mutilated and dumped in a public place, Drakenfeld realizes there's a killer at work who seems to delight in torture and pain. With no motive, no leads and no suspects, he feels like he's running out of options. And in a city where nothing is as it seems, seeking the truth is likely to get him killed ...

My thoughts:
I know that I do not read a lot of mysteries/thrillers, but I have noticed that I like the historical ones. And with the first book in this series, the fantasy ones works excellent too.

Drakenfeld has a new job. A priest has been killed and he is sent to investigate. We learn to know another country in this world, a people like the mongols who now try to settle in cities. Their queen wants to show the world how cultured they are. I do like learning more about this world, and he shows this new country so that I can feel like I am there too.

It's quite the mystery, who killed the priest? What on earth is going on in this city? I had not plan to read it in a day, but I could not put it down, so in a day it was.

A good mystery, an interesting world. And I do want more. I wonder where Drakenfeld will go next, cos this continent is in trouble. Big trouble is coming. 

Conclusion:
A fantasy series I would recommend.

Cover
eh

Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 23rd 2014 by Macmillan
Drakenfeld #2
Fantasy
Library


Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The talon of the Hawk and Negotiation by Jeffe Kennedy

A wounded warrior trapped by the sorceress who knows him better than he does himself…

General Uorsin escapes the last devastating battle, only to find himself alone on a mountain, feverish and no closer to finding the paradise that drives him on. Salena, greatest shapeshifter and magic-worker of her people, springs the trap she’s set to protect her land—and to prevent the ravager Uorsin from ever reaching it.

Together, they spend a night setting the terms that will determine not only the rest of their lives, but the fates of the peoples of the Twelve Kingdoms—and the thirteenth.

My thoughts:
This is the prequel to the Twelve Kingdoms books :)

Ok so this was a short story, not a lot to say. We go back in time to see how Uorsin (that bastard) and Salena first met and made their deal. Their deal that now shapes their children. And well, she was brave, I could never have done what she did...

It's free right now so hurry if you want to take a first look into this world.

Ebook, 27 pages
Published 2015
The Twelve Kingdoms #0,5
Fantasy romance
Free right now

Three daughters were born to High King Uorsin, in place of the son he wanted. The youngest, lovely and sweet. The middle, pretty and subtle, with an air of magic. And the eldest, the Heir. A girl grudgingly honed to leadership, not beauty, to bear the sword and honor of the king.

Ursula’s loyalty is as ingrained as her straight warrior’s spine. She protects the peace of the Twelve Kingdoms with sweat and blood, her sisters from threats far and near. And she protects her father to prove her worth. But she never imagined her loyalty would become an open question on palace grounds. That her father would receive her with a foreign witch at one side and a hireling captain at the other—that soldiers would look on her as a woman, not as a warrior. She also never expected to decide the destiny of her sisters, of her people, of the Twelve Kingdoms and the Thirteenth. Not with her father still on the throne and war in the air. But the choice is before her. And the Heir must lead… 

My thoughts:
To be fair, I was never a fan of Ursula. She seemed like her father's child. The warrior princess who will follow duty. But the facade began to fall apart in this one. Sure she was still loyal, but also started to see reason. And I understood why she kept up that I am strong, I do as I am told thing....

So we all know by now that the king is an a-hole, and trust me, if you think he could not get any worse...oh you are mistaken, he truly is a tyrant. How Ursula still can follow him, oh I wondered, but she was shaped and broken by him. I felt so sorry for her.

But she will start to see that things must change. This kingdom is falling to bits. She must learn to let go. In the end she was almost my favorite sister..make that favorite. Her story was emotional.

There is love too. I did not really trust the guy, he loved too easily. She took her time and fought it, while he loved at once. And I being a suspicious person found that strange. At least he loosened her up.

And at the end I found out that there will be more books, so that will be fun. Dafne is up next, I have no idea what that will be about but I look forward to reading more.

Conclusion:
The most emotional of the three books. Our warrior heir finds her way.

Cover
She would wear more than that

Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 26th 2015 by Kensington
The Twelve Kingdoms #3
Fantasy romance
Own


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Wedding bells in Christmas - Debbie Mason

Wedding bells are ringing in the charming town of Christmas, but not for Vivian Westfield. She's just had her heart trampled under the cowboy boots of Chance McBride and lost her dream job at a big-city newspaper. But when she returns for a wedding, she stumbles on a story that could resurrect her career. First, though, she'll have to deal with the handsome man standing in her way... and a still-burning flame that's too hot to ignore.

