Monday, 26 April 2010

Please help me and vote!!


Hey everyone, I need your help!

I decided it was time to customize Ex Libris and to really make it my own personal blog, so a series of changes are to be made in the near future, among others a brand new makeover (yay!) with my own button and a customized domain!

I would like to purchase my own domain name but unfortunately both exlibris.com and exlibris.net are taken (though neither site exists, they just reserved them, grr!), so anyway I've been thinking all weekend, trying to come up with a solution, these are the finalists I've found so far:
1. myexlibris.net

2. exlibrisonline.net

3. exlibrisonline.org

4. exlibris-online.com
 
5. the-exlibris.com
 
6. other (please tell me what!)

7. stella-exlibris.com
(Several people suggested using a form of my current blogspot domain, so what about stella-exlibris.com? I can't add it to the poll as it can't be modified once people started voting, so if you are for stella-exlibris.com, please just say so in the comments!)
 
Please tell me which one you think would be the best choice. I would like a name which is easy to remember and spell and of course have the same name for the blog as in the domain name. So, even though I love Ex Libris, if it has to be changed in order to accomodate the domain name, I'm ready to make that sacrifice.
 
If you think I should go with a different name than the ones suggested above please help me out and tell me either in comment or you can always e-mail me at stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com.

Please vote in the poll on the top left sidebar or in the comments.
 
Thank you all very much, I'm really grateful!!
 
Stella

ETA: Several people suggested using a form of my current blogspot domain, so what about stella-exlibris.com? I can't add it to the poll as it can't be modified once people started voting, so if you are for stella.exlibris.com, please just say so in the comments! Thank you to those who took the time to vote! *hugs*

ETA2: The more I think about the more I like stella-exlibris.com, with this domain name I wouldn't have to create a new Twitter/Facebook/Gmail account, and since I always sign my e-mail with stella.exlibris, I believe it would be easily recognizable. Don't you think?

Sunday, 25 April 2010

In My Mailbox (#6)

In My Mailbox
is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren

This week I haven't received any books, which I suspect the Icelandic ash situation is to blame for ..humph..

However, I still got two books to show you as I forgot to include them in last week's IMM, so here they are:


I won an ARC of Firespell from Chloe Neill and an autographed copy of Embers by Laura Bickle from Wicked Jungle.

Look what a nice message Laura wrote to me:



And what was in your mailbox this week?


Friday, 23 April 2010

Book Blogger Hop (#5)


It's Friday, and you know what that means! (Besides the obvious TGIF) It means it's Hop time again!

Head on over quickly to Jen's blog, Crazy for Books to sign up your blog or simply wander around and discover some great new book blogs! And don't forget to spread the love and leave comments, we all love them! :-D

Welcome to Ex Libris, humble home of my reading and bookaholic addiction :-)

I'm hosting my first giveaway to celebrate passing the 50 followers milestone (since then the 100 followers have been passed too, so there are already 2 winners, yay!), so check out my 50 followers - Pick Your Genre Giveaway! and enter for your chance to win any of the featured 6 books or a 10 USD gift card! Right now I'm at 124 followers, when I reach 150 followers, a 3rd winner will be added, so spread the word and follow Ex Libris ;-)

You can also find Ex Libris on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter.

Here are some of the great blogs I discovered thanks to The Hop last week:


First the cute design of Felicia's blog will catch your eye, then you will stay there browsing through her many interesting posts. A wonderful blog, very well put together.

Karen is at this moment hosting a cool giveaway for the 1st book in Kelley Armstrong's YA series: The Awakening, hop there to enter. (She also has lots of cute dogs and cats you'll be able to catch glimpses of them in some posts ;-))



Is a very young blog, it was created only 3 weeks ago! Go and visit Amber and show her the famous blogger love, she'll appreciate it! :-)


But enough talking, let's do the hopping! ;-)

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Reading Challenge: The Typically British Reading Challenge 2010 - Wrap Up Post

This is the place where I'll list all the books I read for this challenge:

1. Days to Remember by Rachel Moore

2. The Painted Veil by William Somerset Maugham

3. Thaw by Fiona Robyn



Updated on 20 April 2010


I'm aiming to complete the "Cream Crackered" level, meaning I have to read 8 Typically British novels.


So far:
 
3 / 8 books. 38% done!


Monday, 19 April 2010

Giveaway Update! 2nd winner added!!

Ex Libris has 100 followers!! You know what this means?
It means a 2nd winner has been added to my 50 Followers - Pick Your Genre Giveaway!

Thank you all of you for following Ex Libris and spreading the word!

 I would like to reward as many of you as I can so spread the word, because if I reach 150 followers before the end of the giveaway a 3rd winner will also be added!

You can find the rules and the list of prizes here.

INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY

ENDS 2 MAY 2010


ps. Just to let you know that I like contests and giveaways so much and so far I enjoy very much hosting my own, so I plan on having other contests and giveaways in the near future, so keep an eye out for them! ;-)

It's Monday, What are you reading? (#6)


It's Monday, What are you reading this week? is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read and the books to be finished this week.

