Giveaways at Ex Libris

Win Truth or Date by Susan Hatler - Open worldwide - Ends 31 August

Win Saved by Moonlight - Open worldwide - Ends 6 September

Win a $25 USD gift card from Robin Bielman - Open worldwide - Ends 7 September

Win a $50 USD Starbucks gift card from Victoria James - Open worldwide - Ends 30 September

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

January Flashback

After a pretty busy January, where I spent the first 2-3 weeks studying for the bar exam then the remaining couple of days catching up on all the pleasure reading I missed out on there was not much time left for sleeping :-)

Books read

1. The Last Slayer by Nadia Lee (Book #1 in the Heartstone series)
2. To Walk the Night by E.S. Moore (Book #1 in the Kat Redding series)
3. Supernaturally Kissed by Stacey Kennedy (Book #1 in the Frostbite series)
4. Blushing Violet by Ann Mayburn
5. Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter (Book #1 in the Royal House of Shadows)
6. Accused by Kate Kaynak (Book #4 in the Ganzfield series)
7. Seducing the Myth ed. by Lucy Felthouse
8. Banshee Charmer by Tiffany Allee (Book #1 From the Files of the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency series)
9. Impulse Control by Sara Brookes (Book #1 in the Sypricon Masters series)
10. Priestess of the Nile by Veronica Scott
11. Ride with Me by Ruthie Knox *
12. Sweet Enemy by Heather Snow * (Book #1 in the Veiled Seduction series)
13. One Perfect Night by Rachael Jones

Books reviewed

1. A Bit of Rough by Lucy Felthouse
2. Hired by Lily Harlem (Book #1 in the Hot Ice series)
3. The Last Slayer by Nadia Lee (Book #1 in the Heartstone trilogy)
4. Cross-Checked by Lily Harlem (Book #2 in the Hot Ice series)
5. Forever in Lingerie by Gina Gordon
6. Dangerous Charade by Elizabeth Means
7. Legacy by Kate Kaynak (Book #3 in the Ganzfield series)
8. Quarter Square by David Bridger (Book #1 in the Wild Times series)
9. The Bodyguards' Princess by Ann Mayburn
10. Banshee Charmer by Tiffany Allee (Book #1 in the From the Files of the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency series)

Books I liked the best this month

I had read so amny amazing books this month I can't narrow it down any more:

My review

"The Last Slayer was a very unique, highly imaginative and rich story which I found spellbinding and riveting. The universe Nadia Lee has created is breathtaking. I was blown away with the lush colours, rich and layered traditions and complex hierarchy of supernatural species in the story. [...] The Last Slayer is a smashing debut to a thrilling new series!"


"Banshee Charmer is a gripping, exciting debut to a fantastic new series! The mystery plot was intriguing, the world-building complex and the love story sizzling. Perfect mix and great story, I loved Banshee Charmer and I'm impatiently looking forward to the sequel!"

I loved, loved, loved this book! It was witty, funny, sexy, well written and kept me engrossed in the story from beginning to end. A terrific debut for Ruthie Knox and I SO can't wait to read more stories written by her! My detailed review will be posted on February 3rd when Ruthie Knox will stop by for an interview.

Sweert Enemy is a truly amazing novel. The writing is exquisite, the characters well fleshed out, three-dimensional and interesting, the love story is fresh and beautiful. A stellar debut for Heather Snow, I'm already counting back the days until I can read her next novel!

My detailed review will be posted on Book Lovers Inc. on February 24th where I'll get to interview Heather Snow! :-)

Book I liked the least this month

My review

Reading Challenges:

Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge: 13/170 books read, 157 to go
Romance and Me Reading Challenge: 1/12 books read, 11 to go
Historical Romance Reading Challenge: nbsp;2/10 books read, 8 to go
E-Book Reading Challenge: 11/150 books read, 139 to go
Men in Uniform Reading Challenge: 2/10 books read, 8 to go
2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge: 0/10 book read, 10 to go
Speculative Romance Reading Challenge: 5/12 book read, 7 to go
Horror and Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge: 2/24 books read, 22 to go
Mystery and Suspense Reading Challenge:3/12 books read, 9 to go
Why Buy the Cow Reading Challenge: 0/12 books read, 12 to go
Fairy Tales Retold Reading Challenge: 1/6 book read, 5 to go
Harlequin Silhouette Reading Challenge: 0/6 book read, 6 to go
Erotic Reading Challenge: 0/20 books read, 20 to go
1st in a Series Reading Challenge: 7/20 books read, 13 to go
2nd in a Series Reading Challenge: 0/20 books read, 20 to go
NetGalley Reading Challenge: 7/30 books read, 23 to go

I never can resist reading challenges (they were the ones responsible for giving me that final push to start my own a blog) and I just like to see in which categories the books I'm reading fit into.