Chance recognizes trouble when he sees it. He just didn't expect to find it in the first-class cabin on the flight home for his father's wedding. Yet there she is, as gorgeous as ever. Vivi dared Chance to want things he knew he could never have. It's why he left her. But Christmas's meddling matchmakers have them firmly in their sights. So if they want to survive the next week, they'll have to play the part of an adoring couple—an irresistible charade that may give them a second chance at the real thing... 

My thoughts:
It was book 4, and sure there was talk about other couples, but I did not feel like I had missed out. It worked well as a stand alone. And that next book seems promising.

Viv is a hot-head. It's good to be curious, but curiosity killed the cat. She was reckless.

Chance lost his wife and child 5 years ago and will never love again. It's good to mourn, but life goes on and you can love again. And you obviously like Viv since you are protecting #stalking# her.

They had a fling, he left cos he can't love again. She is angry (oh and there is this other thing, not cool man.) Sparks fly, cos they can't stay away from each other.

To their help in this small town they have Aunt Nell. More about her! Not enough, not near enough of her. Ya know, the meddling older relative who likes to play matchmaker.

But, with all those good things I felt kind of..meh. I did not like Viv, there is a line she crossed of recklessness. And Chance was particularly stalking her even though he sigh, could not love again. I did not feel like they worked together. I did not feel the chemistry and I did not like them...

Conclusion:
But the suspense was good. Still, a meh book. 

Cover
Cute in a way

Kindle Edition 400
Expected publication: May 26th 2015 by Forever
Christmas, Colorado #4
Contemporary romance
NG


Monday, 25 May 2015

Dearest Rogue - Elizabeth Hoyt

HE CAN GUARD HER
Lady Phoebe Batten is pretty, vivacious, and yearning for a social life befitting the sister of a powerful duke. But because she is almost completely blind, her overprotective brother insists that she have an armed bodyguard by her side at all times-the very irritating Captain Trevillion.

FROM EVERY DANGER
Captain James Trevillion is proud, brooding, and cursed with a leg injury from his service in the King's dragoons. Yet he can still shoot and ride like the devil, so watching over the distracting Lady Phoebe should be no problem at all-until she's targeted by kidnappers.

BUT PASSION ITSELF
Caught in a deadly web of deceit, James must risk life and limb to save his charge from the lowest of cads-one who would force Lady Phoebe into a loveless marriage. But while they're confined to close quarters for her safekeeping, Phoebe begins to see the tender man beneath the soldier's hard exterior...and the possibility of a life-and love-she never imagined possible. 

My thoughts:
This one was different in many ways. First, 1740s. Second, the heroine was blind. Third, she will marry a commoner. 

Phoebe is blind and needs a guard. In comes James. A soldier now in service of her brother, the Duke. Phoebe was, ok so I got that she wanted more freedom. But you are blind. And people want to kidnap you, for money or to forcefully marry you. So I would be more careful.

James is one of those chip on this shoulder kind of guys. But we learn more about that later on, quite later on. Then I really understood him.

Ok so we know she blind. We know it was an earlier setting (though did not see much of that :(

The marrying thing then. Duh. This is a HR. That is not a spoiler. Of course they will get each other in the end. The road there is long as she is a duke's sister, he is nothing.

Nr 8 in a series, I have read none of the others, worked perfectly still

Conclusion:
Since people want to kidnap here there is a bit of suspense. Who is after her? And to not forget the forbidden passion. Good.

Cover
Both heads please

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: May 26th 2015 by Grand Central Publishing
Maiden Lane #8
Historical romance
NG


Sunday, 24 May 2015

Book Discussion: The Snow Child - Eowyn Ivey



This month Carole and I will be reading 'The Snow Child' by Eowyn Ivey! :D 



Author: Eowyn Ivey
Title: The Snow Child
Genre: Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, & fantasy
Pages: 386
First Published: Janurary 2011
Where I Got It: Borrowed from library


Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart—he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone—but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place, things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.


B: Ok, how should we start today?

C: Mmmmm, first I want to ask the question: do you believe the girl was the snow maiden or just a regular girl?

B: I liked how the book felt like magical realism, and I did wonder in the beginning. But then after the dad was found, it still felt like magical realism, and I loved it. But no, I did not think she was the snow maiden. She was a regular girl.

C: Agreed. Like Mabel I wanted her to be the snow maiden. However, I like how the author leaves it up to reader. There sure is evidence that she IS and that she ISN’T.