Books I completed this week

I still didn't get as much reading done as I would have liked, but I finished reading these novels:

- Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione: 1st book in the Demonica series, my review will be up shortly.

- The Painted Veil by William Somerset Maugham: A re-read, but enjoyed it just as much as the first time. A brilliant novel and a wonderful read!

- Skin Deep by Karen Chance: It was my first novel from Karen Chance, my only complaint is that it was way too short!

Reviews posted this week





Books I am currently reading

I still have quite a few books on the go: 

- I'm continuing with the remaining 3 novellas in Inked by Karen Chance / Marjorie M. Liu / Yasmine Galenorn / Eileen Wilks, all these authors are unknown to me, haven't read anything from them previously, so I'm curious, I always love discovering new authors and series! :-)

- I stopped reading Thaw by Fiona Robyn which is a wonderfully deep and moving novel because I didn't want to read just 10 pages at once on the bus, I wanted to give it my undivided attention and read it in a calm and undisturbed manner, so will be reading this either at night or during the weekend at home.

- Land of Falling Stars by Keta Diablo: still having the same problem: this book is an ebook and since I don't have an eReader yet, I can only read it at home on my laptop, and this week I got home at scandalously late hours.. so it's still pending...


Books I can't wait to start soon

- Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews, finally my copy has arrived from The Book Depo! yay! The only problem is that I know once I start it I will devour the 3rd book too, and I don't want to read them all at once because then there will be nothing left to read :-/

- Soulless by Gail Carriger: Have been eyeing this book for quite some time too, all the raving reviews and the unusual setting and the praised humourous, witty tone made me very curious to read it, so I've put it on the very top of my TBR pile. 


And what are you reading this week?

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Sunday Treats: Floating Island

Sunday Treats #4

Floating Island*


This dessert is my dad's absolute favourite. When we want to surprise him for his birthday or just to spoil him a bit we always make this and it's guaranteed he'll be in 7th heaven! (And it's completely understandable because it is really yummy..mm..)

* What is a "floating island"? A cold dessert and a classic French recipe consisting of light meringue floating on crème anglaise (a vanilla custard). (Source: Wikipedia)

Ingredients: for 6 persons

1,5 litre milk
1 vanilla stick
4 eggs
120 gr sugar
1 spoon of flour
1 lemon
a pinch of salt

Directions:

1. Put the milk with the vanilla stick a saucepan and boil it.

2. Meanwhile separate the eggs, add a pinch a salt and whip the whites with an electric mixer until foamy, then add 40 gr sugar and beat againa  bit more, until the egg whites are hard. 

3. With a tablespoon, place delicately the egg whites in the milk, leave for 2 minutes then turn aside and leave again for 2 minutes. Remove whites from the milk and put them on a plate.

4. Once all the "islands" have been cooked, take the milk off the stove. Mix together the egg yolks, 80 gr sugar and the flour then at last add a couple of spoonfuls of the vanilla-milk to the yellow sugary mixture, and when it is liquid, pour it in the warm milk.

5. Put the milk back on the stove on low heat and constantly stirr it while it thickens.

6. Optional if you want it to have a slight citrus/fresh flavour: Take off the light yellow milk off the stove and at last put in it the skin and juice of the lemon.

7. At last pour the milk in a big glass bowl (or several smaller ones) and put the white islands on top of the custard sauce, so they will be floating atop. Let it cool, and once it is not warm anymore put it in the fridge for several hours, serve chilled.

Enjoy! :-)

Mmm... *dreamy sighs while stuffing myself with the light white puffs*


In My Mailbox (#5)

In My Mailbox
is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren


This week was fantastic! I finally received the books I have lately ordered or won in the last couple of weeks. Every single day the postman brought a new package, boy was I happy each time I saw him!! So rather to make a long post with introducing all books with their blurbs I thought I'd take a combined photo of them.

Bought:


Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews
Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
Stray by Rachel Vincent
The Chief by Monica McCarty

Magic Burns & Magic Strikes (Urban Fantasy): some of you may remember my agonizing post when after finishing the 1st Kate Daniels novel Magic Bites I immediately wanted to order the following books from the Book Depo but both of them were out of stock for about a week and how I damned my prudence when I wanted to read the first book in the series and see that if I liked it, then I'll order the rest, and thanks to it I wasn't able to devour the sequels! grr. So now they have finally arrived, I have them on my shelves, and can't wait to gobble them up!!

Stray (Urban Fantasy): I haven't read anything by Rachel Vincent yet, but have heard great things about her UF series, so in one of my weak online-book-buying-shopaholic moment I ordered it too, can't wait to discover this series, at least there are many follow up novels! (I love it that when I like a book there are quite a number of books already available in the series and I don't have to wait for them to be published.)

The Chief (Historical Romance): I'm a huge fan of Monica McCarty! Her writing is extraordinary and her historical novels are so well researched and yet not dull or heavy, but very enjoyable. Her characterisations are well done and her tone is entertaining. So I was looking forward to her new trilogy being published. This is the 1st book in her new Highland Guard Series.


