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Monday, March 31, 2014

Review, Author Guest Post & Giveaway: Raising Chaos by Elizabeth Corrigan

Title: Raising Chaos
Author: Elizabeth Corrigan
Series: Earthbound Angels, book 2
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“When good fails, chaos rises to the challenge.

The daily life of a chaos demon is delightfully sinful—overindulging in Sri Lankan delicacies, trespassing on private beaches in Hawaii, and getting soused at the best angel bar on the planet. But when Bedlam learns that the archdemon Azrael has escaped from the Abyss in order to wreak vengeance against the person who sent her there—Bedlam’s best friend, Khet—he can’t sit idly by.
 Only one relic possesses the power to kill Khet, who suffers immortality at Lucifer’s request: the mythical Spear of Destiny, which pierced Christ’s side at His crucifixion. Neither angel nor demon has seen the Spear in two thousand years, but Azrael claims to know its location. Bedlam has no choice but to interpret woefully outdated clues and race her to its ancient resting place.

His quest is made nearly impossible by the interference of a persnickety archivist, Keziel—his angelic ex—and a dedicated cult intent on keeping the Spear out of the wrong hands. But to Bedlam, “wrong” is just an arbitrary word, and there’s no way he’s letting Khet die without a fight.”
Raising Chaos is the second book in the Earthbound Angels series by Elizabeth Corrigan.

After events in Oracle of Philadelphia (first book) Khet needs a change in scenery; leaving Philadelphia behind, she decides to rent a beach house.
As always she doesn’t say anything to Bedlam, he knows how to find her and will come to her in couple of days, as he has done for millennia.
Being an oracle makes making friends a lot harder. When you know what the other person is thinking and feeling is difficult not to say anything or intervene in certain situations, especially if that person is in danger, and that’s exactly what happens this time around. Khet meets a girl that is been abused by her boyfriend. People around the girl don’t want to see it, but Khet knows the boyfriend is bad news.
What was supposed to be a time to rest and lay low became another job for Khet.  
While this is happening in Khet’s life, Bedlam, the Demon of Chaos, is in race against time to find the Spear of Destiny. Azrael is supposed to know where the Spear is located and wants to use it to kill Khet. Khet is Bedlam’s only friend, for that reason he will do anything in his hands to protect her, even if he has to pass tests designed for angels.

Raising Chaos has a different tone than Oracle of Philadelphia, we see more of Bedlam than Khet and we also meet Siren, the Angel of Truth.

Bedlam can be the Demon of Chaos, but he also has a good heart.  He was played by another angel and has suffered the consequences of that day for thousands of years. One of those consequences was losing the love of his life and the only woman (angel) he could ever love, Keziel.
For the last three millennia he has found in Khet a friend and a home. Learning her life was in danger has made him question his priorities in life. This situation has also made him see other things more clearly (sorry I’m vague but I don’t want to give spoilers away) and made him realize that it may be time for a change.

I really love Bedlam, he’s a demon that doesn’t know how to be bad because he has a good heart. He’s mischievous, but caring. Despite his long life as a demon he still has a very innocent side.
I loved his conversation with Keziel at the end of the book, I loved that he finally came to terms with that. I just hope he can find a HEA, hopefully with somebody else that is not Keziel.

Khet wasn’t as strong in this book as she was in first book. She is still the caring, loving and self-sacrificing woman that wants to protect others at any cost. 
Khet broke my heart a little bit in this installment. It’s not easy being she, even though she has Bedlam she feels lonely and is pinning for the Angel Gabriel. A relationship she knows is impossible... or isn’t it? We will have to wait and see.

Talking about Gabriel he‘s not much in this installment, but in the few pages he is we learn something that could be a game changer for future books.

As I said before we also meet Siren. Being the Angel of Truth is not easy for her and for others. She can’t lie and others can lie in her presence, for that reason people try to avoid her. If that is not bad and sad enough she is also one of the Angels blamed for the creation and killing of the Nephilim. The guilt of what happened to them and to the other angels involved with the creation of the Naphilim is something that has haunted her all her long life. I felt sorry for her, hopefully she will get her HEA too.

