Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Guest Author Post and Giveaway–Michelle Franklin


Welcome, Michelle!!

Michelle Franklin is a small woman of moderate consequence who writes many, many books about giants, romance, and chocolate. The sole author of the Haanta Series. She’s been kind enough to write a little short story to wet our appetites about the world of her series.

After the commander and Den Asaan used their repose from the Lucentian courts to visit the afamed cafe district, they sat at the grand fountain at the centre of the capital to enjoy the cooling mists bushing against the stone basin where the commander was content to be immobile in the dry, festering heat and where the Den Asaan was equally pleased to take inventory of the numerous deserts he had collected. It was too warm for custard, not cold enough for the sugared creams, but chocolate would do very well for him in such an acrid air. The climate had gained little power over the Den Asaan’s stomach, he being used to the excessive warmth of the northern atmosphere, but where he was gleeful in his allotment of cakes and treats, the commander was merely gratified to be shaded and silent.

Rautu reveled in his task, separating those wrapped articles he would be taking back to the guild and those partially packaged that he would eat now. He was fortunate to have done well in thinking that there could be nothing deleterious in choosing chocolate, but when he lifted the first item to examine it, there was something on the top that he had never before seen: white shavings of a waxy substance curled and sprinkled as a garnishing. He examined them thoroughly, determined they must be edible, but had little idea what they were. The mysterious, glinting fragments had no detectable scent, had little tasted when licked, and upon the whole the Den Asaan was confounded by them.

He held his pastry toward his mate and pointed to the shavings. “What are these?” he demanded in a wary tone.

The commander opened her eyes and exhaled as she wiped the pearls of sweat from beneath her fringe. “That is coconut,” she said after a pause.

Rautu was further bemused by the name of the object, as it seemed to be neither nut nor chocolate. He studied it again, rubbing the waxen curls between his fingers. “Is it a fruit?”

“Many people believe it is,” the commander half-smiled. “If I told you that it was, would you relinquish your treat?”

The Den Asaan regarded the pastry with chariness. He could not decide what should be worse, the devouring of a fruit and perhaps the added horror of liking it or being forced to give his prize away to save himself the dread of being subject to its consumption. He agonized over his internal query until he could endure the site of the coconut shavings no longer and said, “You will explain what this is, woman,” with decided inflection.

“Coconut is the seed of a fruit,” the commander simpered. “The fruit is the hard and brown inedible part, but when chipped away it leaves that lovely white seed behind.”

Rautu had frowned at the coconut during his mate’s explication and held it away from his features, eyeing it with grave concern. “This is from a tree?” he asked in profound uncertainty.

“From a palm, yes.”

“Then, it is a fruit.”

“The seed of one, Iimon Ghaala,” the commander laughed behind a raised hand.

The giant was engrossed in deliberation over the confounding article. By definition, if it was from a tree, then seed or not, it was by all means a fruit, and here was all his apprehension. To openly taste and perhaps enjoy that which he had sworn as his enemy was unconscionable to him. He considered having his mate pick off the shavings but there was no telling if there was more of them on the inside or even if the inside were of a more objectionable matter. This was deception for which the giant was ill prepared, and the commander cackled at his internal confliction as he stood debating the fate of his pastry.

“Do not mock me, woman,” the giant roared in distress.

“Iimon Ghaala,” she exclaimed, wiping the mirthful tears from her eyes. “Honestly. You have eaten other seeds from fruits before.”

“No, I have not.”

“Yes, you have. You have eaten pumpkin seeds.”

Rautu opened his mouth to contend such a statement but was silenced when his mate reminded him of when he had performed such an evil.

“The chocolate butter biscuits from Diras Delights that you adore so well have pumpkins seeds. You make no quarrel about those.”

“I did not know those were from fruits.”

“Of course they are. Where else does one find a seed but in a fruit?”

“Why did you not tell me?” he roared.

“I thought you knew. I was surprised you were eating them. You eat almonds and those are fruits.

“They are not fruits.”

“Of course they are. Almonds are drupes, Iimon Ghaala, just as berries are.”

