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September New Releases I'm Mad About!

Hi, folks! Here are some of September releases I'm dying to read...


...and here are September releases I've reviewed and heartily recommend!

(click on covers to read my reviews)
Special mention goes to Stormdancer, which was incredible, and my review of it will be posted next week.

What about you? What are you waiting for next month?

Review: Glamorous Illusions by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Glamorous Illusions by Lisa Tawn Bergren (Grand Tour series #1)

kindle freebie

Synopsis from Goodreads
It’s the summer of 1913 and Cora Kensington’s life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. Not only are the crops failing, but someone dear to Cora is failing as well.

In one fateful afternoon, a stranger comes to call, and Cora discovers a terrible secret about her past…a secret that will radically change her future.

Cora is invited to take the “Grand Tour” of Europe, a journey intended to finish a person’s education, to solidify an understanding of ancient culture and contemporary refinement. As she travels from England to France, with kin she’s never known, Cora encounters the blessings of a family name, as well as the curses. But when an unbidden love begins to form, she realizes the journey is only beginning….

The first book in the Grand Tour series will take readers on a journey of cultural refinement, but moreover, explores what truly informs a person’s sense of identity.


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

8/10

* * *
 I really enjoyed this book, not only because it beautifully shows Belle Epoque at its end, but because Lisa Tawn Bergren's writing is pretty vivid in itself. I remember her River of Time trilogy, and I have to admire her for massive amount of historical research of different eras she must have done for each of her books.

Review: Daughter of The Night by Elaine Bergstrom

Daughter of The Night by Elaine Bergstrom (Austra Family #4)

kindle freebie

Synopsis from Goodreads
As beautiful and cruel as a wild animal, Elizabeth Bathori cast a shadow of terror across Europe. Seducing. Killing. Bathing in the blood of the innocent. Thousands feared her savage quest for immortality--but few knew the source of her inspiration: Catherine Austra, who came to Elizabeth in the night. Catherine, who possessed the dark gift she craved. Catherine, whose full red lips held the secret of eternity...

The kiss of a vampire
.

 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US($3.99)/UK(£2.61)

7.5/10

* * *
I do love those old school vampire novels. It's like going all the way back to Bram Stoker's tale of Dracula.

This book was very dark and savage, but at the same time really interesting. The plot reminded me of a puzzle where lives of few people are described in seemingly random fashion until at some point those lives intersect, and then you understand why the author took time to tell us about those characters.

Early Review: Incarnation by Emma Cornwall

Incarnation by Emma Cornwall

Egalley thanks to Gallery Books

Synopsis from Goodreads
In the steampunk world of Victorian London, a beautiful vampire seeks out the author of Dracula–to set the record straight . . . If one is to believe Bram Stoker’s legendary vampire tale, Lucy Weston is Dracula’s most wanton creation, a sexual creature of the night who preys on innocent boys. But the real-life Lucy is nothing like her fictional counterpart—and she demands to know why the Victorian author deliberately lied. With Stoker’s reluctant help, she’s determined to track down the very fiend who transformed her—from the sensual underworld where humans vie to become vampires, to a hidden cell beneath a temple to madness, and finally into the glittering Crystal Palace where death reigns supreme.

Haunted by fragmentary memories of her lost life and love, Lucy must battle her thirst for blood as she struggles to stop a catastrophic war that will doom vampires and humans alike. Ultimately, she must make a choice that illuminates for her—and for us—what it means to be human.


Release date: September 18th 2012

 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK(£4.99) | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond

 9/10

* * *
Beautiful storytelling which very much reminded me of Gardella Vampires by Colleen Gleason.
Rich, vibrant and really engrossing. 

800 Followers Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations!

Dana C.

Dana chose these two beauties, and I hope she will enjoy both of them :)


Thank you everyone, who participated, and watch out for at least one more giveaway in September and 2 more in October *grinning* I don't know what I will be giving away yet, but as usual it will be awesome and open to all.

Ciao!

Review: Fascinated by Marissa Day

Fascinated by Marissa Day

won from The Book Pushers

Synopsis from Goodreads
Pleasure was an elusive dream... 

