Saturday, April 30, 2011

Looking Forward to The Two Towers

This my April follow-up post for LOTR Read-Along hosted by Lorren at The Story Girl and it contains SPOILERS.

    

I was really looking forward to The Two Towers. There are some fabulous parts of in any case fabulous book. However, as long as thirty days of April may seem to be, they rushed past me without reading a page of this book. So, instead of recapping the nought of what I haven’t read, I want to just point out my favourite parts of The Two Towers I am still looking forward to read.

There is a wonderful piece of poetry in the beginning, Lament for Boromir. These verses particularly touch me:

"What news from the North, O mighty wind, do you bring to me today?
What news of Boromir the Bold? For he is long away."
'Beneath Amon Hen I heard his cry. There many foes he fought.
His cloven shield, his broken sword, they to the water brought.
His head so proud, his face so fair, his limbs they laid to rest;
And Rauros, golden Rauros-falls, bore him upon its breast."
"O Boromir! The Tower of Guard shall ever northward gaze
To Rauros, golden Rauros-falls, until the end of days.

Next, Treebeard and the Ents are amazing characters. It is easy to imagine trees speaking and thinking through Tolkien’s writing.


The Rohan parts are gripping, unveiling a whole new people but still leaving enough mystery to make the reader yearn to learn more.

I cannot not mention the newly introduced Faramir, whom I find to be one of the most sympathetic characters in the LOTR.

And then, Gollum. The villain and the victim in one, you can hate him but you have to love him at the same time. His cunningness is abominable and admirable at the same time, and I cannot but feel sorry for him on several occasions. His best part, however, is his way of speaking, which is written so well I can actually hear him. Here I must say the filmmakers did a good job. The cinematic Gollum speaks just as I imagined when reading the book.


That’s it. Now, I must stop looking forward to it and get on with reading, I guess. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Booking Through Thursday - Coming Soon To a Theatre Near You


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If you could see one book turned into the perfect movie–one that would capture everything you love, the characters, the look, the feel, the story – what book would you choose?

There are a lot of books I’d like to see turned into movies but there is always a fear present that they won’t turned out right. However, if it could be done perfectly, of the books I’ve read recently, it would be Labyrinth by Kate Mosse. The scenery, the characters, the history, the love, all of it would make a great movie.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tongue in Chic by Christina Dodd

Tongue in Chic (Fortune Hunter Series #2)SUMMARY (by the publisher): Meadow Szarvas breaks into a South Carolina estate to steal back the valuable portrait her grandmother left behind years ago. Her strategy is simple: Sell the painting and use the money to pay for her mother's cancer treatments. The grand plan falls apart almost instantly as she gets caught by the new owner, Devlin Fitzwilliam, who's turning the estate into a four-star resort. Meadow is smart enough to feign amnesia and claims she can't remember how she got there. Devlin covers for her by claiming she's his wife, and he expects all the attendant benefits. 

MY OPINION:

The main characters in Tongue Is Chic play a cat and mouse game. Instead of talking to each other and join their efforts, they do everything by themselves, keeping secrets from one another, always mistrusting each other.

I liked the heroine, who is on the wrong side of the law, although from totally unselfish humanitarian reason. There are other people on the hunt for the same thing as she is but only because of their greed. This puts her in danger all the time which she fails to fully realise. It is too bad the identity of one of the villains is revealed to the reader right in the beginning, thus cutting some portion of suspense short.

Dodd provides just enough information about the characters and their background to make them interesting but not very complicated for an easy read. However, as in a lot of this kind of romance writing, the main heroes indulge in sexual relationship very early in the novel, which I don’t like, because it gives an impression their love evolves only about sex. Nevertheless, Dodd gives some more realistic grounds for them falling in love later in the novel, which works out well.

Generally, Tongue Is Chic is a dynamic romance evolving around one main mystery which makes it interesting. It flows very smoothly and naturally, therefore it is a good reading when you want something sweet to rest your mind on.

