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Happy Halloween! or what shall you watch or read to get you in the right mood?


Happy Halloween, everyone! Hope you have a very joyful one!
Here is my personal list of books and movies/TV episodes to get you into the right mood :)
Hope you enjoy it and leave your own suggestions in the comments.

1. The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness


IT BEGINS WITH ABSENCE AND DESIRE.
IT BEGINS WITH BLOOD AND FEAR.
IT BEGINS WITH A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.

This book is incredibly atmospheric, lush and spooky. It also has a fabulous Halloween with pumpkins and all. If you never tried reading this series, today is the right day to start!

2. The Restorer by Amanda Stevens


Very spooky and almost Gothic, this book is a charming Southern tale of old cemeteries and hungry ghosts. It's also very eery. You need to read it!

3. A Soul To Steal by Rob Blackwell


Okay, a small town, a series of murders from a long-forgotten serial killer and an awakening paranormal power... This is scary and powerful and recommended to all the fans of Sleepy Hollow.

4. The Darkening Dream by Andy Gavin


It's an awesome take on old school vampires in 19th century America. Seriously grisly, chilling and thrilling.

5. Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 2 (Halloween Episode)

I particularly enjoy this episode although I love Buffy in whole! It's just so much fun!

6. Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 4 (Hush episode)

Oh, so spooky! This  is a momentous episode in the season because Buffy reveals her identity to Railey, but it's also a pretty scary one as well. Right?

7. Hemlock Grove mini series

I only watched the first season so far and thought it was superb. Great scenery, beautiful cinematography and at the same time it's pretty gory.

8. The Laughing Corpse by Laurell K. Hamilton

Say what you will but early Anita Blake is classic horror, and this book with its horde of zombies is pure amazeballs.

9. Obsidian Butterfly by Laurell K. Hamilton


I know, I know, another Anita! but this is my favorite in the whole series and Otto is in it.


10. Practical Magic (The Movie)

I love that movie! It's so sweet and full of fairy-tale like quality. Definitely pure magic.

As you see I don't particularly like my Halloween books, TV episodes or movies to be hardcore horror. Spooky, yes. However, I'm a chicken with anything else especially on the screen. I can read about it but not see or hear it.

What about you? What would put you in a Halloween mood?

Historical Fantasy Review: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth


Egalley courtesy of Thomas Dunne Books

Synopsis from Goodreads
The amazing power and truth of the Rapunzel fairy tale comes alive for the first time in this breathtaking tale of desire, black magic and the redemptive power of love
French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens...

After Margherita’s father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.

Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does.

Award-winning author Kate Forsyth braids together the stories of Margherita, Selena, and Charlotte-Rose, the woman who penned Rapunzel as we now know it, to create what is a sumptuous historical novel, an enchanting fairy tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman.

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

8/10

* * *
  This is a lovely story, my dear readers, unhurried, bittersweet and contemplative. The reason for my subdued rating is purely subjective. You see, the story is split between three characters, and some of them I liked more than the others.

Urban Fantasy Early Review: Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews (Hidden Legacy #1)


review copy courtesy of Avon

Synopsis from Goodreads
#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

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

9.5/10

* * *
*MINUSCULE SPOILERAGE AHEAD* 

 Pure awesomesauce with a cherry on top! That's all I'm saying, folks.

“One school of thought says that the best way to handle an issue like this is exposure therapy," Mad Rogan said. "For example, if you're terrified of snakes, repeated handling of them will cure it."
Aha. "I'm not handling your snake.” 

Short review:

GO AND BUY IT. *see first sentence*

The Postman Knock #100

Woohoo, it's my 100th Sunday post! How the time has passed so quickly?
We've almost finished building our kitchen this week, so here is a quick glance...
More on the progress on our Facebook page, Olives and Acorns.

Here is what I READ in the past 2 weeks:

I've already discussed DESERT BOUND together with Vika in our joint review. RUIN has been reviewed as well. THE SCHOLOMANCE and COTTONWOOD are absolute, pure brilliance from R Lee Smith, and I just adore this author! I wish she wrote more books, peeps. and I might need to re-read Last Hour of Gann now... She is unpredictable, horrifying, sadistic, spell-binding and invigorating. I'd recommend her books to anyone :)
This is it. Not much for 2 weeks, I know, but I've been so tired and wrapped up in building work I haven't had time to finish any of my review books.

