Saturday, June 18, 2016

Still here! *but not active for the moment*

It's been a long time since I update anything on my nice blog.  What can I say... just the usual... no time, lots of work, etc etc... so yeah,  you've all been there and heard that.

I am still actively reading a lot but haven written a single review in the past few moths! I believe I will find that need to have a strong opinion (or not so strong) of a book in the future, but for now I'm on the readers end, actively consuming all the books ---->nooowwwww give me give meeee some MOARRRR words to read... hehe

Just so you feel you didn't waste time reading my ramblings of today, here is a cute picture of a tea set I had the delight to try recently for your visual entertainment :-)

Back to reading life!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Blog Tour: Clockwork Menagerie (Shadows of Asphodel, #2.5), by KarenKincy

I am so happy to be part of the blog tour of: 
Clockwork Menagerie (Shadows of Asphodel, #2.5), by Karen Kincy

As a fan of her work I couldn't resist this opportunity. I've contributed to both her Kickstarter campaigns for her Shadows of Asphodel series and I highly recommend it to all those alternate universe lovers of the early twentieth century. 

Genre: Historical-fantasy romance
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Release: September 1, 2015
Cover Artist: Eugene Teplitsky

Find Online: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

A companion novella to the Shadows of Asphodel series, from Konstantin's point of view.

Konstantin would love to hide in his laboratory and dissect the clockwork dragon captured from Russia, but the Archmages of Vienna have other plans. He finds himself shipped off to St. Petersburg as the scientific attaché to an ambassador. His orders? Look, but don't touch. Of course, he considers this an impossible request with so much enemy technomancy to explore.

To make matters worse, Konstantin has to work with the dashing zeppelin commander Himmel, a man who should also be untouchable. They can't act on the smoldering attraction between them without risking it all. Faced with an illegal relationship and a devious rival technomancer, Konstantin might not return from this mission in Russia without conquering the forbidden.

About The Author:

Karen Kincy (Kirkland, Washington) can be found lurking in her writing cave, though sunshine will lure her outside. When not writing, she stays busy gardening, tinkering with aquariums, or running just one more mile. Karen has a BA in Linguistics and Literature from The Evergreen State College.

Find Karen Kincy Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

My Thoughs

I am so happy I was able to pay a nice visit to the world portrayed in the Shadows of Asphodel's books. This alternate history with gears, zeppelins, complicated magic, war and engaging characters is a must read!

This novella gave me all that I expected regarding previous Karen Kincy's stories. Even got me wanting moooreeeee.

Konstantin is such a great character. Is fun to learn more about his passion for his work, his desires and his loyalties.

The relationship between him and Captain Himmel was believable and perfectly described. This was the first m/m story I've read and I'm glad for it. Love is an amazing theme to weave a cool story.

The setting was absolutely brilliant, I felt the cold weather, the sense of time and space while doing that snowy exploration with Konstantin: from The Trans Siberian Railway descriptions, to St. Petersburg.
The food was so yummy: salmon, spicy ciders, borsch garnished with dill and sour cream, walnut salad, beef stroganoff, tarts stuffed with cherries and sandwiches made with love. I was mouthwatering with these delicious fictional meals! And I laughed when I imagined Konstantin and his allergy to potatoes and tomatoes riding on top of sacks of potatoes.

And a nice canine companion: Fang is so cute! I wish she gets a more prominent role in the future adventures of Konstantin and Himmel :)

Overall I hope there are more stories around Shadows of Asphodel.

Curiosity Quills Press (CQ) is a small hybrid publishing company specializing in genre fiction of the highest quality. With 150+ titles in our catalog already and approximately 6 new books coming out each month, there’s never a dull moment at CQ. We work with major retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Audible to ensure that you, the reader, can find whatever you are looking for at your convenience.

Founded in 2011 by Eugene Teplitsky and Lisa Gus, CQ was initially a resource portal for writing and publishing, created in an effort to help writers, like themselves, survive the publishing industry. After rapid success, CQ morphed into publishing press that over time has solidified its share in the market. Now we spend our days searching for the next great escape!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Ravens in Sarah Fine's Servants of Fate book series

I've been listening to the Servants of Fate book series written by the talented Sarah Fine. Since these audiobooks are very well performed, the story truly carries me out to the future it describes: "a broken landscape carved by environmental collapse".  The setting is a crude Boston future, where water and resources are scarce and people have a very tough time surviving. The characters are very well fleshed out and the paranormal romance story is solid. I really enjoyed these first books and I am looking forward to read the last instalment (coming sept 2015, very soon!). 

In this world, there is a family called the Ferrys, who are tasked with carrying the dead to the afterlife: once humans are “Marked” by fate, the powerful Ferrys are called to escort the vulnerable souls to either eternal bliss or unending fire and pain. In this context, you may wonder how they do the whole ferrying: with a scope, a jewel that they carry on their neck and is pretty much an intra dimension portal.  Also, they run a company called Psychopopms Incorporated - which made me smile every time I heard it, as it made sense of the trade the Ferrys have: a Psychopomp is a mediator who escorts newly deceased souls from Earth to the afterlife.

What has caught the most my attention on this series is the cultural depictions of the ravens. The scope/jewel has one carved. All the Ferrys have a tattoo of one on their back, suffused with magic and made through a ritual that marks them as a member of this tradition. I imagine how pretty they must be and how they must look!

These are some cool raven tattoos I found online:

Both from:

I have always wondered about ravens, its symbolism as a mediator animal between life and death. The anthropologist Levi-Strauss describes that as a carrion bird, ravens became associated with the dead and with lost souls. It is strange though, that since ravens are not present in my geographical location, they have some historical/literary/media traditions that even I feel familiar with. 

One clear example of how I've been exposed to these cultural depictions is in Edgar Allan Poe's poem: The Raven, here this animal is a messenger of a 'Nevermore' nature, an ever-present being that delivers sadness. 

"Tenniel-TheRaven" by John Tenniel - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -
When I lived in Vancouver I was exposed to a certain degree to the Pacific northwest coast native art. Particularly, Bill Reid's sculpture Raven and the First Men, located at the UBC Museum of Anthropology (I went to do grad school there, so I saw it with frequency), this was also an image that was printed in the $20 Canadian bank note (It has since changed to a new note without the raven).  

It is beautiful, and so detailed!


Recently, we have the Game of Thrones always quick messengers of good and bad news... send a raven is ever present in these books.    


I really enjoy finding in the books I read cultural depictions and allusions of historical and mythological nature.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Giveaway: Ann Aguirre's Dred Chronicles

I've decided to come back from blog hibernation with a BANG!

I am a big fan of Ann Aguirre's books, and was very lucky to have a chance to Skype with her some months ago and ask her a whole bunch of random stuff. She is so patient, clever and funny, also a great storyteller,  her writing is full of crafty worlds and unforgettable characters. You can find more about her work here

To celebrate the upcoming publication of 'Breakout' (August 25th) the last installment of the Dred Chronicles (brilliant spin up from the Jax world, a romantic adult sci-fi trilogy), I will be giving away the first two books of the series, Perdition and Havoc:

So, this is your chance to read this great sci-fi adventure!

Here is the blurb of Perdition:


The prison ship Perdition, a floating city where the Conglomerate’s most dangerous criminals are confined for life, orbits endlessly around a barren asteroid.
Life inside is even more bleak. Hailed as the Dread Queen, inmate Dresdemona “Dred” Devos controls one of Perdition’s six territories, bordered on both sides by would-be kings eager to challenge her claim. Keeping them at bay requires constant vigilance, as well as a steady influx of new recruits to replace the fallen. Survival is a constant battle, and death is the only escape.
Of the newest convicts, only one is worth Dred’s attention. The mercenary Jael, with his deadly gaze and attitude, may be the most dangerous criminal onboard. His combat skill could give her the edge she needs, if he doesn’t betray her first. Unfortunately, that’s what he does best. Winning Jael’s allegiance will be a challenge, but failure could be worse than death…

Why? Because I want to share the love for Ms. Aguirre's books and I ended up getting two copies of Havoc a few months ago by error.

How? Just enter the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please spread the word!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

After 3 months of inactivity... *waves* Oh, Hi!

So, it has been almost 3 months since I updated my Blog. I feel a bit guilty, about it, but truly, life got really busy for me and I ended up having to choose between reading my books or reviewing them... so for obvious reasons reading became the norm.

I completed my 2014 reading challenge just minutes away from midnight, by reading a Neil Gaiman comic book, Sandman, almost too tipsy from that wickedly good New Years celebration champagne. It was crazy good and left me craving for more comics on the near future.

In overall, I have done great with my reading. Keeping up with my favourite genres, authors and characters, as well as devoting completely to the joy of audiobooks. I listen through my daily commute and they make time fly!!

I was just checking my stats on the Audible app, and I have listened for 17 days and 12 hours... that is A LOT of time well spent!

I plan to make more listening time throughout 2015!!

For 2015, I am pledging again to read 100 books and I am glad to know that today, January 8th, I am already on track!! Woot whoot (pats oneself in the back)!

I also plan to finish some unfinished series! I started beautifully by finishing reading Robin Lafever's His Fair Assassin series, and now I am tackling Karina Halle's Experiment in Terror, I have read 6 out of 9 books, sooo.... 
It had become a habit of mine to leave series unfinished because 1) they were still ongoing so i probably had to wait for the last book to be published or 2) I really didn't wanted to put an end! But I've told myself, it is time. 

And lastly, something I am super excited about! My girlfriends and I are starting a Book Club!! Isn't it amazing?
They wanted something along the lines of 50 Shades and I suggested Sylvia Day's Bared to You. I haven't read it yet.... but basically, I have zero expectations, so I know that it will be a fun experience to share with the girls!!

Those cufflinks always catch my attention, Lol!

Monday, September 22, 2014

“All right you bloody Scottish bastard, lets see how stubborn you really are.”

Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After watching the trailer for the TV show, I was totally convinced I NEEDED this book in my life. I was lucky enough that Audible had it for its daily deal for cheap last month, as such, I was able to jump into the Scottish bandwagon quick enough.

My thoughts:

The Audiobook is brilliant. It consists of 33 hours of Davina Porter's magical tones. She is a tremendous narrator and her voice, accents and inflections are just beautiful. There were some passages I just had to share with my hubs because of the cheer loveliness of her voice... its truly mesmerizing. In more than one occasion I just closed my eyes and let her take me to these beautiful places she narrated. So, as you can imagine, I am completely satisfied with the experience of listening to it in audiobook.

The Book. I am torn. On one hand, it was majestically written. I cannot imagine the amount of research it took, not only to portray historical events, but to actually describe a setting, customs, flora-fauna, people and points of view. If I where to wonder about the use of cultural relativism (the view that all beliefs, customs, and ethics are relative to the individual within his own social context) in fiction, this would be the book I would use as an example. It was pretty clear to me from the beginning that this story was not going to sugarcoat lifestyles and beliefs and I didn't mind it a bit. However, the THING that I am torn about is the books' take upon time-travel.

I know. Really? I am going to be picky about it? ... well, yes.

welcome to the XX cty photo outander_zps9c42c02d.gif

For starters, I was really expecting something more in the lines of Dr Who... I know! I am lame for I didn't read enough reviews to figure out this was just going to be more on the historical romantic side than on the sci-fi side, and this is my fault. But being this my review, I must say I am, if not disappointed, just not satisfied with the take on time-travel. I think that Clare's pragmatic take on her circumstances were too simplistic. She was raised by a scholar who traveled the world, more or less an archaeologist, so she must've had engrained, not only on her schooling, but on her surroundings the importance of historical events/artifacts and how ANYTHING may be an effect from the past, thus her ACTIONS when she travels to the past WILL for sure affect her present-time. This, she only wonders briefly at the end of the book... SERIOUSLY? It didn't make sense to me.

Secondly, Claire's attitude, descriptions and ultimately adventures might as well be part of a visit to an exotic place in her own time. What I am trying to say is that time-travel was more of an excuse to show an exotic place/culture rather than a strong storyline. I think that she might as well had just visited another continent/city during her present, and the story would have been exactly the same. The whole "I come from the future" wasn't at all important, necessary or explained. I am sure this has another take on the following books from this series, but quite frankly, I was not convinced.

I really enjoyed the story, as far as descriptions, adventures, characters, lifestyles and plot goes, I am glad I read it. I was just expecting more!! I don't think I'll read the following books since this one clearly reminded me that historical fiction is not my thing! Give me ghosts, Loch Ness monsters and witchcraft as main characters and plot devices, then I will be a happy woman who reads all the books.

View all my reviews

Monday, September 8, 2014

Blog tour: 'The Undead: playing for keeps' Giveaway & recipe!
This week, I'm participating in the Blog Tour of the book:

The Undead: Playing for Keeps, by Elsie Elmore

Genre: young-adult, paranormal-romance

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Publication: September 3rd, 2014

Cover Artist: Alexandria Thompson

Add to your Goodreads list


When an undead woman with serious de-comp issues stalks sixteen-year-old Lyla Grimm, her hope of rescuing her rock-bottom reputation takes a back seat. Especially once Lyla’s new talent of resurrecting the dead draws the attention of Eric, a Grim Reaper with a guitar and a chip on his shoulder.

While Lyla navigates the gossip-ridden halls, Eric works to gain her trust and discover why Death’s clients aren’t staying down. If she passes on her gift, his death-messenger destiny might be altered. But the closer he gets to Lyla, the less sure he is of his plan. The dead are way easier to deal with than the living.

Gossip explodes, the Grimm family implodes, and desperation sets in. Death wants the gift and a soul. Lyla and Eric face hard choices with hidden consequences. Sometimes life’s choices aren’t really choices at all.

About The Author:

Elsie Elmore lives in North Carolina with her husband and two kids. With a science education degree from NCSU, she never imagined she would someday write stories that challenge the laws of nature. She loves the color red, has an appreciation for chocolate and coffee that borders on obsession, and wishes fall temperatures would linger year round.

Elsie is a member of several writing organizations: RWA, SCBWI, and WSW.  The Undead : Playing for Keeps is her debut novel.

Find Elsie Elmore Online:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads 


This book was fun! It has necromancy, an amazing rock band and a few kisses.
What else do you need?

It's told from two alternating points of view, Layla and Eric. Their encounter is triggered by the unexpected disappearance of a dead woman's body from Layla's family Funeral Home. Lost between their own explanations and roles, their confrontations become more and more uncomfortable, as the recently deceased appear to haunt Layla's sanity.

Issues about family obligations, friendship, trust, hope and bullying will certainly keep you glued to this story.

 It made me wonder a lot about those dark teen years, when you learn life is not as simple as it seems and high school is just dreadful. The book was short and satisfying. Although, I wished for more kisses, they were perfect when accomplished :)

What I really like (besides the paranormal necromancy stuff), was the commitment of Layla to her family. Her devotion and love to her parents and brother is something that shone through her ordeals. I also enjoyed imagining the music her brother, Ben plays. I love rock music and being able to infuse such enthusiasm for his band, made Ben a key star in this book. Obviously, Eric's song was swoony enough to make me kind of forgive him.

I received a copy of this book from its publisher Curiosity Quills in exchange of an honest review, no songs where sang during this exchange. Thank you.


 photo cookingghilbi_zps9658be6d.gif

For my Fictional Meals section, I decided to focus on the High School cafeteria food fare. My experience and popular culture has infused me with the notion of what to expect in a High School cafeteria. I was gingerly reading through this book when I came across Sloppy Joes. Since I'm not from the US, I have to admit that I was unfamiliar with this meal. So obviously I did a quick search and found out what I was missing! However, since I don't eat beef I wanted to know if a vegetarian solution was possible and voilá..... Jaime Oliver to the rescue! Yes, the same one who has made great efforts to change school's diets has a perfect recipe for this on his website. Enjoy:

Vegan lentil sloppy Joes (Serves 6) 

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 red or yellow sweet pepper, diced
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 cup (200g) French lentils
1- 28oz (796ml) can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
6 whole-wheat or sprouted grain buns, sliced in half

Toppings (optional): relish, pickles, avocado, coleslaw, sliced onions…anything goes! Heat the olive oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion, pepper and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, or until they soften. Sprinkle in the cumin and chilli powder; cook for an additional minute. Add the lentils, 3 cups of water, tomato sauce, tomato paste and Sriracha. Increase heat to high and bring the lentils a simmer. Cook uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if the level falls below the lentils. Taste the lentils, and if they are sufficiently tender (stoves and pots may vary) add the salt and balsamic. Stir and serve over buttered buns you favourite toppings.


(US & CA only, sorry INT'L peeps)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Undead by Elsie Elmore

The Undead

by Elsie Elmore

Giveaway ends September 24, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win
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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Farewell August: Mini opinionated discussion of the books I read this month.

Apparently it is becoming a theme these past months. Life gets in my way and I lazily dismiss any entries on my blog. *tsk-tsk*  I must change this, I know, since this is a space I simply ADORE!

My excuse this month is simple. I got too busy with work! I barely had time to read, lest review. In my defence, I started a new job last month and it is really hard to balance my work/life. I had to stay until too late these past days working and I am not happy about it. The brighter side: I am doing something that relates completely with my career, anthropology, thus feeding my professional career with meaningful work (and is a government job too!) is a very positive move.

My commute time was extremely well spent listening to audiobooks. These are the times when I am ecstatic about my Audible membership. I am able to enjoy my readings and rest my tired eyes while listening! I started the month by reading the second book in A.A. Aguirre's Apparatus Infernum series, Silver Mirrors.

This book started  immediately after Bronze Gods left.  Inspectors Celeste Ritsuko and Janus Mikani are cleaning up the mess left by the magical device that was pivotal to the previous book. They are sent overseas to try to discover the source of strange occurrences happening, such as a wailing, crying train, machines that decide to sprout a life of their own and the disruption of communications. It is apparent that they are way over their heads from the moment they set sails.
The worldbuilding, as usual, was amazing and the adventures, fights and characters blew my mind away.

This book's sexual tensions are the best if not frustrating! I looooonnngggggg for more Mikani + Ritsuko time (and kisses!)
I want MORE adventures please!!!

 2) I moved to a different kind of genre this month: realistic fiction. Being a fantasy lover, I am very picky on my realistic books. I had read amazing reviews about Kristy Eagar's Raw Blue and had bought it long long time ago. It was just sitting on my Kindle, begging to be read. I AM SO GLAD I DID.

It was just AMAZING. It is raw as its title and I couldn't stop looking at the cover every few pages.

This book made me cry like a baby and exposed my soul to its words. I was moved beyond reason with Carly's story. I am not very familiar with surfing, so I was kind of worried I was going to be lost. But I was oh so wrong. I learned a lot about the ocean from this book's pages.

Basically, this was one of those life altering kind of books... what is it with these talented Australian writers?

3) I was just on a roll about my realistic fiction books. I had read that Sarah Alderson decided to write Out of Control inspired by the need to empower teens into taking a stand into world issues, particularly about human trafficking (Here are her thoughts). I really applaud this attempt, thus I decided to give it a try and bought it.

I was immediately thrown to a fast-paced chase, where Olivia (Liva) has to run for to save her life with Jaime (Jay) throughout New York.

The story was fun, until a nightclub scene made me want to punch Liva, but in overall, I was satisfied.

4) I finished reading the AMAZING, unique and unforgettable The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima.
I listened to its glorious 4 books: The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Grey Wolf Throne and The Crimson Crown and I was just mesmerized. Han Alister, Fire Dancer, Raisa Anamarianna, Amon Byrn and Micah Bayar will forever inhabit my mind. Their story was spectacular.
I wish EVERYONE reads this fantasy books (I managed to convince the hubs as well). I am just sad it ended, since I think I need more Han + Raisa in my life.

snape approve photo snapeapproves_zps17d8d27d.gif