B: Yes, she did that well. Magical realism, and still no magical realism cos there is no magic. Ohhh, I like. But then I adore books like this. Where magic can be felt and they just feel so special. I had high hopes for this book and it turned out to be awesome :D

C: It was nice! I was worried that it was going to be too fantastical, but the Magical realism was nice. I was also worried that I failed and picked a stinker, because the first 25 pages were super slow. I could barely keep going, but once I hit page 26 I was good and I read it within 24 hours! :D That is rare for me ;)

B: Really? I am glad you read on. I knew from page 1 that I loved it :) I can like slow if the words are just sweet poetry to me. Ok so not poetry. But it flowed, steady and nice. I felt the story, the sadness, yes it is pretty obvious that I liked this one. Not only for the story, but for the excellent writing.

C: I loved her writing style! It was beautiful. However, it was the story at first I was worried about and Mabel. I did not care for Mabel at first (in those 25 pages), but then I understood her more as the story went along and I liked her. What did you think of Mabel and Jack?

B: I understood how she wanted to be out there all alone, no people. No one asking about them and all that. A fresh start. But you need people, and I liked how she slowly understood that. Jack, oh he was working himself to death wasn’t he? It just made me sad for them. They need something in their life, and they received that.

C: Poor Jack. He was working himself to death and get why he didn’t want Mabel to help, but honestly….she should have just went out and started doing stuff. But yes, they certainly received that something!

B: Yes, she should have helped more, baking pies to sell is not all she could do. But then he should have asked. She did ask  him, but he was all I am a man. I can do this stuff. And yes it was a hard life, but there is always something to do.

C: Of course he he going to say that! He is a 20th century man. lol. That is why she should have just put on some pants and went out there. So….the ending….what did you think?

B: Ok, the ending, how not to spoil things. It fit. It made me sad. It made me hopeful. It made me believe. It made me question things. It was sadly a great ending. I could not have seen another ending.

C: Yes. It was the perfect ending for Fania and the whole story. It was sad and it made me mad for a hair, but then I realized that it was meant to happen. The author threw in so many foreshadows throughout the book. Especially with the one part with Fania’s dad…...I wish I could say, but yeah.

B: But there is always hope, and yes I admit, I held on to that hope you know. If you catch my meaning ;) No spoilers.

C: I get the hope and I see it! However, I am a negative person, so I am assuming the worse ;).

B: No, no negativity! Hope is alive. Nothing was found. Everyone lived happily ever after :) Sort of.

C: Poor Garrett...even though he knew what he was in for. hahaha Okay….okay….I will pretend that everything was happy and full of rainbows ;)

B: Rainbows :D And lots of potatoes, moose and strawberries to eat for them.

C: Hahaha and blueberries. Now...do you think you’ll read more by this author? I know I am curious to see what else she has up her sleeve!

B: I checked at once and saw that she only has this short story :/ That made me really sad. I loved her style, and I would love to read more by her. She must write more!!!!! I would love for her to mix in another fairytale too.

C: WHAT?! Now I AM UPSET! Maybe she is working on something while we are speaking????? SHE MUST! I would love another fairytale!

B: Reading her blog at the moment. In December she talked about her manuscript being ready so there is hope, there is always hope!!!

C: HOPE!!!!!!
Do you have anything else to add? Any questions?

B: Not really. I only want to add that everyone EVERYONE must read this book. It was fantastic, fantastical. Great writing, great story. A must read for every fiction lover

C: I totally agree! I may pick this book for my book club when it is my choice of book! :D It’s really good.

B: I found a name, Shadows on the wolverine. We should totally review it when it is out...like in 2016 *sigh*

C: Ooooooooo. I am game! I am even willing to pay for it...maybe….haha.

B: LOL. I did get this one from the library. Thank you library for being awesome!

C: Same here! Thank you library! It is beaten up and has been loved a lot it seems. :)

B: Let’s call this the end then, and your turn to pick a book right?

C: Ok! Good job buddy! I picked this one remember? LOL YOUR TURN! Mwuahahahahahahahahahaha *munches on carrot*

B: But I gave you a list of books my library has ;)

C: LOL and I happen to have waned to read this book for a wee bit. ;) FINE…..I will pick again! WAH!

B: or shall I give you a few my library has suggestions? *jumps up and down*

C: I will take your list and contemplate...haha….
So...the end?



