Thursday, 30 June 2011

Author Interview: Merrie Destefano

Yesterday I reviewed Feast by Merrie Destefano and today I'm lucky enough to welcome herself to my little corner of the blogosphere..

Hello Merrie, thanks for coming by. Lets dive straight in shall we?

First tell us a little about yourself...
Let’s see. Where to start. I’m an animal-loving, tree-hugging, short person who loves to laugh and eat chocolate. I also love stories that take me someplace I’ve never been before—although whether that’s another world or another country doesn’t matter. I love both reading and writing and I’m always striving to accomplish new things when it comes to the craft of writing. Before making the jump to full-time novelist, I worked in publishing for twenty years. During that time, I worked in a wide variety of jobs: graphic designer, illustrator, production coordinator, book editor, publisher  and magazine editor, to name a few. I studied fine art in college and have always been torn between art and writing. I seem to be happiest when I can find a way to incorporate both elements in my work. In my debut novel, Afterlife, the main character was a musician. In my new release, Feast, my main character is a writer. So I guess I subconsciously bring my love of art into my stories.
Your second book – Feast: Harvest of Dreams was released on 28th June - how would you describe it to readers?
Feast is about a young woman who ends up in the wrong place at the right time. Maddie MacFadden is a writer who retreats to the mountains in need of inspiration. Instead, she finds herself the target of a deadly hunt and, unfortunately, seems to be only one who can see the monstrous winged beasts who are after her. The very thing she thought she was lacking—creativity—ends up being the only thing that can save her.
The Darklings in Feast are an unusual type of supernatural creature – did you do any research for them?
Not as far as what they looked like, but I did do a lot of research on dreams, since that was a strong theme in the book. Also, I had recently done a great deal of research on vampires and werewolves for some work-for-hire books. I wanted to create a new creature and put a new spin on some old legends. In the end, the Darklings became a combination of vampire, werewolf, faery, doppelganger, shape shifter and Muse. They were beings who had masqueraded as these mythic creatures in the past and actually spawned the legends about those creatures.

The supernatural has always been popular at the moment for books, TV and films – what do you think draws us to these types of stories?
I honestly believe that there is another world—a spiritual or supernatural world—that interacts with our world on a daily basis. And I also believe that we have a natural curiosity about who and what inhabits that spiritual world. For that reason, I think we are attracted to books, TV shows or movies that deal with these supernatural elements. We are seeking the truth, we want to know more, we want to see behind the veil into a hidden realm and encounter someone greater than ourselves. I also think that deep down inside we realize we are not alone in this universe and a part of us wants to know who else is here.

Dreams play an important part in Feast – both the sleeping sort and ambitious – do you have any unusual/different dreams you feel like sharing?
I do! I had a strangely prophetic dream once. I dreamed I was at a conference, sitting at a table with a woman who looked familiar, although I didn’t know her. She leaned forward and whispered confidentially that I wouldn’t be working where I was very much longer (I was a magazine editor at the time). I got really excited when she told me that because I had grown so weary of that job. Then she said that she wasn’t supposed to tell me what was going to happen next, but that it was going to be fabulous. Well, I didn’t know if the dream was prophetic or not, but I figured maybe I should pay attention. I started saving as much money as I could and, sure enough, two months later I got laid off. Fortunately, we had a good amount of money saved by then. So I decided to take the next year or two off work and try to get one of my novels published. Four months later, my agent sold my debut novel, Afterlife, to HarperCollins! I’ve been a full-time novelist and freelance editor ever since. I really believe that the dream helped me to get ready for the transition, both financially and emotionally.
Have you ever had a supernatural experience?
Yes, although I’m not sure if many people would call it supernatural. I have this strange gift where sometimes I just “know” things. I’ll give you an example. Once, while driving home from work, I got stuck in a nasty L.A. traffic jam during a nasty heat wave. I had nothing to do, no cars were moving, so I started staring at the people in the car in front of me. All I could see was the back of their heads, but I began to imagine what was going in their car. Before long I came to the conclusion that she was pregnant and her baby was due any day, and that he had a new job and was worried about losing his job if he was late. Weird, right? When the cars finally started to move, the car in front of me stalled. The man got out, pushed it to the side of the road. When his wife got out, I saw that she actually was nine months pregnant. At that point, I realized that I had to help them. I pulled over and asked if they needed a ride. The man said, yes. Apparently, he had a new job and was worried about losing it if he was late (!!). Also, his wife was due to deliver their baby the next day and he was worried about her standing out in the heat too long. Believe it or not, this type of thing has happened to me many times.