If you like romance and you would like to challenge yourself and discover some romance sub-genre out of your comfort zone come and join the Romance and Me Reading Challenge I'm hosting with Book Lovers Inc. where we'll read 1 novel from a different romantic sub-genre every month. Monthly giveaways sweeten the pot as well ;-) You can read about the details and sign up HERE.

So this is what happened in the first month of 2012 here on the blog.

Ex Libris will celebrate its 2nd Blogoversary in February, so check back tomorrow for the month long celebrations and tons of surprises! :-D

Romance and Me Reading Challenge - Link Up Your Reviews for February

If you have signed up for The Romance and Me Reading Challenge (if you'd like to sign up for the challenge, you can do so HERE) you can submit your reviews of Romantic Suspense novels read and reviewed in February in the linky below.

And as February is Romantic Suspense month, thanks to the generosity of romantic suspense author Maureen Miller the winner will receive a copy of  a thrilling romantic suspense novel!

"A woman hiding from her identity. A man trying to find his."

After witnessing a murder, Megan Summers ran until she reached the remote coastal village of Victory Cove. She has a new name, but she knows it's only a matter of time before the murderer catches up with her.

Jake Grogan has come to town to unravel the mystery of his heritage. Instead of finding his grandmother at Wakefield House, he discovers an attractive stranger who will do anything to get him off her doorstep. Trapped by a storm, he's forced to stay the night with Megan--a woman who keeps a handgun under her bed and closes herself off from the outside world.

Jake tries to dig deeper into his past, but he's distracted by his fear for Megan's safety and his growing feelings for her. Danger is drawing near and he'll do anything to keep her safe. Will it be enough to help them survive the endless night?
So if you have read a romantic suspense novel in February and have reviewed it, leave the link to be entered in the giveaway.
To be included in February's giveaway you have to submit your review by March 1st, but even if you include it later you'll be in for the annual drawing, so now worries, you'll just miss out on the monthly one.

Please remember to put the direct link to your review and not to your blog url!

Monday, 30 January 2012

It's Monday, What Are you Reading? (#65)

It's Monday, What are you reading? is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read and the books to be finished this week.

I had a totally awesome week. The books I read this week were amazing. I devoured them staying up until the wee hours (yep that means 2-3 am on weekdays when I had to get up the next morning at 8 to go to work) and found them exquisite. So it was a great week :-D

Books I completed 

Loved, loved, loved this book! It was witty, funny, sexy, well written and kept me engrossed in the story from beginning to end. A terrific debut for Ruthie Knox and I SO can't wait to read more stories written by her!

My detailed review will be posted on February 3rd when Ruthie Knox will stop by for an interview.

(Book #1 in the Veiled Seduction series)

Wow wow wow. I lack the words as I'm still under the story's spell to tell you eloquently what an amazing novel this is. The writing is exquisite, the characters well fleshed out, three-dimensional and interesting, the love story is fresh and beautiful.

A stellar debut for Heather Snow, I'm already counting back the days until I can read her next novel!

My detailed review will be posted on Book Lovers Inc. on February 24th where I'll get to interview Heather Snow! :-)

This one was a short and nice read. I liked parts of it better than others, not a very memorable story, but a nice romantic, sexy one.

Books I am currently reading

Almost done, I only have 20 more pages to read!

I don't think I've read more than 2 Viking historical romances, so I thought I would give this one a try. And the cover was utterly gorgeous! ;-)

Books I can't wait to start

And a couple more historical romances!

And what are you reading this week?

Guest post: Putting a New Spin on the Magical World of Fairies by Laura Briggs + Giveaway

You know how much I love fairy tales and am a fan of their modern and unique retellings, so you understand how excited and happy I am to welcome to Ex Libris today Laura Briggs, co-author of The Dark Woods trilogy, a retelling of some of our favourite childhood fairy tales! Please give a warm welcome to Laura and read on, you could win a book full of magic and fairy dust! ;-)

Putting a New Spin on the Magical World of Fairies
by Laura Briggs

As a romance writer, I should have found it easy stepping into the world of magic and fairytales. After all, isn’t Cinderella the ultimate romance heroine, with the ultimate happy ending?

But I tend to forget that most fairytales, even if they have a happy-ever-after, also contain some grisly elements (like evil hags with bewitching powers and cannibalistic tendencies. Ugh!). It took some getting used to, but I’ve come to appreciate the darker side of the legendary bedtime stories so many of us grew up knowing by heart.

--volume one in my co-authored series The Dark Woods Trilogy--explored the fragile power of the most evil of Queens, the innocence of Snow White, and the redemption of such figures as the Huntsman and a humble servant girl. In volume two, we built a from snatches of German folk tales and a musical myth inspired by a composer's fascination with finding the human complexities in simple stories.

Like all trilogies, however, was required. When my co-author and I agreed to draft that volume ahead of schedule what we needed most was an idea. And it had to be something traditional enough to match the previous two, but also something that would challenge us to tell a completely different story in a new style.

