Saturday, September 29, 2012

When Fantasy and Science Fiction Meet

Forge Of Stones by Vasileios Kalampakas

Summary: In a world dominated by religious law, the ruling theocracy is about to enter a period of unprecedented upheaval. A pilgrim from a forgotten place ventures into the desolated heart of the Widelands, where myth meets reality and only the faithful or truly fortunate dare enter. A rebel and a young apprentice both seek answers they had never thought could ever be answered. And all the while, the future of their world hangs in a precipitous balance. Their journey will lead them to uncover long-lost secrets and truths that will shake the very foundations of the world and change everything, forever.

Review: Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for a review. 

An interesting intersection of fantasy and science fiction with a hilarious robot although the story suffers from too much detail, which makes the story slow to read. 

The book begins with introducing the main characters and those chapters made me think that this would be a standard fantasy novel. The world is intriguing although it's very stratified and a little hard to believe. You get a lot of different viewpoints from different aspects and parts of the society. That helps to flesh out the world a little. The story lines of the characters start to intersect although it does seem a bit forced at points. 

I liked how the story lines began to come together and how the science fiction aspect of this book began to be slowly revealed. I must admit that I was not always able to follow what was going on this book, especially when it came to the Pilgrim. My confusion increased when the book turned into science fiction. The robot, whom I love since he is such a great character, explains everything, but I am still left with many questions. I wonder what will happen next in this story and if there will be a sequel. 


Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that enjoy fantasy with a large cast of characters and fantasy with a large does of science fiction. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Antithesis Tour: Review and Giveaway

The Series

Title: The Antithesis
Series: The Antithesis, #1
Author: Terra Whiteman
Genre: Dark, Fantasy, Dystopian, Philosophical, Science Fiction, Speculative
Publisher: 1889 Labs
Pages: 450


PRINT (ISBN: 978-1926959085)

Book Description:

Justice Alezair Czynri is the newest recruit of the Jury, a group of powerful beings who reside in Purgatory and enforce the Code between Heaven and Hell. However, Justice Czynri could not have come at a worse time. A storm lays just over the horizon…

One that brings with it a war.


This is a story about God and the Devil, but not how you were taught to believe.

This is also a story about love and hate, and the suffering both can bring.

This is about rights and wrongs, and all of the spaces in between.

This is about revenge, courage, death, passion; with no villains, no heroes… only those left scorned.

This is a story about Heaven, Hell, and the Jury that holds them together.

This is The Antithesis.


