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Monday, 28 May 2012

At Least You Can't Cancel A Book!


Summer is fast approaching, which means our favorite TV show's have been in 'finale' mode. The wait is on for next Fall to play catch up with our favorite stories and characters, if they were lucky enough not to make the chopping block.
This is a book blog, so how is television relevant here?

Let’s go back in time shall we, to a simpler time…..(for me anyway!) the early 90’s to be exact. I believe I was about 12 years old. A friend of mine and avid reader, showed me the book series she was reading by L.J. Smith she thought I might like.  I took one look at the cover and knew immediately that I was going to be hooked on The Secret Circle.
Yes, I did it!! I went against everything I was taught and judged a book by its cover! ;) I borrowed from the library and went and bought the copy I could never seem to get my hands on.




Previously it was a trilogy, later published as two separate novels. “The Secret Circle-The Initiation and The Captive” and “ The Secret Circle -The Captive Part2 and The Power”
 More recently (this past spring to be exact!) 'The Secret Circle-The Divide' was released! YAY! The story continues, (written now by Aubrey Clark ) and the ending suggests yet another book! (I have been frantically searching the 'inter-ma-net' looking for clues as to when it's released so I can pounce!)
 **Update as of June 1st** The next novel 'The Hunt' is rumored to hit shelves on Sept. 11/12!!

The Secret Circle (the novel) is about a teenager named Cassie, who moves with her mother to New Salem to live with her grandmother. She starts at the local high school to discover that because of her address, people give her a wide berth. There are some kids that stand out to her and as it turns out, they all live on her street as well. Feeling lonely, awkward and out of place, she befriends Diana (the leader of ‘The Club’) and slowly learns that she is a witch, from a long line of witches. She joins the club, due to a tragic 'opening' in the Circle, but some of the members aren’t happy about it, mainly Faye and her crew.
It turns out Cassie has amazing powers, so powerful for someone new, it startles and impresses.

The books follow Cassie as she tries to hide her feelings and connection with Adam.(Diana’s boyfriend) 
She learns how to use her magic, deal with the ‘not so nice’ people, witch hunters, and ultimately her evil father who has come back from the dead to rule the Circle. Oh and did I mention how she has to find and learn to use the "The Master Tools".... Lot's going on!

I love a good ‘witch’ novel, so you can imagine I wore my copies of this out, and now they are loaded into my trusty Kobo!

I had said for YEARS that this series should be made into a movie. You can imagine I was absolutely thrilled, excited, ecstatic, elated when I discovered that CW had picked up The Secret Circle as a television series!!!
That automatically became my ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ television show.  
I am typically not one to get involved in a TV show to the point I ‘HAVE’ to watch it. After all, I prefer a good book to television anyway. This show on the other hand was an automatic favorite and I hadn’t even seen it yet.

I was mildly irritated when you learn early on that they really stray from the original story that the author wrote.  It’s always true, the original novels are always far superior to anything Hollywood comes up with. You have character name changes, characters removed (Circle of 12 becomes 6), different twists and turns, even the setting was changed slightly (New Salem became Chance Harbor). At the end of the day, I unable to tell you which one I actually enjoyed more, the book or the show. (Pssst, for the record they are both totally awesome)

A week or so ago, a day after the amazing season finale, the announcement was made. The show had been canned after its first season! UNREAL!!! It was Jericho (previously my Do Not Disturb show) all over again!! Twitter was in an uproar, as was I! You know I am all about a TV show when I sign petitions to save it.
Sadly, it could not be saved, the series is over.  As dead as the evil John Blackwell (aka John Blake, aka Black John) Rumors are swirling that it 'may' be picked up by another network due to the cult following, but I refuse to get my hopes up!

Some people are trying to tell me that I should hop on L.J Smith's more successful  TV series “Vampire Diaries”  I’ll pass. I find Vampires over done. It's time for them to move aside and let Witches have a go!
(Sorry Twi-Hards)
I recommend this series if you are looking for something for the young adult in your house, Or simply, if you are just young at heart and love a good "witchy" read.
The moral of this story, well I have a few:
A “book” can never be canceled.
It’s truly amazing when you can watch a favorite story come to life no matter what.
The CW network sucks.




