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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review: The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

Publisher: Leisure Books
Genre: fiction, fantasy
Paperback 324  pages
Book Source: the library
My Rating: 90/100

From the author's website:

What fortune awaited sweet, timid Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Considering how few of Queen Victoria’s Londoners knew of it, the great Romanesque fortress was dreadfully imposing, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met the powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadow, the Ripper and other supernatural terrors against which his coterie stood guard. She knew simply that she was different, haunted, with her snow-white hair, pearlescent skin and uncanny gifts. But this arched stone doorway offered a portal to a new life, an education far from the convent—and an invitation to an intimate yet dangerous dance at the threshold of life and death…

My Thoughts:

This was such a fun and delightful book!  Percy comes to Athens Academy from the only place she has ever known: the convent.  She looks odd and people treat her as such, but Percy is a delightful young woman, who is interested in learning and maybe, having someday, the touch, warmth, and love of man.  But that is a fantasy that will never happen according to Percy.  At least until she comes to Athens Academy where hope springs eternal.  Pretty literally apparently per the story.

Hieber utilizes Greek mythology in her story, for both the main characters and the thrust of the story.  I have always liked mythology so I think that may be why I liked this books so much.  In addition, the writing is beautiful and lush.  Hieber describes the environs in such resplendent terms, from the Gothic office of Professor Rychman to the streets of Victorian London, all foggy, dreary and ethereal.  Percy's physical appearance and abilities only add to the otherworldly feel of the book.  The story and the environment were perfectly matched and put me right in the story.

Professor Rychman is quite a character and although he became a bit tedious at times, it went with the story.  Those elements were required by the character and myth that accompanied it.  Rycham is part of a group known as The Guard.  They are charged with protecting the public from the various haunting spirits who have also been known to harm people as well.  In addition to their Grand Work, the Guard has a Prophecy to fulfill, but they have only been given clues to what it is and means.  The Guard has six members including Rychman, and each one is different and quite unique.  They all have their own personalities which shine in the story.  I liked all of them as well, and several were amusing.

The Prophecy is fulfilled at the end and it was a different and interesting twist that I haven't read in a book lately.  Again, the Prophecy is rooted in mythology.  So now that my interest in Greek mythology has been renewed, if you know of a good book about it, please let me know.  Part of the ending of  this story is typical but it has to be, due to the mythology.  I just liked how that was worked in.  This is the first in the Strangely Beautiful Series by Hieber, and I look forward to reading the next in the series.  I  hope the other members of the Guard are explored further, because they would certainly make for a good story as well.

For more information please visit Hieber's website:

[P.S. This review has been in my draft folder forever!  And I don't know why?!]

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Suddenly Sunday (April 17)

Hosted by Svea from Muse in the Fog

What's up Cupcakes?

I hope this finds you all doing well and enjoying your current reads.  As you know things have been hectic but everything is finally starting to slow down.  The two classes I have been teaching this semester end this week, thankfully.  I'll let you know the real deal behind one of them at a later time.  I also finished revising the certificate program I am now a coordinator of.  A paper on why revisions were necessary and seven syllabi, not an easy task my friends, but that is finished.  All but the meeting with University officials on Monday.  Piece of cake.

On to the books!  I've read quite a few good books lately, and now reviews need to be done.  I started writing some of them up while I was reading because my thoughts were coming fast and furious on several of them.  Other books could be described as guilty pleasures.  All in all the reading has been good.

Now on to T.V. shows, because yes, I watch those too.  Two new shows I am super excited about are The Killing on AMC and Game of Thrones on HBO.  The Killing has fabulous actors and it is written and directed so well.  It pulls you in and hooks you immediately.  Game of Thrones as I am sure you know is based on Martin's series a Song of Fire and Ice.  The books were excellent.  Again, sucked me in and it was all about the characters and what they were going through.  I felt their pain when bad things happened. Even the battle scenes were compelling.  The first three books I read quickly and the fourth book started to drag.  I can't remember if I finished it or not, but I do intend to pick it back up.  It may have been too much of one story line that dragged me down too.  Oh as for the fantasy element, it's not much fantasy.  Once upon a time there were dragons, and yes there are scary creatures beyond the wall, but not your typical fantasy.  It is more about several families struggling to rule the land.

