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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Movie Trailer: The Hundred-Foot Journey

"Based on the novel The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais.

Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is a culinary ingénue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. Displaced from their native India, the Kadam family, led by Papa (Om Puri), settles in the quaint village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the south of France. Filled with charm, it is both picturesque and elegant -- the ideal place to settle down and open an Indian restaurant, the Maison Mumbai. That is, until the chilly chef proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur, a Michelin starred, classical French restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Academy Award®-winner Helen Mirren), gets wind of it. Her icy protests against the new Indian restaurant a hundred feet from her own, escalate to all out war between the two establishments -- until Hassan's passion for French haute cuisine and for Mme. Mallory's enchanting sous chef, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), combine with his mysteriously delicious talent to weave magic between their two cultures and imbue Saint-Antonin with the flavors of life that even Mme. Mallory cannot ignore. At first Mme. Mallory's culinary rival, she eventually recognizes Hassan's gift as a chef and takes him under her wing."


Friday, May 30, 2014

Early Review: Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence

Title: Prince of Fools
Author: Mark Lawrence
Series: The Red Queen’s War, book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Ace (June 3rd)
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire dread her like no other. For all her reign, she has fought the long war, contested in secret, against the powers that stand behind nations, for higher stakes than land or gold. Her greatest weapon is The Silent Sister—unseen by most and unspoken of by all.

The Red Queen’s grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth—drinker, gambler, seducer of women—is one who can see The Silent Sister. Tenth in line for the throne and content with his role as a minor royal, he pretends that the hideous crone is not there. But war is coming. Witnesses claim an undead army is on the march, and the Red Queen has called on her family to defend the realm. Jal thinks it’s all a rumor—nothing that will affect him—but he is wrong.

After escaping a death trap set by the Silent Sister, Jal finds his fate magically intertwined with a fierce Norse warrior. As the two undertake a journey across the Empire to undo the spell, encountering grave dangers, willing women, and an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath along the way, Jalan gradually catches a glimmer of the truth: he and the Norseman are but pieces in a game, part of a series of moves in the long war—and the Red Queen controls the board.”
Prince of Fools is the first book in The Red Queen’s War series by Mark Lawrence.

For the last couple of years I have heard great things about Lawrence’s books. I even have the first audiobook of the Broken Empire trilogy on my TBL and it’s my plan to listen to it this year (even more now, after finishing Prince of Fools). I’ve been trying not to request many books lately, but when I saw the Prince of Fools available for review I couldn’t resist and requested it. Lucky me, I was approved.

The blurb explains pretty well what Prince of Fools is about. Adding more to it will only give surprises away that the reader should discover by him/herself.

Jalan (Jal) Kendeth is the perfect example of an anti-hero. He’s cheat and a coward, not hero material at all. He’s a liar to others, always showing the façade of the perfect prince; but he has one good thing, he is honest with himself, he knows what he is and accepts it with alacrity.
Jal’s journey is one packed with uncertainties and revelations. His journey is not only one of adventures; it’s at the same time a personal journey of discovery, where Jal realizes to his own surprise that he is capable of many unexpected things.

Jal’s travelling companion, Snorri ver Snagason, is completely the opposite of Jal. Snorri is a very valiant man with strong ideals and enough honor for two.
Snorri’s journey is one of revenge, a journey where his courage and physical and emotional endurance is test day after day. I won’t tell you what he wants revenge from - that will be giving spoilers away - I will only say, my heart ached for him and I might have spilled a tear or two while learning his story.

The vivid world Lawrence gives us in this series has the feeling of an apocalyptic world. I’m not completely certain but I could guess is many hundreds of years after an event that ended the modern world. There are references to The Builders (mention of trains and other modern buildings) that to my guess refers to our modern society. The society in Prince of Fools has a Middle Ages feel to it, with champions and kingdoms at war in which magic and necromancy play important roles.

Prince of Fools is dark, gory and fun. It’s packed with action, horror and many gruesome details, all that it’s balanced with the perfect amount of humor. This great combination makes of the Prince of Fools an impossible to put down book.

Prince of Fools is one of the most quotable books I have ever read; I really don’t know how many quotes I highlighted in the book, but there were many. I have couple of favorites I would have liked to share with you, but sadly, because I read an ARC copy I can’t. You need to read it to see what I’m talking about.

The last thing left to say is that the Prince of Fools lives to Mr. Lawrence’s hype; now, I understand why so many people talk about Lawrence’s books.
Prince of Fools is a book I recommend to fantasy and epic fantasy fans.
I’m eagerly looking forward to second book in this series.

