Completion Date: July 30, 2007
Pages: 324
Publication Year: 2006
Received from Random House prior to 2007.
Book One in the Drakon Series

Reason for Reading: I was looking for something different about the time that I acquired this book. It is really a mix of fantasy, historical fiction, and romance.

For centuries they’ve lived in secret among northern England’s green and misted hills. Creatures of extraordinary beauty, power, and sensuality, they possess the ability to shape-shift from human to dragon and back again. Now their secret–and their survival–is threatened by a temptation that will break every boundary....

Dubbed the Smoke Thief, a daring jewel thief is confounding the London police. His wealthy victims claim the master burglar can walk through walls and vanish into thin air. But Christoff, the charismatic Marquess of Langford, knows the truth: the thief is no ordinary human but a “runner” who’s fled Darkfrith without permission. As Alpha leader of the dra´kon, it’s Kit’s duty to capture the fugitive before the secrets of the tribe are revealed to mortals. But not even Kit suspects that the Smoke Thief could be a woman.

Clarissa Rue Hawthorne knew her dangerous exploits would attract the attention of the dra´kon. But she didn’t expect Christoff himself to come to London, dangling the tribe’s most valuable jewel–the Langford Diamond–as bait. For as long as she could remember, Rue had lived the life of a halfling–half dra´kon, half mortal–and an outcast in both worlds. She’d always loved the handsome and willful Kit from the only place it was safe: from afar. But now she was no longer the shy, timid girl she’d once been. She was the first woman capable of making the Turn in four generations. So why did she still feel the same dizzying sense of vulnerability whenever he was near?

From the moment he saw her, Kit knew that the alluring and powerful beauty was every bit his Alpha equal and destined to be his bride. And by the harsh laws of the dra´kon, Rue knew that she was the property of the marquess. But they will risk banishment and worse for a chance at something greater. For now Rue is his prisoner, the diamond has disappeared, and she’s made the kind of dangerous proposition a man like Kit cannot resist....In this bewitching novel, Shana Abé transports us into a world of exhilarating romance and magic.
This book was an interesting read. Normally Shana Abe writes romance novels, and the Romantic Times Bookclub calls this book the "Historical Romance of the Year" for the year that it came out, so the fact that I read it is something of a mystery even to me. I actually was interested in the fantasy elements and seemed to overlook the romance elements until I actually owned the book. I think the best place to start is by saying that this book has a very nice cover. There are dragons in this book, of course, and they are described as more sleek than dragons that we regularly read about in fantasy novels. This book shows an example of what they were supposed to look like.

So, the pros of this book. I really liked the main female character, Rue. She could be annoying at times, but for the most part she had a very fierce spirit for the time that this book came out in. She left home because she was different, and everyone thought that she was dead, but it turns out that she faked her death so that she could have a life of her own. That, and she has powers that are not common in females of their tribe. I liked the interaction between her and other characters in the book. The lead male, Kit, was a good character too. He could be a bit demanding, he was the alpha drakon afterall, but he was generally just doing what he thought was best for his people. He thought that bringing Rue home was the best thing for her, even if she did not quickly agree.

The problems I had with this book, there were a few dull spots that I felt dragged a bit. There was one part of the book where I was so bored I put the book down for a bit and considered whether I would actually finish it, but I am glad I preservered. I found that I wanted to know what happened next and how the book ended. There was a bit too much romance for my taste as well, but it is a historical romance, I should have expected it. It was tasteful, though, so it was not so bad.

Overall, not the best thing I have ever read, but I plan to read The Dream Thief and maybe onward if more books are released in the series. It is nice sometimes to think that we do not know everything about our world, and that maybe things like dragons roam the earth without us regular people even being aware.

Completion Date: July, 2007
Pages: 395
Publication Year: 2000
Purchased in 2007
Dragonlance Chronicles Volume II

Now the people know that the dragon minions of Takhisis, Queen of Dragons, have returned. The people of all nations prepare to fight to save their homes, their lives, and their freedom. But the races have long been divided by hatred and prejudice. Elven warriors and human knights fight among themselves. It seems the battle has been lost before it begins.

The companions are separated, torn apart by war. A full season will pass before they meet again--if they meet again. As the darkness deepens, a disgraced knight, a pampered elfmaiden, and a rattle-brained kender stand alone in the pale winter sunlight.

Not much in the way of heroes.
After reading The Dragons of the Autumn Twilight, I was looking forward to reading the next book in Weis and Hickman's Dragonlance Chronicles. Sadly, this book suffered the fate of most second books in trilogies. It was good, but it was not great. It dragged for me, there was not a lot of action, so it was not a captivating read.

