Always a Booklover

The magic of books just enchants me. I love reading, what more can I say?

A World Apart by Camelia Miron Skiba



First Published: 18 December 2011
Publisher: Self-published
Length: 122,000 words
Format: Ebook
Finished Date: 29 January 2012

Blurb from Goodreads

In a war that’s not hers, she loses everything.
Everything she loses is because of him.
Forgiveness is not an option.
Or maybe...


Lieutenant Cassandra Toma, trauma surgeon in the Romanian National Army starts her deployment at a joint-unit air base on a wrong foot, clashing on her first day with her new commander, Major David Hunt. Her rebellious nature and sassiness rival her excellent performance in the operating room—the only reason why she's not reprimanded, or maybe not the only reason.

They meet. They clash. A forbidden passion consumes them with the intensity of an erupting volcano, leaving her heartbroken and him with tarnished honor and pride as an officer. The only way out for David is disappearing into the dangerous warzone in Iraq. Their flame was supposed to be over when destiny brings them back under the same roof, this time with a common goal—to find Cassandra's brother, Maj. Robert Toma, kidnapped by insurgents while on patrol.

To rescue Robert, Cassandra and David put aside their resentments, uniting forces against a common enemy. Trying to forget the painful past, Cassandra opens up to give David—and their love—another chance. What she doesn’t realize is that her anguish is the result of David’s impetuous action—one reckless choice he made for which she may never forgive him.

His mistake, his secret, could cost them both the love they've finally found.


My Rating

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My Review

A World Apart was something so unexpected; I can’t help but say I love it. When I first began the book, I found it rather slow and a little dry. But as the book carried on, I found how amazing it was. It may not always have been very interesting, but it was certainly very touching. When I first picked up the book, I wasn’t expecting what I read at all. The level of emotions depicted in the book is just so amazing and so so real.

The thing I really liked about this book was that it truly showed the real horrors of wars and the sufferings that is faced by family and friends. It didn’t brush across all these emotions lightly, and that is something I really liked about it. I especially liked seeing how just one small baby could bring so much joy to them, could represent so much hope for them. The people in the book were really noble. Without regard for themselves, they would work hard to save others.

The main characters of this book is David and Cassandra. Both of them are doctors and super good ones at that. Right from the start, they have conflicts with each other and David makes a super wrong assumption about Cassandra that almost ruined their entire relationship. He thought she was married. It caused a lot of problems later on, trust me.

David is a very kind man. I like him a lot. It’s very obvious how much he loves her, I can see it in his every action. But as for Cass, I didn’t really feel it. She had an epiphany towards the end then I felt was a little weak, given that she just kept running away then blaming him for pushing her away. However, I really felt that David was a very realistic character. His actions were rather justified most of the time and I could empathize with him. I also liked his attitude towards treating others. And what he did for the woman he thought was wounded was truly noble. Perhaps not the best thing to do, but it was really really noble. Want to know what I’m talking about? Go read the book! It’s great, and I really recommend it!

Somehow though, as the story went on, I found myself not liking Cassandra. I think it’s because she only thinks for herself when it comes to feelings. Sure, I get that she’s protecting herself but a lot of the problems between them came about because she was hurt and refused to give him a chance. Then she blamed him when he left. Seriously? You didn’t want to talk to him, he thought he was in the wrong and thus decided to leave so that he wouldn’t cause any more harm and you blame him? But then again, she never actually put herself in other people’s shoes. Maybe its just me, but I found her to be quite self-centred and thus, I couldn’t like her. But I have to say though, the way she acted was very real, it wasn’t like some fairytale character who does everything right. I guess I just couldn’t connect with her. She’s nice to her patients and all, but when it comes to feelings, and grudges, I cannot stand her. But I really admired the love between her and her brother, Robert.

The plot was good. Though the characters didn’t really spend a lot of time together, when they were together, you could just sense that mutual attraction and David’s love for her. I liked the character development for David, not so much for Cass. I liked Cass in the beginning, I kinda hated her towards the end. Total opposite for David.

Anyway, the book was really touching. I vividly recall a certain scene where I was in tears. The pain felt by the characters were so real, I grieved alongside them. But at the same time, when the characters were feeling joy, I felt that urge to jump up and scream because everything was great! I was rather emotionally involved in the book. Most of the time, I did feel how the characters were feeling and I loved that about the book.

But I do have to say one thing though. The book was rather dry. Overall, the plot is good, but I found the dialogues and conversations to be rather flat. It wasn’t really witty or particularly memorable. The pace wasn’t to my liking too. Some parts were too dragged out and then all of a sudden a few weeks or months pass and I’m thrown for a loop. Descriptions were fine as a whole, I could kinda see it in my head.

All in all, I really feel that this book is something different. Perhaps not to everyone’s taste, it certainly isn’t a light read. But it is a good book to be sure, one that can leave you almost crying in sadness and suddenly crying out in disbelief. Because that’s what I did. A good book through and through. The emotions it brought me through was really something different and of course, as I’ve mentioned earlier, the best part is that the author didn’t try to cover up the pain, sadness, atrocities and ugliness of war. It was just laid out bare for us to see. It showed me how pointless war is, if I didn’t already know that. And yes, I can empathize more with the soldiers now and how every life saved means so much. 4.5 stars to be sure.


Sunday Stealing: The 99'er Part 1 - [1]



Welcome to Sunday Stealing! This meme is hosted by Sunday Stealing authored by Bud Weiser. Sunday Stealing steals all types of memes from every corner of the blogosphere.

And no, this is not a book meme, and it may be weird here but well, I really want to do this!

Today's meme source is Hero of the BlueFlames.

The 99'er Meme: Part 1

1) Put your iTunes on shuffle. Give me the first 6 songs that pop up.

Fade Away by Celine Dion, Grenade by Bruno Mars, Accidentally in Love by Counting Crows, Alone by Celine Dion, Unbreak my Heart by Toni Braxton, Mirror Mirror by M2M

2) If you could meet anyone on this earth, who would it be?

Hmm, Tom Cruise/Brad Pitt/Hayden Christensen?

3) Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 23, give me line 17.

Daylighter?" asked Mr. Archer finally.

4) What do you think about most?

Feelings

5) What does your latest text message from someone else say?

Ok !

6) Do you sleep with or without clothes on?

Definitely with!

7) What's your strangest talent?

I don't really think I have talents??

8) Women.... (finish the sentence); Men.... (finish the sentence)

Women are smarter than men :P ; Men are stronger than women:(

9) Ever had a poem or song written about you?

I wish...

10) When is the last time you played the air guitar?

Never?

11) Do you have any strange phobias?

I'm scared of mirrors when the surroundings are dark!

12) Ever stuck a foreign object up your nose?

Uh...

13) What's your religion?

Christianity!!

14) If you are outside, what are you most likely doing?

Talking or reading!

15) Do you prefer to be behind the camera or in front of it?

Depends on my mood

16) Simple but extremely complex. Favorite band?

No idea! I don't really listen by band, more by lyrics.

17) What was the last lie you told?

Telling someone I'm ok when I'm not?

18) Do you believe in karma?

No, not really

19) What does your URL mean?

I love books.

20) What is your greatest weakness; your greatest strength?

I'm too freaking insecure! I guess I'm thoughtful? And I guess I can see things from many perspectives!

21) Who is your celebrity crush?

Maybe Tom Cruise/Drew Roy/Chris Lai?

22) Have you ever gone skinny dipping?

Nope!

23) How do you vent your anger?

Become defensive then going away and reading a book and praying! Suddenly, everything's right again:) I can't stay angry!

24) Do you have a collection of anything?

Books? Stamps, coins... Not really a true collection though!

25) Do you prefer talking on the phone or video chatting online?

Definitely phone!

Nobody's Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Philips (Chicago Stars #3)



First Published: 1 February 1997
Publisher: Avon
Pages: 374
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Finished Date: 11 January 2012

Blurb from Goodreads

A temperamental quarterback is given a special "birthday gift" by his teammates--a ravishing young woman. The "birthday gift" is actually a physics teacher who is using the quarterback for her own special project. But before long, this mismatched couple passionately prove that opposites attract.




