Sunday, 27 June 2010

Maryjanice Davidson Interview and Giveaway - Undead and Unfinished - courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

Have you read any of the Undead series by Maryjanice Davidson?
Are you a fan of the characters as well as the author?
If the answer is no please do scroll through my blog archive to see my Becky Bookworm Book reviews of the entire Undead series to date.
If Yes then please follow the link below and see an amazing blog interview with Maryjanice Davidson about her soon to be released ninth book in the Undead series, find out more about the characters and any thing else left to come as well as a chance to win 2 books from the series.



http://allthingsurbanfantasy.blogspot.com/2010/06/psf-interview-giveaway-maryjanice.html

Becky Bookworm Book Review - Sookie Stackhouse Bk4 and Bk5 - Dead to the World and Dead as a Doornail

Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse, #4) Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Well its after Christmas and just when Sookie thinks she can stay out of Vampire society something unusual happens to the ever seducing Eric - he's forgotten who is? As Sookie and Pam and Chow his fellow vamps work out what's going on it turns out to there is a new gang of witches in Sherverport and their wanting Eric's business as well as his life and blood. The only catch is their not just human witches but were-witches. Alcide the loveable werewolf comes into the picture again bringing with him his kilted ex-or-not Debbie who is a shifter. Bill for once is completely out of the picture in Peru holidaying after vamps for his database. Ultimately it leads to a were-witch vs vamps+were alliance show down. But there's more than dangerous action adventure worrying Sookie for not only is she trying to balance a wondering affection for Alcide, heart break over Bill but she fears she might be tending towards a rebound affair with Eric, who tends to be a bit more gentlemanly than he was before. Not to mention her brother Jason is kidnapped and after all the fight and searching it turns out the witches have nothing to do with it but a little known reclusive were society does and one of them has given him a bite for life. Now it's not just Sookie who has to be careful and understand how things work with supernatural beings.
A riveting story bringing yet again another whole new insight into the many supernatural beings living in secret within human society despite the now accepted appearance of vamps. Lots of action, tension, comedy and a little bit of misguided romance.
A nice build up to the next book.

View all my reviews >>

Dead as a Doornail (Sookie Stackhouse, #5) Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This one begins with the introdiction of Jason to the secretive society of were-panthers. But then three get shot by a sniper, one young were girl killed, the head were-panther of Jason's clan deeply wounded and even Sam the shifter at Merlottes gets a wounded leg. If that wasn't all Sookie had to worry about her brother Jason becomes lead suspect and Alcide woes her misguidedly into Sherverport were-wolf politics when their clan leader dies in a car crash. Not to mention Eric is still chasing after her wondering what they did together when he had amnesia and Bill is treading a fine line between Sookie's anger and favour. Over all it ends up being another tough episode for Sookie as her affections are put to the test with Sam, Alcide, Eric and even Bill suggestively vying for her attention.
Another brilliant mystery adventure packed with emotion, intrigue, tension and drama not to mention the odd death or two.
Can't wait to read the next one.

View all my reviews >>

Friday, 25 June 2010

Becky Bookworm Book Review - Club Dead: Sookie Stackhouse Vampire Mystery Bk 3

Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse, #3) Club Dead by Charlaine Harris



My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As per the title the story begins with a mystery but its a very close to heart mystery for Sookie as the mystery is Bill who has become reclusive in some kind of secret project. They reach an understanding that they shouldn't be together whilst it's going on so they part rather sadly for Sookie.

Yet it gets a lot worse when a few days later Eric and his group arrive looking for Bill - he's gone missing! Circumstances surrounding his disappearence prove to be a brutal revelation as Bill's loyalty to Eric and Sookie comes into question. Yet both pull together to try and rescue Bill.

A very good story told well throughout. Sookiet meets new characters who turn out to become stedfast friends and potential lovers if it wasn't for the odd complication or two.

Sadly it all ultimately leads Sookie down a troubling path of thought, is she better off with Bill or without Bill? How much is she willing to risk losing by becoming a regular feature of her local vampires society?



View all my reviews >>

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Becky Bookworm Book Review: Living Dead in Dallas - Sookie Stackhouse Vampire Mystery Bk2

Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse, #2) Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris



My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As always you're gripped by the story the moment you start reading the first page and as it says on the title ('Sookie Stackhouse Vampure Mystery) - the mystery this one begins with is maybe too typically a mysterious murder of one of the Merlotte's employees. Andy Bellefleur the cop is involved rather unfortunately by chance. But Sookie doesn't have time to wonder about that mystery as the vampires of Dallas require her services to solve one of their own. Sookie ends up getting deeper involved than she thought and makes some new supernatural aquaintances.