Your main character Maddie used her childhood holiday as a refuge – where would you go for your own refuge?
I love the woods. That’s one reason I set this book on the edge of national forest—so I could spend time there as I was writing. My refuge-of-choice has always been any place with lots of trees, so many that they crowd out the sky. One place in particular comes to mind, although I don’t remember how to get there. When I was nineteen, I stayed in a cabin by a lake with my sister in the Wisconsin Dells. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I’d love to find it and go back there some day.

What have you got coming up next?
As far as writing goes, I’m currently working on an e-book novella that would be a prequel to Feast. It’s titled Cursed and I hope to have it out soon. As far as events go, I’ll be at Comic Con in San Diego at the end of July and at World Fantasy Con in San Diego in October. You can also see a list of blog stops and book signings on my website here 
Finally  a 60 second, quick question quiz
Favourite Book you’ve read?
Almost always, the one I’m reading right now. So that would be: Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks.
Favourite Book you’ve written? <Cruel question I know!>
The one I just finished that isn’t published yet and is kind of secret. =)
Favourite food?
Guy Pearce in The Time Machine
Favourite film?
So many to choose from! Okay, The Time Machine with Guy Pearce.
Favourite music?
Favourite authors?
Laurie Halse Anderson, Kimberly Derting, Holly Black, Carrie Ryan, Michael Connelly, Robert Jackson Bennett, Diana Abu-Jaber, Sue Monk Kidd, Janet Fitch, and many more.
Any pets?
Two German shepherds and a Siamese cat
Favourite saying/quote?
          “I dream my painting and then I paint my dream,” by Vincent Van Gogh.

Thank you so much for stopping by Merrie!

Thank you so much, Mel, for inviting me on your blog! It’s an honor to be here and I really appreciate it.

Feast is out now to buy now and keep up to date with all Merrie's doings...

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Early Review: Feast

Feast: Harvest of Dreams
-       Merrie Destefano
Publisher: Harper Voyager – released 28th June 2011
Review copy courtesy of Netgalley & Harper Voyager
Madeline MacFadden ("Mad Mac" to fans of her bestselling magical stories) spent blissful childhood summers in  Ticonderoga Falls. And this is where she wants to be now that her adult life is falling apart. The dense surrounding forest holds many memories, some joyous, some tantalizingly only half-remembered.  And she's always believed there was something living in these wooded hills. But Maddie doesn't remember the dark parts -- and knows nothing of the mountain legend that holds the area's terrified residents captive. She has no recollection of Ash, the strange and magnificent creature who once saved her life as a child, even though it is the destiny of his kind to prey upon humanity. And soon it will be the Harvest. . . the time to feast. Once again Maddie's dreams -- and her soul -- are in grave danger. But magic runs deep during Harvest. Even a spinner of enchanted tales has wondrous powers of her own.