And now for the books I have won:


Cara Mia by Denise Verrico
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Mind Games by Carolyn Crane

Soulless (Steampunk, Victorian Paranormal): I have been eyeing this book for quite some time after all the raving praises I read about it on other blogs. The premise sounds interesting, but I was told it is Gail Carriger's writing style and extraordinary humour which really makes the Parasol Protectorate series outstanding and one of a kind. Can't wait to start reading it.

I won this from Jessica at Book Reviews by Jess at her 400 followers contest, thank you Jess! :-)

Mind Games (Urban Fantasy): Another book about which I am very very curious. The premise is unheard of and original (come on a hypochondriac heroine? lol), and though Carolyn Crane said that this book is only about 5-8% funny, after reading several interviews with her and cracking up laughing without fail at each one of them, I can't wait to see Carolyn's actual writing style, I have a feeling I'll be in for a treat! 

I won this from Doug at SciFi Guy, thanks!

Cara Mia (Paranormal): I haven't heard of this series before, but I think contests are a fantastic way to discover new authors and series, so I'll added it to my ever growing TBR pile (had to be divided in two as otherwise it would have toppled over).

Won this from Paranormal Haven, thank you ladies! And Denise even autographed it for me, thank you!!


So as you can see I'm a very happy cookie with so many new shiny books staring back at me, my only problem will be to decide which one to read first! ;-) lol


And what was in your mailbox this week?


Saturday, 17 April 2010

New commenting system

Hey Everyone!

I have to admit that right after I saw the new cool Intense Debate commenting system over at Choco's blog (in which a girl reads) I tried installing it but it didn't work, it wouldn't allow any comments to be posted, so I gave up. But after seeing it pop up on more and more blogs during the last few weeks it nagged at me, so I asked for help (*cough* harassed *cough*) from a couple of very nice and helpful bloggers who had the Intense Debate feature working on their site to help me, and TA-DA! It works now!! /Thank you Martha for your simple and useful explanation and thanks Natalie for your quick reply!! :-)/ 

So please comment away and I'll be able to reply to each one of your comments separately (and you'll also advertise your own blog at the same time, isn't it cool?).

Friday, 16 April 2010

Book Review: Made to Be Broken by Kelley Armstrong

Grade: 4.5 stars

Novellus superbus!

Amazon appetizer:

To the outside world Nadia Stafford is a smart, good-looking, law-abiding citizen. Well, two out of three's not bad...An ex-cop with a legal code all her own, Nadia has a secret life as a world-class assassin. She works only for one New York crime family, who pay her handsomely to bump off traitors.

But when a troubled teenager and her baby vanish in the woods near her home, Nadia's old detective instincts - and the memory of a past loss - compel her to investigate. With her enigmatic mentor Jack to support her, Nadia unearths sinister clues that point to an increasingly dark and deadly mystery. As her obsession over the case deepens, Nadia realises that the only way she can right the wrongs of the present is to face her own painful ghosts - or die trying. And so she sets off on the trail of a young woman no one else cares about - and a killer who is bound to strike again...

My thoughts: (My problem is that I read this novel quite a long time ago, right after the first one, but put off writing the review as I was reading some other exciting novels, and now I have a hard time remembering my thoughts and feelings about it. I solemnly vow not to do this in the future, because it's a pity that I lose those precious thoughts.)

This is the second novel in Kelley Armstrong's new series about ex-cop turned hitwoman Nadia Stafford. It is even better than the first book, Exit Strategy. The writing flows more smoothly and tt is obvious Kelley Armstrong has found her voice and became more comfortable in Nadia's skin.

Most of my comments from my Exit Strategy review are still pertinent:

- Armstrong's characterzitaion is always one of the strongest and best traits of her novels. Her characters in Made to Be Broken are no exception. Those who read Exit Strategy couldn't wait to see Nadia, Jack, Quinn and Evelyn again. We can finally see more of the relationships between Nadia and Quinn and Nadia and Jack and how they develop. Though Quinn is the ultimate nice guy, I couldn't help but root for Jack and his mute support.

- Her humourous writing makes it not only an exciting but a very enjoyable and entertaining read. I LOVE Kelley Armstrong's sarcastic, dry, trademark humour, thanks to it Nadia's thoughts and the dialogues between Jack and her liven up the investigation of the dark and depressing crimes.  

My only complaint or negative comment would be regarding the plot, the main mystery itself. I found the mystery of the 1st book more interesting and exciting and think it was only in this aspect Made to Be Broken could have been better.

Verdict: A must-read for any Kelley Armstrong/mystery fans. It is a well written, greatly enjoyable read, I really hope more will come in the series becasue I want to read more about Nadia Stafford and her world!

Plot: 8/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 9/10
Writing: 10/10
Cover: 8/10



The BookDepository

Book Review: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Grade: 5 stars

Novellus Perfectus!
Goodreads summary: When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.
Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate's guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta's magic circles.

The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate's guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she's way out of her league—but she wouldn't have it any other way…
My thoughts: If I remember correctly, I first heard of Ilona Andrews on All Things Urban Fantasy where Abigail was raving about the Kate Daniels series. I don't know why I waited so long to order and then read it, because once I did, I was utterly captured by the magical universe Ilona Andrews created and became devoted to the Kate Daniels series.