The story is very smooth flowing and gripping although the first murder mystery set up at the beginning is forgotton about once Sookie and Bill are in Dallas revealing a further insight into vampire culture amongst the humans and even a darker side to the human acceptance of their existance that was not shown in the first book. It is however picked up on again near the end and solved in a rather suprising and brutal manner due to the appearance of some mythical paranormal woman who preys on the drunk and prideful and has a strange madness for blood which makes vampires seem tame. But there is one more little suprise at the end not just Sookie identifying the murderer from the beginning.

Very much looking forward to reading the next book and see if Sookie and Bill's relationship can still go strong or will the influences of the vampire culture force them apart?

View all my reviews >>

Monday, 21 June 2010

Good things come to those who wait....Soul Chaser Chapter 4 - Know Thy Enemy

For the priviliged few who read my many bookworm, mad and viking obsessed ramblings and writing you will know that my current dream book is a certain magic realism/modern/urban fantasy WIP (that's work in progress) by the title of SOUL CHASER with a rather intriguing tag line of "There are more than Angels and Devils after your soul."

Currently I've been very, very, very OK EXTREMELY lazy and lack luster with my progress on this (I still beat myself up mentally about it every time I finish a good book and wish it was mine) since I finished Chap 3 a fair old while ago now.
Well for the possibe (few? one? none?) fans or friends who might be interested or like norse mythology, vikings and in particular valkyries then this announcement may come with great joy to you.
I FINALLY FINISHED CHAPTER FOUR (*DRAFT ONE)
Please go and read it now! Do give me your thoughts and see if you like the twists and turns its taking. Please find it by going to the blog pages on top.

Now who wants to bet how long it will take me to finish Chap 5? For a starter I know what's going to happen in it, which is primarily what I couldn't fit in Chap 4 but it will still pack some punch to your imagination. Just you wait and see.. But seriously I do hope you can be patient with me and not too bored.

Becky Bookworm Book Review: Undead and Unwelcome - the end of an era for Betsy? Or more yet to come?

This sunday just passed I finally reached the current end of the Undead series with the always funny and lovable character of Betsy Taylor. Here's my review of the latest book Undead and Unwelcome.

Undead and Unwelcome (Undead, #8) Undead and Unwelcome by MaryJanice Davidson



My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is definitly a book of climaxes as not only does Betsy and Sinclair have to face the music for Antonia's death by visiting a castle full of Werewolves. But also Laura, daughter of the devil and Betsy's half sister is deal with equally big problems. Her identity by satan worshippers has been discovered and she needs to work out what to do with such unwelcome attention. Marc, the gay doctor, believes he has the answer and for a short while it works well until Laura extends them thus extending the problem into an even bigger one. So foolishly believing she's doing the right thing that she fails to see how evil her actions are becoming. Betsy and Sinclair managed to create a comfortable peace with the werewolves over Antonia's death and only makes it back just in time to stop a cull of vampires occuring. Sadly it results in Laura and Betsy having a woman vs woman combat session and the Devil appears just to mock them by subtly revealing it was her plan all along.

Yet again the last few weeks have been a hectic nightmare for Betsy but a deeply disturbing one as the trouble comes from within her select group of close friends - least suspect of all was her sister.

It leaves us as a reader waiting expectantly for the next one and wondering what could possibly go wrong next for Betsy, Queen of Vamps.



View all my reviews >>

However I am please to announce that it is not the ultimate end for Betsy Taylor fans as 'Undead and Unfinished' is due for UK release on 8th July this year! So start saving your pennies for another wicked treat! I am!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

A Gift of a Story - my first serious attempt at flash fiction

The Gift of a Story:

On the 19th of April 2010, Lucy received a plastic key coated in silver, a glass globe filled with water that when shaken caused a whirlpool of glitter around the lone figure of a grey bear with a blue nose, holding a smaller version of afore said key. She also received a tall wine glass with the numbers two and one embossed together in silver. The rest of the presents were all nice but equally typical such as clothes, jewellery and make-up. Amongst her collection of gifts wandered her girl friends, parents and her boyfriend.
It was only when her boyfriend passed her a small box wrapped in brown paper did Lucy feel truly excited. Her mind imagined wedding bells and a honeymoon abroad. She opened the box in a rush of torn paper but stopped when she saw its contents.
In a small clear tub was a single bean of clay brown with darker mottled markings. There was also a small note with writing which looked similar to her late Grandfather Jack. It was a message of one line.
“May this bean stalk grow as tall and as constant as my love is for you.”
Lucy’s tears began to fall upon the three crosses that symbolized a literary kiss.
The next day Lucy planted that bean in a small flower pot and placed it upon her bedroom bookcase next to her favourite story book, a tale of golden eggs and giants.
The story bean still grows today.

