Follow Friday (3)

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Follow Friday is a weekly meme created by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Every week one lucky blogger is featured, and the featured blogger is followed by all participants. On top of that, participants also follow each other. Win win for everyone!

Since this is NOT a blogger blog, I would like to be followed via RSS (which was recently updated to Feedburner), or by subscribing by email (insert your email at the top left sidebar).

Question: Describe where you love to read most…

Surprisingly enough, that’s an easy one for me. On the train. No seriously. I love reading on the train. I spent about four hours a week going from university to my home and vice versa with the train. Additionally, I also love reading in my bed. Especially when we’re talking scary horror/thriller novels. Brrr!

So, where do you like to read most?

In My Mailbox (30) / Mailbox Monday (39)

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In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. The purpose of this meme is to share the books that came into our house last week with our readers. These can be ARCs, books we purchased ourselves, books requested for review by authors and publishers, eBooks, free reads we stumbled upon and audiobooks. The only thing that doesn’t count are library books.

Click HERE to view all my ‘In My Mailbox’ posts.

   

   

   

   

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Truly, Madly, Deeply You Starter Day Party

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February 21st – Starter Day Party
@ I Heart Reading

February 22nd – Book Review
@ Forever Lost in Books

February 23th- Guest Post
@ Mama Knows Books

February 24th – Book Excerpt and Guest Post
The Daydreamer’s Book Obsession

February 25th – Review
@ A Pocket Full of Books

February 27th – Book Excerpt
@ Glorious Books

February 28th: Guest Post and Giveaway
@ Ivy Reads

February 29th – Review
@ The Book Blurb

March 2nd – Book Excerpt and Guest Post
@ Full Moon Reviews

March 3rd – Review
@ Bex Book Nook

March 4th – Review and Promo Stop
@ Books, Books and More Books

March 5th – Guest Post
@ Pretty Opinionated

March 6th – Book Excerpt
@ AoBibliopshere

March 7th – Review
@ I Heart Reading

March 9th – Review, Promo Stop and Giveaway
@ Kindle and Me

March 10th – Book Review
@ Curse of The Bibliophile

March 12th – Author Interview
@ Ttoria

March 13th – Review and Guest Post
@ Always a Book Lover

March 14th – Review
@ The Awesome Magic Attic

March 15th – Book Excerpt
@ Ttoria

March 16th – Review and Promo Stop
@ Mother, Gamer, Writer

March 17th – Guest Post
@ Unputdownable Books

March 18th – Review and Giveaway
@ Library Mosaic

March 19th – Guest Post
@ Nicki J. Markus

March 20th – Review
@ Ivy Reads

March 21st – Review
@ Ttoria

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (12)

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila of Book Journey. It’s where book bloggers gather to talk about what books they read and reviewed last week, what books they’re currently reading and what books they’re planning to read. This is a great way for me to plan my reading week, and to take a sneak peek at what others are reading.

Click HERE to view all my ‘It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?‘ posts.

Finished Reading Last Week

 

 

I’m currently reading

 

In My Mailbox (29) / Mailbox Monday (38)

mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. The purpose of this meme is to share the books that came into our house last week with our readers. These can be ARCs, books we purchased ourselves, books requested for review by authors and publishers, eBooks, free reads we stumbled upon and audiobooks. The only thing that doesn’t count are library books.

Click HERE to view all my ‘In My Mailbox’ posts.

   

   

   

   

   

What’s in your mailbox this week?

The God King by James West and Giveaway

51Q7naHo13LTitle: The God King
Author: James West
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publication Date: November 11th 2011
Rating: 4 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Review copy provided by the author. Visit the author’s website.