B: The end :)


Saturday, 23 May 2015

#FitReaders Check-In: May 22, 2015 and DNF time


Join in :D

Sat. 1.20 h walk, 4 km bike
Sun, 1.15 h bike
Mon, 4 km bike, 30 min walk
Tue, 8 km bike, 1 h workout class
Wed, 4 km bike, 30 min walk
Thu, 4 km bike 
Fri, 4 km bike and 30 min walk
Sat, 45 min walk and 30 min walk

The workout class was brutal. I thought we would be outside so I was sweating and trying to take it easy, still my abs felt it the next day.

Thursday was bad though. But I came home, I baked, I cleaned and then guests so no time. But good time to rest my foot...stupid foot.


...................

DNF time.

Blah blah blah
Blah blah Blah
me kick ass woman
Blah Blah Blah

Called it quits at 70

I was all what? Oh I do not care. This book is weird. DNF









I was SO bored. Honestly, I was bored already on page 1 *yawns*
I get it, it's set in Japan, oh wait "Japan inspired" where people talk English and put in a few Japanese words here and there.

And the infodumps, no, that is not the way to write it. You do not have to cram something into every sentence

I have wanted to try his books for ages, but I just could not get into it. Bored, too out there.


I should have read book 1, this did not work. What a whiny character.




Friday, 22 May 2015

Blog Tour and Givaway: Behind the Mask - Carolyn Crane

TO SAVE HER TWIN SISTER SHE MUST SWITCH PLACES WITH HER...

When her long lost sister--a prostitute--is won in a card game by a brutal drug cartel, Zelda knows what she has to do: take her place. Save her. Focus on infiltrating the shadowy group on behalf of the Associates, and try not to think about why she left the spying game years ago. She’s slept with dangerous criminals before; she can do it again. 

Hugo Martinez is one of South America’s most lethal and wanted men, a legendary mercenary living on a windswept mountain. Even at the height of the war he wasn’t in the habit of taking women captive, but the American whore has seen his face. And he and the orphan boy need a cook. He shouldn’t want this woman, but there’s something so unusual about her…

Little by little, Zelda finds herself falling for her captor…but is he the killer she’s been hunting all these years? 

My thoughts:
The second book this week where a woman saves her sister. But then Zelda used to be a spy and is now part of this shadowy organization. She has the skills. While her druggie luxury prostitute sis would not stand a chance. Still, that is a big thing to do. Go in her place, knowing the drug lord can do whatever he wants with you.

So Zelda was cool. Brave, resourceful, independent, but with some scars so that is why she quit the spy game. And now everything goes wrong and she ends up with a mysterious man who wants a maid/governess/cook.

Hugo, ohh, yes I like the the bad ones, the mysterious loners with a chip on their shoulder. I kept on wondering if he really was a bad guy and longed to know more.

It's not a match made in heaven. He thinks she is some American whore. She wonders what he really is. They thread lightly around each other, but hey like always, we all know they are gonna end up doing it. And after they have done it they will fall in love.

But! before that there is action. Drug cartels. Bad people. The village. Then orphan boy Hugo saved. And the whole can they be together, they seriously have no future together.

I have to mention though, the other associates at her firm kind of sounds like a-holes after something that happens....

Conclusion:
A suspenseful, action packed lovestory. 

Paperback, 331 pages
Expected publication: May 19th 2015
The Associates #4
Romantic Suspense
For review


~~~
Giveaway Information

(1) $75.00 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice & open internationally) 
(32)  Digital Copies of either Against the Dark, Off the Edge or Into the Shadows (winner’s choice & open internationally)


Rafflecopter Code: 
I am a RITA-winning author of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and other tales of love and adventure (and erotic & dark romance as NYT bestselling author Annika Martin). My books have been published by Random House and Samhain, and I also go the indie route. I work a straight job as a marketing writer, I love to read in bed and run, I’m passionate about helping animals, and I make my home in Minnesota with my husband and two cats. 


