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Today, I'm embarking on little bit of a new venture. I'll be reviewing a couple (or three or four, my mileage will I am sure vary) books a month over at Dear Author. These will be urban fantasy and parnormals, and I am so thrilled to be ...
Today, I'm embarking on little bit of a new venture. I'll be reviewing a couple (or three or four, my mileage will I am sure vary) books a month over at Dear Author. These will be urban fantasy and parnormals, and I am so thrilled to be leading off with the first book in an urban fantasy series that took over my life the minute I started it. Make sure to drop by today to see what I thought of J.C. Daniels' Blade Song.
about 2 hours ago
Similar to when Elias sees Josie for the first time, I fell in love with this cover the moment I clapped eyes on it. And, like Elias, I was nervous, given that I knew next to nothing about it and the level of affection I was feeling exte...
Similar to when Elias sees Josie for the first time, I fell in love with this cover the moment I clapped eyes on it. And, like Elias, I was nervous, given that I knew next to nothing about it and the level of affection I was feeling extended way beyond our limited introduction. But something in its lines, in the lovely design had me thinking it just might be something I could love long term. I immediately ran down the usual sites, routine investigation, you understand. Happily, it wasn't long before a copy landed in my lap for review. I have to say, I'm kind of crushing on the elegance of this cover. As someone who doesn't gravitate toward super-romancey covers in general, I'll admit this one was something of a breath of fresh air. A Man Above Reproach is Evelyn Pryce's debut novel. It recently won Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award in the romance category and it is due out in paperback from Montlake Romance later this month. I don't think I've ever read any of Amazon's award-winners before (I'm not entirely sure I even knew they existed), so I figured it was high time I checked one out.Elias Addison, newly minted Duke of Lennox, has no use for houses of ill repute. He had no use for anything that smacks of too little to do and not enough will power to follow through on one's responsibilities. Rather, he has spent the past year setting his estate to rights after the unexpected passing of his somewhat dissolute father. Which is to say he's been paying off the old man's debts, making sure his younger sister has a proper debut when the time is right, and ensuring his tenants are paid and looked after. So when his best friend and hopeless lothario drags him to the notorious Sleeping Dove one night, he is far less than pleased. But it is at this famed bordello that he makes the acquaintance of the woman known in certain circles as the Bawdy Bluestocking. Ensconced behind the piano, Blue performs in the background while the more vivacious ladies of the Dove ply their trade. Blue's standoffish nature and firm privacy barriers are legendary. And Elias has next to no interest in female companionship. Nevertheless, he finds himself drawn to the piano bench, to the invigorating conversation he finds with the mysterious woman in the blue stockings. And so begins a most problematic, mostly unwelcome friendship between the studious but socially inept duke and the independent woman who wears a thousand masks.A Man Above Reproach was precisely what I hoped it would be. The writing, the characters, the story all delivered on the promises of that lovely cover. I particularly enjoyed the prose itself, which felt structured without being fussy, thoughtful and humorous at just the right moments. For example: So the Bawdy Bluestocking was the proprietress of her own shop, selling lurid novels to ladies in the front and more esoteric fare in the back, from the looks of the shelves around him. He spied Pope and Crabbe, Shakespeare, of course, and names he did not recognize at all. He wondered how she chose her stock and where it came from. She must spend her days in endless research. The thought was unaccountably lovely to him. Far be it from me to be able to resist a bluestocking bookshop-owning, piano-playing woman who publishes her own books. Eli's fascination was a foregone conclusion. But it was the writing that allowed me to believe in Lennox and Josie and their gradual transformation. They were such an awkward, magnetic pair. I was sure they belonged together even as I was certain beyond a shadow of a doubt it could not work out in a way that would not cost one or the other of them their principles or place in society. Not that either of them seemed to care, but they cared about it for the other's sake. And it was that innate anxious concern that fed my fondness for them and their plight throughout the book. I believe I was happiest when they were sitting side by side on Josie's piano bench, arguing in hushed tones about the state of the instru
about 6 hours ago
Reviewed by Colleen Turner “Strange weather brings out strange behavior. As a Bunsen burner applied to a crucible will bring about an exchange of electrons, the division of some compounds and the unification of others, so a heatwave will...
