Monday, 28 February 2011

Mel's Random February

London in February - on the one non-rainy day!
The shortest month of the year has been and gone - it always surprises me how quick it actually happens. I don't know why as it happens every year! :) It's been a randomly successful month with some great reads - I've discovered a new favourite author, Laura Bickle and have even had the pleasure of guesting her on my blog - if you missed you check out the interview here.

I also introduced a new feature called Book Confessions with the first confession being about my book mark collection. I also reminisced about two of my favourite books remembered - Bitten by Kelley Armstrong and The Farseekers by Isobelle Carmody

So how has January hit the the reading situation?

Reviews -

Books
Deepwater Landing - Ken Catran (YA of the 80s and 90s Challenge)
Deepwater Angels - Ken Catran (YA of the 80s and 90s Challenge)
Full Dark House - Christopher Fowler (Mystery and Suspense Challenge)
Inside Out - Maria V Snyder
Past Continuous - Tony Bayliss
Remember Me - Christopher Pike (YA of the 80s and 90s Challenge)

E-Books
The Mysterious Lady Law - Robert Appleton
Whisper of the Witch - Suza Kates
The Fallen Blade - Jon Courtenay Grimwood (Speculative Fiction Challenge)
Like Clockwork - Bonnie Dee 
Dead Man's Eyes - Shaun Jeffrey
Dark Oracle - Alayna Williams

Phew - that's a lot of Ebooks this month! :)

Audiobooks
Moving Pictures - Terry Prachett

So with all that in mind my reading challenges status looks like this.

BCC's Mystery & Suspense Challenge - 2 Read, 10 Left to read
FTC Speculative Fiction Challenge - 4 Read, 8 Left to read
BV's YA of 80s and 90s Challenge - 5 Read, 7 Left to read
Personal Classic Challenge -  1 Read

Highlight of the month - Hitting 100 followers was a definite highlight for me personally! However, I also loved having Laura Bickle stop by. 

Honourable Mentions: So many this month - Green Eyed Demon was a great read as was Inside Out and Dark Oracle.



So what have you got up to this month? What was your highlight? :)

Inside Out WINNER!


I'm a little late with this announcement as last week was busier than expected! Thanks to everyone for taking part and I'm happy to announce the winner of my spare Inside Out copy is...


Congratulations! I've emailed you and you have 5 days to reply with your address and I'll get the book in the post. If I don't hear from you a new winner will be drawn. Hope you enjoy the book! :)

Sorry to everyone else, but check back next week when I have a very special new giveaway!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

My Book Haul/In My Mailbox

The Story Siren hosts a weekly meme where bloggers can share what goodies they've purchased/received this week. If you get a chance head over to The Story Siren and check out what everyone is up to!

I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore
Publisher: UK - Penguin
John Smith is not your average teenager. He regularly moves from small town to small town. He changes his name and identity. He does not put down roots. He cannot tell anyone who or what he really is. If he stops moving those who hunt him will find and kill him. But you can’t run forever. So when he stops in Paradise, Ohio, John decides to try and settle down. To fit in. And for the first time he makes some real friends. People he cares about – and who care about him. Never in John’s short life has there been space for friendship, or even love. But it’s just a matter of time before John’s secret is revealed. He was once one of nine. Three of them have been killed. John is Number Four. He knows that he is next . . .

As the film of this is out soon, I thought I'd pick up the book when it was on offer in my local supermarket. 

Virgin Widow - Anne O'Brien
Publisher: UK - MIRA
 A daughter of Warwick the Kingmaker, Anne Neville cannot dictate her own future. Her marriage will be political, made purely to advance her family's interests. But at the age of fourteen, her father's treason forces her into exile, and into an uneasy betrothal with Edward of Lancaster. Edward is changeable and completely controlled by his powerful mother, Margaret of Anjou. In a hostile, impoverished court, Anne finds herself at the mercy of other's whims. On her wedding night, the audience assembled to witness her bedding instead witnesses a royal humiliation. At the point of consummation, Queen Margaret forbids the act. Anne went to her husband's bed a virgin, and she will remain so. The battle for the crown of England rages, and Anne's husband must fight for his cause. But he is foully done to death by Richard, Duke of Gloucester - a man who twice before has been betrothed to Anne. Anne must decide where her loyalties lie. And during the reign of King Edward, the wrong decision could mean death