~~~
Blog Tour Stops
Monday, May 18, 2015

Straight Shooting Book Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.straightshootinbookreviews.com
Romance Junkies (Excerpt): http://www.romancejunkies.com/rjblog
Ramblings From This Chick (Guest Post): http://ramblingsfromthischick.com
Under the Covers Book Blog (Guest Post): http://www.underthecoversbookblog.com
Lush Book Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.lushbookreviewss.blogspot.com
Badass Book Reviews (Review): http://www.badassbookreviews.com
Urban Girl Reader (Excerpt): http://www.urbangirlreader.com

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Happiness is a book (Review): https://happinessbook.wordpress.com
Reading by the Book (Excerpt): http://www.readingbythebook.com
That's What I'm Talking About (Review): http://twimom227.com
Cricket's Chirps (Review): http://www.cricketschirps.com/
The Romance Dish (Review): http://theromancedish.com
The Book Review (Review): http://www.cluereview.blogspot.com

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Em & M Books (Excerpt): http://www.emandmbooks.com
Ex Libris (Guest Post): http://www.stella.exlibris.com
Herding Cats & Burning Soup (Interview): http://www.herdingcats-burningsoup.com
The Book Nympho (Review): http://thebooknympho.com/
Long and Short Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.longandshortreviews.com
Love Affair with an E-Reader (Review): www.loveaffairwithanereader.blogspot.com

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Paranormal Haven (Interview): http://paranormalhaven.com/
Becky on Books (Review): http://beckymmoe.com
So Many Reads (Excerpt): http://www.somanyreads.com
Angela Quarles Blog (Excerpt): http://www.angelaquarles.com/blog
Goldilox and the Three Weres (Review): http://goldiloxandthethreeweres.blogspot.com

Friday, May 22, 2015

Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell (Review): http://books-forlife.blogspot.com
Blogging by Liza (Excerpt): http://lizasblog-liza.blogspot.com/
Bring Your Own Book Club (BYOB) (Review): https://www.facebook.com/byobclub1.0
Peaces of Me (Interview): http://www.suespeaces.blogspot.ca/
Ariesgrl Book Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.ariesgrlreview.com
C. K. Crouch (Review): http://ckcrouch.com/


Thursday, 21 May 2015

Author Post and Giveaway: Jeffe Kennedy

Today I welcome Jeffe Kennedy to my blog :) There is also a giveaway of her latest awesome book.

I’m not one of those writers who spends time writing out a huge bible for their world. Some do this, for sure, devoting intensive efforts to detailing the history, the culture and so forth. I find that writers who come to fantasy via role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons tend to approach world-building this way. Very fun and interesting way to do it!
And so not me.

I’m a write-for-discovery type. That means that I discover the world as I ride around in my characters’ heads and see it as they do. It might not be the ideal process, but it’s mine. One thing I’ve learned about being a writer is knowing your process and owning it, whether you like it or not. 

As a result of this, while I could draw a map of The Twelve Kingdoms – yes, I drew the one in the front of the books – I don’t know a whole lot about the various kingdoms until one of my characters thinks about it or goes there. Thus it was really fun to write Ursula’s book, THE TALON OF THE HAWK, because she’d studied and traveled through the kingdoms much more than her sisters had. 

Through Ursula, I discovered quite a bit more about Aerron, with its desert creatures—including their version of chameleons and big cats. She’s been to Elcinea, with their soft sands and tranquil, warm sea and up to Branli, which is partly like the Pacific Northwest in the US – lots of rain – but gets very cold and wintery the closer you get to the Northern Wastes.

I’m working on book four, THE PAGES OF THE MIND, which is Dafne’s book. A lot more is happening in Elcinea and Dafne will be going on a long journey, so I’ll get to see even more. I think she’ll travel down the Danu River, which is a major trade thoroughfare through The Twelve. Her perspective is more of the lay person’s, as she’s not royalty and therefore is less buffered from the world.

In general, I see the Twelve Kingdoms (Thirteen, if you count Annfwn, too, which we should) as similar to both Europe and the US. The culture and people of each kingdom vary widely depending on geography – as Finland is so different from Turkey – and the climate varies as much as Alaska is different from the Florida keys. 

It’s probably no coincidence (though I didn’t plan it that way) that most of the stories take place in and around the world’s equivalent of The Front Range in the US, where I’ve lived all my life. That region encompasses the eastern side of the long spine of the Rocky Mountains. I grew up in Denver, Colorado, lived in Laramie, Wyoming for over twenty years, and have been in Santa Fe, New Mexico for nearly six years. Very possibly if you overlaid a map of the front range, putting Denver at Ordnung, you would see strong parallels. I haven’t done this, but now that I think about it....

The big difference is that I added oceans! I love where I live, but it would be nice to have an ocean closer. Now in my fictional world, I do. 

Do you have questions about any of the kingdoms? Ask me about them in the comments and I’ll tell you what I know!