Saturday, 19 May 2012

Embattled and Empowered by Darlene Jones

Twitter is a wonderful tool for authors and readers alike to connect with one another. Since joining the "Twitterverse" (out of supreme sleep deprivation and boredom) my eyes have been opened to the world of Independent Authors and the stories they have written. Like a kid in a candy store, I am loading up my Kobo with their books!

My first "Independent Author" Blog goes to Darlene Jones.

I am currently reading her book 'Embattled'. Ms.Jones has written an unique story about a woman "Em" who is leading the ultimate double life. She's suddenly a 'superhero' dubbed the "Miracle Madame", and is saving the world, one step at a time. Em has no idea why she suddenly has this gift. It's as confusing at it is wonderful. As it turns out, she is being 'helped' by an other-worldly being named Yves, who chose her to help the World. He's new to being a Guardian, so 'Embattled' is a learning experience for both of them.
It's an interesting take on the pain and suffering in our world and what would we do if we had the 'super' power to make it a better place. You can tell the author is connected on a personal level to the story. She paints a vivid picture of what's wrong in the world and what needs attention.
I'm looking forward to seeing what Empowered has to offer!

I asked Ms. Jones to send me a blurb, and here is what she had to say!



"Living in Mali - the experience that started it all 


A long time ago, I lived in Mali. Every single day, I wished I could wave a magic wand to relieve the heart wrenching poverty. My experiences there led to the writing of EMBATTLED, which reflects my desire to wave that wand and make the world a better place—if only wishes could come true.

Initially, I intended to write “a” novel. The story and characters took over and the ending demanded another. EMPOWERED is that “other.” I've always believed we can't be the only beings existing in the vastness of the universe, There must be others “out there somewhere” and I'd like to believe they're not all that different from us. Those beliefs are reflected in my writing. My novels stay, for the most part, within the realities of our world, but I've found that I love the magic the sci-fi element of other beings could bring to a story.
In my first book, EMBATTLED, Em’s life is taken over by beings from “out there somewhere,” beings who want to make the world a better place. Problem is the being in question, Yves, is a rookie on his first assignment. Of course he messes up.
EMPOWERED continues the story as Yves is given a second chance. This time Jasmine, fueled by the visions she experienced as a child, sets out to do her bit of good for the world convinced her soulmate is anxiously waiting for her. Of course, Jasmine doesn’t expect problems. Her soulmate thinks she’s nutty as a fruitcake and Yves will find that he has to put her in danger to accomplish the goals set out for Earth on this go round.
But the story doesn’t end here. Book three, EMBRACED, will take readers on another wild ride with Yves and his adventures on Earth. Is there a happily ever after? Of course. In book four" 

Visit Darlene at her website: www.emandyves.com  to find out more!


Sunday, 13 May 2012

The American Heiress


For Mothers Day, I ask for nothing more than extra hugs and kisses. I am already spoiled as mom to the best little girls a mother could ask for. My children and my husband surprised me however, with beautiful gifts. I received a lovely framed picture (see photo below) my 8 year old made for me at school, a ‘mommy medal’, flowers, and gorgeous antique jewellery. We spent the day shopping,went on a long walk and ordered Chinese food.



I love my family and I am so blessed and lucky to be able to say they are mine.

Speaking of Mother's Day. I know it is coming to a close, but I have the perfect gift suggestion for Mom’s who love to read. I spent much of my weekend, relaxing on the couch reading "The American Heiress". A book I came across while searching the Kobo website for the next novel to jump out at me.

Written by Daisy Goodwin, this is a stunning tale set in the late 19th century, is one I highly recommend. I didn’t know what to expect during the first chapter. I actually had second guessed my purchase within the first few pages, luckily the story took off. It captured my attention, hook, line and sinker.
In this novel we meet Cora Cash. A young, immensely wealthy American Heiress, with an ostentatious, strong-willed mother who takes her to England to find her a titled husband. An riding accident brings her into the path of the Duke of Wareham, a very eligible bachelor. Cora's life quickly changes and she finds herself married and is no longer is under her mother’s suffocating wing.


Cora has to find her own way in her new role as wife and Duchess now that she is free from her overbearing mother. She's very headstrong, but has her weaknesses. She is oblivious to all that is going on around her, and doesn't have anyone to really guide or advise her.
Ivo, The Duke is not your typical romantic hero. He's vague and mysterious, which is a pleasant change from other romantic novels. As a reader you continuously ask yourself if he's good, or bad. I won't tell you.... that's for you to find out!

