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Friday, 29 June 2012

A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES & SHADOW OF NIGHT Giveaway!

Win A Signed Copy Of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES & SHADOW OF NIGHT!

A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Book 1 of the All Souls Trilogy
Genre: urban fantasy

About A Discovery Of Witches:
A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.
Source: Info in the About A Discovery Of Witches was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8667848-a-discovery-of-witches on 21/06/2012.

Shadow Of Night by Deborah Harkness
Book 2 of the All Souls Trilogy
Genre: urban fantasy

About Shadow Of Night:
"Together we lifted our feet and stepped into the unknown"—the thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestseller A Discovery of Witches

Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.

Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.

Deborah Harkness has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries, delivering one of the most hotly anticipated novels of the season.
Source: Info in the About Shadow Of Night was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11559200-shadow-of-night on 29/06/2012.

Watch Deborah talk about A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES & SHADOW OF NIGHT:

Prize(s):
  • If winner is a UK reader: Signed copy of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES & SHADOW OF NIGHT by Deborah Harkness 
  • International winner: Unsigned copy of either A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES or SHADOW OF NIGHT by Deborah Harkness from either Book Depository or Amazon or mailed directly from me.

To Enter: Fill in the rafflecopter below to be in the chance of winning.

Giveaway details:
  • Signed copies is open to UK addresses only. International readers have a choice of unsigned copy of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES or SHADOW OF NIGHT.
  • Please note that all entries, i.e., follows, tweets, etc. has to be public, meaning it has to be viewable by me for verification purposes.
  • Ends on the 7th of July 2012.
  • Please read the Disclaimer page as it forms part of this giveaway's terms and conditions. By entering this giveaway, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions of this giveaway.
  • This giveaway is courtesy of Headline Publishing.
Goodluck!!
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Thursday, 28 June 2012

Review: THE PHOENIX ENDANGERED

The Phoenix Endangered by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
Book 2 of The Enduring Flame Trilogy

Genre: epic fantasy

About The Phoenix Endangered:
In The Phoenix Endangered, second in The Enduring Flame, Tiercel, a budding High Mage, and Harrier, a reluctant Knight-Mage, develop greater power—and learn of the evils of war when they see the devastation caused by the fanatical armies of the Wild Mage Bisochim.

The desert tribespeople led by young Shaiara flee Bisochim’s evil, seeking a legendary oasis deep in the desert—a refuge that may hold the key to stopping Bisochim and preserving the Balance between Light and Darkness . . . or that may be the cause of Light’s ultimate downfall.
Source: Info in the About The Phoenix Endangered was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2903799-the-phoenix-endangered on 11/12/2011.

[image credit: AnimeJanice]
Review:
The cover art got it wrong. Tiercel is the blond one and Harrier is the ginger head. However the depiction is bang on and I like the drawing/art... It is pleasing to my fantasy buff eyes! The character development is very good as per usual with this dou author. I still miss Simera! And usually I hate cliffhangers... but this time around I was prepared! Having known these authors' writing style from the Obsidian Trilogy, I knew it's gonna be like that. I think it's a matter of my getting into the proper "mind set" that I did not get upset when it came to the cliffhanger... and maybe... plus the fact that I continued reading onto Book 3 straight away as soon as I hit the cliffhanger that contributed a lot to my not getting upset. But really, this book has no real beginning with a cliffhanger ending. Shouldn't be read own it's own. A middle chapter of a bigger book (which is the trilogy). I think if read as a stand alone, the reader would get royally confused. I wouldn't even talk about the plot because it started with Book 1 and ended in a cliffhanger so there isn't one really to talk about. But because of the marvellous story telling quality I cannot give it a 1.

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 5
Character development = 5
Story itself = 1
Ending = 1
World building = N/A
Cover art = 3
Pace = 4

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 cherries


Other Books In This Series:

Monday, 25 June 2012

Review: BONE SHOP

Bone Shop by T. A. Pratt
Prequel to the Marla Mason series
Narrated by Jessica Almasy
Genre: urban fantasy
Format: audiobook

About Bone Shop:
Marla Mason is the chief sorcerer of Felport, a woman who's tangled with gods and monsters and come out on top (if a bit damaged in the process). But she wasn't always a formidable engine of brute force and pragmatism; she started out alone, in a strange city, without allies or any more power than the average teenage runaway on the street. Marla was always willing to do anything necessary to survive, and it didn't take long for her to stumble into a world of magic, danger... and even the occasional moment of grace.

