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Erotic Novel Review: The Secret Life of a Submissive by Sarah K

The Secret Life of a Submissive: A True Story by Sarah K


bought
18+ only
 
Synopsis from Goodreads
Sarah K has a secret.
 

By day she’s a writer and level-headed single mother; by night she’s a submissive, surrendering herself to forbidden delights. But will she perform the most illicit act of all – falling in love?
 

Written with complete honesty, this is an electrifying journey to the heights of pleasure; a real-life Fifty Shades of Grey.

When Max comes into Sarah’s life – charming, handsome and deliciously brooding – she can’t stop herself. Before long she has surrendered to him in every way: becoming his submissive, yielding her body to his every desire, powerless to fight his sensual temptations.

As Sarah pushes her mind and body to its limits, she begins to realise that she’s in too deep. Pleasure and pain have become her world. She’s addicted – to the adrenalin, to the sensation, to Max himself.

Now she’s in serious danger of giving in to the ultimate temptation: falling in love…

Daring, evocative and thrilling, but told with wit and honesty, this is the explosive true story of life as a submissive, and of a secret world in which only a few dare to play.


Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond

9/10

* * *
Sarah K's story grabbed my attention after I read a glowing review on Claire's Book Corner. The story was a true account and it was based in England which ensured that I went and bought the damn book straight away.

I would not call The Secret Life of a Submissive an erotic romance - it reads like a true, raw and honest account, sad and awkward at times, an intimate exploration of your own desires without going into surrealistic over-the-top territory which is a bane of most of erotic novels existence.

Paranormal Romance Review: A Blood Seduction by Pamela Palmer

A Blood Seduction by Pamela Palmer (Vamp City #1)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
Take me down to Vampire City...

Vampires live only for lust and pleasure in the eternal twilight of Vamp City. But the city's magic is dying. The only person who can restore it? A beautiful woman from the mortal world...one who knows nothing of the power she wields.

Quinn Lennox is searching for a missing friend when she stumbles into a dark otherworld that only she can see—and finds herself at the mercy of Arturo Mazza, a dangerously handsome vampire whose wicked kiss will save her, enslave her, bewitch her, and betray her. What Arturo can't do is forget about her—any more than Quinn can control her own feelings for him. Neither one can let desire get in the way of their mission—his to save his people, hers to save herself. But there is no escape from desire in a city built for seduction, where passion flows hot and blood-red.

Welcome to Vamp City...


 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Books on Board ($3.49)

1/10

* * *
 I'm sorry, peeps, but I could see no redeeming properties in this book. In fact, it was such a trainwreck, I felt compelled to finish reading it despite being tempted to just DNF the whole thing.

Winner of Chasing Dragons!

Congratulations!

Ricki MC


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Post-Apocalyptic Urban Fantasy Review: That Which Bites by Celis T. Rono

That Which Bites by Celis T. Rono (Julia Poe Vampire Chronicles #1)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
The Gray Armageddon has destroyed most of humanity. 
 Vampires have slinked out of hiding, penning the few human survivors as blood cattle. 

Young Julia Poe survives the horror. She has dodged the undead since she was eight years old in downtown Los Angeles and has the only untapped vein in the new realm.

 Now she celebrates her 22nd birthday as a cattle rustler, fighting the vampire factions alongside a gun-toting nun with an even bigger vendetta. 

Kaleb Sainvire, the master vampire and architect responsible for milking cattle,' is first on Poe's list. That is, if she isn't taken by his vampiric allure.

 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK

9.5/10

* * *
 I've had this book recommended to me by a friend on Goodreads, and only managed to buy and read it last month.

I can honestly say that this is one of the grittiest, harshest, most hardboiled urban fantasy series I have ever read. And I read a lot in this genre.

Time Travel YA Review: Untimed by Andy Gavin

Untimed by Andy Gavin 


review copy from the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, even his own mother can’t remember his name. And girls? The invisible man gets more dates.

