Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently, I'm reading Bloodspell by Amalie Howard

And Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

I just finished The Mirror of N'de by L.K. Malone. You can find my review here.

Next, I'll probably read Parisian by Heart by Mari Mann.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

From Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

"I realize that, without memory, I would have to see evidence that he was dead, or else forever carry around the hope that he was not. 'I want to,' I said. 'I have to.'"
pg. 212

Blog Tour: The Mirror of N'de by L.K. Malone

In the mythical city of N’de lives thirteen-year-old Hadlay and her people, the Ramash. Scorned and abused by the unloving and absent Emperor, the Ramash are poor people, placed second to the ruling class of the Oresed. Young but bold, Hadlay rages against the injustice in her city. When she is chosen for the honor of serving the Prince in the Tower, she hopes to find a way to right the wrong... but soon discovers that things are worse than she believed.While Hadlay works to better her people’s condition, she struggles to abide with the abusive Oresed and understand the meaning of her dreams in which a fantastical white horse appears to her and speaks in riddles. When Hadlay stumbles into one of the Tower’s secret rooms, she discovers a hidden mirror that doesn’t just show her reflection, but reveals much more: the horse’s name is Sirach and he has a plan to save the children of N’de, if only Hadlay can bring them to the mirror. Hiding her knowledge of Sirach from the Prince, Hadlay sets out to do Sirach’s bidding. But when Sirach’s presence is revealed, Hadley’s life is in danger and the only way to save her is for Sirach to give up his own.Crafting powerful narrative and creative characters, author L. K. Malone spins a compelling tale that combines exciting entertainment and the Christian story. In The Mirror of N’de, readers will empathize with the desires of an oppressed people, will anger at the affliction of a cruel adversary, and ultimately rejoice with the revelation of a Savior.

Buy Here

L. K. Malone is an insatiable reader who devours nearly a book a day when she isn’t writing. Favorite genres include political thrillers, historical fiction, romance, and fantasy. Some of her favorite reads include the Hunger Games series and the Harry Potter books, which inspired her to try her hand at fantasy with a Judeo-Christian twist. Malone is a Colorado native with a large extended family, which includes two lovely young women who graciously let her mentor them through the Denver Kids program, and a handsome menagerie of pets.

Blog Tour Schedule: here

The publisher is sponsoring a $50 giveaway! To enter all you have to do is send a tweet (using @litfuse) about The Mirror of N'de or share about it on Facebook!

A great cast of characters along with a quirky and fun story make this a great read for children and adults alike.

The atmosphere in the novel is what captured me at once. There is a sense of thinly veiled violence that sets up a good mood. The characters are very entertaining, with Hadlay as a heroine who, though sometimes whiny, is fun to follow. With my penchant for liking villains, it’s no surprise that I found Zeru to be the most interesting of the bunch. I do wish more background on him and his father had been given. The author left too much about him unexplained.

The plot is the most interesting thing about the book. There are so many wonderful twists and turns throughout the pages that I had trouble putting them aside. We don’t really see anything cliché, or predictable, which, with a fantasy novel post-Harry Potter, is not the easiest to accomplish. I do have to say, however, that the last few chapters did feel preachy. It felt like the author was trying too much to get her point across about God and Christianity, which, for me, was annoying. It got in the way of the story and, since she already did a good job throughout the novel to make these points anyway, it felt like overkill.

All in all, though, this is a great fantasy story, and I do recommend it for children as well as for fantasy-loving adults.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Musing Mondays

This week’s musing asks…

Will you be buying books for the holidays, this year? If so, for whom, and why?

Oh, yes. There is an annual book sale at our main library here, at the beginning of December and I always end up buying lots and lots of books as gifts for the holidays. I buy for my entire family. Usually, I end up with close to fifty books from one day of shopping, which means I've got to find more places to put said books. Hmm. We'll see what I come up with this year.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Follow Friday

Q: It’s Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. so we want to know what you are Thankful for – blogging related of course! Who has helped you out along the way? What books are you thankful for reading?

Well, of course, I'm thankful for everyone who takes the time to read anything I post. Sometimes we take that as a given, but it is a great thing to have people who care what you write about.
Mainly, though, I am thankful for books. Wonderful, woncderful books! All kinds, all flavors, just thank you for existing (I guess I should also thank Guttenberg for his pinting press). From the dark beauty of Jane Eyre, to the wonder of Harry Potter, life would be horribly empty without them.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Booking Through Thursday

What book or author are you most thankful to have discovered?
Have you read everything they’ve written? Reread them?
Why do you appreciate them so much?

I am deeply thankful to have discovered Barbara Kingsolver. I have read everything she's written, and although I have not reread anything yet, I would have no problems doing so.
What I love about her writing is the way she can form these incredible phrases that seem so simple, but which are so perfect. I am in awe of her writing, and I feel her voice, her style, is unique in every way. She has made literary fiction even more awesome than they already were.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently, I'm reading The Mirror of N'de: A Novel by L.K. Malone

And Lords of Dyscrasia by S.E. Lindberg

I just finished reading Vengeance by A.J. Scudiere. You can find my review here.

