August 31, 2011

Review: Storm Front (Audio-book), by Jim Butcher

Author: Jim Butcher
Voice Actor: James Marsters 
Title: Storm Front
Series: The Dresden Files, book 1
ISBN:  9780965725507
Publisher: Buzzy Multimedia Publishing (2002)

Go to Amazon page 

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Conjure by it at your own risk. I'm a wizard. I work out of an office in midtown Chicago. As far as I know, I'm the only openly practicing professional wizard in the country. You can find me in the yellow pages, under Wizards. Believe it or not, I'm the only one there.
With rent past due and a decent meal becoming an issue of some importance, Harry needs work, and soon. A call from a distraught wife, and another from Lt Murphy of the Chicago PD Special Investigation Unit makes Harry believe things are looking up, but they are about to get worse, much worse. Someone is harnessing immense supernatural forces to commit a series of grisly murders. Someone has violated the first law of magic: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Tracking that someone takes Harry into the dangerous underbelly of Chicago, from mobsters to vampires, while he himself is under suspicion of the crimes. One thing is certain, if he can't stop whoever is on this killing spree, Harry will be the next victim." From the Publisher (Buzzy Multimedia)


Okay, so this series has been around since forever. So book blogs are supposed to review new and upcoming titles. So what? Let’s consider this a feature and a comment on audio-books and then go on to talk about The Dresden Files.

I decided to buy this audio-book because Keryl Raist, from To Publish or not to Publish, discovered and reviewed it first (so there: reviewing for old titles still works!). She said it was a good book, but to be honest I just read as far as “Spike” before making up my mind. Yes, Spike as in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Spike, as in James Marsters... who is the voice-actor behind Storm Front.

Boy, am I glad I went with my old character infatuation!

August 29, 2011

Review: The Black God's War - a Novel, by Moses Siregar

Author: Moses Siregar III
Title: The Black God's War: A Stand-Alone Novel
Series: Splendor and Ruin, book 1
Publisher: Cup of Gold (2011)

Go to Amazon page

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Against the backdrop of epic warfare and the powers of ten mysterious gods, Lucia struggles to understand The Black One.

Her father-king wants war.

Her messianic brother wants peace.

The black god wants his due.

She suffers all the consequences.

King Vieri is losing his war against the lands of Pawelon. Feeling abandoned by his god, he forces his son Caio, the kingdom’s holy savior, to lead his army. Victory ought to come soon.

To counter Caio’s powers, Pawelon’s prince enters the conflict. Rao is a gifted sage, a master of spiritual laws. He joins the rajah to defend their citadel against the invaders. But Rao’s ideals soon clash with his army’s general.

The Black One tortures Lucia nightly with visions promising another ten years of bloodshed. She can no longer tell the difference between the waking world and her nightmares. Lucia knows the black god too well. He entered her bed and dreams when she was ten.

The Black One watches, waiting to see Lucia confront an impossible decision over the fates of two men—and two lands
” GoodReads Blurb


Remember when I reviewed The Black God’s War – a novella, in this post? Remember how I said it was an elegant, great tale and I’d be looking forward to the whole novel? Well, finally, I got my hands on it.

And I couldn’t let it go.

August 28, 2011

In My Mailbox #6

In My Mailbox, or IMM: the lovely weekly meme invented by The Story Siren where we get to show what came up new book wise, via mail or shop or computer file. Ready to see what I've got to share?

Vermilion Release

Great news! One of my works has been published today by a Daily Love Magazine and you can read it following this Link (yes, for free) and leave a comment or grade it if you want! I hope you’ll enjoy my story.

Vermilion is a flash fiction depicting parallel feelings of wonder: the blooming of the characters’ romance is reflected by the changes on a vermilion moon as it rises over the horizon during the scene.

Daily Love is a magazine edited by author E.S.Wynn, and it publishes daily tales of love of varying sizes on a daily basis.

August 27, 2011

Random Q&A #8: How long do you need to write something?