The first thing that struck me about Feast was how melodic the prose is, it flows beautiful with descriptive passages and action all gorgeously rendered. It’s like sipping a dessert wine after a particularly satisfying meal. It feels timeless and reads like an ancient legend, while firmly set in the modern era. Each chapter is told in the first person but from multiple narrators which manages to make you emphasize for many of the characters and opens up the town of Ticonderoga Falls. Maddie, herself is a strong character who clearly loves her son and is hurting from her marriage break up. Ash is still guilt-ridden over a mistake from years before and struggling to connect again. They are surrounded by townsfolk who know more than they say.
The Darkling creatures that Merrie introduces us too are different from any preternatural creatures I’ve read about before with shades of shifter, vampire and fae but unique. I was never sure if they were good or evil or just different. The insight into these different creatures and their powers was a lovely change from angst-ridden vampire. Some of the secondary characters are a little wasted – I’m thinking of Ash’s sister and handmaiden particularly, but it’s a little like asking for additional bread with your dinner; not really necessary when the main characters are so filling.
There are still a lot of questions left unanswered – where the Darklings actually come from,   how the legend and legend keeper actually works, but I found myself so caught up in the writing and the story that it didn’t bother me while I was reading. It’s great to see a different style of story being told rather than another Urban Fantasy rinse and repeat.
Recommended for fans of Ilona Andrews and Kate Griffin. 8 out of 10.
** Stop tomorrow when the author, herself Merrie Destefano will answering a few questions! **

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Guest Review: The Sterkarm Handshake

Back in May I held a competition for you all to suggest a book for my regular guest reviewer, Sarah to recieve for her birthday and then review. Well, the winning book was The Sterkarm Handshake and here's Sarah's review! :-)

The Sterkarm Handshake
- Susan Price

Publisher: Scholastic

For generations, the Sterkarms plundered the Scottish border. They were known for shaking on a bargain with a dagger clutched firmly in one hand — and for not keeping their promises. Now people from the 21st century have found a way to travel to the Sterkarms' time. The 16th century is rich in natural resources and historical detail, perfect for the modern investor or scholar. Anthropologist Andrea Mitchell finds more than research there, as she falls in love with a young Sterkarm warrior. But when he realizes how powerful and destructive the visitors truly are, he vows to keep them from his land forever. And in the bloody battle that ensues, Andrea must choose between her love and her world.

My birthday prize review is finally here!!!!  To remind you, I picked The Sterkarm Handshake by Susan Price, for the reason that I had yet to find a time travel book I liked, and because the nominator obviously loved the book and had done so for a long time.  And I am very glad I selected this book, because finally I have read a time travel novel I could actually enjoy.

The Sterkarm Handshake is set in both the 16th and 21st centuries, which have been connected via The Pipe, a physicist's creation that the author doesn't bog the reader down with too much information about.  Whilst I know many authors like showing off their intelligence and imagination by coming up with the pseudo-science behind inventions, it was refreshing to not have to worry for once about whether I'd even understood the individual words!

The 21st Century protagonists aim to create amicable relations with the 16th Century Sterkarms (a territorial, clannish race of people that live in the no man's land between England and Scotland), often via bribery with aspirin and whiskey, in order to plunder the 16th Century's natural resources for 21st Century use.  Strangely, at no point do the 21st Century scientists seem to consider whether taking oil, coal etc from the 16th Century could actually have an effect on the current day...
The central characters are a very mixed bunch from teenage pretty boys to last chance saloon down and outs, and in fact I ended up much more on the side of the 16th Century (which I'm not sure I was supposed to!).  There is also a multi-time love story, which, unfortunately, I really disliked.  The lady concerned is a whiny, indecisive, cry-baby, which is not a description many central characters should be proud of...

To conclude, there is much to like about The Sterkarm Handshake - it's an engaging, easy-to-read book with some fascinating commentary on 16th and 21st Century politics and lifestyles - however, for me there were also some serious flaws.  They didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book as a whole, but they do prevent it being rated as a favourite, 7 out of 10.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Morlock Night Review