BOUGHT:

This is it for me, and how was your week?
Have a lovely weekend, tchau!

Erotic Romance Early Review: Captivated by Megan Hart & Tiffany Reisz

Captivated by Megan Hart & Tiffany Reisz (Cosmo Red-Hot Reads)


Egalley thanks to Harlequin

Synopsis from Goodreads

Double the passion and seduction as New York Times bestselling author Megan Hart and international bestselling author Tiffany Reisz weave two provocative tales about power, bad-boy lovers and secret desires! 

LETTING GO by Megan Hart 
Colleen goes to the same bar every night and orders the same drink: a whiskey, neat. She doesn't drink it, though. Jesse the bartender notices the beautiful, sad woman who keeps to herself. Until one night when she lets go and lets him in. And after that, Jesse has only one mission to show her one night is only the beginning…  

SEIZE THE NIGHT by Tiffany Reisz 
Five years ago, a night of forbidden passion between Remi and Julien, the heirs of two powerful and competitive horse-racing families, led to a feud that is threatening to ruin both farms. Now Remi must find Julien again but when she does, her need for Julien is just as strong and just as forbidden…
Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository | Fishpond

8.5/10

* * *
Letting Go by Megan Hart was a lovely story, which introduced me to this author. I enjoyed the atmosphere, the writing style and the idea that Colleen was an older, more dominant woman who was just discovering herself after a very bad marriage.

Jesse was a very nice, good-natured guy who in his own quiet way suited Colleen to a tee, and I enjoyed the dynamics of their relationship. The story had that cosy, feel good vibe, which made me think of Jill Shalvis and Nora Roberts, and I'll definitely be reading more of this author in the future.

Seize The Night by Tiffany Reisz didn't have any of the characters we knew from her previous novels but it was a) involving race horses and b) mentioned Wesley's family, so I had warm fuzzies because of that. The story itself was tons of fun! Boisterous, clever and gorgeous!

It was a reverse take on Romeo and Juliet, but a comedy instead of tragedy, and with Merrick instead of Mercutio. Merrick in Miss Reisz's own words is a male version of Nora, so you can imagine what was coming out of his mouth every ten seconds... *laughing*

Overall, very much recommended, and both stories complimented each other beautifully!

* * *
Очень понравились истории от обоих авторов, хотя я была и не знакома до этого со стилем Меган Харт и книгу запросила у издателя только из-за того, что вторая история написана моей любимой Тиффани Райс!

Меган Харт описала женщину в среднем возрасте, оправляющуюся от очень неудачного брака, который уничтожил её самооценку и заставил сомневаться в каждом из своих поступков.

Колин - сексуально женщина доминирующая, и когда Джесс - бармэн в заведении, куда она ходит каждый четверг, начинает за ней ухаживать, она не тольков  ужасе от того, что он её моложе, но и от своей собственной реакции на него. Пара вышла у Меган Харт очень гармоничная, и история сама по себе комфортная и напоминает стиль Норы Робертс и Джилл Шалвис.

Тиффани Райс описала комедийный вариант Ромео и Джульетты, и с её романами его связывает всего лишь два пункта. Во-первых, здесь замешаны кентукские игровые лошади, а во-вторых, здесь упоминается (вскользь) семья Уэсли.

Сама по себе история смешная, красивая и язвительная до невозможности. Меркуцио, то есть Меррик - по словам мисс Райс, мужской вариант Норы, так что вы можете себе представить тот хаос , в котором он оказывается замешан. Сами Реми и Джулиен - милейшие и добрые персонажи, и я надеюсь, что мы с ними встретимся снова.

В общем, хороши оба автора, рекомендую!

Joint Urban Fantasy Review: Desert Bound by Elizabeth Hunter

Desert Bound by Elizabeth Hunter (Cambio Springs #2)


Ecopy from the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
Can you turn the clock back on your first love? Would you even want to try?

Alex McCann and Teodora "Ted" Vasquez left Cambio Springs together. Ted came back. Alex didn't.

Now, years later, the future alpha of the McCann wolves has returned with plans to bring new life to the dying desert community. Plans that could change everything for the isolated enclave of shapeshifters in the California desert. Some love the plan. Others hate it.