Ages, it would seem! I’m sorry about the past two weeks, I had a lot of reading backlog (though I’m afraid you won’t see the reviews till the Publication Date, somewhere between September and October).

No, seriously: I guess it depends on the day, but a review takes between one hour and hour and a half. A short story gets done in a day, no matter how many hours I need to put in, or else I risk loosing the idea. And a novel? Oh, boy... Those are still taking a year to write for me. Yes, okay, there was that one which got done in three months... but it was because I’d broken my leg and I could do nothing else! 

How about you?

August 22, 2011

Review: Prince of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence

Author: Mark Lawrence
Title: Prince of Thorns
Series: The Broken Empire
ISBN: 9780007423293
Publisher: Harper Voyager (2011)

Go to Amazon page

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“‘Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother's tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night. All that's true enough, but there's something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse.’

Once a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg's bleak past has set him beyond fear of any man, living or dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father's castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him.

Prince of Thorns is the first volume in a powerful new epic fantasy trilogy, original, absorbing and challenging. Mark Lawrence’s debut novel tells a tale of blood and treachery, magic and brotherhood and paints a compelling and brutal, sometimes beautiful, picture of an exceptional boy on his journey toward manhood and the throne.”
GoodReads’ blurb


This novel was something I had been screaming for since I started writing about... well, about writing. When I was discussing first person point of view, which is considered somewhat inferior by many, I wrote a post (that will make its way to Stories of my life if I ever write the dreaded post on World Building first) where I cried:

Give me a villain, and make me cheer him on!

And that’s exactly what Prince of Thorns has done. Jorg is not a dark hero with a tormented past. He’s not a prime example of grey-and-grey morality. He’s evil, with all four letters of the word, and he ruthlessly smothers any thought, any feeling that might make him softer. He never regrets or excuses his actions: he owns up to them, and offers, as way of explanation, what might be translated as “I do what it takes; if you don’t like it, don’t keep reading”.

But that’s the thing. I had to keep reading. In his own darkness, somehow, Jorg is a attractive to me as any white knight in shining armor I might have read about. The scary thing is, I don’t want to change him – will possibly be disappointed if he does change without an extremely good, solid reason – but I want to follow him into his bloody victory.


August 19, 2011

Random Q&A #7: Do you have some kind of life beyond your books?

Yes. I like to sketch my characters and I love playing the guitar (though I've just started learning, as of January 2011). And I hope that my loving family and caring friends know and indulge my bad creative habits...(laughs)

August 16, 2011

Review: Prince of Wolves, by Dave Gross

Author: Dave Gross
Title: Prince of Wolves
ISBN: 9781601252876
Publisher: Paizo Publishing LLC (2010)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For elven Pathfinder Varian Jeggare and his devil-blooded assistant Radovan, things are rarely as they seem. Yet not even the notorious crime-solving duo is prepared for what they find when a search for a missing Pathfinder takes them into the mist-shrouded mountains of gothic Ustalav. Beset on all sides by noble intrigue, mysterious locals, and the deadly creatures of the night, Varian and Radovan must use both sword and spell to track the strange rumors to their source and uncover a secret of unimaginable proportions. But it'll take more than merely solving the mystery to finish this job, for a shadowy figure has taken note of the pair's investigations, and is set on making sure neither man gets out of Ustalav alive...
From fan-favorite author Dave Gross comes a new fantastical mystery set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
” GoodReads blurb


This novel pertains to the sub-genre of role-playing based books, just as Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance, and I will admit that I hold a soft spot for them in my heart: for long years, I thought they were the only kind of fantasy and I still enjoy them. Now, with this small disclaimer about personal preferences out of the way...

What a surprise Prince of Wolves was! The plot presents a “quest” for the characters to solve, true, but that’s about it – Mr Gross has woven an incredibly original tale.

August 14, 2011

In My Mailbox #5

In My Mailbox, or IMM: the lovely weekly meme invented by The Story Siren where we get to show what came up new, book wise, via mail or shop or computer file. I know I said this week I'd skip but... ah, well, I have something to share alright! Ready to see?