RECOMMENDATION: This is something you might want to read when you need a break from a more complex reading.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sepulchre (Languedoc Trilogy #2) by Kate Mosse

Sepulchre (Languedoc Trilogy, #2)SUMMARY (from Goodreads): In 1891, young Léonie Vernier and her brother Anatole arrive in the beautiful town of Rennes-les-Bains, in southwest France. They’ve come at the invitation of their widowed aunt, whose mountain estate, Domain de la Cade, is famous in the region. But it soon becomes clear that their aunt Isolde – and the Domain – are not what Léonie had imagined. The villagers claim that Isolde’s late husband died after summoning a demon from the old Visigoth sepulchre high on the mountainside. A book from the Domain’s cavernous library describes the strange tarot pack that mysteriously disappeared following the uncle’s death. But while Léonie delves deeper into the ancient mysteries of the Domain, a different evil stalks her family – one which may explain why Léonie and Anatole were invited to the sinister Domain in the first place.

More than a century later, Meredith Martin, an American graduate student, arrives in France to study the life of Claude Debussy, the nineteenth century French composer. In Rennes-les-Bains, Meredith checks into a grand old hotel – the Domain de la Cade. Something about the hotel feels eerily familiar, and strange dreams and visions begin to haunt Meredith's waking hours. A chance encounter leads her to a pack of tarot cards painted by Léonie Vernier, which may hold the key to this twenty-first century American’s fate . . . just as they did to the fate of Léonie Vernier more than a century earlier.

MY OPINION:

The best fiction is such which makes the reader forget it is fiction. Kate Mosse’s writing certainly belongs to this category. Mosse does a thorough research on her subject and thus manages to combine the factual and the imaginary in an exquisite way which brings her settings and characters to life in front of the reader’s eyes.

Sepulchre is the second instalment of Mosse’s Languedoc Trilogy. I loved how the delicate links with the first book in the series, Labyrinth, enable reading Sepulchre on its own and at the same time mysterious hints to Labyrinth bring great enjoyment when reading the books in a sequence.

Cards, in particularly tarot, play an important role in the story. Mosse provides detailed descriptions and explanations concerning tarot and its reading, which I, who do not know much about cards, found a delightful read.

The plot evolves in between the past and the present, the earthly and the ethereal, good and evil. There are a lot of if-s in the story, but Mosse employs little coincidences of life to add to its credibility.

The characters in Sepulchre are authentic with their flaws and their strengths. Both female protagonists, Léonie and Meredith, grow throughout the book and overcome their weaknesses in order to do what is right.

I was unsure how I should feel about Léonie more than halfway through the book. She starts off as a confident, inquisitive, adventurous girl who can stand up for herself and express her thoughts. However, she is also young, innocent and therefore sometimes naïve, stubborn and whimsical teenager. In the end, it is her love for her family that leads her to protect those she loves and become a good, strong woman.

Meredith is taunted by her childhood memories and the fears of inheriting her mother’s weakness. As she sets off to explore her roots, she comes across an injustice which has to be unveiled for the spirits from the past to be able to rest. Through courage and will she finds both herself and the knowledge to bring peace to those from the past.

Both through her protagonists and antagonists Mosse shows that the choices people make between good and evil are their own responsibility and there are no excuses in the circumstances. For this message, Sepulchre, as other Mosse’s books, has a great moral value.

RECOMMENDATION: I must recommend Sepulcre to everyone who likes an incredible plot, strong characters and good writing where the past and the present are entwined with mystery and love.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Booking Through Thursday – Cover


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CAN you judge a book by its cover?

I certainly DO judge a book by its cover. It is a thousand times more likely that I will pick up a book with a shiny beautiful new cover than one with a dusty colourless cover (and there is plenty of dull brownish/greyish old books in the libraries).

However, the question is CAN we judge a book by its cover. My answer would be most certainly NOT. You can perhaps judge a book by the title or the author (especially if you have read the author before), but not solely on the basis of the cover art. There are plenty wonderful covers around, I’ve picked some and then the content was rotten (I really can’t think of an example right now). On the other hand there are brilliant stories and characters hiding behind plain, boring covers, for example the classics.   