Next, I'll probably read Bloodspell by Amalie Howard

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

From The Mirror of N'De by L.K. Malone
"'Bonobos says it will be a light penalty,' Nomish said as the two families made their way to the public square, 'since it is our first offense, and only a small one. Perhaps it will simply be the masks.'"
pg. 40

Monday, November 21, 2011

Vengeance by A. J. Scudiere

Nine years ago, Claymore Beller tried to do the right thing. It was the last thing he did. In retaliation for his efforts, his mafia bosses laid waste to his family. Only the youngest-Cynthia-came up fighting.

Three years ago, Lee Maxwell made the same error. His wife and daughter paid for his mistake. In a haze of booze and regret, Lee disappeared.

Now, Owen Dunham is following the trail of the -Grudge Ninja--only all his evidence is false and the profilers can-t get their heads around anything except the obvious fact that the Ninja is extracting a deadly revenge for an old wrong.

As the Ninja gets bolder and far more dangerous, Owen is forced to recognize that he hasn-t always made the right decisions-he-s spent far too much time trying to be right. Even as he questions whether bringing in the ninja is the right thing to do, the voice in the back of his head is telling him that it will make his career...

This is the second book by Ms. Scudiere that I’ve read, and what has struck me the most is how different her books are from one another. This not only applies to plot lines and characters, but also to pacing and style. She created a new, wholly different reading experience with this book compared to the last one I read.

What drew me in immediately were the two main characters, Lee and Cyn (or Sin, as she is also called). They are brutal yet endearing killers out to get revenge for the wrongful death of family members. They are cold at first, hard for the reader to understand, but this soon changes. When they finally begin to work together, as a team, the way the author builds their relationship is worth the entire book. I was so amused by their interactions, taking this book from a plot-driven thriller to a deeper level.

The plot itself is fun, fast-paced (although it could have done with a bit of trimming of some fight scenes), and the reader feels in good hands as the author weaves her story together. There are many moments of tension, including sexual tension, which send the reader’s heart beating just a bit faster. There is also a wealth of combat and self-defense research in these pages, obviously demonstrating the care the author took to be as accurate as possible with the violence.

This is a fun story that I can recommend without issue. And I, for one, will be glad to immerse myself in Ms. Scudiere’s future projects.

Musing Mondays

This week’s musing asks…

How do you decide to read a book by an author you haven’t read before? What sort of recommendations count most highly in making that decision?

I'm pretty easy to convince to read a new author. If the book looks interesting, I'm game, even if the reviews have been less than stellar. I'm always willing to give a new author a chance to fascinate me, and, more often than not, I find another writer to admire.
Recommendations are tricky things. We all have such different tastes that it is hard to really know if you'll like a book based on what your friend, or even a relative, said. For me, it's about trying something new whenever I get a chance.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

In My Mailbox

We had the Miami Book Fair here this weekend, so I had the opportunity of buying some fantastic books.
Book fairs are just fabulous!

Stonehenge by Bernard Cornwell

The Dream of Scipio by Iain Pears

The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein by Peter Ackroyd

Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman

She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb

For the Beauty of the Earth: A Novel by David B. Lentz (For Review)

The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco

The Seance by John Harwood

The Butterfly's Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe

Falling Under (Falling Under #1) by Gwen Hayes

Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World by Sam Sommers (ARC)

Miss World by Randi Black (For Review)

Blog Tour: Promissory Payback and Unrevealed by Laurel Dewey

Laurel Dewey’s Detective Jane Perry is quickly becoming one of the most distinctive, dynamic, and unforgettable characters in suspense fiction today. She’s rock hard, but capable of extraordinary tenderness. She’s a brilliant cop, but she’s capable of making life-altering mistakes. She’s uncannily talented, and she’s heartbreakingly human.

In PROMISSORY PAYBACK Jane is called in to investigate the gruesome murder of a woman who profited greatly from the misfortunes of others. The case leaves Jane with little question about motive...and with a seemingly endless number of suspects.

In UNREVEALED, Dewey gives us four indelible portraits of Jane Perry:

ANONYMOUS: One of Jane's first AA meetings leads her to an encounter with a woman in need of her detection skills...and a secret she never expected to uncover.

YOU CAN'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER: Forced by her boss to speak at a high school career day, Jane meets a troubled boy and finds that his story is only the beginning of a much more revealing tale.

YOU'RE ONLY AS SICK AS YOUR SECRETS: An early-morning homicide call introduces Jane to a mystery as layered as it is unsuspected.

