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    2011 Reading Challenge

    Fiendishly Bookish has read 3 books toward her goal of 250 books.



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    A Grand Romance Infused with Steamy Sensuality and Courtly Intrigues and yes...Vampires: "The Blood of the Rose" by Kate Pearce

    Book:                   Blood of the Rose

    Author:                Kate Pearce

    Publisher:           Signet

    ISBN/ASIN:         9780451232489

    Rating:                  5 Stars

    Release Date:    Out Now!!!

    Read an Excerpt

    Behind the scenes of the Tudor Vampire Chronicles

    Kate Pearce continues her amazingly vibrant and sensual Tudor Vampire Chronicles with the sequel to Kiss of the Rose. This time, in Blood of the Rose, a year has elapsed since the turmoil at Richmond Palace, and reluctantly Lady Rosalind Llewellyn and Sir Christopher Ellis have parted ways though not without heartfelt sacrifice. Can they ever be together, being who they are? Who their families are? And can they survive an uncertain future?

    Kate Pearce gives new meaning to “pining” between her star-crossed lovers Rosalind and Christopher who must overcome the hardest obstacles of all…their hearts. In Blood of the Rose, Rosalind and Rhys are summoned once again to Court, this time to the newly acquired Hampton Court. Queen Catherine has been dismissed, and in her place upstart Anne Boleyn has secured the King’s favors. The betrothal between Rosalind and Christopher still stands unchallenged, and the Court seethes with new dangers at every turn.

    Pearce has magnified the conflicts in Blood, providing an even greater challenge than her characters have ever faced. This time, Rosalind, Christopher, Rhys, Elias, and Olivia are outnumbered, outmaneuvered and have little to bargain with. Each exist in a precarious state, their status at Court uncertain. Welcomed in certain circles, and excluded from others, together they must find any means of leverage to free the King of Anne Boleyn.

    But this time, there is no easy solution, and Pearce makes this case over and over again that retreat sometimes is the only option. Sometimes it is the only solution. Besides Hampton Court being overrun by the political aspirations of the Vampire Council, the greater threat is the Boleyn family and their entourage-Vampires….every single one of them. And with one gaze, and a dash of vampire magic, Anne holds the most powerful man in her sway.

    Blood of the Rose is very much a coming together of Pearce’s characters and a sort of reckoning. It is where they evolve, turn the corner. Just like the insurmountable obstacles that Pearce has placed in her characters path, the conflicts of the heart run that same parallel route. Rosalind and Christopher cannot continue apart, yet they also cannot decide how to move forward. Elias cannot continue blindly following the dictates of the Vampire Council, Rhys must accept that Rosalind is lost to him romantically and must move on, and Anne Boleyn has managed to place a wedge between Christopher and Rosalind. Christopher must face down his Uncle Edward and extricate himself from certain death by the Cult of Mithras.

    All of Pearces’ actors must walk a tightrope as the plots thicken, and the conflicts become inflamed, all the while maintaining a delicate balance of the Kings favor. But most of all, each and every one of them must have faith that the maelstrom that is Anne Boleyn and the danger that will be unleashed at Court will inevitably be her downfall. Will they let the fates decide her path rather than defensive or offensive strategies?

    Blood of the Rose has a way anchoring into the heart and the mind on so many levels…through the tenderness of its connections; Rosalind and Christopher, the bonds that are forged between Elias and Christopher, and the truce between Rhys, once enemies, now friends united. It is a grand romance infused with steamy sensuality, steeped in suspense, danger, and the lustre of Pearce’s words that brings her settings and characters to life.

    August ushers in the next novel in the series, Mark of the Rose which looks to be Rhys’ and Verity’s story.

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)


    The Tudor Vampire a word...Brilliant. Reading "Kiss of the Rose" by Kate Pearce

    Book:                   Kiss of the Rose

    Author:                Kate Pearce

    Publisher:           Signet

    ISBN/ASIN:        9780451230942

    Rating:                 5 Stars

    Release Date:    Out Now!!!

    Read an Excerpt

    Kate Pearce has brought vampires out and back to their historical roots so-to-speak with Kiss of the Rose, into a realm where they dominate and flourish amid the sumptuous splendor of the Tudor Court filled with intrigue, murder, and a petulant Henry VIII caught between the machinations of the Vampire Council and the Druids. This combustible melding of the paranormal and the arcane mysticism of Druidic lore gives Kiss of the Rose a bit of a Marion Zimmer Bradley feel, but with a sanguine edge that makes its point felt throughout this richly engrossing novel.

    Pearce couldn’t have picked a more perfect era in time for her period piece-when Queen Catherine is on the wane, and another stands to replace her, upsetting those who hold the real power at Court and potentially King Henry at sway.  Summoned to combat a potential threat to the monarchy, Rosalind Llewellyn and her mentor Rhys Williams arrive to Court to find more than either of them bargained for.  Multiple dangers coalesce within the confines of Richmond Palace, some of which allude that there is a greater game at play and that they are mere pawns in it.  Not only is there the obvious threat of a rogue vampire on the loose intent on either possessing or murdering the King, but Rosalind must contend with Sir Christopher Ellis, her sworn enemy, countering her every move.

