The 65th Worldcon - the annual convention of the World Science Fiction Society - will be held in Japan this year, a first! During the Worldcom, Hugo Awards are given based on how fans voted - I guess a bit like the RWA convention and its awards :P

So here are Nippon 2007 Hugo Nominations for work done in 2006
(might be a very good source of recommendations)

Best novel

Eifelheim by Michael Flynn (Tor)
His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Glasshouse by Charles Stross (Ace)
Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge (Tor)
Blindight by Peter Watts (Tor)

Best Novella

The Walls of the Universe by Paul Melko
A Billions Eves by Robert Reed
Inclination by William Shunn
Lord Weary's Empire by Michael Swanwick
Julian: a Christmas Story by Robert Charles Wilson

Best Novelette

Yellow Card Man by Paolo Bacigalupi
Dawn, and Sunset, and the Colours of the Earth by Michael F Flynn
The Djinn's Wife by Ian McDonald
All the Things You are by Mike Resnick
Pol Pot's Beautiful Daughter by Geoff Ryman

Best Short Story

How to Talk to Girls at Parties by Neil Gaiman
Kin by Bruce McAllister
Impossible Dreams by Tim Pratt
Eight Episodes by Robert Reed
The House Beyond Your Sky by Benjamin Rosenbaum

Best Related Book

About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters, and Five Interviews by Samuel R. Delany
Heinlein's Children: The Juveniles by Joseph T. Major
James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B Sheldon by Julie Phillips
Cover Story: The Art of John Picacio by John Picacio
Worldcon Guest of Honor Speeches by Mike Resnick and Joe Siclari, eds.

hmmm, going to stop here as the rest of nominations doesn't seem to be books... however, follow the link if you're interested :D

Youppi!!! Our second guest review! Keep them coming! By the way, these reviews don't have to be new reviews... old reviews are welcomed, because our goal is to spread our love for fantasy and paranormal books :) Also, another reminder concerning the contest, buddy reviews with us are also considered an entry in the contest :)

So our second guest review is by Marg from Reading Adventures!

Ill Wind by Rachel Caine: 4.0/5
published by ROC Fantasy in 2003

Joanne Baldwin is a Weather Warden. Usually, all it takes is a wave of her hand to tame the most violent weather. But now, she's trying to outrun another kind of storm: accusations of corruption and murder. So, she's resorting to the very human tactic of running for her life... Her only hope is Lewis, the most powerful warden known. Unfortunately, he's stolen not one but three bottles of Djinn-making him the most wanted man on earth. Still, she's racing hard to find him-before the bad weather closes in fast...

Genre: fantasy
Series: The Weather Warden, Book #1

Review: Joanne Baldwin is on the run. She has been accused of the murder of one of the most powerful weather wardens in the world, and unless she can get help she is very quickly going to find herself either stripped of all her powers and a shadow of her former self, or really really dead! Joanne believes that help in this case will come in the form of Lewis, the single most powerful warden, but finding him means driving cross country, with not only her fellow weather wardens chasing her, but the storms themselves closing in on her. Then she picks up a sexy hitchhiker who seems to be too good to be true. Is it possible that he is the answer to her prayers, or is he really just as he seems.

This was an action packed read - not only are there the paranormal elements, but when the very weather is against you, what hope is there! I liked Joanne as a character. She was quite feisty and she was prepared to fight. It would seem that in some way she has some issues in relation to her judgement calls, but there would be no story otherwise! I have to say, without spoiling anything, the ending was a really big surprise to me, and gave the series additional longevity I think.

This is definitely a series that I plan to continue reading....I already have the next one out of the library to get to eventually.

Just some of the good fairy tale retellings out there:

Dennis L. McKiernan
Once Upon a Winters Night
Once Upon a Springs Morning
Once Upon a Summer Day
Once Upon an Autumn Eve
And it looks like there is a fifth one coming out in October called Once Upon a Dreadful Day.

Mercedes Lackey
Elemental Masters:
The Fire Rose
The Serpent's Shadow
The Gates of Sleep
Phoenix and Ashes
The Wizard of London
Reserved for the Cat
Fairy Tale:
The Black Swan
Five Hundred Kingdoms:
The Fairy Godmother
One Good Knight
Fortune's Fool

Terri Windling's Fairy Tale series
The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars by Steven Brust
Jack, the Giant Killer by Charles de Lint
The Nightingale by Kara Dalkey
Snow White and Red Rose by Patricia Wrede
Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
White as Snow by Tanith Lee
Fitcher's Brides by Gregory Frost

Thomas the Rhymer by Ellen Kushner
Beauty by Sheri S. Tepper
Enchantment by Orson Scott Card

Robin McKinley (not all fairy tales)
Spindles End
Hero and the Crown
Sunshine (more urban fantasy)
Blue Sword
Outlaws of Sherwood
Rose Daughter
Door in the Hedge

Shannon Hale
Enna Burning
River Secrets
Princess Academy
The Goose Girl

All right, today was supposed to be a guest review, but we still haven't received any except for Stephanie's which I already posted. Need I remind you our contest? LOL :) Anyway, as a result, you guys will have to content with a review of mine... which was supposed to be posted on Friday... what can I say? I was a bit busy, reading other books ^^; Anyway, here we go...

I've discovered Margaret Weis through her fabulous Dragonlance Saga co-written with Tracy Hickam (just read their books, you can skip all the rest which are spin-off written by other authors based on her world and characters). It is really an awesome saga - a bit similar to Lord of the Ring. In any case, I think she's a great author... So when I saw Warrior Angel at the bookstore, I didn't hesitate to purchase it, even though I wasn't aware she had this book coming out. You'll find Warrior Angel in the romance section - her first attempt away from fantasy- but I mean, there's angels and demons so it fits this blog :P By the way, just in case you're wondering, Lizz is her daughter.