Other shows which you should not miss are Justified and Fringe.  You really should start form the beginning for both of these shows, so I recommend Netflix over the summer to catch up.  Especially if it is crazy hot like it was last year.  Come home, put on pjs and watch some tv.  Both shows very well written and acted.  At the core of Fringe, is what would you do for the ones you love?  What would you sacrifice for the greater good?  On Justified, every character is multifaceted and tries to reconcile all these sides of themselves.  You are what you are and where you came from deep down, no matter how much you try to change yourself.  Either give in to yourself and accept it or die trying.  Plus Timothy Olyphant is easy on the eyes.

Well thats it from me for now.  Enjoy your Sunday, have a great week, and happy reading :)


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Winners of Demons are a Girl's Best Friend

The two winners of my contest for a copy of a Demons are a Girl's Best Friend by Linda Wisdom are


Congratulations Girls!  I will be in touch.  I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did :)
Thanks to everyone who entered. 


Monday, April 4, 2011

Review: Demons are a Girl's Best Friend by Linda Wisdom

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Paranormal romance
Paperback, 384 pages
Book Source: Sourcebooks
My Rating: 93/100

From Sourcebooks:

Feisty witch Maggie enjoys her work as a paranormal law enforcement officer, until she’s assigned to protect Courtney, a teenager with major attitude and a sleazy boyfriend. A group of satanic Mayans priests has decided Courtney has a drop of divine blood in her—making her the virgin sacrifice they need to release their God and rule the world.

To prevent this catastrophe, Maggie must team up with half fire demon Declan, the proprietor of Damnation Alley, an underground club and busy demon portal. Declan will be damned if he’ll allow his demon race to be blamed for the malicious acts of some evil Mayans. He decides to seduce the sexy witch in an effort to discover what the law enforcement agency knows about the Mayan’s plans, but when things get more than a little hot, Declan finds himself entangled with the sexiest woman he’s ever met…

My Thoughts:

Maggie is quite the sassy witch, who has seen a lot in her life time. Maggie is an expert at what she does, protect innocent people from supernatural things that mean them harm. Maggie is normally calm, cool, and collected, until she meets Declan. Declan makes her think about things she never dared to before, a normal life and settling down. Declan brings about such strong emotions in Maggie that she would rather forget them. He's a demon for Hades sake! Declan for his part, is not your typical demon. Not just because of his lineage, but because he wants a good honest life for himself. He has worked hard to be where he is and falling in love with a witch was not in his plans.

Both Maggie and Declan were not expecting to find love but they do. They are both a bit stubborn or strong willed, and with such strong personalities you wouldn't think they work well together, but they do. The sparks fly quickly when they meet, but the actual payoff to the romantic declarations of Maggie and Declan are a slow burn. It is not instantaneous, and I appreciate that. Supernatural or no, love at first site is a bit ridiculous. The romance in this book is very satisfying.

As for the rest of the story, I loved the world that Wisdom has created. The Hellion Guard's magical compound, the messenger ferrets, and most of all Maggie's close friends and Hellion Guard partners, a spider named Elle and an elf named Sybil, were easy to imagine and made for an entertaining read. Elle and Sybil are excellent secondary characters in their own right. Maybe they will have their own stories? Although the Spider may be a bit difficult :) The mystery aspect was also quite good because Mayan myths don't normally come up in my books. It was something different which I appreciated. As for the teenager Courtney who must be protected from the Mayans, she worked my nerves a bit, but she's a teenager, so I guess she should. I did like how Maggie saw herself in Courtney, and made her think about possibly having a family of her own someday.

Overall this was a great read, that made me forget about my toothache and I love that. Entertainment at it's finest and I am sorry I have waited so long to read Wisdom's works.

For more information about Linda Wisdom, please visit her website:

Thanks again to Danielle from Sourcebooks for ARC.

And don't forget about my contest to a copy of this fun book.  Click here for details.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Linda Wisdom, author of Demons are a Girl's Best Friend

Hello dear Readers!  Please welcome Linda Wisdom, witchy author of the Hex Series, and the new book Demons are a Girl's Best Friend, the first in her new paranormal romance series. 

Welcome Linda,

1.) Congratulations on the start of your new paranormal romance series with Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend. What was the impetus for this new series or direction?

LW:  It was actually my editor who turned this in a new direction. The title for this book was originally The Best Hex Ever and another of my witch books. She liked Declan so much and with the book having a little bit of an urban fantasy feel, she wanted to change the look of the book and the title. I love the new cover and the best thing is the cover artwork is what I originally suggested. I still consider this my a part of my witch series, but with a new twist.

