Author: Joe Abercrombie
Date: July 9, 2009
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Cover Artist: Photography by Michael Frost; Photo Illustration by Gene Mollica
Synopsis: Springtime in Styria. And that means war.
There have been nineteen years of blood. The ruthless Grand Duke Orso is locked in a vicious struggle with the squabbling League of Eight, and between them they have bled the land white. While armies march, heads roll and cities burn, and behind the scenes bankers, priests and older, darker powers play a deadly game to choose who will be king.
War may be hell but for Monza Murcatto, the Snake of Talins, the most feared and famous mercenary in Duke Orso’s employ, it’s a damn good way of making money too. Her victories have made her popular – a shade too popular for her employer’s taste. Betrayed, thrown down a mountain and left for dead, Murcatto’s reward is a broken body and a burning hunger for vengeance. Whatever the cost, seven men must die.
Her allies include Styria’s least reliable drunkard, Styria’s most treacherous poisoner, a mass-murderer obsessed with numbers and a Northman who just wants to do the right thing. Her enemies number the better half of the nation. And that’s all before the most dangerous man in the world is dispatched to hunt her down and finish the job Duke Orso started…
Springtime in Styria. And that means revenge.
Joe Abercrombie’s name happened to come up while I was corresponding with an author. For some reason that name pricked at me and I couldn’t figure out where I heard it. Then I looked at my book shelf, and there he was, still waiting to be read. Perhaps he was mixed in the shuffle and I forgot he was there, likely, the inch and half binder was intimidating and I merely chose to ignore him. If I remember correctly, my husband and I were at a Barnes & Noble in Columbus where we purchased several books. Not familiar with his works, I picked this one up based on the above synopsis. To others new to his work The First Laws Trilogy was written before Best Served Cold. I did not read the First Laws Trilogy and this book does read well as a standalone. So I am very excited to go backwards.
First off, this book is heavy, as in weight.
It goes without saying that I have been, like so many of us avid readers, spoiled by technology. Where’s my highlighter? I can’t make notes. Is that a real word? What does that word mean? I was seriously getting irritated at page 100 and I had 640 more to go.
So, much to my regret, I bought the ebook; traitor that I am.
First off, this cover is very impressive and the artist did a beautiful job.
The woman in the front is our protagonist Monza Murcatto a female mercenary bent on revenge against the seven who betrayed her. After a torturous recovery from her overwhelming injuries, she assembles her own group of men and women to help her with the task of exacting vengeance.
“He remembered the moment he first laid eyes on her: a wild-haired girl of nineteen with a sword at her hip and a bright stare rich with anger, defiance and the slightest fascinating hint of contempt.” ~Nicomo Cosca
Having read Martin’s books, and having a fondness for fantasy/action/adventure, I knew this would be sure to tingle the literary senses. I just wish I discovered Joe Abercrombie sooner.
It’s brutal. The scenes are not written for the squeamish, and this author will have many surprises as you make the journey with Monza. With so many characters in this book, it is a wonder that the author does not lose the reader’s interest. But there I remained, captivated with each one. Each voice, singular, their individuality distinct. But not so rigid that they are not able to transition and develop. I may offend some readers when I say I prefer his writing style to Martin’s, although, I’m not sure why. I stopped reading Game of Thrones after A Song of Ice and Fire.
I suppose it could be the fact that Martin had children in his books and Abercrombie did not. Flashbacks of Monza’s life as a child is provided in Best Served Cold and as a reader, I can easily disassociate myself from her earlier struggles in life. In Games of Thrones, you can’t. I also found Abercrombie writes good comic relief, a wonderful ingredient when reading twisted caliginous books.
The fight scenes are detailed. Muscles shredded, organs speared, this book has no shortage of mutilations, and the battles are specific and intelligently written. Lies, deceit, and treachery are ever present, the heroes are loathsome and flawed. As much as I liked the book, I found the end a bit lacking. The surprises were nice, but the ending was just not enough for me. I do hope he expands more on her Monza’s life in his future works.