Becky Bookworm Book Review: Undead and Unworthy

Undead and Unworthy (Undead, #7) Undead and Unworthy by MaryJanice Davidson


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Still witty and funny as ever but it does get a lot more tenser than the other books as the Fiends begin to show their true feelings regarding Betsy's treatment of them, Nick Berry continues to show his pure hatred for Betsy and her kind leaving poor Jessica struggling between the two. It is in the book that Betsy comes to realise how much her power and role as Queen effects everyone near and far from her and the price for not being too serious about it all.
There is one scene very close to the end where it all gets very confusing as Nick's boss turns out to be a nasty piece of work involving the fiends and Betsy and I had to read it three times to work out what farm and father he was talking about. At first I thought he might have been the son of the serial killer who was swiftly dispatched in a previous book. I do hope other Betsy fans understood that scene a lot better and quicker than I did but in the end I did make sense of it.
Yet for once in the series it does end on a rather sad note as one of the least featured characters is killed off.

View all my reviews >>

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Becky Bookworm Book Review - Undead and Unreturnable, Unpopular and Uneasy *3 in 2 days!*

I've been enjoying the Undead series by Maryjanice Davideson sooooooooooooooo much that I have been reading through them super quickly. Not just because their a light read to say but because the characters are fantastic and the plots whether complex or not just urge you on to see how a character reacts next.
So here are my reviews of Undead and Unreturnable, Undead and Unpopular and Undead and Uneasy...enjoy!

Undead and Unreturnable (Undead, #4) Undead and Unreturnable by MaryJanice Davidson


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book wasn't as action packed as the third one and had a good strong focus on Betsy and Sinclairs relationship as lovers, friends, King and Queen and most crucially as vampires. Ghosts are making more of an appearence due to Betsy's developing powers which creates some adventure although it does feel a bit forced into the plot as the issue with a serial killer is very swiftly delt with causing no real big fuss apart from introducing yet another character (I do believe Betsy is definitly growing her own courtiers) and bring back Detective Nick Berry into the mix.
On the whole though the plot is good as after three books of bickering between Betsy and Sinclair it's nice to see them having relationship troubles now that they are not only officially together but are also getting married.
Still wity and funny as ever, Betsy's attitude just gets bigger and better throughout and still settles on a nice expectant note to encourage you onto the next one.

View all my reviews >>

Undead and Unpopular (Undead, #5) Undead and Unpopular by MaryJanice Davidson


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book, when started come as bit of a shock due to the sudden appearence of another character and how much George aka Garret the Fiend has developed. I actually had to double check the booklist to make sure I hadn't accidentally skipped one by accident. But no this is indeed book number 5. The appearence of non-changing werewolf fortune teller and George's recovery is briefly and quickly explained but as they don't feature too much in the story over all it is perfectly acceptable to simple glean over those facts.The real suprise is the first book actually becomes an inanimate feature of the series due to a certain character doing a misguided bio on Betsy and secretly sending to a publishers. It seems literature has become a little mini joke as in book 4 Undead and Unreturnable Betsy actually gets her own advice column in a supposedly secret vampire newsletter. Which also managed to get into the public domain via a newspaper just like the book.The main anatagonists are old european vampires and another of Betsy's friends who has a severe grudge against one of them for a very good reason. It proves quite a problem for Betsy as Queen to serve both of them equally and not have heads roll. Plus Betsy learns a devestating secret about her best friend.All in all it's yet another emotional roller coaster for Betsy and it's a great pay off to see how she adapts and comes through it all the same.