THINGS AREN'T ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM: Jane finds herself sharing a 2:00 am conversation at a downtown bar with an old acquaintance. Will the bloody night that proceeded this moment complicate Jane's intentions?

Laurel Dewey was born and raised in Los Angeles. She is the author of two nonfiction books on plant medicine, a Silver Spur-nominated Western novella, hundreds of articles, the Jane Perry novels, PROTECTOR, REDEMPTION, and REVELATIONS, and the Jane Perry novelette, AN UNFINISHED DEATH. She lives in Western Colorado with her husband, where she is currently working on a standalone novel.



Detective Jane Perry took another hard drag on her cigarette. She knew she needed to quiet her nerves for what she was about to see.

Another victim. Another senseless, gruesome murder that she would add to the board at Denver Headquarters. When Sergeant Weyler called her half an hour ago, she hadn’t even finished her third cup of coffee. “This one is odd, Jane,” he told her with that characteristic tone in his voice that also suggested an evil tinge behind the slaying du jour. “Be prepared,” he said before hanging up. It was a helluva way to start a Monday morning.

As Jane drove her ’66 Mustang toward the crime scene in the toney section of Denver known as Cherry Creek, she tried to look on the bright side. If she’d still been a drinker, she’d be battling an epic hangover at that moment and doing her best to hide it from Weyler. But since becoming a friend of Bill W., her addictions involved healthier options such as jogging, buying way too many pounds of expensive coffee and even briefly joining a yoga group. She stopped attending the class only because the pansy-ass male instructor wasn’t comfortable with her setting her Glock in the holster to the side of her mat during class. Since she was usually headed to work after the 7 AM stretch session, Jane was obviously carrying her service weapon. She wasn’t about to leave it in her car or a locker at the facility. Nor would she be so careless as to hang it on one of the eco-friendly bamboo hooks that lined the yoga room.

So for Jane, it was obvious and more than natural for the Glock to lie next to her as she attempted the Salutation to the Sun pose and arched into Downward Facing Dog. In her mind, there was no dichotomy between the peacefulness of yoga and the brain splattering capacity of her Glock. As the annoying, high-pitched flute music played in the background—a sound meant to encourage calmness but which sounded more like a dying parakeet to Jane—she felt completely safe knowing that a loaded gun was inches from her grasp. The other people in the class, however, did have a problem and they showed it by arranging their mats as far from Jane as humanly possible. None of this behavior bothered Jane until the soy milk-chugging teacher took her aside and asked her to please remove the Glock from class. Since Jane wasn’t about to take orders from a guy in a fuchsia leotard who had a penchant for crying at least twice during class, she strapped her 9mm across her organic cotton yoga t! op and quit.

That’s what predictably happened whenever you shoved a square peg like Jane Perry in a round hole of people and situations that don’t understand the real world. Crime has a nasty habit of worming its way into the most unlikely places—churches, schools, sacred retreats and possibly yoga studios. The way Jane Perry looked at life, yoga might keep your flexible but a loaded gun kept you alive so you could continue being flexible. She knew what it felt like to be the victim of circumstance; to be held hostage by another person’s violent objective. Even though it was a long time ago, she’d never wash the stench from her memory. Her vow was always the same: Nobody would ever make Jane Perry a victim again.

But somebody apparently had made the old lady inside the Cherry Creek house a victim. Jane rolled to the curb and parked the Mustang, sucking the last microgram of nicotine from the butt of her cigarette. Squashing it onto the street with the heel of her roughout cowboy boots, she flashed her shield to the cops standing at the periphery and ducked under the yellow crime tape that was draped between the two precision-trimmed boxwood shrubs that framed the bottom of the long, immaculate brick driveway.

My Reviews:

Jane Perry is a witty, acerbic character that makes these mysteries stand out from the pack. This novella was amusing and well paced, easy to read in one afternoon.

The story begins immediately as Jane arrives at the crime scene. The gruesomeness is handled with care, and it never becomes too much for the average reader. Although the manner in which the victim was killed was not the most original, it still paints vivid image in our heads. One thing that really bugged me throughout the novella, though, is the use of the word “ironic”. Does no one know what this word means? The author used “ironic” instead of “coincidental” or “suspicious”. It was disappointing to see an author not know what the word meant or how to use it. It really distracted from the reading, especially since she used it about three times in each chapter.

Other than that, the story was fine. Not genre-busting, but entertaining. What this series has going for it is Ms. Perry, she is a character that keeps you hooked to the pages. If you’re less picky than I am about things like wrong word usage, then this might be a good one for you.

The collection of short stories was a treat to read. They all hook you in from the very beginning, and since they are all so different, you never find yourself bored or reading the same type of thing over.

In particular, I enjoyed the last story, “Things Aren’t Always What They Seem”. There is a great sense of tension throughout the entire thing, slowly building to the final reveal that, really, shocks the reader. Well done. This collection I can highly recommend. The stories will keep you at the edge of your seat.