Bone Shop tells the story of Marla's evolution from runaway to sorcerer's apprentice to mercenary magician and beyond. Fans of the urban fantasy series from Bantam Spectra that began with Blood Engines will find surprising secrets revealed about Marla's past, and new listeners can get to know the character from the very beginning.

©2009 T.A. Pratt (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
Source: Info in the About Bone Shop was taken from Audible at http://www.audible.co.uk/pd?asin=B005KSMXWU on 15/05/2012.

Review:
I find the voice of Jessica Almasy a bit shrilly but she made up for it by good reading. Good diction, good interpretation, good voice imitations, and clear words. And after some time I even stopped hearing the shrilliness.

This book should have been a well of emotional potentials that the author could mine to reel the reader in. Make the reader connect with the event, characters and the world of Marla Mason. But for some reason the author opted to gloss over it instead. What a wasted potential! Consequently as a reader, I knew in my head that I should be more sympathetic to the characters but not really feeling it. And there is a moment of disorientation, of disconnection. That makes me a cranky reader! That brought the rating of this book a notch down.

Take for example the protagonists' group dynamics between Marla and Rondeau. It was just thrust upon the reader. There was no clear previous indication that Rondeau was a forgiving character or a masochist. Yet these two now seems to be fast friends. All of a sudden? The time jumps didn't help either, it just added to the feeling of disconnection. If more background was provided, like, an interaction between Marla and Rondeau that could lead to deeper friendship betwen the two, then I could understand Rondeau's behaviour. And to top it off, Rondeau didn't seem to be too stupid to live (TSTL) by the mere fact that he survived and thrived in a competitive world with nothing but his shirt on his back to start off with. So it doesn't match that he would act masochistic all of a sudden. Or act like he is afflicted with Stockholm-like syndrome. So the dynamic between Marla and Rondeau does not feel real to me. It feels forced by the author. This brings the authenticity factor a notch down. But despite all that moaning, the cover art is undeniably awesome!! And the world building was interesting enough that I wanted to know more about what happens next in the story.

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 3.5
Character development = 3
Story itself = 3
Ending = 3
World building = 4
Cover art = 5
Pace = N/A (7 hrs and 15 mins)
Narration = 3.5

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 cherries

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Mr. Mailman: MY BOYFRIEND MERLIN

A huge THANK YOU to Priya Ardis for hosting the "My Merlin Awakening Blog Tour Giveaway" which made it possible for me to win My Boyfriend Merlin by Priya Ardis!

Couldn't wait to find it in my mail!! *big smile* This wait is worth another Mr. Mailman feature!

About Mr. Mailman:
Mr. Mailman is a kind of "blog meme" started by Juju over at Tales Of Whimsy to feature books one is anxiously waiting to arrive in the mail!

My Boyfriend Merlin by Priya Ardis
Book 1 of the My Merlin series

About My Boyfriend Merlin:
If you can't trust your boyfriend, who can you trust?

In this modern Arthurian, 17-year-old nice girl Arriane, aka Ryan, DuLac just found out her badass biker boyfriend, Matt, is a little older than he was letting on. By a few eons.

In fact, he is really Merlin--the Merlin, King Arthur's Merlin, the greatest wizard who ever lived. But Ryan's not impressed. Tired of being a relationship loser, she'd rather kick his legendary behind.

Sure, the world has been crazy ever since the sword and the stone fell out of the sky like a meteor. But despite gruesome gargoyles, a new world of magic, and the guy driving her crazy, Ryan knows that family is everything. Will Merlin sacrifice hers to save the world? Will she be able to stop him?
Source: Info in the About My Boyfriend Merlin was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13099652-my-boyfriend-merlin on 21/06/2012.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Guest Post: Mary E. Twomey

My Monster
Writing is a strange monster. Gorgeous, unpredictable, terrifying, and precious. One moment you love what you’re into, the next you’re swearing you should scrap it all and declare yourself an illiterate just so expectations can be lowered. Learning to spell your name would become a note-worthy feat. “Wow! You did it yourself? Amazing! Sit down and take a rest. Have a cookie, you smart bunny.” Alas, with an English degree, more is expected of you when the pen hits the paper. If it’s not Shakespeare, and if you don’t use fanciful words like “alas”, then it must simply not be worth anyone’s time, least of all yours.