The story of the fairy godmother was not among our original ideas for volume three; but to paraphrase the first lines of chapter one, bigger things can be born out of small suggestions. In this case, a novel was born out of a handful of little things: a love of modern fairytale narratives; admiration for Gordon Laite's illustrations for Cinderella; and the idea that no greater enigma exists in fairytales than the elusive and briefly-glimpsed fairy benefactress.

So what makes a fairy godmother? Where do her powers come from? And how does she choose who to rescue in their most dire hour of need?

It was stuff I had never even considered before, since seldom– if at all– does the storyteller explain how or why this mysterious figure chooses to save the day.

Once the idea came up, we couldn’t resist imagining what lay behind the veil of the fairy world on a more human scale. Beneath the magic was the possibility for something very real and emotional. A chance to find feelings and freewill in the seemingly-perfect fairy being.

This was how the heroine Baillie Albus (later known as Faenwick) became the central figure in this prequel to one of the most famous fairytales of all. Sullen, stubborn Baillie is far from the glamour of glittering wings and magic wands when destiny sweeps her into the world of magic. Luckily, her transformation is guided by the most legendary figure of the fairy world, whose own story is playing out its final moments even as Baillie's star is on the horizon.

But if fairies have feelings, then it was impossible for Baillie not to question her future. And to find the darkness in the world of fairies irreconcilable with the light she supposedly represents in the world of men. Likewise, her mentor, the legendary Marimetsei, hides the subtle cracks in her own resolution even as she keeps other secrets about her triumphant tale in the human world.

Legends are made, only to be forgotten; great victories are washed away by even greater ones. As the greatest accomplishment of the fairy world shatters around Baillie, her destiny hinges upon a simple choice.

And perhaps there is nothing more human than a choice, after all.

Laura Briggs is an author of both indie and traditionally published fiction. She made her writing debut in 2010 with Only In Novels, a romance novella from White Rose Publishing. Briggs’ latest releases from White Rose include Ghosts of Romances Past and Christmas With Miss Austen. Her work with Sarah Steinbrenner on the Dark Woods Series will continue in 2012 with the release of a novella prequel to First Bite: the Wicked Queen’s Tale.

You can find her at her writing blog or at The Dark Woods blog.

There are three kinds of fairies–or so the stories claim–the last of which named are the faerie godfolk. The wish-granters and half-human of the fairy world, they are meant to atone the mischief of fairies among men…

But do they? When young Baillie Albus learns the truth of her own strange gifts and becomes an apprentice destined to grant a human’s wish, she discovers a complex existence… and darker truths…beneath the surface of a world that is both faerie and mankind.


Laura generously offers an ebook copy of to a lucky commenter.

All you have to do is

1) leave a comment/question for Laura, or tell us which fairy tale is your favourite and why? and
2) leave me a way to contact you (e-mail address, Twitter handle, etc.)

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 6 February 2012!

Good luck!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Book Review: Banshee Charmer by Tiffany Allee

Title: Banshee Charmer
Author: Tiffany Allee
Release date: 24 January 2012
Number of pages: 159 pages
Series: Book #1 in the From the Files of the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency series
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Source: review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website,

Grade: 4.5 stars

Novellus superbus!
Goodreads appetizer:When she’s sent to a crime scene and finds her second dead woman in as many weeks, half-banshee detective Kiera “Mac” McLoughlin is convinced a serial killer is on the loose. Incubi are extinct, her boss insists. But what else can kill a woman in the throes of pleasure? When her partner is murdered after using witchcraft to locate the killer and Mac is thrown off the case, her frustration turns to desperation.

Certain the killer is an incubus, Mac works behind her department’s back to chase down slim, sometimes perilous leads. While the killer eludes her, she does discover handsome Aidan Byrne, an investigative counterpart from the enigmatic Otherworlder Enforcement Agency. Mac typically runs her investigations fast and hard, but with Aidan at her side, she’s running this one “hot” as well. But Aidan knows more than he’s letting on—something that could shatter their blazing romance and add Mac to the killer’s growing body count...

My Thoughts: Banshee Charmer is the first book in a new series and I couldn't be happier that there will be more coming! In her debut novel Tiffany Allee not only managed to captivate me with her exciting and vivid storytelling but she won me over and made me an enthusiastic fan of her new From the Files of the Otherworlder series.

The universe of Banshee Charmer is quite unique: supernatural species are "out" but still some (or rather most) of the humans see them as "freaks" and are wary and scared of the unknown. Kiera McLoughlin, called Mac by her colleagues and friends, is a cop: a homicide detective, oh yeah and a half-banshee as well, working in the special paranormal unit of the Chicago Police Department or "Freaks Division" as the others call it. Mac is working along witches, vampires and other creatures of the night, tracking goblins, incubi and other paranormal criminals. She is just in the middle of investigating a serial killer case when her partner is murdered and Aidan an agent from the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency (OWEA) - which is the paranormal equivalent of the FBI - appears to offer his help in catching the killer.