The Terabicz Ruins was a collection of towers composed of black rock and sharp peaks, complete with floating circular platforms hovering in the sky like halos. Vines could be seen wedged between surface fractures, though I didn’t understand how any vegetation could survive in this perpetual darkness.
A winding staircase led to the first platform a thousand feet up. As we approached the base, Leid tripped over her own feet, landing on her knees.
I moved forward, but she shot out a hand to stop me. I froze.
Then she lurched, vomiting blood all over the first step.
I reeled back, eyes wide, fear rising in my throat. Leid only crouched on the steps, panting.
Jesus Christ!” I shouted, the confusion and fear now propelling into anger. “Are you dying?!”
No,” she responded coarsely.
Leid tried to get up, but collapsed. She attempted getting up a second time, made it one more step, but then collapsed again.
I frowned, kneeling in front of her with my back turned. “Get on.”
Reluctantly she crawled over me, wrapping her arms around my shoulders, legs hooking my elbows. She couldn’t protest this time; walking was out of the question.
I began up the stairs, Leid now on my back.
Thank you,” I heard her murmur quietly.
Sure thing. Just don’t puke on me.”
The climb was exhausting, seeming to never end. Leid wasn’t heavy in the least, and in fact Vel’Haru could probably lift three hundred times their own weight; but the last four days of almost nonexistent sleep and nonstop traveling had finally caught up with me. I was tired, and it was showing.
I took a breather on the first platform. The second, I’d decided to just keep going. By the apex, I was staggering.
The apex platform was shockingly covered in moss. An iron gate surrounded a stone temple with a courtyard covered in…statues.
What is this place?” I whispered.
Civen’s old temple. Since the Deadland’s decline, another has been built in Alatonia.”
I now understood why she’d placed the statue here. It would have blended in perfectly with the garden of others surrounding the temple. My eyes drifted over the platform, a frown pulling at my lips. Something didn’t feel right. It was so quiet, though that had been consistent throughout the entire area. I really couldn’t explain why I had this sense of impending doom.
Slowly, I carried Leid toward the gate.
My hand pushed against it; it opened with a creak.
I stepped inside, eyes surveying the courtyard.
It was isolated, save for the ever still and silent stone army surrounding us. I moved to the side of the wall, kneeling and letting Leid slide off. She collapsed against the ground, limply sitting up.
I had to admit I was a little pissed off for the fact that there weren’t any demons here. All of this for practically nothing? Though I supposed it would have been considerably bad otherwise since Leid could barely move and I currently wasn’t at my best.
Hurry,” she pleaded.
I nodded, and she hadn’t needed to point out which statue was the target. Despite the clever hiding spot, it stuck out like a sore thumb.
Surrounded in marble soldiers and half-naked maidens, a woman knelt; arm outstretched, eyes wide and lips parted in the beginnings of a despairing cry. She seemed carved out of black glass, shimmering like an obsidian beacon within the otherwise white wash of the garden.
Obsidian. This woman.
I momentarily forget about my sick noble, slowly moving toward it, seamlessly weaving through the other nondescript statues. My eyes were narrowed, head slightly tilted in curious awe.
I stopped in front of her, drifting over the details of her face; all the while my face had become a contortion of disarray. I spun, pointing at the statue.
Why does this thing look exactly like you?
Leid tried to respond but coughed instead. When she was finished, she tried again:
Will you just kill it, please? We’ll talk about this later.”
“…How do I kill it?”
With your fists, you genius. Smash it to bits.”
Exactly how were you expecting to destroy this thing on your own, by the way?”
Shut up and finish it!”
Not until you take back what you said.”
Leid stared, falling silent. She knew what I meant.
I waited, silent as well.
Conceding, she looked away shamefully. “I was angry; I didn’t mean it.”
What didn’t you mean?”
I would never regret meeting you, Alezair. I’m sorry.”
Though I’d coerced her into saying this, I could tell she was being sincere. Her expression was somber, painfully so.
I grinned. “Thanks. One pile of black sand coming right up.”
I turned, just as a thwump broke through the air. I felt a pinch. My grin faded into a confused wince and I looked down at the source of the sharp pain.
There was a dart sticking out of my chest.
I looked up at Leid, though my vision was already beginning to blur; the world around me swayed. She was screaming something, pointing behind me, but now everything was moving in slow motion and I was having trouble comprehending.
I was about to turn but was tackled; a group of hands held me down, shoving my face into the moss. I thrashed, snarling, still strong enough to fling some of my assailants off. But each time a pair of hands left, another instantly replaced them. I couldn’t see anything—just a cluster of feet as the crowd scurried around, trying to keep me down.
Another group of feet left the crowd and began for Leid, who at this moment was hopelessly trying to crawl away. As they got further from us I could see them clearly:
Demons. Tons of them; at least two dozen.
Instead of retreating for the gate, Leid deliriously went the wrong way. During the struggle I’d been shoved about twenty feet from the statue. She was crawling toward us.
The demons pursuing her eventually backed off, waiting at the first row of statues. When Leid passed the third row, a shadow slid out from one of them, advancing slowly in a steady, calculated gait.
I squinted, teeth clenched and still struggling, trying to see the demon clearly. And then I did.
It was Caym Stroth, Raith’s second general. Unusually dressed in a black suit, the Obsidian Court insignia on his right shoulder, he held a giant serrated axe, swinging it nonchalantly at his side. He whistled an unfamiliar tune as Leid scrambled toward the statue. It seemed she was too delirious to even see him.
Leid!” I screamed, though it was pointless because she couldn’t hear me. “Leid, behind you!”
She was now within a foot of the statue. Gasping, she reached toward it with a trembling outstretched hand.
Caym stopped behind her, lifting the axe over his head, his lips curling into a malicious sneer.