Warrior Angel by Margaret & Lizz Weis: 1.5/5
published by Avon in February 2007

Dereck de Molay was a knight of the Knight of Templar and was tortured to death by the Inquisition. Angered at God for abandoning him, Dereck refused to ascend to Heaven and instead, became a reputated general Warrior Angel, defending Heaven against Hell. Centuries later, Dereck is given an important mission which requires him to become human again.

Rachel Duncan is a commodities trader with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and loves working at the pit, making trades and money. Everything is going wonderful at the moment and she believes to have met the man of her life, Andreas Zanus. He's rich, romantic and the dream, perfect man every woman dreams about. Her only problems: he's a client and although he's a dream man, she is unsure of her feelings for him. Instead, she's attracted to the new doorman with a very old vocabulary and manners.

Genre: paranormal romance, angels, Hell
Series: none

Review: What can I say about this book that the grade didn't say? Seriously, I was really disappointed by this book. I was expecting something much better, given what I've already read by Ms. Weis Mother. Even the romance in her fantasy saga was better than in this book ^^; I guess she tried too hard to write something "romantic" and so missed her shot.

The Characters - BORING! Really, I dislike Rachel, I thought she was a bit superficial and she didn't know herself either, what she wanted and what she needed. She just went out with Zanus because he was supposedly the dream/perfect man. You get emotions from her, but I thought it was shallow. Dereck is not as bad, but still... I thought he adapted himself too quickly to this new era... remember, he lived centuries ago! and poof, suddenly, he's a doorman in Chicago and doesn't ask too much questions... didn't fly with me. There was lack of developement for the characters and worst, no chemistry between them. I can't really understand why Dereck fell in love with Rachel... There were other characters, most of them superfluous in my opinion, but they don't appear much.

The Story & Writing - the writing style was okay, but the story? Not enough world-building and the plot wasn't interesting. I think that Ms. Weis (mother and daughter) didn't know what to focus about... the romance or the story, and it showed, unfortunately. All in all, you are told facts and things without details or how it happened. When I read a book, it's for the journey, the adventure. But there was none here - the reader wasn't brought along, didn't witness anything. Even the ending... why did Dereck come back?

The Cover - interestingly enough, that's the best part of the book I think ^^;

Am I keeping this book? Don't think so...

Anything else? Really disappointed. Hope that Ms. Weis' next venture in romance goes better. I mean, if she wants to write romance, she doesn't have to change much her writing style. Still write a good adventures with good characters and just emphasizes a little more on the romance... In the worse case, her books will still be shelved in the fantasy section. Better write a good fantasy book than get bad reviews.

For those of you that do not know what I am talking about, yesterday was the end of our first contest to win a book by one of our authors of the month that me and Nat will be reading over the coming months. Thanks to everyone that advertised our relaunch, and I hope that people are enjoying things so far!

So, on to the important information, who won!
Ames from Thrifty Reader!!!! Congrats Ames!

*This is a sticky note! Please scroll down for reviews and new posts!*

Welcome to Twisted Kingdom v.2! As you know, we are re-inventing this blog to make it better than it was! Lots of new features and reviews coming up! To know all about it, you can read it here:

Twisted Kingdom's rebirth!
Author of the Month: Neil Gaiman!
Twisted Kingdom's Contests!

*This is a sticky note! Please scroll down for reviews and new posts!*

This is the sequel to Tithe, which me and Mailyn both reviewed last year.

Valiant by Holly Black
Rating: 3/5
Pages: 313
Genre: Faerie Tale/Fantasy/Young Adult
Published by Simon Pulse in October 2006

When seventeen-year-old Valerie Russell runs away to New York City, she's trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her. Sporting a new identity, she takes up with a gang of squatters who live in the city's labyrinthine subway system.

But there's something eerily beguiling about Val's new friends. Impulsive Lolli talks of monsters in the subway tunnels they call home and shoots up a shimmery amber-colored powder that makes the shadows around her dance. Severe Luis claims he can make deals with creatures that no one else can see. And then there's Luis's brother, timid and sensitive Dave, who makes the mistake of letting Val tag along as he makes a delivery to a woman who turns out to have goat hooves instead of feet.

When a bewildered Val allows Lolli to talk her into tracking down the hidden lair of the creature for whom Luis and Dave have been dealing, Val finds herself bound into service by a troll named Ravus. He is as hideous as he is honorable. And as Val grows to know him, she finds herself torn between her affection for an honorable monster and her fear of what her new friends are becoming.

Bestselling author Holly Black follows her breakout debut, Tithe, with a rich, harrowing, and compulsively readable parable of betrayal, abuse, friendship, and love.

Well, I hate to say it, but the more time that goes on, the less I am impressed with either of Black's books. Tithe was good when I read it, but now that I think back on it, this series is just okay. I was actually rather glad to see the end of this one. It just did not really call to me like I had hoped, maybe because I have read other books along the same line lately that were better. I am not sure, all I know is that I did not really care for this book.

I actually was not really looking forward to writing this review, I really do not know what to say. It is a pretty predictable book. I never really was surprised with anything that happened. There was a romance angle that was cute, and even though it is pretty apparent that good is going to win again evil, it was a redeeming quality to watch this romance play out. It is a good book for teens because it shows that looks should not matter. The male part of the romance was not the most attractive faerie creature in the world, so it was good. But, just, this book... I start to think it should have got less than a three. It just did not do anything for me. I mean, normally if I do not like a book I can at least vent about it, but this book just left me with nothing. A cute romance... that's about it. I doubt I will read the third book, but I might change my mind when it is released.

