Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Do you want my copy of Silent Scream by Lynda La Plante?


Hey Everyone, I have announced the winners of the Spotlight on Thrillers giveaways, but there were so many entries for Silent Scream that I have decided to give away my review copy of Silent Scream (which is brand new, no creases or anything) to someone who entered the giveaway if they were willing to pay for the shipping as it is kind of a large book and right now with all the giveaways I don't have too much money left.

Let me know if you'd be interested by dropping me an e-mail at stella.exlibris@gmail.com  Thanks!

Monday, 28 June 2010

We have some winners!


All 3 giveaways of the Spotlight on Thrillers week have ended and it's time to announce the winners!


The 2 winners of Stop Me by Richard Jay-Parker are:

The EU winner is

Leeswammes

and the international winner is

Julie


The winner of Mind Walker by Roy McConnell is

Patsy


And the 3 winners of Silent Scream by Lynda LaPlante are

Stephany

Aik

Kailia


Congratulations to the winners! I will send you an e-mail shortly, please reply within 48 hours or I will have to draw new winners.

Thank you all for participating and keep your eyes open, because the second Spotlight on Week - again with lots of giveaways - will be soon! ;-) 

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Sorry for disappearing, I'm alive!

Hey Everyone!

Yes, I'm still alive, haven't been sucked into a black hole even if you might have wondered...

I'm sorry for disappearing for this past week, things have been pretty busy and crazy. Thankfully the flooding didn't cause any major problems only kept us busy for days, trying to clean up the basement and make sure it didn't do any more harm if it happened again, then there were some pretty intense storms over here and for most of the week I didn't have internet at home (thankfully it is resolved now), THEN (yes, if it wasn't enough), my laptop crashed :-( so I was laptop-less for this week, could only get online at work, and of course my time and what kind of sites I could visit there were pretty limited.

So sorry for this lengthy radio-silence and for not commenting on your blogs, I tried to keep up and read when I could steal a few minutes at lunch breaks, but couldn't do any blog posts and really progress with my big "Reply-to-all-unanswered-e-mails" campaign as I would have liked to.


So I'm really sorry for not getting back to you yet, I'm trying to reply to everyone and sooner or later I'll get there, until then please excuse me and thank you for your patience and your kind words and messages!! Sending you virtual hugs and I hope you had a great weekend! :-)

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Spotlight on Thrillers Week: It's Giveaway time!


Hey Everyone!

Sorry for posting this a bit later than planned, flooding disrupted my plans.

Anyway, thanks to Simon & Schuster UK you can also read one of the books featured as a book review in this week's Spotlight on Thrillers as they offered up 3 copies of Silent Scream by Lynda La Plante to the lucky winners!

You can read my review of Silent Scream here.



The rules:

1. Giveaway is only open to followers of Ex Libris
2. Please complete the FORM below, comments do not enter you into the giveaway!
3. Giveaway is open worldwide
4. Giveaway ends on June 27
If you display the Spotlight on Thrillers button on your blog and link back to the schedule post you will get +5 extra entries in the giveaways! (of course leave me the link to your blog so I can see it)



In My Mailbox (#14)

In My Mailbox
is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren

I would like to start off with an apology: I'm so far behind with ym correspondence, I have heaps of e-mails to reply to, I'm terribly sorry for not writing back yet, I will I promise, please do not think it is willfully done, it is just that this week was busier than last: besides working full time I had exams then due to the awfully rainy weather there is flooding everwhere, thankfully nothing serious for us, but my grandma's basement was flodded, so we spent all last day helping her and cleaning the basement. So I will get around to write back to all of you, please bear with my tardiness. :-(


Books I have received for review:


Farm Fresh Murder by Paige Shelton from Ariel at Mysteries and my Musings, thank you Ariel!
Promise by Kristie Cook, thank you Kristie!

Books I have won:



Heart of Stone by C.E. Murphy from Simcha at SFF Chat
Dangerous Highlander by Donna Grant from Donna Grant
Stroke of Genius by Emily Bryan from Seductive Musings


Thank you Simcha, Donna and Emily! :-)


So that's what was in my mailbox this week, and what was in yours?