View all my reviews >>

Undead and Uneasy (Undead, #6) Undead and Uneasy by MaryJanice Davidson


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Just when you think it can't get any worse for Betsy it does but there are so many problems she fails to see how they make one big nasty conspiracy against her. It's all her problems with friends and family that ultimately pay off the quick introduction of a werewolf fortune teller and reformed Fiend as they become the key that unlocks the mess for Betsy and gets her in her famous 'kick-ass' mood to sort things out. Because if she doesn't "there will be more than one funeral".Still witty and funny as ever even when Betsy seems to be at her lowest point so far in the series. I do believe this book could capture the trues worst week ever for our dear vampire queen. But her reward at the end of all this turmoil is not only her friends and loved ones safe but she also gains yet another new power that is a lot more deadly and creepy than drinking blood and seeing ghosts.

View all my reviews >>

Only 2 more left of the series in my little college library where I work - who wants to bet I'll have them both finished by monday?
Hummm I hope there are more books of Betsy Queen of Vamps, if so I'll have to run by my local town library and see if they have them there. Ooooh I do love being a book worm and librarian! Free books whenever I like!

Friday, 18 June 2010

The Terry Pratchett Prize - Writing Competition for Inspiring Authors! Don't miss out!

THE TERRY PRATCHETT PRIZE (information copied from Terry Practhett website)http://www.terrypratchett.co.uk/


Further Information

Sir Terry Pratchett had this to say:

Anywhere but here, anywhen but now. Which means we are after stories set on Earth, although it may be an Earth that might have been, or might yet be, one that has gone down a different leg of the famous trousers of time (see the illustration in almost every book about quantum theory).

We will be looking for books set at any time, perhaps today, perhaps in the Rome of today but in a world where 2000 years ago the crowd shouted for Jesus Christ to be spared, or where in 1962, John F Kennedy's game of chicken with the Russians went horribly wrong. It might be one day in the life of an ordinary person. It could be a love story, an old story, a war story, a story set in a world where Leonardo da Vinci turned out to be a lot better at Aeronautics. But it won't be a story about being in an alternate Earth because the people in an alternate Earth don't know that they are; after all, you don't.

But this might just be the start. The wonderful Peter Dickinson once wrote a book that could convince you that flying dragons might have existed on Earth. Perhaps in the seething mass of alternate worlds humanity didn't survive, or never evolved -- but other things did, and they would have seen the world in a different way. The possibilities are literally endless, but remember, it's all on Earth. Maybe the continents will be different and the climate unfamiliar, but the physics will be the same as ours. What goes up must come down, ants are ant-sized because if they were any bigger their legs wouldn't carry them. In short, the story must be theoretically possible on some version of the past, present or future of a planet Earth.

The deadline for submissions is 31 December 2010

A shortlist of six entries will be announced by 31 March 2011.

COMPETITION TERMS AND CONDITIONS 2010

1. By entering this competition, you agree to accept and be bound by these terms and conditions. All entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions of this competition.

2. This competition is open to anyone aged 18 or over who is a resident of the UK, Republic of Ireland or other countries of the British Commonwealth, except for employees (and their families) of Transworld Publishers, a division of The Random House Group Limited (Publisher) and any other company connected with the competition.

3. The closing date for the competition is 31st December 2010 (Closing Date).

4. Each entrant must submit the following in order to enter the competition:

(a) a complete and previously unpublished work of fiction of not less than 80,000 words and not more than 150,000 words aimed at adult readers and written in the English language (Novel); and

(b) a synopsis of the Novel in the English language of no more than 600 words,

(together, Entry).

5. Each Entry must:

(a) be emailed to the Publisher at pratchettprize@transworld-publishers.co.uk;

(b) include the entrant's full name and contact details (including a home address and a telephone number); and

(c) be submitted as a Word document with double spacing in font size 12 point 'Times New Roman'.

6. Each entrant warrants to the Publisher that:

(a) they have not previously had a full length novel written or co authored by them (under any name) published under a valid ISBN; and

(b) their Novel is original to them, does not infringe copyright or any other intellectual property right and does not defame or invade the privacy rights of any third party, or infringe any other legal rights, regulations or laws.

7. Each entrant can submit one Entry only.

8. The winning entrant will be offered an advance payment against royalties of �20,000 on entering into a publishing contract with the Publisher (Prize) and will be required to agree to license exclusive world publishing rights in all print, electronic, audio and any other media formats in the Novel to the Publisher on acceptance of the Prize. At the Publisher's discretion, shortlisted entrants may also be offered publishing deals with the Publisher. Subject to any such contractual agreement, entrants will retain their legal rights to their Entries.