The air between Mac and Aidan sizzles constantly (oh my that first kissing scene between them was such an incredible off-the-charts-goosebump-inducing-heartrate-accelerating first kiss whew!), and it's a credit to Tiffany Allee's vivid writing that Aidan's potent charm and charisma is strong enough to transcend the pages and have the reader fall under his spell even by merely reading about him. Both Mac and Aidan were well fleshed out despite the short length of the novel and I can't wait to read the next books to learn even more about them.

Banshee Charmer combines the best of police procedural, paranormal romance and urban fantasy genres: the mystery and Mac and Aidan's chase to uncover it was thrilling, the characters are layered and interesting, the world-building rich and unique, Tiffany Allee's writing flows easily and her narrative is descriptive and detailed enough without being weighed down. Her story captivated me and I gobbled up Banshee Charmer without coming up for a break.

Verdict: Banshee Charmer is a gripping, exciting debut to a fantastic new series! The mystery plot was intriguing, the world-building complex and the love story sizzling. Perfect mix and great story, I loved Banshee Charmer and I'm impatiently looking forward to the sequel!

Plot: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 9/10
Cover: 7/10 - I'm not a fan of the guy they chose to portray Aidan :-/

Buy it:

Interview with Tiffany Allee + Giveaway

Today I am very happy to welcome to Ex Libris Tiffany Allee, author of the wonderful debut novel , the first book in the exciting new paranormal series: The Files of the Otherworlder Enforcer Agency.  is an enchanting and very exciting story combining the best of the police procedural and paranormal romance, urban fantasy genres. I loved it as you can see in my review, you can check out why I enjoyed it so much here. So please give a warm welcome to Tiffany who was kind enough to answer all my questions :-)

Stella: Hi Tiffany, welcome to Ex Libris! Can you tell us why you chose to have your novel feature a banshee? What inspired you to have such an extraordinary heroine? Banshees are not explored much in UF/paranormal novels yet.

Tiffany: The fact that banshees are mostly unexplored in the genre is precisely why I chose a banshee. It's not that I don't enjoy the types of supernatural creatures currently featured in many paranormal romance novels, but I thought that something different might be fun. It also gave me a lot of leeway. Oh sure, lots of people know about banshee lore, but it hadn't been changed by too many author's ideas yet. It left me lots of room to make up my own twist on the legend.

Stella: What kind of research did you do for the novel? Did you research the different mythologies behind banshees, incubi, etc? Or did you make up the specifics of your lore/species yourself?

Tiffany: I researched quite a bit, from online sources to my own little store of books on mythical creatures. I won't say that I stuck to the research, but I did try to keep some of the flavor and abilities of the creatures intact. My vampires suck blood, my banshees scream, my incubi seduce. But many of the twists on the species are specific to my world and don't come from the research.

Stella: Can you tell those readers who haven't had the chance yet to discover  a bit about the universe?

Tiffany: In the  universe, otherworlders—inhuman creatures such as vampires, selkies, and succubi—coexist with humans in a world very similar to our own. They all work side-by-side, although not always happily.

The series focuses on detectives in the paranormal unit of the Chicago Police Department working alongside agents from the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency (OWEA), which functions similarly to the FBI.

Stella: The police procedural part of the story read very realistic, was it a challenge trying to blend such a fantasy universe with the different supernatural species into the real world?

Tiffany: Thank you, I'm glad it came across realistically. It was definitely a challenge, and I had to think through some of the issues that might arise from these so-called "freaks" working alongside normal people. I was able to work a few of the touches into the actual story, such as anti-discrimination laws geared toward keeping people from discriminating against otherworlders, and weapons laws and how they apply to otherworlders with lethal powers.

Stella: Why is the novel called ? I am curious to read your thoughts and explanation on that. Did you choose this title or was this more a result of a group brainstorming? I get the obvious banshee reference, it's the Charmer part I'm trying to figure out the hidden or more subtle meaning behind.

Tiffany: I've actually seen a bit of confusion over the title, so I guess not everyone is privy to what is happening in my brain--imagine that! Haha. The title, , refers to Aidan. He charms the banshee, for good or ill, with his charming nature and his well super hotness.

Stella: Ooh now I get it! And what a perfect title then!! :-D Can you tell us when we can finally see Mac and Aidan again, and give us a little teaser about what the sequel will be about? Any idea or plan about how many books there will be in the series?

Tiffany: Three more novellas are currently planned for the series. Readers will get to see how Mac and Aidan are getting along in the next novella, but the focus of that story is actually on the succubus, Marisol. I don't want to spoil it, but let's just say someone steals something very valuable to her. :-)

Stella: Which supernatural creature do you find the scariest and why is that?