Heroes are not born, they are forged in the fires of apocalypse…
In the heavens above, the three moons crash together, streaming fire and death in their wake; below, the seas rage as the roiling face of the world shatters. After Prince Varis Kilvar steals powers to transform himself into a god, chaos reigns from the king’s city of Ammathor to the forbidding walls of the Black Keep. At his heels marches a demonic army torn from the very bowels of the Thousand Hells, and the risen God King uses terror to stake his claim over all lands.
Betrayed and bound to Varis by powers he does not understand, mercenary Kian Valara is forced to masquerade as the world’s savior, while a beautiful Sister of Najihar prepares him for his last battle. Victory against a living god is far from certain, but vengeance? For Kian, when the battle rage falls upon his soul and the sword hilt is hot and alive against his palm, vengeance is never out of reach.

I love epic fantasy. Sword-wielding heroes, century-old prophecies, magicians living in secluded towers, kings waging wars to expand their territory, those are the elements that first got me into reading books. Epic fantasy books were the first kind of books I read for my own enjoyment, and it’s still my favorite genre today. I love a good mystery or a scary thriller just as much as the next person, but nothing makes me feel more in my element than snuggling down on the couch with a good chunkster in typical fantasy style. What I like most about these types of books is the creative element. Because they don’t take place in our every day world, the author has the option to go completely crazy and invent whatever the heck they want and place it into their fantasy world. Dragons, faeries, prophecies, seers, you name it, it can be done. Also, the sheer amount of detail that goes into creating a fantasy world is extraordinary. You actually create an entire world from scratch. A world with its own economic system, its own borders, democracy/monarchy/whatever type of state structure you want, religion, myths, magic and then you make sure everything you say or do in the book follows the rules you set for this particular fantasy world. It actually gives a god-like characteristic to the author, who has now not only become the creator of books, but also the creator of a fantasy world.

Sometimes these fantasy worlds are rich and compelling. Think Game of Thrones or Lord Of The Rings. While The God King isn’t as overwhelming and detailed as Game of Thrones – which would be a remarkable feat on its own – it does compete well with other fantasy books. In fact, I thought the setting, the fantasy world in which the story takes place, was both amusing and entertaining, with just the right amount of detail without wasting too much time on telling background stories that have little or nothing to do with the plot. The key point here is the story, the characters and their adventures, and the fantasy setting just serves as a background for these characters to do what they want to do and for the story to develop. I actually believe this is one of the hardest things when writing a fantasy book – what amount of detail regarding the fantasy world do you mention in your story, when do you mention it and why. James A. West definitely succeeds in this department. He doesn’t overwhelm the reader with information, but instead spills it gradually, making us warm up to the world and setting of The God King with every page we read.

The main characters are strong and compelling. On the one hand you have the male lead, Kian, who isn’t your stereotypical fantasy hero. Kian isn’t a person you would necessarily like the moment you meet him. He’s tough, strong and a man of actions rather than words. Since his current profession is that of a mercenary, you can understand why I didn’t exactly want to be besties with him when I was first introduced to our main character. However, as the story unfolded and Kian poses as a relucant hero, I began to feel more and more sympathies towards the character and halfway through the book I realized that I actually kind of like him. He has charisma, although you wouldn’t notice that at first. There’s also something oddly amusing about the way he interacts with Hazad and Azuri, his companions, which made me like him even more. They all went through rough times, which shaped them as characters and added interesting tidbits to their personalities.

Let’s talk about the female lead, Ellonlef. To my shame I have to admit that I don’t like her name. I know that’s superficial, but I’m not a big fan of her name. However, I’m a big fan of the character. Some fantasy authors have the tendency to make their female characters one of two generic stereotypes. Either they’re meek and helpless and can do absolutely nothing themselves without the hero coming to rescue them, or they’re war-hardened giants who can only talk about how much they want to chop someone’s head in. Ellonlef doesn’t fit in either of those stereotypes. Although Kian saves Ellonlef in the beginning of the book, she turns the tables around by taking the lead and helping him stop the villain of this book, Prince Varis. Ellonlef is charming, witty and intelligent, and thankfully she doesn’t need help every other second.