Reviewed by Colleen Turner “Strange weather brings out strange behavior. As a Bunsen burner applied to a crucible will bring about an exchange of electrons, the division of some compounds and the unification of others, so a heatwave will act upon people. It lays them bare, it wears down their guard. They start behaving not unusually but unguardedly. They act not so much out of character but deep within it.” – from Instructions For A Heatwave On Thursday, July 15th, 1976, during a typical breakfast with his wife, Gretta, at their home in London, Robert Riordan leaves to get the paper and doesn’t return home. He takes their money out of their bank account and seemingly disappears. Over the course of the next few days all three of Gretta’s children return home to assist in finding their father, a near miracle in itself as the three siblings haven’t had much to do with each other over the last few years. The oldest, Michael Francis, is consumed by his own family issues after making a terrible mistake that might cost him his wife. The middle sibling, prim and bossy Monica, is living an imperfect life of her own, in a second marriage with two step daughters that despise her and unable to face the mistake she made in her past that led to her not speaking to her younger sister, Aoife. And then there is Aoife, the independent and demanding youngest sibling who ran away to New York to escape her smothering family and to try and find a life where her own little secret can stay hidden away from everyone, including the family she continually runs from. As this shattered family searches for Robert in the midst of the worst heatwave any of them have dealt with they will no longer be able to keep all of their secrets to themselves and will have to come clean and be honest with each other, including Gretta who has been hiding the biggest secret of them all, one that will change the very dynamics of this family. It is only with this naked truth that any of them can hope to come back together and be a family again. I absolutely adore anything Maggie O’Farrell writes and Instructions for a Heatwave is no exception. She takes this fictional family, one that could seemingly be any typical Catholic family, and exposes them to their barest bones and turns the very ordinariness of their lives into compelling and dramatic prose. It so perfectly highlights the fact that everyone keeps secrets from even those they claim to be closest to and that it is only when that wall of secrecy is finally brought down that they can truly be as close as they might wish to be. The ending is rather abrupt but even this seems a plus as it is clearly the journey that this family goes on and not the ultimate destination that is meant as the heart of the story. Their growth is what is important, not the outcome. I would recommend Instructions for a Heatwave, and really any of Maggie O’Farrell’s writing, to anyone looking for a compelling story that brings exquisite twists and turns to what appear to be very common place lives. She is truly one of my favorite authors of all time and her newest does not disappoint. Rating: ★★★★☆ Colleen lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, son, their dog Oliver and their fish Finn. When not working or taking care of her family she has her nose stuck in a book (and, let’s face it, often when she is working or taking care of her family as well). Nothing excites her more than discovering a new author to obsess over or a hidden jewel of a book to worship. Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Knopf. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received. Pin It
about 8 hours ago
Publisher: Zebra Publication Date: October 1, 2013 Book Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks / Audible Synopsis: Krysta is used to getting the drop on vampires. Her "special abilities" aren't much, but the plan is sim...
Publisher: Zebra Publication Date: October 1, 2013 Book Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks / Audible Synopsis: Krysta is used to getting the drop on vampires. Her "special abilities" aren't much, but the plan is simple—she plays helpless pretty young thing to lure them in. Then her shoto swords come out and it's bye-bye, bloodsucker. Until one night she finds herself with an unexpected ally. He's a vampire, all right, but different. Mysterious. Handsome. And more interested in saving her skin than draining it. Étienne has been an Immortal Guardian for two hundred years—long enough to know that Krysta is special. He can't stop thinking about her long legs, even more than her short swords. Then he discovers the vamps she's exterminating have friends in high places, and the Guardians are in danger too. He'll have to accept Krysta's help to save them. The stakes for a mortal are high. But the cost to his heart might be higher… Author Bio: Dianne Duvall is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Immortal Guardians paranormal romance series. Her debut