My Rating

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My Review

I really enjoyed this book. The characters were so likable, even the supporting ones. The plot kept me turning page after page of this book, simple unable to stop. The story was really sweet and it truly showed how love could overcome anything. I especially like it when the guy realises that he could be happy without football, but he just needed her.

So Jane and Cal are the main characters in this story. Just to give you a short introduction, Jane is a genius. She wants a child, but doesn’t really want to get married. However, she has one criteria for the father. She wants the father to be stupid. This is so that the child will be of average intelligence, which will help him/her to fit in in the future. Needless to say, she saw Cal playing football on TV one day, and thought he was stupid. She couldn’t have been more wrong. Cal was one of the smartest footballers around. Basically, she contrived a plan to get herself pregnant by Cal. She succeeded, but Cal found out and insisted they get married. This book was mainly about their life as a married couple and how they fell in love. It was beautiful and sweet, that’s all I can say.

I loved the plot. Sure, it isn’t very realistic, but it was page-turning. My eyes were glued to the book and I simply could not stop reading. It was well-paced and well elaborated. The times they spent together were amazing. They were so unsuited for each other, yet in every way, they were perfect halves. Does that make sense?

The character development too was great. Cal really learnt how football wasn’t everything. As for Jane, love really changed her. You could see it in the way she behaved. The characters were really likable and you could just connect with them. I felt right there with them, laughing out loud many times at their conversations.

I loved it when Jane moved away and Cal finally realised he wanted to stay married to her forever. It was just so sweet! And the things he did to win her back was really nice and I have to say, I adored it.

I have to say though, the part about Cal’s parents was the sweetest thing I’ve read in a while. I don’t really know how to describe it, all I can say is that it was really touching to read. I’m not afraid to admit it, I cried. Though it was just a small little portion of the book, it really showed me how the spark of love could be reignited.

All in all, this was really a good book. The plot kept me turning page after page and I really enjoyed reading this.


Heaven, Texas (Chicago Stars #2)



First Published: 1 January 1995
Publisher: Avon
Pages: 384
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Finished Date: 10 January 2012

Blurb from Goodreads

Come heck or high water, Gracie Snow is determined to drag the legendary ex-jock Bobby Tom Denton back home to Heaven, Texas, to begin shooting his first motion picture. Despite his dazzling good looks and killer charm, Bobby Tom has reservations about being a movie star -- and no plans to cooperate with a prim and bossy Ohio wallflower whom he can't get off his mind or out of his life. Instead, the hell-raising playboy decides to make her over from plain Jane to Texas wildcat.

But nothing's more dangerous than a wildcat with an angel's heart in a town too small for a bad boy to hide. And all hell breaks loose when two unforgettable people discover love, laughter, passion -- and a match that can only be made in Heaven.


My Rating

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My Review

Heaven, Texas was a pretty enjoyable read. The two characters, Bobby Tom (BT) and Gracie, were really likable and overall, the plot was good. BT was first seen in It Had To Be You, and I must say, I really liked him there.

In this book, BT is still very willful, but he is very lost. Due to a knee injury, he was forced to instantly stop playing football, which to him, was the best thing of his life. He becomes an actor for a movie in this book, because apparently he’s really hot.

As for Gracie, she’s working for the movie company that hired him. She’s tasked to bring him to his hometown in Texas which is where they were going to film the movie. Of course, she is instantly attracted to him. But as for him, he’s not really. There’s something intriguing about her, but he can’t tell what. You see, Gracie is rather plain when she doesn’t dress up. And even when she does, the best you could describe her was pretty. But Gracie is an amazing character. She was beautiful on the inside and that’s what really counts, isn’t it? Her determination and her morals are things I really admire. So was the no-nonsense attitude she took with BT in the beginning. I really respected her for that.

I liked the plot of this book. I can’t describe it for you, cos I read it a few weeks ago and the details just aren’t coming back to me. But I remember that the plot was rather fast-paced and it was really interesting to read. The dialogue too was really funny and witty.

The love between them was inevitable. You could just see it from the start. I was always rooting for them. Realistic too. When they fell in love and confessed it, I could believe it, because it was evident in everything they did.

One thing I’ve noticed about Susan Elizabeth Philips is that in her books, the characters just suddenly realise they’re in love with the other party. Its kinda funny but also really sweet!

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book. The plot was fast-paced and that is something I love. The character development was great too. I really loved the way that BT grew up. He really did become more mature and caring throughout the course of the book. As for Gracie, she was a great character. Not once did she willingly compromise her morals. Especially about money. I loved it when she decided she wasn’t going to be one of those women that fed off BT, and sought to repay him everything. It was a very noble gesture in my opinion.

A great read to be certain, and a good sequel to It Had To Be You. Definitely recommended for fans of SEP, or just someone who likes witty dialogues, fast-paced plots, good character development and likable characters. Doesn’t that comprise of most readers? ;)

Yay! Finally a shorter than usual review! :D


Tender the Storm by Elizabeth Thornton (Deveraux Trilogy #1)



First Published: 1 June 1991
Publisher: Zebra
Pages: 448
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Finished Date: 22 January 2012

Blurb from Goodreads

A DARING FLIGHT
Zoe Deveraux is seventeen, though disguised as a schoolgirl, when she is spirited out of France by Rolfe Brockford, Marquess of Rivard. Posing as a Revolutionary, Rolfe is on a mission to rescue innocents from the bloody horrors of the guillotine. And rescue Zoe he does, though he hasn't a notion what to do with her upon reaching London...

A SCANDALOUS UNION
Unwilling to abandon the waifish girl, Rolfe shocks polite society by taking her as his bride---in name only. He soon realizes, however, that Zoe is more woman than child, and that she arouses in him a desire like no other...

AN UNCONQUERABLE LOVE
What began as a marriage of convenience quickly grows into something altogether different. But Rolfe and Zoe face countless challenges---from political intrigue to their own pride, jealousy, and fiercely guarded secrets. Now, as the strife in Europe hits its peak, two stubborn hearts must make the ultimate alliance....


My Rating

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My Review

I couldn’t like Tender the Storm. Mostly, the characters were likable and the plot was rather interesting. However, there was something lacking which made me unable to like the book. I couldn’t connect with the characters. And thus, I couldn’t understand them; I couldn’t see the world from their eyes. It’s quite a pity though. The book started off really good. I was instantly captivated by what I read. But what I expected and what happened were so different. It isn’t a bad thing in itself, but I just didn’t like what happened at all.

There were many things I couldn’t stand about the book. Can I begin by saying how much I hate Rolfe? I have hardly ever hated the heroes in romances but Rolfe just is such an ass that I can’t help but hate him. Give me a few moments to rant about him. HE HAS A TOTALLY CONVOLUTED IDEA ABOUT MARITAL SEX. WTH???????? Isn’t that supposed to be the view that women has which causes them to be happy when their husband takes a mistress?????????? And I don’t care whether you have consummated your marriage yet. You do not take a mistress after you’re married. Ba****d. Excuse my language. I’m annoyed with the him. Very annoyed. Alright, end of rant. Time to get back to this review.

I thought the plot was amazing in the beginning. I honestly thought the beginning when Zoe was escaping from France and Rolfe was escorting her was great! I could have just seen how they would have fallen in love, and I say it would have been a very sweet story

But as I read on, I realised I was getting more and more bored by the plot. Sure, the intrigue and mystery about Le Patron was cool. And let me tell you, when it was finally revealed who it was, my jaw dropped. I was completely and utterly surprised. There were many things I felt were left out. Just to give an example, when Rolfe was attacked. He spent months recovering from that attack. And guess how many pages was taken to write that attack and the recovery? Not even one. I would say that is an important part of the book, so why isn’t it talked about more?

And when I finished the book, I totally did not concur with the fact that they were apparently in love with each other. Zoe’s “love” for him is just hero-worship and I have no idea what he feels for her. That is not love to me.

As the book went on, I found myself just flipping through the pages. The plot just did not intrigue me and the descriptions were so long and unnecessary. I was bored by their dialogues, because it really didn’t spark any interest in me or in what they were saying. All I was thinking about was that they should just move on and get to the important parts. Of course, they never did!

