Sunday Post–June 9

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is where I take a look at my last week and look ahead to what I might be doing next week.

Last Week

Around the House
I spent a lot of time resting this week…really tired from my trip to the Midwest! I finally stopped fighting it and just took it easy. Saturday was a great day since our son visited. We had a great time together.

Posts on my blog
Sunday Post–June 2

June 2013 books to look forward to

Review: A Hint of Frost by Hailey Edwards

Book I’m reading
Faefever by Karen Marie Moning

E-books bought

Trail of Dead by Melissa F. Olson
Shapeshifted (an Edie Spence novel) by Cassie Alexander

 

The Last Slayer by Nadia Lee

 

First (Wrong) Impressions: A Modern Pride & Prejudice by Krista D. Ball

 

Andromeda Rising (Celestial Series) by James Ramsey

Around the web

To celebrate June is Audiobook Month the Going Public blog is offering a free story each day. They have teamed with Spoken Freely–a group of professional narrators–to offer a free short story each day. These are stories in the public domain from authors like Chekhov, Twain and Alcott.

Dear Author has an interview with professional narrator Karen White who picked three of her favorite contemporary romance titles she’s narrated by authors Julie James, Jill Shalvis and Katie MacAlister to talk about. She’s narrated numerous other titles. A fascinating interview.

I mentioned in my Sunday Post a few weeks ago that the the Sync blog–Sync YA Literature Into Your Earphones–is offering two free audio titles each week this summer. The titles available this week:

June 6 – June 12, 2013
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 1: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood, read by Katherine Kellgren (HarperAudio)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, read by Wanda McCaddon (Tantor Audio)

Next Week

Around the house
I plan to do a few more things next week…more on the blog and more reading, I hope.

Posts on the blog
Quote-Tastic

Top Ten Tuesday–Top Ten Beach Reads

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Another review?

Sunday Post

Review: A Hint of Frost by Hailey Edwards

This is a new author to me and listed at the Literary Escapism blog’s New Author Challenge 2013.

A Hint of Frost
by Hailey Edwards
Series: Araneae Nation, book 1
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Published by: Samhain Publishing, 2012
E-book, Purchased
236 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: When her mother is murdered in her nest, Lourdes has one choice: she must marry before her own nest is seized. All she needs is a warrior fierce enough to protect her city and safeguard her clansmen. Such a male is Rhys the Cold.

Rhys’s clan is starving, but their taste for the Araneaean flesh makes them unwelcome dinner guests. Yet Lourdes threatens to melt the cold encasing his heart. When her sister is captured, they pursue their enemies, where she will discover if she’s worth her silk or if she’s spun the thread by which her clan will hang.

…………………………………………

I think this is a very imaginative, unique book. It opens in the middle of a battle. We gradually learn that Lourdes’ mother and father have been murdered. The Araneidae clan aren’t fighters. They’re a rich clan of artisans who spin silk. But Lourdes isn’t willing to go down without a fight:

I was not a warrior born, but perhaps a warrior made.

…I was half Theridiidae, trained by one of their best strategists, my father….Araneidae spun silk ten times the strength of the strongest metals, and my fingertips tingled where my spinnerets loosed a singled silken thread.

I looped my thread behind his head, jerking down hard enough his chin caught my shoulder. While he was stunned, I whirled to his side out of Calum’s reach, until I stood at his back and my makeshift garrotte sliced his throat.

Lourdes’ father was from the Theridiidae clan and his clan have been the bodyguards for the Araneidaes. Now the Theridiidae have betrayed the Araneidae clan. Lourdes tries to save her clan and her remaining family by asking for aid from a clan more dangerous than the Theridiidae.The Mimetidae clan are known to eat their fellow Araneaeans, but they are fierce fighters and that’s what Lourdes needs for her clan.

I’d sent a plea for aid to the one clan cruel enough to stave off the Theridiidae invasion and, I hoped merciful enough I hadn’t signed my death warrant by exposing my soft underbelly to them.

Gods, I hoped the Mimetidae weren’t hungry.

