Thursday, September 8, 2011

Review of Bloodmaiden by Christine E. Schulze

Synopsis: "Zale. Gauthier. Varden. These three dynasties...They all sound like something out of an ancient, oriental myth or fairy tale. The concept of humans and dragons helping and living in harmony with one another, without fear. To me, that's exactly what they are. A distant dream only read of, whispered secretly, quietly yearned for. For, you see, I am the new Quelda of Tynan.
These words echo the mystery, horror, and romance found within Schulze's fantasy novel. Along with her new husband, Chalom, Crislin must choose to embrace cruel tradition, run from it, or stand against it. The young couple's only hope is to rally the help of the three peaceful dragon dynasties of Sulaimon—but tradition is not on their side, even outside the realm of Tynan. The dragons outside Tynan's borders have been rumored as too stubborn and proud to believe their Tynanian brothers would commit such horrors as inflicted upon the Quelda. Gaining their aid is not a likely hope. Yet, any hope at all is valued in Tynan...
If they are to stand a chance of bringing cruel tradition to a permanent end, Crislin and Chalom must brave the constant, consuming blizzards of the Ever-white. They must brave the three dynasties and the challenges awaiting there. Together, they must convince the dragon emperors to allow them access to the shrines which house the sacred Aria - protective strands of music which may be able to disperse the evil from Tynan and unite the four dynasties of Sulaimon as a whole once again. Their only aid stems from a sprite whose moods are as unstable as her magic, a young minstrel, and a mysterious fox. Despite the odds, such plans are daring, dangerous, unprecedented, but fully possible - if they can escape the Wall first."

My Review: Let me first start by saying I loved the 1st person narration! Its not very often I enjoy books with first person, but this really fit the book. Next let me say that it is like so many other fantasy and quest stories but yet still so unlike that it really holds you in. Christine really does a great job of painting the images in your mind as well as making you feel the emotions of the characters. I really did enjoy the characters, granted I would have loved to have Chalom be more involved in the story, I didn't get as much of a feel for him as I would have liked (don't get me wrong, I love him, I just want more of him). It was a great fantasy quest to tag along for, and not quite the ending I was expecting. There were a few surprises throughout the story that really kept you on your toes. Another great book from Christine Schulze!

My Rating: This one gets Four Paws from me! I really enjoyed it an hope there is more to come!

**Note: The ebook version of this was sent to me by the author for review.

Review of The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread

Synopsis: "The adventures of Desperaux Tilling, a small mouse of unusual talents, the princess that he loves, the servant girl who longs to be a princess, and a devious rat determined to bring them all to ruin."

My Review: This was a fun book to read. Even though there were dark parts and not so pleasant things happening, the narration was still kept light. I really like the story telling type voice that was used when Kate DiCamillo wrote this one. The story moved a long quickly and sucked you in; however for some reason I didn't really connect with any of the characters as strongly as I normally do. After finishing it though I did crave soup hahaha!

My Rating: I really enjoyed reading about Despereaux and think that it was written well for middle grade readers. Even adults can enjoy it.  So I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Review of Dangerous Desire by Diane Escalera

Synopsis: "Sienna Diaz is desperate to find her missing beagle, no matter what it costs. She hires Cruz Santino, the best-and hottest-in the business. He's an ex cop, dangerous on many levels, which comes in handy when all evidence indicates her beloved pet was snatched to use in a dogfighting ring.

Cruz will do whatever it takes to find Sienna's lost pet, but he also wants results from the smokin' hot attraction between them-and he isn't above breaking his own hands-off-clients rule to get there. However, until he brings her beloved beagle home safely, he won't have Sienna's undivided attention...and affection."

My Review: I won this on a Badass Book Review blog giveaway and must thank Erika so much and Diane Escalera as well for sending me this book! I loved Dangerous Desire. I could relate to the characters well, with their love of dogs. I really enjoyed the banter between the characters, especially Tori she was a great sub-character! And good gordy, Cruz! What a hottie, everything a woman could ever want and of course Sienna is what every woman wishes she could be! I really enjoyed reading about a dog fighting ring being busted, I know it's fiction but it still feels good. There were only a few little hiccups that distracted from the book, for example I didn't see the point of her loosing her job, except to gain more sympathy also it seemed a little fast for their relationship to grow over a single weekend, I did however like seeing the realistic conflict between Cruz and Sienna after the moment of crisis. All in all though it was a great book, a fast read and very entertaining, I couldn't put it down!        