About the Author:
Terra Whiteman is a scientist who writes whenever she's not doing things that scientists do. She loves philosophy, chemistry, biology, classical literature, graphic novels, loud, obnoxious music, frog slippers and beer.

Find the Author:

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | 1889 Labs

Review: Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for a review.

An interesting take on angels, demons, and the battle between them although the main male character takes a lot away from my enjoyment of this book. 

There are many ways to spin a tale between angels and demons, God and Satan. Antithesis does a good job of creating an unusual scenario, unique worlds, and new races. A contest makes sense since, traditionally, the angels and demons are fighting for the souls of humans. While a very complex setting, I felt that not enough was explained and I couldn't get a very good grasp on other races and the mythology of the worlds. 

I cannot deny that I wanted to smack Alezair. He wasn't an adult, he was a loud, annoying, petulant child. He would scream, curse, and bring items when he got upset. I didn't like how he treated Leid. He always acted like she owned him an explanation even though she was his Commander and he never acted like he deserved to know (flying off the hilt at the slight provocation does not induce confidence in a person). There was much in the way of melodramatics in this book, which wore on my nerves. I am intrigued by the ending, but it will take a while before I read the second book. 


Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that enjoy demons, angels, and the struggles between them.


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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sweet Romance with Kilts

Never Seduce a Scot by 

Eveline Armstrong is fiercely loved and protected by her powerful clan, but considered "touched" to outsiders. Beautiful, fey, with a level, intent gaze, she doesn't speak. No one, not even her family, knows that she cannot hear. Eveline taught herself to read lips and allows the outside world to view her as daft, content to stay with her family. But when an arranged marriage with a rival clan makes Graeme Montgomery her husband, she accepts her duty—unprepared for the delights to come. Graeme is a rugged warrior with a voice so deep and powerful she can hear it, and hands and kisses so tender and skilled he awakens her deepest passions.

Graeme is intrigued by his new bride, whose silent lips are ripe with temptation, whose bright, intelligent eyes can see into his soul. As intimacy deepens, he learns her secret. But when clan rivalries and dark deeds threaten the wife he has only begun to cherish, the Scottish warrior will move heaven and earth to save the woman who has awakened his heart to the beautiful song of a rare and magical love.

Review: Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.

A sweet Highlander romance with an actually likable male main character and a main female character with some spirit.

Graeme is not an asshole, which is amazing considering how many of the main male characters in romance novels are assholes. This seems to be even more true for Highlander romance novels. He's still super manly and giant (they all seem to be the biggest man ever!), but has a brain about him and a heart too. Eveline is decently impressive as well although she winds up irking me a lot through the story. It is like she has two halves of her personality, strong women and seemingly strong woman.

The king forcing Eveline to marry Graeme to end the feud sets the stage for the plot to occur. It feels like a weak excuse and I honestly don't even remember if the king actually appears in the story. I don't know when this story takes place or who the king is. Some context would have been nice. The romance between Graeme and Eveline was sweet, but it happened way too quickly. Also, bad guy was bad. No surprise there. The story was enjoyable and I will read the second book.


Recommendation: I would recommend this book to fans of historical romance and romance with Highlanders.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Above the Universe Below Tour: Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: Above the Universe Below
Author: Elias Barton
Genre: Fantasy, Dark,
Publisher: Iron Glass Press
Pages: 332


Book Description:

For two years running (2011 & 2012) Above the Universe Below was was a semi-finalist in's Breakthrough Novel Award and Publishers Weekly:

"Brilliant writing carries this pleasantly odd tale of an agoraphobic artist, Carder Quevedo... Carder's road is not an easy one, but readers will be rooting for him in this unusual and beautifully written book."