This is another book my Mum has lent me and has told to read now! Apparently it's really good... :)

Sanctus - Simon Toyne
Publisher: UK - Harper Collins (April 2011)
The certainties of the modern world are about to be blown apart by a three thousand year-old conspiracy nurtured by blood and lies …
A man throws himself to his death from the oldest inhabited place on the face of the earth, a mountainous citadel in the historic Turkish city of Ruin. This is no ordinary suicide but a symbolic act. And thanks to the media, it is witnessed by the entire world.
But few understand it. For charity worker Kathryn Mann and a handful of others in the know, it is what they have been waiting for. The cowled and secretive fanatics that live in the Citadel suspect it could mean the end of everything they have built – and they will kill, torture and break every law to stop that. For Liv Adamsen, New York crime reporter, it begins the next stage of a journey into the heart of her own identity.
And at that journey's end lies a discovery that will change EVERYTHING …

This was an Arc I recieved from Waterstones. Sounds like the typical ancient mystery adventure.

So what did you pick up this week? :)

Saturday, 26 February 2011

On My Wishlist #27

This is a meme from Book Chick City. There are so many books out there that I want to read that this is the only way I can keep track! This week I have a historical theme...

Lily of the Nile - Stephanie Dray
Publisher: Berkley Publishing (January 2011)
With her parent dead, the daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Antony is left at the mercy of her Roman captors. Heir to one empire and prisoner of another, it falls to Princess Selene to save her brothers and reclaim what is rightfully hers...
In the aftermath of Alexandria's tragic fall, Princess Selene is taken from Egypt, the only home she's only known. Along with her two surviving brothers, she's put on display as a war trophy in Rome. Selene's captors mock her royalty and drag her through the streets in chains, but to the brink of death, the children are spared as a favor to the emperor's sister, who takes them to live hostages in the so-called lamentable embassy of royal orphans...
Now trapped in a Roman court of intrigue that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, Selene can’t hide the hieroglyphics that carve themselves into her flesh. Nor can she stop the emperor from using her for his own political ends. But faced with a new and ruthless Caesar who is obsessed with having a Cleopatra of his very own, Selene is determined honor her mother’s lost legacy. The magic of Egypt and Isis remain within her. But can she succeed where her mother failed? And what will it cost her in a political game where the only rule is win or die?

I love books based in Egypt - I have a fascination with the country and history. This book looks great with the focus on the aftermath of one of the most notorious love affairs in history.

A Spy In The House (The Agency) - Y.S. Lee
Publisher: Candlwick Press
Orphan Mary Quinn lives on the edge. Sentenced as a thief at the age of twelve, she’s rescued from the gallows by a woman posing as a prison warden. In her new home, Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls, Mary acquires a singular education, fine manners, and surprising opportunity. The school is a cover for the Agency – an elite, top-secret corps of female investigators with a reputation for results – and at seventeen, Mary’s about to join their ranks.
With London all but paralyzed by a noxious heat wave, Mary must work fast in the guise of lady’s companion to infiltrate a rich merchant’s home with hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the Thorold household is full of dangerous secrets, and people are not what they seem – least of all Mary.

This seems like such fun!

The Confessions of Catherine De Medici - C.W. Gortner
Publisher: Hodder Paperback
I was ten years old when I discovered I might be a witch...
The sixteenth century: the era of queens. Catherine de Medici is an impressionable, mystical girl. She is orphaned and taken hostage by her enemies, and manipulated by her advisors; yet she is to become France's most powerful regent.
History will make her name synonymous with evil, but she is all too human. Humiliated at the hands of her husband and his mistress, and haunted by her gift of second sight, she must rise above her troubles and fight to save her dynasty and adopted country from the brutal Wars of Religion...


I love a historical novel and reading one based on Catherine De Medici will be a nice change from the usual Tudor court.

So what are you wishing for this week? :)

Friday, 25 February 2011

Book Blogger Hop #14

 


The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books  and is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! I love taking part in the hop as I get to know more about other bloggers out there and to find a few new ones!

  

This week's question is -

 

Do you ever wish you would have named your blog something different?



