Here’s what I’m reading this week:
The Weird Girls by Cecy Robson
Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other 20-something girls—with one tiny exception: they’re products of a backfired curse that has given each of them unique powers that make them, well, a little weird…
The Wird sisters are different from every race on earth—human and supernatural. When human society is no longer an option for them, they move in among the resident vampires, werebeasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region. Could this be the true home they’ve longed for? Um, not quite. After the sisters accidentally strip a witch of her powers in a bar brawl, they soon realize the mistake will cost them. Because to take on a witch means to take on her coven. And losing the battle isn’t an option.
The Companion of Lady Holmeshire by Debra Brown
A baby girl is found in a basket on Squire Carrington’s doorstep. She is raised and sent to work as a servant girl for The Countess of Holmeshire. The widowed and unconventional Countess chooses Emma Carrington as a companion and sends her off for finishing with the goal of dragging her along into genteel Victorian society. As a former servant girl and now just a companion, she is sure to be rejected. She has eyes for the young Earl of Holmeshire, but he is engaged by arrangement to a lovely London lady. Tribulations and banned romances of the servants downstairs play into the story humorously as we follow Emma from a stone fortress to a Victorian village and grand London mansions. Great surprises unfold at a Midsummer Night’s Dream Ball that help to solve mysteries that have gradually developed. You are invited to predict the great revelation of the last few pages!
What are you reading this week?!
Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul
Written by Leanna Renee Hieber
Published by Sourcebooks, Inc
Released on November 8, 2011
YA Paranormal Romance
I was obsessed.
It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I’d ever seen – everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable… utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike.
There was a reason for that. Because despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame.
I’ve crossed over into his world within the painting, and I’ve seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. He and I are inextricably linked – bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. And unless I can free him soon things will get Darker Still.
Ms. Hieber has written a wonderful, gothic tale of “magic most foul.” It is dark and romantic with a splash of suspense. Darker Still is just the beginning of, hopefully, many adventures of Natalie Stewart.
Natalie is a heroine who is trapped inside herself. Mute since she was a child, she has difficulty communicating in the world. She is incredibly intelligent and frustrated by how people treat her. However, she hasn’t found the stength to find her voice until she comes face to face with the portrait of Lord Denbury. Their connection is immediate. Ms. Hieber was written a lovely character in Natalie. She has strength and intelligence that grow throughout the book. I really enjoyed Natalie’s self discovery of who is she and who she wants to be.
Usually I do not enjoy immediate lovestruck heroine and hero. However, it does work in this story. I believe Natalie and Lord Denbury will start facing real challenges in future books. As I was reading, I’m convinced that he may have a little darkness in him which we may see later on. Darker Still didn’t really delve into Lord Denbury’s character in great detail. Ms. Hieber gave us a glimpse. He should prove to be very interesting in future stories.
New York City is another major character. I loved how she was used throughout the book. Central Park is Natalie’s refuge and safe haven. I can just picture it during the Victorian period; men and women promenading up and down the paths wanting to be seen. New York is a wonderful backdrop for a dark, gothic tale such as this. You can picture in your mind the dark, misty streets of the New York City and Natalie running to try to save her love. So romantic!
Darker Still is a wonderful beginning to the Magic Most Foul series. I’m so curious on how Natalie and Lord Denbury will evolve and how they will continue to fight Magic Most Foul.
This is what my wonderful husband got me for Christmas:
Persuasion: An Annotated Edition
Free from Amazon:
Q: What book do you think everyone should read? If you could gift the entire population with one book?
A: Wow! What a great question!! My 7 year old daughter, Chloe, said Bad Kitty which is a solid choice. However, I will have to pick a Jane Austen novel (or two); either Sense and Sensibility or Persuasion.
Chase Tinker and the House of Magic
Written by Malia Ann Haberman
Published by Crossroad Press
Released on August 13, 2012
In Chase Tinker’s world, magic, lies and secrets can be a lethal combination…
Thirteen-year-old Chase Tinker can’t understand why he has the power to move things with his mind. Besides that, his dad has been missing for over a year, causing his mom to be too upset to pay much attention to her sons, so now he’s been busted for shoplifting. As if this isn’t enough to worry about, his younger brother Andy suddenly has a weird magical ability too.
Can things get any crazier? Chase thinks.
Then, a grandfather they thought to be long dead arrives at their door. He wants Chase and Andy to come visit him for the summer so they can learn about their supernatural heritage and why they have magical powers in the first place.
The boys soon find out that Grandfather, along with their cousin Janie, lives on a remote island in the middle of Puget Sound in an out-of-this-world house where fantastic magic can be found in practically every room, stairway and corridor. Chase can’t believe their dad has been keeping so much from them.