As the town's doctor and one of the strongest daughters in the cat clan, Ted has her own concerns about exposing her community to outsiders. The two former lovers are at each other's throats. And everyone is watching to see what happens.

But when murder once again strikes Cambio Springs, can they overcome their past to help the community they both call home? And can the love they shared once burn again when so many stand against it?

DESERT BOUND is an adult paranormal romance in the Cambio Springs Mysteries series.

Amazon US | Amazon kindle US/UK

9/10

8.5/10


* * *

Vika:
Small town romance, passionate couple who can’t help but argue every step of the way, and a murder mystery that once again has shaken up the small, quirky town of Cambio Springs. Elizabeth Hunter does not disappoint, which I should know by now; and this small town with its inhabitants is full of character, charm, and of course a bit of mystery.

Erotic Romance Review: Ruin by C.D. Reiss

Ruin by C.D. Reiss ( Songs of Corruption #2)


Egalley thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
Antonio is a killer.
He's beautiful, educated, a prodigy of a thief and as violent a motherfucker as ever came of the boat from Napoli.

Theresa knows it, but that doesn't stop her from getting emotionally and physically entangled with him, and this is how, maybe, she got it in her head that she can protect him.

But it's not her job to save him, and she's just not getting that. Every time she tries to protect him, she practically gets him killed, and the tighter he grips her, the more dangerous she becomes.

It's almost as if...well, he'd never admit this....but it's almost as if protecting her the way he does is the one thing he should stop. As if the only way he's ever going to find a moment's peace is to just embrace her as a partner, rather than a defenseless creature.

But he'd never do that. Not this violent motherfucker.

WARNING: This book contains delicious sex scenes with a hot man dirty-talking in Italian; women handling firearms and explosives; and scenes of violence with a crystal Virgin Mary cigarette lighter.

Amazon kindle US/UK

8.5/10

* * *
This book is explosive, ladies and gents, and I could not for the life of me have expected such a shocking ending! Wow.

Friday Mini Reviews #32: Anne Bishop, Charlaine Harris & Tiffany Reisz


Tangled Webs by Anne Bishop (The Black Jewels #6)

bought on audio

Synopsis from Goodreads
Anne Bishop's national bestselling and critically acclaimed Black Jewels series has enthralled readers with its lavish blend of "the darkly macabre with spine-tingling emotional intensity, mesmerizing magic, lush sensuality, and exciting action." Now readers can return to the violently passionate world rules by the Blood, a race of witches and warlocks whose power is channeled through magical jewels....

The invitation is signed Jaenelle Angelline, she who had been both Witch and Queen.

It summons her family to an entertainment she had specially prepared. Surreal SaDiablo, former courtesan and assassin, arrives first. But as she and her escort enter the house, the door disappears. Surreal finds herself trapped in a nightmare created by the tangled webs of Black Widow witches - a nightmare where the monsters are too real. And if she uses Craft to defend herself, she risks being sealed in the house forever.

But Jaenelle did not send the invitation.

And now Jaenelle and her family must rescue Surreal and the others inside without becoming trapped themselves, and they must also discover who created such an evil place and why. Because there is one thing they all know about this house: No matter who planned it as a way to kill members of the SaDiablo family, only one of the Blood could have created the trap....
Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository
8.5/10

Wow, this was different! Surreal and Rainier were the main characters of the book but Daemon, Lucivar and Jaenelle weren't left far behind. This book is a perfect Halloween read, peeps! It involves an evil house designed to trap and kill SaDiablo family and their very gory struggle to stay alive and destroy this house. Chilly, scary and very intense, this was a fantastic read!
* * *
У Энн Бишоп вышел отличный фэнтезийный триллер, который хорошо пойдёт в качестве обязательного чтива на Хэллоуин. В этот раз главными характерами оказались Суррил и Рэйньер, попавшие в дом-ловушку, запланированную, чтобы погубить всё семейство СаДиабло. Однако Дэймон, Люсивар и Жанель тоже играют в этой книге очень важные роли. Зловещ, кровав и полон напряжения, этот роман читать надо обязательно!


Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse #13)

bought on audio

Synopsis from Goodreads

There are secrets in the town of Bon Temps, ones that threaten those closest to Sookie—and could destroy her heart...

Sookie Stackhouse finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated.

Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime.