The Mimetidae do come to the aid of the Araneidae. The maven of the Mimetidae clan, Isolde, was Lourdes’ mother’s dearest friend, but she demands a price from Lourdes. The Mimetidae clan is one of the poorest clans and making an alliance with the Araneidae is a huge benefit to the Mimetidae. Isolde demands their warriors be outfitted in Araneidae armor spun from Araneidae silk and for Lourdes to wed a Mimetidae. Lourdes is horrified by this, but Isolde promises Lourdes her dearest wish–revenge on her parents’ killers. Rhys the Cold is the youngest son of the Mimetidae clan and Isolde’s son. He’s Isolde’s choice for Lourdes. Lourdes is drawn to him, but doesn’t trust him especially since he’s part of the Mimetidae clan.

Lourdes discovers her sister is missing after the battle. Was she kidnapped or was she involved in the murder of their parents? Either way Lourdes is determined to find her and get her back. Lourdes and Rhys track her sister and her companions (kidnappers?). Following the trail they travel south and not only encounter some of the traitors, but also a mysterious plague which is ravaging the south. I get the feeling this plague will appear in future volumes of the series.

My thoughts: The culture of the Araneae Nation is fascinating. The world building is good and is revealed gradually. I don’t like spiders at all, but Ms. Edwards has created a culture based on spiders’ characteristics…some have poison to kill their prey, a bite used in lovemaking or spin silk from their fingers. Even though I don’t like spiders at all I thought using spiders’ characteristics was brilliant.

One quibble I have with this book is the names of the clans…very hard to keep straight and pronounce even in my head. Thank goodness I wasn’t reading out loud…lol! The worst names to keep straight were the Araneidae clan and the Araneaeans which is the name for all the clans in this world. That was confusing! Writing this review with all these names was also a challenge! Ms. Edwards has a pronunciation guide on her website. I guess I understand why she used all these words, but when a pronunciation guide is needed maybe you should use easier parts of these words!

The book is a good start to this new series. I also read a short story in the series–A Cast of Shadows. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t quite long enough. I would have enjoyed more time with the characters in that story.

The second book in the series–A Feast of Souls–is already out as an e-book, but I haven’t read it yet. It has been buried in my e-reader so I will have to dig it out before the third e-book arrives–A Time of Dying–at the end of July.

June 2013 books to look forward to

I don’t have too many books I’m thinking of buying this month, but the following books sound good! And I know as the month goes on I will find plenty of other books to buy!

June 4

Trail of Dead
by Melissa F. Olson
Series: Scarlett Bernard, book 2
Published by: 47North
Genre: Urban Fantasy
310 pages
Synopsis: As a null, Scarlett Bernard possesses a rare ability to counteract the supernatural by instantly neutralizing spells and magical forces. For years she has used her gift to scrub crime scenes of any magical traces, helping the powerful paranormal communities of Los Angeles stay hidden. But after LAPD detective Jesse Cruz discovered Scarlett’s secret, he made a bargain with her: solve a particularly grisly murder case, and he would stay silent about the city’s unearthly underworld.

Now two dead witches are found a few days before Christmas, and Scarlett is once again strong-armed into assisting the investigation. She soon finds a connection between the murders and her own former mentor, Olivia, a null who mysteriously turned into a vampire and who harbors her own sinister agenda. Now Scarlett must revisit her painful past to find Olivia—unless the blood-drenched present claims her life first.
My Thoughts: I’ve already preordered this book. I liked the first book (Dead Spots) and reviewed it in May.

Eight Million Gods
by Wen Spencer
Series: Unknown
Published by Baen Books
Genre: Fantasy
368 pages

Synopsis: A contemporary fantasy of mystery and death as American expats battle Japanese gods and monsters to retrieve an ancient artifact that can destroy the world.

On Saturday afternoon, Nikki Delany thought, “George Wilson, in the kitchen, with a blender.” By dinner, she had killed George and posted his gory murder to her blog. The next day, she put on her mourning clothes and went out to meet her best friend for lunch to discuss finding a replacement for her love interest.

Nikki is a horror novelist. Her choice of career is dictated by an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that forces her to write stories of death and destruction. She can’t control it, doesn’t understand it, but can use it to make money anywhere in the world. Currently “anywhere” is in Japan, hiding from her mother who sees Nikki’s OCD as proof she’s mentally unstable. Nikki’s fragile peace starts to fall apart when the police arrest her for the murder of an American expatriate. Someone killed him with a blender.