Good question! While I love my blog name, I sometimes wish I had a chosen a name that shouts book reviews more - but I had visions of reviewing film and TV shows as well as books originally. I've generally settled on just books - they take up so much of my time that I don't know if I'd have time to review anything else! However, as my reviews can tend to be a little random I'm more than happy Mel's Random Reviews (MRR) :-)


What's your opinion? On my blog name or yours? :-)

Remember Me Review

Remember Me
-          Christopher Pike
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton.
First Published in US in 1989.
Shari just stepped onto the balcony for some fresh air, she didn’t mean to fall. Whilst her friends assume it was suicide, she knows otherwise, and now her restless spirit must find the real killer by any means possible. She'll need the help of those she left behind and the only way to reach them now is via the ouija board, but someone or something else seems to want to communicate with her friends too with horrifying intent.
Remember Me was one of my favourite books as a teenager. I think I received this book as a gift from my Gran when she visited Canada to try and get me away from the Sweet Valley High books I was hooked on at the time. It was the first Christopher Pike book I ever read and I loved the characters, the story and thought it was the most original story I had ever read.
Reading it again after all these years was like reading two books at once. Part of me was reading and enjoying the book I loved when I was a teen – I loved the idea of being able to spy on your friends, discover your murderer and even flying with the boy you like. It still had the adventure and excitement I loved. I enjoyed the twists and turns of the story as well as the writing, which still flowed and galloped by.
However, at the same time I was looking at the book with an adult eye and thought that some of the characters seemed a little underdeveloped and stereotypical. No one character jumped out as being truly original. Plus the story happened rather conveniently. I can usually suspend disbelief but for some reason I missed the lack of red herrings and thought it was a rather straight forward read. Overall, though I did enjoy the experience – although I think part of that was nostalgia. It’s really difficult to be objective about a book I loved so much and still enjoyed reading. Great fun!    
Recommended for fans of Diane Hoh and Caroline B Cooney. 7 out of 10.
The Book Vixen's YA of the 80s and 90s Reading Challenge Book 5/12
YA of the 80s and 90s Reading Challenge

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Past Continuous Review

Past Continuous
-       Tony Bayliss
Publisher: UK – Sparkling Books
The sensitive, gifted but troubled young Matthew cannot get to grip with everyday life. He turns against his parents, whose separation leaves him shuttling back and forth between homes. Estranged from his peers, and clumsy with girls, he has difficulty in making friends, and achingly yearns for a girl with whom to share his body and mind. Meanwhile the bright and beautiful Sophie starts to get mysterious emails from the boy of her dreams...literally.
This is a hard review to write as the subject matter in this book is a lot deeper and serious than my usual light reading. But that’s not to say that Past Continuous isn’t entertaining – it makes you think both as you’re reading and after you’ve put the book down. And it isn’t always an easy read. Oh, the prose flows well enough and at the beginning there are enough short chapters to keep the pages turning. However, it isn’t long before you realise what you are reading is a question. A question on the purpose of life, what makes human and the meaning of life. And perhaps most importantly -  what makes us human?
The two main characters are both extremely bright, intelligent people but they both remain somewhat removed from other people and don’t tend to let others get close to them – this includes their parents as well as friends and lovers. While I could empathize with them to a certain extent I did feel their behaviour tended towards the selfish and didn’t think about how their acts would impact others. But this is an important element of the story and leads to those big questions that I mentioned. And their romance is by terms touching as they learn about each other and mysterious based on their unusual method of communication. I enjoyed being challenged while reading this and while my heart ultimately stayed with Matthew’s father – the most human character – I did enjoy the romance and various twists along the way.
With a haunting story and the ability to make you think while following an emotional and intelligent journey, this is a very good book that I hope more people pick up. Many thanks to the Slowest Bookworm, whom I won this copy from.
Recommended for fans of Jostein Gaarder and Alice Sebold. 8 out 10.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Audiobook: Moving Pictures Review

Moving Pictures
Written by Terry Prachett
Read by Tony Robinson
The alchemists of the Discworld have discovered the magic of the silver screen. But what is the dark secret of Holy Wood hill?

It's up to Victor Tugelbend ("Can't sing. Can't dance. Can handle a sword a little.") and Theda Withel ("I come from a little town you've probably never heard of") to find out...