In this book, the main characters split up into groups, so the book covers many different scenes as it follows the main characters around. A lot of interesting things are set up in this book, but you have to wait for the third book for them to come to fruitation. So, onward to the pros. The pros of the book were that there was Tas in a large portion of the book. The mood of this book was a bit darker, so Tas was very serious for himself in this book. He had his humourous moments, but for the most part he was serious. I understand why, but I miss my funny Tas. The goblins in Weis and Hickman's world are HILLARIOUS! They are inventors, and they talk a lot, people have never heard them complete a sentence. When they speak it is in a very jumbled mess. I loved the goblins, I hope to see more of them. One of Tas's more humourous scenes was when he met the goblins because they use sling-shots as elevators. Pretty funny!

Tanis surprises in this book. He is the leader of this group and people look up to him for the next step in their adventure, but the pressure is getting to be too much for him it would seem, and when a character from his past returns it will be interesting to see if he remains the leader or takes easy way out. Some of the other characters develop, and some of them were not in the book enough for me. It was not that the book was written badly, it was that I missed action. The book was all about getting reading for the action, and while there was a little bit near the end, it was a long time coming. That being said, I think it really sets up the trilogy for book 3 where all the action happens.

So, while not a great book, it was readable and I think it will be interesting to see what happens in book three. An enjoyable series.

We were tagged by SciFiChick. I even tagged people!

-Start Copy-

It’s very simple. When this is passed on to you, copy the whole thing, skim the list and put a * star beside those that you like. (Check out especially the * starred ones.)

Add the next number (1. 2. 3. 4. 5., etc.) and write your own blogging tip for other bloggers. Try to make your tip general.

After that, tag 10 other people. Link love some friends!

Just think- if 10 people start this, the 10 people pass it onto another 10 people, you have 100 links already!

1. Look, read, and learn. ***

2. Be, EXCELLENT to each other. *

3. Don’t let money change ya! *

4. Always reply to your comments. ****

5. Link liberally — it keeps you and your friends afloat in the Sea of Technorati. **

6. Don’t give up - persistance is fertile. *

7. Give link credit where credit is due. **

8. Pictures say a thousand words and can usually add to any post.*

9. Be Brave, some of the best posts are when you step out of your comfort zone.

My Tags: (basically people that have commented on the blog)

Nymeth at Things Mean a Lot
Marg at Reading Adventures
Raspberry Swyrl at Pandora's Aquarium
Nicola at Back to Books
Li at Me and My Books
Kris at The Reading Spot
Rosie at Nobody Asked Me...
Cory at The Dragon's Loss
Nath at Books, books, and more Books
Josette at Books Love Me...

I am all for diversity in the world, but this is a post about books. Since it all started with a fantasy author, I decided to vent my frustration here instead of on my own blog. I am of the scary notion that books should have the same title regardless of where they are produced. I know, this is something that has been going on for generations, but it's so confusing! People recommend books, but they are not the same titles as you have, so you search looking for the titles in your country. Even for translated books, all good if the content inside is different, but I strongly believe that the books should have the same titles for simplicity sake.

I bring this up because I live in Canada. We do not seem to have our own publishing traits, it is either we get books at the same time they are released in the US or Canada. If you discover the book when it first comes out, differing titles should not confuse you too much. It is when you discover an author later on that the problems start. My problem of the day? Sara Douglass. I know this is not her fault, it's the publishers fault, but I am super annoyed. I tried to read her Troy Game series about a year ago, but I could not get into book one. Instead of giving up on her as an author, though, I decided that I was going to read her other trilogies. In Australia, and thus originally Canada, her first trilogy was referred to as the Axis trilogy. Then, she wrote another trilogy and called it The Wayfarer trilogy. That's fine, but in the US all six books were put together and renamed The Wayfarer series. I have the Axis trilogy, but the other day I went to the store and picked up The Wayfarer trilogy. Tonight, I took all my books and put them together. You know what I have? A MESS!!!

Let me elaborate. I knew the titles I was looking for, but instead I just went by the trilogy name. The three books I bought say book one, two, and three of the Wayfarer Redemption. You know what I have in actuality? The US releases of book two and three of what I know as The Axis trilogy and book one of the Australian version of The Wayfarer trilogy. That means, I have book two and three of The Axis trilogy twice. I should have looked at book titles, but I was concerned with the trilogy, and since I live in Canada, normally it would have been the Australian versions of the books. I think it started out that way, but time went by and now we sell both the Australian versions AND the United States versions. This makes it VERY confusing for new readers of Douglass. You know, just so you know, the back covers say different things, so it does look like different books. I just had not read the other books yet, I like to own all the books before I start.

