31 Jan 2015

Stacking the Shelves #2

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews that makes it possible to share with other bookworms what books you added to your shelves - physical or virtual - during the week.


Got through a book exchange site:

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

The main character has my name, so I'm very excited to read this. Also, I haven't read anything from Nicholas Sparks so far, it's time to change that.

Purchased:

Blood & Beauty, A Novel of the Borgias by Sarah Dunant

A beautiful book about a deliciously scandalous family. 

The Complete Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe

'Cause I don't read nearly as much poetry as I should.

When I look at these beauties I feel absolutely chuffed *bursts with joy*.

What about you? What books have you received/purchased/borrowed this week? Please, share with me in a comment below if you like! :)

27 Jan 2015

Teaser Tuesday #8

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

The rules:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser is from The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch:


Blurb:

The Thorn of Camorr is said to be an unbeatable swordsman, a master thief, a friend to the poor, a ghost that walks through walls.

Slightly built and barely competent with a sword, Locke Lamora is, much to his annoyance, the fabled Thorn. And while Locke does indeed steal from the rich (who else would be worth stealing from?), the poor never see a penny. All of Locke's gains are strictly for himself and his tight-knit band of thieves. The Gentleman Bastards.

The capricious, colourful underworld of the ancient city of Camorr is the only home they have ever known. But now a clandestine war is threatening to tear it apart. Caught up in a murderous game, Locke and his friends are suddenly struggling just to stay alive...
 

My Teaser 

'Black-cloaked riders on black horses, looming out of darkness and mist... It was easy to laugh at such conceits in full daylight. But night had a way of lending weight to phantasms.'

What do you think of this teaser? Also, don't forget to leave me a link to your own TT post! :) 

26 Jan 2015

Review - Riding the Odds by Lynda K. Scott


Title: Riding the Odds

Author: Lynda K. Scott

Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis:

Spaceship captain Tara Rowan has her secrets. One is her Rider, Zie. Zie is an organic symbiote—like a living tattoo—that enhances Tara’s physical abilities, including superhuman strength and reflexes. The other is the past she’s tried so hard to leave behind her. But it’s not until oh-so-sexy Trace Munroe decides to blackmail Tara that she realizes her secrets aren’t so secret after all…

Trace is a Holy Knight who does everything by the book. Desperate to find a missing princess, he’ll do whatever it takes to rescue her and bring her kidnappers to justice. Including blackmail. Yet something about the feisty ship captain draws Trace in and stirs his desire—even if she is a wanted criminal. Because the last thing he needs is any complications…especially when he has his own secrets to hide.

I received a free ebook copy of this book by the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My thoughts:

I should be reading fantasy books and here I am reading sci-fi after glorious sci-fi. I didn’t regret picking up Riding the Odds though, hell, not for a minute. Frankly, I didn’t expect it to be as engaging as it was; I found myself lost in between the pages right after I started reading it.

The reason why I requested this book on NetGalley was because I loved the concept. A female spaceship captain and a space knight (how cool is that) go searching for a missing princess – I read the synopsis and I just couldn’t ignore the existence of this book anymore… Thank God.

The descriptions of the space stations and planets where the story was set were very vivid. The characters were extremely well-written and I loved how detailed their backstories were. Knowing about their previous ordeals, it was easier to understand their ambitions and their reactions to certain events. The chemistry between Tara and Trace was very strong but – thankfully – they didn’t jump into bed with each other too early (like it happens in many romance novels). Their relationship developed nicely as they crossed the universe and experienced hardships together.

I loved how gender stereotypes were busted in this book. Tara is a very feminine woman, but at the same time she knows how to fight and her favourite free time activity is playing poker with a bunch of men at a smoky bar at some distant point of the galaxy. Trace (whom I call space Jamie Fraser, because physically he resembles Jamie a lot and he used the words aye, lass and lad often – don’t mind me), though otherwise a very manly man, is afraid of the sight of his own blood. The part where it turned out was hilarious. He is very tender and all in all a good man and an enjoyable character.

I cannot fail to mention Zie here, because she’s basically the third protagonist of Riding the Odds. Zie is Tara’s rider, a tattoo-like creature that lives on Tara’s skin. She was totally adorable. I wouldn’t mind having a rider myself, because it means you’re never alone, there’s always someone there for you. Tara had a very close relationship with Zie, which was heartwarming to read about.

My favourite secondary character was Drummer, who was like a brother to Tara. I enjoyed the dynamics between him and Trace, I liked to see how their opinion changed of each other as the story developed.