The beginning of the novel might be daunting a bit at first, since the story starts deus ex machina: we are in the middle of events without any explanation or footnotes to understand the strange world and creatures Ilona Andrews has created. However, if you overcome your feeling lost and carry on, soon the story will reveal itself and will transport you to that magical Atlanta where magic is common and an everyday occurrence. (Check out Ilona Andrews official site, there is a Kate Daniels section where lots of interesting and very useful information can be found, among others the glossary to the different factions and creatures, presentation of some of the main characters and some general answers regarding the Kate Daniels universe or the M-Scans. I would advise you to check out the above links as the Kate Daniels universe is quite different from the usual UF universes and it can be a bit disorienting finding your feet at first.)  

The characters are all well developed and the actions are decribed in such a vivid and detailed way, you feel as if you were right there in the middle of the story.

The novel is narrated in the first person by the protagonist, Kate Daniels, a young twenty-something brave woman, who is alone in the world, having lost her father not too long ago, her mother when she was still a child, and now her only remaining family her guardian, good friend of her father was murdered. Kate works as a mercenery cleaning up magical problems. She is a strong yet very real character with flaws and insecurities. It is very refreshing to see a heroine who isn't perfect but human.

Kate's humour is bitingly sarcastic, she has bravado and a big mouth and tells off people who try to intimidate her. My favourite parts were her interactions with Curran, the Lord Beast, king of all weres. He, who is used to obedience and respect gets none of these from Kate. The first time they meet she calls him "Kitty, kitty", while he is a huge impressive golden lion! Just a small glimpse and you can understand why this novel made me chuckle so many times, which surprised me, usually urban fantasy novels aren't that funny. Well, Ilona Andrews series is an exception!

Ilona Andrews finds the perfect balance between packing the novel full of fast paced action and still developing details and spending time on deeper feelings, and she tops it all with fantastically humourous dialogues!

Curran is one of the main characters, the impressive and ruggedly handsome Lord Beast, king of all weres. He is extremely arrogant, frustrating the hell out of Kate, but responsible, brave and protective at the same time. He is a true leader figure and an irresisitible hero. His banter and cocky lines to Kate makes this novel so entertaining.

The plot is complex with a few small twists and turns keeping you interested and at the edge of your seat until the very end. (Be warned though that some mysteries will remain unsolved and you can only hope they will be revealed in the following books.) 

Verdict: This is a wonderful start to a fantastic new series! The story is fast paced, never dull due to the twists and turns, the characterisation is wonderful and another trait which makes Ilona Andrews and the Kate Daniels series outstanding is the humour! A truly enjoyable read, if you haven't read any Ilona Andrews books yet, don't tarry, go and procure yourself either Magic Bites (the 1st in the Kate Daniels series) or On the Edge (the 1st in The Edge series), you will thank me! ;-) Fans of Kelley Armstrong, urban fantasy lovers, this series is for you!

Plot: 8/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 9/10
Writing: 10/10
Cover: 9/10 (I love the mysterious green light and billowing mist, they give such a powerful athmosphere to the cover. The lion is also fantastic as well as the glowing sword, my only problem is the girl on the cover: it's not the way I imagined Kate, I wouldn't picture her to have such a potato nose.)




The BookDepository

Book Blogger Hop (#4)


Another week has gone by and it's Hop time again! If it doesn't ring any bell to you, then head on over quickly to Jen's blog, Crazy for Books to get to know what the Hop is and sign up your blog or simply wander around and discover some great new book blogs! And don't forget to spread the love and leave comments, we all love them! :-D

If you haven't been to Ex Libris yet then welcome! :-) I started blogging in February 2010, can't believe I'm about to pass the 3 months and become an "old" blogger according to The Hop Rules!

Since last week's Book Blogger Hop I passed the 50 followers milestone, so check out my 50 followers - Pick Your Genre Giveaway! and enter for your chance to win any of the featured 6 books or a 10 USD gift card! Right now I'm at 85 followers, when I reach 100 followers, a 2nd winner will be added, so spread the word and follow Ex Libris ;-)

You can also find Ex Libris on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter.

Here are some of the great blogs I discovered thanks to The Hop last week:


Blog of historical fiction novelist Priya Parmar. Priya's natural kindness and humour make reading her blog a sunny experience. Check it out, you'll enjoy it!


Who will not fall for such a lovely name? And Leanna's blog is just as charming, easy navigation and beautiful pastel colours. (This blog was a finalist in Parajunkee's Big Sis' Little Blog Mentorship Program.) 

But enough talking, go and hop away to discover some great new blogs!;-)

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

2 New Awards Received



I received the Happy 101 Award from Laurie at Bitten by Paranormal Romance, thanks Laurie! :-)

What to do:
- List 10 things that make you happy.
- Try and do at least one of them today.
- Tag 10 bloggers that brighten your day.
- Link back to the person that tagged you.

10 things that make me happy:

1. Singing and dancing
2. Looking at the sky and the clouds
3. Eating desserts! :-D
4. Spending time with my two little sisters
5. Travelling!
6. Lying in bed listening to the rain
7. Getting books in the mail
8. Having fun and behaving like teenagers with my best friends
9. My parents
10. Curling up with a good book and being able to read for hours!