As if that weren’t enough, when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don’t take him seriously.

Still, this isn’t all bad. In fact, there’s this girl, another time traveler, who not only remembers his name, but might even like him! Unfortunately, Yvaine carries more than her share of baggage: like a baby boy and at least two ex-boyfriends! One’s famous, the other’s murderous, and Charlie doesn’t know who is the bigger problem.

When one kills the other — and the other is nineteen year-old Ben Franklin — things get really crazy. Can their relationship survive? Can the future? Charlie and Yvaine are time travelers, they can fix this — theoretically — but the rules are complicated and the stakes are history as we know it.

And there's one more wrinkle: he can only travel into the past, and she can only travel into the future!


 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US($2.99)/UK(£1.94) | The Book Depository US/UK

9/10

* * *
Guys, gals, this book was wonderful! Somewhere between middle grade and YA, sci-fi, steampunk and just pure delightful time travel, it's a must read for all your teen adventurers with vivid imagination. And just look at these illustrations! This book is full of them:

The Postman Knock #16

We had a bloody blizzard Friday night! Blizzard. In England. Unheard of.
 Because my hubby is such a good driver he managed to pick me up from work and drive through all the broken down and abandoned cars on the roads.
It was like snowpocalypse...
totally awesome.
I just wish I had my camera with me.
I've READ:

A NATURAL HISTORY OF DRAGONS was lovely, but I believe it won't be to everyone's taste. It's a very peculiar, sad and bookish memoir depicting first journey of lady Trent, which I thoroughly enjoyed. COLD FIRE was simply EPIC. Stronger than the first book. The stakes were impossibly high, the evil done to main heroine demanded vengeance, and cold fire of fury was truly what she felt in the end. I adored this book. WATERLOCKED and ETHAN I can't say I loved, because me and novellas don't work well together, but I liked them both very much. SELLING OUT was mad and suffered from too many infodumps. I had to skim through some descriptions. However it's so bizarre and rich and you don't know where it all goes... it compells me to pick up the next book. At last, SEALED WITH A CURSE wasn't for me sadly. I just don't like that particular "all over the place/high on drama" style of writing and I couldn't connect with the main characters.

EGALLEY:

Unfortunately I have to wait at least until June to read it, because it's published in August, but boy did I want it bad or what? Thank you, Random House!

FOR REVIEW: 

Thanks to Bella Forrest and Susan Illene!

This week I'm hosting Samantha Durante who talks about 5 Signs of Dystopia and gives away a copy of her YA dystopian, Stitch. Come and check her out! (INT)

I also keep begging authors and bloggers to sign up for My Antihero Valentine Blog Hop, because there are only three of us so far :)     
   Pretty please?
This is it.
 Happy Sunday!


                  

5 Signs You Might Be Living in a Dystopia by Samantha Durante + Giveaway(INT)

Ever feel like your life is just a little bit… off? Sure, you’ve been led to believe that the way your society functions is normal – but who defines “normal,” anyway? Take a look around. Here are five signs that you *might* be living in a dystopia:

1. “Whatever, I do what I want…” NOT!

This one is a little tricky because every dystopian society has its own rules, but one tell-tale sign of a dystopia is that its citizens are rarely empowered to go where they want and do what they want whenever they want. Read a book? Only if it’s not censored. Fall in love? Only with your government-sanctioned match. Spend the day in the woods? Got to get past that electrified fence first! If you find yourself running into red tape, locked gates, or heavily armed futuristic guards whenever you do something outside the norm, this is probably a bad sign.


2. Propaganda much?

Okay, so you don’t have full autonomous control over your everyday life. That means your society must be doing something to keep you from getting peeved. Are you showered with convincing “scripture” that upholds all your deepest beliefs? Is everyone around you getting excited about the upcoming “games?” Have you been promised a “procedure” that will cure all your insecurities and flaws? Be careful before you grab onto that carrot, padawan – it might just be attached to a big ole dystopian stick that’s poised whack you right back into line.