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Book Review: Silent Scream by Lynda La Plante

Grade: 4 stars

Novellus superbus!

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster UK

Goodreads appetizer: British film star Amanda Delany has the world at her feet. Never one for the quiet life, she has had a string of affairs with the hottest actors around. The tabloids can't get enough of this talented and outrageous young actress and she, in turn, can't get enough of the spotlight.

Then, late home one evening from a night shoot, Amanda puts the key in her front door for the very last time. The next morning, the press gathers once again outside her house, this time to report on a brutal murder. Amanda's body has been found inside, stabbed many times, only her beautiful face left unharmed.

DI Anna Travis is desperate for a break after a long, hard-fought case. But the call comes through, summoning her to the scene of the Delany murder. Anna is shocked by what she finds, and even more so when she discovers the truth behind the public image of this glamorous and successful actress.

Anna and the team grapplel to track down Amanda's killer, headed by the ever demanding DCI James Langton. But Anna has challenges of her own to overcome too. Promotion to Chief Inspector is within her grasp. But when the time comes for her to stand before the board, she faces an adversary from the least likely quarter ...

My thoughts: Silent Scream was my initiation to Lynda La Plante's writing, and I have to say I became a fan. Don't let the length put you off reading Silent Scream (516 pages), the writing is flowing and Lynda La Plante's writing style is natural and enjoyable.

What I found the most amazing about Silent Scream was how even though one of the main characters was dead she was brought to life through the investigation. As the investigation progressed, the real Amanda, the person behind the glamour and fame took shape before the reader. Even though she was dead from the very first chapter of the book, she was as much present throughout the novel as if she were there in the "flesh", La Plante gave her substance and complexity. You felt sad and sorry for her because of her unhappy childhood, loneliness and want for love but then when you saw how she behaved at other times and how she didn't care about what she did to others she was downright repulsive. Amanda Delaney's presence haunted the story long after her murder.

The mystery wasn't obvious, it was well structured from the beginning and the reader couldn't guess who committed the murder, leaving you wondering and guessing until the end. 

Silent Scream introduced a lot of supporting characters but I can't say the novel could have gone without any of them. They were all essential to the mystery, to give the reader a broader picture of Amanda and show business politics.

The main characters: Anna, Langton and the other detectives and colleagues at the police were well developed and varied. Anna was an especially interesting heroine: a stubborn and driven young detective who isn't well liked by her colleagues mainly for being more of a lone wolf kind of investigator than a team player, but her superiors were all in agreement that she had potential and talent to become more.

I liked the cat-mouse emotional play between Anna and Langton because it seemed credible and very realistic. Once they were an item but even though their affair is over and Langton has a family (a wife and two kids), it is clear they still have so much going on and that neither of them has completely moved on. Their pain and affection for each other makes it harder for them to move on with their lives. I'm sure there will be more about their relationship in later novels too.

Though Silent Scream is said to be 'an Anna Travis Mystery', it can be very well enjoyed as a stand alone novel. Throughout the novel you will get all the details and background info necessary to understand the history of the characters, so you won't feel lost without having read the previous novels in the series.

Verdict: Though I did not find Silent Scream a nail-biting thriller, I enjoyed discovering how a murder investigation is conducted in real life, it was interesting to get to know some professional secrets and what is going on behind closed doors at the police station. The office politics and the process of the investigation were all very well and realistically described. Anna Travis is an interesting and sympathetic heroine and Lynda La Plante's writing is enthralling and flowing. A very enjoyable read , I’ll definitely read more of Lynda La Plante’s novels.

Plot: 7/10
Characters: 8/10
Ending: 8/10
Writing: 8/10
Cover: 9/10

You can purchase Silent Scream in two gorgeous covers:

Available from 10 June 2010 in paperback

Available from 6 July 2010 in paperback









The BookDepository

Friday, 18 June 2010

And the winners of my 222 Followers Giveaway are...