B:
Thank you Jeffe! :)

Giveaway
1 copy of The Talon of the Hawk
(print for US/Canada winner, e-copy for International winner)

1. Open to everyone
2. Ends May 29th
3. Enter by commenting

And PS. remember that if I can't find your info, I can't find you.

The Talon of the Hawk
The Twelve Kingdoms  Book 3
Genre: Fantasy, Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Kensington
Date of Publication: May 26, 2015

Book Description:

A HEAVY CROWN
Three daughters were born to High King Uorsin, in place of the son he wanted. The youngest, lovely and sweet. The middle, pretty and subtle, with an air of magic. And the eldest, the Heir. A girl grudgingly honed to leadership, not beauty, to bear the sword and honor of the king.

Ursula’s loyalty is as ingrained as her straight warrior’s spine. She protects the peace of the Twelve Kingdoms with sweat and blood, her sisters from threats far and near. And she protects her father to prove her worth. But she never imagined her loyalty would become an open question on palace grounds. That her father would receive her with a foreign witch at one side and a hireling captain at the other—that soldiers would look on her as a woman, not as a warrior. She also never expected to decide the destiny of her sisters, of her people, of the Twelve Kingdoms and the Thirteenth. Not with her father still on the throne and war in the air. But the choice is before her. And the Heir must lead…

Available at Amazon BN


Excerpt: 