I’ve struggled for ages to write this review as there are parts of this audio book I really enjoyed and parts that jarred. The story is a parody of Hollywood and there are some great comic situations that riff on expected stereotypes (My favourite is the image of a giant woman climbing the tower with an ape in her hands!).  The best part of the audio book is Tony Robinson’s reading though – he is comic in the right places, straight where it’s needed and the all voices he creates are fantastic. I could listen to him all day.
However there is so much going on, so many characters and subplots that it becomes obvious that this is an abridgement. The situation changes rapidly and often doesn’t flow. There are some sharp transitions which jerk you out of the story as you wonder what happened there. Luckily I’ve read the book so I was able to fill in the gaps most of time.  Overall, if this hadn’t been an abridge version of the book I would rated it highly as the story and the reading was excellent. As it is, it feels a little like a cheese salad sandwich without the salad – the basic ingredients are all there but just missing something to make it stand out.
Recommended for fans of Ian Ranklin and Douglas Adams. 6 out of 10

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Alayna Williams - 30 Second Quiz!

Earlier today I reviewed Dark Oracle by Alayna Williams - and loved it. Today the sequel Rogue Oracle is released and to celebrate I have a 30 second quick quiz with the author herself. So please welcome Alayna William aka Laura Bickle!

-          Favourite Book you’ve read?

Robin McKinley's HERO AND THE CROWN

-          Favourite Book you’ve written?

They're all my children, and I love them in different ways. I loved EMBERS and SPARKS for the worldbuilding and Sparky, and I love the ORACLE books for the neat stuff I learned about particle accelerators, astrology, and genetics.

-          Favourite food?

Chocolate. Hands-down.

-          Favourite film?

LADYHAWKE. Yeah, Rutger Hauer in that film is my ideal of a romantic hero.

-          Favourite music?

Sting.

-          Favourite authors?

Robin McKinley, Ann Aguirre, Jeri Smith-Ready, Jessa Slade, M.L.N. Hanover

-          Any pets?

Four barely-reformed feral cats and two fish named after Star Wars characters. Just the fish named after Star Wars characters, I promise: Ackbar and Sullustan

-          Favourite saying/quote?

From The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: "No matter where you go, there you are."

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Dark Oracle Review

Dark Oracle
-       Alayna Williams
Kindle Book
As a criminal profiler, Tara used science and her intuitive skill at Tarot card divination to track down the dangerous and depraved, including the serial killer who left her scarred from head to toe. Since that savage attack, Tara has been a recluse. But now an ancient secret society known as Delphi’s Daughters has asked for her help in locating missing scientist Lowell Magnusson. And Tara, armed with her Tarot deck, her .38, and a stack of misgivings, agrees to try. Tara immediately senses there is far more at stake than one man’s life. At his government lab in the New Mexico desert, Magnusson had developed groundbreaking technology with terrifying potential. Working alongside the brusque but charismatic agent Harry Li, Tara discovers that Magnusson’s daughter, Cassie, has knowledge that makes her a target too. The more Tara sees into the future, the more there is to fear. She knows she has to protect Cassie. But there may be no way to protect herself—from the enemies circling around her, or from the long-buried powers stirring to life within...

A lot of Urban Fantasy books ignore or dismiss science in favour of the magical elements of their world. What strikes you from the start in Dark Oracle is that science is not only embraced but is a crucial plot point to the story. Not only are Tara and her partner Harry investigating an explosion at a particle accelerator lab, but both them and the bad guys are searching for the scientific research hidden by the lead scientist. While there is enough magical elements to keep this is in the Urban Fantasy genre, I liked that it flows from the story and rarely takes precedence. Tara reads tarot cards and even she admits it might not be magical but a method of tapping into her sub-conscience. I don’t really know much about tarot cards, but the way it’s explained here is like another puzzle as both Tara and the reader attempts to distinguish the meaning behind the spread.
However the best part of Dark Oracle, are the characters. Tara feels so real with likes, dislikes, passions, a haunted past and fears – right from the start she jumps off the page and makes you feel for her – even before you learn about her troubled history. Added to that Harry Li is one of the best male leads I’ve come across for a while. He has a distinct personality and doesn’t fall helplessly in love with Tara at first sight – it truly is her personality that intrigues him. I loved how naturally their relationship develops and how they trust each other – despite the differences between them. This was one of the most natural relationships I’ve read in Urban Fantasy and I really want to see what happens next between them. Even the other characters sparkle (I love Martin and Maggie!) and make the action pop. This is a very good Urban Fantasy that makes a pleasant change from vampires, were and other supernatural creatures. And luckily for me - the sequel Rogue Oracle is released today! :)
Recommended for fans of Diana Rowland and Ilona Andrews. 8 out of 10.
And stop by later on today for 60 second quick quiz with the author herself Alayna Williams aka Laura Bickle!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Author Interview: Laura Bickles

