Giveaways at Ex Libris

Win a steampunk necklace from Jillian Stone - Open to US only - Ends 22 July

Win a $50 USD Amazon gift card from Tracy Ward - Open worldwide - Ends 23 July

Win The Bargain by Christine S. Feldman - Open worldwide - Ends 26 July

Win a gift pack + Amazon gift card from Robbie Terman - Open worldwide - Ends 31 July

Win a gift pack from Joya Fields - Open worldwide - Ends 31 July

Win Forsaken by the Others and more H&W Investigations books by Jess Haines - Open worldwide - Ends 2 August

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Book Review: Bleeder by L.K. Rigel

Title: Bleeder
Author: L.K. Rigel
Series: Book #3 in the Apocalypto series
Number of pages: 326 pages
Release Date: 14 March 2011
Source: review copy provided by author
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, , Barnes&Noble, Smashwords

Grade: 3.5 stars

Novellus bonus!
Goodreads appetizer:
The King of Garrick wants to kill her.
The King of Allel wants to love her.
And shapeshifters stole her baby's soul!

It's been a hundred years since sea-level rise and global nuclear war wiped out most of humanity. Mallory is a chalice, one of the world's rare fertile females who contract with the kings of the Concord Cities to provide natural-born heirs.

It was supposed to be a pampered and uneventful life, but Mal becomes caught between King Garrick's scheme for world domination and the goddess Asherah's desperate plays for another god's attention.

In her struggle to survive, Mal must confront the most terrifying threat of all -- the truth of her past and the inevitability of her destiny.

My Thoughts: Bleeder is the 3rd Book in L.K. Rigel's Apocalypto series and the only full length novel, and I have to say this is the one I liked the least. In the previous books I was amazed by the unique and imaginative universe and hierarchy, societal customs L.K. Rigel had created and I was a bit disappointed because I felt that Bleeder took a step back. Don't misunderstand me, it was very engrossing and entertaining, it's just that and really raised my expectations.

I am a sci-fi newbie, I think I only read about 5 sci-fi novels, I am a romance lover at heart, but I felt that Bleeder lost part of the series' charm and uniqueness due to toning down on the sci-fi part and becoming in 95% a romance story.

The other major detail which accounts for my feelings is the heroine herself. Somehow - and though I tried - I couldn't grow to like Mallory. I found her selfish, immature, shallow and lot of time acting stupid (there were really important things, sometimes even life or death situations where it was crucial that she warned someone and even though she met them, she just never broached the subject and didn't even try to find the occasion to mention it! and this happened several times, she even went to slack on doing a legal obligation of hers for 3 years! even though it could have severe repercussions). I wasn't satisfied as I didn't see much evolution of her character, she didn't mature or acquire more substance. So sadly as Bleeder was centred around Mallory I couldn't connect well to her story.  

On the other hand a new array of supporting characters were introduced who were absolutely charming and made the novel a very memorable read! Some were evil, some were just mean, others were delightful  but they were all entertaining and so very different the ones from the others.

At some moments the exciting sci-fi elements I got used to in the previous instalments shone through, for example when L.K. Rigel wrote in detail about the life of the chalices (it sounded like a futuristic sorority! Loved how the girls had their carefree moments, bonding between themselves), their rite of passage (which very interestingly sounded more like an exam with a written thesis, oral presentation and questions) and the objective, very dehumanizing way of speaking of the "transaction". It is scary at what length the bleeders/breeders have evolved reproduction and how unemotional they are towards one of the most moving and amazing experiences in life: giving birth and becoming a mother, for them it is merely a completion of a task:
You’re trained to disconnect from all emotion. You can raise and lower your body temperature to control conception. You can manipulate your hormones after fertilization to select for gender.