    The two of them, blood enemies, one a defender of the vampire dominion and the other sworn to annihilate it, Christopher and Rosalind must pull their resources to survive and collaborate against a deadlier foe than the Vampire Council can combat. Without their combined powers, the future of the monarchy, and even England is at stake. Together with Rhys and council member Elias Warner, each of them play a pivotal role in defending the sovereigns at risk, and battling a powerful vampire that could have blood ties to Sir Christopher.  

    But what is even more intoxicating to Kiss of the Rose is the mysterious prophecy that seems to be unfolding with every step that Christopher and Rosalind make. Their unusual attraction to one another, mortal enemies, yet they are like moths to a flame, fighting every movement that draws them closer to the inevitable burn. The culmination of their passion is incandescent and beautifully played out by Pearce amidst the greater tapestry of the prophecy, the arcane rights of Beltane, and the ever present dangers of Court. Readers will hunger to unravel the treacherous path of the prophecy to see where it leads…its purpose not yet at hand.

    Pearce has delicately choreographed Kiss of the Rose as lively as any galliard or saltarello, her characters whirling to her own devices, parrying back and forth amongst themselves as well as in the Court’s tapestried chambers. Kiss brings with it the fragrant winds of change to the genre, is richly verdant and consuming, its plot just as magnetic as the attraction between her two main characters. Once I finished it, I could not wait to get Blood of the Rose on my Kindle immediately. And I mean immediately.

    At the end of Kiss of the Rose, Pearce leaves you hungering for more intrigue and better yet...more of Christopher and Rosalind who are placed in a prickly position by the King. How will their warring families deal with their new status? Has the prophecy been fulfilled or is there more to come? And who is the mysterious new foe(s) that Lady Celia de Alonso hints of?

    In a few words: bloody brilliant, inventive, scrumptious, and definitely consuming.

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)



    Carnal Angels and Insatiable Soul Thirst: Reading "Bond With Me" by Anne Marsh

    Book:                   Bond with Me

    Author:               Anne Marsh

    Publisher:           Leisure

    ISBN/ASIN:         9781428509221

    Rating:                  4 Stars

    Release Date:    Out Now!!!

    Carnal angels, a heavenly battle gone wrong, and drinking down the shimmering life of a soul-this is the fate of the Fallen in Anne Marsh’s erotic thriller Bond with Me.

    Marsh’s damned angels exist as sensual lords of darkness in the seething underground of M-City, where the icy currents of the Moskva River churns and the fragmented Soviet-era buildings still stand-remnants of the distant past. For the Fallen, the only way to feel is to drink in the life of a soul-by bonding with another and in turn, they can grant any wish…any desire. This has placed them in an envious position of power in M-City ruling over the paranormal subterranean elements with an iron fist, and as immortal enigmas to the human population.

    For the human female population of M-City, being bonded to a Fallen is tantamount to a lifetime goal. But for Mischka Baran it is one goal that she has no intention of pursuing. When she enters G2 the most exclusive club in the City and owned by Brends Duranov one of the Fallen’s powerful, she goes with the intent of tracking down her wayward cousin Pelinor. She doesn’t imagine becoming embroiled in a murder, enmeshed with the Fallen, Pelinor disappearing, or being hunted by a predator. But in the blink of an eye, and in the gun sights of Brends, her life as she knows it, changes forever.

    When M-City suffers a rash of brutal murders, all fingers point towards a Fallen rogue. That is until Brends and Mischka stumble upon clues that show that this particular rogue is targeting a certain set of women, with a certain set of bloodlines and a conspiracy that will keep them eternally forsaken on Earth. They must delve deep into their ancient history, back to the time of the wars, and the Fall to remember what was forgotten and realize that Michael’s promise of redemption wasn’t an empty one.  Much in the way that Christine Feehan’s Carpathians hunger for their soul mate, so do the Fallen have a soul-mate intended for each and every one of them.

    The Fallen are a tad remote, but intriguing and insatiably sexy. It’s her female lead, Mischka Baran that deserves a bit of our attention. Without excessive posturing, Marsh fashions Mischka as a self-assured dominant, her cool demeanor prevailing and tempering Brend’s volatility-in this, the two characters complete each other, blow hot and cold, and are evenly matched. This theme of ice and flame is repeated throughout Bond with Me, its setting purposeful…the cold, brittle world of M-City juxtaposed with the banked flames of the Fallen. It is also Mischka’s ice that cracks, adding to the sense of capitulation when Marsh starts the steady burn, capably weaving and fanning the embers into a full-blown inferno that licks out of control.  Any more Marsh accelerant and we would have to contend with a conflagration.