It’s an even bigger shock when Chase learns that all their magic is controlled by a very powerful and mysterious Relic in the attic, and if anything happens to this relic, every bit of Tinker magic will be lost forever. He’s even more disturbed when he learns his family has a dark and powerful enemy that is determined to steal all their magic, their house and their relic.
Now Chase must find a way to stop these evil beings, while at the same time figuring out what has happened to his dad, unraveling even more Tinker lies and secrets and not letting on that he has a huge crush on the housekeeper’s daughter.
Chase Tinker and the House of Magic is another YA fantasy on the same lines as Harry Potter. It isn’t as good as Harry Potter; but I found it fun and entertaining.
The main character, of course, is Chase Tinker. He is a thirteen year old boy who finds out he comes from a magical family. Chase can be very irritating at times. He can be very bossy and doesn’t think before he acts. However, he is very loving and protective of his little brother, Andy. He is Chase’s sidekick and a cute, sweet little boy.
The villians of the book are called the Dark Enemy or the Marlowes. In this book, the Dark Enemy is more of a secondary storyline which I’m not sure that is the intent. I would have liked more backstory for the Marlowes. It would have given the book more suspense and intrigue if we knew more about the Marlowes.
My favorite part of the book is the house itself. Every room of the house has its own magical power. It is fun watching the kids explore the different rooms of the house and try to discover its magical power. Ms. Haberman has a wonderful imagination! I think my favorite room, of course, is the library. It is, indeed, magical to its very core. I wish I had a library like that!
Overall, I liked this book. It was fun and quick to read. I’m hoping Ms. Haberman will provide more detail about the Marlowes in the second book.
This book was given to me as a gift by the author in exhange for a honest review. Said gift in no way influenced my opinions.
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.
“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”
“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
Including his mom.
Add in a new girlfriend, family secrets, sibling drama and enough homework to sink an aircraft carrier, and Matt’s life has become more complicated than he ever imagined. Worse, the knife has developed some very definite opinions about Matt’s personal life and it interferes in his business whenever it wants. More and more, Matt’s coming to realize that sharing brain-space with a spirit kind of sucks.
When stories of decimated towns and hordes of zombies start pouring into the Pentagon from Afghanistan, Matt knows he’ll be called up soon. Between the new mission and the knife’s increasing control over his mind, Matt wonders if he’ll survive long enough to take his driver’s exam.
Blade’s Edge is an exciting continuation of the Matt Archer series. Kendra Highley did not fall victim to the sophomore funk. She has written an emotional and power story about Matt’s horrific journey to rid the world of monsters.
Matt is now 16 years old; however, he is having to grow up much too fast. Ms. Highley has written such a great character in Matt Archer. She is slowly developing him. With every page, I’m getting more and more attached to him. He is a sixteen year old kid who has to make life and death decisions. The question is…can he? He is forced into a war that should be only for grown men and women. Matt should be a normal kid enjoying his life. His struggle with his duty is heartbreaking. Ms. Highley really captured Matt’s struggle and always reminding the reader that he is only sixteen years old.
I received this book as a gift from the author but said gift did not influence my opinions of the book.
Q: What have you learned from book blogging that you didn’t know before about the publishing industry?
A: I’ve learned that there are so many wonderful independent authors out there. I’ve read so many books that haven’t been picked up by a major publishing house. It’s their loss, but our gain. I, also, am amazed at the dedication and drive independent authors have in order to get their books read. It is so competitive out there and their endless resolve is inspiring!
My Waiting on Wednesday:
Angelopolis by Danielle Trussoni (Angelology #2)
To be released on March 26, 2013
The sequel to the New York Times bestselling Angelology will thrill fans of Deborah Harkness, Justin Cronin, and Elizabeth Kostova
Hailed by USA Today as “a thrill ride best described as The Da Vinci Code meets Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Danielle Trussoni’s bestselling first novel, Angelology, wove biblical lore, the Orpheus myth, and Milton’s Rebel Angels into a present-day world tinged with the divine supernatural. The novel plunged two endearing loners—art historian V. A. Verlaine and Evangeline, a beautiful young nun—into an ancient battle between a secret society and mankind’s most insidious enemies: angel-human hybrids known as the Nephilim.
Now a decade has passed since Verlaine saw Evangeline alight from the Brooklyn Bridge, the sight of her wings a betrayal that haunts him still. The Nephilim are again on the rise, scheming to construct their own paradise—the Angelopolis—and ruthlessly pursued by Verlaine in his new calling as an angel hunter. But when Evangeline materializes, Verlaine is besieged by doubts that will only grow as forces more powerful than even the Nephilim draw them from Paris to Saint Petersburg and deep into the provinces of Siberia and the Black Sea coast. A high-octane tale of abduction and liberation, treasure seeking and divine warfare, Angelopolis plumbs Russia’s imperial past, modern genetics, and the archangel Gabriel’s famous visitations to conceive a fresh tableau of history and myth that will, once again, enthrall readers the world over.