Before you pick Riding the Odds up, acknowledge the fact that it is a (sci-fi) romance novel with erotic bits in it. The book is not overstuffed with sex scenes though, which was another pleasant surprise for me – it’s getting harder and harder to find an erotic novel that has an A+ plot and doesn’t solely focus on certain physical activities.

I recommend Riding the Odds to those who loved the tv show Firefly and generally to anyone who likes sci-fi and doesn’t mind if their reading material is spiced up with a bit of romance.

25 Jan 2015

Stacking the Shelves #1

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews that makes it possible to share with other bookworms what books you added to your shelves - physical or virtual - during the week.

This week two books I ordered from BookDepository arrived at last:


Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee: I'd like to read more modern (20th century) plays and this one seems to be a good one to start with. 

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier: I heard nothing but good things about this series and this book particularly, and since I should read more fantasy books for my challenge it's very likely I'll start Daughter of the Forest soon.

I made a trip to the university library on Monday and since I finished watching The Borgias not long ago, of course I had to put my hands on something connected to The Family:


The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis

I'd like to read this in the next month or so as well.

So that's it, these are all the books I got this week. Let me know what books YOU added to YOUR shelves in a comment below! :)


20 Jan 2015

Teaser Tuesday #7

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

The rules:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week I'll tease you with a few sentences from Riding the Odds by Lynda K. Scott:


Blurb:

Spaceship captain Tara Rowan has her secrets. One is her Rider, Zie. Zie is an organic symbiote—like a living tattoo—that enhances Tara's physical abilities, including superhuman strength and reflexes. The other is the past she's tried so hard to leave behind her. But it's not until oh-so-sexy Trace Munroe decides to blackmail Tara that she realizes her secrets aren't so secret after all...

Trace is a Holy Knight who does everything by the book. Desperate to find a missing princess, he'll do whatever it takes to rescue her and bring her kidnappers to justice. Including blackmail. Yet something about the feisty ship captain draws Trace in and stirs his desire—even if she is a wanted criminal. Because the last thing he needs is any complications...especially when he has his own secrets to hide.

My Teaser

"I see you found my stowaway. Gonna slap him in irons? Make him walk the plank?" She waggled her eyebrows. "Can I watch?"

God, I love this protagonist! Badass female spaceship captain. She kicks ass. Seriously, I can't get enough of her.

Please let me know what you think of this week's teaser and don't forget to leave a link to your TT post in a comment down below! :)

19 Jan 2015

Book Tour - Review + Book Excerpt - The Doorknob Society by M. J. Fletcher


Young Adult / Paranormal / Steampunk

Date Published: February 2012

Chloe Masters’ world changes in a heartbeat and all she did was touch a doorknob.

When she was young Chloe’s mother vanished. Wracked by feelings of abandonment and anger she lost herself traveling with her fathers magic act, where illusions were part of her everyday life. Yet everything changes when they are pursued by a mysterious man in black out to kill her father. Touching a doorknob activates abilities she never knew she had and she finds herself thrust into a world of ancient societies and secrets. 

When her father disappears it is a race against time to find answers before she loses whats left of her family. Now Chloe must choose who to trust, the man who will do anything for her or the one she can’t stop thinking about.


Book one of the Doorknob Society Saga.

My thoughts:


Rating: 4/5

When I read the first few chapters of The Doorknob Society, I thought it was going to be just another Harry Potter-ish story. Now, having read the whole book, I can tell you, I was wrong. There may be similarities in the concept, but regarding the execution, The Doorknob Society is absolutely and utterly unique.

I enjoyed every minute of the adventure this book invited me to take part in. The Doorknob Society has everything a reader would need: people with special powers, fantastical creatures, beautiful, hidden and eerie places to discover, friendship, love and betrayal. It’s very likely Paladin Academy will make your list of fictional schools you’d like to attend, would you have the chance.

Among many other things I adored the names of the groups at the Academy, how the characters travelled between places (it reminded me a tiny bit of Seeker where they also used another dimension to get from A to B), the libraries and special librarians and the various kinds of powers the characters possessed.

The Doorknob Society was the very first steampunk book I've read. I loved the Impossible Engineers and their gadgets; my favourite was a little locket that Slade gave to the MC, Chloe – I won’t tell you how it worked or what it did, you’ll have to find it out for yourself, but it was so sweet and amazing at the same time.

Basically, it was the world that gripped me the most. I don’t have much to complain about the characters either; Chloe was a competent heroine – though a bit annoying for me sometimes –, and Nightshade… James Nightshade would be a perfect book boyfriend for anyone, ladies and gentlemen. I also liked Edgar in the role of the loyal friend and Mr. Jordan, the awkward baddie.

