Tag: Romance Book Wyrm

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Posted September 16, 2009 by Tracy in Reviews | 18 Comments

I first heard about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society over at Amy’s blog, Romance Book Wyrm. Amy was at her Romance Book Club meeting and another woman who also ran the Historical Fiction Book Club was talking about her next selection – which was TGLaPPPS. Amy decided to pick it up and read it and she was so glad she did. After reading the book Amy decided to send TGLaPPPS on a book tour. It finally made its way to me and I finished reading it yesterday and wanted to share some of my thoughts.

TGLaPPPS is a collection of letters that are written between many people. The main character and the person who writes most of the letters is Juliet Ashton. She is an author who lives in post WWII England. She shares letters back and forth with her best friend Sophie who lives in Scotland and Sophie’s brother, Sidney, a close friend and also her publisher.

One day Juliet receives a letter from Dawsey, a man who lives on Guernsey in the Channel Islands. He happened to have a book that was once Juliet’s and since her address was in it he thought he’d write and see if she could help him find a bookstore in London since there wasn’t a bookshop on Guernsey any longer. That one letter starts a friendship between the two as well as an idea (by Juliet) for a new book about the German Occupation and how it effected Guernsey and the people who lived there. Juliet goes on to correspond with other members of TGLaPPPS and ends up visiting Guernsey to meet all the wonderful new friends she’s made.

This book is just a charming, lovely, humorous, sad, heartwrenching, lovely, charming (did I already say that?) book. I truly enjoyed almost every moment while I was reading it. I laughed, I cried, I was horrified, but it was so good I just couldn’t put it down. Most of the time I felt like I was wherever the character was whose letter I was reading. If Juliet was talking about her bombed out flat in Chelsea I could almost see it. If Dawsey or another member was talking about Guernsey, I was there. It was fascinating. I even read the “Afterword” by Annie Barrows which was delightful and sad as well (and I don’t normally read those). I did have a few issues with some of the letters sounding similar in tone but it in no way detracted from the pleasure of the read. In fact, I’m going to go out and buy my own copy of the book (since I have to send this one on to the next reader on the book tour) so that I can share it with my family and friends locally…and of course have it to re-read myself.

This was definitely not a book that I would have picked up on my own but I’m so very glad that I read it. There was a bit (and I do mean only a bit) of romance in it so of course it soothed that romance lover in me.

I can’t recommend the book enough – “I loved it” just doesn’t seem adequate. Maybe you’ll just have to see for yourself. I hope you do.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Review & Discussion: Voice of Crow by Jeri Smith-Ready

Posted January 29, 2009 by Tracy in Reviews | 17 Comments

In pain, in fear, in longing and surprise; with every death Rhia hears the cries of the departed. This ‘gift’ from the ancient and mysterious Crow gives Rhia an intimate connection to death. One she’s fought to repress as she tries to create a normal life.

But those chosen by the spirits can never be normal. Rhia has glimpsed the future of her newborn son; a child who is stolen from her. And if she must deaden her heart to the living and wander the world of the departed to retrieve him, then so be it.

For her family and her people, Rhia would sacrifice anything. And Crow knows it.

We join Rhia and Marek in the second book just days after the 1st book ended. They’ve battled the Descendants, the people of Ilios, and are now going back to Kalindos so Rhia can be further tutored in her powers. Her second stage powers, now that she’s pregnant. When they arrive they find that the Descendants have been to Kalindos and either killed or kidnapped the inhabitants of the small village. While dealing with death the survivors are figuring out how soon they can get to Ilios and retrieve their families.

Meanwhile there are Ilions in Asermos recovering form the battle. One man in particular, Filip has been severely wounded and cannot go home for if he does he will disgrace his family with his injury, yet he doesn’t feel comfortable in Asermos. When he starts to have powers from his spirit it really confuses him. He befriends a Kalindon, Alanka, and they find attraction and mutual respect.
Kalindon’s and Asermon’s come together to travel to Ilios after Rhia’s infant is kidnapped and the Descendants end up taking Rhia’s husband Marek as well. Marek becomes a slave in Ilios and starts to lose hope that he will ever get free with his son.