Friday, April 15, 2011

Blood of My Brother by James LePore

Blood of My BrotherSUMMARY (by the publisher): When Jay Cassio’s best friend is murdered in a job clearly done by professionals, the walls that he has built to protect himself from the world of others begin to shatter. Dan Del Colliano had been his confidante and protector since the men were children on the savage streets of Newark, New Jersey. When Dan supports and revives Jay after Jay's parents die in a plane crash, their bond deepens to something beyond brotherhood, beyond blood. Now Jay, a successful lawyer, must find out why Dan died and find a way to seek justice for his murder.

Isabel Perez has lived a life both tainted and charmed since she was a teenager in Mexico. She holds powerful sway over men and has even more powerful alliances with people no one should ever try to cross. She desperately wants her freedom from the chains these people have placed on her. When Jay catapults into her world, their connection is electric, their alliance is lethal, and their future is anything but certain.

MY OPINION:

Blood of My Brother is for the most part a crude, unembellished portrayal of the word. From the descriptions of Newark in its decay to the raw Mexican wilderness, from the technicalities of criminal investigation to the cold-mannered activities of organised crime, LePore uses carefully chosen, fitting words to paint the image of the modern world reality.

LePore’s characters are regular people with their strong and weak points, struggling with many obstacles in their lives. Although the characters are fictional, their experiences are far from such. On the contrary, the circumstances presented in Blood of My Brother are part of everyday life of millions of people.

Jay is a solitary man, a lawyer, unable to form a lasting relationship with anyone, apart from his best friend Dan. After Dan is murdered, Jay’s only objective becomes finding Dan’s killer and bring him to justice.

However, this is easily said than done since the authorities are mainly interested in catching the heads of a Mexican drug cartel. LePore excels in pointing out how little the officials care for regular people. For individuals in pursuit of boosting their careers Dan, Jay and Isabel are just a step on their way to the big fish, collateral damage, nothing more.

LePore gives a detailed account of the police/FBI investigation, which is interesting enough, but at times a little too descriptive about the lives of individual minor characters such as Chris Markey or Al Garland. Those particular details on one hand slow the plot down but also enrich it on the other.

Isabel’s life is a quintessential example of how cruel people can be to one another. Instead of being crushed by the suffering she goes through, her soul hardens in order to survive. LePore emphasises that Isabel at first teams up with Jay only because he is her only option to break her ties with organised crime. Both of their lives being marked by sadness and loss, they have enough in common to be likely for them to fall in love. However, I missed the growth of their feelings for one another. Their declarations of love to each other felt all too sudden to me, principally because of their otherwise reserved attitude towards forming relationships.

There is a very thin line between delivering justice and revenge, which is very well pointed out already in the title of the novel. Blood may call for either justice or revenge or both. Personally, I oppose any vengeance. Therefore, I was surprised at how easily Jay and Isabel resorted to the same brutal ways as their enemies. Initially, it was understandable for everything they have been through, especially Isabel, and because they had to fight for their lives. Their coldness at it afterwards, though, was somewhat perturbing to me.

I found the ending of the novel contradictory with the rest of it. It is nice LePore tried to show how things should end up well for good people. Nevertheless, exactly because of that, the ending is also a reminder that in real life bad guys do not get what they deserve and good people do not always live happily ever after.

RECOMMENDATION: Blood of my Brother gives an accurate illustration of corrupted officials, organised crime and good people caught in between. The challenging themes it explores are a harsh reminder of reality and a compelling read.

Thanks to Tracee L. Gleichner for inviting me on James’s blog tour and Lou Aronica for sending me a copy of the book for review. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Booking Through Thursday – Personality


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In a related question to last week’s–

I was reading the other day a quote from JFK Jr who said on the death of his mother, that she died surrounded by family, friends, and her books. Apparently, Jackie’s books were very much a part of HER, her personality, her sense of self.