Reality starts to unravel around Nikki. She’s attacked by a raccoon in a business suit. After a series of blackouts, she’s accompanied by a boy that no one else can see, a boy who claims to be a god. Is she really being pursued by Japanese myths—or is she simply going insane?

What Nikki does know for sure is that the bodies are piling up, her mother has arrived in Japan to lock her up for the rest of her life—and her novels always end with everyone dead.  
My thoughts: I like Wen Spencer’s writing and have enjoyed so many of her books, but I think I will wait to see reviews of this book since it’s expensive. The synopsis sounds good though!

Gameboard of the Gods
by Richelle Mead
Series: Age of X, book 1
Published by: Dutton Adult
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
462 pages
Synopsis: A brilliant but bitter exile, plagued with an addictive personality and a troubled past.  A beautiful super soldier whose true nature holds more danger than anyone realizes.  In a futuristic country that’s turned its back on religion, these two unlikely partners find that a series of ritualistic murders are just the beginning of supernatural forces slowly attempting to reclaim the world…
My thoughts: This is another book which sounds good, but is expensive so I’m going to wait to hear what other reviews say.

Shapeshifted
by Cassie Alexander
Series: Edie Spencer series, book 3
Published by: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Urban Fantasy
321 pages
Synopsis: Nurse Edie Spence is once again called upon to save a life…and this time, it’s personal. Can her new community of zombies, vampires, and shapeshifters come to her rescue when she needs them most?

When Edie was fired from her paranormal nursing job at County Hospital, her whole world came crashing down. Now she’s is once again shaken to her core. Her mother is deathly ill and there’s only one thing that will save her: vampire blood. But with the paranormal community shunning Edie, where can she obtain it…without losing her own life in the process?  
My thoughts: I’ve preordered this book. I’ve read the previous books in this series and it has quickly become one of my favorite series.

What new June books are on your list for this month?

Sunday Post–June 2

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is where I take a look at my last week and look ahead to what I might be doing next week.

My Sunday Post is a Monday Post this week…lol! I was busier than expected and without internet for quite a bit of last week.

Last Week

Around the House
I was in Wisconsin and Iowa last week. My husband joined my daughter and I in Des Moines on Friday to help our daughter move into her new place. She found a great place to rent and it sounds like she’s working for a great company. I had a great time with her over the last week and a half.

My husband and I flew back to Maryland Sunday afternoon and our flights were delayed–first for mechanical problems and then for thunderstorms in Baltimore. We should have been home a little after 8 p.m. Instead we finally got home around 1:30 a.m. because of the weather, backed up planes, baggage delays and other problems. I don’t want to travel again for awhile…lol! I’ve had too many late nights and early mornings!

I also realized how much I enjoy spending time reading blogs, writing blog posts and reading. I didn’t have much time or opportunity to do those things! Ah…but the time with my daughter made up for the lost time on the internet or with a book!

Posts on my blog
Sunday Post–May 26

Review: Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase

Books read
Cinder by Marissa Meyer

DNF
The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn–I read half of this book out loud while my daughter drove all the places we went. We’ve done this before on some of our drives. We had both read this book before and when we stopped our driving I decided not to continue reading on my own!

Book currently reading

Faefever by Karen Marie Moning

E-books bought

Earth Strike: Star Carrier, Book One by Ian Douglas
Once Upon a Tower by Eloisa James
Triplet by Timothy Zahn
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
The Chocolate Rose by Laura Florand


Next Week

Around the house
I expect to need a day or two to rest up and get back into my routine! My husband leaves on a business trip on June 3 so he’s going to be very busy as well. I’m going to try to catch up with my internet class (about WordPress blogs and websites), this blog and also the many cards I need to make and send to friends and family this month for graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, thank yous, babies….

Posts on the blog
Sunday Post–June3

June Books–June 4

And I hope to have at least two reviews ready to post

Review: Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase

This is a new author to me and listed at the Literary Escapism blog’s New Author Challenge 2013.