An agoraphobic artist in our world but a grim reaper in another, Carder Quevedo hides at home, immersing himself in the paintings which commemorate the strange deaths he's witnessed. He ventures into public only when necessary, scrambling to his hospital job to extract corneas from deceased donors or darting to the diner to share a meal with Darren, his only friend. That's Carder's existence - and he's content.


Haika changes that. As the bored, beautiful owner of an art gallery - who also happens to be married - she stumbles into Carder in a chance encounter and soon becomes obsessed with his art. As they forge a quirky, electric relationship, Carder is reluctantly pulled into Haika's social world of wealth, status and the peculiar characters that come with it. Carder is pushed further to the edge when his teenage niece visits, rebelling against her ultra-conservative upbringing. All the while, Carder's hidden history threatens to ruin his developing chance at normalcy, and on the opening night of his art gallery show, his past finally catches up to his present and wreaks havoc upon them all.


Haika’s mouth is obscured behind an empty Styrofoam cup riddled with repeating arches of gentle teeth-marks she’s bitten into it like colorless rainbows perforating white sky. She meets Carder’s gaze with a mischievous smile, enjoying the role of spectator and anthropologist. She’s relaxed, as if sitting in a bubble bath with a goblet of wine in hand, reading this all in a novel someone lent her.


That’s what Haika is: love. Not just love for Mike or art or New York. Haika is love in every moment. She’s loving to Carder, to his relatives, to the Carlisle boys. But she’s more. She’s love in the cloudless sky above, in the honey she brought for tea, in the music she tries to soundtrack Carder’s life with, in the thrift-store clothes she’s wearing, in the ascot knotted at her chin, in her bare feet sliding through what would once have been war-torn grass, in the sadness sometimes hiding in the corners of her lips. She brings love to every moment… something Carder has never seen in another person. Ever. He obsesses over every detail, and gulps down the harrowing thought that he’ll one day lose her. He tries to be love like Haika is, to laze on the hammock of friendship hanging from her eyes right now. He fills with gratitude. This has actually happened. She had actually been in his life, and no one can take that away. Carder could live off it for decades and fully plans to.

About the Author:

Elias Barton has lived on the edge of an active volcano, worked in a Bible factory and is the author of the novel "Above the Universe Below." He was a semifinalist in both 2011 and 2012 for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. He currently resides in Washington DC where he befriends gargoyles, feeds unicorns and combats two cats who try to smother him in his sleep.

Find the Author:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Thought I Knew You Tour: Guest Post

Summary: Claire Barnes is shattered when her husband, Greg, goes on a business trip and never returns.

Unwilling to just wait for the police to find him, Claire conducts her own investigation. Her best friend Drew helps her look for answers, but all she finds are troubling questions.

With every clue, she discovers that Greg may not be the man she thought she married.

While battling her growing feelings for Drew and raising her two young children, Claire must learn to live with the knowledge that the truth behind Greg’s disappearance may never be revealed.

Purchase from any of these retailers:

Amazon Kindle: Thought I Knew You

Barnes & Noble Nook:Barnes & Noble

Smashwords (Multiple eBook Formats): Thought I Knew You

Amazon Paperback: Thought I Knew You

Kobo: Kobo eReaders

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour here.

Guest Post:

Kate Moretti has provided a guest post about writing a romance novel:

I accidentally wrote a romance novel. Which sounds crazy because what did I mean to write? I don’t actually know. I guess I started out wanting to write a mystery, or an examination of marriage, or maybe some combination of the two. I even envisioned it a crime novel when I first started typing. But for me, the strangest part of writing was the realization that past a certain point, you really do lose control of the story. My characters tended to do their own thing and what was going to be a small romantic angle to fill the middle of the book became the main plot! No one was more surprised than I was. So if I didn’t set out to write a romance novel, and I’m not a big romance novel reader, how did this happen?