Even though I’m not too crazy about books with a heavy religious factor I enjoyed reading Raising Chaos. The creativity and knowledge of Mrs. Corrigan is palpable in this installment.
Raising Chaos is a highly entertaining book that left me wanting to get my hands in next installment.  

My Verdict: 4 Paws

Other books in the series
Oracle of Philadelphia
Raising Chaos

Other reviews Goodreads

A Writing Process of Sorts

When Marcela asked me to write a guest post for The Bookaholic Cat, her suggested guest post topics were “5 Must-Do’s to Get in the Writing Mood” and “Do You Have Any Special Ritual Before Writing?” My response to this was “Um… Is faffing around on Facebook a must-do? Does repositioning myself so my cat will sit between me and the keyboard and stop walking around on it count as a ritual?” Yes, she said I could write about anything, but I wanted to pick a topic somewhat in line with the blog’s interests. And the beginning of my writing process is not pretty.
You see, I am horrible at starting things. I never want to. My coworkers have all come to accept that when they give me a task, my first reaction will be all the reasons why I can’t do it. But then they sit back and wait, knowing full well that in an hour, I will be happily engaged in the task, wondering why I dreaded it so much, since it’s clearly much simpler than I thought and, really, kind of soothing. I oscillate between being ashamed of my recalcitrance and being grateful for my understanding colleagues.
My writing process goes along a similar vein, though thankfully without witnesses: Spend all day at work thinking about how I am going to write/edit when I get home. Arrive at apartment and turn on computer. Check Facebook, book stats, Goodreads. Wonder why more people aren’t on-line. Open document of work in progress. Wonder whether it makes sense to check Facebook again. Get in conversation with at least two people who have come on-line. Eventually get around to actually writing a few sentences.
That’s when something magical happens. Scenes unfold before my eyes. Snappy dialogue appears in my head. And the words come pouring out. You see, I only have one must-do to get in the writing mood, and that’s write. 
Sometimes my scenes get out of control. The original draft of Gabriel’s back story in Oracle of Philadelphia went on for over 9,000 words, which was more than 10% of the book. Given all the cuts that occurred in editing, it’s probably still 10% of the book. In the draft of Raising Chaos I submitted to my publisher, Bedlam leads a group through an obstacle course in a manufactured forest. You won’t find this scene in the final book, though, because my editors declared (and rightly so) that it was kind of pathetic. They wanted something more exciting. So I started writing about Bedlam leading a smaller group of people through desert ruins, and as I did so, more and more horrible things to do to him kept occurring to me. The section went from being a sad little throwaway scene to being two whole chapters that are now featured on the cover, because I got so involved in writing them.
I’m not going to say I don’t sometimes run into writing walls. There’s a scene in Oracle where the archdemon Lilith gives Carrie a clever hint about the location of the door out of her realm. And before I wrote the scene, that was pretty much all the planning I had put into it. I didn’t know where the door was, and I had no idea what clue would get Carrie there. I stared at my screen, wondering how I would come up with something plausible, much less something worthy of Lilith’s cunning. I like to think that what I came up with passes muster. Certainly no one has complained about it to me.
I’m not a fast writer by any means. One thousand words a day is generally all I can manage, though when I’m getting toward the end of a book, I become positively frenzied. And I could definitely learn from the advice I’m giving myself here: “Just start writing. You’ll be fine with it once you do.” But the important thing is that eventually I do remember this, or at least force myself to get started, and the result is worth all the effort.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Movie Trailer: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

"Co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller reunite to bring Miller's visually stunning “Sin City” graphic novels back to the screen in FRANK MILLER’S SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR. Weaving together two of Miller’s classic stories with new tales, the town's most hard-boiled citizens cross paths with some of its more reviled inhabitants.

FRANK MILLER’S SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR is the follow up to Rodriguez and Miller’s 2005 groundbreaking film, FRANK MILLER’S SIN CITY."


Friday, March 28, 2014

Review: Iced Forged by Gail Z. Martin

Title: Iced Forged
Author: Gail Z. Martin
Series: Ascendant Kingdoms, book 1
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
"Condemned as a murderer for killing the man who dishonored his sister, Blaine "Mick" McFadden has spent the last six years in Velant, a penal colony in the frigid northern wastelands of Edgeland. Harsh military discipline and the oppressive magic of the governor's mages keep a fragile peace as colonists struggle against a hostile environment. But the supply ships from Dondareth have stopped coming, boding ill for the kingdom that banished the colonists.