    The added tasties to Marshs’ mix are Brends’ brother-in-arms, Zer and Dathan, who also play pivotal roles in Bond with Me. Their mysterious leader Zer, who can barely contain his intensity, is an incredible tidbit to dangle in front of readers. Relegated to witness the bond ceremony between Brends and Mischka, his ferocity and sexual hunger is an overwhelming scene stealer. And knowing that he has not been passive in past bonding ceremonies had me licking my lips hungrily. I am hoping, hoping, hoping, that Marsh’s next novel about the Fallen is about our lovely deprived Zer.  Just think plate tectonics…he is a 12 on the Richter scale ready to blow, to create some earth shattering movement.

    Dathan on the other hand, who is paired with Pelinor is dreamy mix. His desires held close under wraps but eyes squarely on Pell, he has managed to befriend her for four years without touching her, without coercing her to a bond until the right time. That amount of patience is well worth the wait, as Marsh takes it to the limit, steam bath style.  Incredibly detailed and nuanced.

    All in all, Bond with Me is not something to miss. Intense, incredibly sensual and seductive, I hung onto every word, fully transported into the world of the Fallen. Highly recommended.

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)


    Of Snakes, Other Beasties and the Haunting Beauty of New 2: Reading "Darkness Becomes Her"

    Book:                   Darkness Becomes Her

    Author:                Kelly Keaton

    Publisher:           Simon & Schuster

    ISBN/ASIN:         9781442409248 (arc)

    Rating:                  4 Stars

    Release Date:    February 22, 2011

    Check out Kelly Keaton.

    Power, knowledge and vengeance…these are the three key ingredients to Darkness Becomes Her, Kelly Keaton’s debut YA series. Keaton writes a strong YA novel about Ari Selkirk, a seventeen-year-old on a quest to find out anything she can about her biological family. As a former orphan and foster kid who grew up in the system, Ari is not anyone’s victim. This is a gun-toting teen, trained as a junior bail bondsman by her current loving foster parents, who most of all, is a survivor first, and shit-kicker later.

    Her quest takes her to the boundary of The Rim and New 2. And later, directly into belly of the beast, New 2, that dark territory formerly known as New Orleans. Rebuilt into a strange land, governed by the Novem, and peopled by even stranger citizens (if the rumors are true), New 2 is the spectacular jewel in the crown for Keaton. It’s a sultry amalgam of the steamy legacy of New Orleans, but refashioned into Keaton’s own brooding and twisted territory. Rife as a playground and doubling as a sanctuary for paranormal entities known at the Doue, and the nine aristocratic families of the Novem, New 2 is crooked, labyrinthine, seething, and otherworldly. Home to demi-gods and even gods.

    The rag-tag group that Ari is ensconced in during her quest read as post-apoc, paranormal, and grungy-homeless-hip. Settled in a Garden District manse, that hovers between decrepit and intact, this urban family reluctantly fills her in a way that she’s never before experienced-not even by the Sanderson’s, her current foster parents.

    Violet is the key to Ari…the one person that has been able to crack the façade, to bring her beyond the inhuman shield she had forged that helped her survive through the most tormented parts of her life. Sebastian Lamarliere also is a critical character in understanding who Ari is. His shadowy mystery will have readers swooning. Even though his distant and brooding persona does not take away the fact that he is Josephine Arnaud’s grandson, the ruling matriarch of the Arnaud family. This lends a sinister twist to Keating’s story because it introduces the possibility of Bastien being influenced by his crooked grandmere. (those who have read the novel know the truth-so I won’t mention it here)

    For the reader, Ari exists both as delightfully damaged and yet full of light. Like Carol-Ann we are drawn to her, her purity of spirit encased within a tough shell. The lure of her legendary ancestry has Keaton yanking on the chains of the Greek pantheon, complete with a plethora of snakes who might or might not do Ari’s bidding as well as pulling in other familiar paranormal beasties. Another build-up to the show-down that will happen in Book 2 are the alliances that Ari has made with the Born or Made, and her control over her extraordinary power. Ari will be a force to be reckoned with in the next novel…hopefully she will not have a head of snakes by then...

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)


    Next Up: Of Snakes and Other Beasties...Reading "Darkness Becomes Her"

    Book:                   Darkness Becomes Her

    Author:                Kelly Keaton

    Publisher:           Simon & Schuster

    ISBN/ASIN:         9781442409248 (arc)

    Rating:                  4 Stars

    Release Date:    February 22, 2011

    Check out Kelly Keaton here.

    From the back cover blurb: Ari can’t help feeling lost and lone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is…Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long-dead mother: Run. Are can sense that someone or something is getting closer than they should. But its impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she is running from, or why she is being pursued…(Simon & Schuster)

    It was late o’clock when I finally shut the cover of Darkness Becomes Her…Review pending shortly. Just allow me a cuppa of my Viennese Roast by Allegro and some breakfast.~Miz Fiendishly