It’s also been foretold that a person with the Aspect of Raven – the ultimate spirit which has never been bestowed on anyone – will be born. Who could it be?
This book was incredible. I thought the first book was amazing, but the second book is just as good in a completely different way. It is a pretty dark book and sometimes disturbing but I can’t say enough about how wonderful it is.
Amy from Romance Book Wyrm, who sent me the Aspect of Crow trilogy for Christmas, was nice enough to discuss the books with me via email.
Tracy: So I know you like fantasy books but what originally drew you to this book?

Amy: What drew me to Jeri’s Aspect of Crow trilogy was the fact that she used the animal spirits. Of course I had to read them, since I used that same idea when I dabbled in a little of my own writing. I thought it was neat to see someone else find animal spirits interesting enough to write about. I loved the trilogy so much that I wanted to share them with a few of my friends. And you came immediately to mind because I know you loved the Black Jewels trilogy and figured you’d love this one too.

Tracy: Well you certainly got me hooked on the books that’s for sure. After reading the first book (Eyes of Crow) I wanted to delve right into the second one, but I did wait a few weeks. The second book was much darker than the first and my God it was hard to read in some places.

First let me say that it was very cool to see Marek and Rhia still together and going strong at the start of the second book. I wasn’t sure where Jeri would pick the story line back up and it was great that there was only a few days lapse. Of course right off the bat the darkness begins. But Jeri, she does it with such feeling and emotion that you can’t help but be sucked right into the story!

Amy: I am so glad that you’re hooked, and that you haven’t read the first two wondering what the hell I found so fantastic about them! I’m not crazy…They are awesome books!

Yes, Voice does have darker moments than Eyes of Crow had, but that’s what makes it so good. Jeri didn’t sugar coat anything and she didn’t lighten the mood to appease anyone. She wrote it honestly and that is what set this apart for me. Of course, it has a happy ending! But you never once felt it, which in turn keeps you turning the pages!! Some books lose their appeal because you know the happy ending is there. There were scenes with Marek later in the story that were very hard to read, but we’ll get to that.

What did you think of Filip? I thought his role, being an Ilion, but later rediscovering himself and his relationship with Alanka, wasperfect. It added a nice layer to the overall story with the turmoil between the Spirit people and the Ilions (I asked (Jeri) if there was a name for the spirit people but there isn’t one!)

Tracy: Filip was interesting because he truly couldn’t figure out where he should be. He couldn’t go back to Ilios but yet he didn’t feel comfortable with people in Asermos either. All of these characters are written so well because you can just feel what they’re feeling. I was as indecisive as Filip was about his role in everything! lol But I thought he made the right decision for himself in the end.

No, Jeri certainly didn’t sugar coat a thing. When Rhia’s child gets kidnapped I just kept thinking that it truly wasn’t going to happen – even though I knew it would because of the blurb on the back of the book. But I kept expecting something or someone to save the day. That didn’t happen and it’s what makes this book stand out in my mind.

Now would you really call this an HEA ending? Happy things happened but it kind of kept me on edge for the next book and holy cow what’s gonna happen next???

Amy: Well, maybe I wouldn’t say it had a traditional HEA, but I felt it did have a happily ever after for now. There is still much to happen in the overall story ARC. Each book is like the beginning, middle and end. It’s like one story separated into three books, even though The Reawakened takes place 18 years later. But yes, the issues that drove Voice were resolved by the end…Nilik and Marek were reunited with Rhia…Alanka and Filip have their beautiful romance that is solid by the end…and they rescued some of the Kalindons at the end. Some of them have main roles in the next book, btw :). So yes, overall I feel there was a definite sense of peace by the end. Certainly you could feel the story wasn’t over, but a lull in the war that is still looming.

Now, I have to ask, since it is something that Jeri had as a question for a contest she had for The Reawakened. Who do you think Raven is? The Spirit people are relying on Raven to help them through the Ilion war that is in their future. But Raven has never bestowed her aspect. What do you think? I know, but I’m not telling. What I will say is Jeri does not lose her ability to tell a superb story and you’ll know when you read the last book what I mean!