Morlock Night
-       K.W. Jeter
Publisher: Angry Robot
E-Copy courtesy of netgalley and Angry Robot - Available now
JUST WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THE TIME MACHINE RETURNED? Having acquired a device for themselves, the brutish Morlocks return from the desolate far future to Victorian England to cause mayhem and disruption. But the mythical heroes of Old England have also returned, in the hour of the country's greatest need, to stand between England and her total destruction
A semi-sequel to HG Well’s classic The Time Machine, Morlock Night picks up the night the inventor returned to 1892 and told his story to his dinner companions. Commonly known as one of the first Steampunk novels(first published in the the 1970s), this has so many ideas packed in, sometimes it’s difficult to breathe! As well as the underground-living, time travelling Morlocks from the distant future, there are elements of King Arthur and Merlin, and the long-lost city of Atlantis thrown into the mix. This means there is so much happening, the story cracks along at a sprinting pace. Both danger and exposition leap at our heroes from all sides.
The characters are minor points in this play with all the focus on the various ideas and action sequences. Reading it felt like watching a two hour blockbuster with a huge special effects budget as so many separate ideas merge and roll the action forward. I loved the scope and sheer scale of what was happening, but I did miss deeper emotional depth My one disappointment was the sudden ending – it seemed to be over much too quickly after all the build up. Still this is a summer reading for steampunk and classic fans who want a roller coaster of action and adventure in Victorian London – after all who doesn’t love the idea of Arthur fighting Morlocks? J
Recommended for fans of HG Wells & James Rollins. 7.5 out of 10.

Sunday, 26 June 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've had a fantastic week with quite a few wins coming my way...lots of celebration boogieing going on in London! :-)

Nightfall - Ellen Connor
Publisher: Berkley
Growing up with an unstable, often absent father who preached about the end of the world, Jenna never thought in her wildest nightmares that his predictions would come true. Or that he would have a plan in place to save her-one that includes the strong, stoic man who kidnaps and takes her to a remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest.
The mysterious ex-Marine named Mason owes a life-debt to Jenna’s father. Skilled and steadfast, he’s ready for the prophesied Change, but Jenna proves tough to convince. Until the power grid collapses and mutant dogs attack-vicious things that reek of nature gone wrong. When five strangers appear, desperate to escape the bloodthirsty packs, Jenna defies her protector and rescues them. As technology fails and the old world falls away, Jenna changes too, forever altered by supernatural forces. To fight for their future, she and Mason must learn to trust their instinctive passion-a flame that will see them through the bitter winter, the endless nights, and the violence of a new Dark Age.

I wanted this so much and I was so, so lucky to win a copy from Scooper Speaks - I did a little dance of joy around the room for five minutes! Thank you Scooper!

Metrozone Trilogy - Equations of Life, Theories of Flight & Degrees of Freedom - Simon Morden
Samuil Petrovitch is a survivor. He survived the nuclear fallout in St. Petersburg and hid in the London Metrozone - the last city in England. He's lived this long because he's a man of rules and logic. For example: GETTING INVOLVED = A BAD IDEA. But when he stumbles into a kidnapping in progress, he acts without even thinking. Before he can stop himself, he's saved the daughter of the most dangerous man in London. And clearly: SAVING THE GIRL = GETTING INVOLVED. Now, the equation of Petrovitch's life is looking increasingly complex: RUSSIAN MOBSTERS + YAKUZA + SOMETHING CALLED THE NEW MACHINE JIHAD = ONE DEAD PETROVITCH. But Petrovitch has a plan - he always has a plan - he's just not sure it's a good one.

Another giveaway win had me doing much more exercise than usual with another jump around the room! I won this trilogy from the generous Kristin at My Bookish Ways and it does look like a very different read for me - plus the covers are fab if a little motion-sickening!

Forgotten - Cat Patrick
Publisher: Egmont
Each night when 16 year-old London Lane goes to sleep, her whole world disappears. In the morning, all that's left is a note telling her about a day she can't remember. The whole scenario doesn't exactly make high school or dating that hot guy whose name she can't seem to recall any easier. But when London starts experiencing disturbing visions she can't make sense of, she realizes it's time to learn a little more about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.

The wonderful Karen from The Slowest Bookworm has this fantastic idea for Book Blogger Bingo - you sign up and if your number is called next week you win a book! I was so lucky to be the first winner and won Forgotten. Thanks! This book looks so fascinating I'm moving to near the top of my reading pile.