What I didn’t like about the book had nothing to do with the story: the text contained many misspellings and was full of incorrect grammatical forms. These can easily put the reader off, no matter how good the story is, therefore I would meekly suggest the writer to consult with an editor in order to correct the mistakes.

But, since the story and world-building is truly wonderful, I gave The Doorknob Society four stars.


Excerpt:

We stood outside the arched wooden door while Jess texted Nightshade that we were there. The cold night air was starting to take a toll and I wrapped my arms around myself rubbing my sides to keep warm. Slade stepped behind me, placed his hands on the sides of my arms and ran them up and down warming me up until I wanted to melt against him.

The door creaked opened, Nightshade stood framed in the archway. He wore jeans with his ever present skeleton key belt buckle. He was shirtless; his chest was not as thick as Slade’s though well-defined with a natural cut of muscles and with a patch of hair running across it. He lifted his hand sliding it through his messed hair. He glanced lazily around to each of us until he rested on me —or more precisely— Slade’s hands on me and then he shifted his attention to my face and I could have sworn I saw annoyance in his eyes.

“Jess, you didn’t tell me you were bringing Paladin’s cutest couple.” He laughed and stepped aside waving us in.

Slade’s hands tensed on my arms and I grabbed one squeezing it gently and held on to it.

“Sorry, Jimmy.” Jess smiled and stood next to Nightshade after entering

“No problem, beautiful,” he said. His fingers slid across her cheek and she blushed.

He swung the door closed after Edgar, the last one to enter. We followed him up the stairs to a large open room that contained a couple of couches, a small kitchen tucked off to one side, and a breakfast bar and two stools protruding at the end.

“We need some help, Jimmy,” Jess said as he walked to the fridge, pulled it open and pulled out a can of soda. He turned and flipped it in the air toward Eddie who caught it and smiled.

“Thanks, Nightshade.” Eddie popped the top and drank.

“Anyone else? Lovebirds, I could give you two straws.”

“That’s it, Nightshade, one more comment…” Slade headed for him his hand pulled back in a massive fist.

Nightshade laughed and leaned against the kitchen counter and smirked. “Anytime you want to try Slade you go right ahead.”

His mocking grin made my blood boil. “This was a mistake.”

“What’s a mistake?” Nightshade asked.

As much as I wanted to leave, I needed Nightshade’s help. I grabbed my phone, clicked the photo of the list of names and slid it across the breakfast bar to him. He picked it up and looked over the list.

“Okay so?”

“The SKG member on the list do you know him?” I stared into his strange colored eyes and waited for an answer, hoping and praying it wouldn’t be some lie to further his own ends.

“I recognize the name.”

“Can you help us find him?” I asked.

“No,” he said not even giving it thought.

“What? Why not?” My frustration leapt but I caught it before it reached my tongue and I spit words at him that I’d regret since I desperately needed his help.

“Jess.” He turned away from me to her. ‘What’s going on? Why are you helping non-guilders?”

“They took… Gran.” As soon as Jess mentioned Gran her control slipped. Tears rolled down her cheeks and she started to tremble.

I moved to comfort her but Nightshade was there before me. He wrapped her in his arms and pulled her against him. She buried her head in his chest and sobbed. He pressed his cheek against hers whispering something in her ear that I couldn’t make out. He stroked her hair as he did, and I watched in amazement at how caring and loving he could be when I had known only his sardonic side.

Nightshade looked directly at me. “Give us a minute.”  He then took Jess and they walked out of the room and I heard a door close down the hallway.

“What was that all about?” Slade asked.

“She’s upset. It’s been a rough night,” I said as I slid down on the couch beside Edgar.

“I guess,” Slade said as he sat on the opposite couch. “Though I doubt it hurts that Nightshade’s half naked.” He laughed.

“What are you talking about?” I snapped annoyed at what his humor suggested.

“Didn’t you see the way she looked at him? I think Jess was angling for more than some comfort.” Slade winked.

“She’s just upset.” I got even more annoyed when Slade raised his hands in mock defeat. I didn’t like what he was implying. We’d been through a lot and I doubted Jess was thinking about getting James alone. And it’s not like Nightshade would fall for that anyway, his conniving nature would see right through it. 

Time seemed to slow down as we waited. Eddie rested his head back on the couch and was asleep within minutes. Slade was next stretching out on the other couch and drifting off to sleep. I sat alone with my thoughts, growing ever more frustrated that Jess and Nightshade had disappeared on us. I mean seriously, people, we’re running for our lives and she goes off with some guy and why? Because he’s hot with his shirt off?

