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December 2012 New Book Releases I'm Dying to Read and My Book Buying Ban Conclusion!

I've got The Farm  ARC and ecopy of Gilded as well because the first book, Tarnished, was awesome!

How about you? Any of these are on your wishlist?

Today is the last day of my book buying ban. I'm happy to say that  I've reached my goal of 10 books left from my old TBR pile.

Of course I have a new TBR pile right now due to all paperbacks I've bought on my weekends away (yes, I've left myself a loophole of buying books on holidays) and the offers I utilized on Black Friday...
However, none of these were touched during the ban which allowed me to plow through the books that have been on my bookshelves for more than a year gathering dust and feeling neglected by yours truly :D

I have 5 paperbacks in Russian left which I'll go through before Christmas as I'm fairly busy with guest posts and giveaways and don't need to review as much. They were last year's Christmas present and due to an intense schedule on the blog I was unable to touch them - let's face it who'd be interested in reviews of books in Russian which most of my readers won't be able to read anyway? :D I thought so.

So, the conclusion is I've done it and learned something important about curbing my review requesting and buying impulses.
I will have quota of bought and requested books each month and will try to stick to it.
Ideally I'd try to have no more than 30 books on my TBR pile at a time, which means that my December-January quota is almost reached, wait until you see my insane book haul this Sunday!)

Here you go, happy ramblings end.
*throws confetti*

Urban Fantasy Review: Chasing Magic by Stacia Kane

Chasing Magic by Stacia Kane (Downside Ghosts #5)


 Synopsis from Goodreads

Magic-wielding Churchwitch and secret addict Chess Putnam knows better than anyone just how high a price people are willing to pay for a chemical rush. But when someone with money to burn and a penchant for black magic starts tampering with Downside’s drug supply, Chess realizes that the unlucky customers are paying with their souls—and taking the innocent with them, as the magic-infused speed compels them to kill in the most gruesome ways possible.

As if the streets weren’t scary enough, the looming war between the two men in her life explodes, taking even more casualties and putting Chess squarely in the middle. Downside could become a literal ghost town if Chess doesn’t find a way to stop both the war and the dark wave of death-magic, and the only way to do that is to use both her addiction and her power to enter the spell and chase the magic all the way back to its malevolent source. Too bad that doing so will probably kill Chess—if the war doesn’t first destroy the man who’s become her reason for living.

 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond


* * *
 Half a point less stronger than the previous book, Chasing Magic still managed to rock my socks. I just feel completely at loss for words. How Stacia continues writing such excellent UF series book after book

New winner for Gratitude Giveaway!


The email has been sent.
First winner, Catie, didn't get back to me in the alloted time, so winner has been redrawn. Sorry, Catie.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fantasy Review: The Bandit King by Lilith Saintcrow

The Bandit King by Lilith Saintcrow (Romances of Arquitaine #2)


Synopsis from Goodreads
Tristan d'Arcenne is what he always wished to be--Vianne di Rocancheil's Consort. But Vianne is no more a noblewoman, she is the Queen of Arquitaine, faced with treachery, invasion, war, and a Consort whose secrets may well shatter their marriage. For before Tristan was hers, he belonged to a King...and that King died by Tristan's hand.

Arquitaine needs them both. The country is locked in a deadly game whose rules change by the moment. The Queen is an adept player, but hardly ruthless enough. The contest requires a man who has nothing to lose, a man who has already done the worst and will continue to do so for his wife, his country, and his own salvation.

The Bandit King approaches...

  Amazon kindle US($4.99)/UK(£2.99)


* * *
 I really loved The Hedgewitch Queen, book #1 in this series. A bit like Maria V. Snyder's writing it was just charming and fast-paced enough to have your undivided attention till the very end of the book.

However, The Bandit King is written from Tristan's point of view, so there is no Vianne's input only his descriptions of her actions which makes the book pretty dry and emotionally exhausting. He goes through some really deep, painful feelings, gets his heart broken and all his hopes crushed.

Urban Fantasy Review: Shadow Kin by M.J. Scott

 Shadow Kin by M.J. Scott (The Half-Light City #1)


Synopsis from Goodreads
Welcome to the Half-Light City.

Imagine a city divided. On one side, the Night World, ruled by the Blood Lords and the Beast Kind. On the other, the elusive Fae and the humans, protected by their steadfast mages. A city held together by nothing more than a treaty-and even then, just barely...