But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough...
Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository | Audible
6.5/10
 I'm not surprised that I was so disappointed by the ending of this series. The first sign of it appeared when I couldn't get through the first few chapters but I wanted to finish, damn it, and got the book on audio instead! I knew the separation from Eric was inevitable and I also knew that the formula of "Sookie gets into trouble and all her friends end up saving her" will hold, but the in beetween was so mind-numbingly boring that reading till the very uninspiring HEA was frankly not worth it. Anyway, it's much more palatable on audio if you must do it.
* * *
М-да, я оказалась очень разочарована концовкой Суки Стакхаус, однако не удивлена. Я знала, что книга у меня эта наверняка не пойдёт, когда бросила читать ей на первых нескольких главах, однако довести серию до конца мне хотелось, и вместо этого я прослушала её на аудио.  Как я и догадывалась, Эрик и Суки расстались, она попала в очередной переплёт и все её друзья собрались в её доме, чтобы её спасти. Большая частью её врагов была уничтожена и она получила наконец-таки свой хэппи-энд. Ну очень занудная книга, читать не советую.


The Headmaster by Tiffany Reisz

bought as a part of anthology Harlequin E Shivers Box Set Volume 4

Synopsis from Goodreads

At the remote Marshall School, Gwen Ashby stumbles upon the job—and the man—of her dreams. Stern, enigmatic Edwin Yorke simmers with a heat Gwen longs to unleash. But Edwin knows all too well that forbidden love can end in tragedy….
Amazon kindle US/UK

8.5/10


The Headmaster was beautiful, eery and very cozy! Another perfect Halloween read, ladies and gents! It's also not related to Tiffany's The Original Sinners series, so if you want to try this author with a short story without any commitments, go right ahead! She doesn't involve any BDSM aspects in this book, but her main heroine, Gwen, is just as incorrigeable as Nora and the headmaster Edwin is as stern as Soren and crumbles before Gwen in the same formidable manner. There is humour, warmth and a very haunting, bittersweet ending. Loved it!
* * *
Милейшая короткая история от Тиффани Райс, дамы и господа, отличная для Хэллоуина! Здесь нет никакой связи с основной серией этого авора и никаких аспектов БДСМ, так что если вы хотите узнать почему я так люблю мисс Райс, но не желаете читать Сирену, смело пробуйте этот рассказ! Гвен своим дерзким чувством юмора и теплотой напоминает Нору, а суровый Эдвин - это смягчённая версия Сорена. Очень романтично и душевно, несмотря на горько-сладкую, печальную концовку.

Laughing Through The Graveyard: A Guest Post by Jamie Schultz

One of my favorite books is Catch-22, by Joseph Heller (bear with me for a moment—this has a point related to fantasy and horror, but it will take me a minute to get there).

 It’s a story about the waning days of World War II, and it deals with some pretty grim stuff. That’s to be expected, given the subject matter, but what is surprising is that the book is also hilarious. It is by turns absurd, sly, clever, and just plain gut-bustingly funny.

 I first read the book when I was eighteen or nineteen years old, and it was the first time I can remember reading something so visceral and so dark that was also so damn funny. It made a hell of an impression. 

What I took away from the book is that Heller had exploited one of the basic truths of human nature—humor is a defense, a weapon, and a fundamentally human reaction to the grim and the bleak.

It’s used in three ways in the book—first, it adds a human touch to some truly crazy stuff, helping ground the story somewhat. Second, it helps lighten the overall mood. Third, when all humor drops away and Heller delivers the book’s gut punches, they hit that much harder due to the contrast. 

These days, I write and read some pretty dark stuff, ranging from dark fantasy to straight-up horror, and I’m a little more attuned to the effect of humor on these things. (It’s one thing to know vaguely how a car works while you’re driving one, but that knowledge attains an entirely different importance when you’re trying to put one back together.) I now regard humor as a vital element of darker work, at least the really good stuff. 

It can work via a couple of different approaches.


The first mode, camp, actually works in opposition to the horror elements. This is what I’d call the “screw you” mode of horror fiction, where we bundle up our worst fears and straight-up mock them. Don’t get me wrong, campy can be a lot of fun, but it’s also a conscious commentary on the text (if you’ll allow me to be grossly pretentious for a moment), and it’s one that directly winks at the audience. This usually has the effect of pulling me out of a story and allowing me to stand at some kind of ironic remove. It’s the movie and I laughing directly at death. 