Thank you all for participating ion my 222 Followers Giveaway, it was a blast! :-)  Finally my exam is over so I can breathe again and could tally aaall the entries (let me tell you there were a LOT).

So I guess you are all curious to see who are the two winners, well... *drumroll*



Sabrina with entry #168 and #179
(yes you saw that right, the universe wanted Sabrina to win so badly, that her number came up again in the second drawing!)

Carin B. with entry #305


Congratulations Ladies, I have e-mailed you, please reply within 48 hours or I'll have to draw new winners.


Thank you all for participating in my 222 Followers Giveaway, there will be more in the future, but until then several giveaways are under way during my Spotlight on Thrillers Week, you can find the direct links to the giveaways under the header. What are you waiting for, go and enter!


Thursday, 17 June 2010

Spotlight on Thrillers: Guest post by author Roy McConnell + Giveaway


Today I would like to welcome Roy McConnell, author of the fascinating newly published novel Mind Walker, who tells us about the thin line between genres and we will also get to know what XGenre Thriller means...


Cross Genre (XGenre) novel Mind Walker
by Roy McConnell

I published my first novel Mind Walker in September of 2009. There is an old saying, “You are what you eat.” For me my novel Mind Walker is what I read. I have always been an eclectic reader of horror, sci-fi, thrillers (all types), biographies, fantasy, and memoirs. I even recently reviewed my first Erotica book for another author, if you don’t count magazines. Most of my best story ideas come from listening to music. The premise for Mind Walker came to me one evening while listening to a Pink Floyd CD.

One of the problems I’ve had with Mind Walker is determining its genre. In the end I labeled it a thriller novel. However, the word thriller is quite generic and doesn’t say much about the book. On a recent Blog Talk Radio show, I said my novel is more like a Cross Genre or XGenre because it includes: suspense, action, romance, thrills, and even a thread of sci-fi. The host thought that the closest thing to Cross Genre was the term—Mainstream Fiction. I like “XGenre Thriller” better.

As I wrote Mind Walker I made a conscious decision to not restrict the story line to a specific genre. I also guarded against aspects that I dislike in other books, such as too much description and extra scenarios that seem to drag out the story for no apparent reason. As the novel unfolded through its many iterations of writing and editing it took on a life of its own. The main premise remained, however: a romance between the two main characters developed, a battle between father and daughter erupted, an extraterrestrial being appeared, many layers of deception created unexpected twists and turns; an action packed, gripping thrill ride took the reader from British Columbia to the Caribbean, and to New York City for the story’s climax

One of my author reviews says it best:

Roy McConnell’s Mind Walker is an electrifying thriller that captivates the reader from page one and doesn’t let up until the climactic ending. The story is taut with plenty of plot twists, evil villains, and supernatural intrigue. The compelling main characters are written with heart and soul and make the deadly cross-country adventure a joy to read. Dean Koontz fans will love the high-intensity suspense of Mind Walker. The fast-paced writing is on par with bestselling authors and is sure to put Roy McConnell on the radar as one of today’s up and coming thriller writers…

Brian Moreland, author of Shadows in the Mist.


For more than four hundred years, the males of the Ostermann family have unleashed their secret power on the world, destroying lives and amassing great fortunes. But five centuries prior, the first woman to inherit the identical gene as the males foretold that another female would be born with the same power. It was she who would stand against the madness of the Ostermann reign. No one knew when she would come…until now.

In present-day British Columbia, Wolf Ostermann rules his exotic estate with an iron fist. Ostermann has no son to continue his family legacy, so if he and his family are to maintain their economic grip on the world, Wolf must indoctrinate his reluctant daughter, Tara. Unfortunately for Wolf, Tara will have nothing to do with him anymore, and that doesn’t bode well for the tyrannical megalomaniac.

Now on the run, Tara and ex-CIA operative Chris Landry must battle for their lives as they ultimately realize the tenacious reach of her father’s powerful mind—and the evil it unleashes on all of humanity.