The story is incredibly written from several points of view.The characters are immensely flawed. One minute you find yourself liking someone, the next, yeah…not so much. There were times I wish I could jump into the novel yell at a few key players (You know you are absorbed in a book when....)
It’s tasteful, elegant, and something I can recommend to my mother. (Apparently she wasn't amused with my Fifty Shades of Grey suggestion......)

I would love it if this book ended up with a sequel. The ending alone leaves you wanting more. So much so, I actually went back and re-read the last few chapters again.


The perfect way to give this book would be in a gift basket, with a bottle of wine, and a box of chocolates.

The perfect way to set the mood for this book is with a glass of wine and a box of chocolates! ;)

Want to know more? Click the link to learn more about The American Heiress at Chapters.ca

You and your mom will love it!




Friday, 11 May 2012

Into The Dreaming

 
Do you love losing yourself in the world of Romance? Paranormal? Fantasy? If you are like me, than the answer is a resounding 'Hell Yes!!' Well, enter Karen Marie Moning, and the page-turning fantasy worlds she has created! If you haven't heard of her before, than clearly, you haven't read some of my other blogs. (What's stopping you? Get on it already!)

To those who have read my previous KMM blogs, yes, "I know" I have written about this author before, but after reading it, I felt compelled to tell you about her novella 'Into The Dreaming - With Bonus Material'!

What is the deal that I 'had' to blog about it. Here it is:

 Like a shy kid at a high school dance, this book is off in the corner on its own, but can fit in with the rest when you drag it onto the dance floor. (No I am not telling you to dance with the book, it's my metaphor and I'm sticking to it!) If you have read either of her series, you will find that the book stands alone, but works well with between both worlds.

Here's the gist: A Highlander named Aedan MacKinnon  is tricked into making a deal with The Unseelie King and ends up trapped in the Unseelie realm. The Fae (Seelie) Queen gets wind of this, and decides to work some magic to help ruin the kings plans. Enter Jane Sillee who lives in modern day time. She has very detailed and romantic dreams about her Highland Hottie named Aedan. They are very vivid and real to Jane and with good reason. Needless to say, in 'the real world' she has some obstacles to overcome. Including making Aedan remember....
It's time-travel, fairy, fantasy and romance all in one short story and that is all I am giving you. If you want to know more, you'll have to read the novella to see what happens!

Into the Dreaming has been in paperback before, yet this newest release is chalked full of bonus material. I naturally enjoyed reading the story, but I will admit, the reason I wanted to bring this to your attention was due to the 'extras' that KMM was kind enough to include!

Inside there is a book proposal that in my opinion should see the light of day! It's a paranormal romance, but takes on a different twist than her other novels. It is too bad, it never came to be, as it would have been an intriguing romance!! (Do you hear me publishers!!! Listen to the Karen Marie Moning Fans we want the WHOLE story!!!! NOW GET ON IT!!)

Ms. Moning also treats us to a narration, filling us in a bit on her journey as an author. I enjoyed reading the ‘behind the scenes’ aspects of it. I’m always interested in what makes an author tick, how a story came to be, etc.. Sometimes I just don’t have the time to pay attention to the interviews (unless they end of on The View) or the fan pages, websites etc.... Having these included with the novella was a nice touch!

And there is more still! 

For those who are a fan of the Highlander series, we are treated to deleted scene from “Kiss of the Highlander”, as well as what ‘could’ have been the novel “The Dark Highlander”, thus dubbed 'The Dark Highlander Lite'. It was too soft to be Daegus MacKelter's story. As a reader, I loved having the chance to read the original, unedited story and compare it to what I know was eventually was printed. It was a real treat.

Ms.Moning also shares the opening of ‘DarkFever’ (a novel I have previously blogged about!), and a look into her Graphic Novel ‘Fever Moon’

'Into the Dreaming with Bonus Material' is a short read, I recommending picking it up if you are a fan of her work or are just curious to see what she has to offer!

I have attached her website for the curious!

As KMM would say, 'Stay To The Lights'





Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Harlan Coben - Because Lucy Says So!



I am back from my Family Vacation, have suffered through a virus, caught up on housework and gardening!  FINALLY  I have time to sit down and fill you in on my latest book fascination!