My Verdict: 4 ½ Paws

Other reviews Goodreads

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Covers Revealed: Once Perfect by Cecy Robson and The Darkest Touch by Gena Showalter

The covers I have for you today are the covers of two books I’m dying to read. The first book is the cover of Once Perfect. Once Perfect is the first book in the new Shattered Past series by the amazing Cecy Robson. I love her Weird Girls series and I’m sure I will love this series too. 
The second cover I have for you is the cover of The Darkest Touch. The Darkest Touch is the eleventh book in the highly acclaimed Lords of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter. The Darkest Touch features one of my favorite lords, Torin.

Once Perfect
Cecy Robson
Shattered past #1
New Adult
October 7th

"His life was never easy. Hers wasn’t supposed to be this hard. They come from different worlds, but fate lures them together in a way neither expected in Cecy Robson’s raw, steamy New Adult debut—perfect for fans of Monica Murphy and J. Lynn.

Evelyn Preston’s future once looked perfect—until her wealthy father was caught in an embezzlement scandal and took his own life. Alone and struggling to pay her college tuition and bills, Evelyn finds a job as a waitress at the ultra-hip nightclub Excess, where she used to have more in common with the privileged private-school clientele than her fellow staff members. But something attracts her to the sexy six-foot-four bouncer and underground MMA fighter Mateo Tres Santos. Although they’ve led different lives, their troubled pasts bonds them in both survival and love.

Mateo is ex-army who wound up in prison for assaulting the man who harmed his sister. Now he’s feeling the same protective impulse for this petite blond waitress. When Evelyn experiences a panic attack at the club, Mateo comes to her rescue. And when Mateo is wounded shielding her from a brawl, Evelyn returns the favor and comes to his aid.

As their attraction intensifies, Mateo is determined to find out what nightmares are lurking in Evelyn’s past—even if that means tackling his own to save her."

The Darkest Touch
Gena Showalter
Lord of the Underground #11
Paranormal Romance
November 25th

"Fierce immortal warrior. Host to the demon of Disease. Torin’s every touch causes sickness and death—and a worldwide plague. Carnal pleasure is utterly forbidden, and though he has always overcome temptation with an iron will, his control is about to shatter.

She is Keeley Cael. The Red Queen. When the powerful beauty with shocking vulnerabilities escapes from a centuries-long imprisonment, the desire that simmers between her and Torin is scorching. His touch could mean the end for her, but resisting her is the hardest battle he’s ever fought—and the only battle he fears he can’t win."

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Top Off Tuesday: Moon by Laurann Dohner

Today is Tuesday! You know what that means? Yes, today is that special ogling day in the week. It’s 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.

Last week I shared with you the cover of Brawn, fifth book in the New Species series by Laurann Dohner. The cover I have for you today is the cover for the tenth book in that same series, Moon.
If there was a contest of the hottest covers for a series I think Laurann Dohner’s books will win with honors.

“Dr. Joyce Yards has never met anyone as irresistible as 466. Their therapy sessions are growing hotter, his raw sexual hunger becoming aggressive, and he refuses to discuss anything except the possibility of getting her naked. Joy understands the dire consequences if she indulges her passion. It will break her heart but she must walk away.

Moon has been drugged, his memory shattered, and he’s now little more than feral, a dangerous threat to everyone. In their need for help, the NSO doctors turn to the only female Moon ever cared about—the one who left him behind two years ago.

Moon isn’t the same male Joy once knew. There are no rules now. If sex tames the wild beast and triggers his fractured memories, allowing him moments of lucidity, then Joy will give him everything, body and soul. She’ll do whatever it takes to save him—even at the cost of her own life.”
If you 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, May 26, 2014

Review: Banishing the Dark by Jenn Bennett

Title: Banishing the Dark
Author: Jenn Bennett
Series: Arcadia Bell, book 4
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Pocket (May 27th)
Source: Review copy from author
Format: E-book
“Complicated does not begin to describe Arcadia Bell's life right now: unnatural magical power, another brush with death, and a murderous mother who's not only overbearing but determined to take permanent possession of Cady's body. Forced to delve deep into the mystery surrounding her own birth, Cady must uncover which evil spell her parents cast during her conception…and how to reverse it. Fast. As she and her lover Lon embark on a dangerous journey through her magical past, Lon's teenage son Jupe sneaks off for his own investigation. Each family secret they uncover is darker than the last, and Cady, who has worn many identities—Moonchild, mage, fugitive—is about to add one more to the list.”
Banishing the Dark is the fourth book in the Arcadia Bell series by Jenn Bennett.