Tiffany: I think it depends on the story. Some writers make vampires and lycanthropes scary, while in other stories they're more sexy than scary. I think the most fearsome creatures are ones who are unidentified—scary monsters that attack in the dark.

Stella: Do banshees have any additional powers in your world besides the death scream?

Tiffany: Fully powered banshees are not only able to kill with their screams, but can also foresee death. Unfortunately, this type of vision usually causes them to scream, which makes it dangerous for them to live among humans.

Luckily for our heroine in , she's not fully powered. She's what they call a half-banshee, which is really a banshee who doesn't have all the powers of a normal banshee. Mac is able to stun with her scream, but she doesn't get visions (thank goodness, considering her line of work).

Stella: If you had to create a tagline for , what sentence do you think would describe it well and give readers a taste of what to expect?

Tiffany: Love, murder, and mystery—a scream of a read. Haha! I'm terrible at taglines. Please don't let this one dissuade you from reading .

Stella: Do you have any other plans, projects you'd like to tell us about? What can we next expect from you?

Tiffany: The sequel for  is currently slated to release in April. I also have a novelette called Once Prey, Twice Forsaken coming out in June. It's about a newly made vampire running from a witch hunter, who turns out to be her lost love.

Thank you so much for having me here today!

Stella: Thank you for stopping by Tiffany! :-)

When she’s sent to a crime scene and finds her second dead woman in as many weeks, half-banshee detective Kiera “Mac” McLoughlin is convinced a serial killer is on the loose. Incubi are extinct, her boss insists. But what else can kill a woman in the throes of pleasure? When her partner is murdered after using witchcraft to locate the killer and Mac is thrown off the case, her frustration turns to desperation.

Certain the killer is an incubus, Mac works behind her department’s back to chase down slim, sometimes perilous leads. While the killer eludes her, she does discover handsome Aidan Byrne, an investigative counterpart from the enigmatic Otherworlder Enforcement Agency. Mac typically runs her investigations fast and hard, but with Aidan at her side, she’s running this one “hot” as well. But Aidan knows more than he’s letting on—something that could shatter their blazing romance and add Mac to the killer’s growing body count...

Available at and Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Tiffany Allee currently lives in Phoenix, AZ, by way of Chicago and Denver, and is happily married to a secret romantic. She spends her days working in Corporate America while daydreaming about sexy heroes, ass-kicking heroines, and interesting ways to kill people (for her books, of course). Her nights are reserved for writing and bothering her husband and cats (according to them). Her passions include reading, chocolate, travel, wine, and family.

Tiffany's Website: /
Facebook Fan Page:


Entangled Publishing generously offered one ebook copy of  to a lucky commenter.

All you have to do is

1) leave a comment or question for Tiffany (either regarding the interview, her novel or banshees or other supernatural creatures in general :-) AND

2) leave me a way to contact you in case you win (e-mail address, Twitter handle, etc.)

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 5 February 2012.

Good luck!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Book Review: The Bodyguards' Princess by Ann Mayburn

Title: The Bodyguards' Princess
Author: Ann Mayburn
Release Date: 30 July 2011
Number of pages: 132 pages
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Source: review copy provided by author
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website,

Grade: 3 stars

Novellus bonus!

Goodreads appetizer: Lalita Chetana, daughter of a United Nations Diplomat, survives an attempted kidnapping by a terrorist group known as the anarchists. She has a difficult time with her recovery, and her father hires two bodyguards, ex-Marines Asher Epson and Kent Warne, to keep her safe and give her time to heal. Unfortunately, even their skills can't save her from an enemy determined to destroy her.

Hypnotized into stealing UN secrets, she is framed by the anarchists. As part of their plan to humiliate and break her father, they plant a hypnotic trigger that anytime she hears the word “bitch” she will become aroused to the point of pain. She is forced to flee and go into hiding with Asher and Kent. The men become unable to hide their real feelings for her after her trigger is hit and they have to relieve her of her sexual torment.

Warning: This book contains hot,dominant men who will do anything to please their lady including light bondage, spanking, public caning, and decadent ménages.

This review was originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.

My Thoughts: I discovered Ann Mayburn through her latest novel released in October, The Breaker's Concubine, which garnered my attention due to Susi's review. I gobbled it up and loved Ann's rich and unique worldbuilding and scorching hot writing, so when I started reading The Bodyguards' Princess I was expecting the same sparks and magic.

The Bodyguards' Princess is the story of Lalita, the shy goth daughter of an Indian UN diplomat. Due to his position and importance in world politics, to protect his daughter Lalita's father employs two bodyguards to keep Lalita safe from all threats. Asher and Kent are both highly capable and droolworthy gorgeous male specimen, no wonder Lalita can't help but dreamily stare at them when they are near her. Their virility and fine bodies inspire countless steamy fantasies for her.