Today I did: no.7, I finally received The Chief by Monica McCarty which I ordered 2 weeks ago! Can't wait to read it on the weekend! (I also did no.2, I looked up at the sky, but it didn't make me happy, because it was dark grey, full of thick clouds)

I am passing this award on to these amazing bloggers who make me want to check out the updates on my blogger dashboard every morning:

1. Book Reviews by Jess
2. Cheeky Reads
3. Darkly Reading
4. DemonLover's Book Reviews & More
5. Lisa and Laura Write
6. Mindful Musings
7. Paranormal Haven
8. Reading Angel
9. Stories and Sweeties
10. The Fiction Enthusiast


 

I received this Honest Scarp Award from Caz at The Great Escape, thank you!

According to the rules I have to state 10 honest facts about myself, so here it goes:

1. I'm fascinated by old gothic churches, I love their athmosphere!
2. I graduated from law school 3 years ago
3. I am very lazy, the funny thing is that people are convinced I am diligent and ambitious! lol
4. I love to eat! People don't believe I eat as much as I say because thankfully I inherited my mom's lucky figure, and when they see me eat they wonder how I do it.
5. I LOVE Buffy, Veronica Mars, Bones, Friends, How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory!
6. Last year I became godmother to the sweet precious little daughter of my cousin
7. I would have loved to have an older brother!
8. I have already lived abroad in several countries and cities, and I would like to live for a few months at least in the US and Paris!
9. My dream trip is to make a long, several weeks (or even months) journey through Latin America
10. I love rollercoasters! When other people scream, I almost choke on laughter! :-)

I'm passing it along to the following 5 bloggers:

1. Strictly Reviews
2. Read into This
3. Over the Edge Book Reviews
4. Modern Myth Makers
5. Lost in Ink

Traveling Through Tuesday (#4)



Traveling Through Tuesday

Do you like to read books that set in a certain city, state, or country? Do you ever find a town in a book that just calls your name and you can't wait to tell someone about it?

This fantastic new meme was Jen's idea from Crazy for Books and is hosted by Lori over at Lori's Reading Corner.

This Tuesday I am
in CHINA!

 

This past week I've been re-reading The Painted Veil by William Somerset Maugham, which takes place in Hong-Kong and Mei-Tan-Fu county in China.

Three years ago I was lucky enough to go and visit China! I received as a graduation gift from my parents a 16 days-long tour of China's imperial cities, and to this day it was one of the biggest experiences/adventures of my life!

Walking the Great Wall was such an elightening moment: being on top of the world and looking out at the vast green mountain covered vista!

The Great Wall


The Temple of Heaven in Beijing

Though I haven't been to Hong-Kong or seen too much of the Chinese countryside, I can very well picture the scene where this novel is set. For some reason I keep thinking that it is set in Shanghai and not Hong-Kong (maybe the film changed that? or I simply remember it erronously), and since I was in Shanghai it isn't too hard picturing what it must have looked like before the time of the huge skyscrapers as the European district stayed pretty much the same:

Shanghai


And where are you traveling this Tuesday?


Saturday, 10 April 2010

50 followers - Pick your genre giveaway!

Yay! Ex Libris passed the 50 followers milestone so to celebrate I'm hosting my first giveaway!

I've been wracking my brain to come up with a cool idea or theme or just prizes which you will like, so here is what I came up with: there will be books from several genres you can pick from, I hope you'll like them! (But if none of the books below interest you, no worries, you can get your choice of book from the Book Depository too!)

INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY
ENTER BEFORE 2 MAY 2010

The Prizes - What you can win:

For the paranormal romance lovers:

Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione (#1st in the Demonica series)

In a place where ecstasy can cost you your life . . .

She's a demon-slayer who hungers for sensual pleasure-but fears it will always be denied her. Until Tayla Mancuso lands in a hospital run by demons in disguise, and the head doctor, Eidolon, makes her body burn with unslakable desire. But to prove her ultimate loyalty to her peers, she must betray the surgeon who saved her life.

Two lovers will dare to risk all.

Eidolon cannot resist this fiery, dangerous woman who fills him with both rage and passion. Not only is she his avowed enemy, but she could very well be the hunter who has been preying upon his people. Torn between his need for the truth and his quest to find his perfect mate before a horrific transformation claims him forever, Eidolon will dare the unthinkable-and let Tayla possess him, body and soul...


For the Jane Austen lovers:

The Man Who Loved Jane Austen by Sally Smith O'Rourke
What if you found a 200-year-old love letter written from a fictional character to the writer who created him? And what if, next to that letter, was another addressed to this character . . . from the author herself? Truth may be stranger than fiction, but one woman is about to find out what happens when fiction becomes truth...New York artist Eliza Knight certainly did not realize it at the time, but her life changed when she bought the old, beat-up vanity table one lazy Sunday afternoon. Tucked away behind the mirror she found two letters, one sealed, but one already opened: May 12th, 1810. Dearest Jane, the Captain has found me out. I am being forced to go into hiding immediately. But if I am able, I shall still be waiting at the same spot tonight. Then you will know everything you wish to know. F. Darcy.