This kind of thinking led me to deleted documents, trashed notebooks, abandoned plots and a total tailspin. If it wasn’t completely hatched and grown gracefully into an adult by the end of the page, it was obviously a failure. A plot that wasn’t complete before the first word was scribbled was a waste. Being a notorious math class disappointment led me to the conclusion that if you don’t have the right answer – all the right answers – it’s best to keep your mouth shut and your head down. Mistakes are for people who will never find the solution, and wrong guesses are for people who should find a new calling.

Oh, Mary. Silly Mary.

Oh, you reader. Silly you.

Today I write to encourage you to stop judging your imperfections. It’s odd that we are often the first one to cast the stone at ourselves. We’ll be amazingly polite and kind to others, but when it comes to giving grace to the person with the funky morning hair in the mirror, we plum run out of mercy just about every time. You would never tell your husband or your best girl friend, “What a stupid idea. That’ll never work. Look how many things you still have to figure out. Best just watch TV and leave the high heels to the big girls.”

Fortunately for all of us, today is a new day. Today we will be different. We will be kind to ourselves. We will look in the mirror and believe the things our loved ones say about us. We will trust our ridiculous ideas and not shoot them down just because they are ours. Today we take ourselves seriously and give an honest effort to becoming that person who can see the possibilities.

A funny thing dawned on me in the midst of writing and editing the Saga of the Spheres. I allowed the ink to flow for fun. I did not write for other people. I did not plot for the masses. I wrote, laughed, swooned, and bit my lip as an unknown world shifted into focus on the page. I’m very excited to share the keepers, the seers, the spheres and the wombats with you. My hope is that you find your own possibility, take the first step, and then start running.


The Silence of Lir by Mary Twomey
Book 1 of the Saga of the Spheres
Genre: young adult fantasy fiction

About The Silence of Lir:
Behind the scenes of our spinning earth are keepers of the elements who make sure that tornados don’t destroy cities, fires don’t ravage forests, earthquakes don’t decimate towns, and floods don’t take out humanity. They wrestle with the natural elements to ensure that the world keeps spinning smoothly on its axis.

Since the beginning of time, the Sun has been fading, and the light that shines on the earth is dimming, causing the elements to be more volatile and impossible for the keepers to control.

Now they must enlist the help of one man, Finn, to help them bring the light back to the Sun. The keepers war, the North Star steals light from the Sun, and the Moon is in disrepute. The end of existence is coming, and all the while the king, the Moon, Lir, remains silent.
Source: Info in the About The Silence of Lir was from the media kit provided by the promotions agency.
Buy Link(s):


About Mary Twomey:
Mary E. Twomey lives in Michigan with her husband and two adorable children. She enjoys reading, writing, vegetarian cooking and telling her children fantastic stories about wombats.
Mary's Link(s):
http://www.facebook.com/#!/SagaOfTheSpheres
Twitter @shesleepssoftly
website www.SagaOfTheSpheres.com

Thursday, 21 June 2012

In The Mail: KISS THE DEAD

This is what Mr. Mailman brought me this week!

Kiss The Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton

About Kiss The Dead:
When a fifteen-year-old girl is abducted by vampires, it’s up to U.S. Marshal Anita Blake to find her. And when she does, she’s faced with something she’s never seen before: a terrifyingly ordinary group of people—kids, grandparents, soccer moms—all recently turned and willing to die to avoid serving a master. And where there’s one martyr, there will be more…

But even vampires have monsters that they’re afraid of. And Anita is one of them…
Source: Info in the About Kiss The Dead was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12383252-kiss-the-dead on 15/06/2012.

Thank you to the wonderful people at Headline Publishing for the review copy of Kiss The Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton received.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

WW28: GRAVE DANCE

WW28
A chance to showcase your favourite!
  • First you grab our Wicked Wednesday pic.
  • Then you grab a book. Turn to page 28. Take the first sentence. And then you post it in your site with a link back to WW28.
  • Come back to Cherry Mischievous - WW28 and give us the url of your post (in a comment at a WW28 post) so that other WW28 readers can find your WW28 offering.
WW28 book offering: Grave Dance by Kalayna Price

Instead I said, "I think we need to wait for the NCPD's analysis."