This was why they said to never learn names, so you wouldn’t care so much. Why they kept pressing you to get another dog, so you wouldn’t make pets of people

Verdict: Bleeder is Book #3 in the Apocalypto series and though the plot is the most intricate one of all three and it had so much potential, I feel that due to a spoiled and shallow heroine it lost the depth it could have had. L.K. Rigel's writing is still wonderful and I wish we could have seen more of the amazing and original futuristic sci-fi world she has built instead of agonizing over Mallory's love life and bad choices. The concluding part to a fantastic and imaginative series, you should definitely start !

(I was surprised to see some reviews on Goodreads which were the exact opposite of my thoughts as in they felt that Bleeder was much better than the previous books. So I guess you'll have to see for yourself with who you'll agree at the end. :-)

Plot: 7/10
Characters: 6/10
Ending: 7/10
Writing: 8/10
Cover: 7/10 - I much preferred the previous covers

L.K. Rigel's Apocalypto series:


You can find my reviews of the previous books here:

1. Space Junque
2. Spiderwork

Buy it:

Saturday, 30 July 2011

The Secret Dreamworld of a Guest Blogger - Guest post by Birgit

The Secret Dreamworld of a Guest Blogger
by Birgit

My name is Birgit and I'm a book blogger.

Nah. Scratch that. Makes me sound like AA will come for me any minute. Besides, this isn't the most creative opening line to a guest post, now is it? Alright, this can't be so hard. After all I am a blogger, a book blogger at that, and I've written plenty of posts on my own blog. Hmmm … maybe I need to get into the right state of mind. I need to channel Stella. So maybe making a screenshot of her blog and putting it as a poster on the wall over my computer might help me get into the groove. Or is this too eccentric?

Note to self: Do not mention screenshot in your guest post!

Today I'm a guest in Stella's humble home of reading and bookaholic addiction.

A warm welcome to all her readers, making them feel nice and cozy in her bookish home. I like that, in fact … wait a minute! 1446 followers? This is an awfully big home, humble or not! That's by no definition “just a home”. More like a small town. Don't panic! Just because I'm not used to so many readers, doesn't mean I need to stress. On the contrary. 1446 people will be reading my guest post and cling to … every … single … word. I can woo them with my brilliant mind. Unless, of course, my post sucks and all 1446 readers will feel this sudden urge to slay me, because I don't live up to their expectations. Then again, maybe, if I'm lucky, only 948 wanna-be slayers will actually read it, but that will still translate to 948 stakes being aimed at me. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! Let me take a deep breath now. It doesn't have to end so tragically. On the contrary! I could use the “suck and slay” as intro to my guest post! Everyone loves vampires these days! People will love me! I could even make a little joke about inviting blood sucking readers into Stella's home. All you have to do is knock on the computer screen. I'm a genius, that's what I am. All I need now is a smooth transition from sucking and slaying to, well, the rest of the guest post. If only I could think of something, anything … darn it, those stakes are kind of distracting!

Note to self: Do not make vampire jokes!

Welcome to my guest postus at Ex Libris!

Maybe I should look up the correct Latin translation for “guest post”. Then again, who but Stella would know the difference? How many of her many followers could possibly be fluent in Latin? Let's not even go there. Stella will take it as a wee little joke and chuckle a bit. Hopefully. There is also the slight possibility she'll be seriously displeased by my choice of words. I could explain to her that I sorta copied her book review rating for this purpose. Novellus and postus. Both end with “us”. Could this make any more sense than it already does? If I rack my brain, I can almost remember a lot of “us” endings during those two years I had Latin in school. Unfortunately that was like 20 years ago. Make that 25 years. My memory ain't what it used to be. And this smells like a rejection with a huge “Guest Postus Horrendus” print across the page.

Note to self: Do not use any Latin words. At all.

Want to know what happens when you ask Stella to write a guest post for your blog? She'll *cough* borrow *cough* the idea, consequently sending out e-mails to fellow bloggers in which she blames you for the short-notice-pressure of having to compose a guest post. She'll even include a link to your blog, so everyone knows where to find the person with the “good idea of having a couple of guest bloggers over while on vacation”. Seeing how the idea was not only fantastic, but also mine, how could I ever decline?