For the crime and suspense lovers:

Déjá Dead by Kathy Reichs (#1st book in the Temperence Brenann series)

Forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan has finally planned a weekend off to explore Montreal. But when an unidentified female corpse is discovered meticulously dismembered and stashed in garbage bags, her weekend plans--and her life--are turned upside down.
 (I have this one with a different cover, but I couldn't find that one on the net) 

For the chick lit lovers:

An Offer You Can't Refuse by Jill Mansell



Lola has no intention of accepting when her boyfriend Dougie's snobbish mother offers her £10,000 to break up with him. Then she discovers a secret that makes her think again. Dougie would probably have broken up with her in the long run, and this way she can help one of the people she loves most in the world.
Ten years later, though, when Lola meets Dougie again, her feelings for him are as strong as ever. But she broke Dougie's heart – and he's about to discover that she was paid to do it. She can never tell him the truth, so can she get him back? Well, Lola's very attractive and very persuasive. But even she's got her work cut out this time…

For the romance lovers:

Knight in My Bed by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

As chieftain of the Clan MacInnes, Lady Isolde will do anything to protect her people -- including sacrifice herself to the enemy. Donall the Bold, laird of the hated MacLeans, lies locked in her dungeon awaiting execution. But rather than slay him, Isolde comes up with a daring plan to forge a lasting peace between their clans.
Though Donall curses his beautiful captor, only a madman would refuse to savor the pleasures beneath that tantalizing aura of dignity and grace. But Isolde offers a mere covenant ... and Donall craves nothing less than total conquest. Vowing to steal her heart and take his freedom, the renowned warrior instead will find himself in a different kind of prison -- one made of sweet, decadent passion, and one he may never wish to escape.

For the classic lovers:

Frenchman's Creek by Daphne DuMaurier

Bored with the frivolous life of the royal court, the captivating Lady Dona St. Columb retires to her country estate, leaving her dull husband behind in town. In countryside seclusion, she encounters the dashing French pirate who is responsible for sacking the Cornish coast.  


The books come from my personal library, so I will be posting them. They are all brand new, except Déjá Dead, An Offer You Can't Refuse and Knight in My Bed, which I bought in second hand bookshops.



Rules:

- 1st winner will get their choice of book from the Book Depository up to 10 USD, or their choice of book from the above selection.

- For every new 50 followers there will be a new winner (so at 100 followers, there will be 2 winners, and so on.), who will have their pick from the above mentioned books.

This giveaway is open to all, so all international participants are welcome, you just have to be a follower of my blog!

You can enter until 2 May 2010, the winner(s) will be posted during the week.

How you can enter:

To enter simply post a comment below with your e-mail address and a reading recommendation to me, telling my why I have to read that book. No recommendation, no entry.

(You have to be a follower of my blog in order to enter, so if you aren't yet, then join on the left sidebar, below "Followers" with the little pics)

You can get extra entries in the usual ways:

+1 for tweeting this contest/sharing it on facebook/myspace/livejournal, etc. (+1 for every place you spread the word)
+2 for following Ex Libris on Twitter/Facebook/Network Blogs (+2 for each one of them)
+2 placing the contest on your sidebar
+3 posting about the contest in an actual post on your blog
+4 placing Ex Libris on your blog roll

Please post all the links for your extra entries in your comment below so I can verify them.

I think I have covered everything, but if you have a question don't hesitate to drop me an e-mail.

Thank you and good luck!! :-) 

Friday, 9 April 2010

Book Blogger Hop (#3)


Another week has gone by and it's Hop time again! If it doesn't ring any bell to you, then head on over quickly to Jen's blog, Crazy for Books to get to know what the Hop is and sign up your blog or simply wander around and discover some great new book blogs! And don't forget to spread the love and leave comments, we all love them! :-D

So if you are new to Ex Libris, welcome! :-) I'm quite a new blogger, started blogging in February 2010 (can you believe I didn't even know there was such things as book blogs until Januray?! I know, crazy!). This week I passed the 50 followers milestone, so I'll host my first giveaway! Yippie! (I will post the giveaway details once I figure out the prizes and other rules, either Saturday or Monday, so stay tuned and come back to check it out and toss your anme in the hat!)

You can also find Ex Libris on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter.

Here are some of the great blogs I discovered thanks to The Hop:


I am in LOVE with the layout of this blog and Sabrina's cheeky and sassy style is more than entertaining! If you visit her, don't forget to check out her rating scale, fantastically original and funny, well worth hopping over! :-)


The Fiction Enthusiast is also a new blog started in February too, don't you just love her colourful fun design? makes me jealous, lol! :-)


Who is celebrating her 100 followers right now with a great giveaway, so visit her and enter the contest!