So, that is my vent: Books should have the same title regardless of the country. It would just make things EASIER! Heaven knows we try and make life easier in every other aspect, why not book titles too!

The Genre

Fantasy: Wizards, Magic, Fae, Spies, Journey, Intrigue, Adventure, Series

The Plot

From Amazon: "When young Alec of Kerry is taken prisoner for a crime he didn’t commit, he is certain that his life is at an end. But one thing he never expected was his cellmate. Spy, rogue, thief, and noble, Seregil of Rhiminee is many things–none of them predictable. And when he offers to take on Alec as his apprentice, things may never be the same for either of them. Soon Alec is traveling roads he never knew existed, toward a war he never suspected was brewing. Before long he and Seregil are embroiled in a sinister plot that runs deeper than either can imagine, and that may cost them far more than their lives if they fail. But fortune is as unpredictable as Alec’s new mentor, and this time there just might be…Luck in the Shadows."

Mailyn Says:

The Review

I enjoyed this book immensely. Alec and Seregil are great characters. They aren't alike as far as temperaments go but they are two wonderful heroes and I'd be hard pressed to choose between them. The secondary characters are all well thought out. I never felt like anyone was thrown in without being really needed. One of my favorites of these would be the great wizard Nysander.

The world that Flewelling builds is very interesting. She goes into great detail without boring you and, pretty soon, you feel you are in the book experiencing everything along with the characters. A lot of intrigue and suspense that neatly sets the stage for the rest of the books yet gives you enough to be satisfied when you are done with this one. There's wizards and magic and even a centaur or two but, for all the fantasy aspects, this world feels like an alternate universe with some similarities to England in the Middle Ages or the 1800's. I couldn't decide which since it tended to shift from the time in the cities to the time running around the countryside.

The suspense and the action were both very entertaining. A lot of times I tend to skip these scenes with women writers but I couldn't get enough and was sucked in desperately wanting to know how or if our heroes, both, would make it through to the end.

A word of caution, this book does contain homosexual undertones. This doesn't bother me in the least since I read and watch m/m romances all the time, especially in anime and manga. However, some people may be put off by this. I will say that it is not, at least in this first book, anything major. One of the characters is bisexual and he happens to be attracted to another character. Nothing happens and, as the love is unrequited, the man in love doesn't try anything. They have a wonderful friendship and, it seems to me, this was setting up the stage for an actual romance for the, so far, heterosexual character.

The Verdict

I loved this book and I can't wait to read the rest in the series! Far as I know it's a trilogy but I'm not sure. I will let you all know. I think this is a good read for anyone looking for a little adventure, suspense, and fantasy with some wonderful characters. A solid 4.5 out of 5.

Kailana Says:

After reading Mailyn's review, I decided that I had to give this book a try, so I actually have had it for a while, but it was just not my sort of fantasy. I actually started it a while ago, and this month decided I should finish it up so I could clear it off the nightstand. It's that problem of wanting to love the book, but just not being able to. I found that the book really dragged, even when there was action going on I could not get into the book and found myself bored and skimming.

I will say that the homosexual overtones did not bother me, so that was not why I did not like the book. I am pretty easy-going with that, so it appearing in novels does not bother me. So, after being so disappointed in this book, I was at the store the other day and one of my friends was working. She suggested I read Flewellings other trilogy because she liked it, but I am not sure if I am ready to embark on that yet. I think I might keep this book around and see if I can get into it in the future. Otherwise, it is either a book you love or you hate.

The History of the Hobbit presents for the first time, in two volumes, the complete unpublished text of the original manuscript of J.R.R.Tolkien's The Hobbit, accompanied by John Rateliff's lively and informative account of how the book came to be written and published. As well as recording the numerous changes made to the story both before and after publication, it examines – chapter–by–chapter – why those changes were made and how they reflect Tolkien's ever–growing concept of Middle–earth.

The Hobbit was first published on 21 September 1937. Like its successor, The Lord of the Rings, it is a story that "grew in the telling", and many characters and story threads in the published text are completely different from what Tolkien first wrote to read aloud to his young sons as part of their "fireside reads".