The bright pennants of Ordnung, High King Uorsin’s rampant bear topping them all, snapped in the cool breezes from the high mountain peaks. Those pristine white towers, the banners of the Twelve Kingdoms gathered under one, all symbolized my father and King’s greatest triumph. One I believed in with all my being.
Or had once believed in.
From the ravages of internecine wars and crippling enmities, Uorsin had united the kingdoms, bringing them together in lasting peace, capped by the shining castle he built on the ruins of the past. Always, no matter in what condition I returned home, I’d felt a surge of elation at the sight, pride in my legacy and sacred duty. 
Not this sick dread.
As we rode closer, the formidable grandeur of Ordnung only mocked me for my many failures of the past months. Soon I would stand before my King, and I had no idea how I would explain myself and my actions. Or what price he would exact.
“Nervous?” Dafne, riding on her gentle palfrey, studied me with serious eyes. A scholarly woman with a quiet manner, she asked with complete sincerity what might sound like a taunt from another.
“Being nervous would imply that I’m uncertain about the confrontation to come,” I told her. “I am…readying myself for King Uorsin’s sure disappointment.” And his rage. Never forget the bear’s towering fury. As if I could.
“You don’t need me to tell you, but you did the right thing, Your Highness. I wasn’t sure which you would choose—love or duty.”
“Think you I could have ripped a newborn from my baby sister’s arms, with her barely recovered from thinking her daughter dead, hard upon the heels of her husband’s murder?”
Dafne considered the question with due gravity. Which made her interesting. No court sycophant she, with ready answers to most please the people who governed her fate. 
“Before I answer, I’d like to make clear that I don’t agree with the word ‘murder.’ You did not kill Prince Hugh in cold blood, but rather in the heat of battle. More self-defense than anything.” 
Remembering the sickening feel of my sword cutting through Hugh’s neck, realizing I’d killed my sister’s husband, I knew better. All of it had happened so fast—Hugh lunging to kill Rayfe, my other sister Andi thrusting herself between them. I’d acted without thought, though hardly without consequence. 
“Self-defense means defending one’s own self. I was in no danger. He was my ally and did not deserve to die by my blade. Nor for me to compound my guilt by fobbing off responsibility for it onto Andi and the Tala.”
“Queen Andromeda was right to insist on taking the blame. If Princess Amelia hadn’t taken it as a reason to incite Avonlidgh to civil war, Old King Erich would have.”
“Which is happening anyway. Warring over an infant heir.” The disgust and frustration that had ridden me these past months leaked into my tone. Speaking to Dafne, though, and surrounded by my loyal Hawks, I could say what I normally would not. Ami and Hugh’s son belonged neither to Uorsin nor to Old Erich, though you wouldn’t know it from the way the two kings behaved, both claiming him as heir. If I hadn’t killed Hugh, we wouldn’t be in this particular battle. One the Twelve, already plagued with problems, could ill afford.
“That’s on Erich, not you. As for the question of murder, I’d put forth that defending your sister is the same for you as defending yourself. Both of your sisters are part of you on a profound level. In a way that even Queen Andromeda and Princess Amelia don’t fully appreciate.”
A legal scholar’s mind, there. Always useful in a companion for someone in my position. “And the answer to my question?”
“Yes,” Dafne decided. “I think you would and could do anything. You’re certainly capable. If you believed it to be the right thing to do.”
“Obeying the High King is the right thing to do,” I replied, knowing full well I hadn’t done so. The grind of guilt and failure made my bones ache. “Semantic arguments aside, the High King commanded that I bring Amelia’s son to Ordnung. I could have and did not.”
“Some truths exceed the law of man.”
“But not the law of the King.”
“The King is but a man.”
“Don’t let High King Uorsin hear you say that, librarian. You won’t long keep your place—or your head—speaking that way.”
“Would you report me?” She cocked her head, brown eyes sparkling with curiosity. No trepidation there—only apparent genuine interest. As if she had already gathered her information and predicted my actions. The answer I gave her would simply confirm or deny her theories.
“Have you no fear at all, Lady Mailloux?” I asked, instead of feeding her the insights she sought. Let her continue to speculate.
She transferred her gaze to the castle, imposing on its rise, framed by the snowcapped mountains. The corners of her soft mouth tightened. “It’s always strange to me to see it as it is,” she commented. “In my mind’s eye, I still see Castle Columba, though it’s been gone nigh on thirty years. I don’t know if it’s fear or something else that digs at me now.”
“And yet, you return, for a second time.”
“It seems to be my fate.” She gave me a wry smile. Amelia was right that Lady Dafne Mailloux often failed to observe courtesy. Not that it bothered me. So did my Hawks and the other soldiers I regularly trained, traveled, and fought with. Something about focusing on a greater purpose relegated the bowing and scraping to the negligible category. “Besides, I owe you. When we thought Stella dead, you wanted to spare Princess Amelia the pain of it, to let her rejoice in having Astar happy and healthy. I expected you to be angry with me for forcing the truth into the open.”
She would be the one to lay it out there, when others would avoid the subject. Those had been dark hours, Ami near death from birthing the twins, then finding the girl, Stella, dead in her cradle. At least the boy, Astar, had stayed strong.
“I was wrong to conceal it from her.” I shrugged, using the motion to loosen my shoulders. Not that it worked. “Not only because she had the wit to see through the trick that I did not.”
“I saw Stella’s dead body, too,” she reminded me. “That black magic fooled us both.”
Enough that we’d even buried her, giving someone enough time to abduct little Stella. Everything in me champed at the bit to be searching for my niece, to be helping Amelia instead of riding into Ordnung. Infinitely preferable to facing the High King with the news I brought. Nevertheless—and though it had nearly killed me—I’d followed my duty and returned home. Though we’d traveled fast, a messenger could have caught up with us. I kept expecting one, saying they’d recovered the babe. With each passing hour that the news failed to arrive, my dread and uneasiness that I’d made the wrong decision grew. Lately what had once been black and white had shaded into disturbing grays.
“I disobeyed a direct command,” Dafne persisted. “You would have been within rights to kill or dismiss me for it. So I owe you.”
“I should have given her credit for needing to know the truth, for being strong enough to stand up to the pain. You owe me nothing.”