After an hour I heard the click of a door and approaching footsteps. Nightshade entered still shirtless, his hair messier than before if that was possible. He looked around the room at the others sleeping and waved his hand for me to follow him. I got up quietly trying not to wake Eddie, who snored and rolled over on his side into a ball on the couch.

We left the room and at the end of the hall he touched a skeleton key on the wall and it fell away revealing a spiral staircase. James headed down; I took a deep breath and followed.

The staircase ended in a massive room filled with various makes and models of cars while several images of skeleton keys hung on the walls. In the middle of the room sat an old-fashioned car. It was deep blue and had red flames on the hood. James was standing by a workbench and grabbed a t-shirt off it and slid it on.

“What’s all this?”

“My garage, it’s quiet down here. We can talk and your friends can rest.”

“Talk about what?” I asked leaning up against the old-fashioned car. Nightshade stepped toward me, reached out and took hold of my arm. I looked down at his hand and back at him, and then he pulled me forward. My breath caught and I didn’t move.

“That’s a classic Hudson Hornet, please don’t lean on it.” 

I pushed his hand off me and stepped away. Men and their stupid cars. “Whatever, are you going to help us or not?”

“Jess, told me what’s going on. It seems pretty serious and it’s a damn bold plan, I give you credit for that.” He grinned.

“But?” I knew something was coming, though I didn’t know what.

“I don’t know if I’m willing to stick my neck out for the lot of you.”

“Jess is your friend and so is Edgar?” I reminded, trying the guilt tactic, hoping it might convince him.

“But I can’t stand Slade, and then there’s you.” His half smile taunted me.

“I know you can’t stand me either, I get it.”

“Is that so?”

“Yeah, it’s pretty obvious.”

“I hadn’t realized. I should work on controlling my emotions better.”

“Sorry, I’m not a shrinking violet like my cousin. I didn’t come here to weep on your naked chest. I came here because I need help and you’re the only one I could turn too. If I couldn’t work up tears for my lost father or injured grandmother, I doubt I can do it for you. Okay, I’m broken, and you can’t stand me. I get it, alright!” I took a deep breath angry at myself for letting him get under my skin again.

He stared at me with those damn intense eyes. He didn’t say anything just stared, making me feel uncomfortable and stupid. Why do I always seem not to be able to shut up around him?

“Quit staring at me and say something.”

“I’ll help you on one condition.” He didn’t smile or smirk and he didn’t stop staring. It was as though he stared straight inside me and that made me more nervous than if he had worn one of his evil grins.

“Which is?”

“You and I have to go see him alone.”

“Alone?”

“He isn’t going to talk to a bunch of people from the different societies. He knows me and he doesn’t really like anyone other than Guilders. It will be safer that way.”

“Jess is a Guilder?” I questioned unsure of going alone with him.

“You and I that’s the deal take it or leave it.”

What choice did I have and so I wouldn’t debate my decision I quickly said. “Fine we go alone.”
He nodded. “You’d better get some sleep. We’ll head there tomorrow.”

I didn’t bother to ask him where, he wouldn’t tell me anyway.  I followed him up the stairs and part way down the hallway he stopped, opened a door, entered and waved me in.

“I’ll stay with the guys,” I stammered, though I entered the room.

“I don’t think so, they each have a couch. Take the bed; you’ll have it all to yourself.”

“Oh,” Did I really think he’d been inviting me to sleep with him? “Okay thanks.”

“I’ll be in by Jess.”

He turned and left through another door closing it behind him. I was glad he didn’t look back and see me flush red at his comment. I wanted to slam the door that opened onto the hall shut but didn’t want to wake the guys so I shut it quietly and turned into the room. I threw myself on the bed and took my frustration out on the pillows punching them several times. So what if James Nightshade and my cousin spent the night together… let them.  They deserved each other, they only thought about themselves anyway.

I pulled my hoodie off and slid it into my bag .My hand connected with a small metal object. I took the locket out and turned it over in my hand. When this was all over I was going to need to figure out what it was that I deserved.

About the Author:


MJ Fletcher
MJ Fletcher is the creator of the comic book series Adam Zero: The Last Man of Earth published by Ronin Studios. He’s also been published in Hope: The Hero Initiative and Digital Webbing Presents. The Doorknob Society was his first book series and still among his favorites. His other works include The Grimm Chronicles series and numerous novellas and short stories. He lives near the beach with his wife, daughter, and an insane dog. 
Twitter: fletch125
Instagram: mjfletcherwriter



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