So enough talking, off to hopping! ;-)

Book Review: I Never Fancied Him Anyway by Claudia Carroll


Grade: 2 stars

Novellus Malus!
Goodreads appetizer: Ever since Cassandra was a little girl, she's had a remarkable psychic gift. Now a successful columnist for a weekly magazine, she predicts the future with uncanny precision. And thanks to her stunning co-worker Charlene—and the latest love of Charlene's life, hot television producer Jack—Cassandra's moving up ... to daytime TV!
The trouble is, whenever Jack's around, the hapless seer's second sight goes dim—something that always seems to happen when a desirable single male is around. But despite a truly abysmal dating record, she believes Jack is the one for her ... though Charlene might strongly disagree. Is true love or outrageous catastrophe right around the corner? Cassandra doesn't have a clue. But it seems even being able to foretell the future can't protect her from what destiny has in store ... and sometimes fate won't allow you to look before you love.
My thoughts: I ordered this book because the cute cover and the funny title have caught my eye and after having read the blurb I couldn't wait to read it as it sounded original and cute.

Unfortunately the novel did not live up to my expectations, which considering that we are talking about chick lit weren't that high or unrealistic: I just wanted a cute, funny well-written story.

I Never Fancied Him Anyway didn't deliver. The characterisations are flat, the characters are shallow, 2D, clichéd, and because of the strict stereotypisation irritating. The protagonist Cassie is a lukewarm character: everybody loves her, she is described as pretty, and yet she doesn't have any character, substance. She is a washed up shadow of a character, even after 400something pages (written in the 1st person!) you don't feel like you know her. The hero/love interest isn't that much present in the novel, he has maybe 3-4 scenes tops. The supporting characters, Cassie's friends can be summed up in these few words: there is the rich-daddy's-girl-trust-fund-babe, the ecological-conscient-Amnesty-International-jeans-wearing-no-make-up-girl and the required gay-guy-friend. Each one of them is predictable and a dull stereotype.

The plot was fabricated and forced, no real twists or obstacles stood in the way of the H/H, and dragging out this suffering for no believable reason for 400pages was excruciating and irritating.

Claudia Carroll tries to make her novel and characters funny, but she tries too hard and thus makes it forced and unnatural.

Verdict: I really wanted to like and enjoy this novel, but I just couldn't and it was not for lack of trying. I'm not sure I will pick up another Claudia Carroll novel in the future. If you're looking for a funny, cute and entertaining chick lit, pick up anything by Melissa Nathan (The Nanny and The Learning Curve are especially wonderful!), or Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella or Sammy's Hill by Kristin Gore, they are all better choices than I Never Fancied Him Anyway.

Plot: 3/10
Characters: 3/10
Ending: 5/10
Writing: 6/10
Cover: 9/10


The BookDepository

Monday, 5 April 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (#5)


It's Monday, What are you reading this week? is a weekly event hosted by One Person's Journey Through a World of Books to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read and the books to be finished this week.

Books I completed this week

I didn't get too much reading done this week, the first part of the week was busy at work it being a short week, then when I was off work I had so many programs, so much things to do that I didn't have too much time for resting and reading.

Reviews posted this week

Books I am currently reading

I am having quite a few books on the go, I don't know which one to read, oh the dilemma! :-)

- I'm reading Thaw by Fiona Robyn which is absolutely wonderful!

- Land of Falling Stars by Keta Diablo: the problem is that it is an ebook and since I don't have an eReader yet, I can only read it at home on my laptop, so I progress very slowly as usually I'm too tired at night when I get in.

- I started re-reading The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham (the movie with Edawrd Norton and Naomi Watts was based on this novel) for a book club reading. It is a very athmospheric read, I fell in love with Maugham's style when I first read it last year and so far I'm enchanted again.
- I'm also reading Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione, which is great but due to its steamy cover and its X-rated content I prefer not reading this in public, and since I usually read on my way to work on the bus, again this slows me down.

Books I can't wait to start soon

Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews!! Finally The Book Depo has it!! yay! So I ordered it (and the 3rd Kate Daniels novel) so it shoudl soon be on its way, and maybe will feature in next Sunday's IMM! :-)


And what are you reading this week?

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Book Review: Wicked Knight by Tierney O'Malley

Grade: 4 stars

Novellus Superbus!
Goodreads appetizer: He vowed never to love again. She is afraid to love. A passion so strong they cannot resist.

Ruggedly handsome pediatrician, Dr. Tristan Knight, is done with marriage. Once is enough. Eager to avoid making another mistake of getting trapped in marriage vows, Tristan wields strong control to suppress his growing attraction to his sister's friend, Julie Parrish. But his resolve is tested when an unusual request for help lands on his lap--marry Julie.

Author and former model, Julie Parrish has been trying to keep her image clean; otherwise, her drunkard father will get the inheritance her mother has left her. She will never let that happen. But her stepmother, Marla, has learned about the will's stipulation. Since then, she's been attempting to prove to the lawyers that Julie is far from being clean. Fortunately, her mother has added an out to the will. Marriage. So when Tristan surprised her by offering his help end her problem with Marla, she accepts. But Julie wants more than just a ring. She wants the elusive doctor's heart.
My thoughts: Tierney O'Malley has a real talent when it comes to characterization: each and every one of her characters is layered, has history and steps off the pages. The protagonist Julie is cute and likable and the Knight family, wow, I want to spend my holidays with them too!! Arthur Knight, respectable judge and his wife Katherine have four sons (all named after the knights of the Round Table!) and a daughter Kristen, the friend of Julie. Reading about the family interactions, the affectionate teasing between brothers and sisters, the brotherly bragging was extremely enjoyable as the family relations were described so well and in such detail that you the reader feel as if you were sitting around the table with the family listening to their fraternal pranks. Not only are the four brothers funny and wicked in their senseless teasing of each other, all four of them are God's gifts to women: they look swoonworthy, are perfect gentlemen, have exciting jobs (an FBI agent, a pilot, a doctor), are ideal brothers to their little sister, are warmhearted, family-centered and generous, you couldn't imagine more perfect men!