Up until recently, people could browse your bookshelves and learn a lot about you–what your interests are, your range of topics, favorite authors, how much you read (or at least buy books).

More and more, though, this is changing. People aren’t buying books so much as borrowing them from the library. Or reading them on their e-readers or computers. There’s nothing PHYSICAL on the shelves to tell strangers in your home, for better or worse, who you ARE.
Do you think this is a good thing? Bad? Discuss!

It is true that the books you read reflect your personality. Not only that, the books you read also shape your personality. So, yes, people can find a lot about you when looking through your bookshelves.

If people borrow books from the libraries or read e-formats then other people cannot see what you are reading. But I would not agree that there is nothing physical in your home to tell people about you, judging by myself and the readers I know.

In my case, I borrow most of the books I read. It happened several times I first read the book from the library and I liked it so much or it had such an impact on me that I later bought it because I wanted to have it at home to reread it or parts of it or just to sit there and I can look at it and remember all the wonderful things I got from it. I like the feeling that the stories, the characters I like in a way live with me and continue inspiring me. Therefore, I think borrowing and e-readers will not prevent readers to have at least some of the most important books to them in their homes in a physical form. And what tells more about our personality than our favourite books?

How much you want to reveal about you is quite another issue and it depends on an individual. I am a private person, so I do not want everybody, least of all strangers, knowing a lot of things about me. I can show my books to my friends and we talk about them. Also, the books can be misleading. Judging only by the covers and titles may prompt people to get a wrong idea about your personality.

Overall, I think books will always be there to testify about who we are. And even if they are not it is not a necessarily bad idea if people cannot see them and make opinion about us based upon the books we read. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals After Dark #3) by Kresley Cole


Note: 
This is a review of an adult book. Please, do not read either the review or the book reviewed unless you are an adult.

No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals After Dark, #3)SUMMARY: After the vampire whose life Kaderin had spared killed her sisters, she pleaded for a remedy to her excruciating sorrow. A mysterious force granted her wish, making her unable to feel anything. Thus, she became Kaderin the Cold Hearted, a ruthless Valkyrie slayer of vampires.

Sebastian Wroth was turned into a vampire against his will. For three centuries he has been living in solitude wishing to die. Summoned by the inhabitants of a nearby village, Kaderin arrives to end his life - and is unable to complete a kill for the second time in her life.

Instead, she finds herself to be Sebastian’s Bride, unwillingly giving him the only reason to live. To conquer her, Sebastian enters the Talisman’s Hie, a contest in which immortals compete every quarter of a millennia for an exquisite prize and in which Kaderin, who has won it the last five times, is indisputable favourite. This time around the prize can change history and Kaderin is soon faced with the choice between the vampire who has newly awakened her deadened emotions and reuniting her family.

MY OPINION:

This series gets better and better with every book. No Rest for the Wicked has a dynamic plot full of adventure, unforeseeable twists and intense conflicts, but most of all I loved the stunning characters. From the superficial take-two-mortal-enemies-and-make-them-fall-in-love formula Cole masterfully creates outstanding personages.

Sebastian Wroth has completely isolated himself from the world, hating his very existence. But as his never-to-be killer inadvertently gives him a reason to live, his complexity begins to unveil. Upon his revival, he has to deal with what he is, try to find his place in the world and re-establish his ties to his past and his family. His human life has a great impact on him as a vampire, both bringing forward his strength and his vulnerability.

Sebastian and Kaderin have many differences and at the same time many things in common. Both of their lives are marked by loneliness and, surprisingly so, selflessness. Kaderin would do anything for her sisters and Sebastian would do anything for her. Their willing to self-sacrifice themselves for the people they love is what brings them together.

Kaderin blames herself for her sisters’ death and would do anything to correct her mistake. Bereft of her feelings she is in a way isolated from everybody even though she lives and interacts with other Valkyrie, but she cannot share their lives completely because she cannot comprehend their feelings. It is a shock for Kaderin when her emotions start coming back. Her first reaction is to smother them, because she is so unused to feeling that it scares her. Witnessing Kaderin slowly rediscovering particular emotions and relearning how to deal with them was fascinating.