Tracy: Wow I had no idea that there was such a jump in time to the next book. But I guess it makes sense with the Raven and all. Who do I think the Raven is? Well I think it’s Nilik, Rhia’s son, but that would just be too easy! lol! In the dream that the Asermons and Kalindons were having, the Raven did drop from a Crow so who knows – maybe it was Damen’s (a friend of Rhia’s) child. I just don’t know! Oh, the pressure! lol

You’re right there is a beginning, middle and end to both of the first two books and they have they’re own HEA’s in a manner of speaking. I think since the story doesn’t actually END it just felt good, but different for me (than a traditional HEA), but certainly not in a bad way. I really can’t wait to read the next book – although with other obligations I’ll have to for a couple of weeks.

Amy: I would love to discuss the third book with you when you get a chance to read it. There are so many things in that one too, but I think it is less emotional than Voice of Crow. There are truly some unique things going on in The Reawakened and I’m very excited for you to read it and share your thoughts again!

Tracy: Amy, thank you so much for having this discussion with me. You’ve added another “voice” to my review and I so appreciate it!

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Contests! Woo-freakin-hoo!!!

Posted October 7, 2008 by Tracy in Reviews | 5 Comments

Ok here are 2 contests I want to tell you about. I’m sure there are a zillion more out there – find them on your own! 🙂

First – my friend Amy at Romance Book Wyrm is having an October Book Giveaway. You have until October 29th at 11:59pm (I’m guessing that’s EST since she lives in the east) to enter.

What is the prize you ask? Let me tell you…one bag-o-books and one pile-o-books! Some are even unread, brand new books! Books she bought she knows she’ll never read. But all the books are in brand new shape! And the third prize is a Simi BBQ Mitt!! AND the Lords of Avalon Sword of Darkness comic book!
Be sure and visit Amy’s blog for all the details and don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered!

Secondly – Shiloh Walker is having Blog All About It Contest

The Missing by Shiloh Walker Coming November 2008

A sinfully sexy novel of romantic suspense about a woman whose psychic gift drives away the man she loves—and years later draws him back to her…

As a teenager, Taige Branch was able to do things with her psychic gift that others couldn’t understand—except for Cullen Morgan, the boy her stole her heart. He did his best to accept her abilities, until his mother was brutally murdered—and he couldn’t forgive Taige for not preventing her death.

Now a widowed father, Cullen Morgan has never forgotten Taige. But what brings her back into his life is another tragic event. His beloved little girl has been kidnapped, and Taige is his only hope of finding her.

Working together against the clock, Cullen and Taige can’t help but wonder whether—if they find his daughter in time—it isn’t too late for the overpowering love that still burns between them…

The weird sense of deja vu exploded into something else entirely. Something that shook her to the core. His eyes narrowed and he reached up, caught her chin in his, staring at her.

She was pale and Cullen thought she looked every bit as shaken as he felt. “The dreams,” he muttered. He caught her face in his hands and forced her to look at him, staring into her pale gray eyes. The ugly, dark bruise around her left eye made her iris seem that much paler and as he watched, the pupil flared, enlarging until just a sliver of gray of visible.

Taige tried to jerk away and he wouldn’t let her. “You had the dreams, too, didn’t you?” he demanded.

Her voice shook as she reached up with one hand to jerk on his wrist, trying to break his hold. “Let go of me.”

Slowly, he shook his head. “You have,” he whispered, dismay spreading through him.
Dismay–and something else. She’d always held herself apart from him in those dreams. But through those dreams, he’d gotten to know her, gotten to know the woman she had become. She was pulling away from him not because she was angry at him, or because she didn’t want anything to do with him.

She pulled back because she still loved him.
Want more? Click here (releasing 11/4/08)

So how do you win this one? That’s easy.

You just blog about it. All you have to do is take the excerpt above and the cover graphic, post them to your blog, and then send me an email @ contest4shiloh(at)gmail.com with the words BLOG ALL ABOUT IT in the subject line. In the email, make sure you include a link to your blog post.

Prize will be:
ARC of FRAGILE, my 2/09 release (this will not be mailed until January)
Gift Certificate for $40 to the bookstore of your choice (as long as I can purchase the GC certificate online, you can pick whatever bookstore you want)
Two books from my available backlist
Goody bag.
This contest runs through Nov. 11th)

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