Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Unread Reader's Banner Contest...

Wow what a morning! I was barely awake when I found out I won the banner making contest over on The Unread Reader.

Thank you Missie for hosting the contest.


My banner

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tea & Changeless






Last week was stressful, to say the least. Massive book delivery to the store, but thankfully it all got better when I received my long awaited copy of Gail Carriger's Changeless, the second book of the Parasol Protectorate.



The plan: Snuggle up in my favourite reading chair with a nice cup of tea, in my newly purchased tea cup, and read until the book was finished.







What actually happened: Friend/neighbour/hairdresser invited me to stay for dinner when I went to her place to drop off the new Twilight graphic novel for her daughter (yes I did get a copy of it myself as well). I didn't get home from work until 10:30 pm the next day. No reading. Finally, Thursday I got started on Changeless; while babysitting other friend's kids, baking scones for breakfast, cooking a wonderful lunch of pork chops with potato soufflé, and baking pear pie for dessert. Sadly, I didn't get very far since I was mildly exhausted and ended up crashing for two hours on my friend's couch (after she came home of course).



After having spent several days travelling back and forth between Easter luncheons and family parties; I finished the book Sunday afternoon with the most profound urge to read it again, or e-mail Gail Carriger to beg her for a copy of Blameless with the promise of my first born as payment or at least name the child Alexia regardless of the sex of the child. Unfortunately, that would be breaking numerous laws, and I'm sure Ms. Carriger would be most put off by the notion.

***

Alexia Tarabotti, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears - leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria.




But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. Even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can.




She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it. (From amazon.com)



This is my first real review for the blog, so be gentle with me. Onwards to the actual review.



I must admit there were I couple of times in the beginning of the book, where I felt like I was missing a bit of information, it could be because it's been a while since I read Soulless. After I put on my spectacles and bustled day dress (which isn't easy to maneuver around in and caused quite a stir on the train), I was sucked right back into Gail Carriger's universe, and was secretly wishing I was taking my first dirigible ride.


As always the writing style is witty and fast paced. The novel reads as a traditional Victorian detective novel with a lovely twist, but with an unexpected ending.


Alexia's unspoiled humour, sense of self, and independence makes her one of the best protagonists I have encountered in my many years as an avid reader. Now one mustn't forget Lord Maccon, Alpha male and delightful as ever (I might start batting for the wolf team just because of him). The banter between him and Alexia is, as in Soulless, extraordinary and left me in a fit of giggles. Sadly, his Alpha maleness makes me want to grab Alexia's parasol and whack him, thoroughly and repeatedly, over the head. Yet I have a feeling, I hope, I might change my mind when Blameless is released in September.



Changless introduces a vast variety of new characters, very colourful characters I might add. Apart from Alexia and Lord Maccon, I think my new favourites are milliner/inventor Madam Lefoux, and Lord Maccon's Gamma, Major Channing Channing of the Chesterfield Channings. I hope to see more of these characters in the future.



Overall the plot and characters leave you wanting more, and fast. I had my doubts about whether or not Changless could live up to Soulless, but Gail Carriger does a wonderful job.

If you haven't already read her first book, I suggest starting it at once, and don't stop until you've read both books.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Reading Challenge...

I made my selection for Dark Faerie Tales's Debut Urban Fantasy Challenge. I'll leave give you my take on them as a finish each book. The books are in random order. I know I still have 5 more to pick, but these are it for now.

  • Dark Oracle - Alayna Williams
  • Frost Moon - Anthony Francis
  • Shadow Blade - Seressia Glass
  • Grave Witch - Kalayne Price
  • Night Tides - Alex Prentiss
  • Shadow Bound - Erin Kellison
  • A Devil in the Details - K. A. Stewart
  • Shadow Marked - Anna J. Evans
  • Hunted by the Others - Jess Haines
  • Master of None - Sonya Bateman

Happy reading!





Thursday, April 1, 2010

Reading Challenges...

I decided to join two reading challenges over on Dark Faerie Tales. One is for Debut Paranormal Romance Novels and the other is for Debut Urban Fantasy Novels.

I have yet to pick my 15 novels for each challenge, but I'll update as soon as I do.





Go join and have fun reading.


Banner Making...

Okay so I've been dabbling with making banners. I am still very new to the craft, but having a ton of fun with it - especially with finding GIMP brushes and images.

If you've been over on Missie's The Unread Reader blog you know she's been blogging about making banners, and even had a banner making contest.

Orbit released a video on how the cover of Gail Carriger's thrid book, Blameless (will be released in September 2010), was created.

Here's a great article on how the cover art for Avalon Revisited by O. M. Grey was created.

Take a shot at making banners. Be warned! It's addivtive.