As well as reproducing the original version of one of literature's most famous stories, both on its own merits and as the foundation for The Lord of the Rings, this new book includes many little–known illustrations and previously unpublished maps for The Hobbit by Tolkien himself. Also featured are extensive annotations and commentaries on the date of composition, how Tolkien's professional and early mythological writings influenced the story, the imaginary geography he created, and how Tolkien came to revise the book years after publication to accommodate events in The Lord of the Rings.

Like Christopher Tolkien's The History of The Lord of the Rings before it, this is a thoughtful yet exhaustive examination of one of the most treasured stories in English literature. Long overdue for a classic book now celebrating 70 years in print, this companion edition offers fascinating new insights for those who have grown up with this enchanting tale, and will delight those who are about to enter Bilbo's round door for the first time.

People have been commenting on my blog concerning this book, so I am going to try and do this review justice. I thought this book was brilliant. I got it just a matter of days ago, and read the first chapter. I had planned to just read it chapter by chapter, but the book was so interesting that I found myself wanting to learn more.

I remember getting The Hobbit. It was several years ago, and I had just finished reading The Lord of the Rings. My mother was going on a trip, and she always asks me for a book list. I mentioned wanting to read The Hobbit now that I had read the other books. My mother was on the plane, and seated beside her was a little boy and he was reading The Hobbit. My mother can talk to anyone, so she struck up a conversation with him and told him that he was reading the book that I wanted to read. When the plane landed, the little boy gave my mother the book! So, that is how I came to own The Hobbit. Cute story, huh?

John Rateliff's book is not exactly Tolkien, but that is not why I liked it so much. I think the book was so great because I feel like I know Tolkien now. I have read things on him, heard people talk about him, but it was by reading a book that explained why or possibly why Tolkien wrote The Hobbit the way that he did that I feel like I connected with a man that died several years ago. I read my fair share of non-fiction, but never have I felt like I have read so much. This book illuminated The Hobbit for me, but it also showed me things about other Tolkien works that I did not know, and I enjoyed learning.

Essentially what this book is is early versions of what became The Hobbit. Rateliff goes chapter by chapter and discusses the key things in each chapter, what was changed for the published works, why things were the way they were, and much more. The insight is amazing because I was reading one of my favourite books, by one of my favourite authors, but I was also getting inside his head at the same time. The things I learned are really interesting too, they are still running around in my mind after finishing the book a few hours ago. For example, Gandalf's name was originally Bladorthin, and Gandalf was originally the name of the chief dwarf, Thorin. Reading Tolkien's notes you can actually see where the change took place. I have to say, I like Gandalf much better... mainly because I can actually say it.

I want to say so much about this book, but at the same time, I do not want to reveal all Tolkien's secrets to everyone. I think Tolkien fans should read this book. I have always wanted to read The Annotated The Hobbit, but it is out of print. I no longer feel that way, this book was enough for me. The best thing was, some things were not changed between the manuscript and the actual published version, but readers just do not notice it. When you think of "The Ring" do you not think of it as evil? It was not evil in The Hobbit, though. It was just a ring that made Bilbo invisible. I read Lord of the Rings first, though, and I think I probably took the evilness from those books and transferred it to Bilbo's ring.

The book also includes never before seen drawings, plot notes, insights on how Tolkien writes (I mentioned it on my other blog, he writes in pencil and then to correct, he writes over it with pen. He was very thrifty, but then The Hobbit was written in the 30's), discussion of the languages that are the basis of the names in the book, a look at the what inspired him in the real world to write these scenes, and so much more. I honestly cannot wait for the sequel because I really want to know "the rest of the story".

Rateliff has a fantastic book here, Tolkien helped of course, and I hope that other people can see that as well. He ties The Hobbit in with other works so you get the larger picture, not just one book.


Since you entered by email, I will email you to tell you that you won. Sorry that this is so late, Colleen was away and then I did not get a chance to announce the winner until right now.

So, now for PICTURES!

David sent the following blurb along: "Here's a picture of me reading Rises the Night along with my friend Sheri (from Tennessee), who is visibly frightened by the vampiric goings on. Don't worry, she soon dusted the undead stalker about to attack her (my flatmate Alistair from Scotland). Venator or not, not even vampires should mess with a pregnant lady!!"

Entry Two, from Rinoa, shows the best place ever for Colleen's book, right by Marion Zimmer Bradley! (That's one of my favourite Bradley's too).

Marg sent along a picture of her son reading Gleason. I am not sure if it is age appropriate. haha. Is he not cute, though? (And he reads, his Pokemon books show up on Marg's library list from time to time.)