novel, Darkness Dawns, was nominated for the RT Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Vampire Romance by RT Book Reviews and for Best Paranormal Romance—Vampire by The Romance Reviews. Other books in the series, including Night Reigns, Phantom Shadows, and the Predatory anthology, have been deemed Top Picks by RT Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews, and Night Owl Reviews. When she isn't writing, Dianne is active in the independent film industry and once even appeared onscreen as a machete-wielding maniac not unlike the vampires in her novels. Interview: Thank you, Star, for letting me visit The Bibliophilic Book Blog and for helping me celebrate the release of DARKNESS RISES! I’m so happy to be here! Q. Please tell us about the inspiration for your current release. Paranormal romance has long been my favorite genre, combining everything I love in horror novels and movies with the romance and happily-ever-afters I crave. Sometimes it’s dark. Sometimes it’s light. Since I enjoy both, you’ll pretty much find it all in my Immortal Guardians series. DARKNESS RISES is the fourth book in the series and features as hero Étienne d’Alençon. He, his twin brother Richart, and their sister Lisette were secondary characters in the previous novels and kept clamoring for my attention. They’re a close-knit family unit, you see, and have attempted to stave off the loneliness of their existence with the laughter and teasing they’ve always shared. But a cloud hovers over them. Lisette accidentally transformed her brothers roughly two hundred years ago and can’t forgive herself for denying them the happiness they could have found as mortals in the form of love, marriage, and families of their own. So I thought I would see what I could do to change that. I helped Richart find his HEA with single mother Jenna in my novella “In Still Darkness” that was released in the PREDATORY anthology this past May. And now I’ve thrown together mortal Krysta Linz — a courageous, incredibly effective vampire hunter — and Étienne, who happens to adore strong women. I hope readers will enjoy the sparks that ensue. :-) Q. How did writing this book affect you? I enjoyed it immensely. I was raised in a family that teases and laughs a lot, so the banter my Immortal Guardians engage in made me laugh a lot. For the first time, they even made me laugh during a very intense action scene that would have otherwise been quite dark. I hope readers will laugh, too. :-) Q. What is the hardest part of writing for you? For me, it’s writing or editing one book while promoting the release of another. If my mind is consumed with one, it isn’t always easy to abruptly transfer my attention to the other. Q. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? I don’t know how interesting it is, but I tend to snack a lot while I edit. The crunchier
about 10 hours ago
CREATING AN IDEAL LIFEBY JANET DeLEE ABOUT THE BOOK:When her career runs aground during the recession, baby boomer Ginny Lawther decides to reboot her life with a leap of faith and systematically sets out to make a long-cherished dream c...
CREATING AN IDEAL LIFEBY JANET DeLEE ABOUT THE BOOK:When her career runs aground during the recession, baby boomer Ginny Lawther decides to reboot her life with a leap of faith and systematically sets out to make a long-cherished dream come true.All her life, Ginny Lawther longed to be a writer, but self-doubt and some wrong turns along the way kept her dream in the background as she pursued other options. When the recession knocked the stuffing out of her chosen career, she wondered if the time had finally come to make her dream a reality. But could she, at a time in life when many were playing it safe, take a leap of faith and finally pursue her dream?Follow Ginny as she gathers courage for a journey of self-actualization, traveling down an uncertain path toward the fulfillment of her dreams and ultimately creating an ideal life. AN EXCERPT FROM CREATING AN IDEAL LIFE:The next day was market day at the Piazza del Popolo, so I strolled over after breakfast. Stalls lined up along every possible inch of the piazza. In the first stall was a flower vendor. The beautiful red, pink and white cyclamen captivated me. I took a picture of the flowers and moved on. I came to a stall with hundreds of scarves. I saw a black and white polka dot one that I liked. The African vendor saw me looking and hurried over, telling me urgently, “They are twelve euros.” When I looked up at him he blurted out, “Ten, they are ten.” Ten euros seemed reasonable, so I dug in my purse, handed him the money, and wound the pretty scarf around my neck. I had on a black jacket on this chilly morning, and I felt jauntier with the new accessory. Italian women in patterned scarves were everywhere, and now I felt like one of them. I headed up the lane and stopped to look at a wagon displaying huge wheels of cheese and hanging salami. The white coated vendor carved a wedge of cheese