That sentence makes me think that whoever is saying that is trying to be evasive...

About Grave Dance:
Whoever said dead men tell no tales obviously never met Alex Craft.

After a month spent recovering from a vicious fight with a sorcerer, grave witch Alex Craft is ready to get back to solving murders by raising the dead. With her love life in turmoil thanks to the disappearance of Fae Investigation Bureau agent Falin Andrews and a shocking “L” word confession from Death himself, Alex is eager for the distractions of work. But her new case turns out to be a deadly challenge.

The police hire Alex to consult on a particularly strange investigation in the nature preserve south of Nekros City. The strange part: There are no corpses, only fragments of them. A serial killer is potentially on the loose, and Alex has no way to raise a shade without a body, so she’ll have to rely on the magic of others to find leads. But as she begins investigating, a creature born of the darkest magic comes after her. Someone very powerful wants to make sure the only thing she finds is a dead end—her own.
Source: Info in the About Grave Dance was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9565574-grave-dance on 28/05/2012.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Review: NAKED IN DEATH

Naked In Death by JD Robb
Book 1 of the In Death series
Narrated by Cristine McMurdo-Wallis
Genre: SciFi murder mystery, police investigation
Format: paperback, audiobook

About Naked In Death:
In hardcover for the first time, here is the novel that started it all-the first book in J. D. Robb's number-one New York Times-bestselling In Death series, featuring New York City homicide detective Lieutenant Eve Dallas and Roarke.

It is the year 2058, and technology now completely rules the world. But New York City Detective Eve Dallas knows that the irresistible impulses of the human heart are still ruled by just one thing-passion.

When a senator's daughter is killed, the secret life of prostitution she'd been leading is revealed. The high-profile case takes Lieutenant Eve Dallas into the rarefied circles of Washing-ton politics and society. Further complicating matters is Eve's growing attraction to Roarke, who is one of the wealthiest and most influential men on the planet, devilishly handsome... and the leading suspect in the investigation.
Source: Info in the About Naked In Death was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/268602.Naked_in_Death on 18/02/2012.

Review:
The paperback edition was given to me by my bookblogger secret santa about three christmases ago but I never got around to reading it... until I found this book again in audio format in the Library. When I got tired of Charlaine Harris's Aurora Teagarden's series, I started listening to this one. I think one of the major deterrent for me from reading this book was that it got such an uninspiring cover. Yeah, I'm a visual person and my reading habit is influenced accordingly. Specially with authors whose work I haven't tried yet. I've scanned the CD jacket cover art but I haven't uploaded it with this post because it was just that ugly.

I find that Cristine McMurdo-Wallis's voice is not as easy on the ears as Therese Plummer's voice is, nor Johanna Parker's. But eventually, I got used to her voice.

It took a while for me to get into the story. I am not sure whether it was a story telling quality flaw or if it was the quality of voice of the narrator...

For some reason, there are times when I could not distinguish when the narration changes in characters thus I sometimes got confused when the story line does not make sense to me. That is when having the paperback comes in really handy. I could read back and determine that Feeney is now talking and not Eve anymore. This probably also contributed to my confusion when characters seemed to be suddenly thrust at the reader without so much as a preamble... and me wondering who was Feeney again? Had to rewind back a few times and listen again. When that didn't work, I try to find the page in the paperback and read again. This made the pace of this book considerably slower than the 11 hours the audiobook is suppose to be.

The plot. I like the secondary plot of a romance in it. I also have to say that it was just slightly predictable. I knew who the perpetrator was and I was right. Dang!! But after listening to the Aurora Teagarden books' "2D" and "1D" plots, this book is decidedly "3D" plot-wise. Have to give kudos to a murder mystery with a layering of plots and twists even if it was kinda predictable.

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 3.5
Character development = 4.5
Story itself = 3.5
Ending = 3.5
World building = 4
Cover art = 2
Pace = 11-hours audiobook
Plot = 3.5
Narrator = 2

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 cherries


Thank you to the RCT Library for letting me borrow this audiobook!!

FTC Disclosure:
This audiobook was borrowed from the library. No money received for this review.
 
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