“Nevertheless, I have an idea of what you’ll have to deal with at Ordnung, and I couldn’t live with myself if I let you face it alone. Returning with you was the least I could do.”
She meant that well, in all earnestness, so I didn’t comment. Didn’t say that no one and nothing could spare me my father’s wrath. I’d learned that lesson early. 
We’d passed through the outlying farms and rode through the extensive township that surrounded Ordnung. People moved about busily, with the many chores of summer at hand. They acknowledged our passing with respectful bows and salutes—and something else. A sense of wariness that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
We did not travel with fanfare. Out of long familiarity with my comings and goings, the people did not dote as they might have on the rest of the royal family, so I did not expect effusive greetings. I preferred it this way—in part because it relieved me to dispense with the pomp and formalities when not necessary, but also because it gave me opportunity to take the measure of the people of Mohraya, the small kingdom that housed Ordnung.
  Uorsin saw to his own first, so the Mohrayans generally fared better than the other eleven kingdoms, regardless of the swings in harvest yields and other variable producers of wealth. No matter how severe the troubles in other parts of the Twelve Kingdoms—some I’d seen too much of lately, sorrows that weighed on me—I could usually count on at least Mohraya to be doing well. 
Not so, it appeared. One more problem added to the precarious pile that threatened to topple over onto us all.
No, things were not right here. The town burst at the seams, crowded with people. Overly so, despite the increased activity of the warm season. The farmers and livestock growers ought to be out on their land, tending to those concerns.
Perhaps I’d lost my count of days and they’d come into town for market or a fair. But I didn’t think so. 
For a start, many of the people gathering in the squares were neither buying nor selling. I’d never expect to recognize all the faces, but the citizenry teemed with unfamiliar looks. More men than usual. Tall ones, light haired, with broad, exotic features. 
I called over my lieutenant. “Marskal.” I kept my tone easy, conversational, so he wouldn’t go on alert. “What am I seeing here?”
“Seems the population has grown during our travels, Captain,” he replied blandly. He’d been taking note, too, then. Part of why I relied on him. 
“What do you put it down to?”
“We’ve long heard of the increasing conscription rates.”
“Those are foreigners, not raw recruits and new conscripts.”
“True,” he agreed.
“I’ve read the people of Dasnaria across the Onyx Ocean described as such,” Dafne, still riding on my other side, observed. “Tall, fair-haired, strongly built.”
“Is that so,” I replied. Both of them, knowing I did not ask a question, remained silent. I misliked it, foreboding crawling up my already aching spine. They could be here only with Uorsin’s knowledge, which made no sense to me. But then, so much of his behavior had become erratic. Ever since Andi rode home with the Tala on her tail. Absolute loyalty to my King and father meant I should not question him. As his heir, it fell to me to give him my unqualified faith and support. 
I hated feeling that erode, even in the quiet depths of my heart, where I harbored doubts I spoke of to no one. That I could hardly bear to examine myself.
The nearer we drew to the castle walls, the more of these exotic men we spied. All hardened warriors to my eye, all heavily armed. Uorsin had dropped hints about having other resources beyond the somewhat questionable loyalty of the Twelve. Ordnung’s guards manned the outposts and the usual positions on the walls—and then some. I counted surreptitiously, lazily turning my face to the sun. More than twice the standard posting. Looked like he’d dug into those other resources after all.
The conflict with the Tala and the overall unrest in the Twelve had made the High King wary. Understandable. But these changes edged past that into paranoia. Along with an expense we could not afford. More fears I’d never give voice to.
“Jepp reported no alert, correct?” I asked Marskal. I knew our scout hadn’t, but it never hurt to confirm.
Jepp, at Marskal’s head tilt, jogged her agile mountain pony closer. “Captain.” She nodded at me. “I checked only at the guard gates, and they gave the all clear. No mention of… this.”
“Pass the word to be on alert, then.” 
Jepp saluted and fell back. Not that I needed to tell my Hawks that something was awry in Ordnung. They knew it as well as or better than I did. As much as we could not be less than on alert, telling them so meant that they pulled in closer, taking long-rehearsed positions. Dafne remained placid, a pleased smile on her lips, though she had to be aware of her vulnerability.
“You might have done better to stay at Windroven, after all,” I commented to her. 
“I’ll stick with you, if that’s all right. Right with you. I’ll keep up.”
Before we undertook this journey, I had doubted that. Now I felt certain she could keep up with the best of my Hawks. Unless we fled flat out, and it was frankly too late for that. Even if I hadn’t been honor bound to return to Ordnung to face the King with the bad news, my instincts warned we’d have to fight our way free—impossible odds, not to mention a traitorous act.
On that thought, guards stepped up to bar our passage into Ordnung. More of the foreigners, their helms making them look even taller. 
“Who approaches Ordnung?” one demanded in our Common Tongue, though his accent twisted the words.
I stared him down, showing my great displeasure at being questioned, transforming the deep unease into righteous fury. “Who dares raise a blade to a Princess of the Realm, Heir to the High Throne of the Twelve Kingdoms?”
Jepp and Marksal drew up closer, their battle readiness almost an audible buzz in my ears. For a moment, it seemed it might come to that, the foreign guard undaunted, scrutinizing me for some sign that I was who I claimed to be. I flexed my hand on the hilt of my sword, edging Dafne more behind me. 
A series of shouts in another language relayed from the walls and my challenger cocked his head, nodded, and stepped aside. “Welcome home, Your Highness.” He bowed but did not apologize. I ignored him and rode forward, not feeling welcome at all. 
We passed through the outer gates, the shadow of the walls passing chill over me. 



-----------------
About the Author:

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.  

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic  contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review and has been nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose, has been nominated for best fantasy romance of the year. A fifth series, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, released starting with Going Under, followed by Under His Touch and Under Contract.  
She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary.







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