3. Mum’s the word – just ask your mum!

Or rather, don’t ask her, because she’s been around long enough to know that the less you know, the better – and what kind of mother would knowingly put her child in danger? That fact of the matter is, your parents have been living here a lot longer than you, which means they’ve had a lot more time to pick up on the signs. If your elders are constantly sneaking about having hushed conversations, that might be a red flag that they know something you don’t. Sure, maybe they’re just living a double life in the mafia, but maybe – just maybe – they’re underground rebels secretly leading a revolution against a totalitarian regime. Hey, it could happen!


4. For Your Eyes Only – or maybe not

Privacy? Sure, you’ve got privacy. Confidential letters – that go through a government sorting facility. Personal emails – that get filtered through who-knows-what servers on their way to your inbox. Secure medical records – stored electronically and “protected” against cyber snooping. A handy smartphone – with built-in GPS tracking your every movement. Do you see where I’m going here? Your life may *seem* private, but you never know when Big Brother might be watching… just sayin’.


5. The world ended, but we’re still here!

If you’re living in a dystopia, chances are your society came about after the previous one toppled due to some kind of apocalyptic disaster. Think back to your world history class – remember anything about a nuclear holocaust/viral outbreak/zombie attack/depletion of natural resources/world war/supervolcano/etc.? Better yet, were there details presented about how things were before said disaster? If the CliffsNotes version of your history textbook goes something like, “Everything was terrible, then it ended, and now we’re all happy happy, yay!” put down your glass of Kool-Aid and back away slowly… Just don’t let them see you do it.


 _____________________________________________________

 Samantha Durante lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. Stitch is her first novel. Learn more about Samantha at www.samanthadurante.com.


Summary
Her heart races, her muscles coil, and every impulse in Alessa’s body screams at her to run… but yet she’s powerless to move.


Still struggling to find her footing after the sudden death of her parents, the last thing college freshman Alessa has the strength to deal with is the inexplicable visceral pull drawing her to a handsome ghostly presence. In between grappling with exams and sorority soirees – and disturbing recurring dreams of being captive in a futuristic prison hell – Alessa is determined to unravel the mystery of the apparition who leaves her breathless. But the terrifying secret she uncovers will find her groping desperately through her nightmares for answers.


Because what Alessa hasn’t figured out yet is that she’s not really a student, the object of her obsession is no ghost, and her sneaking suspicions that something sinister is lurking behind the walls of her university’s idyllic campus are only just scratching the surface…


The opening installment in a twist-laden trilogy, Stitch spans the genres of paranormal romance and dystopian sci-fi to explore the challenges of a society in transition, where morality, vision, and pragmatism collide leaving the average citizen to suffer the results.

 Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK

GIVEAWAY

Samantha is giving away ONE ecopy of Stitch to ONE winner.
Open to all.
Ends Feb 1st 2013.
Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Erotic Historical Romance Review: Bound By Honor by Colette Gale

Bound by Honor by Colette Gale (Seducing The Classics #3)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
From the acclaimed author of Master comes the tale of a woman of legend, caught in a dark forest of intrigue, desire, and lust.

Maid Marian, now Lady of Leaford, is sent to the court of Prince John-not to take part in the debauchery of his Court of Pleasure, but to spy on him for his mother. Little does she know that her secret mission will thrust her into a whirlwind of intrigue, terror, and carnal temptations.

At court, Marian is torn between her duty to the queen and her desire for two men: one, the mysterious highwayman the peasants call Robin Hood, and the other, the dark, cold Sheriff of Nottingham. Given an impossible choice, she must submit to the carnality of Prince John's court in order to fulfill her duty and maintain her honor. But in the end, there is only one man for whom she will risk her life and give her heart.


 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | BooksOnBoard

6.5/10

* * *
 First of all, for the kind of novel it is, Bound by Honor is ridiculously overpriced. £8/$12.99 for an ebook published in 2009? You are kidding me, right. So when my interest was piqued I managed to buy a second hand paperback for £3.80 through BetterWorldBooks. Yes, my copy did fall apart when I was reading it, but I didn't feel bad about it...