Sorry for the dull review, but it was just a dull and forgettable read.

Lover Revealed by J.R.Ward
published by Onyx Paranormal Romance in March 2007

Ames’s grade: B-/C+ (i.e. 3/2.75)
Nath’s grade:
3/5 (for John)

I can’t say that I was disappointed, because I didn’t really have any expectations about this book. I mean Butch is human. And I didn’t really like Marissa anyway. She came off as kind of doormat-ish in Dark Lover (which I just finished rereading).

I agree wholeheartedly with Ames. Personally, I have not been a fan of this series… the only book I thought was above average was Dark Lover. I enjoyed Lover Awakened well enough, because Zsadist was truly a tortured hero, but otherwise, I thought the book was average. I’ve never connected that much with Butch and I found Marissa annoying in other books, so… it didn’t bode well for me and this book.

Butch O'Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard living, ex-homicide cop, he's the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world- to engage in the turf war with the lessers. He's got nothing to lose. His heart belongs to a female vampire, an aristocratic beauty who's way out of his league. If he can't have her, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers...

Fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, found by a miracle, the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back, though even her love may not be enough to save him...

Genre: vampires
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book #4

What I wanted to read this book for was all the man-love that was supposedly going on. I love the man-love. But I didn’t really think it was that obvious in this book. I mean, Butch doesn’t feel anything that way for Viscious. So my new man-love obsession is going to be Blaylock, because I think he’s gay. Well, I’m hoping he’s gay.

Personally, I wasn’t going to buy this book at all… or at least wait a couple of weeks or months, but then everyone started gushing about it and well, I wanted to do a buddy review with you, Ames :P As for the man-love, are you sure it was ever there? Well I guess yeah, Viscious does feel something for Butch, but I don’t think it’s love with a bit “L”… maybe envy or needing… but not the undying kind of love. As for Blaylock, seriously I don’t know where you got the idea that he might be gay ^^; But hey, I hope you’re right if it’s going to make you enjoy the rest of the series better :P

As with Lover Awakened, I skipped the lesser parts. I could have kind of skipped the Butch and Marissa parts as well. I just didn’t connect with them as a couple. In fact, I was enjoying the glimpses of other couples we saw more. Like Z and Bella running through the hall. And Wrath and Beth. I heart WRATH. He was so gloriously jealous when Beth had to feed Butch. I ate that right up!

Lessers – bleh. How many of you are reading those parts, raise your hands! Maybe I’m missing something by skipping those parts, but so far I don’t feel the loss LOL. When I bought the book, I decided to give Butch and Marissa a chance… and it lasted two chapters. After all their whining and self-pity – I just wasn’t interested and they just hadn’t caught my interest :P So I was a bad girl and I did skip their parts – no wonder I was able to finish the book in one night :P I too enjoyed the other “old” characters more… As for new ones… it looks to me like way too much sequel baiting and it complicates the story so much. Seriously, where are we heading to? Does someone know?

And the only reason I’m going to keep reading this series is for John. I can’t wait for John to go through his transformation. And no, I don’t think John will be gay, and I don’t want him to be.

I love John! And just like Ames, he’s the reason I’m going to buy the other books till he gets his own, because I’m sure Ms. Ward is going to continue writing his story in the following books like she did in Lover Revealed. Although I’m not sure if I’m going to like the post-transformation. It’s interesting to see all his conflicts, desires to grow stronger and etc, but what really happens when he gets stronger? What is he going to do?

So that’s it. Read this book for John.


Anyway, just to sum it up, I thought Lover Revealed follow the same path as the previous ones and that nothing special really happened. In my opinion, Butch and Marissa are Ms. Ward’s weakest characters to date. What frustrates me also is that the more you read, the more unanswered questions you come up with… Ms. Ward keeps adding characters and complex storylines, but besides the fact that it’ll allow her to write more books, is there a significance to them? Also, what is happening to Viscious? I don’t recognize him anymore…

Oh and here is a series of questions that Sandie has come up with for those of us who have read Lover Revealed. If you’re interested in another opinion of the book, you can read Sandie’s review here :D

  1. Pg. 341. Why the reference to Star Trek?! Spock and Kirk. hmmm. I found this line funny...just thought it seemed out of the norm for JR. Whatever...

A: I noticed that too!! I don’t know. LOL Oooh, maybe it has to do with those rumours that Kirk and Spock were lovers?
N: Reference to Star Trek? Where, what?

2. Pg. 308. Is it me, or do you think Wrath's trying to pull JM into the BDB inner circle a bit early? I know he's very unhappy that Tohr has left but...I dunno, I just wonder if this was too much foreshadowing?

A: I think the earlier the Brothers feel like John is one of them, the easier it’ll be for him. And he is one of them (being Darius reincarnated), so I don’t think he’s being pulled in too early.
N: Well, John’s special and he’s also alone. I mean it seems that all of John’s classmates have an entourage to support them, but John doesn’t. His entourage was Tohr and his family and they’re gone. I believe that if Tohr was still there, the brotherhood wouldn’t be pulling John in yet, but given the circumstances, no… I don’t think it’s too early.

3. Pg. 265, Why are there so many coffins in the garage? Do you think its the caskets that the BDB were shipped to NY in? Or is this a sign of something else to come???????

A: I was wondering about that myself. It has to be a sign of things to come.
N: coffins?!? Hmm, I guess I did miss a lot ^^;

4. Random page numbers...How many 270-290 male vampires ranging from 6'2" to 6'7" CAN fit into an Escalade ESV? Seriously, what's the next step for hauling all them big-ass vamps around? Using the school's short school bus?Not everyone's gonna roll with that....