You don’t have to look far to find a lot of examples of camp in horror flicks.


 Drag Me To Hell is one (terrible, terrible) example, in which the movie’s horror is virtually undone by the constant winking at the camera.


Maybe a better example is Nightmare on Elm Street. The original film seemed, to me, to revolve around an absolutely terrifying premise—the vengeful spirit that kills you in your dreams. As somebody who has suffered with bad dreams my entire life, this hits home for me, and some of the movie’s more surreal bits are truly chilling.

The humor is a kind of terrifying, cat-and-mouse sadism, but it works. Later films reduce the character to a cheesy one-liner generator and try to up the absurdity factor of each subsequent slaughter. The movies wink at us, and it blunts the horror. I think that’s part of the intent—we’re all gonna die, so making light of it is one way to cope. 

A related approach goes beyond camp and straight-up hangs a lampshade on the material. Again, this pushes the dial over toward “funny” from “scary,” and the two end up playing a sort of zero-sum game rather than working together.


A great example of this is the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie—I still crack up at the bad guy’s protracted, ridiculous death throes, but it ain’t scary.


Another example would be the rather absurd movie Idle Hands. There’s this ridiculous bit where two stoners come back as zombies, and when asked why they didn’t go toward the white light when they were killed, one of them says, “Dude, it was, like… really far.” My friends and I quote that to this day—but it ain’t scary. That’s the point. 

The other main avenue is using humor “in the story,” using character interactions or musings to heighten the horror entirely within the framework established by the narrative.


One that sticks out in my mind as being particularly clever is in Stephen King’s Rose Madder. Norman, the crazed cop and abusive husband, is musing on his situation as he plans to hunt down his wife, and we get a window into his thoughts.

An excerpt:

“The plumbing between his legs had gotten him into a lot of trouble over the years[…] For twelve years you didn’t notice it, and for the next fifty—or even sixty—it dragged you around behind it like some raving baldheaded Tasmanian Devil.” 

At first glance, the image is just so damn funny you have to laugh—but if you give it more than a moment’s thought you stop, uneasy. We’re in Psycho Norman’s head here, and we’ve just watched Norman place responsibility for his actions into some nonexistent third party and clearly state that he has no control over them. That’s terrifying. 

Nervous jokes in the face of frightening, morbid, or just plain grim scenarios are another way characters contribute to humor “in the story.” Often in urban fantasy of a darker bent, that comes in the form of a wisecracking, cynical first person narrator—which itself is pilfered directly from old hardboiled detective fiction as pioneered by Raymond Chandler.

Chandler knew what he was doing. The smartassery humanizes the character, and helps us empathize with them even though they’re probably about to get involved in some pretty grim shit. A great example of this comes from the very first line of Jaye Wells’s book Red-Headed Stepchild:

“Digging graves is hell on a manicure[…]” 


Any discussion, however brief, of humor in horror would be remiss in not mentioning what I consider the most masterful, messed-up example of the kind—David Wong’s deranged masterpiece, John Dies at the End.


This novel somehow manages to play in both worlds—there’s a generous amount of campy silliness, but the main humor of the story consists of nervous wisecracking and character humor against some pretty bleak, existential terror, a sort of spitting in the eye of a twisted mutant offshoot of Lovecraftian horror. This is a book in which a man uses a bratwurst as a telephone and the group of heroes dresses up like Elton John’s backing band in preparation for a climactic scene which is so bizarre I can’t begin to describe it in a single paragraph.

Yet somehow, in the midst of all the craziness, when Wong suddenly plays it straight, it packs a surprisingly emotional wallop. If you’ve read the book, then the paragraph that starts with “Let me tell you everything you need to know about John…” probably sticks out in your memory. There’s a sudden, complete absence of bullshit, and the sincerity bleeds through the page. It’s kind of an awesome trick, if you can pull it off. 

In my own writing, however dark it gets, I find that humor is an absolute necessity. I tend to veer away from camp for a couple of reasons. First, it’s hard to do well, believe it or not. “Campy” is an odd hybrid of funny and terrible, and if the funny misses by even a little bit, it just leaves you with terrible. It’s a ledge that’s easy to fall off. Secondly, I don’t want to undermine the dark aspects, but I do want to humanize the characters and increase the contrast. A lot of the time I focus on damaged characters in tough situations, and while that’s not a recipe for nonstop laughter, it would feel almost alien to me without the sort of gallows humor or wry observations that people are prone to, even in the worst of spots. 