I also felt that there wasn’t enough time the characters spent together to develop their relationship. They spent a lot of the book apart and even when they were together, they were arguing or he didn’t even really notice her. Which is why I can’t really understand why they claim to love each other. I totally can’t see it!

Even though I really didn’t like this book, I can’t help but say I’m going to read the next two books in the series. I mean, I start a series, I have to finish it, don’t I? I’m a little particular about that!

All in all, I really disliked this book. I honestly thought that the beginning was great but right after that, it took a downward spiral and just got worse and worse. Which is quite a pity though. I felt that there was a lot of potential in the book. The main reason why I dislike this is probably because I can’t connect with the characters. Yep, so just 2 stars from me. Hopefully, the next book will be better! :D


This Or That - [1]

This Or That is a weekly meme of choices, hosted by Thursday This Or That.

Dream vacation: Disneyland or Tour of Europe?

Definitely Tour of Europe! Preferably with my special someone:) It would be really romantic!

Rootbeer float or Strawberry Banana smoothie?

Hmm, I guess Strawberry Banana smoothie.

Chick Fil A or In and Out Burger?

Huh? 

Movie: Mr and Mrs Smith or The Italian Job?

Mr and Mrs Smith

Pet: Snake or Lizard?

If I really had to choose then Snake. Lizard's are just... disgusting.

Directions...

I was thinking seriously about my blog last night. I was wondering whether should I continue to blog only about reviews, with the occasional blog tour thrown in. Then I realised if that was the case, I couldn't really call myself a book blogger, more like a book review blogger.

And thus, I've decided. Every now and then, I'll blog about books/reading. It won't be reviews or such, it could just be random stuff about books - why I like them, what I look for, etc. Basically stuff about books, not about A book.

Yep, so that's about what I wanted to say! Oh yes, and I think I'm gonna join the A-Z April blogging challenge.

Here's the link to it: A to Z Blogging Challenge.

Now, that's what I call a crazy challenge. Blogging everyday, not about book reviews, but about a certain theme that I'm allowed to decide. (As long as it's related to the letter for the day). And I'm gonna make it slightly more difficult in the sense that I'm only gonna blog about books, not about book reviews and stuff. That doesn't count.

Hehe, so I better get going to finish up my reviews! Been procrastinating for way too long.

At the same time, I'm a little nervous for Monday. I'm gonna be getting my posting results to my JC (Junior College - I guess you can consider it senior high?). Well, I really want to go to a certain school, but I don't make the cut-off point! Oh well, I'll just trust God and wait and see:)

Byeee! :D

Booking Through Thursday: Writing Or Riveting? - [6]



Today's Booking Through Thursday asks:
What’s more important: Good writing? Or a good story?
(Of course, a book should have BOTH, but…)

Hmm. This is a real difficult question to answer! Both are really important to me! I'm gonna have to go with story though. The way I see it, if the book is really well written but has a terrible plot, or one that does no appeal to me, there's no way I can like it. On the other hand, if the plot is fantastic, I normally don't notice if there's bad or good writing. Unless you're talking about grammatical errors. That's one thing I'm super particular about! :)

So yes, to you, which is more important? Love to hear from you!

The Santangeli Marriage by Sara Craven



First Published: 7 November 2008
Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 192
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Finished Date: 24 January 2012

Blurb from Goodreads

Orphan Marisa was raised by the wealthy Santangeli family. Their only demand was that she marry their son….

Italian billionaire and renowned playboy Lorenzo Santangeli is expecting to receive his money's worth from his innocent wife on their wedding night. But Marisa flees—how can she share a bed with the man who married her solely to produce an heir?

Lorenzo vows to bring his virgin bride home—you do not say no to a Santangeli! Once she's back she'll be his completely, and he is determined to enjoy every minute of it….


My Rating

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My Review

I couldn’t like this book. Believe me, I tried. But somehow, I just didn’t enjoy reading the book. I was just trying to get it over and done with, instead of taking time to savor the book itself.

The thing is, I did like the characters. They were realistic and likable. But there wasn’t much character development. At the end of the book, the characters hadn’t changed at all. They were still as before, and honestly, shouldn’t love change a little of that?

Overall, I found the plot rather boring. There wasn’t that type of angst over him not loving her or that sexual tension or that spark of passion between them. Even when they finally made love, it was rather boring. I mean it just happened. There just wasn’t anything really interesting about it. I mean, most of the plot was spent remembering past events. Why not just start the book right from the top and let everything flow? That way, I feel that I’ll be able to relate more to the pain they must have been feeling.

The cheating theme in this book didn’t really bother me. I know it should, but I think its because it wasn’t that important in the book. It should have been, cheating is something real serious. But it didn’t have an impact on me. How should I put it? He kinda cheated before the book even began so it just didn’t affect me.

Throughout the book, the characters were rather likable, if a bit predictable. I mean, you knew what they were going to do or say before

Now, there’s one person that really sparked emotion in me. Renzo’s maternal grandmother. Gosh, she’s a bi***! Seriously. That was about the only bit of feeling this book sparked in me, apart from the ending of course.

But the ending was pretty good, if a little abrupt. I loved the words the hero said. That was really sweet and about the only thing that saved this book from utter disdain by me. However, it did end a little too quickly. Yes, they solved their problems, and then suddenly the end. I mean, I would have liked to see a miracle happen with regards to Marisa’s condition. Now that may have been unrealistic, but would have been so sweet. Then again, it was fine I guess, not having it. I like to think that there was a miracle in the end.

I have to say something about the love the characters apparently shared. Renzo’s love was pretty obvious, and I could tell he truly loved her. Especially when we saw things from his POV, which was something I appreciated. But as for Marisa, I just don’t feel her love for him. It really seems just like an infatuation. She doesn’t seem very mature in her thinking and I simply could not reconcile the fact that she loved him. It just didn’t show in her actions. Now, I didn’t really like her that much, alright, I was rather ambivalent to her. But if only I could have felt her love for him. I think that would have made me more inclined to her.

And as for Renzo, I think he was a rather weak character. I felt he wasn’t forceful enough, not the way he was portrayed to be. His actions and what we were told of him were rather different. And well, I’m a little biased because I like my heroes to be more forceful and more confident. Which I felt that he wasn’t. I just felt like he was running away from things every time something went wrong. Its like in the honeymoon, he decided to end it after he heard her cry. Then when they finally had a second chance, because of something she said, he just left. I just felt that if he was really so sincere about trying again, he shouldn’t have just left, but tried to work it through. The honeymoon part I can understand.

All in all, I really didn’t enjoy the book. Quite a pity though, I’ve heard rather good things about Sara Craven.

This was supposed to be a short review. I was supposed to end it at 300 words and now its 708 words.


Giveaway + Excerpt + Guest Post by Dana Michelle Burnett

Hey guys!

Today, I would like to introduce you to a great book by Dana Michelle Burnett, Spiritus. Spiritus is a YA Paranormal Romance and the first in a series by the same name. There will be a giveaway at the end, so look out for it!


Dana Michelle Burnett
Dana Michelle Burnett spent most of her life writing short stories and sharing them with family and friends. Over the years, her work was published in numerous commercial and literary magazines including Just Labs, Mindprints: A Literary Journal, Foliate Oak, and many more. Her short story John Lennon and the Chicken Holocaust was included in The Best of Foliate Oak in 2006. Taken from her website.

Check out her website.
Twitter
Facebook

And her wonderful YA Paranormal Romance, Spiritus!


A love that refuses to die…

“As I watched him vanish into a soft mist that faded away, I knew that he was no ordinary spirit…I knew that he was a dangerous entity that could be in some corner of another realm planning his revenge, but I also knew that I was hopelessly in love with him.”

When Becca moves into her ancestral home in Corydon, Indiana, her life takes a puzzling and thrilling turn when she meets the ghost haunting the halls. As the seductive spirit lures her closer and closer, she learns about her own past and starts to understand that some mistakes are meant to last.

Becca McAllister has always been different from other girls her age. Never part of the "in crowd", Becca never really fit in anywhere. When her mother dies and her father moves them to the small town of Corydon, Indiana, Becca didn't expect things to change.