Suddenly Royal
by Nichole Chase
Series: The Suddenly series, book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013
E-book, purchased
464 pages
Grade: B-
Synopsis: Samantha Rousseau is used to getting her hands dirty. Working toward a master’s degree in wildlife biology while helping take care of her sick father, she has no time for celebrity gossip, designer clothes, or lazy vacations. So when a duchess from the small country of Lilaria invites her to dinner, Samantha assumes it’s to discuss a donation for the program. The truth will change the course of her life in ways she never dreamed. Alex D’Lynsal is trying to keep his name clean. As crown prince of Lilaria, he’s had his share of scandalous headlines, but the latest pictures have sent him packing to America and forced him to swear off women—especially women in the public eye. That is, until he meets Samantha Rousseau. She’s stubborn, feisty, and incredibly sexy. Not to mention heiress to an estate in his country, which makes her everyone’s front-page news. While Sam tries to navigate the new world of politics and wealth, she will also have to dodge her growing feelings for Alex. Giving in to them means more than just falling in love; it would mean accepting the weight of an entire country on her shoulders.

………………………………………………….

This is a contemporary romance about a mythical small European country near France. Samantha (Sam) Rousseau is a typical American girl from Minnesota in a master’s degree program in wildlife biology. She suddenly discovers she’s the last Rousseau descendent of a royal family from the small country of Lilaria. If she decides to return to Lilaria she will be installed as a duchess. She isn’t tempted by the riches, the chance to be part of the nobility or even by Prince Alex! But her stepfather is ill with cancer and the thought she might be able to provide him with better healthcare, tips the balance for her.

She travels to Lilaria with the prince and his aunt and discovers a beautiful country. However, she really dislikes the persistence of the photographers and reporters who constantly follow her whenever she’s in public. She has a difficult time getting used to her new life. She’s very attracted to Alex, but feels there’s no future in a relationship with him. She feels she could fall in love and that would end in heartbreak for her.

I know a lot of people have really loved this book. I thought it was okay, but I admit I was a little bored with the book. This is a character driven romance and I’m really enjoying adventure books and urban fantasy at the moment. I kept expecting demons or at least a kidnapping attempt…lol!

The constant presence of the paparazzi and Sam’s discomfort with them is the main conflict in the book. The book keeps mentioning how everyone close to her looks at her with sad eyes…I guess because they all know she can never go back to her old life. She does really enjoy seeing her own lands and living there…wearing her own clothes, not worrying about photographers, not being treated differently.

In the beginning the book is reminding me of a Harlequin romance since it’s about a mythical country where an ordinary girl is suddenly a royal. However, usually in a Harlequin romance people are hiding things from each other or blackmailing each other(!) and that doesn’t happen in this book. That was a plus for me, but the fact Sam is so unhappy with being famous doesn’t seem like a recipe for happiness. I do think it must be reality, however. People who are born in this circumstance may deal with it a little easier, but even for them it can’t be easy as shown by Prince Alex’s tabloid history and his difficulty trusting anyone.

I liked the romance between Alex and Sam. I did like that Sam is getting a master’s degree in wildlife biology and is studying raptors. That’s a different career than found in many books. Of course, raptors are special birds in Lilaria and a special love of Alex’s. He owns raptors and is head of a charity to ensure raptors don’t become extinct. Sam volunteers at this charity when she’s in Lilaria.

This was a little above average book for me, but many people like/love this book. I’m not really enjoying contemporary romance right now so I don’t think I’m the target audience at the moment…lol!

Sunday Post–May 26

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is where I take a look at my last week and look ahead to what I might be doing next week.

Last Week

Around the House
I flew into Madison Wednesday night and now I’m helping my daughter organize her things. The movers are coming earlier than we thought…next Tuesday. Yikes! We are heading up to northern Wisconsin to visit relatives so I’m trying to get this post ready and have it scheduled to post Sunday morning since they don’t have reliable internet. I won’t be able to link it to The Sunday Post meme until we get back on Monday, but that’s okay.

Note: I scheduled this to post at 6:00 a.m. this morning, but it didn’t work. I’ve gotten an internet connection so am attempting to post this now!