Another thing I liked very much was that regardless of the ever-building tension between Kaderin and Sebastian, Kaderin was really hard to get, so Sebastian had to put in all his effort to win her love, which was his goal from the beginning and that I also found great.

No Rest for the Wicked has much wider focus than romance. It is enjoyable meeting the already familiar characters from the first two parts of the series again. Additionally, Cole provides a plethora of details from the world of the Lore, which adds flavour to Sebastian’s and Kaderin’s story, giving a lot of information about the immortals, their powers and their world.

RECOMMENDATION: This is above all a book about love, selflessness and self-sacrifice for the people one loves and I would totally recommend it to everyone who can enjoy some spicing alongside. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Book Blogger Hop, The Non-Weekend Edition! April 11 – 14, 2011

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books. It is a great way of discovering new blogs and meeting fellow book bloggers, talking about books and authors, and sharing our love for literature. Jennifer didn't have time to post the hop over the weekend, so this week we're going to party from today through Thursday instead.

 Book Blogger Hop

Outside of books, what is your guilty pleasure?

MY ANSWER:

 Chocolate. 


And TV. Currently I’m hooked on Castle.


Sometimes it's difficult to decide whether to watch TV or read. But I don't really feel particularly guilty about watching TV. I'm trying to cut down on chocolate, though. 

Friday, April 08, 2011

Confiscation

Red Writing Hood is a weekly writing meme hosted at The Red Dress Club. I haven’t done this for a while, because I had been so busy. This week's prompt was to write about a treasure that was stolen from you or your character, and what your character did about it. We had to keep the word count under 600.



Through the passage, noise from the other side reached Caitlin.
“What now,” she thought to herself and hurried forward in spite of exhaustion hanging on her heels.  

In the courtyard, there were soldiers loading a cart with provisions from the barns and cellars, a captain already giving orders for departure.

Caitlin’s attention was drawn to the voices from inside the House, a woman’s shriek and men’s coarse laughter in response. The moment she dashed up to the entrance two men came out, almost knocking her down.

One of them caught her by her waist.

“How dare you touch…!

“Hey, gorgeous, you’ve got something for us?” Before she could take a breath, he spied the ring on her middle finger and was already at pulling it off.

“How about that shiny ring?!”

“No! Not my wedding ring!” She resisted fruitlessly as the ring was snatched from her finger. She launched herself after the leaving man, but he pushed he back.

“It’ll pay for hubby’s food,” the man laughed at her, getting on his horse, “or mine.”

Losing her balance she fell on her knees, her calls unheard in a clatter of hoofs as the company galloped away.

A maid rushed to her side, helping her on her feet.

“May, are you all right, have they hurt you?” she asked while rising.

“No, milady, I’m fine.”

Caitlin nodded and headed after the company. Stepping out from entrance arch, she saw the cart slowly moving down the winding road on the left, half the company in front, the other half in the back. They had to take all the long way round by the road, but she turned towards the forest on her left to get ahead of them. She lifted her skirts high and ran through the wood, slipping now and then, falling once, but ever lurching forward and down the steep slopes.

At last she came out of the forest onto a flat clearance between it and the houses. Crossing it she headed straight to the headquarters at the inn, without looking aside even as she sensed people looking at her and making comments.

She pushed past the staggered guard in the hallway and opened the door to the captain’s office.

“Captain, your men are thieves. They stole my wedding ring and I want it back!” she demanded, too upset to mind her manners.

“Lady Clarefield,” a bald red-faced man stood hastily from behind the table.

“Please, take a seat and tell me what happened.”

Caitlin quickly related the incident to him, giving a description of the man who had taken her ring. The captain then excused himself, leaving her in his office. No more than ten minutes later, he returned, followed by two men holding the third in between. Caitlin stood up as she recognised the thief.

“Is this your ring, milady?” asked the captain, holding it out on his palm: “it was found on his person.”

“Yes,” Caitlin gasped, seized the ring and put it back on her finger.