But things do change when Becca accidentally makes contact with a one hundred and sixty year old ghost, Alastor Sinclair, that haunts the halls of her new home.

To Becca, Alastor is a seductive spirit that seems to see straight into her soul. To Alastor, Becca is what he was waited a century for--A second chance.

But the closer they get, the more Becca realizes that this isn't the first time she and Alastor have known each other. Worse still, is she the one responsible for his death so long ago? And if so, did he come back for love or revenge?

Here's an awesome guest post done by Dana.


Untouchable

First off, it’s so nice to be here at the Always A Booklover Blog and to have the opportunity to do a guest post! I’ve been super busy promoting my novel Spiritus and something that readers often ask me is what it was like to write a love story between characters that could not touch. My answer? It’s not as easy as it seems.

As a writer, one of the first things I learned was that you should always show instead of tell. That means, instead of writing “She was afraid”, I would write something along the lines of “Her knees began to shake as she walked up to the door”. It’s an ideal that is at the very heart of good writing.

Now think of the ways that we should love and emotion toward one another. We hold hands, we embrace, we kiss, and we make love. Now take all of that off the table. How would you show emotion between characters?

For Spiritus I had to focus more on their conversations and sensations. Their inability to touch became the main frustration of their romance, but it also opened up the opportunity for their relationship to develop more slowly. Instead of showing their growing love with a kiss, it was a monumental moment when Alastor was able to make himself strong enough to barely touch Becca’s cheek.

I tried to use their inability to touch as a way to show how impossible their romance was and have those brief moments when contact could be managed the momentary fix that kept them going. These stolen moments were used to try and add a note of desperation to their love.
The romance between Becca and Alastor crossed the line between life and death, but I also wanted it to cross the line between physical and sensual.

As a writer, this novel was a challenge because of the “no touching” problem, but I do feel that it forced me to be more creative as a writer. It also made me stop and wonder if maybe it’s not the untouchable things in life that are worth the most work and devotion.


And now, a short peek at Spiritus! Sigh, it just is so sweet to me! :D

It was a sweet moment, dancing together under the paper streamers and balloons. I could feel the warmth of his skin through his shirt and jacket as we danced, reminding me that this was real. This was now.

“What are you thinking?” Jonah asked, leaning his head down so our foreheads touched. I could smell the scent of mints on his breath and the woodsy scent of his aftershave on his jaw.

I inhaled the reality of him, “Nothing. I’m just savoring the moment.”

I expected him to laugh, but he didn’t. He pulled me closer, seeming to ignore how I stepped all over his feet. He brought his cheek next to mine, caressing my skin with the youthful shadow of a beard.

“I like the sound of that.” He whispered.

He tilted his head then, kissing me softly with boyish clumsiness. His arm tightened around me as his lips lingered for a moment before he pulled away.

I fought the guilt that was trying to steal over me, but I shook it off. I felt myself turning a deep red, humiliated by my lack of experience. I was sure that was the worst kiss and that Jonah had ever had and he was going to realize he was wasting his time with me. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Ashley watching us with narrowed eyes. She would have known how to kiss him the right way.

If Jonah was disappointed, he hid it well, holding me in his arms until the song ended and then leading me off to the side of the room. I followed him without question, painfully aware all of a sudden of how large my feet were and that my palm was sweating inside of his.

“Thirsty?” Jonah asked with that charming smile that always made my heart stop and start in a crazy way.

“Sure.” I answered with a nervous giggle and then cursed myself for being a complete goof.
As if he could tell what I was thinking his smile widened, “Punch okay?”

His self-confidence made me feel even more awkward. “That’s fine.”

I watched Jonah walk away, calling and waving to his friends as he went over to the refreshment table. I fanned my face with my hands, trying to make the redness disappear.

Ally, with Billie in tow, bounced up beside me. “I can’t believe he kissed you! Was it great? Is he like the best kisser ever?”

“I don’t have much to compare him to.” I replied, hoping to downplay the whole thing before the whole school overheard. I couldn’t dare tell them that a century ago, I was kissed in a way that made my knees go weak and were a far cry from being boyish and clumsy. “But it was nice.”

Billie nudged my shoulder, “What was nice was the look on Ashley’s face. She was dying.”

I stole a glance over at Ashley. She stood in a circle of her minions. Despite her obvious and complete beauty, she was a picture of misery as she shot daggers in my direction. It seemed even her upper lip twitched like a dog snarling. I had to look away from her fury.

“She looks like she’s about ready to explode.” I whispered.

I wasn’t admitting, even to myself, that I enjoyed seeing her like that. It wasn’t every day someone like me got the upper hand on someone like Ashley. There was probably a law about it somewhere in the natural order of things that went against this even happening. It was the rarity of such an occurrence that made it all the more significant.

Just then Jonah appeared with two paper cups of bright red punch. He smiled with ease, “Hello ladies.”

“Hi Jonah.” Ally and Billie replied in unison. They each gave a quick wave and walked away full of giggles.

I pretended not to notice and took the cup Jonah offered. I couldn’t look up at him and I didn’t know what it was I was really supposed to do. Was I standing too close to him? Too far away? Should I take his hand, or should I just let my hand hang at my side so he could hold it if he wanted to?

I took a sip of punch, more out of the need to do something than actual thirst, and felt the burn of alcohol in my throat. I struggled to swallow, coughing until my eyes watered.
Jonah stroked my back gently, “I’m sorry. I should have warned you that a couple of guys from the football team always puts a little something extra in the punch.”

“It’s okay.” I gasped, humiliated beyond belief. “I think I’ll just step out in the hall and get some water.”

I walked off before he could follow me, dying of embarrassment and certain that I had proved what a little kid I was. He was just so perfect, and I was so—Not perfect.

I drank long gulps from the water fountain. It extinguished the burning in my throat, but it did nothing to silence the voice in my head that was telling me I was doing everything wrong. What was wrong with me? Was I really this socially incompetent?

How hard could it be? This is what I was supposed to want, right? Jonah was good looking, popular, and charming in his small town hero sort of way. What more could I ask for?
Alastor’s voice reverberated inside my head, “He’s not me…”

I jumped at the sound of his secret voice. I looked around even though I knew that he wouldn’t be standing there, his tantrum earlier would have left him too weak.

“Go away,” I whispered aloud. “Don’t ruin this for me. Let me have this night.”

I waited, straining to hear if Alastor would answer, but there was nothing. I turned to go back to the dance, knowing I should want to return to Jonah, but part of me wished Alastor would answer.

Ashley stepped from around the corner, blocking my way. She crossed her arms and glared down at me.

“Talking to yourself Becca?” She asked sarcastically, emphasizing my name.

“What do you want Ashley?”

She shook her head and rolled her eyes, “I just wanted to give you some advice.”

“What?”

“Don’t get too comfortable with Jonah.” Ashley smirked, almost purring as she stepped closer.

“He’ll get tired of you. You’re not his type. He’ll come back to his own kind soon enough.

I hated it that she was giving a voice to my own insecurities, “Whatever Ashley.”

She reached out and grabbed my arm as I tried to get past her, “Just remember, your day is coming.”

I pulled away just as one of the chaperones stepped into the hall. I took my escape while I could, knowing she couldn’t say or do anything else at the moment, and headed back toward the gym.

I had no idea how long I had been standing in the hallway drinking water, talking to invisible spirits, and arguing with disgruntled cheerleaders, but when I got back inside the gym the music seemed louder and the flashing lights brighter.

At first I didn’t see Jonah. The crowd kept shifting back and forth, blocking my view. I finally spotted him off to the side, away from the bulk of the people. Ashley found him before I did and had him backed against the bleachers. I was just about to run away and find a nice dark place to cry when Jonah stepped away from her with a look of disgust.

“Why don’t you back off Ashley?” He slurred as he staggered over to me. He swayed a little from side to side as he smiled down at me. “I was just about ready to send a search party out for you.”

“Sorry.” I said as I reached up to stop him from falling right into me. “Are you okay?”
He staggered a little to the right, “Yeah that Ashley just gets under my skin. She doesn’t know when to shut up and go away.”