Posts on my blog
Sunday Post–May 19

Counterfeit Betrothal by Mary Balogh

Kissed by Darkness by Shea MacLeod

Books read
Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase

Current book
Cinder by Marissa Meyer

E-books bought

Kill the Dead: A Sandman Slim Novel by Richard Kadrey

Wool Omnibus Edition, Books 1-5 (Silo Saga) by  Hugh Howey

Shift Omnibus Edition, Books 1-3 (Silo Saga) by Hugh Howey
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

Next Week

Around the house
We are staying with various relatives until my daughter’s household goods are delivered next Friday. Then we are busy unpacking. A busy week!

Posts on the blog
I won’t be too active in blogland next week, but I hope to have my Sunday Post and at least one review scheduled. We’ll see how that works!

Sunday Post–May 26

Top Ten Tuesday–maybe!

Review: Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase

Kissed by Darkness by Shea MacLeod

Another new author! It’s been so much fun reading all these new authors. I’m taking part in the New Author Challenge 2013 hosted by the Literary Escapism blog.

Kissed by Darkness
by Shea MacLeod
Sunwalker Saga, book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Montlake Romance, 2012 (Reprint Edition)
E-book, purchased
256 pages
Grade: C-

Synopsis: Three years ago, Morgan Bailey narrowly survived a vampire attack that left her with heightened senses, uncanny speed, and a new calling: supernatural bounty hunter. Since that day, sexy, street-smart Morgan hasn’t met a vampire she couldn’t dust or a demon she couldn’t kill—until she’s hired to hunt down a priceless amulet and the sunwalker who stole it. Sunwalkers—powerful vampires immune to sunlight—are notoriously difficult to find, let alone kill. Still, a job’s a job, and Morgan’s never been one to shy away from a challenge. So bring it on…right?

But the sunwalker ends up tracking her down. And not only that, he turns out to be cunning, charming—and undeniably gorgeous. Nevertheless, she can’t ignore the destruction he is capable of: the sunwalker possesses an ancient secret which, if unleashed, could destroy the human world. 

………………………….

This was a forgettable book for me. There was a strange love triangle in the book, but one of the persons bows out during the course of the book. Morgan has been working with the supernatural world for about three years ever since she was attacked by a vampire and lived and didn’t turn into a vampire. She’s thought to be the only person who didn’t die or turn into a vampire after an attack like hers. Before that she didn’t know a supernatural world exists, but now she works for Kabita Jones who is also her best friend and a natural-born witch. Morgan is now a vampire hunter and also helps hunt down other dangerous supernatural creatures.

I never got much of a sense of who the characters were. There’s a mystery of sorts in the book, but it was so obvious I was sure there must be some twists to it. But no what was obvious was the solution. I only read the book a few days ago, but I’m already having problems remembering anything specific about it.

I did enjoy the setting of the book–Portland, Oregon. I lived there for awhile many years ago and it was fun to read about places I remember.

More books are already available in this series.

Review: A Counterfeit Betrothal by Mary Balogh

A Counterfeit Betrothal
by Mary Balogh
Series: none
Genre: Historical Romance
Republished by Dell, 2013
Originally published by Signet, 1992
E-book, Purchased
About 280 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Lady Sophia Bryant has no intention of marrying anytime soon. Her one desire is to reunite her parents, who have been estranged for fourteen years. Surely, if she happens to announce her betrothal—even a false one—they will be forced to see each other. Devilishly handsome Lord Francis Sutton seems perfect for such deceit, always agreeable to games of passion in which he has nothing to lose. The trap is set—if only Lady Sophia can keep her foolish heart from falling prey to her brilliant snares.

……………………………………………..

This is one of Mary Balogh’s Signet regency romances from over 20 years ago. They’re slowly being republished by Dell. That makes me very happy. 🙂 Over the years I’ve searched for her older out-of-print books in used bookstores and found a few. I’ve also bought a few on e-bay and other on-line stores. Ms. Balogh is one of my favorite writers and I especially love her older books. Though really I’ve liked most everything she writes.

Mary Balogh writes satisfying historical romances about interesting and flawed characters. The regencies aren’t necessarily part of a series, but often have characters which show up in another book. Sometimes the character who seems the most irredeemable in one book is the hero of another book.