Bursting with raw emotion, Mind Walker combines action and suspense in a nonstop ride from the landscapes of British Columbia to the Caribbean Islands, and ends in a chilling climax in New York City.


Thank you Roy, Mind Walker sure sounds intriguing!

If you would like to get to know more about Roy or Mind Walker check out his official website.


You can purchase Mind Walker either through Roy's website (which lists all the direct links to Amazon and other bookstores) or from the Book Depository by clicking on the button below:


The BookDepository
 
 

And now time for a giveaway! Roy has kindly offered to give a copy of Mind Walker to one lucky commenter, it's open worldwide, so comment away!

The rules:

1. Be a follower of Ex Libris
2. Leave a comment/question for Roy
3. Leave your e-mail so I can contact you in case you win

If you display the Spotlight on Thrillers button on your blog and link back to the schedule post you will get +5 extra entries in the giveaways! (of course leave me the link to your blog so I can see it)

Giveaway ends on June 27

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Book Review: Stop Me by Richard Jay Parker



Grade: 3.5 stars

Novellus bonus!

Review copy provided by Allison & Busby
Goodreads appetizer: Forward this email to ten friends. Each of those friends must forward it to ten friends. Maybe one of those friends of friends of friends will be one of my friends. If this email ends up in my inbox within a week, I won't slit the bitch's throat. Can you afford not to send this onto ten friends? Vacation Killer Leo Sharpe's life is shattered when his wife Laura suddenly disappears.

His desperate need to find her turns to obsession when he becomes convinced she's the latest victim of The Vacation Killer who has claimed eleven lives already - is Laura going to be the twelfth? The MO is the same every time - a woman disappears and within hours inboxes around the world receive a threatening email. A few days later, grim evidence of the victim's death is delivered to the police.

But in Laura's case, nothing is sent. Has the killer spared her life? Why? And for how long? For Leo, the clock is ticking - he needs to do everything in his power to stop the killer before it's too late.

My thoughts: What is really scary in Stop Me is its premise. Nowadays internet chain letters are such every day occurrences that one cannot help but shiver at the reality of this happening: the premise of Stop Me is completely believable and could happen any day to anyone.

The writing sets the scene as a script, you see the events play out, the characters live and breath on the scene. Due to the 3rd person narration the reader is a spectator of the story, looking on at what is happening.

The novel focuses on Leo and how he copes with the disappearance/kidnapping of his wife. Leo's struggles to wait while the police investigates to find his wife, his trying to go on with his life while not giving up hope that Laura is alive somewhere are described throughout the novel in a completely realistic and credible way. We can imagine any ordinary person would behave like this if someone close to them disappeared.

This is what I would like to highlight about Stop Me: the authenticity and realistic portrayal of events and human reactions and way of coping. Here you won't see the hero swing by and save the day, no, Leo is a completely ordinary guy, with no James Bond alter-ego. He is no superhero who takes matters into his own hands and solves the mystery. He is an everyday John Doe trusting the police and waiting home for them to bring back his wife or at least discover what has happened to her.

The end, the conclusion of the story was unexpected and shocking. Great way to finish and explain the mystery (I have to confess with the almost too realistic portrayal and approach I was afraid the story and the mystery would remain unsolved just as one can imagine it would be in real life). The end certainly elevated the story and was a worthy conclusion to the mystery.

The writing is detailed enough yet flowing and natural, Richard Jay Parker keeps the story  from becoming dull or repetitive and makes it interesting even through Leo's painful struggles.

My only problem was that albeit gorgeous, the cover completely misled me as to what to expect from this story. Based on this cover I was expecting a fast paced, action packed, scary serial-killer chasing thriller, but Stop Me is rather a suspenseful mystery with drama. I enjoyed Stop Me and would recommend you to read it but it took me time to surmount my expectations and what the cover led me to believe. I feel the cover doesn't do justice to the story and doesn't represent what Stop Me is really about.