It’s always hard to say goodbye, especially to those you love, I’m not only talking about people, but books and characters alike. When I learned Jenn Bennett was writing the last book in her Arcadia Bell series I wanted to beg her to keep writing more books, but at the end I couldn’t do that. I admire an author who knows when is the right time to say goodbye to her characters and Jenn is a master at her craft, if she thought is was the right time even though I wanted more books I’m sure she was right, and now after finishing Banishing the Dark I’m glad she went that route and finished one of my all time favorite series in a very high note. Kudos to Jenn Bennett for doing this.

Banishing the Dark starts couple of weeks after the events in Binding The Shadows (book #3), Cady is recovering from what happened to her in that book, but she knows her respite won’t last long, sooner or later she will have to confront her mother, but to have the upper hand she needs to learn more about the Moonchild spell her parents used during her conception.
Cady and Lon know the answers won’t come to them, they will need to look for them, but before starting their search they take some precautions, precautions that if they are not careful enough could backfire and end everything they care for.
Jupe is not idle while Cady and Lon are away, he wants to help, and with that in mind he takes matters into his hands and embarks on his own investigation with the help of Priya and a new character.

Cady has come a long way since first book. She was used to hide and be alone, but now she not only has friends she can count on, she also has a family to call her own. Seeing her flourish into the woman she has become has been a treat; seeing her fight for her family and for what she wants in this book was not only very emotional, but pleasing as well.

Lon is one of those characters you need to know to love and the more you know the more you love. That was the case in previous books and that was the case in this book. His love for Cady has been tested over and over; Banishing the Dark was not an exception to this, if something it was one of the hardest tests for him, but as always he passes with flying colors. I love him as a father, I love him as Cady’s boyfriend and I love him as a man. Jenn Bennett gave us in him the almost-perfect man with imperfections easy to overlook.

Now I have to talk about one of my favorite teenager characters ever, Jupe. I have loved Jupe since the moment he was introduced in first book and book-by-book my love for him has only grown. Jupe is not perfect, but he has a heart so pure and innocent that is impossible not to love him. Despite having a wonderful father, Jupe’s life has had some hardships, but now that Cady is in his life he finally feels like his family is complete.
For the first time, Banishing the Dark is written with a dual POV, this time around Jenn Bennett gives us Jupe voice and as I was expecting, he was a joy to read. Being in his head only made me love him more and wish for a spinoff series based on him. Please Mrs. Bennett, pretty please with sugar on top.

Banishing the Dark has everything we loved from previous books, non-stop action, unexpected twists and turns, a strong plot, and the character we love. Banishing the Dark wraps all loose ends tightly and ends with a satisfying epilogue.

As I said before, even though I’m sad to see one of my all time favorite series come to an end, I’m glad Jenn Bennett went the smart way that not many authors take and ended her series on the highest note possible. Luckily for us we won’t be deprived of Jenn Bennett talent, she has a new series on the market, The Roaring Twenties, although a very different series from the Arcadia Bell series it’s also an excellent one that will keep us entertained until Jupe’s spin-off in the months to come.

Would I recommend Banishing the Dark? Hell yes!! But I also recommend you to read it as part the Arcadia Bell series to get the full effect of the wonderful world Jenn Bennett created with her words.
If you haven’t read this series can I ask what are you waiting for? You are missing one of the best urban fantasy series to have ever been published. Go read these books now!! You can thank me later.

My Verdict: 5 Paws

Other books in the series
Kindling the Moon
Leashing the Tempest (novella)
Banishing the Dark (May 27th)

Other reviews Goodreads

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Movie Trailer: Kingsman: The Secret Service

"Based upon the acclaimed comic book and directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick Ass, X-Men First Class), Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency's ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius."


Friday, May 23, 2014

Review: A Dangerous Madness by Michelle Diener

Title: A Dangerous Madness
Author: Michelle Diener
Series: Regency London, book 3
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Season Publishing
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
"The Duke of Wittaker has been living a lie...

He’s been spying on the dissolute, discontented noblemen of the ton, pretending to share their views. Now he’s ready to step out of the shadows and start living a real life...but when the prime minister of England is assassinated, he's asked to go back to being the rake-hell duke everyone believes he still is to find out more.

Miss Phoebe Hillier has been living a lie, too... All her life she's played by society's rules, hiding her fierce intelligence and love of life behind a docile and decorous mask. All it's gotten her is jilted by her betrothed, a man she thought a fool, though a harmless one. But when she discovers her former fiancé was involved in the plot against the prime minister, and that he's been murdered, she realizes he wasn't so harmless after all.