The Quarry - Johan Theorin
Publisher: Doubleday 
 As the last snow melts on the Swedish island of Öland, Per Morner is preparing for his children's Easter visit. But his plans are disrupted when he receives a phone call from his estranged father, Jerry, begging for help.Per finds Jerry close to death in his blazing woodland studio. He's been stabbed, and two dead bodies are later discovered in the burnt-out building. The only suspect, Jerry's work partner, is confirmed as one of the dead. But why does Jerry insist his colleague is still alive? And why does he think he's still a threat to his life?When Jerry dies in hospital a few days later, Per becomes determined to find out what really happened. But the closer he gets to the truth, the more danger he finds himself in.And nowhere is more dangerous than the nearby quarry...

This was a surprise package from Transworld that I wasn't expecting. The cover looks very creepy and while I haven't read much of the Swedish crime writers craze, I will give this a whirl!

And finally I ordered a couple of books through Amazon's Summer Books offer...

Naamah's Curse - Jacqueline Carey
Publisher: UK - Gollancz
Far from the land of her birth, Moirin sets out across Tatar territory to find Bao, the proud and virile Ch'in fighter who holds the missing half of her diadh-anam, the divine soul-spark of her mother's people. After a long ordeal, she not only succeeds, but surrenders to a passion the likes of which she's never known. But the lovers' happiness is short lived, for Bao is entangled in a complication that soon leads to their betrayal.

One of my favourite trilogies was the original Kushiel books - beautiful characterisation, exciting action, complex politics and a strong romance. Ever since Jacqueline Carey's books are a must buy for me so as soon as this came out in paperback I picked up...even if I haven't read Naamah's Kiss, the first in this new trilogy yet!

Goddess of Love - P.C. Cast
Publisher: UK - Piatkus
My Goddess, does Pea Chamberlain ever need a makeover! Her shoes, hair, clothes, makeup are all disasters, especially if she wants to attract über-sexy fireman Griffin DeAngelo at the firemen's masked ball. And who better to coax Pea out of her pod than the Goddess of Love, who she invokes when she gets her hands on a book of enchantments. Sure enough, Venus works her magic on Pea, which is what she has been doing for eons—helping others find love. But who will help the Goddess of Love when she finds herself falling head over heels for the same sexy fireman she is trying to land for Pea? Could it be that Venus needs a love makeover herself? Check out the fireworks when the Goddess of Love unexpectedly loses her heart...

I do enjoy some paranormal style romance at times - especially nice to have a Happy Ever After occasionally. :)

Quite a mixed bag this week - covering almost all the genres I read most frequently! What have you picked up this week? :)

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Midsummer Eve Winner!

Thanks to everyone who took entered my Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop - I had over 350 entries! Tank you so much, but there can be only one and that winner is...

Congratulations!! Your book is on it's way!
Everyone else please check back in a couple of weeks when I've a special holiday giveaway for you! :)