In Thought I Knew You, Claire’s husband goes on a business trip and doesn’t come back. The police can’t find him, he’s just – poof! – gone. She has no choice; she has to move on. The book spans three years in Claire’s life, in the middle of which she develops feelings for her childhood friend.

I was probably drawn to writing the relationship with Claire and Drew because my husband has been in my life off and on since we were in high school. We didn’t grow up together in the classical sense, but we sure as heck became adults together. Exploring their relationship with all its cracks and fissures was fun. I was interested in portraying real love, with flawed people who don’t always take the high road, who are sometimes selfish and thoughtless. I liked walking the fine line of making them human and real, while still being likeable. I wanted you to root for them.

The hardest part for me was the sex scenes. I struggled there. I wrote it the first time, and my editor basically told me it had to be expanded (I think she said “fleshed out” wink, wink) or removed completely. I chose to expand it. But I had somewhat of a hard time. I’m not a prude, necessarily, but I don’t walk around talking about sex openly all the time. There was quite a bit of back and forth with my editor where she’d just say, MORE! I had sex on the brain constantly for about four days; it’s enough to make a person crazy! I said this to a friend, who joked, “This is what it’s like to be a man!”

There’s something completely husking about writing about the most intimate moments of people’s lives. I’ve had to forgo modesty and the thought of “Oh, my eighty-year-old aunt might read this,” and put it out there, on paper, for my small corner of the world to see. And frankly, this is my first novel, so I was definitely still inhibited. It’s more like PG-13 than R. But hopefully, it’s character building and not gratuitous, and it’s possible that next time, I’ll (ahem) bare a little more. We’ll see.  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

It's Not Jane, It's Zanyenene

Unclean Spirits by M.L.N. Hanover

Summary: In a world where magic walks and demons ride, you can't always play by the rules.
Jayné Heller thinks of herself as a realist, until she discovers reality isn't quite what she thought it was. When her uncle Eric is murdered, Jayné travels to Denver to settle his estate, only to learn that it's all hers -- and vaster than she ever imagined. And along with properties across the world and an inexhaustible fortune, Eric left her a legacy of a different kind: his unfinished business with a cabal of wizards known as the Invisible College.
Led by the ruthless Randolph Coin, the Invisible College harnesses demon spirits for their own ends of power and domination. Jayné finds it difficult to believe magic and demons can even exist, let alone be responsible for the death of her uncle. But Coin sees Eric's heir as a threat to be eliminated by any means -- magical or mundane -- so Jayné had better start believing in something to save her own life.
Aided in her mission by a group of unlikely companions -- Aubrey, Eric's devastatingly attractive assistant; Ex, a former Jesuit with a lethal agenda; Midian, a two-hundred-year-old man who claims to be under a curse from Randolph Coin himself; and Chogyi Jake, a self-styled Buddhist with mystical abilities -- Jayné finds that her new reality is not only unexpected, but often unexplainable. And if she hopes to survive, she'll have to learn the new rules fast -- or break them completely....
Review: A very blah supernatural story with a main character who I just couldn't bring myself to like.
The first thought I had was that if her family was so "Go America!", why would they give their daughter a French name (or at least a French sounding name). And despite her telling us multiple times that everyone pronounced her name wrong, I still thought of her as Jane. And you must know that people will pronounce your name wrong so stop getting so upset over it. It's not a personal insult. I know this is a weird thing to be annoyed about, but at one point during the novel Jayne goes shopping and only keeps seven outfits. I'm sure that you are trying to get across that you are not feminine and so don't need a lot of clothes, but who only has seven outfits? You would have to be doing laundry constantly.
And she also manages to be special although it's not quite explained why, but at least there is a somewhat logical explanation for it (I know magic isn't logical, but in the context of the book it's fine). A lot of nothing happened in this book. There was a lot of build up, but everything felt so damn melodramatic. I liked the idea of riders, but there was very little actual magic in the book. And how did no one think anything was off about Midian?

Recommendation: I would recommend this to big fans of supernatural/paranormal fiction. 