Not to be undone, we have a cat reading! This is Merlin, Rhinoa's cat. She sent six different pictures (she also has a cat name Morgaine). Coolest cat names ever! haha

And, lastly, this is a picture sent in by Jenny, the winner, of Gleason in Singapore!

This is are the pictures I received, some people did not send any. Feel free to send more in even if the contest is closed, it's fun!

*****This is a Sticky Post, Scroll Down to see new posts*****

Today is the last chance to get your submissions in for your chance to win Bleeding Dusk by Colleen Gleason. So, if you were waiting until the last minute, this is the last minute!

Kailana has another new group blog. It is centred around historical fiction. To pay it a visit, click here.

Colleen is gone away until Monday, so if there are any last minute submissions you have until then to send them in. (twisted_kingdom_blog AT Hotmail DOT com.) Anyone want to send in at least some pictures of you reading Rises the Night? I want to post some fun pictures on Monday.

Completion Date: July 2007
Pages: 848
Publication Year: 1995
Purchased in 2007
Book One in The Sword of Truth Series

In the aftermath of the brutal murder of his father, a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell, appears in Richard Cypher's forest sanctuary seeking help…and more. His world, his very beliefs, are shattered when ancient debts come due with thundering violence.

In a dark age when it takes courage to live, and more than mere courage to challenge those who hold dominion, Richard and Kahlan must take up that challenge or become the next victims. Beyond awaits a bewitching land where even the beat of their hearts could betray them. Yet, Richard fears nothing so much as what secrets his sword might reveal about his own soul. Falling in love would destroy them - for reasons Richard can't imagine and Kahlan dare not tell him.

In their darkest hour, hunted relentlessly, tormented by treachery and loss, Kahlan cals upon Richard to reach beyond his sword - to invoke within himself something more noble. Neither knows that the rules of battle have just changed…or that their time has run out.

This is the beginning. One book. One Rule. Witness the birth of a legend.
I had heard about this series for years, but I always have so many series on the go that I do not have a chance to read all the other series that I want to read. I probably could if I was one of those people that could read a lot of books by the same author in a row, and I used to do that when I was younger, but now I like variety. So, it takes me a while to read series. This one came out 12 years ago, and I only now finished book one. The new book comes out in November. It would be wonderful if I could have all the other books read by the time the new one comes out in paperback next year.

Anyways, I loved this book. I plan to move on to the next book very soon because I think I have encountered a new favourite author to enjoy. The two main characters in this book meet by chance, Kahlan Amnell is searching for a hero and Richard Cypher is feeling a little lost following the brutal murder of his beloved father. Kahlan is in trouble, the world she represents is in trouble, and in Richard she finds the person that will lead the world into a new era. He just does not know that yet. Richard has lived in a sheltered world where magic does not exist and the citizens live in peace. Kahlan comes from a place where magic is the norm and a violent dictator is changing life as she knows it. The only thing that separates these two worlds is a magical wall that is beginning to fail, letting the evil of Kahlan's world into Richard's and changing the life that he has always known.

There was nothing about this book that I did not really like, there were scenes that surprised me and at the time I wondered if they were necessary, but as the novel progressed they made sense to me and I sw them in a different light. That's right, there were surprises! Sometimes books follow the same pattern to such a degree that you might not know exactly what is going to happen, but when it happens you are not surprised. Surprising things happened in this book. Kahlan is worldly and is used to a life that Richard does not even understand. She is scared to reveal just who she is to Richard because she has spent her whole life being feared and hated. Richard is very naive, and he can be annoying from time to time, but it is not his fault. He has been thrown into a very different world and his life is very different now than the one that he has always known. He does very brilliant things, though, so I am sure that his character will really grow during the course of this series.

A fantastic first book to a trilogy. I look forward to the next book. There is a lot more that could be said, it was a over 800 page book, but I will leave it for anyone interested to explore.

Completion Date: July 2007
Pages: 239
Publication Year: 2007 (Eos, a division of Harper Collins)
Received from Harper Collins in 2007.

Reason for Reading: This book will be included on Harper Collins What Would Harry Read blog, but I would have read it anyways because I tend to buy Neil Gaiman's books.

Joey Harker isn't a hero.

In fact, he's the kind of guy who gets lost in his own house.

But then one day, Joey gets really lost. He walks straight out of his world and into another dimension.

Joey's walk between the worlds makes him prey to two terrible forces—armies of magic and science who will do anything to harness his power to travel between dimensions.

When he sees the evil those forces are capable of, Joey makes the only possible choice: to join an army of his own, an army of versions of himself from different dimensions who all share his amazing power and who are all determined to fight to save the worlds.