The terror of the idea struck him. Rautu dropped his hands at his side and glared at his mate with circumspection. She was too assured of her conviction to be attempting deception yet it could not be true. That something as almonds, which he enjoyed tolerably well, should be akin to berries, the most hateful fruit in the world, was deplorable. It must not be. It ought not. It was every way impossible, and yet the indemnity of his mate and her artless smile told him of its being so. Almonds as fruits: this was a grievous notion. Now he would be forced to forbid himself anything with the treacherous nut and would be equally compelled to have it removed from every item in his bakery. He had been used to believe that nuts were a certain safety, but now that nuts were not as they seemed, he must harden himself against every seed, every capsule, and every article in disguise that could be a fruit.

“There are many things people consider to be nuts that are actually something else entirely,” the commander said, adding to her mate’s disenchantment. “Peanuts are legumes, which are still safe for you, pecans and walnuts are drupes just like your friends the almonds, pistachios and pine nuts are seeds.”

Here, the giant must protest. Pistachios and peanuts must be safe. He would not allow her to take them from repertoire of harmless fare. “You are lying to me,” he growled, asserting his point with the coconut pastry in his hand.

“I am not,” she snickered. “If you won’t believe the once-farmer now -commander, you may ask the twins when return to Frewyn. If it’s one thing they know besides ale, eating and corporal pleasures, it’s produce.”

Rautu groaned and writhed in agony. He looked at his trove of Lucentian treasures and noted that most of them contained the very items his mate pronounced. Certainly if pistachios were now seeds, cashews must be a vegetable, and he now considered whether it were advisable to give every treat he had assembled to his mate and begin anew. He pouted, grumbled to himself, and offered the pastry in his hand to the commander with a dejected countenance.

“This is a torment for you, I’m certain,” she crooned, taking the item from his hand. “Alas you have found a whole new set of horrors to worry you.”

Rautu sat on the ground, rested his chin on his hand and sulked in resignation and despair. He could do little else but watch his mate devour the chocolate treat filled with coconut cream. The white substance gleaming in the sun and his mate’s apparent delight from it offended him, and as he turned away from the disheartening seen, he was forced to consider reneging his war on fruits if only to eat almonds in peace, salvage peanuts and defeat the mysterious coconut when he should find the courage to do so.

And here is the first book in the series:


Blurb from Goodreads:
"The Kingdom of Frewyn is being invaded by the Galleisian infantry and at the forefront of the battle is Boudicca MacDaede, a First Captain in the Frewyn armed forces. Her regiment is charged with defending the borders between the two nations, but when Frewyn’s last line of defense falls, Captain MacDaede enlists the assistance of a Haanta, one of giants from the islands to the far north. Promising to free him from his imprisonment in exchange for his help, she gains his trust long enough for them to win the battle and save the Frewyn border from being breached. The giant’s freedom is granted, but Rautu cannot return home unless he redeems himself in the eyes of his people for past his transgressions. He is offered a place by the captain’s side, and together, they defeat the Galleisian forces and become the saviors of Frewyn.

One year later, King Alasdair Brennin takes the Frewyn throne, Boudicca is made commander, Gallei and Frewyn reach an accord, and Rautu is granted an invitation home. He is eager to return and see his brothers but finds it difficult to leave Frewyn without Boudicca at his side. He has become accustomed to her company and the idea of being made to live without her begins to distress him. Rautu invites the commander to the islands in hopes of finding a way for them to remain together, but when they arrive at the white shores of Sanhedhran, not everything goes as planned: one of the dangerous Haanta magi is freed, Rautu’s three brothers are strangely missing, and the neighboring nation of Thellis leads an attack on the islands.

Together, the commander and the Den Asaan Rautu must find a way to unite their two nations and defend against the Thellisian fleets, but can they do so successfully when outside forces are attempting to keep them apart?"

Here are some links:
Haanta Series site:
Twitter: @MrsDenAsaan
Tales from Frewyn book:

Michelle has generously offered an eBook copy of her book to a lucky reader.  So if you are eager to read more, leave a comment and I will draw a name on Sunday, 04 September 2011 and give your details to Michelle.