Today I have a real treat for you - an interview with the lovely Laura Bickle, author of Embers and Sparks (In fact Embers was my pick of the month in January - you can read my review here). But did you know Laura also writes as Alayna Williams with Dark Oracle out now and ROGUE ORACLE out tomorrow. So lets dive right in shall we? :)

First thanks for stopping by – I loved Embers and am enjoying Dark Oracle so far. Can I tax your brain ask a few questions?

Thanks so much for having me! I'm thrilled that you enjoyed my books. :-)

So tell us a little about yourself...

I've worked in criminal justice, information technology, and library science. Most writers I know keep a day job for the glamour and intrigue...just kidding. It pays the bills.
I ditched criminal justice recently to work in a library. I get to pet all the books and be surrounded by all kinds of ideas. It's a writer's dream career. 
I live in the Midwestern U.S., where my husband and I are owned by four semi-reformed feral cats. Cat owners know what that's like...

You write under two different names, Laura Bickle and Alayna Williams how did that come about?

My editor recommended that I use a pseudonym for the ORACLE books. My first book, EMBERS, came out in April, 2010. DARK ORACLE was scheduled for June of that year. We thought it would be confusing for readers to have two UF series going on under the same name, with alternating release dates. For that purpose, it made sense to create "Alayna." In that sense, it was a branding decision.
Building another personality was interesting. I used variations of my own middle name and my husband's, so that it would be a name that I'd react somewhat normally to at conventions. I think that much of that relies upon only hearing my middle name when I was a kid in trouble: "Laura Alayna, get into the house THIS INSTANT..."
But it does make for a very long name badge at conventions.

What’s the main difference between the different books?

They're both urban fantasy. My Laura Bickle books, EMBERS and SPARKS, are best described as "Ghostbusters in Detroit with dragons and arson." They follow the adventures of Anya Kalinczyk, who's an arson investigator and psychic medium. She spends her days working with as an arson investigator and her nights exterminating malicious spirits with an eccentric group of ghost hunters. She's joined by her faithful familiar, a feral fire salamander named Sparky.

My Alayna Williams books, DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE, are about a criminal profiler, Tara Sheridan, who uses Tarot cards to solve crimes. These books are a mashup of science and magic - similar to Fringe and the X-Files. Tara's a reluctant member of an ancient society of oracles tracing their lineage back to the Oracle of Delphi. In ROGUE ORACLE, Tara and her skeptic partner Harry Li are on the trail of a Chernobyl survivor who's selling nuclear secrets on the international black market.

Both books about the supernatural – have you ever had a supernatural experience yourself?

I go to the local Renaissance Festival every year and get my Tarot cards read by the same card reader. She's amazingly accurate...though she warns me that I need to decide to be done with karma this year. Still scratching my head on that one.

Supernatural is very popular theme at the moment for books, TV and films – what do you think draws us to ‘things that go bump in the night’?

I've always been intrigued by the idea of a hidden supernatural world existing beneath our own. Urban Fantasy allows me to explore the "what if's": What if a criminal profiler turned to Tarot card divination? What if the Oracle of Delphi survived into the modern day...and what would they have been up to? What if the future could be told through the use of magic...and how would we try to change what we saw?

I loved the atmosphere you created in Embers of a city on the edge and the descriptions of Detroit – is obvious you have a strong feeling for the city – what’s your favourite part of the city?
Ah...it would be tied between the salt mine beneath the city, which I turned into a dragon's lair for EMBERS...or Michigan Central Station, which is decomposing. I turned it into a way station for ghosts.


In Embers, Anya has a fire salamander called Sparky as a familiar. Sparky is a different type of being than usually seen in UF, what was the inspiration for the cutesy salamander? (I want a fire salamander of my own!)