A: It looks like 4 would fit. And maybe someone in the trunk. How many rows of seating?
N: All right… how big is an Escalade ESV? :P but yeah, I’d go with the same answer as

5. Who's gonna leave the mansion next? We are gonna be popping at the seams, who's gonna fly? And who far will they go? Build a compound of vampires all protected by mhis?

A: The mansion is a mansion-no one is going anywhere. Plus there’s the house where V stays.
N: ^^;

6. How hot is Qhuinn?! 1 blue eye and 1 green eye...can't wait to see what happens with him.

A: I thought his name was ridiculous and I think Blaylock is hotter.
N: Ugh, yet another character. You know, the more I read and the more I’m thinking Dark-Hunters

7. Who thinks Blaylock is gay? If so, is he gonna be shagging which brother?

A: He’s gay he’s gay!! He’s going to get his own story line!! I don’t want him with a brother. He’ll get his own lover/storyline. Oooh it would be best if he were bi. Get some m/m/f loving going on!

Our first guest review! Youppi! Today's guest review is by Stephanie, Stephanie's Confessions of a Book-a-holic! The best thing is that she reviewed American Gods by Neil Gaiman, our Author of the Month! So hopefully, you'll all enjoy the review! and thank you Stephanie for the guest review!


American Gods (William Morrow, 2001 pgs. 465) by Neil Gaiman is a book that I've had on my shelf for ages. Thanks to the TBR Challenge, I finally pulled it down. And I'm SO GLAD I did!! It's a fantasy book, which is a fairly new genre for me. But I couldn't ask for a better book to solidify my new love for it! 4.5/5

"Shadow had done three years in prison. He was big enough and looked don't-fuck-with-me enough that his biggest problem was killing time. So he kept himself in shape, and taught himself coin tricks, and thought a lot about how much he loved his wife." And so begins our journey.

The book follows the adventures of ex-convict Shadow upon his (few day) early release from prison due to the death of his wife, Laura, in a car accident. He is hired by the mysterious Mr. Wednesday to act as an escort and bodyguard, and travels across America visiting Wednesday's colleagues and acquaintances. Mr. Wednesday, we come to find out is actually an incarnation of Odin the All-Father. Wednesday is recruiting American manifestations of the Old Gods of ancient mythology. Whenever someone came to America, they brought with them the Gods they believed in. Gods they worshipped. But these Gods have lost a lot of their power as their believers have decreased in number. And why is Wednesday recruiting Gods? Because the Storm is coming and there is going to be a war. A war against the new Gods of America....the Internet, the Media, Television and Hollywood, Technology, Computers....anything that Americans today worship.

I loved this book! Not only was it a great story, but I got a chance to learn a lot about mythology. We meet Odin, Loki (the mythical being of mischief), Anansi (a trickster and a God of West African Lore), Czernobog (a dark Slavic God), the Zorya (the guardian goddesses known as the Auroras). We also meet Mad Sweeney (a leprichan) , Johnny Appleseed, and Bliquis (the Queen of Sheba). At first, I was a bit confused because I just had no idea where this book was going. But the plot is drawn out very subtlely. We travel all across America to roadside stands and attractions. And I think Gaiman hit the nail on the head with this one. He shows us a different side to America. One of a country that is basically filled with Immigrants. And every person that has settled here brought a little piece of their homeland. Gaiman also shows us how fickle we really are. The Gods of Today won't be the Gods of Tomorrow. He definitely gets a "A" for effort! 4.5/5

I first heard of Ms. Nalini Singh when Slave to Sensation, her first book in the series, was released and getting good reviews in blogland. Both Cindy and Kristie as well as others were screaming "KEEPER, KEEPER, KEEPER" and seriously, I had to search for it for two entire weeks before getting my hands on it! And I just absolutely loved it :D So this time, I didn't take any chances and pre-ordered it :D Lucky me, it even arrived to my house before the release date, unfortunately, this and that have prevented me from reviewing it T_T I guess better late than never!

Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh: 4.25/5
published by Berkley in March 2007

Faith Nightstar is a F-Psy, i.e. a foreseer, who has had predictions since she was 3 years old and has been on the dot 99% of the time. As a result, her abilities are highly sought by business enterprises to predict the market trends and so, she is very precious to her clan. However, F-Psy are known to be the most fragile of the Psy and have a tendency to plunge into madness in their forth of fifth decades. Thus, most live in reclusion without physical contacts, because they trigger visions, and Faith is no exception - although she has more control than most. However, Faith has been troubled lately by dark visions and is afraid that her descent to madness has started. She knows that if her body breaks, it won't stop the Psy community to use her brain - for visions or for research to understand the mind of F-Psy. Thus, her only chance of a "normal" life would be to run away and drop from the Psy-net... However, no Psy can live without the feedback provided by the Psy-net... Except for Sascha Duncan, the mate of Lucas Hunter, alpha of the Dark River, the leopard changelings clan. Faith will do anything to stay alive and so, decides to go look for Sascha for help or at least, explanations... while slipping out of her compound, she runs into Vaughn D'Angelo, a jaguar changeling and Sentinel of the Dark River clan.

Genre: paranormal romance, shapeshifters, psychics
Series: Psy-Changeling world, Book #2

Review: I liked and enjoyed this book, but not as much as Slave to Sensation (StS). However, I still think that as a sequel, Visions of Heat is very good and does not disappoint. The story is good and enjoyable, but it's just I didn't connect with Faith and Vaughn as much as I connected with Sascha and Lucas. As a couple, Sascha and Lucas were more interesting in my opinion.