I would not call this book erotica, mostly it reads like a slightly racy historical romance. Certainly, an author like Bertrice Small will give it a run for the money.

Paranormal Romance Review: Lord's Fall by Thea Harrison

Lord's Fall by Thea Harrison (Elder Races #5)


borrowed from the library

Synopsis from Goodreads
In the latest Novel of the Elder Races, two mates find themselves on different paths, torn between their duty to the Wyr and the passion that binds them . . .

Before she met Dragos, half-human half-wyr Pia Giovanni was alone and on the run. Now, she's mated, pregnant and heading south to repair the Wyr's frayed relationship with the Elves. Being separated from Dragos is painful, but for the good of the Wyr demesne they need to figure out how to be partners, in more places than just the bedroom.

In New York to preside over the Sentinel Games, Dragos is worried about his mate, but knows that finding two replacement sentinels is essential to show the rest of the Elder Races just how strong and brutal the Wyr demesne can be. But as the games heat up, Pia's negotiations with the Elves take a turn for the dangerous, straining her bond with Dragos and threatening everything they hold dear . . .


Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond | BooksOnBoard

8.5/10

* * *
I shouldn't even mention that Dragos and Pia managed to stay my favourite couple through the whole 5 books of this series. There is just so much chemistry between them, humour and passion. Somehow I can't help but draw parallels between them and Kate Daniels with Curran - my all time favourite couple EVER.

Urban Fantasy Review: Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones

Third Grave dead Ahead by Darynda Jones ( Charley Davidson #3)


borrowed from the library

Synopsis from Goodreads
Paranormal private eye. Grim reaper extraordinaire. Whatever. Charley Davidson is back! And she's drinking copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake because every time she closes her eyes she sees him: Reyes Farrow, the part-human, part-supermodel son of Satan.
 

Granted she did imprison Reyes for all eternity, but how is she supposed to solve a missing-persons case, deal with an ego-driven doctor, calm her curmudgeonly dad, and take on a motorcycle gang hell-bent on murder when the devil's son just won't give up on his plan of seduction..... and revenge?

Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond | BooksOn Board

9/10

* * *
 I think Darynda Jones' books get better and better with each new one. They definitely get darker and much more gripping even if Charley Davidson started as light urban fantasy series

 Sure, there is still lots of laughter, but the stakes are higher and a lot of people close to Charley get hurt.

Fantasy YA Early Review: Pantomime by Laura Lam

Pantomime by Laura Lam


Egalley thanks to Strange Chemistry

Synopsis from Goodreads
R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass—remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone—are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.

But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.


Release date: Feb 5th 2013.
 
Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US | The Book Depository US/UK(£4.68) | Fishpond

8.5/10

* * *
Fantastic book! I really enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.

First of all, don't read the synopsis - it's completely misleading which you will find out from the first couple of pages. 

What you need to know - it's about magic from a forgotten ancient civilisation, it's about a circus with a tyrant of a ringleader and it's about a runaway. Throw in the bin the rest of your preconceptions. *grinning*

Forsaken by The Others: Cover Reveal and Giveaway!

Summary


The Others--vampires, werewolves, things that go chomp in the night--don't just live in nightmares anymore. They've joined with he mortal world. And for private investigator Shiarra Waynest, that means mayhem...

Have a one night stand with a vampire, and you can end up paying for it for eternity. P.I. Shiarra Waynest, an expert on the Others, knows that better than most. Yet here she is, waking up beside charismatic vamp Alec Royce with an aching head...and neck. Luckily, Shia has the perfect excuse for getting out of town--namely, a couple of irate East Coast werewolf packs who'd like to turn her into a chew toy.