I was born of a Fae mother, but I had no place amongst her kind. They called me "soulless." An abomination. Perhaps they're right...I'm a wraith, a shadow who slips between worlds. I was given into the service of a Blood Lord who raised me to be his most feared assassin. Still, I'm nothing more than a slave to my master, and to the need that only he can fulfill...

Then he orders me to kill Simon DuCaine, a powerful sunmage. In the blaze of his magic, my own disappears. Instead of seeking revenge, Simon shows me mercy. He wants to free me. But that's one thing my master and his kind will never allow.

And even if I thought I could trust Simon, stepping from the shadow into the light isn't as simple as it sounds...

 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK


* * *
 Maybe I'm spoiled with good urban fantasy, but I was slightly underwhelmed with Shadow Kin.



Dita S.
who won a copy of Planesrunner by Ian McDonald

  Catie T.
who won her choice of a book in my Gratitude Giveaway 

Emails have been sent, ladies!

I also wanted to thank you all for participation and cheer you up. 
Stay tuned because December will be full of awesome giveaways.
My purse will be in hysterics but you are all worth it.


Early Review: Demon's Curse by Alexa Egan

Demon's Curse by Alexa Egan (Imnada Brotherhood #1)

Egalley thanks to Pocket Books

Synopsis from Goodreads
A fast-paced and captivating debut—the first in the dark and sexy Imnada Brotherhood series about shape shifters in Regency-era England.

A rising star on the Covent Garden stage, Bianca Parrino believes she has everything she wants. Independence. Wealth. And a life finally free of her violent, abusive husband. But when her close friend, Adam, is murdered, and Bianca is suspected in his death, she is unwittingly drawn into the search for his killer, and soon must question everything she believes—about her friend, about herself, and about a world she never knew existed.

A member of the mysterious race of shape-shifting Imnada and part of an elite military unit, Captain Mac Flannery gathered intelligence during the Napoleonic wars. As a result of a savage massacre, Mac and the men he served with are cursed. Now one of them has been found murdered, and Mac suspects the existence of the Imnada has been discovered at last. His only link to unearthing the truth is the beautiful actress who turns up unexpectedly at Adam’s funeral.

Before long, Mac has more to contend with than Bianca’s overt mistrust, his ill-fated attraction to the haughty and beautiful actress, and his ongoing search for an end to the curse. Because Adam’s killer is back, and Mac is next on his list.

Release date: December 26th 2012.

 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK(£3.74)


* * *
Unfortunately this is one of those books that really didn't work for me. I know plenty of people love paranormal romance by Jennifer Ashley, Jacquelin Frank or Kresley Cole. I'm not one of them, but if you are, don't discount this book because of my very short review.

Book Buying Ban #16 or My Last Sunday of It!

Five more days, and the ban is finished! FIVE MORE FREAKING DAYS! I feel really happy now, peeps ;))) How has your week been?

Here is what I've read:

SACRIFICIAL MAGIC and CHASING MAGIC were freaking fantastic. I love Stacia Kane, she is always on my auto-buy because the quality of her writing is unbelievable. I open her books and I know full well I'll be hooked from the first sentence. That's how amazing she is! GEEKOMANCY was adorably geeky, fun and quirky, and I enjoyed it very much. At last, REVOLUTION blew my mind away, it was so great. I finished the book and it made me feel like fish out of water, dizzy and disorientated... Read it if you can, it's out of this world!


SHATTERED GLASS failed to keep me interested as the plot was eery familiar to DAUGHTER OF THE NIGHT by the same author, and ILLUMINATE just pissed me right off. I'm sorry, in which universe it's normal for a sixteen-year old to have a crash on her older employer and him hitting on her at the same time? I don't care if there is whole angel-demon vibe going on, but I did not think it was healthy and I did not care about the heroine enough to read more. The balance of power between them was right off.


18 books left

Next Sunday I'll be talking about all the books I bought using Black Friday offers. Hopefully by that time I'll finish with the books currently on my list and be free to start afresh ;)

Please, don't forget that today is the last day to enter
All winners for finished giveaways will be chosen on Monday.

Now for the promised pics from London...

Fun in Covent Garden...

Me and Tracey Sinclair
Tracey's Dark Dates bracelet made by this artist.

Center of London teeming with people in the evening!

Good old Big Ben!

Circus near St. Paul's Cathedral which struck me as ironic...

Mind-blowing St.Paul's. 
Sorry for the quality of the pics. I did not use flash often enough and most of them came out too blurry.