Vampires with a Dash of Dracula

Incarnation by Emma Cornwall

Summary:  In the steampunk world of Victorian London, a beautiful vampire seeks out the author of Dracula–to set the record straight . . . If one is to believe Bram Stoker’s legendary vampire tale, Lucy Weston is Dracula’s most wanton creation, a sexual creature of the night who preys on innocent boys. But the real-life Lucy is nothing like her fictional counterpart—and she demands to know why the Victorian author deliberately lied. With Stoker’s reluctant help, she’s determined to track down the very fiend who transformed her—from the sensual underworld where humans vie to become vampires, to a hidden cell beneath a temple to madness, and finally into the glittering Crystal Palace where death reigns supreme.

Haunted by fragmentary memories of her lost life and love, Lucy must battle her thirst for blood as she struggles to stop a catastrophic war that will doom vampires and humans alike. Ultimately, she must make a choice that illuminates for her—and for us—what it means to be human. 

Review: Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.

A somewhat disappointing novel with a Dracula twist.

I was excited to read this book because I love Dracula and fanfiction novels. There were some elements of Dracula in the book, but there wasn't as much as I had hoped for. Perhaps, if I had not been so hyped up, I wouldn't have been so disappointed. I did enjoy a number of the elements in the book. The title did not make sense to me until they mentioned incarnation in the book. It's wonderfully close to reincarnation. I liked the use of Arthur mythology in the book, bloodlines, Halflings, and the use of Slayers and Protectors.

It was an interesting contrast between the Lucy of old and the new Lucy. She was a decent character. She was bold and was willing to do what she had to do. I didn't always like Marco. Lucy was stronger then him yet he had to do his "I'm a big, strong man! I must protect the woman!" He meant well, but he I still couldn't see what Lucy had fallen for him in the first place. Calling this book steampunk is misleading since it barely had any steampunk elements. The plot was a tad melodramatic, but it was enjoyable for the most part.

I would recommend this book to those that are big fans of vampires or paranormal historical fiction.


Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that are huge fan of vampires and enjoy anything related to the story of Dracula.

Duty and Desire Tour: Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: Duty and Desire
Series: Winds of Fire #1
Author: Anju Gattani
Genre: Family Saga
Publisher: Greenbrier Book Co.
Pages: 304


Book Description:

How Can Happiness Survive When Duty Clashes With Desire?

Sheetal Prasad has it all: youth, beauty, wealth and education. But when this modern Indian woman surrenders love for honor and marries into India’s most glamorous ‘royal family’, these very advantages turn against her and she is stripped of her freedom.

Meet the Dhanrajs — a powerful family bound together by a web of lies where infidelity, greed, secrets and hidden identities lurk beneath the lush tapestry. The Dhanrajs have plenty to hide and will do what it takes to mask the truth from the world.

As Sheetal peels back the layers of deceit, she confronts a haunting reality and is threatened by the blazes of passion she ignites.

Excerpt from DUTY AND DESIRE:

“…This wasn’t just any wedding. This was her wedding! She was the bride! And she was marrying a stranger. She raised her right hand to signal her mother for help.

The stranger grabbed her hand and forced her to rise from the lotus-like position. A priest then came to stand behind her and tied a sash draping from her left shoulder to a stole hanging from the groom’s shoulder. Then the pundit ordered her to lead the first six of seven pheras, or sacred perambulations, around the havan.

Sheetal crushed the carpet under her toes as the weight of her golden anklets weighed her down. Her red ghaghra—a full-length embroidered skirt, with a matching blouse and dupatta—ran past her toes, ensnaring her in a cocoon of fabric. She moved forward, one inch at a time, her ghaghra dragging behind in a river of red silk.

A dream. This was just a dream.

After completing six of the seven pheras, Sheetal took her place behind the groom, pausing midway to catch a glimpse of his face through the slits of mogra flowers.

A pair of empty sockets, where the stranger’s eyes should have been, was all Sheetal could see.