On Royce's suggestion, Shia temporarily relocates to Los Angeles. But something is rotten--literally--in the state of California, where local vampires are being attacked by zombies. Who could be powerful enough to control them--and reckless enough to target the immortal? Following the trail will lead Shia to a terrifying truth, and to an ancient enemy with a personal grudge...
Release date: July 2nd 2013 

Isn't it stunning? I think Shiarra looks better and better with each cover.
Huge thanks to Jess Haines for allowing me to participate in her cover reveal and giveaway.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Find Jess:
Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Blog
  
Go to Jess's blog to get more entries.
Contest is open to US/CAN only.
Ends Feb 22nd 2013.
Good luck!

Paranormal Thriller Review: Earth Thirst by Mark Teppo

Earth Thirst by Mark Teppo (The Arcadian Conflict #1)


Egalley thanks to Night Shade Books

Synopsis from Goodreads
The Earth is dying. Humanity—over-breeding, over-consuming—is destroying the very planet they call home. Multinational corporations despoil the environment, market genetically modified crops to control the food supply, and use their wealth and influence and private armies to crush anything, and anyone, that gets in the way of their profits. Nothing human can stop them.

But something unhuman might.

Once they did not fear the sun. Once they could breathe the air and sleep where they chose. But now they can rest only within the uncontaminated soil of Mother Earth—and the time has come for them to fight back against the ruthless corporations that threaten their immortal existence.

They are the last guardians of paradise, more than human but less than angels. They call themselves the Arcadians.


Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK

 8.5/10

* * *
The closest I can compare Mark Teppo's writing style is Christopher Pike. He writes this refreshing mix of horror/paranormal thriller with almost brusque, military style and dizzying pace. I have to say, I really liked it once I got into it.

The Postman Knock #15


First of all, crazy week. We got snowed in but I still had to work today. I also managed to get books without trying. And I stupidly almost sliced the top bit of my toe off stumbling into kitchen cabinet early in the morning. Oh. Joy.
How is your weekend going?

I READ:


 LUSH was a genuinely nice, sweet book. Nothing groundbreaking, but enjoyable. KEEPING IT REAL intrigued me so much with its mad mix of technology, multiverse and all things Fae, that I've borrowed book #2 from the library already. HATEFUL HEART was a very interesting but slow read, and it ended so abruptly, I thought I was missing some pages. I am not pleased with this and at £10 per book I feel robbed. PANTOMIME was lovely and refreshing, a very decent fantasy YA, and EARTH THIRST reminded me of that brutal, gory thriller/horror style of Christopher Pike's writing. I quite liked it.

I BORROWED from the library:


I WON:
 Thanks to The Readventurer!

Thanks to The Book Chick City and Bloomsbury UK. I actually gave up hope that this book will come in as I won it way back in the beginning of November.

WAS GIFTED/USED GIFT CARD ON:

Thanks to my hubby and sister-in-law!

FROM NETGALLEY:

The gals from The Book Chick City raved so much about this book I knew I had to read it.

FOR REVIEW:

Both are novellas from my favorite authors, so I couldn't resist. Thank you, Elizabeth and Patrice!

_____________________________________

I know it's a short notice and I most probably bit out more than I can chew, but if anyone is interested in the Valentine blog hop I'm organising, please sign up
Otherwise, the only participant in it will be me. And that will be embarrassing. 

At last, I've got a giveaway of Chasing Dragons going until the 25th of January, and it's international. You'll have to check the author's recommendations of books on Asian culture if you are interested in it. They are fab.

This is it. I'll get out of your face so you can enjoy your Sunday. 
Ciao!


Books That Made Me Fall in Love with Asia, A Guest post + Giveaway (INT) from Douglas Jaffe


Hi Everyone!

I want to thank Karina for inviting me to contribute a post to her wonderful site!

Chasing Dragons is a work that pulls from the experiences and influences that have shaped me over the last two decades. This period saw me leave the comfort of the United States and embark on a multi-year journey that has taken me to various countries across Asia. While out here, I’ve worn the hats of student, traveler, analyst and entrepreneur, but one common thread has always been books! These days, I’m living in Hong Kong and consider this manic metropolis my home.