Now, McFadden and the people of Velant decide their fate. They can remain in their icy prison, removed from the devastation of the outside world, but facing a subsistence-level existence, or they can return to the ruins of the kingdom that they once called home. Either way, destruction lies ahead.”
Ice Forged is the first book in the Ascendant Kingdoms series by Gail Z. Martin.

Blaine "Mick" McFadden has silently taken his father’s abuse for years; but when his father abuses his younger sister he knows he has to stop the man once and for all.
After killing his father Blaine is stripped from his titles and lands in Dondareth and sent to the penal colony of Velant, in the frozen wastelands of Edgeland. In Velant he leaves his identity behind and assumes the name of Mick.
After years in Velant Blaine (Mick) has earned the right to live as a colonist and with the help of other convicts/colonist he is making a comfortable life in Edgeland; but things start to change slowly in Edgeland. The supply ships from Dondareth stop coming and the magic that helps control the inmates starts to fluctuate.
Dondareth war with another kingdom ends with very serious consequences. Magic is gone and the kingdom of Dondareth is in ruins.
Magic was used for small things like healing, to help grow crops, to give better taste to foods and drinks, to help sail and even to keep buildings standing. People took magic for granted and didn’t know how an important part it played in their daily lives. Now that it’s gone they need to learn to live without magic or do whatever is needed to bring magic back into the world.
A ship with refuges from Dondareth capsizes close to the coast of Edgeland, the only few survivors bring news of the devastation of Dondareth. One of the survivors is Bevir Connor. Connor has important information that could help reinstate the magic, for that he needs Blaine (Mick).  Blaine (Mick) is the last surviving heir of The Lords of Blood, a group of men that centuries back brought the magic to the kingdoms.  To bring the magic back Blaine (Mick) needs to return to Dondareth.
Blaine (Mick) won’t be alone in his quest; his friends from Edgeland, Connor and some unexpected allies will be with him along the way.

Ice Forged is told by Blaine (Mick) and Connor’s points of view. With Blaine (Mick) we see his life in the Edgeland and some flashes of what he suffered in Velant, including the abuse by mages. We also see he’s a born leader, people trust him because he’s known for his honesty and impartiality. He cares for his friends who he considers to be part of his newfound family.
Through Connor’s eyes we see the situation in Dondareth and the consequences of the war. He’s also the link to strong powers that will help them in their quest to reinstate the magic.

There is an array of secondary characters, all very different but very complementary of each other. They form a strong group forged in hardships and shared experiences.

Ice Forged is a very character driven story with an interesting plot and a generally good pace (with the exception of the last pages where it slows a bit). There are some surprises in the plot and subplots and some unexpected twists. The end is not a proper cliffhanger, but it’s a bit sudden. It left me wanting to see what else Mrs. Martin has in store for Blaine and friends. 

Despite its length Ice Forged is a quick read. I attribute this to the engaging characters and highly engrossing story.

Ice Forged was a really nice surprise. I really liked the setting and the originality of the story. It was easy to compare magic to electricity and to think of the consequences if one day it’ll be extinct and let me tell you, it’s a quite scary thought.

Ice Forged was my first book by Gail Z. Martin, but it won’t be my last. I’m looking forward to second book in the series, Reign of Ash, to be release on April 1st.

My Verdict: 4 Paws

Other books in the series
Iced Forged
Reign of Ash (April 1st)

Other reviews Goodreads

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Way I Like Them: Angels Books & Giveaway - eBook of Grigory Legacy series by Linda Poitevin

The other day I was talking to a friend about…. what else but books, but more specific about Angels books or books where Angels play an important role.

We were discussing the different approaches authors take on Angels and that made me think about why some Angels books work for me and others don’t, and I got to the conclusion that I like my Angels dark and if they are going to have a religious approach I want something unique and different, I don’t want a bible lesson or anything like it. I’m not against religion, I respect all kinds of religions and I’m very open-minded, but for some reason I don’t like books that are religiously charged.