The captain made the man apologise, what he did reluctantly and was then taken away.

“I assure you he will be strictly punished, I am truly sorry for the event. May I offer you a coach and escort to Clarefield?” continued the captain.

“Thank you, captain, but I feel safer without the presence of your men. I will pray for their lives and their souls.”

Relieved, Caitlin took her leave, taking the forest route home. The fatigue returning, she was walking slowly, but on her face there was a faint victorious smile. 


Word count: 592 


I wrote this as a part of what I decided to call Christopher and Caitlin Collage because different pieces of their story come to my mind by and by. The parts are in no particular order, but I am slowly getting the view of the big picture, so who knows what comes out of it all. 

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Booking Through Thursday – Visual


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So … the books that you own (however many there may be) … do you display them proudly right there in plain sight for all the world to see? (At least the world that comes into your living room.)
Or do you keep them tucked away in your office or bedroom or library or closet or someplace less “public?”

I haven’t got much room for books in the living room, so the only book on display there is The Bible (as a statement of principle saying I'm not afraid to show my faith). But I have open shelves in my room with all the books I’ve got in the last decade or so, so my friends can see them there. The most important, however, is that I can see them, they keep my heart warm.

Then, I’ve got a lot of old books, like books I read as a child and fairytales and the most battered up books (not my fault, I’d already got them in a poor, poor state, and I feel sorry for them) stashed away in a cupboard, because there is no space anywhere else. 

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Warlord Wants Forever (Immortals After Dark #1) by Kresley Cole


Note: This is a review of an adult book. Please, do not read either the review or the book reviewed unless you are an adult.

The Warlord Wants Forever (Immortals After Dark, #1)SUMMARY: Myst the Coveted is a thousands of years old Valkyrie, a fierce warrior who uses seduction as a part of her fighting strategy. As a punishment for a youthful indiscretion she must wear a chain around her waist, which no one can break, but whoever possessed it would have an absolute power over Myst.

Nikolai Wroth is a three centuries old vampire general. When he saves Myst from the dungeons of the Vampire Horde, he finds out she is his Bride, but she escapes him, too, leaving him in agonizing desire that can be satiated only by her. Finally hunting her down five years later, Wroth unintentionally breaks her chain and thus discovers its power over her. He plans to use it as a revenge for the unending torment he has been subjected to for half a decade, but eventually realises he wants more from her. Now Myst gains back her freedom, but will she freely come to Wroth?

MY OPINION:

Kresley Cole creates a whole new world in her Immortals After Dark series. Although she uses familiar paranormal creatures, she adds the elements which make them and their world special.

Valkyrie are beautiful female warriors, born of gods Freya and Wóden and mortal mothers, brave mortal warriors struck by lightning upon their deaths on battlefield. Their ultimate desire is freedom and they have no predestined partners, however, they recognize their soul mates when they feel they would forever run to one’s arms. They are also very acquisitive and they become entranced by precious jewels and gold. They are mortal enemies of vampires.

There are two vampire factions in Cole’s novels. The Vampire Horde are savage, red-eyed vampires who drink their victims to death, thus taking all their memories which drive them mad, lusting for blood more and more. Killing is their only purpose. The Forbearer Army is lead by Kristoff, Gravewalker. He is the rightful king of the Horde who was deprived of his throne and raised by humans. In order to regain his crown, he is building an army of turned humans, the strongest and bravest warriors. In exchange for eternal life he demands their eternal loyalty. The Forbearers refrain from drinking from a living source. They are outcasts among the paranormal creatures of the Lore and are forbidden to be taught about the Lore under pain of ostracism. Both kinds of vampires have only one true mate, a Bride, and they can gain their full strength only when they meet their Brides. A Bride makes a vampire breathe and his heart beat again, which is called blooding. Also, only a Bride can sexually satisfy a vampire for the first time. 