For this guest post, I’d like to highlight a few of the books that have helped ignite my passion for and fascination with this part of the world. These books stirred the imagination and gave me a glimpse into cultural worlds far removed from what I’d known previously.

Journey to the West by Wu Cheng En (Monkey: A Folk-Tale of China translated by Arthur Waley)

Goodreads

Journey to the West is one of the Four Great Chinese Classics and is studied by children all across the Chinese-speaking world. It is a fictional account of a Buddhist monk named Xuanzang, who is tasked with going to India and bringing back Buddhist Sutras. The story is loosely based on an actual event, although the book is a subtle mix of farce, fantasy and thinly veiled political satire.


Most people know the story for its irrepressible lead character, Sun Wu Kong, known more commonly as Monkey. He is best described as a flawed hero who has a tendency to act first and consider consequences later. 

Throughout Journey to the West, he is constantly saving the rather hapless Xuanzang, while managing to have loads of fun along the way.

The Chinese version is extremely long and the prose can be somewhat inaccessible to even many modern Chinese. For English readers, there is an excellent, summarized book published in 1942 by Arthur Waley called Monkey: A Folk-Tale of China. This definitely worth picking up and might actually inspire a few readers to begun studying Chinese in their spare time.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami

Goodreads

Murakami is no doubt well known to many, having published a number of books over the last decade.

 For me, my introduction to his work came when I read Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. I was living in Taiwan at the time, as a recent university graduate, and just beginning to study Chinese. When I found this book, it just floored me. Murakami is a Japanese writer and he writes about Japan, but for a new Asia transplant with a curiosity about all things Asia, I was hooked.

He was one of the first authors I’d encountered who deftly blended modern, urban fiction with fantasy elements.

Tokyo was a city I knew fairly well from a summer spent interning there but his Tokyo and his Japan were so rich and hip that it struck me how little I knew about that marvelous country.

 His work also taught me that it is OK to discard convention and write what you want to write.

The Year of Living Dangerously by Christopher Koch

Goodreads

This is a novel from the 1970s that most people may recognize from the film that was made with Mel Gibson. I never had much affinity for the film but the book made a deep impression. I was a post-graduate student in London studying the history of Southeast Asia when I first found this book. It was a sultry, steamy and captivating introduction to Indonesia and its tumultuous history.

Perhaps it was my youthful nature and the excitement of being a voyeur at the crux of an historical period, but this book really fired my imagination. 

Apart from the gripping story, there was also an underlying energy and passion to the book, communicated to me through the imagery of Wayang (Indonesian Shadow Puppet Theater). To this day, I cannot think of Indonesia without bringing to mind this book and the image of those floating, beautiful puppets doing their eternal dance of light and shadow.

The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox Part One: Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart

Goodreads

This is one of those books that give you a grin a mile wide. I was passed the book by a friend and had considered giving it a miss. To my surprise, it sucked me in and I was stunned at the humor and sheer joy that the author brought to the work. At the time, I was reading rather depressing historical accounts of Mao’s devastating “Great Leap Forward” and “Cultural Revolution” so this book brought much needed levity.

Master Li is a decidedly flawed Sherlock Holmes-type character and is ably assisted by his naïve but endearing companion, Number 10 Ox.

Master Li is, quite simply, a con man who decided that solving crimes was more interesting than committing them.

The story rockets across China and the dialogue is often hilarious and pointed. I wasn’t as taken with the other books in the series but perhaps that is often what happens when a new voice appears and you eventually become accustomed to it. Sadly, due to issues with his publisher, Hughart has not published further books in the series since.

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

Goodreads

I found this book on the shelves and did a double take when I saw that it was set in a futuristic Thailand. It is rare to see books of this genre set in Asia and it had a compelling enough summary to close the deal for me. It was a good decision. I’m too often confused with the various genre labels (steampunk, biopunk, etc.) but I knew I liked this, whatever it was.