Master storyteller Neil Gaiman and Emmy Award-winning science-fiction writer Michael Reaves team up to create a dazzling tale of magic, science, honor, and the destiny of one very special boy—and all the others like him.

I first started reading Neil Gaiman a couple years ago. The more I read him, though, the more I wonder if I am a big fan or not. I started out reading Good Omens, which he co-authored with Terry Pratchett. I thought that book was brilliant, so I added Gaiman to my list of authors to buy. It was last summer before I read another book by him, this time Stardust. I really like fairy tales, so this book was an enjoyable read. Now, I find myself wondering if I read the two good books and should not expect great things in the future. I liked Neverwhere when I read it, but looking back on it I cannot even remember it anymore. Coraline was okay, but not the best book I have ever read. What I am trying to say is that the more I read him, the more I wonder why.

InterWorld was not a terrible read, but once again, not the greatest science-fiction book I have ever read. A lot of people are saying that, though, that this is not as great as his previous works. I suppose part of the lack of Gaiman writing style is that this book is co-authored with a man that is known for his science fiction television writing, and normally for shows of a more serious nature than Gaiman's normal writing. You cannot expect the same thing with this book as when he co-authored with Terry Pratchett because Pratchett is closer to Gaiman's style. That being said, I liked this book.

For me, the best part of this book was Hue. I think Hue was typical Gaiman making an appearance, and while the bubble-like creature never spoke, he was a fantastic addition to the cast of characters. I liked his appearances, they made the book for me. This book is supposed to be one of those reads where your root for the underdog. Joey Harker has no special abilities outside of the fact that he can travel through dimensions. The other characters he encounters can do other things and are more beneficial to the mission, but it is Joey that saves the day. All I can say is, very predictable book. Like there is any doubt about the income of the story, you could skip everything in between and still not be surprised by the ending. Some of Gaiman's other books are a bit more crafty with their endings, you get a bit of surprise, this ending was so cliched.


What really annoyed was how predicatable the book was. Boy finds he has special powers, bad people find him and it looks like the end is near, but at the last minute he is heroically saved. He goes to live with the good guys, the bad guys get mad and set up a trap, everyone is captured except for the heroic Joey Harker. He gets blamed for what happened, and sent home, but he is not prepared to go down without a fight. He attempts to save the day with no plan, has a lot of "bad" things happen, and of course in the end saves the day. He has no powers, no special skills, but he is the one that wins out over the more powerful people in the book. It's a scenerio that has been done over and over again. Sometimes it would be nice for the bad guys to win for a change.


Okay, now that I had my vent, I will stay maintain that if you are a Gaiman fan you should read this book. It is always appropriate to read all an authors books so that you can get an idea of all aspects that they are capable of.

Parting Thoughts: When I first finished this book I thought I liked it a lot more than I find myself feeling now that it has been about a week since I completed it. When you start thinking about it and analyzing it, you find that there are better books you could be reading. I am starting to think that none of his books are ever going to be better than Good Omens and Stardust. I read for the hope that authors books get even better, but that has not happened for me yet with Gaiman.

We're hearing about sightings of Rises the Night all over North American and beyond--in convenience stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, airports, etc. So we know you're finding it, and we know it's out there!
So in the interest of making the scavenger hunt a little easier, so you have an even better chance of winning an Advance Copy of The Bleeding Dusk, here's the new deal:

+ Send an email to twisted_kingdom_blog AT hotmail DOT com telling us where you saw the book and the following information: what store, city, state/province, and number of copies--and this will enter you in the drawing to win an ARC of The Bleeding Dusk.
+ If you send a PHOTO of the book in one of those locations, that automatically gives you a double entry--that's right, TWO chances to win!

The contest runs until July 10th!

I finished Beastly by Alex Flinn last night. I enjoyed this book immensely. It’s a young adult urban fantasy novel that puts a modern spin on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. I couldn’t put it down! It’ll be out in hardcover in October. I’m hoping to have a review of it up in coming weeks but since this book was the inspiration for this post, I just had to mention it now. Definitely be on the look-out for this one.