Hee. I want a fire salamander, too. In this weather, I could
use someone to warm up the car!
Sparky is a composite of all the pets I've had. He's at turns, petulant, protective, and snarky. As a fire salamander, he can affect electrical fields and fire...he's been known to chew on cell phones, blow up microwaves, and set of sprinkler systems in the crime lab.
He has a favorite toy that he cuddles with at night...a Glow-Worm. I had a Glow-Worm toy as a child. I was terribly afraid of the dark, and it really helped. I still give them as gifts for baby showers.

In Dark Oracle tarot cards play an important part of the story - Have you ever had a tarot reading for yourself?

I read cards for myself for fun and use them for story prompts. The ORACLE books were written with a deck at hand. But I would never call myself an expert.

Finally what have you got coming up next?

I'm working on a couple of contemporary fantasy projects. Like my other books, they involve female protagonists. Somehow, my heroines always wind up with pets...be they cats, salamanders, or other familiars.

Thanks Laura for stopping by! Tomorrow in order to celebrate the release of ROGUE ORACLE, the second Alayna Williams book,  I have a 30 second quick quiz with Laura and will posting my review of Dark Oracle, the first in the series!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

My Book Haul/In My Mailbox

The Story Siren hosts a weekly meme where bloggers can share what goodies they've purchased/received this week. If you get a chance head over to The Story Siren and check out what everyone is up to! I picked up a few books this weeks that I'm excited about...

The Cursed Ones - Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie
Publisher: UK - Simon & Schuster
The Cursed Ones, or vampires, have made their presence known to mankind. They promised to help bring peace to the world but then declared war on humanity. The identity of their leader is unknown. Most people are too afraid or unwillingly to take a stand against them. Others, like eighteen-year-old Jenn Leitner, train secretly to become vampire fighters and risk everything in the process. Alongside her is fellow Hunter, Antonio de la Cruz. But Antonio has a secret - he is a vampire fighting on the side of humanity. Jenn must battle with her hatred of all things vampire, and her love for Antonio. For together only they can bring light into the darkness the vampires have drawn over the face of the planet...
I will admit that this was an impulse purchase based on the fact that I enjoyed Nancy Holder's Buffy books many moons ago...I haven't heard much about it but vampires, slayers, forbidden love - hopefully it'll bring something new to the story!

The Water Room (Bryant & May 2) - Christopher Fowler
Publisher: UK - Bantam Books
An oasis in the heart of Kentish Town, Balaklava Street is ripe for gentrification. But then the body of an elderly woman is found at No. 5. Her demise seems to have been peaceful but for the fact that her throat is full of river water… For the Met’s Peculiar Crimes Unit, led by London’s longest-serving detectives, Arthur Bryant and John May, this curious death marks the beginning of a distinctly sinister investigation. And the new owner of No. 5 is understandably unsettled by the damp in the basement of her home, some particularly resilient spiders and the ghostly sound of rushing water. Unearthing hitherto undiscovered secrets, the two octogenarian policemen learn that, in a London filled with the rich, the poor and the dispossessed, there’s still something a desperate individual is willing to kill for. And kill again to protect. Armed only with their wits, their own idiosyncratic practices and a plentiful supply of boiled sweets, Bryant and May come face to face with madness, greed and revenge in a wickedly sinuous mystery that goes to the heart of every London home.

After enjoying the first Bryant & May book - Full Dark House, I wanted to get the next in the series! I have to say I do love the colouful covers to these books as well! :)

Mistress of the Art of Death - Ariana Franklin
Publisher: UK - Bantam Books
In medieval Cambridge, four children have been murdered. The Catholic townsfolk blame their Jewish neighbors, so to save them from the rioting mob, the Cambridge Jews are placed under the protection of the king. King Henry II is no friend of the Jews-or anyone, really-but he believes in law and order, and he desperately needs the taxes he receives from Jewish merchants. Hoping scientific investigation will catch the true killer, Henry calls on his cousin, the King of Sicily-whose subjects include the best medical experts in Europe-and asks for his finest "master of the art of death," the earliest form of medical examiner. The Italian doctor chosen for the task is a young prodigy from the University of Salerno, an expert in the science of anatomy and the art of detection. But her name is Adelia; the king has been sent a "mistress of the art of death."
This is the second book I've recieved as part of Transworld Great Crime Caper so I'm looking forward to taking it for a test drive! :)