This book is interesting because the main characters aren’t Lady Sophia and Lord Francis (the young couple in the story), but are instead Lady Sophia’s parents–the Earl and Countess of Clifton (Marcus and Olivia). Sophia has manufactured her betrothal to Francis to get her parents back together. She loves them both and they love her. She’s sure that if they are just together for a few weeks they will stay together.

Sophia is only 18 and Francis has a reputation as a rake so her parents aren’t happy when she says she and Francis are in love. Since Marcus and Olivia separated years ago Sophia’s father has been the parent  with her in London for her season. A house party at the Earl’s country estate is planned and Olivia arrives so she and Marcus can talk Sophia out of marriage with Lord Francis. Marcus and Olivia have lost faith in love:

…Marc had said in his letter that the young man was wild. That would mean that he was a daredevil, a gambler and drinker, a rake. A womanizer…

Sophia would end up with a lifetime of misery, an unfaithful rake for a husband.

Not that for Sophia. Please not that, she begged an unseen power silently. Please not that. Sophia was all she had. If she to live to see Sophia rejected and desperately unhappy, she would not be able to bear it.

Olivia is 36 and Marcus is 41. They parted 14 years ago after Marcus had a foolish, drunken sexual encounter when he went to the wedding of a friend. Olivia had stayed home with Sophia who was ill. His friends egged him on, calling him old, staid and married and he was immature and drunk enough to listen to them. He confessed what had happened to Olivia and she was horrified. They had had a love so perfect that they had never quarreled in five years of marriage. She decided their love was tainted and she would never trust him again.

She had written to tell him that after deep and careful reflection she had concluded that she could never again be his friend or his wife or lover after what had happened. It would always be there  to come between them.

Over the years and after Olivia sees Marcus again she realizes how immature and young she had been when they had been together. They had married young, they had been so much in love, but they had been immature and they hadn’t grown. They had lived such a perfect life together that when the first trouble came along they couldn’t face it or adapt. Marcus let his friends convince him to commit a stupid act. They each had to grow and mature, but by that time they had separated.

This is a good book about second chances and learning to forgive. I enjoyed this book a lot. It is part of a two volume book. I will review the other book–The Notorious Rake–in a week or so.

Update: I checked at the Mary Balogh site and she says she has the rites to many of her older books and is planning to release them (perhaps only as e-books). She is asking her readers to let her know which ones they want to read first. This is very exciting for her fans!

Sunday Post–May 19

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is where I take a look at my last week and look ahead to what I might be doing next week.

Last Week

Around the House
The week went fast. Only one book read, but three reviews so that’s not too bad, I guess. I started my blog at the end of February, but my plan is to post reviews for books I’ve read since January. I’m making progress. I try to post at least one review from past books and one from recent books.

I also started an online class to learn the ins and outs of WordPress blogs and websites. I’m thinking of moving this blog to WordPress, but also planning to start another blog and possibly a website.The class is a lot of fun.

My older daughter spent the weekend with us. So good to see her. We went to see the new Star Trek movie and really enjoyed it. She’s airborne which means she has to jump from planes every so often. She had her last jump this week and has 60+ jumps. I’m so proud of her, but also glad she’s leaving the Army.

Posts on my blog
Sunday Post–May 12

Review: Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olson

Review: Apocalyptic Moon by Eva Gordon

Review:Written in Blood by Anne Bishop

Books read
Notorious Rake by Mary Balogh

Book reading
Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase

E-books bought (or free)

Defiance: The Essential Guide
World of Shell and Bone by Adriana Ryan
The Well of Tears by Roberta Trahan
Dead Jitterbug by Victoria Houston
Half Way Home by Hugh Howey
Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Around the web
Sync offers young adult audio books and they are again offering two free audio books each week this summer. One classic and one YA title are available each week. They are only available for download for one week. The downloads begin May 30.

May 30 – June 5, 2013
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, read by Rebecca Gibel
The Tempest by William Shakespeare, read by a Full Cast (AudioGO)

There are some great titles so be sure to check them out and bookmark the site if interested.