Let's see. This is sweet and simple, a bit cheeky, but downright honest. And the last sentence even rhymes! I think that, possibly maybe, I have finally found my opening lines, woohoo!!

Note to self: Send to Stella before you change your mind aka revive those vampires!

You can find me on my blog The Book Garden or on .

Friday, 29 July 2011

I'll be away on vacation...

Hey Everyone!

As you might have heard (since I kept repeating it everywhere as some kind of mantra to get through the past week): I am going on vacation! Well actually I am already ON vacation, or at least, on my way to my vacation destination.

Though I planned some posts to go on in my absence, but I thought it would be so much more fun for you if I gave up the reins of my blog and let my blogger friends take possession of Ex Libris for the next week!

So please keep an eye on them, though they promised to behave and leave the blog in order and all tidy, I have my doubts... ;-)

So until I am away soaking up the sun and reading and relaxing, enjoy the fun and very varied guest posts they have planned for you.

And until I see you again take care! *waves*

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Book Review: Spiderwork by L.K. Rigel

Title: Spiderwork
Author: L.K. Rigel
Series: Book #2 in the Apocalypto series
Release Date: 1 January 2011
Source: review copy provided by author
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, , Free at Smashwords

Grade: 4 stars

Novellus superbus!
Goodreads appetizer:

Her fate was to hold the world together. His destiny was to tear it apart.

As a child, Durga was chosen by the goddess to save the world from sterility and extinction. Now her eighteenth birthday approaches, and Durga must take her place among the chalices, women made fertile by the goddess to ensure more souls for the universe. Durga's mission does not include love ... but Khai, the scion of Luxor, is unlike any man she's ever met.

Char Meadowlark once played a role in the goddess's plans. Now her lover, Jake Ardri, heads an emerging city-state whose enemies covet everything he has built. As Jake navigates the uneasy waters of political intrigue, his very existence is threatened. To save him, Char must share him with a chalice ... one trained to take him to the heights of sexual ecstasy.

In flagrante apocalypto: When the veil drops between life and oblivion, only love can save them from the abyss.

This review was originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.

My Thoughts: Spiderwork is the second book in L.K. Rigel’s Apocalypto series, and it being the sequel to Space Junque, the comparison arises. I thought as Space Junque was Char’s story, Spiderwork would be about Durga, but was pleasantly surprised to see that although she was certainly one of the main characters, there was enough time and space to focus on others as well: we got to revisit some characters we got to know in the first book like Char, Jake and Magda and a whole new set of characters were introduced: emerging leaders of the new empires/settlements, chalices and the inhabitants of the settlement Jake and Char have built.

I confess that I didn’t like Durga in Space Junque and because of that wasn’t really looking forward to Spiderwork, but she grew up to be a quiet and serious young woman who made me forget about the precocious little girl who irritated me with her arrogance and know-it-all attitude. It was good to see she had a more human side behind the mask of mission and that despite being the chosen one feared and respected by all she still had human emotions and needs.

The world setting became even more complex and detailed and thanks to L.K. Rigel’s writing my biggest concern and fear regarding sci-fi and fantasy (namely that I won’t be able to picture the abnormal settings/creatures/things) wasn’t realized here. Everything was described in great detail and even though I consider myself not too imaginative when it comes to sci-fi, I saw the extraordinary settings and strange species clearly.

Though the Apocalypto series has strong romance storylines and love is interwoven all through the story this series has many other focal points: it explores tyranny, democracy, politicians’ unethical behaviour, environmental issues, religious beliefs, love and one of the most important ones: reproduction. (but fear not, despite these serious issues it is most certainly not dull or boring!)

I have to confess that I was in turmoil over this specific aspect of the Apocalypto series. In this faraway future women are infertile, so when a goddess resurfaced and assembled a dozen girls giving them fertility and long life (they will live until they are 150 years), they were also given a mission: they have to populate the Earth and provide men with children. Of course through this construction these women become breeding machines, having no say in choosing the fathers or how many children they give birth to. They can’t have bonds with their babies as it would make the separation harder. The whole procedure reminded me of mail order purchases: the rulers of the settlements chose their chalice based on what kind of baby they wanted and then got the baby after the pregnancy. This inhuman and cruel, impersonal breeding upset me.