With that in mind I decided to make a list of some of my favorite Angels series or series in which Angels play an important part explaining why the Angels work for me in those series.

Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh. I like this series because the Angels are dark, powerful and they govern the people. Some Angels are fair rulers, but not all the angels are good. There are some that are despicable and do horrendous things to the people they govern.
I also love the Guild Hunter series because it is impossible to classify its Angels in any kind of religion.

The Grigory Legacy series by Linda Poitevin. This is one of the best Angels series in the market. It’s dark, gritty and all around extraordinary. One of the things I love the most about this series is that there is a religious factor, there is a war between Heaven and Hell, but Mrs. Poitevin makes it unique and original giving it a completely new identity than what we normally see in other books.

Penryn & the End of Days series by Susan Ee. I love this series because in this case the Angels are the villains, they are the enemy who took over the world and abuse the power they held without any consequence. For them humans are worthless beings that are only good enough to serve them, nothing else. This series breaks the good Angel bubble and explodes it in thousand little pieces.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor. I discovered this series last year and loved it. I like that is more fantasy than paranormal and the Angels live in a different and unknown (no heaven) world to humans.
I love that the Angels (with only a few exceptions) are not good. They have power, they abuse it, and subjugate other races. They believe themselves supreme and could care less for humans and denizens of other worlds.

As you can see I like my Angels different from those we learned in Sunday school, I like my Angels imperfect, devious and the darker, the grittier, the better.

From the series I mention above there is one that every single installment has put me through the wringer and that is the The Grigory Legacy series by Linda Poitevin. Let me tell you something, Linda Poitevin is Evil, yes with capital E. That woman knows how to pull her readers’ strings and she does it again and again, book after book without mercy. She has made me suffer so much with her books that I want to share my pain and love for an amazing series with you, for that reason I’m giving away to a lucky winner an ebook (Kindle, Kobo or Nook) from The Grigory Legacy series by Linda Poitevin. Winner’s choice of:

Sins of the Angels

What do you need to do? Just fill up the Rafflecopter form below and answer the question: How do you like your Angels.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Top Off Tuesday: The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton

Today is Top Off Tuesday! Top Off Tuesday is a feature hosted by Felicia from The Geeky Book Blogger's Book Blog, Amanda from On a Book Bender, and Christi from Smitten with Reading.

The cover I have for you today is one of my favorite man-chest-covers ever, The Perfect PlayThe Perfect Play is the first book in the Play by Play series by Jaci Burton. Since the first moment I saw it I fell in love with this cover. I haven’t read the book, but I have it on my TBR and I’m sure I’ll read it sometime this year.

“Football pro Mick Riley is an all-star, both on the field and in the bedroom. But a sexy, determinedly single mom just might be the one to throw him off his game...

For years Mick has been taking full advantage of the life available to a pro athlete: fame, fortune, and a different girl in every city. But when he meets and beds confident, beautiful event planner Tara Lincoln, he wants much more than the typical one-night stand. Too bad Tara's not interested in getting to know football's most notorious playboy any better.

As the single mother of a teenage son, the last thing Tara needs is the jet-set lifestyle of Mick Riley; even though their steamy and passionate one-night stand was unforgettable. Tara's life is complicated enough without being thrust into the spotlight as Mick's latest girl du jour. Tara played the game of love once and lost big, and she doesn't intend to put herself out there again, especially with a heartbreaker like Mick.

But when Mick sets his mind to win, nothing will stop him. And he has the perfect play in mind.”

The model of this cover is Jed Hill, if you want to “know” him better you can click here.

If you also want to participate on Top Off Tuesday head over to Felicia’s blog to share your link or just to see which other blogs are participating.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Review: The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell by Paula Quinn

Title: The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell
Author: Paula Quinn
Series: The MacGregors: Highland Heirs, book 1
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Forever (March 25th)
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book

Edmund MacGregor will do anything to save Scotland from English rule-even kidnap Lady Amelia Bell for ransom. As the daughter of a duke and the chancellor's betrothed, she's the perfect pawn in this game. But from the moment he first lays eyes on his spirited captive, he can't resist stealing a kiss . . . 