with an enormous knife for a tiny Italian woman dressed in a drab print dress and black sweater. She had a large cloth grocery bag filled with produce hanging from her arm as she talked to the vendor. They seemed to know one another, the vendor and his little lady buyer. They were having a lively conversation, and the gist of it, the bits I could understand, was her teasing him about his love life, accusing him of being a local Lothario. He would nod at her accusations, deny nothing, and fire off good natured replies that made her laugh gaily.I moved on to another booth displaying a fascinating assortment of burlap sacks containing various wild mushrooms and little knobs of truffles. I took a deep breath over the sacks, savoring the rich, earthy scents. The vendor looked at me expectantly—a grizzled, wool-capped fellow. I smiled and pantomimed approval of his displays and moved on, to his disappointment. TO READ MORE OF THIS EXCERPT, VISIT THE SCRIB.d WEBSITE HERE. ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Janet DeLee is all about making dreams come true and appointed herself "human guinea pig in the quest for self-actualization" Janet's debut novel, Creating an Ideal Life, is the first in a series of novels featuring her terrified-but-determined character, Ginny Lawther, who will continue expanding her life experiences with further leaps into new dreams, new quests, and new adventures. Janet resides in Dallas, Texas and is a fourth-generation landscape professional. When she is not in Italy, she can usually be found gardening, either in her yard or anyone else's who will let her. MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW:Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it”. In Janet DeLee’s debut novel, CREATING AN IDEAL LIFE, Ginny Lawther embodies Disney’s belief, although often with great trepidation. As the protagonist, Baby Boomer Ginny realizes that circumstances have given her a valid reason to change the direction her life has been going. Due to the recession, Ginny’s lawn and garden business is withering in the Texas heat, so she decides to take a chance, risk stability, and realize her lifetime dream of b
about 14 hours ago
Open Secrets: A Spiritual Journey Through a Country Church ~ by Richard Lischer, 2001, memoirFresh out of divinity school and bursting with enthusiasm, Richard Lischer found himself assigned to a small conservative church in an economi...
Open Secrets: A Spiritual Journey Through a Country Church ~ by Richard Lischer, 2001, memoirFresh out of divinity school and bursting with enthusiasm, Richard Lischer found himself assigned to a small conservative church in an economically depressed town in southern Illinois. It's an awkward marriage at best — a young man with a Ph.D. in theology, full of ideas and ambitions, determined to improve his parish and bring it into the twenty-first century, and a community that is "as tightly sealed as a jar of home-canned pickles." Lischer tells not only his own story but also the story of New Cana and its inhabitants. He brings to life the clash of cultures and personalities that marks his pastoral tenure, including his own doubts, as well as those of his parishioners, that a twenty-eight-year-old suburban-raised liberal can deal with the troubled marriages, alcoholism, teen sex, inadequate farm subsidies, and other concerns of the conservative, tightly knit community. But the inhabitants of New Cana — lovable, deeply flawed, imperfect people who stick together — open their arms to him in their own way, and the result is a colorful, poignant comedy of small-town life and all it has to offer.Moses Man of the Mountain ~ by Zora Neale Hurston, 1939, fictionIn this 1939 novel based on the familiar story of the Exodus, Zora Neale Hurston blends the Moses of the Old Testament with the Moses of black folklore and song to create a compelling allegory of power, redemption, and faith. Narrated in a mixture of biblical rhetoric, black dialect, and colloquial English, Hurston traces Moses's life from the day he is launched into the Nile river in a reed basket, to his development as a great magician, to his transformation into the heroic rebel leader, the Great Emancipator. From his dramatic confrontations with Pharaoh to his fragile negotiations with the wary Hebrews, this very human story is told with great humor, passion, and psychological insight — the hallmarks of Hurston as a writer and champion of black culture.Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader. They encourage us to share titles of books we’ve checked out of the library. Add your link any time during the week, and see what others got this week.This is the sign in front of my branch of the library.
about 16 hours ago
Reviewed by Rachel Mann In a way, not much happens in this book, in terms of events: Elizabeth Noble’s Between a Mother and Her Child is about emotion more than plot. When it begins, a terrible thing has already happened to the family at...