I took his paper cup from him and tossed it into the trash. I was a bit taken back to see that it was a large metal drum lined with a large black trash bag. Things in Corydon never failed to surprise me.

“That’s not what I was talking about,” I replied, wiping my hands on the front of my dress before I could stop myself. “How many of those have you drank?”

Jonah blushed, looking vulnerable for the first time tonight. “I am so sorry.”

I didn’t know what to say. I helped steady him on his feet. “Are you going to be alright?”

Jonah shook his head, this time leaning dangerously to the left. He tried to smile with his famous charm, “I’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure?”

“Not really.” He said with a stupid grin. He pulled himself up straighter, “Why don’t I go splash some water on my face. Will you wait for me?”

“Sure.”

I watched him lurch off, trying to compose himself as he walked past the group of teachers by the door. Even intoxicated, he was amazing to watch. Jonah drew the admiring glances of every female he passed. He was just so stereotypically high school perfect.

I had to laugh; he and I were like a bad movie. The predictable one where the new girl, unpopular, falls for the school jock and then the jock takes her to the dance. So that was it, tonight was my happy ending. I didn’t want to think any further than that.

Happy endings never lasted. I could vaguely remember a grand celebration where I danced with Alastor so long ago. That was a very happy moment, but not long after that we were both dead.
“May I have this dance?”

I turned to see a much recovered Jonah holding his hand out to me. Without a word, I placed my hand in his and let him lead me to the dance floor. His strong arms pulled me close, holding me against his body.

“My beautiful Becca,” He said in a moist whisper against my forehead.

I waited for him to say something else, but he didn’t. When I stole a glance up at him he had his eyes closed while his lips still rested against my hair. I felt that there was something that I should say or do, but I didn’t know what it could be. I shifted slightly away from him.

“Don’t.” Jonah begged.

Without opening his eyes, he lowered his lips to mine. He brushed his mouth over mine with such gentleness that I wouldn’t have been sure that he even kissed me if it wasn’t for the tingling running through my body.

Neither of us moved, his lips hovered over mine. He pulled me even closer, this time his lips lingered, making my knees go weak. There was a sensual passion this time. There was no trace of boyish clumbsiness.

I knew then and pulled away, terrified and not sure how he did it.

“Alastor!” I gasped.

I looked up into Jonah’s face, searching his eyes for an answer, but behind his face, deep in the soul of those eyes was Alastor.

“How?” Was all I could ask.

Pulling me close again, he looked down at me through another man’s eyes. Images of old movies with tearful endings came to mind as he pulled me to him.

“Please don’t scream.” He said against my hair.

“How did you do it?” I demanded, nearing hysteria.

“Does it matter?” He asked as we waltzed about the floor, so much more graceful than before. “You asked for a kiss and I gave it to you.”

I tried to fend off panic. I knew this was impossible. I was shaking so badly that my teeth began to chatter. “Alastor…I can’t…”

“Please,” Alastor begged. “Please, you asked me to give you this one night. I’m asking you to give me this one moment.”

My heart fell with his request and the tears came to my eyes. I trembled in his arms. How could I refuse him?

“What do you want me to do?” I asked.

“Close your eyes.” He whispered over my eyelids.

I did as he asked. “Now what?”

“Just be.” He said and lowered his face so our cheeks touched. “Just be.”

With my eyes closed, I forgot all about Jonah. I was dancing safe and secure in Alastor’s arms with my body remembering his touch even my mind sometimes couldn’t. As long as I didn’t open my eyes, it was Alastor that was holding me close. This is where I belonged.

“Kiss me again.” I requested in a whisper, longing for the sensation of him touching me, of crossing that breach between life and death.

He took my face into his hands. I kept my eyes shut tight as I reached up and covered his hands with mine. The earth shifted beneath me as I remembered standing just like this the day that we were married over a century ago.

Alastor’s lips met mine, soft at first and then harder. He was real. He was alive.

I wanted to feel his skin against mine. I wanted his lips on my throat. I wanted him. It was a feeling that only the most primal part of me seemed to understand.

I kissed him again and again. I kept my eyes shut tight and was afraid to let go. I couldn’t breathe, part of me was still terrified and another part wanted to sob uncontrollably.

“I’m sorry.” I whimpered, trying to hold on tighter. “I’m so sorry for everything.”

He kissed me again and I knew that there would never be another. There was only Alastor. It was only Alastor that I loved. It was only Alastor to whom I belonged. It was Alastor to whom I was lost.

Love the excerpt as much as I did? Why not buy it? 3 places to get it from, so it doesn't matter where you are!

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And now, enter the giveaway! 5 copies of Spiritus that you can win! :D Why are you waiting? Sign up in the Rafflecopter right below! :D This is how the giveaway will go! 4 copies of Spiritus will be given randomly, selected by the Rafflecopter. 1 copy will be given to the person with the funniest/wittiest/best/most touching, etc. comment. So what are you waiting for? Sign up in the Rafflecopter below now!


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And before I end this, I want to say thanks to Dana for visiting the blog and for writing an awesome guest post! It's been a great pleasure working with her to get this up and I really have to thank her for answering so many of my questions so patiently! Thanks Dana, I really hope to have you on the blog again in the future!

The Knight and Maggie's Baby by Lisa Mondello



First Published: 30 August 2011
Publisher: Lisa Mondello
Pages: 204
Format: Ebook
Finished Date: 23 January 2012

Blurb from Goodreads

Sometimes fate needs a little help…

Jonah Wallace knows what it’s like to grow up without love. Despite having more money than the Queen of England, his childhood was cold and stale as he grew up in boarding schools. He’s dedicated his life to helping homeless and displaced children find the love and support they need by creating the Haven House Foundation, work that resulted in him being Knighted by the Queen.

Now that he’s living in America, his work is going along just fine…until his grandfather gives fate a little nudge by insisting he take a wife before he can inherit.

Coffee shop owner, Maggie Bonelli, is pregnant and the baby’s dad has gone AWOL. She knows too well the pain of growing up without a daddy. So when Jonah Wallace comes into her shop proposing marriage for a year, she takes him up on his offer, even if it’s only for a year. Live in a mansion and give her baby a name and a daddy to call his/her own. But can they keep their perfect arraignment strictly business…or will fate’s helping hand bring them love at last?


My Rating

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My Review

The Knight and Maggie’s Baby was a very easy read. The storyline wasn’t complicated, it was straightforward and easy to grasp. The characters too, were likable and overall, the story was good and convincing. However, I just couldn’t feel the connection to the book. As in, a spark was missing. What spark exactly, I can’t tell you. It could be that I couldn’t really feel the sexual tension that was supposed to be between the characters or their frustration. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I couldn’t feel them, i.e. their emotions.

However, on the whole, the book really was quite good. I wouldn’t say it was incredibly witty, or extremely addictive. Rather, it was a really sweet book and as I was reading it, I could just see their love through the little things they did. It was more evident in Jonah’s case though. And that guy is one hot, but yet, so so sweet guy!

Alright, time for a short summary.

Basically, Jonah has to get married quickly in order to get his estate. Its not much of him wanting it, he just doesn’t want it to pass out of the family. Which is what his grandfather threatens to do if he doesn’t get married within a certain time. So he was about to get married, but was jilted at the altar. Other than losing his pride, he didn’t really lose anything because they weren’t in love. But she took his car when leaving so she could meet her fiancĂ©. And hence, he was stranded. Which was when he stumbled into Maggie’s cafĂ©. Instantly, there was a strong attraction. Out of impulse, he asked her to marry him after only knowing her for about 45 minutes. Maggie was pregnant but the father didn’t want the baby, seeing as it wasn’t intended. She wanted to give her baby a name because she didn’t want him/her to be teased in the future, which was what happened to her in the past. Hence, she agreed. The agreement was to be married for a year. As you can guess, they fell in love. How? That’s what the story is about. They live happily ever after:) But then again, isn’t this how all romance books are like?

This was a sweet read. Nothing complicated, simply a story where two very different people meet, and against all odds, fall in love. There weren’t any real conflicts where they broke up for a while. When they were living together, you could just see them falling in love with each other.