Myst is the most beautiful of the Valkyrie. She has dedicated her life fighting not only vampires but also all the men who want to exploit women. She uses men’s lust after her to avenge the injustices they have done to women or other Valkyrie. However, despite her notoriety and independence, her subconscious wishes for someone she could trust and share her life with begin to surface when she meets Wroth.

Nikolai Wroth was an Estonian general who fought in Estonian-Russian Wars. He and his brother Murdoch were chosen by Kristoff because of their courage and strength and were turned into Vampires as they were dying on the battlefield. When Wroth meets Myst in the Horde’s prison, he does not know who or what she is and is desperate for knowledge to the extent of threatening her with torture to extract information from her. However, in the midst of their confrontation, Myst is revealed to him as his Bride. 

Myst is untouched by events, only planning to escape, but before she can do so, Wroth steals a kiss form her and, accidentally, a drop of her blood. Although Wroth is her mortal enemy and their union impossible, Myst cannot stop thinking of the general she used to admire when he was still human. When Wroth finally catches up with her and gains control over her through her chain, he is initially blinded by revenge and takes her his prisoner.

The theme of mortal enemies finding love has been explored in literature numerous times; nevertheless, I particularly liked the fact that Cole does not take the common quick love-at-first-sight or set-of-circumstances solutions. Even though Myst is at Wroth’s mercy, her desire for freedom is stronger than anything else. She negotiates with Wroth to promise her he will give her freedom after a fortnight. When he declines to keep his word, she finds the strength to break free from his control and flees from him.
 
On the opposite side, Wroth is maddened by the thought she only plays him and confused by the out-of-context memories he dreams about because of her blood, and which make him think she is a heartless seductress. Distrustful of her, he goes back on his word, but is still unable to prevent her from running away.

Only when they are separated and they have to deal with the troubles of the world around them, are they able to sort out their feelings. Liberty at hand, Myst realises, she is not free if she hides from Wroth enclosed in her own home. With Myst gone, Wroth becomes aware that he wants Myst to love him without being obligated to be at his side. From this point on they are able to work towards their happiness.

The one thing I did not like in The Warlord Wants Forever was that there was too much sex for my taste, especially because the erotic scenes are quite vulgar in some spots. If I had read this short story first (I actually started with A Hunger Like No Other, a novel which is the 2nd part of the series), I would not have continued with the novels, which would be a shame, because the novels in the Immortals After Dark series are greatly improved in this aspect. Cole obviously got the right touch later on. Or, perhaps she intentionally went over the top with sexually explicit scenes and language in The Warlord Wants Forever because sexuality is a big part of both main characters, especially Myst the Coveted.

RECOMMENDATION: Despite being too erotic in my opinion, The Warlord Wants Forever is an absorbing start of a series with a fascinating plot and striking characters. This short story is a great introduction to the following novels in Immortals After Dark Series.   

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (April 5, 2011)

Trying something new again, here is my first Teaser Tuesday post.




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!
MY TEASERS: 


I've just begun reading Sepulchre by Kate Mosse. I think these two sentences from page four will stir your curiosity.

Sepulchre (Languedoc Trilogy, #2)


"Compelled by the act of an innocent girl in a graveyard in Paris something is moving within the stone sepulchre. Long forgotten in the tangled and overgrown alleyways in the Domaine de la Cade, something is walking." 


Monday, April 04, 2011

Playing Easy to Get by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jaid Black and Kresley Cole


Note: This is a review of an adult book. Please, do not read either the review or the book reviewed unless you are an adult.

Playing Easy to GetSUMMARY (from the publisher): New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon and rising stars Jaid Black and Kresley Cole unlock the pleasures and perils of embracing the boldest and most powerful of lovers – 100%  alpha males – in three sensually erotic tales. Discover the physical rapture of his muscular arms... Become a prisoner of passion, swept away by an encounter with his primal side... And get lost in the all-consuming thrill of white-hot pursuit by a relentless stranger who may be your most dangerous foe, the best lover you've ever had – or both.

MY OPINION:

Playing Easy to Get is a collection of shorts stories by different authors. I will review each of the three on their own, because all they have in common is genre, which is erotic (paranormal) romance.