The Bodyguards' Princess was very hot and erotic, the seduction and sensual scenes between the trio burning up the sheets.
Surprise filled his eyes, quickly chased away by desire. Ever so slowly, he lowered his lips to hers, and she could have wept as he finally kissed her. Soft, sure, hungry, his kiss was everything she had imagined, everything she dreamed.
What made me ambivalent about this story is a personal preference: Asher and Kent, besides being good friends are in love with each other. So it is not the two men being there to satisfy Lalita's every need, but they are there for each other as well. And there are actual feelings and emotions involved in the mix not just sexual exploits. Even if I'm not a m/m virgin anymore, I'm quite inexperienced having only read about 2-3 such stories, and even when I've read ménages with two men, they are usually there to pleasure the female part of the trio, so I would have preferred seeing Lalita being the "main attraction".

The mystery plot at times was a bit forced and improbable, and I kept swaying between finding Lalita a spoiled brat:
Stiffening her shoulders, she yelled, "If you think I'm sleeping on the floor of this roach motel, you're high. Who knows what kind of fucked-up disease I'll get from the carpet."

Asher strode out of the bathroom and squatted in front of her, placing his hands on either side of her and said in a low voice, "I know you're scared and pissed, but if you could stop being a bitch at the top of your lungs for one minute, I would appreciate it."
or looking at her steel spine and independence with respect:
"You think I'm something to keep around to fuck and cuddle? A possession you can pass back and forth?"

Verdict: The Bodyguards' Princess didn't blow me away as The Breaker's Concubine did, but it certainly was a nice, entertaining, whirlwind action packed, burning hot read!

Plot: 6/10
Characters: 7/10
Writing: 7/10
Ending: 6/10
Cover: 7/10

Buy it:

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Reading Challenge: NetGalley Reading Challenge 2012

I love NetGalley. I think it is one of the best things that helps blogging. I have always enjoyed participating in Emily's NetGalley Months, so when I saw she made this into a year-long reading challenge I knew I had to join :-)

The rules: read as many NetGalley books in 2012 as you can. 

The levels:

Blue Star - read 1-10 NetGalley Books in 2012

Green Star - read 11-20 NetGalley Books in 2012

Red Star - read 21-30 NetGalley Books in 2012

Gold Star - read 30+ NetGalley Books in 2012

I'm aiming for Gold Star!

You can sign up here.

Monday, 23 January 2012

It's Monday, What Are you Reading? (#64)

It's Monday, What are you reading? is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read and the books to be finished this week.

I'm back! After almost 2 weeks of blogging-isolation and reading-ban I was so starved to finally read something that as soon as my exam was over I devoured books I had on my most pressing TBR list. On Friday and Saturday I read 3 books (sure they weren't that long but still ;-) and I am so glad to be able to read once again without the guilt of knowing I should be studying instead. :-D

So here is what I read last weekend (and as I ahven't done an It's Monday! post for weeks I'll also mention the books I read 2 weeks ago):

Books I completed 

2 weeks ago:

I am a sucker for fairy tales so when I heard that this was Book #1 in a new paranormal fairy tale retelling series I was curious and picked it up. This is a paranormal retelling of Alice in Wonderland and it was quite interesting. 

I was a bit disappointed by Legacy the 3rd book in the Ganzfield series. Kate Kaynak spoiled me with how amazing Minder and Adversary were, so after the thrilling, fast paced first 2 books I found Legacy lacking and quite slow. But with Accused, the 4th book in the seris Kate Kaynak is back, Accused was just as fantastic as Minder! My detailed review will be posted on Book Lovers Inc. soon.

and read last week after my exam on Thursday:

Wow, this was really great! I loved the rich and detailed world building and how Tiffany Allee blended fantasy and supernatural species into the real world of nowadays was smooth and read real. My detailed review will be posted on January 29th, when Tiffany will stop by to answer a few of my questions.

(Book #1 in the Sypricon Masters series)

I have had this book on my to-read list for some time now and was quite curious to discover Sara Brookes' erotic sci-fi series. It was a very short read and it was more BDSM erotica than sci-fi really. My review will be posted on Book Lovers Inc. soon. 

I love anything to do with Ancient Egypt! I love the mythology, the architecture, the hyeroglyphs, so when I saw this new Carina Press title was set in Ancient Egypt I knew I had to raed it. My review will be posted on February 8th, you'll just have to wait until then.

Book I am currently reading

And once again I picked this one up to continue reading it. Despite the detailed storytelling (or maybe due to that) I find it stalling and the lack of fast paced action keeps me from getting involved in the story.

Books I can't wait to start

I had this yummy book staring at me from my Kindle for the past couple of weeks and now that my exam is over and that its release day is drawing near it's finally time for me to start reading it! I can't wait!! :-D

Another exciting-looking new release. I just love thrilling UF series with kickass heroines! :-D

And what are you reading this week?