There’s really nothing much to say about this book. There was nothing bad about it, but neither was there anything really exceptional about it. It was a good book and an enjoyable read, but with a very simple and straightforward storyline. Though it didn’t bring out a lot of feelings within me, I did like reading the book.

I wouldn’t recommend this book to people who needs action, passion and such in the books they read. Because this book doesn’t have that. I’m not complaining, I actually do like books that are just sweet, nothing more, nothing less. But I would definitely recommend this book to someone who wants an easy, sweet read to pass the time. Because this book just is so sweet.

Overall, the characters were nice to read about. Though there wasn’t much character development, I liked them. Jonah is just so so so sweet please? Sigh, he isn’t like normal rich guys, pretty aloof and all. He’s so sweet to Maggie, through his every action, I felt his love for her.

They were also very real. I could relate to them and how they felt but I couldn’t feel the same way. Its like, I could understand their feelings but it didn’t evoke any feelings in me.

As for the plot, there’s really nothing to say about it. There weren’t any gaping holes in it or anything special about it. If anything, it was a little dull. I felt it a little too straightforward and could practically predict their next actions. And I know I’ve said this a thousand times, but the plot was sweet.

All in all, I really do enjoy this book and I felt that it was a very sweet and good read. Recommended for people after a sweet and easy read.


Minx by Julia Quinn (Splendid Trilogy #3)


First Published: 1 September 1996
Publisher: Avon
Pages: 396
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Finished Date: 9 January 2012

Blurb from Goodreads

The attractive, yet utterly tomboyish, manager of a country estate is taken to London by her new guardian in order to be properly groomed for society. Her original spirit and winning manner capture society's attention and admiration, as well as her guardian's affections.


My Rating

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My Review

Minx was a book that I really enjoyed. Dunford was a character that was shown since Splendid, the first book in the series. Hence, it was really a pleasure to read about him. Henrietta, or rather, Henry, is his perfect match in so many ways. Both of them together is just so sweet.

The beginning part was really funny. I really loved seeing how Dunford tried to resist his attraction to Henry out of some misguided sense of duty. And right at the beginning, when Henry tried to chase Dunford away, I was bursting out in laughter every few pages or so.

For me, this book was very real. The characters were very realistic and you could really feel their pain, their hurt, but also their love and joy. It was a book that made me feel a lot. It brought me through a whole maelstrom of emotions and even now, just flipping through the ending, I find myself tearing up at the sweet words they spoke to each other. Yes, it may be mushy and cheesy but it just is so sweet, is it not?

Alright, let me just start with a short summary.

So Dunford inherits the estate Henry is living on. She tries to chase him away at first. Afterwards, they strike a truce and become friends. However, they are both attracted to each other. Later, when Dunford finds out that he’s her guardian, he insists on bringing her to London so as to give her a season and find her a husband. And he tries to fight the attraction, thinking its very wrong to be attracted to her as he’s her guardian. But finally, in London, they both give in to their mutual desires and fall in love. They get engaged, but because of a major disagreement, which I won’t say what, they were estranged for quite a while. Of course, it all got resolved in the end and they had their HEA.

So the thing I really loved about this book was that it was really well written. I could feel the characters, as if I was living their lives. The part that I especially loved was when they had their major conflict. I really could feel their pain, and believe me, it was very painful. But when they finally made up, their love was so so sweet. Of course, before that, one could also feel their love. But I find that it is after major conflicts that you can truly see a couple’s love for each other.

As with the previous 2 novels in the Splendid Trilogy, the dialogue was very witty and I really enjoyed the times they spent together. Without doubt, I would be able to find something that I could laugh about, or sigh about within most of their dialogues.

There’s only one thing I didn’t really like, and what stopped this from being a 5 star read. I didn’t like the making up scene. It didn’t have that emotional impact on me that I thought it should have. The part after that was so sweet though, and of course, the epilogue where the baby is born just brings a smile to my face.

I think something I really liked in this book was how Dunford was humbled by love. He was a different man when he was in love. Still the same old adorable Dunford, but there was something so different about him when you saw him with Henry. Maybe its because we’ve seen him over 2 other books and thus can really see the change in him when he falls in love.

As for Henry, I really liked her a lot. She was someone that I could really relate to. The things she did were things I would have thought of doing were I in the same situation. And I like that she can swallow her pride and apologize when she’s in the wrong. I especially loved her tricks right at the beginning. She really fooled Dunford! Throughout the whole book, you could see Henry mature into a fine young lady. Before, she was really nice and really sweet, but still very innocent. At the end, she was truly a lady. I would call it, transformed by love. And not in a bad way. As in she didn’t change for him. It was a natural process that occurred because of love.

All in all, Minx was a great read and I really loved it. Certainly a book I would recommend to someone else. In fact, I would definitely recommend the whole series to another person. The final book, a novella in Where’s My Hero, was also very well-written. I won’t be doing a review for that so suffice to say that I really loved it and it did sum up all the characters that were introduced to us. And I loved the ending for that book. Funny and fantastic. But back to topic. Minx just shows me how love really changes people into becoming better persons. It was a completely enjoyable read. 4.5 stars.

When Passion Rules by Johanna Lindsey


First Published: 14 June 2011
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 388
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Finished Date: 19 January 2012

Blurb from Goodreads

Forced to flee Napoleon’s rampaging army on the continent, orphaned Alana Farmer and her eccentric guardian make a new home for themselves in London. There, Alana enjoys every privilege a daughter of the nobility could hope for, plus an education fit for a queen. Now, on the eve of her debut into London Society, she learns the shocking secret of her birthright. Can it be true? Is she really the lost princess of the European kingdom of Lubinia? Persuaded by her guardian to return to their homeland to quell a bloody revolt, Alana finds herself in an isolated, mountainous country whose customs strike her as medieval!

With controversy and intrigue brewing around the beautiful newcomer, Christoph Becker, the captain of the palace guards, arrests Alana on suspicion that she is either a wily imposter or a seductive spy working for the shadowy figures determined to depose the king. No stranger himself to seduction, Christoph uses every means at his disposal to draw the truth from his alluring prisoner, even if he must lay his own life on the line to protect her from harm. Now, as a fiery passion flares between Alana and the man who has wrongly imprisoned her, the fate of a nation rests in their hands and on their hearts.


My Rating

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My Review

This review is also posted on Always a Booklover.

I loved this book. The characters, the setting and the plot, it all came together really well to create a story that I couldn’t help but fall in love with. Having said that, I am reluctant to give this book 5 stars. Yes, the book was really good to read. But I cannot overlook a few things in the plot that sadly causes the book to drop to a 4 star rating.

But let’s start with the good points first, shall we? Right from the start, I loved Christoph. He had that charm, that charisma that was very appealing and made him a very likable man. Of course, the way he handled Nadia at the beginning made me like him instantly. As for Alana, I really do admire her. She’s a very good female protagonist and I really enjoyed reading about her. Even when she was being interrogated, she kept her cool.

I loved the whole plot of the story. It reminded me of a book the Ms. Lindsey wrote in the past, Once a Princess. The plots aren’t similar but the princess part is. I loved how the author kept a great secret from the readers, which was only revealed towards the end. I must admit, I really believed that a certain thing was true. That’s how convincing the writing was.

One of my favorite parts came at the beginning. I found it really humbling that a killer with no conscience could be brought down with just a baby’s smile. That sweet innocence in a smile, who could even think of harming a baby? Another part I liked was the proposal. It was seriously funny. And pretty sweet too.

As for the romance in this book, I felt that it was rather subtle. I mean, they just fell in love. For once, I cannot tell how or why it happened. All I know is that they suddenly did. The romance isn’t really obvious in the book, which is rather surprising. As in, the main part of the book focused on who Alana really was. And a lot of sexual tension.

One thing I could not relate to at all was her reaction after they made love. I was totally like, huh? I don’t want to say what, I just was totally confused by her reaction! Definitely not the way I expected her to act after it due to the way all women were brought up during that time.