The Characters - Faith is an interesting heroine and certainly not TSTL. She has a head on her shoulders and knows how to use it. She's got a personality and can stand on her own. She's a bit ignorant of the outside world, but why go outside when it's dangerous for you? I guess you could say she's as much a loner as Vaughn and so, they fit well. The only thing I thought annoying a little was she kept warning Vaughn to not touch her - and that, I understand... but the repetition of the warning got tedious near the end, esp. when it was obvious Vaughn would not back up. As for Vaughn, I found he played with fire as he kept touching - I don't know, when someone tells you they might die because of something you're doing, if you really care for them, maybe you should consider stop doing it? I understand Vaughn's side, as he believes if Faith is to live outside of her compound, she must get accustomed to touch... but seriously, he didn't have to push her that fast. Otherwise, I liked Vaughn and thought of his story really interesting and actually, quite sad. No wonder he's such a loner and doesn't want to get that close to others. By the way, if you've been wondering, Vaughn is as yummy and alpha as Lucas, but I thought there was more chemistry between Lucas and Sascha than Vaughn and Faith.

We also get to revisit many, many characters, which to me is always a pleasure. I have to say however, that I'd like to see more of the other Sentinels and learn about them. I also love Roman and Julian, Tammy and Nate's cubs, they're just so, so, so cute! Talking about Tammy and Nate, I hope Ms. Singh does do like Ms. J.R. Ward and kill one person of the couple - it's a very bad idea, Ms. Singh! We like balance and we don't need all the males to be single! Two other interesting characters, Kit - the possible next alpha. To know that there's already a next heir/successor apparent makes me a bit nervous, because I don't want Lucas to die :P but then, I guess Lucas could step down and that's an interesting idea/plot. The other interesting character is Judd Laurens, a Psy and something else. I wasn't expecting to see him in this book, but it was good to see him. Especially since he is the main character of the next book, but kudos to Ms. Singh, because his presence is very subtle. It doesn't scream: I have to start advertising for my next book! I have to make people wonder about Judd for my next book! Most importantly is that Judd does not steal the spotlight.

Story & Writing - The world Ms. Singh created is fascinating and quite complex and she did a good job in StS, setting it. So you don't have that much new information in this book. The only aspect of the world that is still quite unknown to the readers are the humans, but I'm sure that's coming up. What I really liked in StS and Visions of Heat is the flow between them. Not every author is capable of using what was written in the previous book to its full potential, but Ms. Singh was able to and the transition smooth. I guess what I mean is that the two books are continuous, as opposed as two separated stories within the same world and that is great.

The Cover - Hmmm, I don't dislike it, but I don't like it either...

Am I keeping this book? Yep :D

Anything else? Not really... Oh well, perhaps yet. If you go to Ms. Singh's website/blog, you'll see that she got her new cover. Her next book is called Caressed by Ice, coming out in September if I'm not wrong... and she has a story in Wild Thing, an anthology, for October :)

.... and most other people. I was browsing the internet last night at work and I came across the most interesting article. R2-D2 is to collect post. When I read that, I was like, that cannot mean the obvious... Well, it does! Reportedly, as part of the 30th anniversary of the original release of the first (fourth?) Star Wars, they are making him a mailbox! I love Star Wars, so I am pretty excited. I would love to see one, but this looks like it will be a very American project. And if it was available in Canada, I do not live anywhere near a central area that would have them. I am interested in seeing the special surprise new postal stamp that coincides with this project. I will ask to any of the Americans out there that might end up with one of these mailboxes close to their house, please submit pictures! To read the article, click here

Hello all :D

The last few days have been quite busy :) I just want to remind ppl that yesterday was March 15, and so the second installment of Assassin Study by Maria V. Snyder is up.

Go here to read the next chapter!

To celebrate TK's rebirth, we will have two contests!

Here how they work:

The first contest is simple and the goal is to spread the word about TK's rebirth! All you have to do is make a short announcement on your blog, myspace or website about TK's rebirth and link back to us using the buttons in the sidebar. Of course, if you can find better ways to let the world know about TK, go for it :D

The dateline for this contest will be March 25th, 11:59pm. Let us know that you have participated by leaving a comment and the url to your blog, myspace or website in this post! Simple, no?

The second contest is a tad more challenging, but probably much more interesting. That is, you have to write a guest review! It can be any book, as long as there is some fantasy or paranormal element. It could be a book you have just recently read or your favorite fantasy/paranormal book and it doesn't matter whether it has been already reviewed at TK or not! So, how to participate? Easy, you write your review following TK's simple guideline (really just a few requests to make all of our reviews uniform) and submit it at by April 15th, 11:59pm. Your review will most likely be post the following Tuesday or Thursday. The more guest reviews you write, the better your chances to win!

For each contest, we will have a draw to determine the winner :) But, what is the grand prize? The winners will be able to choose their own prize: a fantasy/paranormal book written by one of our featured Author of the Month! Since we have not chosen the Author of the Month for the next following months yet, the winners will be given one year to choose!

Easy, simple and you get a free book!

A new feature that we are implementing at Twisted Kingdom is an author of the month. Right now, it is just between me and Nath, but there might be more going on in the future. For this particular month, I chose Neil Gaiman. The point of this is not to only post about Neil Gaiman, the point of this is that Nath has never read a single Gaiman book, so I challenge her to have read one book by him by April 15th. I gave her some options because we are not rich book bloggers, and she chose to read Stardust. With these authors of the month, it would also be great if more than one book can be read by him, but this is more of a challenge than anything. I have to admit, though, if I could read the four Neil Gaiman books I have in TBR pile, this challenge could work out to lots of benefit.