Reading Beastly has made me want to seek out other Beauty and the Beast stories—a fairy tale I was never particularly interested in before (unless you count the animated Disney movie which I use to love—and still do!). It’s amazing how something can be completely uninteresting to you one minute, and then you read a wonderful tale by a wonderful writer and suddenly you’re hooked. That’s the way it was with fairy tales for me. I was never much into fairies before, having always thought of them as the Disney prototype—small, cute, kind—but not very interesting. I much preferred vampires and other dark paranormal creatures. After being introduced to Holly Black’s Tithe, however, I’ve become captivated by them. Over the past year, I've sought out more and more stories along this vein and I’ve become more and more interested in folklore, fairy tales, and fairy tale re-retellings. I even bought a collection of stories from the Brothers Grimm a while back, though I've yet to make sizable dent in it. Fairy tales, as a whole, have a long history, and it seems there has been a swell of fairies in pop culture recently—not only in books, but even in movies. Neil Gaiman’s Stardust will hit the big screen next month, and also Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi’s Spiderwick Chronicles will be brought to theaters soon. I just think there’s a certain magic to fairy tales especially ones that combine my favorite elements—romance, adventure, suspense, enchantment, interesting characters and a good ending. Who could ask for more in a book? I'm very glad to have discovered the magic of fairy tales, no matter how late I am to the party.

Luckily I’ve already got Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley in my to-be-read pile. It’s also a young adult book which, as those of you familiar with my reading tastes will know, is one of my favorite genres right now.

Do you like fairy tales? What's your favorite classic fairy tale? What are your favorite re-retellings? Have you ever found yourself interested in a particular fairy tale only after having read a good re-telling of it? What do you think is the reason behind fairies' increase in popularity?


For more on fairy tales, check out Kailana's Fairy Tales Re-Visited Part One, Part Two and Part Three.

Calling All Artists!

Melissa Marr, YA urban fantasy author of Wicked Lovely, is currently running an art contest on her website. All you have to do is:

Portray a character, scene, or event from Wicked Lovely in whatever medium you choose--oil, watercolour, pen & ink, photography, sculpture (photo of it), digital, et al.
and you could win up to $300 in art gear! I enjoyed Wicked Lovely a lot. It was a very imaginative urban faerie tale. So go check it out if you haven't already. The contest ends December 22, 2007. Click here for contest details.

Eclipse Quote of the Day

Stephenie Meyer, YA author of the bestselling Twilight vampire series, is posting up one quote per day until August 6th, from her newest release, Eclipse, on her website. So if you’re eager for a taste of Eclipse, hop over to her site to see today’s quote!

Completion Date: June 30, 2007
Pages: 352
Publication Year: 2001
Owned Prior to 2007

Reason for Reading: It's Neil Gaiman, need I say more?

In Neil Gaiman's richly imagined fiction, anything is possible. And the proof is in the telling in this extraordinary collection of short stories. Discover within these pages miraculous inventions and curious characters: an elderly widow who finds the Holy Grail tucked beneath an old fur coat in a thrift store, a terrified boy who barters for his life with a mean-spirited troll living beneath a bridge by the railroad tracks, a young couple who receives a wedding gift that gradually reveals a chilling alternative history of their marriage. Smoke and Mirrors will dazzle your senses, touch your heart -- and haunt your dreams.

I noticed it had been a while since I read Neil Gaiman, so I decided to pick up one of his books. I do not know why I am so slow reading him, I like him well enough, but I take a while to get around to the authors that I like. I imagine the trick is to like less authors...

I have the worst time writing reviews for short story collections because I am not sure really what to say. I liked all the short stories in this collection for the most part, I was reading along trying to figure out which one my favourite one was, but I found that there were a couple I was not a big fan of, but overall, the stories stand up well next to each other. I had a hard time saying which one was my favourite. I did really like one about Santa Claus, I thought it was very creative. There were a few other retellings of popular tales in there as well, one of my favourite being a retelling of Snow White.

This collection was a very varied group. There was straight fantasy, some horrorish stuff, even stuff that was almost science fiction in nature. Some of the stories were one page long, while others were several pages in length. I found that the stories all worked well together, even if I was not always sure what the thread was that held them all together. I am also not a huge reader of short stories, I prefer novels, but Gaiman appears to be good no matter what form he is using.

Parting Thoughts: I know I do not do this justice. I started out taking notes on all the short stories, but I found that was taking away from my enjoyment, so I just started reading without the notes. The collection starts off very well, though, the first story is related to King Arthur and the search for the Holy Grail. Overall, another great read from Neil Gaiman. (So far, Good Omens is still my favourite Gaiman. I know a lot of people like Stardust or Neverwhere as their favourite, but that one is mine. It might have a lot to do with the fact it was my first Gaiman.)

Completion Date: June 2007
Pages: 256
Publication Year: 2007
Purchased in 2007
Book Two in the Morganville Vampires series.