A dream. This was just a dream, she assured herself. The smoke was rising higher and thicker. It was no longer clouds of smoke but walls of soot billowing out from under the canopy and smothering her. Breathe. She couldn’t breathe.

One. There was one last phera to render her Hindu marriage complete. Sheetal inched forward, aware the end was near. Run. She had to run. But where to? She was surrounded by people and cornered on all sides.

He moved forward and she followed behind him. She was halfway around the fire, inches away from losing the freedom she cherished. It was now or never.


Sheetal clutched the sides of her A-line ghaghra, and just before the last step, the one that would bind her to this devil forever, she stepped into the fire.

Her arms stung with the prick of a thousand needles. The bed of burning coals singed her feet. The gold on her hands melted and dropped with patches of her skin to sizzle in the fire. 

Sheetal screamed. The stench of burning skin and bubbling blood filled her nostrils. She inhaled, and smoke filled her lungs. This couldn’t be happening.

This was real. This was happening. She was burning. She was on fire.

She was the fire.

Sheetal! Sheetal!” Her mother reached out, her cries soaring above an ocean of panic-stricken people.

Men ran back and forth. Women, with sapphire necklaces slithering around their necks, used ruby-red crusted fingers to cover the eyes of innocent children.

Bachao! Bachao!” Rana Prasad screamed loudly. But no one could save what was beyond help.

The dream had Sheetal tossing and turning all night. Was this a warning that if she went through with tomorrow’s wedding to Sanjeet Dhanraj, she would never get out of her marriage alive?”

About the Author:

Anju was born in India but grew up in Hong Kong. Her Indian upbringing and British education worked together to strongly influence her writing.

Anju’s fiction explores how the distinct mindsets and traditions of different cultures permanently shape people’s values, thinking, and behavior patterns—for both good and evil—despite the “leveling” effects of 21st century communications and travel.

Anju earned a Bachelors degree in English Literature in India and a teaching degree in the United Kingdom. She has also studied creative writing.

Anju has lived in Singapore, Australia, India, New Jersey and Connecticut. She now makes her home in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and two kids. Anju is a columnist for a multicultural magazine in the USA. She is also an avid guest blogger, who loves to share her experiences in health and fitness, food, self-empowerment and great fiction reads.

Duty and Desire is her first novel.

Visit Anju at

Find the Author:

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Terror and Death

The Giant of the French Revolution: Danton, A Life by David Lawday

Summary: One of the Western world’s most epic uprisings, the French Revolution ended a monarchy that had ruled for almost a thousand years. George-Jacques Danton was the driving force behind it. In the first biography of Danton in over forty years, David Lawday reveals the larger-than-life figure who joined the fray at the storming of the Bastille in 1789 and was dead five years later.
To hear Danton speak, his booming voice a roll of thunder, excited bourgeois reformers and the street alike; his impassioned speeches, often hours long, drove the sans culottes to action and kept the Revolution alive. But as the newly appointed Minister of Justice, Danton struggled to steer the increasingly divided Revolutionary government. Working tirelessly to halt the bloodshed of Robespierre’s Terror, he ultimately became another of its victims. True to form, Danton did not go easily to the guillotine; at his trial, he defended himself with such vehemence that the tribunal convicted him before he could rally the crowd in his favor.
In vivid, almost novelistic prose, Lawday leads us from Danton’s humble roots to the streets of Revolutionary Paris, where this political legend acted on the stage of the revolution that altered Western civilization.

Review: An in depth and very thorough look at a person who was an instrumental part of the French Revolution. 

I have only read about the French Revolution through the eyes of Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI, which obviously does not give one the whole story. It was nice to see the French Revolution through the eyes of the people. I must admit that I got a bit lost reading this book. It is very in depth when it comes to Danton, but is a little light on events that are beyond the sphere of his life or merely when he is not around. I think this book would be best for those that are familiar with the French Revolution. I personally plan on learning more about it. 