Reviewed by Rachel Mann In a way, not much happens in this book, in terms of events: Elizabeth Noble’s Between a Mother and Her Child is about emotion more than plot. When it begins, a terrible thing has already happened to the family at the heart of the book, the Barretts: they have lost a child. These characters have already experienced something worse than they had ever thought possible, and this book shows them trying to keep living when that experience is past. The book is set two years after Jake Barrett, a golden boy and the family’s first and eldest child, dies in the natural disaster of the 2004 tsunami. He doesn’t appear except in flashbacks, and he never gets a narrative point of view of his own. So for the readers and for his family, when the book begins he is already gone. His death seems to have splintered his family unit. His parents have separated, his teenage sister is alienated, and his little brother’s special needs require increased attention. Noble moves elegiacally through the fall and winter months of 2006, and then into the following year, as the Barrett family grows further apart. The youngest son, Stan, is only ten, and has less of a place in the narrative; in a way, his grief is the simplest and least cumbersome. Instead, we come to know the other three family members as they process their grief. Noble gives each of them a central place in the book and spends several chapters looking at events from each one’s point of view. They are Maggie, the mother who seems frozen in time by her loss; Bill, the father who, through grieving has become estranged from Maggie and become involved with another woman, Carrie; and their daughter Aly, who is approaching the age and experiences Jake will never have. Maggie’s sections, probably the lengthiest, may be the most difficult because she does not initially have a support group, a love interest, or a scholastic challenge to help ease her burdens. Bill and Aly each fit at least one of these categories. At first, Maggie has only herself, and it seems like that’s not going to be enough. Bill has this new relationship to distract him, and Aly has her own growing pains. At Christmastime, Maggie’s sister Olivia—an interesting character I wish we’d seen more of—comes to London, where the Barretts live, from her home in Australia. She’s eleven years younger than Maggie, and her life is stretching out with promise and excitement. Olivia is in love with a nice guy, Scott, who’s almost too good to be true: handsome, romantic, and apparently flawless. She and Scott are at the beginning of their love story, while Maggie and Bill’s story is falling apart. (Noble gives them a resolution, but I won’t spoil it here.) Trying to help her sister, Olivia ends up answering a personal ad placed by an older woman, Kate, who has a tragic past of her own too. Noble gives details of Kate’s life in flashbacks. Without spoiling things, it’s no surprise to find that Kate has an easy time relating to Maggie. By sharing their histories, the two women are eventually able to move forward. The connections between Maggie and Kate, and the contrast between the different couples, are just a start to the many elements that recur across characters’ lives and experiences: different types of lost children, pregnancies and pregnancy scares, relationships that don’t work out, and relationships that do. While it can be challenging to endure the troubles these characters face, it’s rewarding to recognize these connections between them and watch as they endeavor to heal. Rating: ★★★☆☆ Rachel, who has a Ph.D. in English, is a freelance writer/editor and a voracious reader. You can talk to her about books at http://twitter.com/writehandmann. Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Berkley Trade. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received. Pin It
about 17 hours ago
I've written about Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (2007) several times on this blog, but somehow it didn't occur to me to post it on my Book Around the World challenge blog as a good choice for traveling to France. Amy @ In Considerat...
I've written about Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (2007) several times on this blog, but somehow it didn't occur to me to post it on my Book Around the World challenge blog as a good choice for traveling to France. Amy @ In Consideration of Books suggested this book for the challenge, so read about it on all three blogs:Bonnie's BooksBook Around the World In Consideration of BooksHere's the first paragraph to intrigue you:The girl was the first to hear the loud pounding on the door. Her room was closest to the entrance of the apartment. At first, dazed with sleep, she thought it was her father, coming up from his hiding place in the cellar. He'd forgotten his keys, and was impatient because nobody had heard his first, timid knock. But then came the voices, strong and brutal in the silence of the night. Nothing to do with her father. "Police! Open up! Now!"I rate this book 9 of 10, an excellent novel.
about 23 hours ago
"Thanks for your patients."It's bad enough to read this anywhere, but it seems especially disturbing when it comes from an elected official. (He's a local official, so let's not get into a row about our country's current government shut...
"Thanks for your patients."It's bad enough to read this anywhere, but it seems especially disturbing when it comes from an elected official. (He's a local official, so let's not get into a row about our country's current government shut-down, okay?) How patient are you with a typo like this? Or was someone who really knows better simply distracted?Cross-posted on my word blog.
about 24 hours ago
All I can think is how pretty it's going to look up there next to my copy of Scarlet. Well, that and how much I need to get my hands on it. Because I really loved the first book. It was the first Will Scarlet gender swap I'd read and eve...
All I can think is how pretty it's going to look up there next to my copy of Scarlet. Well, that and how much I need to get my hands on it. Because I really loved the first book. It was the first Will Scarlet gender swap I'd read and everything about it worked for me. I'm so glad this sequel is finally in the offing, because that ending . . . talk about leaving all your balls up in the air ready to crash down at any moment. I need to know these characters are going to be all right. I love Scarlet's eyes on this cover. I full expect her to cause no small amount of mayhem to get herself (and the boys) out of the heinous predicament they're in. Lady Thief is due out February 11th. Are you excited?
1 day ago