Thank you Michelle!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Review: Undeniable by Delilah Devlin


Title: Undeniable
Author: Delilah Devlin
Series:  Dark Frontier
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Publication date: 14 June 2011
Author’s website:
Source: my own copy

Blurb from Goodreads:

Kate McKinnon's Sanctuary is an island of refuge in a western frontier shrouded in post-apocalyptic chaos. Her only escape from her crushing responsibilities is occasional radio contact with other pockets of survivors. Especially one man whose deep, raspy voice cuts through her exhaustion, straight to her heart. A man whose face she has only imagined.
When she and her ranch hands are surrounded by renegades, she doesn't recognize the leader of the militaristic band that rescues them, but knows that voice.
Ty Bennett is already half in love with the human woman whose voice haunts his dreams. His impulsive offer to add muscle to the Sanctuary's defenses is dangerous to them both. Helping her may redeem some of his sins, but proximity only increases his hunger to possess her-body, soul...and blood.
Without hesitation, she welcomes Ty and his men into the Sanctuary...only to discover the reason why they only ride at night. Yet the survival instinct that screams at her to drive them off is no match for Ty's seductive powers. Or the need for protection from the threat that howls at Sanctuary's gates.
Warning: Expect a dark, violent world where a vampire driven by uncontrollable lusts strikes a bargain with a strong woman willing to succumb to the carnal pleasures only a vampire can provide.

My thoughts:

This is a HOT read that erotica lovers will LOVE!!

Unfortunately, erotica is not one of my favourite genre’s.  I realised pretty soon that this was going to be a hard read for me and when Ty felt the need to “punish” Kate, I had to force myself to keep going.  But I know that is just a personal preference, so keep that in mind while you read the rest of my review. 

I love the world that the author created for us – a dystopian wasteland with werewolves (and not the good kind – lol) always at the gates.  Kate is a strong woman, giving Sanctuary to those in need of protection, but supplies are running out fast.   She needs to make a plan. 

Enter Ty - the voice of the outside world that has kept Kate going much longer than she should have been able to.  So when she finds him on her doorstep, she and her household finds hope.

Undeniable is the first in this new series by Delilah Devlin and I am sure fans will rush out to buy all the new titles that will be coming.  The characters are strong and you get to know them quickly.  This novella is on the short side and I am sure fans will be disappointed that Ty and Kate did not get more time together.  But more is sure to come!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Guest Book Review: The Glass Swallow

I received this book from Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books and decided to share it with my South African blogging buddies.  Bella from Absolutely Obsessed read it and sent the following review.  Thank you Bella and Marshall Cavendish! image Title: The Glass Swallow
Author: Julia Golding
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Publication date: 28 October 2011
Author’s website: 
Source: Review copy received from Diana at Marshall Cavendish

Blurb from Goodreads:
She designs exquisite stained glass for the windows of her city. But the law is clear — it is forbidden for girls to be part of the glassmaker's guild. To keep her secret hidden, she leaves home and travels to the strange new country of Magharna.
When he witnesses Rain's capture by a gang of bandits, both his fate and his heart becomes tied to hers. They escape the outlaws, but Peri and his family of falconers are untouchables who are scorned by all, and Rain is not allowed to be part of their lives. Can Rain and Peri's love survive the prejudices against them? And with the city on the brink of disaster will they be able to stop their world from smashing apart?

And over to Bella for the review . . .

Although the blurb sounded interesting enough, I really wasn't expecting all that much from The Glass Swallow ... I mean, the cover's about as uninspired as it gets, IMHO, which shouldn't really make a difference, but - you know - IT DOES. Colour me surprised, though, because - although there are flaws aplenty - it turns out that the story's pretty darn entertaining!! :) :)

The blurb wants you to believe that The Glass Swallow revolves around the romance between Rain, a girl who - despite the laws of her country - practises glassmaking, and Peri, the falconer who saves her from death-by-bandit not long after she touches down on the shores of his exotic homeland, Magharna. Well, okay, so there IS a rescue, but it takes place a good quarter of the way into the book, after a whole lot of blah blah blah introductory stuff, since the characters start off with an OCEAN between them!! :o Also, you can forget about a believable romance, as Peri - obviously not much into heroic acts and the rescuing of damsels - summarily dumps Rain on the doorstep of Rolvint, the capital city, then just - well - goes. Yeah. Rain can barely speak the native language and all of her companions have just been slaughtered ... she also looks different, almost fey-like, to the superstitious Magharnans, with her curly red hair and blue eyes ... also, Rain's a freaking girl alone in a strange land, tiny and defenseless ... but Peri justifies abandoning her to her own devices, even though she asks to accompany him home, because he's so low in class that he's "untouchable", so - you know - she OBVIOUSLY doesn't want to be near him, EVEN THOUGH SHE CLEARLY INDICATED OTHERWISE, and there's probably someone waiting in the city for her. Probably. Nice.