First off, I want to thank those of you for reading, the positive feedback, comments and the book suggestions. From the bottom of my heart, I truly appreciate it!

Today I find myself blogging about the most recent book I have read.  So recent in fact, I started it yesterday afternoon, and finished it by midnight. Dishes can always wait until morning and my children were kind enough to go to bed on schedule! My husband always rolls his eyes when I get sucked into a new book. He's still complaining about my Fifty Shades read-a-thon! (Silly man needs to read it too! Two words... Inspiring and Flogger!) I digress.....

The book that I couldn't put down: "Stay Close" by Harlan Coben.
A mystery/thriller that revolves around an old murder that has come back to haunt the main characters later on in life. It follows a suburban mom with a dark past, a photographer (paparazzi) for hire, and a detective. The book is written in several points of view, and I was pleasantly surprised that when I thought I knew what would happen next, the author didn’t quite follow the stereotypical plot twist. Hallelujah! I always hear the angels singing when that happens! It made the book a page turner as I was constantly suspicious and thrown off track. 
I have it on good authority that in fact all his novels are like that!

One thing that really stood out to me about this novel, was how he portrayed the mom, Megan. I don't want to ruin the story line as to why, but he really captured a stay at home mom's psyche very well. Especially one torn between past and present "polar opposite" lifestyles. If I had one question to ask him, it would be: Mr. Coben, did you research or discuss Megan's emotions and thoughts with a female, or were her thoughts based on your ideas of how a woman in her position would feel . I personally thought he hit the nail on the head. I am curious if anyone else agrees.

I won’t lie, I did figure out ‘whodunnit’ early on, and even why. However, I’ll attribute that to my super sleuth skills and not the author's story. There were a few times I questioned my decision and started to lean toward other possible guilty characters and motives. Thank you for keeping me on my toes Mr. Coben!

My cousin Lucy was the one who recommended this author to me. She is a huge Harlan Coben fan, so I felt it appropriate to have her contribute to this blog! This is what she had to say!

“I’m not a big book worm – in fact rarely read- but I was bored on holiday a few years ago and my dad gave me one of his holiday books “PLAY DEAD” by Harlan Coben to read. I literally read it in a day and a half could not put it down! That’s when my addiction to his novels started. When I got home, I signed up to my local library read all the Coben books they had. I then purchased the others books which weren’t available in the library. One of his books I could not find anywhere. One day, I was at the airport with my wee sister. Our plane was 3 hours delayed so I thought I’d go and look in the book shop at the airport and I found the book!! I came back from shop totally “cheesered “– my wee sister on the other hand was less than impressed as knew how anti-social I became when I had a Harlan Coben book (yes I’m obsessed). Everyone I have recommended to has become as hooked as me…. always wanting to borrow more of my books!
 
Harlan Books for me are total page turners – I literally cannot put it down. There are so many twists, turns and red-herrings in them. Even when you think you have “solved” the crime right at the end there’s always a big reveal or twist which you never saw coming but always makes so much sense. His Myron Bolitar series also features his best friend Win and makes for comical reading as they are like a double act – but Win is someone you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of. There are other characters that make appearance throughout the books. I love it when one of my fave characters pop up! His books are just so clever, intelligent, fast paced and can be dark at times. As soon as I have finished one of his books I am so gutted that its over and know I have to wait another 6 months till his next book. Go read one of his books… you won’t regret it! Harlan Coben is so awesome he replied to my Tweet…. And then replied again with more information! One cool dude!"

Also compliments of Lucy, some information on his other novels! 

Myron Bolitar Series in order:
DEAL BREAKER, DROPSHOT, FADE AWAY, BACK SPIN, ONE FALSE MOVE, THE FINAL DETAIL, DARKEST FEAR, PROMISE ME, LONG LOST, and LIVE WIRE

Stand alone books :
TELL NO ONE, GONE FOR GOOD, NO SECOND CHANCE, JUST ONE LOOK, THE INNOCENT, THE WOODS, HOLD TIGHT, CAUGHT, STAY CLOSE, PLAY DEAD + MIRACLE CURE

He’s started a teenage series as well, with Myron Bolitars nephew. Only one book released so far called SHELTER”

If you have never heard of Harlan Coben before, take it from Lucy and I, if you like mysteries and thrillers, you need to give him a try!

I will certainly be adding more of his books to my reading list!!