Danton is certainly an interesting character. He is, admittedly, not very attractive, but he must have had an impressive charisma. The author does a very good job of portraying his personality and how he was caught up in his passions. The French Revolution was a horrifying and terrifying time. Loyalties shifted and executions became common. No one was safe. Danton did not deserve to die yet he was still killed. 


Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that are familiar with the French Revolution and desire to learn more about those that helped to bring it about.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Melodramatic Mermaids

Ripple by Mandy Hubbard

Summary:  Lexi is cursed with a dark secret. The water calls to her, draws her in, forces her to sing her deadly song to unsuspecting victims. If she succumbs, she kills. If she doesn't, the pain is unbearable. To keep herself and those she cares about safe, she shuts herself off, refusing to make friends or fall in love-again. Because the last time she fell in love with a boy, he ended up dead.
Then Lexi finds herself torn. Against her better judgement, she's opening up again, falling in love with someone new when she knows she shouldn't. But when she's offered the chance to finally live a normal life, she learns that the price she must pay to be free of her curse is giving him up.

Review: A decent book about sirens with an unnecessary love triangle that served very little purpose in the story.

I haven't read much mermaid fiction, but I enjoy the concept of mermaids and sirens. Plus, Ripple isn't part of a series, which is nice since so many young adult books with any hint of the supernatural are series that have at least three books in the series. I know that Lexi killed the boy she loved, but I don't understand why her friends hated her so much or why she distanced herself from someone. I know it wouldn't have been the easiest situation, but she could have passed the whole thing off an accident.

And why does she suddenly start to fall for Cole? I did like the relationship between the two. It felt real, it was sweet, and had the benefit of starting to heal Lexi. Then comes the love triangle which annoyed me quite a bit since a pathetic plot device was used just to have a love triangle. The ending was very unsatisfying. I honestly feel that this book would have been better as a story about a girl who goes swimming with her boyfriend and he happens to drown so all her friends blame her. Then Cole could come along and start to heal her since she was obviously devastated by what happened.


Recommendation: I would recommend this book big fans of sirens/mermaids and young adult supernatural fiction. 

To Undress A Duke

Silk Is For Seduction by Loretta Chase

Summary: From the Design Book of Marcelline Noirot: 
The allure of the perfect gown should be twofold: 
ladies would die to wear it . . .
and gentlemen would kill to remove it

Brilliant and ambitious dressmaker Marcelline Noirot is London's rising star. And who better to benefit from her talent than the worst-dressed lady in the ton, the Duke of Clevedon's intended bride? Winning the future duchess's patronage means prestige and fortune for Marcelline and her sisters. To get to the lady, though, Marcelline must win over Clevedon, whose standards are as high as his morals are . . . not.

The prize seems well worth the risk--but this time Marcelline's met her match. Clevedon can design a seduction as irresistible as her dresses; and what begins as a flicker of desire between two of the most passionately stubborn charmers in London soon ignites into a delicious inferno . . . and a blazing scandal.

And now both their futures hang by an exquisite thread of silk . . .

Review: An enjoyable romance with mainly likable characters although with a premise I just cannot buy. 

I picked up a couple romance books since I was in the mood for a romance. I picked this one mainly because of the cover (it's not super embarrassing) and the plot sounded a little interesting. I thought the premise was a silly, but I went with it until I learned that Marcelline went all the way to Paris to get Clevedon's attention. It makes no sense. It could have worked just as well if she had been at a ball with Clevedon and his fiancee and gotten his attention that way. 

Despite that, I did enjoy this book. Marcelline was a woman who was not afraid to go for what she wanted and I liked that she was open with her desires. I loved the interaction between Marcelline and Clevedon. It was witty, fun, and sarcastic. There was some very instant desire and passion, which got dangerously close to love much too quickly. The love did eventually come, too quickly for my liking, but it didn't irk me. The ending was happy, except for the fiancee. I would read a book just about her and how she finds love since I feel she got the short end of the stick in this book. 


Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those who like historical romance and Regency romance.