And now the killers have set their sights on her...

The only man who can help her is the Duke of Wittaker--a man she knows she shouldn't trust. And she soon realizes he's hiding behind a mask as careful as her own. As the clock ticks down to the assassin's trial, the pair scramble to uncover the real conspiracy behind the prime minister's death. And as the pressure and the danger mounts, Phoebe and Wittaker shed their disguises, layer by layer, to discover something more precious than either imagined–something that could last forever. Unless the conspirators desperate to hide their tracks get to them first."
A Dangerous Madness is the third book in the Regency London series by Michelle Diener.

I had heard great things about Michelle Diener’s books, when I saw A Dangerous Madness available for review I knew this was my chance. I'm glad I took the plunge. 
When I requested it I thought A Dangerous Madness was a stand-alone, but after just couple of pages in, with the mention of other couples I realized this book was part of a series. The mention of some past events didn’t deter my enjoyment of the book, they only made me want to read previous books.

The blurb explains pretty well what this book is about. Let’s just add that the assassination of the prime minister did really happen as well as some of the facts and characters that Mrs. Diener masterfully integrates into the story.

Phoebe Hillier is a very likeable character. She is smart but thanks to society she has to pretend to be somebody she is not. She has live under everybody’s rules and when she gets jilted by her betrothed she knows what will come of it it won’t be good for her, but instead in wallowing in despair she sees the light in the situation and takes it into her own hands. She may be ruined, but now she’s free to do whatever she wants or to be with whomever she wants.

Talking about whomever Phoebe wants we need to talk about James, the Duke of Wittaker. Since an early age James has pretended to be a rake, first he did it under his father’s instructions to help him get inside information about other noblemen and for the last years he has done it to get information about peers that are under investigation. James is tired of pretending to be a rake, he wants to get his life under his reins, but his plans have to be place on hold until after the investigation of the prime minister’s assassination.

I liked James, I liked that a smart woman didn’t intimidate him and he accepted Phoebe just the way she was.

Phoebe and James are attracted to each other from the very beginning, but they don’t act upon that attraction until the very end. The romance although present, doesn’t play a big role in the story and if I’m honest I really liked that.

The mystery is well done, there are no clues between the pages; we actually learn everything along with the characters. The resolution while not a perfect one was as truthful as possible to the real events of the time.

Michelle Diener’s writing is fluid and engaging and even though I was very tired while I was reading this book it was almost impossible for me to put it down.

I enjoyed reading A Dangerous Madness so much I’m looking forward to reading previous books in this series and new books to come. I recommend A Dangerous Madness to historical fiction and historical romance fans.

My Verdict: 4 Paws

Other books in the series
The Emperor’s Conspiracy
Banquet of Lies
A Dangerous Madness

Other reviews Goodreads

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top Off Tuesday: Brawn by Laurann Dohner

Today is Tuesday! You know what that means? Yes, today is that special day in the week. It’s 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.

I usually like to share with you inspiring covers, but today I have something… I could say… different. I hope you find the cover of Brawn, fifth book in the New Species series by Laurann Dohner, as entertaining as I did.

“One look at Brawn and Becca is wondering how he’d look without his clothes. Brawn is instantly attracted to Becca but has sworn never to touch a human female. They just aren’t sturdy enough and he likes his sex a little rough. He is shocked to learn he’ll be living with her when she refuses to leave her home. He is there to represent New Species and to learn about humans so maybe this will be a good educational experience. He just has to keep his hands off her.

His good intentions go astray when they are kidnapped and locked together inside a cage. Brawn finds himself reliving a nightmare when he is once again subjected to breeding experiments at the hands of New Species’ enemies. They will use Becca to get what they want from him. Brawn will do everything he can to protect her but they only have each other to depend on while trying to survive.”
If you 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, May 19, 2014

Review: Against the Dawn by Amanda Bonilla

Title: Against the Dawn
Author: Amanda Bonilla
Series: Shaede Assassin, book 4
Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: Amanda Bonilla
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“Six months can feel like just a couple of weeks when you’ve been away in another realm. Literally.

Now that Darian is back in Seattle, she’s ready to face the life—and the man—she left behind. But it’s not going to be easy when a ghost from her past shows up looking to wreak havoc on Seattle’s supernatural crime scene.