It’s a manic, exciting book crammed with so much detail and overlapping plots that I felt a bit oppressed when reading it. 

In many ways, it reminded me of being stuck in Bangkok traffic! It is an ambitious work and like many debut novels, introduced us to something strikingly original. He manages to convey the heat and desperation that you sometimes find in Southeast Asia’s giant metropolises, while weaving together a frightening vision of a future where food insecurity sets loose the worst of humanity.

Dictionary of Chinese Symbols: Hidden Symbols in Chinese Life and Thought by Wolfram Eberhard

Goodreads

This last book is more of a resource for those with an interest in Chinese culture and the language. It is an accessible, fun read that takes you into the world of Chinese characters. You can look up specific characters and see their historical and culture significance. It is particularly useful if you have an Asian Art Museum nearby and want to get insights into the various animals, plants and images used in the works.

Even if your only exposure to China is through your local Chinatown or Chinese restaurant, this book will give you a glimpse into the phenomenal history underpinning all aspects of Chinese culture.


Douglas Jaffe has been in Asia for over 17 years and originally came to the region from New York as a graduate student, studying in China and Taiwan. He has a dual Masters in Chinese Studies and International Affairs and speaks passable Chinese on a good day.

In recent years, Douglas has pursued his interest in writing fiction and has recently published his first novel, Chasing Dragons. A second book is currently in the works.

You can find Doug on his Chasing Dragons Facebook page or on his Goodreads author page.

Summary
 Sebastian is the owner of a bookstore café in Hong Kong who provides informal counseling services to an array of offbeat characters. His quiet life is suddenly upended when he meets Chloe, and their relationship takes a startling turn, as it begins to parallel the relationship of a pair of mythical dragons from Chinese history. The lovers struggle with questions of mortality and immortality, before a choice is made that pulls them apart.

From the safety of his bookstore, Sebastian observes the world around him through his books and his counseling clients, whose problems range from infidelity to the challenges of dealing with an overbearing mother. Living within the frenzied metropolis that is Hong Kong, Sebastian tries his best to live a quiet, predictable life.

Unbeknownst to him, there is a parallel story unfolding about Chi Wen and Zhao Chen, two dragons from Chinese mythology. While initially distinct from Sebastian’s modern life, this alternative reality begins to filter through and he finds himself increasingly subjected to visions and memories of a life he does not remember.

Sebastian has a chance meeting with Chloe one afternoon and they share an immediate attraction and familiarity that quickly draws them together. As the relationship deepens, Sebastian’s visions and dreams of Chi Wen and Zhao Chen intensify, and he begins to lose his grip on his sanity.

Reality and mythology blur and Sebastian is forced to question his own life and his relationship with Chloe. As the modern and mythical worlds start to intersect, Sebastian is drawn back into an ancient battle of wills. Solving the mystery of his frightening visions leads him to a choice that will throw his life into turmoil and potentially destroy his humanity.

Buy Chasing Dragons
 Amazon US/UK

GIVEAWAY

ONE ecopy of Chasing Dragons.
Open to all.
Ends 25th of January 2013.
Good luck!

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KARINA IS READING

READING

The Night Circus
Legacy
Gabriel's Inferno
Touch

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Vika is reading

Victoria Reading

The Fault in Our Stars
Spin

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In case of zombie apocalypse

Hey, guys! I feel like I should say this just in case :)
If you'd like to sponsor a fellow book addict who sometimes can't sleep at night worrying that she won't have enough books to read if internet goes down in the event of zombie apocalypse (I'm convinced it's one of the top five ways to go for human race) you can donate through Paypal to olivesandacorns at gmail dot com or buy a book through any of the links provided with my reviews which will send me a small percentage from the sale. All proceeds will go towards my enormous TBR. I will also shelter you on the remote farm in Portugal when zombie apocalypse starts provided you survive getting there. There will be books, yay?
Thank you! Love you all

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