9. Entries that do not comply with these terms and conditions (by example Entries received after the Closing Date) will not be accepted by the Publisher. The Publisher is not responsible for delayed or lost Entries. Entrants are advised to retain a copy of their Entries.

10. A shortlist of six entrants will be contacted by the Publisher by 31st March 2011. The publisher will select the winner from the shortlisted entrants and the winner will be announced by 31st May 2011.

11. Events may occur that render the awarding of the Prize impossible due to reasons beyond the control of the Publisher and the Publisher may, at its absolute discretion, vary, amend, suspend or withdraw the Prize with or without notice.

12. Winning and shortlisted entrants agree to the Publisher's use and publication of their name, country of residence and photograph in relation to the Publisher's publicity activities.

13. The Publisher will use the personal details of entrants only for the purpose of this competition. Personal details will not be kept on file by the Publisher and will not be passed on to any third parties.

14. The shortlisted entrants and winner's names will be available on www.terrypratchett.co.uk from 31st March 2011 and 31st May 2011 (as applicable).

15. The Publisher's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into in relation to this competition. No cash alternative will be offered

16. These terms and conditions are subject to English law and the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.
17. The contact details of the promoter of this competition are: Transworld Publishers, 61-3 Uxbridge Road, London W5 5SA,

pratchettprize@transworld-publishers.co.uk.

Becky Bookworm Book Review - Undead and Unappreciated by MaryJanice Davidson

Undead and Unappreciated (Undead, #3) Undead and Unappreciated by MaryJanice Davidson



My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book in my opinion is a lot more gripping than the original two but I guess the first two in this series could be a gentle and very humerous intro into the world of Betsy Taylor and the Vamps.

In this book the plot is a tad more complex and deep, a new character is introduced but like all the others tend to be a contradiction of their stereotype -daughter of the devil- but that's what make the characters so strong. They're all uniquely different, they have their own charms, motive, attitude towards thing and so even with the rather simple plot line in the previous two you can't help but want to read on if only to find out how they react to what occurs next. Even Betsy reveals a dark side to herself and it reveals how human she acts when it comes to all the problems of her trying and sometimes failing to be a good vamp, good friend as well as Queen of the Vamps.

As usual the humour and wit in Betsy's thoughts, experiences and dialogue is very well timed and never seems to get tiresome. Definitely worth reading and greatly enjoyed it.



View all my reviews >>

Managed to finish this in a record breaking (for me) one day! It was that good and enjoyable. I do recommend it to anyone who likes vamps, likes light reading and loves humour.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Becky Bookworm Book Reviews - Latest from Hamilton and Davidson series

As I'm suddenly a bookworm again (yay for bookworms everywhere) I thought I might as well share my thoughts on what books have recently stolen my attention away from writing, watching TV and even playing WOW. So I've decided to create a new feature on my blog and that is my Becky Bookworm Book Reviews!

Recently I've been delving into the worlds of Sookie Stackhouse (Harris), Merry Gentry (Hamilton) and Betsy Taylor (Davidson). When I first read the first book in each of these series I wasn't entirely sure who I preferred most but now my heart has been captured by the famously defiant, shoe adoring and witty Betsy Taylor, Queen of Vamps! The books may be short and the plots not overly complex but the mix of characters are just so delightful to meet that I couldn't help myself after finished Undead and Unemployed (book 2) I just had to spend more time with them and immediatly took out the next 3 books! (All thanks to working in a library I can read them all for free hehehe).

So it has been unofficially decided that I might as well read one series and then the next instead of juggling through three series of books together. So for the next few weeks (and as I'm eating a Betsy Taylor novel within 2 days currently I might have read em all by July!) I'll be sharing my experiences with these cool characters. Maybe you might give them a test run too. Enjoy! And do share your own thoughts on these books if you have read them already. Would love to hear from fans or haters.

A Caress of Twilight (Meredith Gentry, #2) A Caress of Twilight (Meredith Gentry, #2) by Laurell K. Hamilton



My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not as good as the first book I feel although there is a lot less sexual detail thankfully. She's managed to just simply describe them going to bed or leaving bed together trusting us as the reader to understand what the blank spot entails. I felt the ending was a little bit rushed as the whole climax of the story came quite quickly and all within the final two chapters.

And she made it worse by doing what she did in the last one and that's describing the aftermath of the climax event in a rather lazy manner as if it's of no importance. Which hasn't given it much of a hook to entice me to read the next book which I might do just to see if it's goign to get any better or worse.