Alicia Hartwell has never experienced the pleasure of passion. Despite all her efforts to comprehend the notion of romantic love, it has remained an utterly foreign concept to her. Resigned to the life of a spinster, Alicia is therefore stunned when she receives a marriage proposal from the highly eligible bachelor, Lord Carstairs. ...until she met him. 

But Lord Edward Carstairs is not a normal nobleman. He's a Catalyst--able to draw magical power from the natural world for use in spells by human Sorcerers. He senses that Alicia is a victim of enchantment, one that has suppressed her erotic urges. Powerfully attracted to her, he's certain that he's the one to help her experience pleasure for the first time. 

But as Edward and Alicia's mutual passion burns hot, their fragile love and trust could be threatened by family secrets and a new magical intrigue neither imagined.

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

4/10 

* * *
It's a raunchy historical paranormal novel which means that there is plenty of not very good sex scenes and minimal amount of plot and character development.

I've read it because it's very short and easy, but did I enjoy it? No.

Book Buying Ban week #3 and karma is a bitch

Hello, my dear readers!
First of all...
Go have a look at Obvious State, Etsy based shop of graphic designer, Evan Robertson, who transforms literary quotes into these fantastic drawings.

Secondly, book bloggers are still being prosecuted for just having their opinions and ideas of free speech by the site that shall not be named. 

I was really saddened on Saturday when I found out that yet another huge and successful book blog owned by a very nice couple, Hippies, Beauty and Books... was shut down because Amanda and her husband didn't think it was worth it to keep getting harassed anymore.

I'm not surprised that members of society where it's alright to prosecute a young girl for this and fine her $45, 000 can engage in behaviour like that. 
I usually avoid vitriol, don't watch TV and read newspapers, maybe that's why small things upset me so much and really make me want to live as much off the grid as possible.

People, be good to each other. Every time you send a hateful message or troll a celebrity for daring to live their lives like we do, you know? without asking your opinion first, remember this.
Karma is a bitch.
It's all gonna come back to you three times worse than you're dishing out.

On that cheerful note, let's get back to my books, shall we?

Read:


Reading highlights of the week?

Everything else was really pleasant, but I breezed through Keeping Secret and really loved it. If you haven't read this series yet, please do! A real gem of urban fantasy and so easy to read.

Received for review:

I had a surprise package from Quercus because I reviewed the first book last year. Oh well, this doesn't set me back too much.

Total score:
78 books (13 for review)

I'm still doing well me thinks.

This week beautiful lady Joy from Joyous Reads featured my bookshelves on her Shelf Envy , so if you are interested, come and have a look.

Fab Kimberly from The Caffeinated Book Reviewer also wrote to me asking if I want her to create a button for me, she then sent me an HTML code which I never would have been able to come up with myself. I'm surrounded by wonderful people, folks, for which I'm profoundly grateful.
Thank you!

Here is my button for those of you interested.





Last bit of news, promise!
My weight loss is going well. Yoga five days a week makes me feel fantastic and more upbeat. Last week I lost 2 kg and still staying the same weight this week. Yay for that ;)

Hope you all having a lovely weekend,
lots of love and hugs!

The World-building for Shards of History, a guest post from Rebecca Roland


Please, say hello to Rebecca Roland, who is here today to tell us a little bit of research she went into writing her novel, Shards of History. Welcome, Rebecca!

The world building for Shards of History came together over time. Shards of History began as a short story at the Odyssey Writing Workshop. At the time, I'd been away from home for a few weeks and was definitely beginning to feel homesick, and so part of New Mexico crept into the setting. The story and the place loomed large in my mind, and so a few months after returning home I wrote a novel-length rough draft expanding on the short story.

I submitted the first few chapters for critique. They were the strongest chapters of the entire novel, but even then they needed clarity. My biggest problem was that I hadn't yet put enough thought into the world that my characters lived in, and my readers, smart as they are, picked up on that. So I spent a lot of time asking questions and researching. I used the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America's handy dandy list of world-building questions as a guide. You can find it here if you're interested.