2.) I’m glad that Declan is a smoking hot fire demon instead of the usual werewolf or vampire. Is there is a particular reason why made Declan a demon or was it something you always wanted to do with a character?

LW: To be honest, I can’t say why Declan turned out to be a demon. I guess it’s because I did want to try something different and I wanted someone who would be equal to Maggie. I already used a vampire and Jake as the shifter, so time for someone new. Declan worked out from the first scene.

3.) Maggie the witch in Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend is quite sassy and I love that about her. How does Maggie measure up to your previous female characters? Do you find yourself channeling your inner Maggie on occasion?

LW: Maggie’s definitely more kick ass. She doesn’t worry about breaking a nail and shopping is way down her to-do list, but she’s still got the girl DNA and wants to look her sexiest for her guy. She’s strong, doesn’t back down, and she’s there for her friends. And she doesn’t whimper when her life is turned upside down by a mouthy teenager. I’m sure I do channel Maggie, although I wish I had her magickal skills!

4.) This is your second paranormal series, so do you keep records of the supernatural things you have created? Is there a supernatural lexicon or encyclopedia that helps you keep your worlds cohesive?

LW: I keep a list of the characters and creatures with their histories and what they’ve done in the books. It’s easy to do since I also use them in flash fiction on my blog. They hate to be ignored. :}

5.) How do you go about creating (writing) your books? Do you come up with the supernatural elements you want first, and then sprinkle in the romantic couple and mystery, or does all it just happen at the same time? (I do things in steps and wondered if it was the same for you.)

LW: I have the what if going on. Such as with Demons Are a Girl’s Best Friend, I had the idea of using an ancient Mayan curse and linking it with the demons. Maggie had a short scene in Hex in High Heels, so I knew she’d be next, but that I’d be fleshing her out a lot more. I’m very much a pantser writer which can be scary at times. But my characters tend to chime in and tell me what’s going on next. I have probably a good 2/3 of the story figured out and many times I know the ending before the middle is strong in my head. My biggest challenge is probably figuring out which witch goes best for that particular story.

6.) When you are not busy creating spells and supernatural beings, what other things do you enjoy doing with your time? Any hobbies?

LW: Reading, of course, taking walks with my white mini Schnauzer, Barney, who will be showing up in a future book, and getting together with friends. I collect dragon, witch, and faery figurines along with Halloween Barbies.

7.) Since summer is coming do you have any wonderful vacation plans?

LW: Summer isn’t a good time for my husband to take a vacation. We’ll take day trips though. Living near San Diego gives us a lot of places to visit.

8.) What can we expect to see from you next?

LW: I have A Demon Does It Better coming next year plus I’m working on some young adult ideas and I’ve been putting my backlist books along with some original novellas up for Kindle, Nook, and at Smashwords.

Thanks so much for stopping by Linda.  I appreciate it :)


A Bewitching Woman on a Mission…

Feisty witch Maggie enjoys her work as a paranormal law enforcement officer—that is, until she’s assigned to protect a teenager with major attitude and plenty of Mayan enemies. Maggie’s never going to survive this assignment without the help of a half-fire demon who makes her smolder…

A Hotter-Than-Sin Hero with an Agenda…

Declan is a proprietor of an underground club and busy demon portal. No way he’ll allow his demon race to be blamed for the malicious acts of some crazy evil Mayans. But he’s already got his hands full when the sexy witch offers him a challenge he can’t refuse…


Linda Wisdom has published more than 70 novels with 13 million copies sold worldwide including traditional, paranormal, humor, action/adventure romance and romantic suspense. Her bestselling books have been nominated for RT Book Reviews awards and the Romance Writers of America Rita Award. She lives with her husband in Murrieta, California, where she is working on her next book, A Demon Does It Better (January 2012). For more information, please visit


Courtesy of the lovely Danielle at Sourcebooks, I have 2 copies of Linda's new book, Demons are a Girl's Best Friend, up for giveaway. 

Giveaway 411:

* Only open to addresses in U.S. and Canada.  No P.O. boxes please!
*  For one entry, leave a comment for Linda and way for me to contact you, ie email address.
* Earn an additional entry by stopping back on Monday to read and comment on my review of Demons are a Girl's Best Friend
* Deadline for entries is midnight, April 11th, 2011.