View all my reviews >>

Undead and Unemployed (Undead, #2) Undead and Unemployed by MaryJanice Davidson



My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Still has incredibly funny, witty and human as the last one. Plot isn't too complex but it really is the mix and clash of characters that makes this story worth reading.



View all my reviews >>

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Vampires, a revamp and throwing down the gauntlet (to myself):

I'm not suprised this past week has flown by as it was exceptionaly busy back at work. Not only was me and my boss Terry playing hostesses to many subject teams of teachers visiting the library to check their book stock, but I was also proudly showing off some of the 39 e-resources we have available for our students to do online research from without turning to the dreaded google or wiki. That was amongst the Library being closed for one morning and one afternoon of the week due to an exam taking place inside (no I didn't get that time off - I kept busy at the back preparing new books for shelves) AND training.
However training was really exciting as me and Terry visited Wyke College Library in Hull after they had a huge rebuild and makeover - it all looked very modern and trendy. We met plenty of other librarians and all share our experiences and suggested what was best practice in the Library etc. All in all it was a very informative day.

I have also been a very busy bookworm. I picked three books before I broke up for half term that I felt were in the genre of my writing but they also proved to be popular with my target audience so I gave them a try.  2 feature vampires in modern day and the other featured more magical creatures known as Fey or Faeries. Here they are with my reviews (also available on Shelfari.com and Goodreads.com just search my name)

Merry Gentry, tome 1 : Le baiser des ombres Merry Gentry, tome 1 : Le baiser des ombres by Laurell K. Hamilton


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Despite the many large dollops of magical sex featured in this book you tend to make yourself blissfully ignorant of how active the Fey characters are and come to love them despite this. It portrays an interesting world where the people of America live with Fey, faerie elf like creatures of great beauty and sexual apetite and shows how the old classic style of royal (circus like) court of the Fey clashes with that of the modern world.
There is still plenty of adventure action, thrills, scares and tender moments where you bond with the characters through the story. Although for one such as me who doesn't usually read any erotic fiction of any kind it is hard to say whether women should be proud or embarassed to want to read the next one - like I do.

View all my reviews >>

Undead and Unwed (Undead, #1) Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Absolutely brilliant. A fast paced enjoyable read that I finished in a record breaking two days! Well record breaking for me anyway. Witty, funny, smark, thrilling, enticing and intoxicating in some parts.

It's the much more mature adult funnier  version vamp story compared to Stephenie Meyers teenage anxiety series.

View all my reviews >>

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1) Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Charlaine Harris has you hooked from the start and the amazing thing is she's created a world where the read isn't keen for an insight into her fictional vampire modern society - instead the intense and thrilling story has a strong focus - of Sookie Stackhouse - a young lady living in a world where the paranormal is now just about acceptable yet she has her own paranormal gift but guards it secretly.
You get swept away in Sookie's life private and public and the adventures she has with a vampire called Bill.
Deeply satisfying, thrills give you tingles and you end up thirsting for the next chapter like Bill thirsts for blood.

View all my reviews >>

Personally upon reflection I have a slight tendancy to prefer Harris 1st. Davidson 2nd and Hamilton 3rd only due to the fact that Hamilton does pack a lot of adult scenes into it (all concerning action in the bedroom), there's only a small dollop of that in Davidson's first book of her Betsy Taylor series and Harris features it too but she packs so much more into the story that it is only a very minor feature against everything Sookie goes through. Yet I did enjoy reading all three so I am going to slowly work my way through each of the three series if I can. At least that's got my reading time sorted - no need to buy anymore books as I have taken all these out from my own little library hehehe ah the wonders of work.

I've also - as I'm sure you've noticed - had a bit of a revamp - a make over on this blog and that is now due to the availability of some more funky, modern and cool design features on Blogspot. Do let me know if you approve or indeed if you are having problems with anything. Such as can't quite read text or if you feel it's a bit crowded. Any feedback would be greatly welcome - the colour code is still a bit brown but I'm hoping the aged parchment/leather at the back gives it a good elderly feel. I did want to use a nice colourful space scene for background but it didn't fit the whole blog so everything was on black after a certain point which didn't sit right with me.