Reason for Reading: Sequel to Glass Houses.
Claire has her share of challenges. Like being a genius in a school that favors beauty over brains; homicidal girls in her dorm, and finding out that her college town is overrun with the living dead. On the up side, she has a new boyfriend with a vampire-hunting dad. But when a local fraternity throws theDead Girls' Dance, hell is really going to break loose.
It is a good thing I finally got around to reviewing this book. It reminded me that book three in the series comes out later this year and I do not have it on my list of books I am looking forward to.

This series is not exactly the most challenging series I am reading, but it is enjoyable. I read a few paranormal series here and there, but I am mostly moving away from that genre. There are only a few authors that I am looking forward to seeing what happens next with. This series is one of them. This book had a better ending than the last one, though, when the last one ended I was very impatient for book two because it had a majorly bad ending, in the sense that I wanted to know what happened next! This one, I of course want to read the next book in the series, but it is not a strong need.

Claire has a lot going on in her life. She's a genius, so she went to college early, but her parents would not let her go to a top of the line one because they wanted her to stay close to home. As a result, the school that she is attending is more interested in looks than grades. That does not matter, though, because she spends the majority of the book caught up in vampire drama, so there is often a reason why she cannot go to school. She a boyfriend in this book, and I kept having to remind myself that this is a teen book, so boyfriend and girlfriend is not necessarily going to go very far, especially since she is a minor.

Her other roommates have a relationship as well, and it gets pretty interesting during the course of this book. I cannot share because it would give away spoilers from the previous book. Let's just say that their relationship gets more and more complicated as time goes on. Claire's boyfriends dad is the cause of most of the excitement in this book. He is determined to kill all the vampires because they were responsible for his daughter and wives death. He does not take no for an answer, and he is hell-bent on revenge.

Claire is a typical teen caught up in a very strange situation. She is not the most popular kid at school, far from it, but she gets invited to the Dead Girls' Dance, and then everything in the book takes a drastic change for the worse. The mayor and most of the police force are under the rule of the vampires, so it is a question of who the quartet can trust to get them out of harms way safely.

Parting Thoughts: I find some of Claire's attributes annoying at times, sort of like I find Bella annoying in the Twilight series from time to time. I think it is the age, as they are both around the same one. This book was enjoyable, and I look forward to the next one.

Completion Date: May 2007
Publication Year: Originally 1974, this version 1999
Received in 2007 during Buy a Friend a Book Month
Book Two in The Chronicles of Amber series

Reason for Reading: I think this series looks really good, and I had already read book 1 in it. I have to say again how happy I am that I received it back during Buy a Friend a Book Month.
Across the worlds of Shadow, Corwin, Prince of blood royal, heir to the throne of Amber, gathers his forces for an assault that will yeild up to him the crown that is rightfully his. But, a growing darkness of his own doing threatens Corwin's plans, an evil that stretches to the heart of the perfect kingdom itself where the demonic forces of Chaos mass to annihilate Amber and all whowould rule there.
For years I have seen this series at the bookstore, but never picked it up. I am glad that I am finally reading it now. It reads like one giant novel, with what happens in this book continuing on from what happened in the last.

The books in this series are very short, so I find that I have a hard time coming up with things to say about them so as to not reveal too much of the story. In the previous book, the story centred around getting to know the characters, in this book there is a lot more action. Brothers appear that were mentioned in the previous book, but no one knew where they were. It is basically a war in Amber, as the title of the book suggests, there are also guns.

This book seems to play around with time and space. Sometimes it seems to take place during the past with sword-fighting and valiant knights, and then other times it seems to take place during the present (well, Zelazny's present) with guns and leather jackets. For such a short book, a lot happens in it. Zelazny really plays around with shadows and what is real and not real. Characters reach the forefront, characters die, and a new foe becomes a threat.

Corwin is preparing to take over the kingdom of Amber for himself, and he has a lot of setbacks. It is very hard to sneak into Amber unnoticed. He is a very determined prince, though, and everytime something bad happens, he tries something else. He is not brilliant, though, because he is tricked in such a way that could lead to grave circumstances in the next books.

Parting Thoughts: My one beef with this series is the editing. For a book that was released so long ago, they had plenty of time spending some time copy editing before coming out with the collected works, and it does not look like they did at all. I was aware of this when I bought it, though, people mention it in Amazon reviews. I really enjoy the series, and it is much easier to read it this way than to track down the older books, so I will put up with the bad editing to find out what happens to Corwin next. I am looking forward to book three!

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

My photo
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.