Besides the brilliant characterization of the Knight family the other forte of the novel were the steamy seduction and sex scenes. The chemistry between Tristan and Julie is sizzling from the very beginning, Ms. O'Malley's writing is sensual and scorching, tenderness and burning passion alternate, you simply can't get enough of the hotness!

Verdict: I immediately fell in love with the Knight brothers and can't wait to read the stories of the 3 remaining brothers. This was one hot, steamy read! Don't read this in public and keep a fan handy! :-)

Characters: 10/10
Ending: 8/10
Writing: 9/10
Cover: 9/10

I won this book fom Tierney O'Malley through Alaine from The Queen of Happy Endings.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Book Blogger Hop (#2)

Another week has gone by and it's THAT time again! What time those who are still new might ask, well Hop-time! Head on over to Jennifer from Crazy for Books to sign up and wander to other great book blogs and don't forget to spread the love and leave comments, we all love them! :-D

So if you are new to Ex Libris I hope you'll have a good time here and will come back, I'll make some cakes I promise (check out the Sunday Treats section just to see what I'm capable of ;-) lol).

You can also find Ex Libris on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter.

And just a little FYI: right now Ex Libris has 45 followers, once I pass the magic 50 mark, there will be a giveaway! *wink wink*

So enough talking, off to hopping! ;-)

Ah the despair, oh the agony..

You can imagine and understand my distress when you hear about my suffering of yesterday. First: I was so engrossed in the last 50 pages of Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews, it was the big finale, the all-deciding-fight, when you bite your nails and hold your breath, when you are so completely submerged in that fantasy world that you hear nothing of the outside world and everything else other than the story ceases to exist, you know the feeling, don't you? Well I was in the middle of that when the person next to me made me get up so he could get off the bus, then I realized I almost missed my stop, so I hurried to get off, but all the way of those 10 minutes it took me to get home I was frustrated that I wasn't left alone in peace to get to the end of the fight and the chapter, grr. But this was the smallest of my grievances as you will see.

When I finally finished Magic Bites and was still on a high of how much I enjoyed the story, the universe Ilona Andrews created and their writing style, I went online to order the 2nd and 3rd of the series (I wanted to be prudent and only bought the 1st book in the series, thinking I'll read the 1st and if I like it, then I'll buy the following books), and guess what? They were out of stock!! And they don't know when they'll be available! Grr, damn my prudence! :-/ Now I have to wait (and I don't even know until when!) for them to have Book 2&3 in stock so I can finally order them! All Ilona Andrews books are out of stock, I don't understand it. Grr!

So would any of you help me? How do you deal with such bad luck fate deals you? Any good suggestions or what great book I should check until I can get my Ilona Andrews fix again?

March Flashback

Another month has flown by and spring has finally arrived (well according to the calendar, in real life Mother Weather still seems a bit undecided: we had some snow on 16th of March! and after the warmth of last week (18-23 Celsius) this week had a chilling icy wind and we had to take out the winter coats and gloves again, grr). I can't wait for it to be warm and sunny enough so that I can read in the garden!

Without further chitchat here is my monthly wrap up, let's see what has happened in the 2nd month of existence of Ex Libris:

Books read:

1. Exit Strategy by Kelley Armstrong
2. Made to Be Broken by Kelley Armstrong
3. Deadly Décisions by Kathy Reichs
4. Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole
5. Wicked Knight by Tierney O'Malley
6. Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole
7. Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
8. I Never Fancied Him Anyway by Claudia Carroll


Books reviewed:

1. Exit Strategy by Kelley Armstrong
2. Deadly Décisions by Kathy Reichs
3. Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole
4. Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole
5. Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison


Book I liked the best this month: it's a tie between Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole (5 stars) and Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison (4 stars)

Book I liked the least this month: I Never Fancied Him Anyway by Claudia Carroll (2 stars)

Reading Challenges 2010 - Status report:

Romance Reading Challenge: 5 read, 5/5 to go - COMPLETED!

Suspense & Thriller Challenge: 4 read, 8/12 to go

Speculative Fiction Challenge: 4 read 20/24 to go

The Hollows Reading Challenge: 1 read 7/8 to go


Sunday Treats in March:

Rice Soufflé

Strudel


Memes in March:

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Traveling Through Tuesday a great new meme where we tell you where we are sauntering in the world thanks to the current book we are reading.

In My Mailbox


Awards: I also won my first awards in March:

the Beautiful Blogger Award and the Humane Award





And now I have 45 followers, THANK YOU! I'm planning on celebrating reaching 50 followers with a giveaway, so only 5 more to go! :-)

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