So, to start this challenge off, I am not going to regurgate his biography, that is what his web site is for, I am going to tell you why I chose Neil Gaiman. I only recently read Neil Gaiman for the first time myself. It was my third year of university, and I was taking a fantasy course. One of the books that we had to read was Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I really enjoyed reading that book, and it made me interested to see more of his efforts. It was a while before I read anything else by him, last summer to be exact, but I have since read Stardust, Neverwhere, and The Sandman Vol 1: Preludes and Nocturnes. Good Omens was an apocolyptic-type novel which I highly recommend. Stardust, which I believe is to become a movie, is a bit of a fairy tale. Neverwhere is a lose retelling of Alice in Wonderland. Preludes and Noctunres is the first book in his graphic novel series. In the TBR pile I have American Gods (which I am almost done), Anansi Boys, Coraline, and Smoke and Mirrors. If you are lucky, I might share some of my thoughts on these books between now and April 15th.

So, tune back here on April 15th to see if Nath meets my challenge! But, be sure and read the blog between now and then too because we have a lot of special things going on. To visit Neil Gaiman's Web Site, click here.

Twisted Kingdom was born a little more than 8 months ago with the intent to review fantasy and paranormal books, guide new readers in the genre, host lively discussions and be a blog where people in need of recommendations would come. Unfortunately, not everything has gone the way we've wanted and instead of the lively and awesome Twisted Kingdom, this blog fell in the category of "trying to survive" blogs where you would get sporadic post every one or two weeks, with Kailana bravely trying to hold the fort and not let it crumble down. Well, those days are over! No, we are not announcing that Twisted Kingdom will close down or going in hiatus, instead, we are very glad and proud to announce that March 15th will mark the day of Twisted Kingdom's rebirth. Like a phoenix, Twisted Kingdom will rise from its ashes and be born again into something beautiful and wonderful - at least, we hope so :P However, in order to do so, we will need your help and participation! Fans of fantasy, paranormal and even romance...

Welcome to Twisted Kingdom v.2

To celebrate Twisted Kingdom's rebirth and to make the blog livelier, members at Twisted Kingdom - aka TK - have come up with the following ideas/features:

On the 15th of each month, we will have the Author of the Month feature in which a member will introduce a fantasy/paranormal author that they like, coupled with TK TBR challenge. The TK TBR challenge will be any book written by the author of the month, but to help you out, a suggestion will be given. You don't need to sign up for the TK TBR challenge; however, if you take up the challenge and complete it or if you have already read the book, we will ask you to participate to a discussion hosted a few days before the next feature of Author of the Month.

In addition, we want you, fellow readers of TK, to participate and make this blog better and so, we will post guest reviews from you! All you have to do is read a book with a fantasy or paranormal element, write a review following our simple guideline, submit it to and it will be post on the following Tuesday or Thursday!

Also, there will be more reviews from us, as those will be post on Mondays and Fridays, and to keep thing interesting, we will have more buddy reviews as well! These buddy reviews will be post on every other Wednesday. Furthermore, Kailana will resume her Fairy Tale Feature on the other Wednesdays.

If you have any other suggestions to make TK more interesting, please let us know! We hope that all will support TK's rebirth and to start thing up, here are TWO contests! Stay tune to know about them, as they will be posted tomorrow, Friday!
ps - they will be changes in the layout and sidebars too in the following days...

Born of the chaos of the Dark Ages, the Dream of Eagles produced a king, a country and an everlasting legend—Camelot

Most know him as Merlyn; all call him Commander. Caius Merlyn Britannicus is responsible for the safety of the colony known as Camulod, and for the welfare of the colonists who look to him for guidance, leadership, justice and salvation. Uther Pendragon, the man who will father the legendary Arthur, is the cousin Merlyn has known and loved since their births—four hours apart on the same day, the year the legions left Britain. As different as can be, they are inseparable: two faces of the same coin. In a world torn apart by warfare and upheaval, each is the other’s certainty until a vicious crime—one that strikes at the roots of Merlyn’s own life—drives a wedge between them.

According to sources, which I agree with, for people that are not very keen on reading this entire very long series, this book could very easily be an alternate book one. The first two books set up the background of the civilization of Camulod, but this book alters narrators to Merlyn, but also tells about the important things that happened in the past books. So, this would be a good starting point if anyone was interested.

The thing that really amazed me about this book is how much happened in it! I was talking to someone one night and was thinking about an event that had happened, thinking it had happened in the previous book, but it was not, it was this book. Merlyn was just a baby in book 2. That really amazed me. He is relatively old by the time this book finishes, and he was just a young child when he starts relating his experiences about life in Camulod.

I have to say, sometimes there are narrators that really annoy me, but I really liked Caius Merlyn Britannicus. For me, he made a very interesting narrator of the events occuring at the settlement and his own adventures. I would prefer him to Uther. Merlyn is the thinker, while Uther is the doer. He does overthink a few things, and his mind is so logical that sometimes I find him annoying. I would be lying if I said otherwise. I just cannot get over how much time goes by in this book. The narrator from the first two books dies in this book, and I find that it seemed like that happened an eternity ago. Actually, at this point, the only main character from the original settlement left is Merlyn's great aunt who begins to play a role near the end of the book.

I particularly liked this book because baby Arthur enters the story. He only joins the cast of characters near the very end, but he is of course who this series revolves around, so it was only fitting that he make an appearance before long. When I first started reading this series I figured that he would be a long time coming, but since Meryln goes from about 8 to his late 20's in one book, it makes sense that Arthur will grow up in the next book. Maybe the series will slow down with him now born, because if not, I am not sure what the later books are going to talk about. I think that these early books are necessary to set up the world and the characters that will give rise to Arthur. The enemies are in place, the sword is ready for its bearer, and Camelot is Camulod. So, of course, now that everything is set up for Arthur, I am even more excited to read the rest of the books in this series!