Lady Amelia's duty is to marry well, but that hasn't stopped her from fantasizing about true love. So when a sexy Scot appears in her home, she's beguiled. When he kidnaps her, she's furious. Yet as Edmund introduces her to a world of passion beyond her wildest dreams, can she leave her family behind for this handsome Highlander? And will Edmund risk the only true home he's ever known to capture the heart of this lovely lass?"
The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell is the first book in The MacGregors: Highland Heirs series by Paula Quinn.

The treaty that will unite Scotland and England only needs two signatures to be valid, the signature of the The Duke of Queensberry and the signature of Walter Hamilton, Earl of Seafield and Lord Chancellor of Scotland.
Edmund and his cousins, Lucan MacGregor, Darach Grant and Malcolm Grant need to stop them at any cost, with that in mind they decided to kidnap Lady Amelia Bell, niece of the duke and the chancellor’s betrothed, hoping that will be enough to stop the men for signing the treaty.
Their plan is to infiltrate the betrothal party and kidnap Amelia from her house.
Lady Amelia is not fond of Walter, she would love to marry somebody else, but she knows her feelings are of no importance, she will do anything her father says, after all she has already caused him so much embarrassment.
Amelia is very accident prone, something that not only has caused her problems, but also has made her famous in society. Her mother’s constant reminder that she’s not what she should be doesn’t help with her self-esteem. Her father and her best friend Sarah are the only people that accept her and love her despite her shortcomings, but her father cannot go against her mother wishes and Sarah is just a servant.
When Amelia meets Edmund at her betrothal party she can help it but wish Walter was more like him, but her impression of Edmund changes drastically when she learns his real intentions, unfortunately by then she has already been kidnaped and is faraway from home. The only positive thing about it is that Malcolm also kidnapped Sarah; at least Amelia won’t be alone during her ordeal.
Edmund first love is Scotland; the only problem is that Amelia is making him reconsider his priorities.
Amelia knows she shouldn’t feel attracted to Edmund, he not only kidnaped her, he’s also an outlaw, but after spending days in his company with him she not only understands his reasons, she admires him for it.

Edmund is the perfect hero, he’s loyal, caring, and devoted. His family and his land are everything for him; when he loves he loves deeply and will do anything for those he loves. If those are not enough qualities to love him he’s also smart, handsome, and strong.
I loved how he was with his cousins; I loved how he was with Amelia, even his love for his dog was inspiring and sweet. Edmund is an all around swoon worthy hero.

Sadly, I can say the same about Amelia. She was a very weak heroine. I understand she grew up with people telling her that she was bad news, that she was clumsy and wasn’t good enough, but she also had people that gave her love and told her she was not what others said. The problem with her is that she lacked of substance and courage and didn’t have any strength of character.
Every single bad thing that happened even if it wasn’t her fault she blamed herself, at the end she made bad decisions (with worst consequences) trying to fix things that didn’t need fixing. More than once I wanted to slap some sense into her.

The secondary characters are great; there is a strong feeling of camaraderie between the cousins. They fight, they joke and complain about each other all the time, but at the end they will give their lives to protect one another.

There is a side romance between Lucah and Sarah. I really loved how sweet and caring Lucah was. I also loved Sarah. I can almost say that I liked Sarah more than I liked Amelia.

Paula Quinn knows how to write historical romance and strong heroes, she also masterfully intermingles real facts of the time into her stories; The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell was not an exception to this.

Despite my problems with Amelia I honestly enjoyed reading The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell. I liked that we not only got one romance, but two. I also liked that Mrs. Quinn sowed the “romance” seeds for future books.
I’m looking forward to reading next novella in the series, The Sweet Surrender of Janet Buchanan; this will be Darach Grant’s book. I’m also looking forward to second book, The Wicked Ways of Alexander Kidd; this will be Malcolm’s sister, Caitrina’s book.

My Verdict: 4 Paws

Other books in the series
The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell (March 25th)
The Sweet Surrender of Janet Buchanan – Novella (October 7th)
The Wicked Ways of Alexander Kidd (October 28th)

Other reviews Goodreads

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