With a rough draft of the novel in hand, I finally pegged the theme of the story, and then used that as the starting point for figuring out what sort of culture my characters lived in. This is the point when I went through the list of questions on SFWA's website, figuring out little details such as how people greeted one another and interacted, and bigger details such as economics and who held the power in each group of people. I researched matriarchal societies, weapons, and the flora and fauna that could possibly live in the story's world. I wrote entire scenes that showed cool details of the world and how people interacted which then ended up being cut because they didn't pull enough weight. I ended up with pages upon pages of notes, many of which I used in the story, and many of which I didn't. Hopefully this added depth to the story and made the world feel larger and richer.

Photo courtesy Jim Legans Jr.

As for the physical world itself, the setting was inspired in part by the Valles Caldera, a volcanic caldera in northern New Mexico. I knew I wanted to set my story in a large valley. The caldera is isolated, surrounded by mountain peaks and pine, fir, and aspen with a huge grassy plain in the center. The government took over a private ranch in the caldera about a decade ago. The buildings still stand, and I believe a handful of people still live there to care for the place. When I visited, a few horses were grazing in a pasture near a sprawling ranch house with a view of the valley. It felt like I'd stepped back in time to the old West.

Source

Multnomah Falls in Oregon also inspired part of the setting and the story. It was easy to imagine the winged Jeguduns of the novel flying around the falls. Standing at the bottom of the six hundred and twenty-foot falls, I felt tiny and just a little afraid imagining what it would be like way at the top, looking down. I wanted to incorporate that fear and sense of being small in the face of nature into the novel.

Thank you very much, Rebecca!


Rebecca Roland lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she writes
primarily fantasy and horror. Her short fiction has appeared in Uncle
John’s Flush Fiction and in Stupefying Stories, and she is a graduate
of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. When she’s not writing, she’s usually
spending time with her family, torturing patients as a physical
therapist, or eating way too much chocolate. You can find her online
at Spice of Life, her blog, or follow her on Twitter @rebecca_roland.


Summary

Like all Taakwa, Malia fears the fierce winged creatures known as
Jeguduns who live in the cliffs surrounding her valley. When the river
dries up and Malia is forced to scavenge farther from the village than
normal, she discovers a Jegudun, injured and in need of help. Malia’s
existence--her status as clan mother in training, her marriage, her
very life in the village--is threatened by her choice to befriend the
Jegudun. But she’s the only Taakwa who knows the truth: that the
threat to her people is much bigger and much more malicious than the
Jeguduns who’ve lived alongside them for decades. Lurking on the edge
of the valley is an Outsider army seeking to plunder and destroy the
Taakwa, and it’s only a matter of time before the Outsiders find a way
through the magic that protects the valley--a magic that can only be 
 created by Taakwa and Jeguduns working together.

Now Malia is in a race against time. She must warn the Jeguduns that
 the Taakwa march against them and somehow convince the Taakwa that their real
 enemy isn’t who they think it is before the Outsiders find a way into the valley
 and destroy everything she holds dear.

 

Just a quick note!

I'm showcasting my bookshelves today at Joyous Reads
Come say hello to lovely Joy.
I have to get ready for night shift at work, but I hope you all have a very nice evening!
Adieu!
x

Early review: The Shifting Price of Prey by Suzanne McLeod

The Shifting Price of Prey by Suzanne McLeod (Spellcrackers.com #4)

review copy from the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
Sometimes a bit of magical help might cost more than you bargained for . . .

London is hosting the Carnival Fantastique, and Genny's job has never been busier or more fulfilling. Only not everyone is so happy. The fae are in trouble again and Genny learns the mysterious Emperor may have the solution they need – if Genny can find him.

Genny needs help. She turns to the vampire, Malik al-Khan, only to find he’s wrestling with his own demons. Genny’s own problems are about to multiply too. An old flame arrives with a tragic situation, just as the police request her urgent assistance with a magical kidnap. Is it all unconnected, or can the Emperor help her solve more than the fae’s troubles?


 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK(£4.99) | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond

9/10

* * *
 I always thought that Spellcrackers.com was a little gem of a series. The latest creation from Suzanne McLeod is one of her finest.