My Rating:  I really enjoyed Dangerous Desire and can't wait to read more from Diane! I give this one Four Paws!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Review of Hearts Aflame by Johanna Lindsey

Synopsis: "Kristen Haardrad met the icy fury in her captor's crystal-green gaze with defiance. She was the prisoner of Royce of Wyndhurst, but his slave she'd never be. This powerful Saxon lord had at last met his match in the Viking beauty - his equal in pride, in strength...and in the fierce, hot hunger of insatiable desire. But Kristen could not know the torment that divided his soul; how he ached to hold her soft, supple body, thirsted for the ringing joy of her laughter - yet hated her for an ancient crime that was not her own.

But her golden loveliness drives him mad with desire, her fiery eyes taunting him, compelling him to claim her. Until, in wordless surrender, they cast aside the shackles of doubt and distrust to unite forever in the searing promise of all-consuming love"

My Review: So I have something to confess to, I have a major soft spot when it comes to Vikings and Norsemen and Norsewomen! I absolutely loved this book! Kristen is such a strong woman, doesn't show weakness and makes those in charge feel like they are in charge even though she is really calling the shots. I also loved all of her friends and family, it was great to see those close family bonds. Royce, wow what to say about Royce, I enjoyed reading his character and really fell for him even with his rough and hateful exterior. I really enjoyed the little spats between Kristen and Royce, you could feel the hatred yet attraction through their interactions. Granted it was an ending you would expect but you still loved every minute of the tale.        

My Rating: This was an exciting book that I couldn't put down so I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag!

Review of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Synopsis: "A ten-year-old orphan comes to live in a lonely house on the Yorkshire moors where she discovers an invalid cousin and the mysteries of a locked garden."

My Review: Its been a long time since I originally read this book and I know I wasn't a huge fan then but I did enjoy it this time around. I don't know why it took me so long to finally finish the book because it moves a long nicely and I grew attached to the characters and the scenes that were painted for me. I think maybe it was trying to read the Yorkshire that slowed me down, but it was an important part of the story. As I said I really grew to love the characters, especially Dickon and Ben Weatherstaff. It was great to see both Mary and Colin grow and become less self centered. It was very interesting to see how Mary, after seeing Colin, put together that she had acted the same way and how she changed herself. It was a very enjoyable book, one I plan to keep in my collection.

My Rating: While I enjoyed the book this time, I can now see why I didn't enjoy it the first time I read it, for someone younger it might seem like the story drags and the Yorkshire language can be difficult to read. However, I think it would be good for kids to read it and maybe learn that going outside does a person a lot of good!  I give The Secret Garden Three Paws.

Wednesday Writes

So Wednesday is my official writing update day. I have so many story projects going on and I need a push to get some done. So I will be trying to post each Wednesday about how my writing adventures are going (and I may need a swift kick in the pants by you guys sometimes).

Current Active Project:

Princess Bs - 32,131 words

A story about a woman, recently divorced and returned to her home town to figure out what is next. She encounters an old friend and spends a weekend with him and his daughters. Feelings that are long since buried are rising up again, but are her recent loss and his current life going to stand in the way of their happily ever after?

I cam so close to finishing on time for the Nanocamp! If I hadn't lost power because of Irene then maybe I would have, but oh well, we have another Nano coming up soon enough. So for now I am going to continue working on this story as well as some of the others I have started and begin planning for this years Nano!

Other Works in Progress:

Tamlyn Marie's Grace - 12,072 words
Think Cinderella only with a matchmaker ;)

The Last Mountains - 15,352
A equine shapeshifting family is being hunted to near extinction and the young new leader must go against all her lessons and approach the elite council for aide. Will they help her? How will she keep her family's traditions and values alive, let alone her herd?

Night Rider - 17,229
Alice is a recent high school graduate who is a very accomplished competitive rider in Hunter/Jumper, Dressage, and Western/Rodeo. Her parents had arranged for her to attend a private college on the east coast geared specifically to equine professions. However, Alice wants to focus on her studies in English Literature. When she arrives at the college she hides her riding abilities, but can she keep her talent and love of horses hidden?

Other Ideas Plotting:

The New Old Home
A lottery won and what is decided to do with the money.

Bloodsoar's Story
A pegasus struggles through life, ejected from the herd, near capture by humans.

The Assassin's Assassin
A student learns what the school is really teaching and sets out to destroy those who support the program.


Also, I know I haven't been too active lately, it has been due to the lack of power and clean up from the storm, but I promise you I have several reviews to share with you and will have everything caught up and back on track for next week!