In hindsight, I would have bought the book anyways, in hopes of one day getting it signed. Wishful thinking on my part as he lives across the pond and signs only at prestigious events ie, Comi Con in San Diego this summer. Unattainable for this reader on a budget.
For those in love with Dark Fantasy/Scoundrel Lit, this book, and the author will not disappoint.
If I had to choose a favorite character, it would be Nicomo Cosca. The man is full of surprises.
Originally posted on Sweets Books:
Title:High Octane: Ignited
Author: Rachel Cross and Ashlinn Craven
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publish Date: May 19 2014
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.
~ Book Synopsis ~
Everyone’s fueled by something…
Cassidy Miller is living her dreams as an EMS helicopter pilot saving lives in Arizona. When her helicopter crashes in bad weather and a member of her crew is killed, her life, as she knows it, is over. Suspended from her job and desperate to escape memories of that night, she jets to Europe and is swept along on a whirlwind world tour of Formula One racing courtesy of her father, an executive sponsor of a team.
Sexy, daredevil British driver Ronan Hawes has no room in his life for anything but winning. Strategy meetings, press conferences, practices, sponsor events and racing consume him. Half way through the season, he’s on track to…
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Publication Date:January 14, 2014
Event Organized By: Literati Author Services, Inc.
On the dawn of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, two snipers find themselves fighting a battle all their own. Micajah Cole is a backwoods hunter from the Appalachian Mountains in the American South, while Kurt Von Stenger is the dreaded German “Ghost Sniper” who earned his nickname on the Eastern Front.
As part of a motley team of Americans and a British paratrooper who has made one too many jumps, Cole is sent deep into the French hedgerow country to spearhead counter sniper operations. Guiding them is a lovely French Resistance fighter named Jolie Molyneux who knows the hidden paths and trails. The presence of a woman creates tension among the men, but Jolie is interested in one thing only–revenge against the occupiers.
The Germans are far more practiced at sniper warfare, but Cole uses his natural cunning and hunting skills learned in the mountains back home. However, the Americans soon face the Ghost Sniper, the deadliest German of them all.
Jolie risks everything to spy on the Germans and clear Cole’s line of fire. Locked in a deadly duel, the hunter matches wits and tactics against the marksman in a climatic final battle, both of them one bullet away from victory–or the ultimate defeat–as Allied forces struggle to gain a foothold in Europe.
D.M Doyle’s Review
Ghost Sniper is a fictional World War II action novel that centers on events in Normandy during and immediately following the initial Allied invasion. Written by David Healey, Ghost Sniper is fast paced and will keep the reader’s attention throughout the novel. Healey has written several historical fiction novels centering on different eras and military conflicts. His endeavor into the Second World War should not disappoint anyone who is interested in that conflict, or more specifically the D-Day Invasion and the battles that followed in Normandy.
The novel revolves around a ragtag tag team of American soldiers ordered to eliminate a German sniper who is making life difficult for Allied troops in the French countryside. They become a group of “counter -snipers” if you will. The best shooter of the unit is Micajah Cole; a tough as nails country boy who most likely came straight out of the deepest part of Appalachia. Their adversary is Kurt Von Stenger ; an aristocratic German sniper who previously fought on the Russian Front. Von Stenger is cunning and deadly. In reading the novel, I got the sense that Von Stenger feels Americans are not a worthy enemy, and his skills would be put to a more adequate and glorious use if he were still fighting the Soviets.
One aspect of the novel that I enjoyed was how Healey tells the story from the viewpoints of both Cole and Von Stenger. This narration kept me captivated as the story moved towards the thrilling climax.
I would recommend Ghost Sniper to anyone who enjoys World War II action-adventure historical fiction. The writing was straightforward, compelling, and lively. The diverse group of characters also adds to the appeal of the novel adding some comic relief here and there. I believe Healey will continue to write more novels featuring the on going “sniper chess match” between Micajah Cole and Von Stenger.
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
David Healey has been a journalist, librarian and teacher. He has written several novels, including the Civil War novel “Sharpshooter” and a mystery, “The House that Went Down with the Ship.” His nonfiction books include “Great Storms of the Chesapeake” and “1812: Rediscovering Chesapeake Bay’s Forgotten War.” His articles and essays have been published in many magazines, including American History, The Washington Times, Blue & Gray, Running Times and Maryland Life. When not writing, he enjoys hiking, working on his old house, and driving his family crazy by pulling over to the side of the road to read historical markers.