Months later, after some half-hearted attempts to find out whether everything turned out okay for Rain (and hearing nothing), he discovers her working as an abused servant. Do you want to guess what he does next?? If you thought "NOTHING", you're right!! Oh, wait, he does try to convince her that he was right in leaving her at the city gates so many months ago. Ahem.

Throughout all of this, the cracks in the capital city's foundations are being revealed. The rigorous class system is cruel and the more people get thrown out of Rolvint, because the city no longer has work for them, the more bandits there are to stir up chaos in the surrounding countryside. One bandit strike too many and everything goes to hell in a handbasket. As one of the scavengers, looked down upon by the higher classes for working with hunting animals, Peri lives with his family outside of the city, therefore he's safe - for now. Rain, however, is not. That's what Peri thinks, at least. Rain's in fact totally awesomesauce. She's smart and cunning and - by the time Peri gets off his butt to search for her, as well as their mutual friend, an old man by the name of Mikel - she's done a splendid job of hoarding food and scaring away potential looters and just generally making sure that she and Mikel are safe. He demands that she go home with him ... she insists on swinging by the palace, to give the main dude in charge of Magharna a kick up the butt for letting his city degenerate to such a terrible degree ... and suddenly Peri's kissing her!! Wait, what?! Yeah. I was as surprised as Rain.

Then there's the bizarre class system, which is kooky TO PUT IT MILDLY. I mean, nobody is allowed to talk to anyone in a class beneath them, which is really dumb, especially since they just stand there ignoring people speaking to their faces. Also, the scavengers are considered unclean and treated like crap just because they work with hunting animals, even though the higher classes do actually eat the meat they procure. There are a lot of similar things and they all just come off as - well - stupid, especially since we are never told WHY the Magharnans follow these strange customs, or given any kind of an explanation, which might make the crazy a little more believable. Rain's homeland suffers from this same problem, too, as it apparently is so enlightened and fair, yet STILL does not allow women to do anything but marry and breed. Uh ... ?? There's a lot of telling, instead of showing, going on, too ... and I really wish that the author had expanded on her world-building, while she was at it, because that certainly would have been welcome!! :P

However, apart from all of this, the plot's pretty interesting and I did eventually get completely sucked in. Peri leaves much to be desired, as you can probably tell, but Rain's amazing. She's a foreigner in a country gone mad, but also apparently the only person with enough brains to look past the problems at hand and on to long-term solutions for everyone. I freaking heart her. Also, Mikel's a wonderful character, and I really like the children, too ... although I won't spoil who they are, hehe!! :D For the most part, though, the characters are largely stereotypical, often to the point of being silly, but - yeah - the story itself is good.

Bella’s rating . . .  

RATING: 4/5 ... The Glass Swallow is flawed, but I couldn't put it down after a point!! :) :)


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Adding to my Wish List (2)


Romeo and Juliet with a difference . . . and it sounds wonderful!


"These violent delights have violent ends And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume."
—Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

The most tragic love story in history . . .

Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Adding to my Wish List


How about a bit of reincarnation in this gothic romance.  This blurb just grabbed my attention and I had to share.  It sounds wonderful!


Tangled Memories by Jan Scarbrough

Dr. Alexander Dominican needs a mother for his infant daughter. Motherless himself from birth, he refuses to let his daughter grow up without one.  He's convinced kindergarten teacher Mary Adams is the answer to his dilemma.  When he offers Mary a marriage of convenience, he has no idea he's setting into motion a destiny that has taken him seven hundred years to fulfill.

Mary Adams needs to pay her deceased husband's gambling debts, and Alex's offer of marriage seems to be the answer to her prayers.  But on the day of their marriage, Mary begins to have strange hallucinations—memories of another woman's life.  A life that had taken place centuries before and somehow seems frighteningly familiar.

Before Mary can figure out why she's hallucinating,  it becomes clear that someone in Alex's house is out to destroy her.  Could it be one of Alex's sinister servants,  or could it be Alex himself?  Until she can learn the answer,  Mary knows she must keep her distance from Alex,  but he's reawakening a hidden desire— a deep longing—that she can't ignore.  But will following her heart lead her to eternal love or to a nightmare that will never end?

The only way to discover the truth is to unravel centuries of... Tangled Memories.