I do wish she could have put to use her fighting skills though. She only threw one knife. Some parts were very abrupt. After I read it, all I could think was huh? Did that just happen? For example, the wedding. It took place so quickly, I was left reeling after it. It just didn’t seem possible. It’s quite a sad thing too. The whole story was really well elaborated, except that part, which left me wondering at such an abrupt ending.

Some of the reactions the characters had were not very realistic either. For example, when the king heard that they might be in love he straightaway decided to let Alana marry Christoph. It just struck me as weird. I mean, she’s a princess. He’s just a normal noble. Without a second thought, you just betroth them?

I’m so glad I finally read this book. I’ve wanted to read it ever since it came out last year, but never had the opportunity or the time to! This was a very enjoyable read and I could barely put down the book! Even when I was helping my mum to mop the floor, I was still reading, that’s how engrossed I was. So yes, I would certainly recommend you to pick up this book to read! It’s definitely worth your time.


Guest Post & Review: Betrayal's Shadow by KH LeMoyne



Presenting... Betrayal's Shadow by KH LeMoyne!

Betrayal’s Shadow (The Guardians of Eden, Book #1) is an adult urban fantasy romance novel.

Betrayal’s Shadow is the first in the Guardians of Eden Series. Book 2, Warrior Reborn, is also available and book 3, Destiny’s Mark is due for release in late spring 2012.

Betrayal's Shadow was a great read for me! I really enjoyed it and I'm delighted to have the opportunity to host the author of this great book, KH LeMoyne on my blog today. She'll be joining us with a guest post!

Check out my review of Betrayal's Shadow here!


Betrayal's Shadow

by KH LeMoyne

What would you do to save your people from extinction?
What if your race held the key to mankind’s future?
One Guardian will risk hell to change the future.


Descended from the race of Guardians, Turen’s people have survived the last two hundred years, quarantined and isolated. Living in secrecy with no mates and no offspring, they fail to deliver on their ability to replenish and heal human souls through the birth of their Guardian children. Risking his life, Turen chooses capture at the hands of a comrade-turned-enemy to seek answers to change the future.

Mia Bowman has no knowledge of the secret Guardian race. Yet, her uncontrollable, nocturnal summons to Turen’s prison cell and her strong sense of justice leave her with little choice but to help him. She can heed his warning and stay clear of his people’s problems or she can ferret out the lies and unravel an ancient tale of murder and deceit. It will take an ultimate sacrifice to stop the unexpected evil and reverse a fatal ending to the Guardian line.

THE GUARDIANS OF EDEN:
A race of beings created in a Sanctum at the far edge of Eden. Co-existing with mankind, they safeguarded human souls and the promise of eternity—until a virus killed all over the age of eighteen. The surviving children fled to the Sanctum for protection, children raising children without the full legacy of their history and knowledge. Two hundred years of solitude have produced a race of semi-immortals fortified with powers and intellect but lacking the mates who will make them whole and allow them to fulfill their covenant with mankind.

Find this book on Goodreads!


About KH LeMoyne

A former technology specialist, KH LeMoyne now writes romance fulltime with series in urban fantasy, high fantasy, and scifi/futuristic. She lives in Maryland with her wonderful husband and corgi. Much to her dismay, she rarely encounters supernatural beings other than on paper. Visit her website or blog.

Facebook
Twitter: @khlemoyne
Amazon


Check out the first chapter here! (I would post it, but its extremely long, and would really slow down loading time! And can I say I really loved the first chapter? It really hooked me.)

And now, we have Mrs. LeMoyne joining us with a guest post!


Which Comes First: Series Plot vs. Characters or Chicken vs. Egg


Flame, thank you for the opportunity to guest post for your readers and also for your wonderful review of Betrayal’s Shadow. (You're welcome! It was a great book:D)

Since Shadows is the first in a series, I thought I would explain my approach for creating it and whether the series or characters come first. When my work on the Guardians of Eden series started, over four years ago, I had a rough outline for Betrayal’s Shadow and a framework for the mysteries that now plague the Guardian race.

However, for the series to resolve the overall Guardian mystery, bits of the Guardian background and past need to weave throughout each book. Unique characters with appropriate strengths and weaknesses need to carry their own story and also move along the overall series arc. So the answer to chicken vs. egg question, for me, is option three—both.

The mystery behind the Guardian plague, the evolution of the villain from book one, and the details lost to the orphaned Guardian children are plotted through the end of the series loosely enough to allow for a little flexibility. I mapped the series plot, including the necessary character types required, and worked through geographic and historical background details, character traits, superpowers, and major scene descriptions. This determined how many books the resolution would take. It also targeted the specific characters who would follow the mysteries, while tacking unique conflicts in their book. Then I started on the characters for book one and decided how to twist their lives for a common goal of releasing the Guardians from their bonds.

Mapping the series was fun. Working with the characters, Mia and Turen, and determining how they would grow from two people with nothing in common to trusting partners was exciting.

Is this approach for a series time consuming? Yes. Is it necessary? For me, yes. This process is also why so many of the characters in my later books already have 13,000 to 30,000 words sitting in their own files, waiting for their books to be written.

The process requires a little patience and a love for the story. JR Ward’s Brotherhood series, Jacquelyn Frank’s Nightwalker series, and many other series and individual books are on my reread shelf for a reason. I know what makes me go back to those stories. I know that satisfied feeling is the same one I want my books to leave after people have read them.

If the planning seems obsessive, I’m not the only author who approaches a series this way. I read an interview with Jim Butcher several years ago. He said he’d mapped out the whole Harry Dresden series from the beginning to the end-some twelve to fifteen books-with an apocalyptic trilogy finish (his words – truly). Granted, his scale is much larger than mine, but the concept is similar.

I hope that readers can enjoy the challenge in my books without having to read each one. For those who do read every story, I hope they will finish a later book and realize that I laid the seeds for future twists all the way back in book one. Either way, my goal is for a reader to have fun reading, enjoy the characters, and for a few hours escape for intrigue, a little magic, and a happy ending!

~Kate
KH LeMoyne website – www.khlemoyne.com
KH LeMoyne blog – www.fantasypoweredbylove.com

Now that makes me want to read the entire series even more! :D

Does the synopsis make you want to read the book? I know the moment I saw the synopsis, I wanted to read the book!

Buy this great book at the websites listed below! You won't regret it:)

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
All Romance Ebooks

And I wanted to say thanks to Ms. LeMoyne for visiting my blog today and Enchanted Book Promotions for putting everything together! You guys rock! :D

Betrayal's Shadow by KH LeMoyne (The Guardians of Eden #1)



First Published: 14 April 2011
Publisher: Digital Crystal Press
Pages: 309
Format: Ebook
Finished Date: 18 January 2012

Blurb from Goodreads

What would you do to save your people from extinction?
What if your race held the key to mankind’s future?
One Guardian will risk hell to change the future.

Descended from the race of Guardians, Turen’s people have survived the last two hundred years, quarantined and isolated. Living in secrecy with no mates and no offspring, they fail to deliver on their ability to replenish and heal human souls through the birth of their Guardian children. Risking his life, Turen chooses capture at the hands of a comrade-turned-enemy to seek answers to change the future.

Mia Bowman has no knowledge of the secret Guardian race. Yet, her uncontrollable, nocturnal summons to Turen’s prison cell and her strong sense of justice leave her with little choice but to help him. She can heed his warning and stay clear of his people’s problems or she can ferret out the lies and unravel an ancient tale of murder and deceit. It will take an ultimate sacrifice to stop the unexpected evil and reverse a fatal ending to the Guardian line.

THE GUARDIANS OF EDEN:
A race of beings created in a Sanctum at the far edge of Eden. Co-existing with mankind, they safeguarded human souls and the promise of eternity—until a virus killed all over the age of eighteen. The surviving children fled to the Sanctum for protection, children raising children without the full legacy of their history and knowledge. Two hundred years of solitude have produced a race of semi-immortals fortified with powers and intellect but lacking the mates who will make them whole and allow them to fulfill their covenant with mankind


My Rating

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My Review

Betrayal’s Shadow was an amazing read. Action-packed + sweet romance = great book. I loved reading the book, and I was hooked almost right from the start. When I started reading the book, I didn’t expect much, given that I’m not that big a fan of paranormal romance. But when I read this, I was pleasantly surprised.