and finally the book I'm most excited about -

Rogue Oracle - Alayna Williams
Publisher: Pocket Books
Tara Sheridan is the best criminal profiler around—and the most unconventional. Trained as a forensic psychologist, Tara also specializes in Tarot card reading. But she doesn’t need her divination skills to realize that the new assignment from her friend and sometime lover, Agent Harry Li, is a dangerous proposition in every way.
Former Cold War operatives, all linked to a top-secret operation tracking the disposal of nuclear weapons in Russia, are disappearing. There are no bodies, and no clues to their whereabouts. Harry suspects a conspiracy to sell arms to the highest bidder. The cards—and Tara’s increasingly ominous dreams—suggest something darker. Even as Tara sorts through her feelings for Harry and her fractured relationship with the mysterious order known as Delphi’s Daughters, a killer is growing more ruthless by the day. And a nightmare that began decades ago in Chernobyl will reach a terrifying endgame that not even Tara could have foreseen . . .

I've just finished Dark Oracle (Review will be posted on Tuesday) and loved it! I've been extremely lucky to get an electronic arc of this sequel (many thanks to the generous Laura Bickle aka Alyana Williams) and can't wait to start reading it! It's released on Tuesdsay and to celebrate Alayna Williams,  the author Dark oracle & Rogue Oracle - aka Laura Bickle, author of the fabulous Embers & Sparks is stopping by to answer some questions...so stop by tomorrow and Tuesday for some insights :)

So what have you picked up this week? :)

Saturday, 19 February 2011

On My Wishlist #26

**SHAMELESS PLUG - Don't Forget to check out my INSIDE OUT Giveaway here - ends tomorrow!**

This is a meme from Book Chick City. There are so many books out there that I want to read that this is the only way I can keep track! This week I'm having a Gods theme...

Sins and Shadows - Lyn Benedict
Publisher: UK - Ace Books (April 2009)
Sylvie Lightner is no ordinary P.I. She specializes in cases involving the unusual, in a world where magic is real - and where death isn't the worst thing that can happen to you.
But when an employee is murdered in front of her, Sylvie has had enough. After years of confounding the dark forces of the Magicus Mundi, she's closing up shop - until a man claiming to be the God of Justice wants Sylvie to find his lost lover.
And he won't take no for an answer.

I've had my eye on this for a while - it looks like a detective story with a difference. After all who wouldn't want to met the God of Justice...

Goddess of Spring - PC Cast
Publisher: UK - Little Brown (January 2010)
Lina's trendy bakery in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is proving to be less than lucrative and she must come up with a plan to save it. When she stumbles upon an Italian Goddess cookbook, she can't help but think she's found the answer to her problem - even if it means invoking a goddess to save her business. Soon enough, Lina finds herself face-to-face with Demeter, who has a plan of her own. She proposes that Lina exchange souls with Persephone, the Goddess of Spring, who will breathe new life into the bakery. In return, Lina must set order to the Underworld. Before all this, Lina's problems mostly involved dough and second dates. Now that she embodies the enchantingly beautiful Persephone, Lina has weightier things on her mind - like the formidable task of bringing Spring to a world of spirits. But when the handsome, brooding Hades kindles a spark in her heart, Lina wonders if this Lord of the Underworld might be the man of her dreams...

The Persephone myth has always been one of my favourites. Added to that I love PC Casts writing this is a book I want to get my hands on soon!

Goddess of the Rose - PC Cast
Publisher: UK - Little Brown (January 2010)
It's not green fingers that have kept the Empousai family's roses blooming for centuries - it's the drops of blood that their women secretly sacrifice for their gardens. But Mikki would rather forget this family quirk and lead a normal life. Until the day she unwittingly performs a ritual and ends up in the strangely familiar Realm of the Rose. As its goddess, Hecate, reveals to her, Mikki has the blood of a high priestess running through her veins. And the realm has been waiting for her ...In a long ago flash of temper, Hecate cursed her Guardian beast with a slumber that only her priestess can undo - and Hecate is counting on Mikki to set things right. At first the beast terrifies Mikki - but soon he intrigues her more than any man ever has. But the only way he and the realm can be saved is for Mikki to sacrifice her life-giving blood - and herself ...
Another Goddess Summoning novel from PC Cast which looks like a retelling of beauty and the beast. 

So what are you wishing for this week? :)