On My Wishlist #44

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! I feel like a little crime and mystery this week...
The Cat, The Quilt and The Corpse - Leann Sweeney
Publisher: Obsidian Mysteries
Jill's quiet life is shattered when her house is broken into and her Abyssinian, Syrah, goes missing. Jill's convinced her kitty's been catnapped. But when her cat-crime-solving leads her to a murdered body, suddenly all paws are pointing to Jill. Soon, Jill discovers that Syrah isn't the only purebred who's been stolen. Now she has to find these furry felines before they all become the prey of a cold-blooded killer-and she ends up nabbed for a crime...
This looks like such a cute mystery, plus I'm missing my cat so this should satisfy my pet longings! :)
The Spellmans Strike Again - Lisa Lutz
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
At the ripe old age of thirty-two, former wild child Isabel "Izzy" Spellman has finally agreed to take over the family detective business. The transition won't be smooth. First among her priorities as head of Spellman Investigations is to dig up some dirt on the competition, slippery ex-cop Rick Harkey. Next, faced with a puzzling missing-person's case she recruits an actor friend, Len, to infiltrate the home of an ageing millionaire as an undercover butler. Meanwhile, Izzy is being blackmailed by her mother to commit to regular blind dates with promising professionals - an arrangement that doesn't thrill Connor, Izzy's soon to become Ex-boyfriend No. 12. At Spellman headquarters, it's business as unusual. Doorknobs and light fixtures are disappearing every day, Mom's been spotted crying in the pantry and just when it looks like things can't go more haywire, little sister Rae's internship researching pro bono legal cases leads the youngest Spellman to launch a campaign that could spring an innocent man from jail - or land Rae in it. It just goes to show, however many Spellman Family Rules are put in place in an attempt to hold the family together, Izzy will never be able to follow Rule No. 1: Act Normal.
This is the fourth book in the Spellmans and really enjoyed the first three - esepcially the craziness that Izzy and her family get up to. They definitely put the fun in disfunctional family! :)
Naked in Death - J.D. Robb
Publisher: Piatkus
Crime and punishment is Lieutenant Eve Dallas's business. Murder her speciality. Named by the social worker who found her when she was a mere child roaming that city's streets, Eve Dallas is a New York police detective who lives for her job. In over ten years on the force, she's seen it all - and knows her survival depends on her instincts. But she's going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, a charismatic Irish billionaire - and a suspect in Eve's latest murder investigation. But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and it's up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about - except the addictive hunger of needing his touch.
I know this series is very popular and I'm tempted to see if this suspense romance series is one I wish to invest in. 
So what are you wishing for this week? :)

Friday, 24 June 2011

The Owl Service Review

The Owl Service
-          Alan Garner
Publisher: Haper Collins Childern's Books 
It all begins with the scratching in the ceiling. From the moment Alison discovers the dinner service in the attic, with its curious pattern of floral owls, a chain of events is set in progress that is to effect everybody's lives. Relentlessly, Alison, her step-brother Roger and Welsh boy Gwyn are drawn into the replay of a tragic Welsh legend -- a modern drama played out against a background of ancient jealousies. As the tension mounts, it becomes apparent that only by accepting and facing the situation can it be resolved.
This was a surprise gift from my friend, Emma - who writes for the fantastic astronomy blog We Are All In The Gutter – thank you Em! J
Alison and Roger are new stepbrother and sister after their parents recently married, while Gwyn is the Welsh son of the housekeeper. All three are drawn into the ancient legends of the valley as the stories of the past start to be re-enacted through them once again.
When first published in the sixties this was a huge success for Alan Garner and remains in print today. However, the class and social differences of that time do come through as Gwyn is determined to escape his working class roots, while Roger acts more lord of the manor as time goes on. Where this works is the haunting atmosphere of the valley with hints of unearthly happenings – the scratching in the ceiling, the marsh gas, the smell of petrol in the air. Less time is spent on descriptions and more on conversations with a limited number of characters who all have different outlooks on life. The clashing of culture and upbringing plays just as important part to the story as the ghost and legends.
Anyone expecting lots of action and ghostbuster style adventures will be disappointed, but if you want a period tale of ghosts and curses, then this will keep you thinking right up until the final word.
Recommended for fans of Enid Bylton and Lloyd Alexander. 7out of 10.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Throwback Thursday #13 - Ghost Ocean

This is a great feature that Melissa at My words and pictures has been doing for a while and I wanted to jump on board! There are plenty of books out there I desperately want...