Now as I've sadly and stupidly missed my writing group this week (sorry Stephen MAY!) due to not correctly setting my alarm and sleeping in (although I was up till 1am dealing with a spider eviction situation that was tense and scary) I have punished myself by cleaning and tidying today but my goal for tomorrow is to try and get Chapter 4 finished roughly as a way of making amends with my writers conscience. So if you see me on Twitter remind how naughty I was missing my first writing group ever and demand more Soul Chaser thus shunning me offline and hopefully onto the document to write up.

There I've thrown my gauntlet down to myself and hopefully with some friendly nagging and support from you guys I won't let you or myself down.

Monday, 7 June 2010

0.000000001% on my way to world domination! Muwahahahaha!

Again my latest piece of free publicity and another majorly minor piece of webspace to call my own has all been down to not WHAT YOU KNOW but WHO YOU KNOW. It is all due to the gracious, generous and patient understanding of my lovely writing friend Suz (@Bubblestroubled on Twitter) who is also writing about gods and devils in the modern modern day - basically imagine slowly realizing you are in fact the Devil and your Ex is GOD! Shock - horror! But anyway she's much further ahead on that WIP Bedevilled than I am with Soul Chaser. You can learn more about Suz, her roller coaster writing experience and journey and of course about Bubbles by following her main writing blog http://bangouttheprose.blogspot.com/ . Suz also runs another blog known as Average Jane's Book Reviews and she kindly asked me to write a guest post about being an aspiring writer and what inspired me about vikings to weave their mythology into my stories.
I was suprised by how reflective writing this piece was to do but I thoroughly enjoyed it as it gave me a small sense of achievment for the tiny steps of success I have taken since valkyries first began to whisper through my imagination. So if you care to learn all about my love of vikings and how it all began as well as the original idea behind Soul Chaser please do follow this link to learn all http://averagejanesbookreviews.blogspot.com/2010/06/interests-of-aspiring-author.html
Another nice suprise was to discover not only is my favourite norse mythology author Joanne Harris returning to good old Jorvik in mid July (that's York to you non-believers hehehe) to launch the Big City Read (I am SOOOOOOOOO definintly going to be there and am going to get photo and book signed and everything! Am I sounding like a mad fan yet? :P) but she is also now live on TWITTER! I thought this would never happen but there she is - happily tweeting about finally finishing the first draft of Runelight - sequel to the amazingly fanastic and friggin awesome for all viking lovers everywhere, Runemarks. You can join her following @Joannechocolat .
Anyway on a calmer note regarding my own writing I haven't honestly done much. Half term hols was too busy with family, friends, visiting places and being amazed by many great handy crafty things to even attempt anything. But my aim this week is refine, edit and rewrite if need be my latest original Valkyrie Short story for the Books Quarterly Waterstones SHort Story competition (deadline 1st July - find details here http://www.wbqonline.com/feature.do?featureid=505 ) - you can read the draft from my earlier post in May here http://valkyriansanctum.blogspot.com/2010/05/valkyrian-treat-for-my-followers-and.html if you can spare ten minutes to read and give feedback. Would be greatly appreciated. Anyway the main aim of this week is to get it into tip top condition (its already on draft four) and then enter it by next weekend.
After that's its simple a matter of focusing on next competition, trying to get back to the adventure in Soul Chaser which I honestly do keep thinking about and my latest book which was all about beliefs in the middle ages gave me loads of ideas and of course reading to fuel my imagination furnace. As usual I'll let you know how that plan works out.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Half Term Hols + Summer Sunshine = Discovering Local Treasures

Ok I'm back! Back from sunny North Yorkshire where I've been spending my much needed half term hols with family and friends and do I have so much to share and tell. Thankfully all my news seems to have a central theme of local business = local treasures.
First off it all began on a beautifully sunny and warm Bank Holiday Monday spent at Castle Howard which is the home of my much loved and favourite metal and glass craft shop which is a haven full of of the most beautiful things - Jorvik Glass www.JorvikGlass.co.uk but what this website shows is only half of the wonders they sell and make in the shop. I do great encourage you to visit Castle Howard yourself to see their magic creations and you don't even have to go to the big house to see it - the shop is right in the square court yard at the entrance.
 This is a fine example of the wonderful use of precious metals such as copper, gold and silver upon leaves. This is a japanese maple leaf coated within iridescent copper. It is a 100% GENUINE leaf. My mum got me a silver oak leaf pendant and matching earings for my 21st. They really do make very special gifts.
And this is another example of their beautiful metal work creating a 'Summer Scene' with colourful insects and leaves which would look lovely against someones wall in the summer sunshine.
Now it just so happened there was a craft sale and fair on at Castle Howard court yard so I did spend a few pennies and quite a while adoring so many beautiful and unique hand made pieces.
The first stall that enchanted me was By-Hand www.by-hand.co.uk where I bought to lovely hand-made and fair trade bracelets for my friends whom I would be meeting with later in the week.
The next stall was very funky - it was like meeting the british counterpart to my good friend Julie (aka Mermaiden - her blog listed down the many I follow on the right near the bottom) who also makes quite cool jewellry with bits of scrap metal except this artist works exclusively with old watch parts.  This designer was known as the Steamstress. There were many pretty bits on their stall and can be seen at www.steamstress.co.uk . But here is just a taster.