The storyline itself is intriguing to say the least. Prince Varis, who has a knack for evil, manages to transform himself into a powerful God, causing chaos and turmoil with his demonic army everywhere he goes. As if it’s a joke of fate, Kian finds himself the only person who can stop Varis and meanwhile save the world. I don’t want to give away too much spoilers, but let me tell you that the story certainly delivers. It was a bit different than I expected when I first began reading it, but in a good way. The pacing takes a bit to build up, mainly because the reader still has to get to know the setting, the lore and the characters, but once the pacing picked up, I became entirely engrossed in the story. Sleep? Food? Long forgotten.

The God King is a fascinating, endaring fantasy novel with relatable, intriguing characters and a rich, detailed fantasy setting. Definitely recommend for fans of the fantasy genre. I’m definitely keeping an eye out for any other books James West decides to publish.

This book counts towards the Fantasy Challenge and the Go Indie Challenge.

Giveaway


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Book Review: A Vampire’s Deadly Delight by Liv Rancourt

13438160Title: A Vampire’s Deadly Delight
Author: Liv Rancourt
Genre: Vampires, Paranormal, Clicklit, Novella
Publication Date: January 11th 2012
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Rating: 3,5 stars
Review copy thanks to Bookish Snob Promotions.
Smashwords | B&N | Amazon

She’s a quiet, unassuming bookstore owner by day, but by night…
Kristen has a deadly secret—when she smells a vampire, she turns into Jai, a beauti-licious babe who makes vamps permanently dead. To a vamp, Jai is like ambrosia. They can’t resist her. She uses this attraction, plus her super strength and her trusty blade, Mr. Sticky, to end their undead lives. The thrill of wearing miniskirts without worrying about cellulite stifles any qualms Kristen might have about killing the undead. Being Jai is the most fun she has ever had—until they come up against the one vampire Jai can’t kill. If he and Jai have a history, as he claims, Jai can’t remember it…or him.
But when her work catches the attention of some old enemies—who won’t hesitate to destroy Kristen if it also means the end of Jai—this vampire may be their only hope. Can Kristen and Jai learn to tell the difference between good and evil in time to defeat Jai’s ancient nemesis? Or will being Jai’s hostess cost Kristen more than just a little sleep?

I’m not a big fan of chicklit, and A Vampire’s Deadly Delight is definitely chicklit. But surprisingly enough, I found myself enjoying the story. It’s a bit short, hence why it’s a novella of course, but this time I wasn’t too bothered with the fact that it was a short book. It’s like you realize from the start that this is meant to be a novella. It’s light-hearted, funny and cute, and just a light read for a casual winter afternoon.

This book actually has two heroines. Tricky part? They both share the same body, which of course leads to hilarious circumstances and events. The body apparently belongs to Kristen, one of these two heroines, and is sometimes inhabited or possessed (whatever term you prefer) by Jai, our other heroine. To help keep things simple, Kristen and Jai’s POVs are in different fonts. They both talk in first person, and they’re actually surprisingly easy to relate to. I found myself likin both Kristen and Jai, and finding it hard to decide who I should like more. Kristen is a shy, quiet and calm book store owner who, duh, loves books. That’s why I could relate to her almost instantly. But then, as soon as she smells the undead, she morphs into Jai, vampire slayer extraordinaire, who reminded me a lot of Buffy, my favorite heroine ever. So deciding between a fellow bibliophile or a kick-ass vampire slayer was a bit too hard, so I settled to like them both.

Of course there are enough hot guys to make this story interesting, and the wit and humor of both the author and characters kept me turning page after page. However, this isn’t just some brainless chicklit. There’s actually a story behind all of it, as Jai’s powers seem to be taning and an old arch nemesis of hers resurfaces. Kristen and Jai have to team up to fight him, and they’ll have to learn how to put their differences aside – something which sounds easier than it is. If you’re looking for a light read that will bring a smile to your face, and sometimes even cause you to burst out laughing, then A Vampire’s Deadly Delight is a great choice.

Author Interview with Liv Rancourt and Giveaway

The Book

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Author Interview Questions

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was in about the fourth grade, I tried to re-write Little House on the Prairie. I’m not sure how successful I was, but my mother grabbed onto the idea that I was going to be a writer. She encouraged me, and so did a couple high school teachers, so I kind of figured I’d be a writer, too. Some day. Then when I was in college I took a creative writing class and the instructor didn’t like the main character in my big final project. And just like that, I decided I wouldn’t be a writer. Because when you’re twenty, you’re kind of crazy. Like that.