Humor, after all, is a coping mechanism as much as anything else—and as such, its marriage to horror and dark fantasy is a lot more appropriate than might be obvious at first glance. In fact, I believe it’s essential.

K.: Thank you, Jamie, for such an amazing, thought-provoking post!

Jamie Schultz has worked as a rocket engine test engineer, an environmental consultant, a technical writer, and a construction worker, among other things. He lives in Dallas, Texas. 
Find Jamie:

Summary
TWO MILLION DOLLARS...

It’s the kind of score Karyn Ames has always dreamed of—enough to set her crew up pretty well and, more important, enough to keep her safely stocked on a very rare, very expensive black market drug. Without it, Karyn hallucinates slices of the future until they totally overwhelm her, leaving her unable to distinguish the present from the mess of certainties and possibilities yet to come.

The client behind the heist is Enoch Sobell, a notorious crime lord with a reputation for being ruthless and exacting—and a purported practitioner of dark magic. Sobell is almost certainly condemned to Hell for a magically extended lifetime full of shady dealings. Once you’re in business with him, there’s no backing out.

Karyn and her associates are used to the supernatural and the occult, but their target is more than just the usual family heirloom or cursed necklace. It’s a piece of something larger. Something sinister.

Karyn’s crew, and even Sobell himself, are about to find out just how powerful it is… and how powerful it may yet become.

Dreaming of Books #19

This feature/meme is very much like On The Smugglers Radar from The Book Smugglers , and we will use it when we really want to bring to your attention some of the very cool book releases we're looking forward to. You are welcome to borrow this feature if you want.
KARINA:
 Summary
Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have pushed her into a life of dreary servitude. When she discovers a secret workshop in the cellar on her sixteenth birthday—and befriends Jules, a tiny magical metal horse—Nicolette starts to imagine a new life for herself. And the timing may be perfect: There’s a technological exposition and a royal ball on the horizon. Determined to invent her own happily-ever-after, Mechanica seeks to wow the prince and eager entrepreneurs alike.
Release date: August 4th 2015
Well, what's not to like here? The cover is gorgeous, the synopsis feels like something from Cinder. I want it pure and simple.

Summary
Imogen Robertson's break-out novel - a deep, dark and opulent tale of Belle epoque Paris, and the secrets and dangers hidden beneath its luxurious facade. Maud Heighton came to Lafond's famous Academie to paint, and to flee the constraints of her small English town. It took all her courage to escape, but Paris eats money. While her fellow students enjoy the dazzling joys of the Belle epoque, Maud slips into poverty. Quietly starving, and dreading another cold Paris winter, Maud takes a job as companion to young, beautiful Sylvie Morel. But Sylvie has a secret: an addiction to opium. As Maud is drawn into the Morels' world of elegant luxury, their secrets become hers. Before the New Year arrives, a greater deception will plunge her into the darkness that waits beneath this glittering city of light.
Release date: November 18th 2014
I am absolute sucker for painters and Belle Epoque. This is such a beautiful period in history. I am definitely very curious about this book, and the cover is gorgeous.
 Summary
 Brianna Hai runs an occult shop that sells useless trinkets to tourists—and real magic supplies to witches and warlocks. The magical painting that hangs in Brianna's apartment is the last portal between the fae and human worlds.

A shocking magical assault on her home reveals to Brianna that her father, High King Liu of the Fae, is under attack. With the help of her gargoyle, Pug, her friend David, and Angelo, a police detective who doesn't believe in magic, Brianna recovers what was stolen from her and becomes an unwilling potential heir to the throne.

A suspenseful urban fantasy with a hint of romance, The Exile is the first solo novel by C. T. Adams, who is half of USA Today bestselling author Cat Adams. Like the Cat Adams Blood Singer novels, The Exile is set in a world where magic is real and contains Adams's trademark blend of suspense, action, humor, and strongly emotional writing.
Release date: March 10th 2015

I know Cat Adams writes a very good UF. I'm just very much behind on her current series, and this new series allows me to start afresh. Plus, look at this cover! Beautiful!