The only thing that bothered me about this book was the length. Not so much the page length, but the fact that so many years are pushed into 639 pages. It is unusual for a book in a series to carry so much weight. I read this book slowly, and I think that might have been bad because I got to the end and now the three books from the series are all running together in my head. I am not much of a series reader. I normally stick with stand alones or trilogies, so I am delighted that I have found a series that I am excited to read the next book for. I have so many questions, and I am looking forward to having them answered. I think I am a bit of a fangirl! (Just kidding)


Hey everyone!!!

Just a very quick post for those of you who are fans of Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder, but are not subscribed to her newsletter :D Since Fire Study's release date has been pushed back, way back, Ms. Snyder was kind enough to provide us with something that'll make the wait a bit easier: Assassin Study.

Assassin Study is an online short story about Valek trying to save Yelena by going after the assassin who has taken the execution order. This short story takes place between Poison Study and Magic Study. There'll be an installment every 15 days, till May 1st (if I'm not wrong) and the cool thing is that the readers can choose what happens next!

If you're interested, follow the link to Assassin Study :)


I have to say that although I've been reading quite a lot of paranormal romances in the past few years, I've been sticking to the mainstream kinds - or perhaps, I should say, the authors have sticked to the mainstream kinds. However, this is changing and authors are starting to diversify the paranormal beings in their books. As a result, I've been wanting to read Hell's Belle ever since I've heard about it, because the main character is a succubus.

Hell's Belle by Jackie Kessler: 3.75/5
published in January 2007 by Zebra/Kesington Books (Trade paperback format)

Hell on Earth starts here…

Jezebel’s not your average exotic dancer. For one thing, she’s a 4,000-year-old succubus. For another, she’s on the run from Hell (which isn’t easy to do in high heels). Hiding on the mortal coil as a human doesn’t protect her from muggers, lactose intolerance…or having feelings for Paul Hamilton, a man haunted by his past. Demons are closing in, which is enough to make Jezebel shiver in her G-string. But it’s her love for Paul that’s going to have deadly consequences. (Humans, she laments, really should come with instruction manuals.)

I tried writing a synopsis for this book, but figure out that the book's back blurb was doing a better job than I was :P I'll just add this:

Jezebel was unhappy with the changes and new leadership in Hell and decided to pack and leave. As a result, the new Lord of Hell put a bounty on her head, sent his hunters after her to set an example. To escape, Jezebel obtained a human body through witchcraft, borrowed the look, identity, credit cards and amulet, which protects from Evil beings, of Cailtin, the witch who helped her and left Salem for New York. In the train station, she met Paul, a NY cop, and there was this instant connection between them. While adapting to her life, with the help of Paul who wants to help her (he thinks she was abused and forced into prostitution), she finds a job as an exotic dancer which is right up her alley. However, it doesn't take long for friends and ennemies to find her...

Series: Jezebel the Succubus
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Succubus

Review: I like the book and I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, I read the back blurb and wanted to read it for awhile, but that didn't guarantee that I would like the book right? Also, succubus are a bit out of my comfort zone. Another pleasant surprise was the beginning of the book. From reading the black blurb, I thought she was already settled and everything. Instead, we accompany Jezebel on her run and learns about the reasons through flashbacks. All in all, I thought the series had good potential, enjoyed the book which made me want to read more. However, the writing style takes a bit of getting use to and Paul is not developed enough ^^;

The Characters - I like Jezebel and I like how she stood up and decided to take her life in her hands when she was unhappy, even if it put her in danger. She definitively has more depth than you'd think a demon has and she's something :D I'm also happy that she's not entire clueless as how to behave like a human, since as a succubus, she did have to appear human.

Now Paul is yummy :D No wonder Jezebel falls for him so quickly :D He's a cop who has lost his fiancee to a hit-and-run a few years ago. Because he couldn't handle the pressure his soon-to-be-in-laws were putting on him, he moved to New York. There's an instant connection between Jezebel and him and he's determined to pursue it. I have to say, although he's yummy, there was something that bothered me: he was hanging out in a strip-club ^^; Not usually an attractive trait in a hero, but then, at the end it made sense. Also, I liked how he tried to understand and help Jezebel. I know that I did say that he was not developed enough, but I guess that given the fact that Jezebel is the main character, it is understandable that the focus is on her and so, the author did a good job.

Other characters we get to meet are Jezebel's best friend - a fury, Daun - an incubus and also, Jezebel's friend and Lilith - queen of Hell. There's also a few of Jezebel's co-workers, but really, the book mainly focused on Jezebel, which is good :D

The Style & Writing - This is where it started getting tricker. Basically, I didn't have any problem with her writing style, as in how she formulates her sentences, dialogue and so on. What took a bit more of getting used was how Ms. Kessler broke down the book. Basically, Hell's Belle is divided into many parts (I think 6) and each part is given the name of a character. First was Jezebel, than the fury friend, Paul and etc. So the story is told, but in each part, there'll be a flashback of Jezebel and whoever is the character of this part. This wasn't a bad idea, but the problem was the transition between the parts. The transition wasn't always smooth, which results in breaking the flow, and it was a bit confusing at first. So it took a little bit getting used to, but still, I was able to enjoy the book.