Then a couple years ago it dawned on me that, while I’d always thought I would grow up to be a writer, I was running out of time. I’m going to be fifty on my next birthday, so it was pretty much ‘now or never’. I bought a thumb drive to save my stories on and got to it. And here I am.

How long does it take you to write a book?

It depends. I try for about five thousand words a week, and many times I meet that goal. It took me about two months to write the first draft of A Vampire’s Deadly Delight, and it’s just over forty thousand words long. On the other hand, I have another piece that’s about twice as long and I’ve been working on it since January of 2010. Don’t know when that one will be done, because I have to learn more about writing to get it to where it needs to be. I’m better at writing short stories, because out of necessity you have to tighten the plot and narrow your focus. I can crank out a short story in a week to ten days, unless real life gets in the way.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Writing quirk? Hmm… The dialogue I write is often a pretty accurate reflection of the internal monologue that’s going through my head, although I’d NEVER say the stuff out loud. It’s pretty kooky in here, guys, and writing’s the best way I know to let some of the crazy bits out in a socially acceptable way.

How do you come up with the idea for A Vampire’s Deadly Delight?

I read a lot of paranormal fiction, and found myself frustrated with vampire characters who are such sexual superheros that any mortal woman they meet basically drops and spreads her legs without putting up a fight. I got to thinking about what would happen if there was a character that vampires found irresistible, but who could destroy them the same way they destroy mortal women. And thus, Jai was born. She’s the alter-ego of my main character Kristen, and she takes over whenever Kristen smells vampire. It’s sort of a Buffy meets Spiderman kind of thing.

Who would you consider your favorite author and why?

Okay, that’s the toughest question I’ve ever been asked. Just one? Can I tell you about three? I like Octavia Butler because she never let the language get in the way of telling a good story. I like Charlaine Harris because she can sketch a living breathing character in twenty five words or less. Okay, maybe fifty words, but you get the idea. And right now I’m lovin’ Richard Kadrey, because his Sandman Slim character is such a baaddd boy.

Are you working on something right now? If so, what?

Absolutely! I just finished editing a short story, “Tangled Dreams” that will appear in an anthology, Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires edited by Rayne Hall, and I’m editing another short story, “Temptation’s Touch”, that will appear this March in an anothology for Still Moments Publishing. I’ve written the synopsis for another short story that has an end of February deadline, and I have the first three chapters drafted of a novel (novella?). I’m researching this last piece, doing character sketches and working on the outline of the plot. I’m not real rigid about the groundwork, but I like to have some idea where I’m going before I really get into the work of writing.

Author Bio

Liv Rancourt is a writer of speculative fiction and romance. She lives in Seattle with her husband, two teenagers, two cats and one wayward puppy. Writing stories that have happy endings is a good way to balance her work in the neonatal intensive care unit, and she is thrilled to be publishing her first novella with Black Opal Books. Liv can be found on-line at her website, her blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Giveaway

Author Liv Rancourt agreed to give away one eBook copy of A Vampire’s Deadly Delight on I Heart Reading.

She’s also giving away a copy of the cover art to one lucky winner at the end of the tour. Please visit her website to find out more.


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Book Tour

This blog post is part of a book tour organized by Bookish Snob Promotions.
The next tour stop is on February 8th, on The Wormyhole.