As one of the characters said:
"Not every woman who bleeds longs to become a glorified prostitute"
And that is exactly what I thought of these poor women, I didn’t see them as revered and being in enviable positions :-/

What makes L.K. Rigel’ sci-fi series very enjoyable even to sci-fi newbies like me is that despite the rich extraordinary world she creted she explores in depth her characters and their thoughts and feelings, and it is these emotional layers which make the story whole.

"Sometimes when I look at her my heart feels like it's been torn out of my chest. It hurts."
Jake about his love for Char

Verdict: I found Spiderwork even better and more vibrant than Space Junque and am looking forward to Bleeder, to see where L.K. Rigel is taking the characters and the big arch of the storyline in the third book.

This section of a song sang in the story describes the series perfectly:
"And if the old world has died, then let a new world arise
He'll live out his days, and hold her so long, hold her so strong
He doesn't even wonder now.
And he'll remain a man though the gods are changing"

Plot: 8/10
Characters: 8/10
Ending: 7/10
Writing: 8/10
Cover: 9/10 - cover perfection! It is gorgeous, atmospheric and suits the story perfectly!

L.K. Rigel's Apocalypto series:


Spiderwork is free at  and Smashwords right now so hurry, don't miss it.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Another Great Amazon Deal!

I stumbled upon this Kindle bundle yesterday evening and thought my eyes were playing tricks, but no, lo and behold

the first 3 books in Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series:

Book #1
Book #2
Book #3

together are only 9.99 USD!

So hurry before the offer ends, and .

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Mini Book Review: Nightwalker by Jocelynn Drake

Title: Nightwalker
Author: Jocelynn Drake
Series: Book #1 in the Dark Days series
Number of Pages: 370 pages
Release Date: 1 August 2008
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, ,

Grade: 5 stars

Novellus perfectus!

Goodreads appetizer: For centuries Mira has been a nightwalker—an unstoppable enforcer for a mysterious organization that manipulates earth-shaking events from the darkest shadows. But elemental mastery over fire sets her apart from others of her night-prowling breed ... and may be all that prevents her doom.

The foe she now faces is human: the vampire hunter called Danaus, who has already destroyed so many undead. For Mira, the time has come to hunt ... or be hunted.

My thoughts: Nightwalker is the first novel in Jocelynn Drake's Dark Days urban fantasy series, and despite the fact that at the beginning I could only progress slowly, that didn't keep me from falling in love with Jocelynn Drake's poetic writing. So persevere, because after the initial 80-90 pages the novel's pace picks up and the action will become a blur (in a good way).

Nightwalker is truly a literary novel! I loved the author's evocative writing style and her characterization is fantastic! Another series which I put on my Must-Read list. If you haven't read this series yet, start it, you'll be in for a treat.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Ending: 9/10
Writing: 10/10
Cover: 7/10

Buy it:

Monday, 25 July 2011

Great Amazon Kindle Deals!

You must live under a rock to not know that Amazon is having a ton of SUPER deals right now! As I didn't have time to browse the sales until now, I thought I'd make it easier for those of you who were equally busy and just highlight a few great deals that caught my eye. This list is in no way exhaustive, I just cherry picked a few I thought you might be interested in. Hurry because the sales end on July 27!

Just click on the image to go to the respective page in the Kindle store.


Some for the historical romance lover:


Some for the mystery lover:


Some for the zombie lover:


Some for the sci-fi / fantasylover:


Some for the classic lover:


Some for the YA lover:



Some for the historical romance lover:


Some for the paranormal romance lover:


Some for the contemporary romance lover:


Some for the mystery lover:


Some for the YA lover:


Some for the urban fantasy lover:


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