Turn Up the Heat by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Allison is an average American woman. She is a cleaning lady in a Wal-Mart in a small town. She finds escape in reading a romance novel called Sugar and Spice. There is a contest the winner of which can live for a week as the heroine of the book on an island surrounded only by handsome men who do everything the heroine wants.

Allison is too shy to dare to apply, but then her high school friend Maggie appears in the town and convinces her to enter the contest. Maggie works for Wulfgar Zimmerman, Z in short,  a very rich and successful businessman who finances the whole thing, and she pulls the strings so that Allison wins.

Vince is Z’s childhood friend, a gangster, who wants to go legit, but his boss sends killers after him because he knows too much. Z hides him among the men on the Sugar and Spice contest experience. Naturally, Allison and Vince meet, like each other and consequently subside to their lust, being interrupted by mafia hit men.

So much about the plot, nothing unexpected. except that the contest, Maggie, Z and all the chain of events seem far-fetched. If I understand it correctly this short story is supposed to be about what is possible to happen in real life, but ends far from such. SPOILER: I don’t think FBI is as lenient to wannabe-ex-gangsters as it is to Vince, including him and Allison in a top secret specialist team in the end. END OF SPOILER.

Next, Allison does not appeal to me. In the beginning she hates her job, feels sorry for herself and drowns her misery in fantasizing about the hero from her favourite romance instead maybe taking some classes and trying to change her fortune. Then all of a sudden she turns into an adventurer and becomes a tough girl who fights with gangsters, showing no fear. Although development of characters is desirable, Allison’s lacks the transition from one kind of a person to another.

One thing I liked about this short story was Kenyon’s writing, especially her sarcastic attempts to mock the romance genre. She uses some witty phrases, such as “lust at first sight" and, Allison wishes a house would land on top of her floor manager and put “him out of her misery."  Therefore, I rate this short story ** A LITTLE STRANGE.

Hunter’s Oath by Jaid Black

After her brother dies in a helicopter crash, Sophia travels to his funeral in the Arctic Circle. On the way from the funeral she is kidnapped to be sold on an auction for a bride to a member of an underground Viking civilization. Before the auction, an old lady healer mixes an aphrodisiac in her tea, so Sophia becomes a sexual maniac and is therefore able to fall in love with her “husband”/master and they live happily ever after.

I can’t even begin to tell how absurd and repulsive I find this plot. Firstly, there is no way a sane woman would fall in love with someone she is forcefully wed to. Surely, she might as a part of one’s mind’s survival strategy, or the Stockholm syndrome, but it would not have been real love. Secondly, I do not see how on earth would a modern, successful, emancipated woman, being used to all the comforts of the contemporary world adapt to a life in a primitive society in a blink of an eye. Finally, I found the whole sex issue in this short story just disgusting. I am not a prude or I would not have ventured to read this genre, but I prefer sex to do at least something with love.

The idea of the ancient Vikings surviving in secrecy in an underground world up to these days is, I must admit, interesting. Perhaps the author should concentrate on that and develop it, and work harder on the conflict which would arise if a person from a modern world encountered the society that is thought to have been long gone, which could potentially result in a decent novel. However, this short story, such as it is, is on my opinion only ** A LITTLE STRANGE just because of the Vikings idea.

The Warlord Wants Forever by Kresley Cole

This short story is the reason why I bought the book in the first place. It is the first part of Immortals After Dark series. I read the first novel in the series, A Hunger Like No Other, before this short story, and although it was perfectly readable and understandable on its own, it intrigued me so much that I wanted to find out how everything starts.

The Warlord Wants Forever has nothing in common with the other two short stories in the collection, apart from the genre. It is the longest short story in the collection – it could easily become a novel with a few more pages. It is also by far the best of the three. This is why I decided to review it in a separate post. I rate it **** VERY STRANGE.

RECOMMENDATION: There is nothing to miss if you just skip the first two short stories and move right onto the third which is an original and compelling approach to paranormal romance. 
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