Next Week

Around the House
I’m leaving the middle of next week to visit my younger daughter in Madison, Wisconsin. She’s moving to Des Moines, Iowa and starting a new job in June. I will help her with the move, but I also get to go to her going away party and to visit relatives in northern Wisconsin. It will be great to see her. I plan to still post to the blog, but we’ll see how that goes.

Posts planned
Review: Counterfeit Betrothal by Mary Balogh

Review: Kissed by Darkness by Shea MacLeod

Sunday Post–May 26

What have you been doing this last week and what do you hope to do next week?

Written in Red: A Novel of the Others by Anne Bishop

Written in Red
by Anne Bishop
Series: A Novel of the Others, book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Published by: Roc Hardcover, 2013
E-book, purchased
448 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

……………………………..

I read the Black Jewel books by Anne Bishop ten years or so ago. I thought they were very good, but her books have kind of fallen off my radar since then.  When I saw she was beginning a new series I was interested and I finally bought the book last week and read it quickly. For me this is fantasy at its best–fast paced, heroic characters, evil doers, good world building.

The world Ms. Bishop has built is very imaginative…the culture of the Others, the human government, the world of the cassandra sangue. We find out quite a bit about the Others and the human government. The world of the cassandra sangue is still somewhat mysterious.

“A Brief History of the World” at the beginning of the book sets the tone as it talks of humans:

They learned to build fires and shelters. They learned to farm and build cities….They bred and spread throughout their pieces of the world until they pushed into the wild places. That’s when they discovered that Namid’s other offspring already claimed the rest of the world.

The Others looked at humans and did not see conquerors. They saw a new kind of meat.

….

There is still sharp-toothed tolerance on one side and fear of what walks in the dark on the other. But if they are careful, the humans survive.

Most of the time, they survive.

In some of the cities built by humans the Others have Courtyards–fenced parks where they live in the cities and observe humans. Even though humans have populated settlements and cities it’s the Others who control everything and only allow humans to live because they like some of the things humans create. The Others have a moral code they expect the humans to follow. If the humans step out of line they find swift justice.

When this book opens Meg Corbyn is on the run during a fierce snowstorm. The reader gradually learns about Meg’s life before her escape. She’s a cassandra sangue or blood prophet. Her life has always been very cloistered. She lived with other blood prophets and had no freedom. They watched training images so they could identify images in their prophecies and their prophecies make lots of money for their owners.

They weren’t allowed to actually experience life and they were told it was for their own safety, but Meg managed to escape. She knows she has to find shelter from the storm and escape from her pursuers. She finds herself outside one of the Courtyards, realizes human law doesn’t apply inside the Courtyard and that they’re advertising for a human liaison. She gets the job and is at least temporarily safe from the humans.

Meg has never been free in her life and now she relishes her new life in the Courtyard even though there are so many things she doesn’t know how to do. She’s great at observing others though and learns that way. There is a naive innocence about her that the Others respond to. However, Simon Wolfgard who’s in charge of the Lakeside Courtyard realized Meg was hiding something when he hired her and he’s even more puzzled by her since she doesn’t smell like prey as other humans do. He isn’t sure she should be allowed to stay, but she does a great job as a liaison between the humans delivering mail to the Courtyard and the Others receiving their mail.

She meets many different types of Others and discovers some of their secrets, but she’s just glad to have some freedom and some friends. I thought a good touch was that the Others have taken on some of the characteristics of the animals they mimic. For instance, the Ravens like sparkly things!

Even though Meg is now safe inside the Courtyard the people looking for her to return her to her owners haven’t given up. She’s property and worth a great deal of money. A number of attempts are made to retrieve her. From the very beginning of the book Asia Crane shows she has an agenda of her own. She wanted the human liaison job and isn’t pleased when Meg is hired. Asia was hired by a mysterious person she calls Bigwig to find out the Others’ secrets and she tries to seduce Simon, but he instinctively doesn’t like or trust her. However, the Others don’t really understand human motivations very well and don’t take her very seriously.

Even though Meg is naive she has good instincts and her innocence and good will are noted by the Others. One of the outcomes of Meg’s introduction into the Courtyard is that the Others begin to see at least some humans as individuals.

This is a great beginning to a new series. Unfortunately,  the publishing date for the next book isn’t until next March 😦