The next stall was very eco and flower power friendly. Their known as Big Tree Little Tree www.bigtreelittletree.co.uk and sell bookmarks, gift tags and cards and other staionary all made from recycled paper and with simple designs but with the added touch of seeds from the flowery image on each product. I treated one of my friends to a Forget-Me-Nots card which had seeds embedded behind the design for that particular flower. It's all very sweet and quite a original idea - instead of buying flowers why not encourage a friend or relative to grow them themselves?
There was another quirky but in a classy old fashioned way stall selling some very interested jewellry with a flare of the mad beauty in Alice in Wonderland fashion. Ruby Rouge makes all her unique and different jewellery which can be viewed and bought via Etsy at http://www.etsy.com/shop/RubyRougeJewellery . Here's a glimpse of the quirky wonders she makes.
The one last stall that fascinated me was an artist called Clare Lindley who simply used paper and scalpul to create wonderful stencil art. I would have loved to buy even one of her smaller pieces but sadly I didn't have enough money.
My next encounter with the wonders of hand made and craft was with my all time favourite little shop in Scarborough where I went to enjoy the little pleasant summer heat wave we had at the end of the holiday week.
 Here's me by the popular beach and the beautiful blue north sea. Wearing my big summer hat.
Anyway I digress, my favourite little crafty shop in Scarborough for gifts that are beautifully well made is Luvulite. Here it is down the little quiet Bar Street which comes off the main high street and takes you to the beach top.
The woman inside is ever so nice and she even makes some of the gifts she sells and everything in there is handmade! Ugh I can never go to scarborough without buying something from her and ironically it's always gifts for other people but I know it always produces a smile. As you can see the windows are very well laid out displaying all the latest gifts she has in. However I have some bad and good news regarding this wonderful gem in Scarborough. The shop will be closed from September as the woman may be moving abroad! She says if she goes abroad she will continue the shop there yet she is in the process of setting up a website to sell her stock that way. So there is hope yet for many more people to become enchanted with her. All at www.luvulite.co.uk

Now this next truly is a local treasure to me as I'd known about its existence for ages but until I went in out of curiosity I didn't realise what a gem I was missing. It's based in my humble home town of Malton in North Yorkshire, in the building which used to be the Tourist Information Office (don't worry that just relocated to the humble Malton Museum we have) - it is the amazing Malton Relish www.maltonrelish.co.uk .
 There it is, on the corner of the market place painted out in red.
And here is a glimpse inside where they have a lovely stock of local produce, a fab delicatessen counter, a local antique buisness based upstairs and you can sample the products yourself in their little cafe area.
This is where I was so overwhelmed with pride and admiration for the woman who set this business up I couldn't resist buying some local Whitby Gingerbread for my boyfriend's dad and some adorable hand decorated chocolate buttons in little glass jars for his sister and niece and some Malton Relish Blackberry Jam made using locally grown Blackberries for his mum. I even noticed an actual jar stating it held within the contents of The Malton Relish - that made me grin - my own little town had its own speciality relish. And if that wasn't cooler the woman behind Malton Relish was a key figure in organising a massive wave of publicity for this little market town by creating the We Love Malton group where local businesses would raise this banner in what ever fashion to show they were a genuine local business and hopefully attract more customers. Showing the rest of the world what Malton has to offer. 
So being a local girl it only seems far I honour this call if a few months late.
I hope you enjoyed this whirlwind tour through the local handy crafters I encountered on my half term hols and I do hope some of them caught your eye and that of your wallet. All these wonderful artists and creators and local businesses should never be forgotten and always supported. For they are our treasures and will always have that extra something special against the modern highstreet of today.

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