Darian isn’t as careless as she used to be, though. She and Tyler, her sexy Jinn protector, have come a long way in the trust department. And it’s a good thing too—because when Ty contracts her to assassinate a wickedly powerful supernatural who goes by the name of Mithras, it will take all her faith in Ty, and herself, to get the job done.

While Darian does whatever it takes to get to her mark, Xander, the Shaede King is busy making plans of his own. With Darian’s attention divided between Lorik’s secrets and her mission she might not be able to stop Xander from doing anything in his power to separate Darian from her sworn protector and in the process, destroy his own kingdom.”
Against the Dawn is the fourth book in the Shaede Assassin series by Amanda Bonilla.

After the events in Crave the Darkness (third book) Darian is in dire need of a change of scenery, with that in mind she goes to O Anel to visit Raif’s daughter, Brakae. Time in Fairy moves different than on this side and after only two weeks with Brakae she knows is time to go back to her reality. After she’s back Darian realizes her two weeks in Fairy were six months on this world and many things changed in that time.
Tyler feels guilty about what happened to her and is willing to break some laws imposed by his superiors to be with her and Xander is still hoping to rekindle their relationship or at least to continue where they left on. The last thing Darian needs is to think about relationships, but she knows sooner or later she will have to decide, especially now that Xander is putting his throne on the line for her.
Another change she finds at her return is Lorik. Her friend of many years back has been waiting for her and wants her to work for him as his security. Darian can’t understand how Lorik is still alive, he’s supposed to be a normal human. Years may have passed but Lorik is still the same spoiled troublemaker she remembers, maybe working for him is just what she needs to get her mind off her troubles, but life for Darian is never that easy.

In this installment Darian is suffering from severe PTSD, she’s trying to deal the best way she can but it hasn’t been easy. The “good” thing about the bad things that happened to her is that she learned her lesson. She learned she has many people that love her and are there for her whenever she needs them. She also learned she can and should count on others; she doesn’t have to do everything alone. Her recovery hasn’t been easy, but she’s on the right path and with a bit more work she is going to be fine… only if she can catch a break. (Mrs. Bonilla please give poor Darian a little break!).

I’ve been Team Xander since the very first book and book-by-book my love for him has only grown. Even though I know Xander is not the man for Darian he needs somebody like me some part of me can only hope, especially after this book. I know some things he did look a bit sly, but at the end everything he has done for Darian he has done to protect her and keep her safe. Team Xander forever!

If I talk about Xander I have to talk about that other man… yes, the one I didn’t like, and yes I use “did” because Mrs. Bonilla is sneaky and made me like him in this book. Damn you Mrs. Bonilla. In Against the Dawn we see a clearer picture of Tyler and his feelings for Darian and I can’t believe I’m saying this I like him for Darian. *cries*

On this installment we also see Raif, not as much as I would have liked but enough to remind me how much I like him and to make me happy for Darian, she is lucky to have him in her life.
We also see more of Asher and every new thing we learn about him made me like him more and more. I think he needs a novella… Did you hear me Mrs. Bonilla?

I can’t say much about Lorik without giving spoilers away. Let just say Mrs. Bonilla did a great job writing him because his actions made me experience an array of different feelings, some good and some others… not good at all I want blood.

Every time I read a book by Amanda Bonilla I don’t know how she can top off her previous books, but she does it again and again, that was the case with Against the Dawn too. OMFG! What a ride of a book. Since the first page it grabbed me and took me on an emotional ride that left me expended and dying for more. Mrs. Bonilla is a master storyteller who knows how to use her words to play with her readers’ feelings and let me tell you something I have said many times before about her… SHE IS EVIL!! EVIL!!!

Against the Dawn’s end is not the cliffhanger of the century but it easily can be the cliffhanger of the year. How dare you do this to us Mrs. Bonilla!? How dare you!? As you can guess by now, the end of Against the Dawn was a WHAT? NO? OMFG! NOW WHAT? OMG I NEED NEXT BOOK NOW!! kind of end.

Saying I’m eagerly waiting for next book is the understatement of the year. I’ll be stalking following closely Mrs. Bonilla updates for news about the new book.

Against the Dawn is a great addition to an amazing series and a book all urban fantasy lovers should read. Even though Mrs. Bonilla does an excellent job recapping important events of previous books I don’t recommend you to read Against the Dawn as a stand-alone book. To get the full effect of the wonderful world and characters Mrs. Bonilla created in her shaede Assassin series Against the Dawn should be read as part of the series.

My Verdict: 5 Paws

Other books in the series
When Shadows Call (Novella)
Lost to the Gray (Tyler’s novella)
Against the Dawn (May 20th)

Other reviews Goodreads

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