Summary
A thrilling new Victorian-era urban fantasy for fans of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, the Showtime series Penny Dreadful, and the Sherlock Holmes movies featuring Robert Downey, Jr.
 
They are the realm’s last, best defense against supernatural evil. But they’re going to need a lot more silver.
 
As fog descends, obscuring the gas lamps of Victorian London, werewolves prowl the shadows of back alleys. But they have infiltrated the inner circles of upper-crust society as well. Only a handful of specially gifted practitioners are equipped to battle the beasts. Among them are the roguish Simon Archer, who conceals his powers as a spell-casting scribe behind the smooth veneer of a dashing playboy; his layabout mentor, Nick Barker, who prefers a good pub to thrilling heroics; and the self-possessed alchemist Kate Anstruther, who is equally at home in a ballroom as she is on a battlefield.

After a lycanthrope targets Kate’s vulnerable younger sister, the three join forces with fierce Scottish monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane—but quickly discover they’re dealing with a threat far greater than anything they ever imagined.
Release date: June 2nd 2015
If the first three comparisons don't lure you in, Griffiths previous series should prove that they can not be dismissed as amazing writers. I seriously can not wait!
 Summary
In this spirited sequel, The Rook returns to clinch an alliance between deadly rivals and avert epic—and slimy—supernatural war.

When secret organizations are forced to merge after years of enmity and bloodshed, only one person has the fearsome powers—and the bureaucratic finesse—to get the job done. Facing her greatest challenge yet, Rook Myfanwy Thomas must broker a deal between two bitter adversaries:

The Checquy—the centuries-old covert British organization that protects society from supernatural
threats, and…
The Grafters—a centuries-old supernatural threat.

But as bizarre attacks sweep London, threatening to sabotage negotiations, old hatreds flare. Surrounded by spies, only the Rook and two women, who absolutely hate each other, can seek out the culprits before they trigger a devastating otherworldly war.

STILETTO is a novel of preternatural diplomacy, paranoia, and snide remarks, from an author who “adroitly straddles the thin line between fantasy, thriller, and spoof”.
Release date: Feb 10th 2015.
After The Rook, the first book in this series, I was waiting for a long time for this book to happen. It's the most imaginative, original and quirky, British urban fantasy I've ever read, and count the days until I can immerse myself in this wonderful world again.
 Summary
 To fight her destiny as the missing heir to a powerful and dangerous secret society, sixteen-year-old Avery West must solve an ancient puzzle in a deadly race across Europe. Forbidden love and code-breaking, masked balls and explosions, destiny and dark secrets collide in this romantic thriller, in the vein of a YA DaVinci Code.

Avery West's newfound family can shut down Prada at the Champs-Elysees when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war.

They are part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle of Twelve, and Avery is their missing heir. If they discover who she is, some of them will want to use her as a pawn. Some will want her dead.

To thwart their plans, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the landmarks of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul and through a web of ancient legends and lies. And unless she can stay one step ahead of beautiful, volatile Stellan, who knows she’s more than she seems, and can decide whether to trust mysterious, magnetic Jack, she may be doomed after all.
Release date: January 13th 2015
 Please, be good! The synopsis is so delicious, I can't bear to be disappointed in this read!

Summary

In a future when Earth is a toxic, abandoned world and humanity has spread into the outer solar system to survive, the tightly controlled use of time travel holds the key maintaining a fragile existence among the other planets and their moons. James Griffin-Mars is a chronman--a convicted criminal recruited for his unique psychological makeup to undertake the most dangerous job there is: missions into Earth's past to recover resources and treasure without altering the timeline. Most chronmen never reach old age, and James is reaching his breaking point.

On a final mission that is to secure his retirement, James meets an intriguing woman from a previous century, scientist Elise Kim, who is fated to die during the destruction of an oceanic rig. Against his training and his common sense, James brings her back to the future with him, saving her life, but turning them both into fugitives. Remaining free means losing themselves in the wild and poisonous wastes of Earth, and discovering what hope may yet remain for humanity's home world.
Release date: July 7th 2015.
Goodreads
 You know how much I love time travel, right? This book and me are destined for each other :)

Summary

Winner of the Hugo, Nebula, British Science Fiction, Locus and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.
Once, she was the Justice of Toren - a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.
Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance. 
Release date: published
So many people raved about this sci-fi novel, I feel compelled to pick it up soon despite the very uninspiring cover. 