Starter Day Party Always You Book Tour

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February 6th – Tour Starter Party
@ I Heart Reading

February 7th – Book Excerpt
@ Reut Reads

February 8th – Guest Post
@ Nicki J. Markus

February 9th – Review + Author Interview
@ Nightly Reading

February 10th: Review
@ Books, Books and More Books

February 11th – Guest Post
@ Brenda McCreight’s Blog

February 12th – Review + Author Interview
@ Forever Lost in Books

February 13th – Review + Book Excerpt
@ Forever Book Lover

February 14th – Valentine’s Day Giveaway

February 15th – Review
@ Heather Cim’s Blog

February 16th – Review
@ A Pocket Full of Books

February 17t h – Book Excerpt
@ Fictional Candy

February 18th – Review
@ For The Love of Novels

February 19th – Review and Guest Post
@ The Book Blurb

February 20th – Review and Author Interview
@ Library Mosaic

February 21st – Book Excerpt
@ Kindle and Me

February 22th – Review
Curse of The Bibliophile

February 23th: Review
@ The Day Dreamer’s Book Obsession

February 24th – Review
@ Guardian of The Crossroads

February 25th – Guest Post and Giveaway
@ Ramblings From This Chick

February 26th – Review
@ Kindle Catching Fire

February 27th – Review and Author Interview
@ Artsy Musings of a Bibliophile

February 28th – Guest Post
@ Pavarti’s Blog

February 29th – Interview
@ Let’s Book It

March 1st – Review
@ Paradise Reading Cafe

March 2nd – Book Excerpt
@ KindleFever

March 3th – Review and Guest Post
@ Always A Book Lover

March 4th – Review
@ BookObsessed

March 5th – Review
@ Fiction Fascination

March 6th – Review
@ Reviews by Molly

Book Cover and Synopsis

alwaysyoucoverBook Title: Always You
Author: Shilpa Mudiganti
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: InkSpell Publishing
Publication Date: March 6th 2012
Format: eBook, Paperback, Kindle
Book Synopsis:

Lyla has to move on. She’s been stuck in a rut since her heart was broken five years ago. Trying to decide about life with her fiancé, Nick, she resolves to finish one last project before moving to Spain and starting a new life. That is until she is face to face with the one man who broke her heart all those years ago, Alexander Knight.

Five years ago, when Alex and Lyla meet at his friend, Andrew’s grave, they fall deeply in love. But, Alex is hiding a secret that will destroy his relationship with Lyla and does. What Lyla doesn’t realize is that Alex has changed since their break-up, because of her love, only she still has hate in her heart towards him.

But now, fate has brought them together in such a way that they have no option but to remain dangerously close – dangerous enough for Lyla to fall in love with him again. How can she? Not after what she knows about Alex and what he did to Andrew.
It’s true that love can change people for the better. But is it enough? What will happen when two broken people with a past come together? Can they forgive and heal?

Author Bio

Shilpa Mudiganti Mirza grew up making up stories in her head. Starting with innocent babbling, genre of her stories changed with lessons growing up teaches us all. She thought life would be all about her stories until she completed her technical degree. Security of an IT job lured her leaving her stories to continue brew up in her head. Yet soon she had to fall in step with what fate had planned for her and she penned her first romance novella, Always You to be published by Inkspell Publishing. There has been no looking back since then. Juggling her day job as an IT geek, she has penned down her pet project, an exciting fantasy story of lions and wolves which, to her utter delight, is going to see the light of the day early next year. She says you would fall in love with her wonderful hero and heroine.
When she has time to breathe, she spends time blogging, connecting with her readers and spending time with her loving husband. She lives at Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. You can connect with her at:
Website | Twitter | Facebook

And if you have time to spare, she would be delighted to have you on her blog.

In My Mailbox (28) / Mailbox Monday (37)

mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. The purpose of this meme is to share the books that came into our house last week with our readers. These can be ARCs, books we purchased ourselves, books requested for review by authors and publishers, eBooks, free reads we stumbled upon and audiobooks. The only thing that doesn’t count are library books.

Click HERE to view all my ‘In My Mailbox’ posts.

   

Thank you to Andy Gavin, Suzan Battah and Amber LaShell for the review copies for these books.

   

Thank you to Dan O’Brien for the review copies.

   

Thanks to Dan O’Brien, K.H. LeMoyne and Liv Rancourt via Bookish Snob Promotions for the review copies.

   

These books were purchased by yours truly.

   

Thank you to Random House Publishers and Bewitching Book Tours for the review copy.