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Book Review: Quarter Square by David Bridger

Title: Quarter Square
Author: David Bridger
Release date: 27 June 2011
Number of pages: 142 pages
Series: Book #1 in the Wild Times series
Publisher: Carina Press
Source: review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, , Carina Press

Grade: 4 stars

Novellus superbus!
Goodreads appetizer: English carpenter Joe Walker thinks his life is over when he discovers his wife and best friend having an affair. Restoring an abandoned theatre offers little hope for a fresh start...until he follows a group of strangers through a hidden door into a world he never could have imagined.

In the haven known as Quarter Square, Joe encounters a community of supernatural street performers who straddle the mortal world and the magic realm known as the Wild. Here, Joe finds a sense of belonging he's never known before—and a chance to uncover the truth behind the frightening visions that have haunted him since childhood. He also meets Min, an enchanting singer who quickly captures his heart.

But as Joe settles into Quarter Square, he learns their haven is under attack, while an ancient enemy threatens to tear him and Min apart. Now, Joe must learn to wield his own powers in order to save the life he's come to love...
Review originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.

My Thoughts: Among the novels I usually read male authors are a rarity. So the single fact that Quarter Square was written by a man was reason enough to pique my curiosity and make me want to read this novel.In the first part of the novel Joe (our protagonist) discovers a magic parallel universe which is accessible through the magic door in the century old theatre he’s renovating and sleeping in. Through that hole in the wall one enters a Renaissance-fair-like magic version of Plymouth where dwarves dance and juggle, people sit around a bonfire and tell tales, others are singing, dancing having fun. A very colourful and enchanted alternate universe.

However, this haven is threatened by an evil who is after Joe, and the second part of the novel tells the story of Joe and Min (the heroine) being on the run and hiding from the evil werewolf with a neolite tribe, who live in huts in the desert, walk around barechested and loin-clothed.

What is interesting with Quarter Square, is that with this novel I felt the different parts of the novel (plot, writing, etc.) slide apart: I found the writing of great quality, it was lyrical and exquisite.
“I rolled onto my back, gave my scalp and beard a good scratch and tried to concentrate on the noises and the smell of dry centuries. I preferred them to the sound of my thoughts and the stink of betrayal.”
It set the mood and described the scenes while entertaining all senses of the reader and definitely making use of the reader’s imagination:
“The air - heavy with summer smells of beer and cigarette smoke, diesel oil from the harbour, food from every direction and a hundred different perfumes and aftershaves - tasted like life and made me feel like even more of an outsider.”
What made me pick up Quarter Square - the fact that its author was a man - didn’t let me down. The difference in logic, perception and handling of events was refreshing and authentic. It was wonderful climbing inside the mind of a man and seeing and understanding why he does what he does. It was interesting to see Joe’s reasoning behind his hurt of discovering his wife having an affair with his best friend and that it was mostly the sense of betrayal which infuriated him: that he doesn’t begrudge his best friend for falling in love with his wife but for lying to him and making him lose his best friend. Reading a story through a man’s perspective is fun and liberating: a man narrator is blunter, doesn’t overanalyze things (even though he spends a fair time on exploring his emotions it definitely does not come off as mushy), and remains more realistic.

Though I was constantly enchanted by David Bridger’s writing style, I didn’t connect that well with the plot. I enjoyed the first part of the novel and reading about the “gipsy” circus of the insiders, but from the moment Joe and Min got on the run I felt the story lost most of its colours. (Though I still remember with amazement the description of Joe blending in a tree and David Bridger’s description of what it feels like to live and breathe as a tree does.)

Joe is a great character, an ordinary guy next door, and his story is fantastic exactly because of him being so normal. Unfortunately I remained lukewarm and at times even antagonistic towards the heroine, Min. I didn’t find her fleshed out enough, and then when she got together with Joe - though I can understand with their background why - it still irritated me that she didn’t consider Joe her equal but treated her most of the time almost as a child. When finally Joe couldn’t take that anymore and erupted in quite a monologue I read it with great satisfaction. It was good to see him finally step up and assume the role of the responsible man in charge of his own destiny.

Verdict: Quarter Square is very different from the usual urban fantasy novels. I would say it is more on the fantasy side than urban. David Bridger is a very talented and promising new author whose next works I will definitely check out!

ps. I have to spend at least one sentence on the amazing cover. Not only does it look beautiful, it is very atmospheric and portrays the novel and characters wonderfully. A fantastic job, bravo!

And a short quote which gives you a taste of the book:
"Here's the thing. There's magic everywhere in the world. Always has been. But in most of the world it's unknown. People stopped using it, believing in it. (...) It seems that each culture and each generation rejects magic a bit more than the one before. Some cultures more than others, but the general trend is to ignore magic and eventually to forget it."
Well Quarter Square is a magic-preserving community then!