Summary

A sixteen-year-old governess becomes a spy in this alternative U.S. history where the British control with magic and the colonists rebel by inventing.

It’s 1888, and sixteen-year-old Verity Newton lands a job in New York as a governess to a wealthy leading family—but she quickly learns that the family has big secrets. Magisters have always ruled the colonies, but now an underground society of mechanics and engineers are developing non-magical sources of power via steam engines that they hope will help them gain freedom from British rule. The family Verity works for is magister—but it seems like the children's young guardian uncle is sympathetic to the rebel cause. As Verity falls for a charming rebel inventor and agrees to become a spy, she also becomes more and more enmeshed in the magister family’s life. She soon realizes she’s uniquely positioned to advance the cause—but to do so, she’ll have to reveal her own dangerous secret.
Release date: July 14th 2015
 I love reading about spies, and f it's alternative history it's even better. Plus, it's another wonderful cover that caught my eye.
Summary

Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.

She’s the executioner.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?
Release date: Feb 24th 2015
 Another wonderful cover, but I'm proceeding with caution about this book. I've seen other reads with a similar concept and it can be done well or it can be total bullshit. I'll be waiting for some reviews to trickle in first before I decide to buy it.

Vika, what about you?

 VIKA:


Summary

Bryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes. Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who's determined to become a respected part of her world. She has just one goal: become a member of the elite King’s Guard to protect the royalty. She's not going to let anything stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss Ridley Dresden. But all her plans for the future are put on hold when Konstantin– a fallen hero who she once loved – appears to be up to something dangerous, kidnapping changelings. Bryn is sent in to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?
Release date: Jan 6th 2015
Goodreads

Surprisingly, I quite enjoyed the last couple fantasy books I read, so here's another one from my list. And doesn't this cover look lovely? :) 


Summary

From beloved author, director, and actress, Amber Benson…

Unbeknownst to most of humankind, a powerful network of witches thrives within the shadows of society, using their magic to keep the world in balance. But they are being eliminated—and we will all pay if their power falls…

When Elyse MacAllister’s great-aunt Eleanora, the woman who raised her, becomes deathly ill, Lyse puts her comfortable life in Georgia on hold to rush back to Los Angeles. And once she returns to Echo Park, Lyse discovers her great-aunt has been keeping secrets—extraordinary secrets—from her.

Not only is Lyse heir to Eleanora’s Victorian estate; she is also expected to take her great-aunt’s place in the Echo Park coven of witches. But to accept her destiny means to place herself in deadly peril—for the world of magic is under siege, and the battle the witches now fight may be their last…
Release date: Jan 6th 2015
Goodreads

I really like witches and this novel caught my eye. Sounds like it would be a fun read! What do you guys think? 


Summary

NO ONE READS THE FINE PRINT.

The good news is that the USA is finally out of debt. The bad news is that we were bought out by Valor National Bank, and debtors are the new big game, thanks to a tricky little clause hidden deep in the fine print of a credit card application. Now, after a swift and silent takeover that leaves 9-1-1 calls going through to Valor voicemail, they’re unleashing a wave of anarchy across the country.

Patsy didn’t have much of a choice. When the suits showed up at her house threatening to kill her mother then and there for outstanding debt unless Patsy agreed to be an indentured assassin, what was she supposed to do? Let her own mother die?

Patsy is forced to take on a five-day mission to complete a hit list of ten names. Each name on Patsy's list has only three choices: pay the debt on the spot, agree to work as a bounty hunter, or die. And Patsy has to kill them personally, or else her mom takes a bullet of her own.

Since yarn bombing is the only rebellion in Patsy's past, she’s horrified and overwhelmed, especially as she realizes that most of the ten people on her list aren't strangers. Things get even more complicated when a moment of mercy lands her with a sidekick: a hot rich kid named Wyatt whose brother is the last name on Patsy's list. The two share an intense chemistry even as every tick of the clock draws them closer to an impossible choice.

Delilah S. Dawson offers an absorbing, frightening glimpse at a reality just steps away from ours—a taut, suspenseful thriller that absolutely mesmerizes from start to finish.
Release date: Apr 14th 2015
Goodreads

And last but certainly not least, Delilah S. Dawson is back with another "hit" of a novel (pun intended). I have to admit, I'm curious.
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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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