Review: Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse #12 )

library copy

Synopsis from Goodreads
With Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), in town, it’s the worst possible time for a body to show up in Eric Northman’s front yard—especially the body of a woman whose blood he just drank.
Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.


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


8/10

* * *
 Aww, this book made me sad and slightly nostalgic, but at the same time I was feeling good reading it and enjoying Bon Temps. It was like visiting old friends...

It's all coming to an end, folks. Next book is the last one, and it feels right. Charlaine Harris finishes it on a high note and that's how it should be with any good series.

Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels World #1)

bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
Some people have everything figured out — Andrea Nash is not one of those people. After being kicked out of the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea's whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is try to put herself back together, something made easier by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend, Kate Daniels.

When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano — the male alpha of Clan Bouda and Andrea's former lover — die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate ... and must work with Raphael. As her search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, Andrea knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a backseat to saving the world ...


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

9.5/10

* * *
 Absolutely amazing! I know that Ilona and Gordan are in a bit of a shock that the book shot off onto the bestseller list, but Kate Daniels series is well known and well loved and so many people just like me couldn't wait to get their hands on a new book even if it's not about Kate and Curran directly.

Review: The Chemickal Marriage by G.W.Dahlquist

The Chemickal Marriage by G.W.Dahlquist (Miss Temple, Doctor Svenson and Cardinal Chang #3)

Review copy courtesy of Penguin UK

Synopsis from Goodreads
Miss Temple, young, wealthy and far away from home, never wanted to be a heroine. Yet her fiancé is dead - admittedly by her own hand - her companions slain and her nemesis, the terrifyingly wicked Contessa Lacquer-Sforza, still at large. It falls upon Miss Temple's tiny shoulders to destroy a deadly cabal whose alchemy threatens to enslave the world.

But Dr Svenson and Cardinal Chang are alive - barely. Exhausted and outnumbered, their bodies corrupted by a poisonous blue glass, Miss Temple, Dr Svenson and Cardinal Chang must pursue their enemies through city slums and dazzling palaces as they fight to prevent the cabal's unholy marriage between man and science.

In the final instalment of Dahlquist's epic trilogy, an assassin, an heiress and a surgeon battle against the world's most frightening evil...in an adventure that will decide everything.


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

8.5/10

* * *
 Beautiful book, complex, engrossing. You can't read it fast, as you really need some time to digest the information you are given. I've missed out on a book two as well, but the prologue in the beginning will actually give you a brief description of what happened in previous two books so you won't feel lost when the action starts right where it left in book #2.

Review: Kiss The Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton

Kiss The Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #21)

library copy

Synopsis from Goodreads
When a fifteen-year-old girl is abducted by vampires, it’s up to U.S. Marshal Anita Blake to find her. And when she does, she’s faced with something she’s never seen before: a terrifyingly ordinary group of people—kids, grandparents, soccer moms—all recently turned and willing to die to avoid serving a master. And where there’s one martyr, there will be more. But even vampires have monsters that they’re afraid of. And Anita is one of them...

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

1/10

* * *
 OMG, what garbage! I think this is the last book of LKH I will ever read. I thought Flirt was her worst book, as I gave it 0 out of 10 rating, but this is seriously close...

Book Buying Ban week#2

Hello, me dears!
Hope you had a lovely week and read a lot of clever wonderful books!

My ban is still going well, although I seem to be buying other things instead of books
*grinning*

I've received 1 book reservation from my library which sets me back, but there was nothing I could do. They bought it because I requested it as the previous copy was stolen.

Here is my beauty!


I've also started a year project of losing weight and am feeling very good about it. It involves plenty of yoga and nice healthy food. Wish me luck as I need to shed 16 kg.

Here is what I've read:


Long Ride Home is a short story, so you hardly can count it.

Reading Highlights of The Week?
All three books were incredibly yummy and I recommend them to everyone!

Total score:
81 books left (12 for review)

How was you week, me dears?

P.S. Don't forget that there is only one week left to enter my 800 followers INT giveaway!
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KARINA IS READING

READING

The Night Circus
Legacy
Gabriel's Inferno
Touch

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The Fault in Our Stars
Spin

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