Plot: 8/10
Characters: 7/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 7/10
Cover: 10/10 - cover perfection! Looks stunning and suits the story wonderfully.

Buy it:

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Hello World!

Hey Everyone, I am back!

Sorry for the lack of exciting, original content on the blog in the last couple of weeks but I was studying for my second bar exam which not only kept me busy but guilted me into forsaking the blogosphere and pleasure-reading. Yes, for the last week I was on a full reading ban! Can you believe it? I know, shocking and I was doubting whether I would manage to resist the temptation but I did and now with a successfully passed exam I can relax and enjoy reading books once again :-D

So sorry if you have been waiting for a reply to your e-mail (I was on inbox duty ban as well), I'm trying to get through the piles of emails accrued in my virtual absence and will try to get back to you all as soon as I can.

And I also want to share some great and very exciting news with you: Ex Libris will be celebrating its 2nd blogoversary in February!! I have some grandiose plans for the joyous occasion, and let me tell you, it will be even bigger and better than last year! :-D 

So now that I'm back there will be once again reviews, author interviews and giveaways and in just a bit more than 1 week the blogoversary celebrations will also begin! So stay tuned and glad to be back! :-D

Friday, 20 January 2012

Book Review: Legacy by Kate Kaynak

Title: Legacy
Author: Kate Kaynak
Series: Book #3 in the Ganzfield series
Release Date: 28 January 2011
Number of pages: 280 pages
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Source: review copy provided by author
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, , , Book Depository

Grade: 2.5 stars

Novellus malus!

Goodreads appetizer:

Maddie has more problems than the average seventeen-year-old:

A psychotic killer with superpowers wants her dead.

A serious medical issue makes a "normal" life impossible for her.

And she's about to be introduced to Trevor's grandparents.

Guess which one freaks her out the most? The Ganzfield series continues in this third instalment.

This review was originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.

My Thoughts: Kate Kaynak blew me over with Minder and I became an enthusiastic fan of the series. I enjoyed the first 2 books a lot, but Legacy left me disappointed. I was expecting as much thrill, action and excitement as I was led to expect due to the previous stories, but sadly Legacy failed in that resort. If I have to find a similar reading experience I would say it reminded me of New Moon by Stephenie Meyer in the fact that Legacy was mostly the inner gushing of Maddie and how much she is in love with Trevor and how they are each other's soulmates. I love Maddie and Trevor together, they are great, and Trevor is swoonworthy:
"Maddie", his voice became serious, "I'm going to spend the rest of my life with you. And as much as I want both of our families to give us their blessings, in the end, the only person's opinion that truly matters to me is yours."
And yes, they really share an incredibly harmonious relationship, but I found the constant repetitions grating on my nerves.

The world Kate Kaynak created for the series is fascinating, the different talents people have and how they learn to use them is amazing. But not much happens in Legacy, the  big face off with Isaiah the Nemesis of the previous books takes place less than 50 pages before the end of the 280 pages (and lasts about 15 pages). It didn't feel as climactic as I thought the huge fight with the mega villain would. It was over before it began, so Kate Kaynak didn't have me worked up, and all my nails remained intact.

Verdict: I was sad that after the great thrill the previous books were Legacy fell short, but I hope it fulfilled its role of "filling story" and that Accused, book #4 in the series will be back with the usual thrill and action, I'm looking forward to some nail biting action!

Plot: 6/10
Characters: 6/10
Writing: 7/10
Ending: 6/10
Cover: 8/10

Buy it:

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Reading Challenge: Why Buy the Cow Reading Challenge 2012

Hosted by The Unread Reader

Here is how it works:

•Should you choose to participate in this challenge, your goal is to read at least twelve (12) legally obtained e-books which you got for FREE for your e-reading device. While twelve is the minimum there is no maximum limit.

•Anyone can join. You don't have to be a blogger, and you don't have to live in the United States.

•Any E-Reader will work for this challenge, including: iPad, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader, enTourage.

•Please Note: If you don't have an e-reading device, you can still join in with Amazon's Free Kindle Reading Apps which you can download for your iPhone, iPad, Mac, PC, Blackberry and more.

•The challenge runs from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012. You can join at anytime.

•e-books in ANY genre count for this challenge as long as it was FREE at the time that you downloaded it.

•Every month in 2011, I will make a post for the Why Buy the Cow Reading Challenge so you can link your reviews.

•Those that link their reviews will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a different prize each month, such as an Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card, a bookmark, or a GelaSkins for your E-Reader. Winners will be announced at the end of each month.

Levels:Coupon Clipper: 12 Books
Penny Pincher: 24 Books
Super Saver: 30+ Books

Last year I spectacularly failed by having only read only 3 free books. We'll see how I fare in 2012, but I'm still aiming for the lowest level: Coupon Clipper.

The Show Me the Free Reading Challenge is hosted by The Unread Reader and you can read more about the challenge and sign up here.

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