Originally posted on Jeannie Zelos Book Reviews:
Arouse: A Spiral of Bliss Novel (Book One), Nina Lane
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Oh I loved this book, first in a trilogy and for once its erotic without being just sex…some of those are actually a turn off, with no real story, just some vapid sexual encounters. This though – its what I think of as an erotic novel for the real reader, the person who wants everything, sex and story, proper drama, genuine emtions and problems we all have.
Olivia, she’d had such a difficult childhood, but worked diligently and at twenty four is finally an undergraduate. She’s not very confident, thanks to her horrible mother and awful upbringing, so when she meets the sexy and attractice Dean, university professor, she can’t quite belive he wants her and not some long legged, gorgeous, model type woman. He does want her though, and this book starts when…
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Check out the new video book trailer by Mary Whitney’s Forever Your Heart made by
Book Cover/Trailer/Animation Designer
Jada D’Lee Designs ~ Under The Covers Publishing ~ Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House
Originally posted on Jeannie Zelos Book Reviews:
The Passionate Love of a Rake, Jane Lark.
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews
So having read the first book in Jane’s historical series and loved it I was keen to read this story about older brother Robert.
In much the same way as Ellen from the first book, Jane was also stuck in a lifestyle she didn’t want and couldn’t escape. Her elderly husband has died and left her his fortune, but his estranged son isn’t happy – he’s got the estates and lots of property but he wants the money too. He’s a terrifying man and threatens Jane, telling her he always gets what he wants, and this time its not just the money but Jane herself. He’s got a wife and eight children, but plans to make Jane his mistress. Her marriage to his father was unhappy, she was forced into it by her parents at just…
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Originally posted on reading past my bedtime:
I Loved It
WOW! This book, it is just freaking amazing. Twenty Four hours later and I’m still trying to wrap my head around this awesome story.
Rule is the typical bad boy, tatted up, does what he wants, and is a complete man whore. Shaw has been in love with Rule since the day she met him, but has basically become his baby sitter to get him home for Sunday brunch each weekend. These two on paper would never work, but let me tell you, paper lies, these two are meant for each other.
Rule’s relationship with his family is messed up, and almost beyond repair, he lost his twin brother Remy and his mother blames him for it. Rome his older brother is home after being injured at war, and the first brunch together, all hell breaks loose before they can even eat!…
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Originally posted on I Feel the Need, the Need to Read:
Title: Death Bed: A Detective Geraldine Steel Mystery (DI Geraldine Steel #4)
Author: Leigh Russell
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Witness Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins
Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.
Two brutal murders. No witnesses.
The battered bodies of two young girls are discovered in North London, one shortly after the other. Desperate to avoid hysteria in the community, the police struggle to make a quick arrest before the deranged killer can strike again. Not having any luck, Detective Geraldine Steel, recently transferred to London, is called in to make sense of the grisly murders and the killer’s unusual signature: he extracts two teeth from each of his victims. With the death toll mounting, Geraldine is running out of time as she hunts for the elusive killer the papers have dubbed “The Dentist.”
Review by Angela
I received a copy of this book…
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Author: Liv Morris
Genre: Erotic Romance 18+
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
“Kathryn’s mesmerized me with some kind of tantric magic. I’m bewitched without an ounce of fight left within me. She knows my dilemma, my hesitancy to surrender and loosen the grip I have on my past, and she’s won.” An excerpt from Adam’s Apple (Touch of Tantra #1) An erotic bestseller.
Adam and Kathryn’s tantric love story continues once again told in his point of view…
When roguish playboy Adam Kingsley meets the stunning Tantra instructor Kathryn Delcour, he falls hard, becoming captivated by her strength and beauty. An intense sexual chemistry sizzles between them from their first shared glance to the soul cleansing Tantra session they experience together.
While Adam recovers from injuries after saving Kathryn’s life, she instructs him in the sensual practice of Tantra. He becomes her willing student as their tantric lovemaking brings Adam to sexual highs he never dreamed were possible.