But what about all those wonderful books that are ALREADY on my shelves?
Ghost Ocean - S.M. Peters
Beings of unimaginable power, classified as myths and legends, have been imprisoned in the secluded town of St. Ives for centuries - watched over by guardians with supernatural skills. Te Evangeline's father was one such guardian, a "binder" who died in the line of duty and who passed along his ability to his daughter. Now, Te must awaken the magic within her before her father's killer releases his fellow prisoners on an unsuspecting world.
I picked this up when browsing in Forbidden Planet last year as the cover caught my eye and the blurb sounded really interesting. I've not seen any reviews of Ghost Ocean about the blogosphere (have I not been looking in the right places?), but I still want to read it! In fact I've moved it up in my tbr pile while pulling this post together as I really like the sound of it!
What have you got still on your shelves? :)

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Early Review: Heart of Evil

Heart of Evil (Krewe of Hunters 2)
-       Heather Graham
Publisher: MIRA Books
Ecopy courtesy of netgalley and Mira Books
Released 28th June 2011
SOME SECRETS REFUSE TO STAY BURIED... Emerging from the bayou like an apparition, Donegal Plantation is known for its unsurpassed dining, captivating atmosphere, haunting legends…and now a corpse swinging from the marble angel that marks its cemetery’s most majestic vault. A corpse discovered in nearly the same situation as that of Marshall Donegal, the patriarch killed in a skirmish just before the Civil War. Desperate for help traditional criminologists could never provide, plantation heiress Ashley Donegal turns to an elite team of paranormal investigators who blend hard forensics with rare—often inexplicable—intuition. Among the “Krewe of Hunters” is an old fl ame, Jake Mallory, a gifted musician with talent stretching far beyond the realm of the physical, and a few dark ghosts of his own. The evil the team unveils has the power to shake the plantation to its very core. Jake and Ashley are forced to risk everything to unravel secrets that will not stay buried—even in death.…

This is the second book following the special task force investigating crimes through the use of logic and feelings or the ‘Krewe of Hunters’ as they call themselves. This time the book concentrates heavily on Jake Mallory and his old flame Ashley Donegal and I was disappointed that the other members of the Krewe are not big players in this book – in fact it’s pretty much a two hander between Jake and Ashley with cameos by Angela and Jackson. The others are barely mentioned! This meant it lacked the camaraderie of Phantom Evil of a team investigating a crime and while I did like Jake and Ashley as characters I didn’t feel as invested in them as I did in Angela and Jackson previously.
The crime features heavily on the American civil war which I have to confess I know very little about – it’s exactly taught in British schools! So I was a little confused in the first few chapters with the historical detail, vast number of characters that were introduced during the re-enactment, but soon it settled down and focused on the relationship between Jake and Ashley. It was quite sweet the way they re-connected after years apart and liked that Ashley wasn’t afraid to make a move on Jake. Jake was a real southern gentleman – and I have to admit to a little crush on him!
As for the crime the suspects weren’t particularly developed and I found it difficult to tell the difference between them. This meant I didn’t spend much time trying to figure out who was behind it. However, the ghost element in the story worked well with Marshall Donegal making a real impact. Overall, this was sweet love story, with some ghosts but a disappointing crime and I missed the supporting characters!
Recommended for fans of Nora Roberts and Suza Kates. 6 out of 10

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Shady Lady Winner!!

Thanks to everyone who took entered into by Shady Lady giveaway, however as a highlander once said, there can be only one and that winner is...

Carina Olsen

Congratulations!! Shady Lady is on it's way as I type! :)

For every one else, I'm taking part in the Splash Into Summer hop so scroll down and enter! :-)


The Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
Who doesn't love summer? Even if the British Summer seems to think rain is more suited to the longest daylight hours than sweet sun! Maybe the fact it's Wimbledon fortnight is too blame! Anyway, I still want to celebrate! :-)

So what can you win here at Mel's Random Reviews?

Prize: Book of your choice from The Book Despository (up to £10 or $15) as such this is open internationally!

Rules: (without which there will be chaos!)
- Fill in the form below
- That's it! No complicated extra entries, no bribes, no favourites :-)
- Closes at Midnight 24th June
- If you win, you'll have 72 hours to reply my email, otherwise I'll pick another winner
- You don't have to be a follower, but I won't object if you are! :)


Once you've filled in the form, hop on to the next blog - and have more book giveaway fun! There are over 200 blogs taking part so plenty of chances to win - I'm stop No. 65, if you're going by number! Good Luck! :)