Turen is a Guardian. Guardians have special powers and were made to do something related to souls. I have no idea what because it wasn’t discussed in the book, merely brushed over with a few sentences here and there. Basically, they have only one mate where they can reproduce and really fall in love with. Unfortunately, hardly any of them in this age have found their mate. Make that only one. Of course, because this is a romance, Turen and Mia, the female protagonist, are mates, even though the fact is not discovered till later.

Turen and Mia meet in prison. Turen is imprisoned while Mia can somehow travel through time to reach him. Why, it will be explained in the book, albeit in a rather roundabout method. I won’t say more and spoil it for those who haven’t read the book.

The romance in the book was rather sweet. Neither of them ever thought they would end up with each other, especially not in the circumstances that brought them together. However, when they did fall in love, it was so great and so so strong that I really loved it. To be honest, it almost brought tears to my eyes the first time he admitted he couldn’t live without her. That it didn’t matter that she wasn’t her mate (he didn’t know yet). I especially loved the part when he said something along the lines of all the love that he had to give was given to her. You know, it’s just these little things that really make the romance sweet.

I enjoyed the action in the book. It wasn’t too much or too little. All of the fight scenes were shown fully in detail and that I was something I really liked. The pace was good too. However, at times I felt that the book suddenly jumped forward without enough warning and that left me a little surprised at times. But its really nothing much.

The character development and how the characters were depicted was something I really liked. Not once did the characters do things out of the norm. There was good character development and I really liked how Mia grew as a person. At first, she was rather shy, timid and even a little weak. But at the end, she really impressed me with her bravery and strength.

Another thing that I liked was that the book wasn’t too predictable. Sure, I could guess some of the more obvious plot lines. But most of the time, things would happen that I would never have expected. It got a little too much though. Sometimes, I wasn’t sure exactly why that particular plot was introduced at that point.

Though I really liked this book, I’m hesitant to give it a full 5 star rating. Several reasons. The description of the creatures and places in the book left me a bit confused. But then again, it could just be me not being very adept in visualizing from description. Especially paranormal things. I think that took away a bit of the appreciation that I had for the book. This was because I like to be able to see the scenes in my head while reading. And actually I could, its just when the creatures came, that it left me a bit puzzled. But as I said, this could be just me. Another thing I didn’t really like was the resolution. I found it a bit too abrupt. It happened too quickly for my liking. Sure, everything was resolved, but I just found it too fast. And as I mentioned earlier, the souls part was a little confusing. Even after the whole book, I have no idea the real use of Guardians other than them having to take care of souls or something like that. To me, I felt that it really should have been explained, because it is their main duty and why they were created in the first place.

All in all, I found this to be a great book. It had a good plot, and I felt the book was set well for a series. I look forward to reading more of this author’s books. Definitely a read worth taking the time for. I was really addicted by it, and could not put the book down despite having rather pressing things to do. I read it in about 1-2 sittings. Definitely a recommended read, especially to those who enjoy paranormal romance with a lot of action in it.

P.S. If there is any grammar/spelling/typo errors, forgive me. I’m typing this without my specs on and its almost 5, I don’t have full mental capacity now! :P


Dancing at Midnight by Julia Quinn (Splendid Trilogy #2)



First Published: 1 December 1995
Publisher: Avon
Pages: 375
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Finished Date: 8 January 2012

Blurb from Goodreads

Lady Arabella Blydon can sense the secrets smoldering behind the dark, penetrating gaze of Lord John Blackwood. Still she desires his handsome, mysterious stranger who stirs her passions like no other man--even as he warns her to stay away.

War scarred Lord John's body and soul. But this brazen, intoxicating, infuriating bluestocking poses an even greater threat: she is forcing him to care again. For Belle is a woman of bold, independent spirit, equally unconcerned about society's petty restrictions and love's hidden perils. And the beautiful, determined schemer will not rest until she returns joy and light to the damaged lord's life...and wins a place in his shuttered heart forever.


My Rating

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My Review

Dancing at Midnight was a very enjoyable read for me. It was very light-hearted and I found myself chuckling aloud at various points. It was very entertaining and I really loved the romance between the characters.

John and Belle are two completely opposite people. One is so sunny, nothing ever fazes her, the other is just tortured and tormented. But somehow, they fall in love. Then again, opposites do attract, don’t they?

At times I couldn’t stand John. He is so affected by the event in his past, then it affects his self-confidence, to the point where it affects his identity. It gets really annoying when he lets that stand in the way of him loving Belle. If Belle hadn’t loved him that much, he would have lost her. By his own hands. Because he was stupid enough to think that he wasn’t good enough for Belle, because of what he experienced in the past. He took an angry woman’s words as fact and it affected him so badly.

Belle is her usual sunny self. She is a very interesting character to read about and I really loved her. She just brings joy to the book, I feel. In the beginning, she desperately wanted John to like her, so much that she kept visiting him. Though people may feel its rather shallow, that she wants to be liked so much, I don’t really feel that way. I mean, Belle has always been loved by everyone around her, for someone to take an active dislike towards her is something she has never experienced and of course, she would want to rectify that.

There are several things I loved about the book. The dialogues were always interesting and witty. I found myself laughing out loud many times during the course of reading. I think the thing that really stands out is when John tries to recite poetry to Belle. Belle wants him to write his own poem for her, but he refuses to, saying he can’t. Instead, he tries to pass off other poets writing as his own. As in, he recites them to Belle, hoping that she’ll believe its his own. And Belle tries to circumvent him in that by reading tons and tons of books of poetry. It was really funny actually! I enjoyed the plot too. Though I hated John’s first reason of letting Belle go, I could totally understand why he wanted to avoid Belle when he found out someone was trying to kill him. It was interesting, though I had more or less figured out his would-be killer for quite a long time. And when it was all resolved, Persephone is shown to be amazingly smart and brave. That woman should get her own story. A pity she’s kind of old. But then again, who said age had to matter when it comes to affairs of the heart?

I also loved the characters in the book. Belle’s character is developed a lot more here, and we even see Alex and Emma (from Splendid) here. Their love never fails to touch my heart. I still love it when I read about Alex giving Emma tender looks and being so protective of her! It’s just so sweet and it really truly screams true love. Alright, that’s not really pertinent to the plot, but I just had to say it. John was a pretty interesting character and it was fun reading about him. Even though he was a very tortured person inside, it’s really amazing when you see how love changes all that. For a man who hardly ever smiled, to be able to laugh so freely around the woman he loves just shows me how amazing love is. The pace of the book was alright, not too fast and not too slow. But I do have several complaints.

I found the part before they went to London to be a little repetitive. I mean, it was kind of the same thing over and over again. Its not that it wasn’t interesting, it was. But I felt that a lot of unnecessary time was spent there because about the same events were repeated. Like them bumping into each other almost everyday. It was only when they were both in London and he really started courting her that the pace picked up. From there, it was an amazing read.

Oh yes, I also felt that they defeated John’s enemy, not saying who, a little too easily. I mean, he was quite a big part of the book and it was because of him that a lot of events happened. But the conflict was rather short, and thus a little disappointing. I did love Persephone’s part in that though. It was amazing. She fazed every single person in that room, even the men. Just for that, I love her. You wouldn’t expect it of her, thinking she’s a pretty shallow person. But let me tell you, that woman has a devious brain.

Alright, I just wanted to talk about my favorite parts for a while. As I mentioned earlier, I really enjoyed the poetry part. And the poem he finally composed at the end? I thought it was the best out of everything he had recited. I mean, that was from the heart. Another of my favorite parts was when John climbed into her bedroom. That marriage proposal was so so sweet. My mouth just dropped when I read it. Sigh, that was just so perfect.

Though there were several parts that were quite slow in the book, all in all, I really loved reading it. This was a very fun read and I really vividly remember myself smiling to myself every now and then while reading the book. No, it isn’t worth 5 stars, but definitely 4 stars. Now, I may be rather lenient when it comes to ratings, but well, I get very emotional easily, so a lot of books are great to me! I really enjoyed reading this book!


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