But Adam’s life takes an unexpected turn when newly exposed secrets surrounding his birth father force him to make a seemingly impossible choice. Avenge those he loves and let everything he holds dear crumble around him, or allow the guilty to go free. With Kathryn by his side, Adam faces the fight of his life.
Adam’s Fall is the concluding book in the Touch of Tantra series.
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Purchase Links for Adam’s Fall (Tantra #2):
Purchase Links for Temptation (Tantra #1.5):
I take a quick shower, dress, and return to the bedroom. Kathryn is still sleeping, her face so peaceful and beautiful. I don’t want to wake her yet, but the dip of the bed as I sit down causes her to stir. Soon our time away from the world will be over, and we’ll have to face this morning’s events. The detectives are due here in about an hour, so it’s time for her to get up from the warmth of my bed.
I brush the hair from her face as her eyes flutter open. “Hey, beautiful.”
My words are met with a slow, sexy smile that unfurls my desire to take those sweet lips again, if only we had the time.
“How long have I been asleep?” She stretches on the bed and I bite my lip to hold back a groan as her perfect tits peek out from under the covers.
“A little over an hour, I think.” I touch the soft round side of her breast as I’m unable to keep my fingers away. “But the detectives will be here soon, so you better get up.”
She pulls the covers over her head in a huff. When I yank them back down, I’m greeted with a mischievous smile and an exploring hand on my thigh. It appears the nap has reenergized Kathryn. Lucky me.
YouTube Video Book Trailer
Liv Morris resides in Manhattan with her first and hopefully last husband. She received a degree in communication from the University of Maryland. Liv has published five short stories in the Love in the City series. Her debut novel, Adam’s Apple, was published in July 2013.
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Author: Susanna Kearsley
Genre: Contemporary and Historical Romance
Date of Publication: 2010
Publisher: Allison and Busby
Book Description: In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.
Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write.
But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth-the ultimate betrayal-that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her…
Gah!! It’s been forever since I wrote a review. So I’m currently trying to catch up. I’ve been reading but that irritating thing called life keeps getting in the damn way! I finished The Winter Sea several weeks ago and couldn’t wait to write my thoughts down. Many of you may have already read it since it’s been several years that this book has been published and released. I loved it. But there were certain parts I wanted to scream at my device. The ending was completely frustrating for me, but I can’t have my own subjective views regarding the ending decrease the overall rating of the book. I didn’t like how Gone with the Wind ended, but do you see me giving that less than the deserved 5+ stars? Nope. So I won’t go there.
The overall premise of the book of an extremely successful author that can jet set to where ever she likes on a moments notice, in order to satisfy her literary inspiration, is what makes fiction worth reading. She was
“thirty-one, with four bestselling novels to my credit and the freedom to live anywhere and anyhow, I chose.”
I want to be that lady.
I want to be that author that gets to experience love in two different time periods. The one that has scores of men falling over themselves to offer a tour of the town. But I don’t want to be that fictional author that writes about her fictional ancestor, Sophia, who to me was just completely flawed. She was too fragile, too innocent, and just too blah. What she did in the end made me angry. As Carrie writes and researches her book, she begins to find that her writing resembles real life. She is inspired by a thought or a vision and becomes overly consumed with writing the piece that when she looks up from her laptop, the sun is rising. Coffee is mentioned a lot in this book.
The writing is beautiful as was the scenery. The historical aspects appeared concise, although I would not deem myself an expert on the Jacobite rising and rebellions, however, Gabaldon is a favorite so I do have some background knowledge. One-sided it may be, that side being Jamie ;-) Again this is fiction, but with any well written historical fiction it is still essential to have accuracy with regards to background and historical figures. And that it why I love them so much, because you learn about other places and other times, other languages. The Doric language pulled me in and I found myself wanting to try it. Can you imagine, this little Asian girl speaking the Doric? I could be on a reality show over here!
So to that end, enjoy the beauty of the dialect below, cause it frigging rocks. (There were other great educational how-to-speak Doric videos, but they were just downright boring)