The Cover - I think the cover is nice :D I guess there's a leg fetish going on in the cover industry, but I don't mind. I think it's better than a man's torso ^^;

Am I keeping this book? Yep, I am. I'm also going to buy the next one when it comes out :D

Anything else? Well, I wasn't sure I would like to read about a succubus, because of all the sex... I'm the kind of person who likes faithfulness and usually one man-one woman relationship. However, the characterization, setting and story won me over, but I'm still ticked at Jezebel for having sex with Daun, even if he was in the disguise of Paul...

anyway, here is Ms. Jackie Kessler's website.

Enough time has passed for the young girl Jaenelle, heir to the magical Darkness. Her physical wounds have healed, while amnesia keeps her frightening memories at bay. But with Saetan--a Black-Jewelled Warlord Prince and Jaenelle's foster-father--to protect her, she will continue to grow. Her magic will mature. Her memories will return. And Jaenelle will face her destiny when she remembers Daemon, Saetan's son, who made the ultimate sacrifice for her love.
I finally read this book! I read the first book in the trilogy last year, and it is has taken me all this time to get to book two. Since this book has been reviewed on blogland many many times, I thought that I would make this at bit more interesting and buddy review it with Aarti from the blog Booklust. Aarti is in the reddish colour and I am typing in black. If all goes well we will also be reviewing the other books in the series together.

Yes, I read the first book in the series last year as well. It was difficult to get a grip on the story and the characters at first, but then I caught on and it was pretty smooth sailing from there!

I have to say that this was, for me, much better than book one. I liked book one, but this one attracted me more than the previous one. I am more interested in reading book three now because I am hoping that it will be even better than this one.

I also really enjoyed this book, though I think I liked book one just as much. Book one really set the scene for me, and while I struggled with getting through the beginning parts- not for lack of interest, but for lack of understanding- I really liked the atmosphere created. I think Bishop continues that here, and into book three as well.

I have been considering over and over again which one is my favourite character in this trilogy. I think in this book my favourite would have to be Saetan. There is lots of humour presented between him, Janelle, and Lucivar that makes you laugh aloud. In the first book he did not really interest me, but he becomes more of a controlled character in this book. I find him interesting, and not at all what I would imagine him to be as the leader of hell. He really adds to the story, I think, so I was glad to read his parts. There really are a lot of funny parts in this book because Janelle and Lucivar are reunited, and Lucivar learns that Saetan is both his father and Janelle's foster father, so suddenly they are siblings. They fight like siblings, too, and Saetan gets in there and fathers them. It was great.

I really liked the family dynamics, too! My favorite character was also Saetan, as he was really an upstanding man, with so much integrity. You could tell how much he cared for the people around him. I think his scenes with Jaenelle, especially, and some with Lucivar, are either very poignant or very funny. And the dynamics between the three of these characters is fun to watch.

I am not sure what I think of Lucivar. In the previous book he had been held captive by the self-declared queen of hell and the priestess that works for her in the human world, so he was not a major character beforehand. He has a lot of potential, though. I think he was the right addition to the cast of characters. With Daemon lost in the Twisted Kingdom, there had to be a young, interesting male to balance out the characters. I might add that young here is a relative term.

That's an interesting point. Lucivar does balance out the book, with Daemon gone for most of it (which saddened me, as I really like him). I think Lucivar is much more fun than Daemon is; Daemon seems to be intense for so much of the time. However, Lucivar did declare himself to be Jaenelle's older brother, and in some parts of the book, he was so brother-like that he really started grating on me! He just has such a bracing personality- I don't know if I could spend time with him for very long without getting a headache!

Then, there is Janelle. She was relatively young in the first book, so I liked her a lot better in this one because she is older and easier to relate to... in a sense. She has a lot of crazy powers, though, and often acts like she is years older than she is. She seriously gives Saetan a lot to deal with, and Lucivar is always trying to get her to slow down. She has a kind heart, and will run herself into the ground to save others. That is clearly shown throughout this book, and the sad thing is that the scenes that she helps out in, you cannot help as the reader feeling very bad for both her and the characters involved. Janelle annoys me sometimes, but overall, I think she is a good character and strong. That's one thing about this trilogy, all the women are strong.

Yes, all the women are strong! Some of them still annoy me, though :-) I actually don't know what I feel about Jaenelle. Yes, sometimes she is wise beyond her years. But sometimes, she also seems very childish. Also, it kind of weirds me out that she snarls so much. Really, though, the depth of her care and loyalty for the people around her is pretty great- she is a wonderful leader. I also really liked the greater introduction of the Kindred in this book- it added a whole set of new characters to the story. We don't get into their heads that often, but it is always a lesson when we do. I thought Bishop added in the animal insights very well.

Overall, this is a good book, and awesome for a book two. Book twos are generally slow in trilogies because there is not a lot of action. Bishop really works with the lack of action, though, and gives us some interesting scenes that will have you eagerly turning the pages. I have started the next book in the trilogy (I know that Aarti has already read it), so expect a review of it in March.

Agreed- a very strong book overall, and I look forward to reviewing the next one as well! And to reading the other Bishop books I have on my shelf- I also have Sebastian.

About this blog

Welcome to Twisted Kingdom - a review site for science fiction and fantasy books.

There have been some recent changes, most obviously the template, so please bear with us while we set up our links and arrange the reviews on our sidebar.

Please drop us a line at if you notice any craziness, broken links or if you'd like us to add you to our link list.

About Me

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Since I was a little girl I have been fascinated with books. Early photos show me with a book in hand, even if it was not exactly my reading level... My first word was a made-up word meaning 'book', actually. I suppose I had my priorities at an early age... Over the years my interest in books has become one of the defining features of who I am as a person. You can probably call me a bookworm. While I have other interests, reading will always be the one I talk about the most, even if I am not focusing on it as much as I used to.