By sheer chance we saw Orient-Express arriving at Victoria station and sneaked on the platform to take some pics before all the poshies in their furs and evening gowns start boarding. This one is on my bucket list, peeps :)

This is it. I'm leaving you in Florence's capable hands...
 Happy Sunday and keep on rocking!

The Collector Influences, A Guest Post from Chris F. Holm

The Collector 101: A Syllabus

My Collector series – which recasts the battle between heaven and hell as Golden Era crime pulp – is in many ways a synthesis of my own nerdy obsessions, from PI novels and secret histories to religious conspiracies, with the occasional dash of tentacle-y existential horror thrown in for good measure. So I thought for this guest post, I’d talk about five books that together sketch out the recipe for this crazy word-soup of mine. They are, in no particular order…

RED HARVEST by Dashiell Hammett

This one’s a no-brainer, right? 

I mean, it’s pretty clear I stole ol’ Dash’s title for my first book in the series, DEAD HARVEST. 

Because RED HARVEST is, in my humble opinion, the greatest hard boiled novel ever written.
  It, like DEAD HARVEST, features a nameless operative embroiled in a frame-up, and forced to clean up a corrupt system against its will – but of course, Hammett’s Continental Op is a detective and not an undead collector of souls.

 Despite being published in 1929, this book is still tough and thrilling as they come. Though not as famous as Hammett’s THE THIN MAN or THE MALTESE FALCON, I’d place it at the top of any crime-fic reading list.

Steampunk Review: Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (The Clockwork Century #1)


Synopsis from Goodreads

In the early days of the Civil War, rumors of gold in the frozen Klondike brought hordes of newcomers to the Pacific Northwest. Anxious to compete, Russian prospectors commissioned inventor Leviticus Blue to create a great machine that could mine through Alaska’s ice. Thus was Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine born.

But on its first test run the Boneshaker went terribly awry, destroying several blocks of downtown Seattle and unearthing a subterranean vein of blight gas that turned anyone who breathed it into the living dead.

Now it is sixteen years later, and a wall has been built to enclose the devastated and toxic city. Just beyond it lives Blue’s widow, Briar Wilkes. Life is hard with a ruined reputation and a teenaged boy to support, but she and Ezekiel are managing. Until Ezekiel undertakes a secret crusade to rewrite history.

His quest will take him under the wall and into a city teeming with ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees. And only Briar can bring him out alive.

Amazon  US/UK(£5.59) | Amazon kindle US/UK(£3.74) | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond


* * *
 I've read Cherie Priest before but only her urban fantasy series Cheshire Red Reports which was pretty fab. Boneshaker is an example of early steampunk, and it's simply fantastic.

Intense, gripping, gritty. There are no flourishes here, nothing extra, everything is simple and pure. It's drab and deadly, and the whole plot reads more like post-apocalyptic fiction with shabby ruins of an abandoned city, toxic gas, hordes of undead and underground tunnels full of criminals, smugglers and just queer folk.

Historical Fiction Review: The King's Concubine by Anne O'Brien

 The King's Concubine by Anne O'Brien

won from The Book Pushers

Synopsis from Goodreads

A child born in the plague year of 1348, abandoned and raised within the oppressive walls of a convent, Alice Perrers refused to take the veil, convinced that a greater destiny awaited her. Ambitious and quick witted, she rose above her obscure beginnings to become the infamous mistress of Edward III. But always, essentially, she was alone... 

Early in Alice’s life, a chance meeting with royalty changes everything: Kindly Queen Philippa, deeply in love with her husband but gravely ill, chooses Alice as a lady-in-waiting. Under the queen’s watchful eye, Alice dares to speak her mind. She demands to be taken seriously. She even flirts with the dynamic, much older king. But she is torn when her vibrant spirit captures his interest...and leads her to a betrayal she never intended. 

In Edward’s private chambers, Alice discovers the pleasures and paradoxes of her position. She is the queen’s confidante and the king’s lover, yet she can rely only on herself. It is a divided role she was destined to play, and she vows to play it until the bitter end. Even as she is swept up in Edward’s lavish and magnificent court, amassing wealth and influence for herself, becoming an enemy of his power-hungry son John of Gaunt, and a sparring partner to resourceful diplomat William de Windsor, she anticipates the day when the political winds will turn against her. For when her detractors voice their hatred,and accusations of treason swirl around her, threatening to destroy everything she has achieved, who will stand by Alice then?

Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK(£3.99) | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond


* * *
As a novel, the story of a rise of Alice Perrers might seem a bit dry, but as a historical account of a magnificent woman who achieved so much way ahead of her time? It's glorious!

Fantastic ebook deals!

I am absolutely ecstatic because Nightshade continues to be awesome and now they are wishing you A Happy Thanksgiving with three fantastic ebooks you can download for free.

Description taken from Books on The Knob:

To get your free books, follow these directions:

Email happythanksgiving@nightshadebooks.com and you'll receive an auto response from us with a username, password and link to our download site where you'll be able to download the .epub or .mobi files of some of our most exciting and appropriately scrumptious titles.
You'll get a link back almost immediately via email (they've apparently set up a responder bot, rather than processing by hand, as has happened in the past). Click the link in the email and then on the web page that opens, you'll find both Mobi and EPUB download links for all three books. After you click the first link, you'll be promoted for the username and password in your email message; after that, the books download immediately upon clicking.

The books they are giving away are...

Adventure! Romance! Mad Science!

The Industrial Revolution has escalated into all-out warfare. It has been eighteen years since the Heterodyne Boys, benevolent adventurers and inventors, disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Today, Europe is ruled by the Sparks, dynasties of mad scientists ruling over—and terrorizing—the hapless population with their bizarre inventions and unchecked power, while the downtrodden dream of the Hetrodynes’ return.

At Transylvania Polygnostic University, a pretty, young student named Agatha Clay seems to have nothing but bad luck. Incapable of building anything that actually works, but dedicated to her studies, Agatha seems destined for a lackluster career as a minor lab assistant. But when the University is overthrown by the ruthless tyrant Baron Klaus Wulfenbach, Agatha finds herself a prisoner aboard his massive airship Castle Wulfenbach—and it begins to look like she might carry a spark of Mad Science after all.

From Phil and Kaja Foglio, creators of the Hugo, Eagle, and Eisner Award-nominated webcomic Girl Genius, comes Agatha H and the Airship City, a gaslamp fantasy filled to bursting with Adventure! Romance! and Mad Science!

There is a cancer at the heart of the mighty Cerani Empire: a plague that attacks young and old, rich and poor alike. Geometric patterns spread across the skin, until you die in agony, or become a Carrier, doing the bidding of an evil intelligence, the Pattern Master. Anyone showing the tell-tale marks is put to death; that is Emperor Beyon's law...but now the pattern is running over the Emperor's own arms.

His body servants have been executed, he ignores his wives, but he is doomed, for soon the pattern will reach his face. While Beyon's agents scour the land for a cure, Sarmin, the Emperor's only surviving brother, awaits his bride, Mesema, a windreader from the northern plains. Unused to the Imperial Court's stifling protocols and deadly intrigues, Mesema has no one to turn to but an ageing imperial assassin, the Emperor's Knife.

As long-planned conspiracies boil over into open violence, the invincible Pattern Master appears from the deep desert. Now only three people stand in his way: a lost prince, a world-weary killer, and a young girl from the steppes who saw a path in a pattern once, among the waving grasses - a path that just might save them all.

 Liam never knew who his father was. The town of Derry had always assumed that he was the bastard of a protestant — his mother never spoke of him, and Liam assumed he was dead. But when the war between the fallen and the fey began to heat up, Liam and his family are pulled into a conflict that they didn't know existed.

A centuries old conflict between supernatural forces seems to mirror the political divisions in 1970's era Ireland, and Liam is thrown headlong into both conflicts! Only the direct intervention of Liam's real father, and a secret catholic order dedicated to fighting "The Fallen" can save Liam... from the mundane and supernatural forces around him, and from the darkness that lurks within him.

All of these were on my wishlist, particularly Of Blood and Honey, so I am really excited to get them! 

Amazon UK  has some fantastic deals on their kindle books as well (some of them are available in US too:


Happy Thanksgiving! 
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The Night Circus
Gabriel's Inferno


In case of zombie apocalypse

Hey, guys! I feel like I should say this just in case :)
If you'd like to sponsor a fellow book addict who sometimes can't sleep at night worrying that she won't have enough books to read if internet goes down in the event of zombie apocalypse (I'm convinced it's one of the top five ways to go for human race) you can donate through Paypal to olivesandacorns at gmail dot com or buy a book through any of the links provided with my reviews which will send me a small percentage from the sale. All proceeds will go towards my enormous TBR. I will also shelter you on the remote farm in Portugal when zombie apocalypse starts provided you survive getting there. There will be books, yay?
Thank you! Love you all

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