August 12, 2011

Random Q&A #6: What music do you listen to?

That's almost as bad a question as the reading one! 

I'm always listening to music. Not 24/7, but close enough: when I go to sleep, I program my mp3 to be switched off after 60 minutes of reproduction and leave it on.

The lists on my portable device give me away as a rocker. Or rather, I guess that would be a metaller. There's Nightwish, Blind Guardian, Iron Maiden, Tierra Santa.

Currently, the bulk of my music is either J-Rock or Visual: namely, Nightmare, The GazettE and Versailles Philharmonic Quintet. All in all, powerful guitars, breathtaking solos, meaningful or inspiring lyrics and good vocalists to sing along with.

When I work, I might listen to the same stuff. Or I might listen to Wagner or Bach or Tchaikovsky. Or to the soundtrack of a movie or video game (usually, Lord of the Rings and Final Fantasy XII, respectively). Or something else altogether. The important thing is to have the music playing.

August 10, 2011

Review: Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James

Author: E.L. James
Title: Fifty Shades of Grey
Series: Fifty Shades
Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing (2011)

Go to Amazon page

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.       

The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her - but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey's singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success – his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving adoptive family – Grey is man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a passionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as the Christian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny.
Can their relationship transcend physical passion? Will Ana find it in herself to submit to the self-indulgent Master? And if she does, will she still love what she finds?

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever
.” GoodReads blurb

This was one steamy read! If you are offended by BDSM descriptions, then probably this is not the book for you... But if you don’t mind, I’d like to recommend it because it had so much more going on.

August 8, 2011

Summer Giveaway Hop - We've got winners!

Hello, everyone!

So, the time has come: everyone put on their ballot and now has chosen the lucky ones:

Print copy goes over to... SiNn!

Ebook copies go to... Darlene and donnas!

I've already sent the e-mail letting the winners know, but if someone were not accounted for in 48 hours I'll update this post with a new lucky person.

Thank you for taking part in my giveaway! It was great to host it, and I look forward to a new one!

August 7, 2011

In My Mailbox #4

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme started over at The Story Siren. Next week I'll not be home to receive any new books, so this week I went off in a spree! Ready to see what's up and coming?

August 5, 2011

Random Q&A #5: What do you watch?

I don't much enjoy watching television or films, but there are a few exceptions: The film version of Dune and of The Lord of the Rings, for example, and, why not, I'll even confess to having collector's edition of Sense and Sensibility (and of Pride and Prejudice).

Also, there are a number of interesting series out there, like Rome and, of course, Game of Thrones (both HBO products), Ninkyo Helper (a Japanese series about Yakuza where issues about society's behavior towards our elders are addressed), Alf back in the days and some others.

Mostly, though, when in front of the screen I care about entertainment and leave the deep thinking for some other time...

August 3, 2011

Review: Tempest Rising, by Tracy Deebs

Author: Tracy Deebs
Title: Tempest Rising
ISBN: 9780802722317
Publisher: Walker Books (2011)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kai, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water's temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her-and that the entire ocean's future hangs in the balance.” GoodReads blurb


Two things I want to get out of the way: first, the above blurb has a mistake, as the “gorgeous surfer” is Kona and not Kai. Second, this book is structured in five parts, but when you’re reading it actually boils down to two – the first was solidly entrenched in the four-star rating, but then the second part happened.

Okay, let’s try to do this with some semblance of organization (something I’m not well known for, but anyway). I’ll try to explain why I liked the first half or so and then move on to why it went downhill for me. This time, there’ll be some spoilers even though I usually try to keep them out.

August 2, 2011

Blog Awards

This is probably the best news I've had in a while! The amazing Jenn, from Frequent Reader, Infrequent Blogger, has tagged me for this set of blogging awards. I must say they look great and make me smile like an idiot! Here they are: