Monday, April 28, 2014

“Open your eyes, Kanin. Your favourite hellspawn is a demon, just like the rest of us. Only now, she’s finally realized it.”

The Forever Song (Blood of Eden, #3)The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With The Forever Song I say goodbye to an awesome vampire kickass series I enjoyed reading. It's been a fun ride Allison, Jackal, Zeke, Kanin and Sarren. I will definitely miss you!

I believe this book closes well the path set before the previous three books. We had a bumpy road together, moments when I really wanted to put some sense in Ally, help and encourage Jackal do his evil things, ask so many questions to Kanin, hoped that some stuff wasn't so obvious... yeah, we had some frustrated moments, but in overall, we did good. I feel satisfied.

This book is as gory as its predecessors, if not more. In page #2 we're already presented with a most haunting image of a tree where corpses hang cut and tortured. Not an easy sight to digest.

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We start right where the Eternity Cure left. Sarren killed Zeke after he tortured him making him tell where Eden was. He leaves New Covington to find it in order to release the new strain of the Red Lung virus and wipe out humans and vampires. Allison, Jackal and Kanin are determined to stop him.

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Ally is set on anger and revenge, raging about the horrible death Zeke had in Sarren's hands.

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Throughout this series a common thread has been her constant teetering between letting her Hunger free, becoming a monster or fight for her humanity. All these tensions fully surface as a result of her loss. You'll definitely find a very very scary Ally in this book.

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The worldbuilding on this series is impeccable. It transports you with perfect descriptions of sights and smells, making it the right amount of showing, not telling the reader what is happening. I really admire this from Kagawa's work. She is flawless in taking you to her imaginary places. I felt the desolation, I smelled the rotting stenches, and traveled along those empty highways with the characters. It was amazing.

... I'm really really going to miss this world and characters, The Blood of Eden is a series I'll cherish in my heart!


Goodbye Ally! I hope you're having a nice forever.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

"The shimmering brilliance of an impossible, desperate solution forced all the air out of Abby's lungs. Escape"

Latimer's LawLatimer's Law by Mel Sterling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I first read Sterling's manuscript for this book during Harlequin's So You Think You Can Write 2013 competition. I was completely mesmerized by Abby's story and Cade's blue eyes (and yes, loyal furry Mort). A few weeks ago I saw that this was finally a full long book. Thus with lots of enthusiasm I re-visited this story; and let me tell you: it's as good as ever.

This is a neatly emotionally wrapped story about resilience, self esteem and love in the mist of domestic abuse. It will certainly draw your empathic and romantic side. Steeling is an excellent story teller and you'll be devouring Latimer's Law in a very short time.

This story is told from three points of view:

Abby, who in the first two pages ends up committing grand theft auto trying to desperately escape her abused life.

Caede, a blue eyed Deputy who has a loyal four legged companion Mort as part of his job as a K-9 officer. He is smart, caring has some issues of his own and oh so swoon worthy!

Marsh, the meanest of all and basically the antagonist of the story, being the culprit of Abby's domestic abuse. It was very very awful to be in his head. Which means that the author did a good job, by creating a hateful and realistic mad man.

This books occurs in a period of three days, making you wonder how all the little choices can turn someone's life. Being one of the few realistic fiction stories I've read, I know this one has touched me in my wistful romantic side, that still believes in hopeful (and sometimes happy) resolutions for awful circumstances. It's sad, fun, sexy and heart warming.

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For my Fictional Meals section I'll have a little food rant.

Abby's Adult Daycare business has clients that are very picky with food. They mostly liked sandwiches: peanut butter with grape jelly and tuna.
I'm aware that peanut butter sandwiches are a North American tradition, but ... really? Is that all for lunch? No fruits, veggies or soups? I was kind of confused about this food choice, specially when I read that the Daycare's business includes a healthy meal... But yeah! I'm just choosy about food.


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I received this book from Harlequin through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were offered to any of the parties involved in this process. Thank you for the opportunity to re-read Abby's story!

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

"Righteous indignation sounded so much more legitimate than the ordinary variety"

Viola Doyle or An Unconventional GiftViola Doyle or An Unconventional Gift by Amy Lynn Spitzley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Viola Doyle or an Unconventional Gift was an entertaining little jewel... like the pin! This book has a beautiful cover, the colours, and characters here are very eye-catching. The same goes for each section break, where the mysterious pin is ever present.

Each word of this standalone story are so very carefully selected to take you into an adventure with Viola, a seventeen year old girl who lives in a different fictional time in a sort of Victorian English setting, but ruled by Queen Olivia. Where propriety is the norm and women's roles are distinctively different from men. High social expectations are enforced. Viola dreams a different lifestyle than her own. She has a thing for bicycling and fantasy stories.

Viola receives a mysterious beautiful pin as a gift from her grandmother. She soon discovers that this pin actually chooses her owner, making her curious and wanting to discover the history behind this strange jewel. She gets help for this investigation from her grandmother and a cute history research assistant, Mikhail Robbins. The three of them uncover its mystery and find new affections between these short pages. I really enjoyed this story. It's very well written and it surprised me how much detail and care was put into each word. I wish we had more about this story, as it felt a bit incomplete in some parts.

Dear Amy Lynn, would you be so kind and give us a second book? Yes... Please?? I wish to know more about Emily Wentworth, the "Family", the adventures of Leonard Doyle, the dragon, the pin itself... and yes, more Viola and Mikhail please!!!

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For my Fictional Meals section, I want to bring into attention the tasty, yet hardly never done in our home: cold chicken and cucumber sandwich. I want to try this one, but cucumber is not a loved vegetable by my husband (he hates it). I was doing some quick research and Wikipedia kindly pointed out that this was actually a very traditional Victorian era sandwich. However they only made it with thin slices of cucumber. In this book we've added extra protein with the cold chicken!!! It is very interesting to read that the traditional (non chicken version) has a low protein content, thus making it an upper class meal, because it was leisurely eaten.

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According to Wikipedia (yeah, I'm lazy and that's the first site I find stuff in):


Cucumber sandwiches formed an integral part of the stereotypical afternoon tea affair. 

The popularity of the cucumber sandwich reached its upper-class zenith in the Edwardian era, when cheap labour and plentiful coal enabled cucumbers to be produced in hotbeds under glass through most of the year. With the declining popularity of tea as a meal in the United Kingdom, there was a corresponding decline in the popularity of cucumber sandwiches, but they are still frequently served at teas, luncheons, and gatherings. 

Most English cricket clubs supply malt vinegar and ground pepper to dash inside the sandwich, and this is the simplest form commonly used in England.

So basically, cucumber sandwiches have heavy historical relevance, and I had no clue about it!


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This book was kindly provided by Curiosity Quills through NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. No cucumbers were harmed making this review or when reading the book. Thank you both the author and publisher for this little jewel!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

“It’s only the beginning. Chase me if you like. Perhaps, if you remain interesting, I’ll even let you catch me.

Bronze Gods (Apparatus Infernum, #1)Bronze Gods by A.A. Aguirre
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A few years ago I was obsessed with detective stories devoted in solving impossible murders and mysteries. Agatha Christie opened these flood doors when I was a child, hand in hand with Sir Conan Doyle; later on, Henning Mankell and Kathy Reichs filled my bookshelves. Recently, I've put aside my mysteries and detective stories and have focused my reading almost entirely on some nice paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi worlds. Thus, it is with great pleasure that I have found the perfect combination of my reading obsessions in the 384 pages that comprises Bonze Gods, the first book of the Apparatus Infernum series by Ann and Andres Aguirre.

Bronze Gods is a steampunk-noir-murder-mystery, that portrays some serious detective work at its purest level. It took me completely unaware by slowly guiding me to a strange fantasy place that has the perfect dose of real and surreal elements. I didn’t know what to expect, however I was pleased by a very methodic and cleverly crafted book. The world-building is impressive, highly detailed and very much steampunk.

It has two main characters, Inspectors Celeste Ritsuko and Janus Mikani who are tasked with the investigation of the disappearance of a girl from an important family. This plot twists in macabre ways, getting dark and impossible along the way. I was hooked from the start and even today, after 10 days of finishing my reading, I’m still haunted by some things that happened in this story. As such, I really really recommend this for all the detective lovers out there who wish to venture in different genres, or those of you who love fantasy as much as I do. You will be pleased.

I enjoyed reading from Mikani and Ritsuko’s points of view. They both carry so very different baggage, yet their drive is so unique that at some point collides, making them both follow the same path. They become work partners at the Criminal Investigation Division of the city of Dorstaad. I loved them. Specially their stubbornness. Ritsuko is a very smart woman who is not afraid of breaking the rules of her culture and society. I was moved by her independence. And then... you’ve got Mikani, who is an excellent cook, understands his weaknesses and is loyal to the bone.

In overall, I’m so very glad Silver Mirrors the Apparatus Infernum second book comes out April 29th, since I am looking forward to read soon about Ritsuko and Mikani’s detective work.


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For my Fictional Meals section, I want to highlight Mikani’s cooking prowess: he is known for making bread and a famous Ragout. Both food stuffs get mentioned various times in this book, making me wonder if in Silver Mirrors we may witness another delicacy made by him.

I’ve never made Ragout, but bread…. yes! I have mastered that skill. As such, here is the perfect opportunity to share my favourite no-fail recipe: vegan Irish Soda Bread from the Happy Hervibore website:

Ingredients

2 cups plant-based milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp raw sugar (optional)
1 cup raisins (optional)

Instructions

Combine the apple cider vinegar with non-dairy milk and set aside for at least 5 minutes. Grab a really big mixing bowl (the biggest you have) and add the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and raisins. Whisk until it's evenly combined and well incorporated. Whisk the non-dairy milk mixture a few times until it's light yellow and curdled. Slowly pour non-dairy milk mixture into the flour, stirring as you go with a wooden spoon until it's wet and dough-like. You may not use all of the liquid. Knead the dough once or twice to shape it into a ball but be careful not to over knead or it will be tough. Place dough on a greased cookie sheet or a greased cast-iron skillet (how the Irish do it). Using a serrated knife to make an "X". Bake 30 to 45 minutes @ 425F, until it's golden and cooked thoroughly. Check by pushing a long, wooden skewer or thin chopstick into the centre. If it comes out clean, it's done. Also add an aluminum foil tent over top after 20-25 minutes if the top is burning or getting too dark.

ENJOY this steamy bun while your swoon about Mikani.

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Ann Aguirre kindly sent me a copy of this book during a Blog Reviewer special giveaway she had on her page. No bread was exchanged during this process. Thank you Ann and Andres!


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Monday, April 7, 2014

And we've got a winner!

The winner for the Best Series Blog Hop is:

Meghann

 CONGRATS!!



Thanks so much everyone who participated :) It was lovely to host this giveaway.

I'm tempted to repeat this, so stay tuned!