Verdict: The premise sounds exciting. The delivery is well done. But the cover leads you to believe it will be something very different than it is and initial expectations aren't easy to overcome. Would recommend this novel to anyone who loves a good mystery, but don't expect a superhero charging through and saving the day kind of action packed thriller, Stop Me is rather a suspenseful mystery novel.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 7/10
Ending: 8/10
Writing: 8/10
Cover: 4/10 Though the cover looks fantastic, I don't think it suits the story, and in my opinion does more harm than good...




The BookDepository

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Spotlight on Thrillers: Guest post by author Richard Jay Parker + Giveaway


Today I would like to welcome author Richard Jay Parker, whose debut novel STOP ME is a thriller not like the others. Read on to see why...


WHAT DO YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORD ‘THRILLER?’
By Richard Jay Parker

Ever had one of those annoying SPAM emails that tells you to forward it to ten people otherwise your luck, love life and finances will suffer irreparably? I seem to receive them daily and it got me thinking about the whole veiled threat of what happens if you don’t send one on. This led to the premise of STOP ME.

What if somebody were to die if you didn’t forward the email?

Leo Sharpe, the main character of STOP ME receives such an email and when he doesn’t forward it, his wife, Laura, vanishes on a shopping trip in their home city of London. Unsure of whether she is a victim of the global email menace, The Vacation Killer, Leo strikes up an online friendship with John Bookwalter. He claims not only to be the Vacation Killer but also to be holding Laura captive.

This is unlikely as Bookwalter lives in New Orleans and has been dismissed by police as a crank. But a relationship rapidly develops, as Bookwalter is the only man who still talks about Laura in terms of her still being alive. Leo must decide whether there is an ounce of truth in anything Bookwalter says and if he should make face-to-face contact.

There are some devious turns and twists and Leo’s journey eventually leads him to some shocking truths about what happened to Laura.

STOP ME was published as a trade paperback last year and as a mass-market paperback this year. It has made an impact on high street book charts and I’ve been receiving a lot of feedback about the story and reader reaction to the subject matter.

As a debut novelist, it’s great to have so many positive reviews online and the last year has been quite a learning experience in terms of gauging what people expect from a thriller.

When I sat down to write STOP ME it was always my intention of taking the traditions of the thriller genre and trying to find some unexpected pathways within them.

Interestingly, a lot of people assume from the cover and the subject matter that it’s going to be a gory cop/serial killer story and that’s where the fun starts. STOP ME is more about suspense, intrigue and dark humour and although there is violence, much of it is implied rather than being protracted and lewd. But it’s the moody cover that hooks people and like Bookwalter, once you’re engaged, (I hope) it’s difficult not to be sucked in.

Readers want different things from a book, even something as genre specific. But a thriller can be anything from an Agatha Christie to a visceral Thomas Harris. Quite an umbrella.

I was recently on a UK panel at Crimefest that tried to discern what the definition of a thriller was and what constituted a crime novel. Needless to say, there were no definitive answers. They both cross each other’s territory.

My own simple definition of a thriller is a book that sends shivers down your spine using character and situations that are grounded in reality. I’ll leave the supernatural thriller subcategory for another discussion.

But even if you can categorise it’s still inevitably subjective. Some readers are looking for a character they can get to know inside out, others want a rattling plot that makes them quickly slam the pages. Striking a balance between the two in terms of writing an engaging thriller is the real challenge.

Character, hook, pace, intrigue, twist. Juggle all five and still surprise the reader by injecting some originality. Thrillers are often accused of being pulpy, trashy and facile (as is every other category of contemporary fiction) but you know when a really good one arrives because its category becomes unimportant.

I’m going to keep working on it.


Thank you Richard! If your curiosity was piqued you can learn more about Richard and STOP ME at http://www.richardjayparker.com/

I would definitely recommend you check out this fantastic interview with Richard, who was interviewed by one of the characters in STOP ME.

You can watch the trailer of STOP ME here.

You can buy your own copy of STOP ME at all major online book stores, and I just saw that the Book Depository has it on -17% with free worldwide shipping (in two intriguing covers) so if you can't wait to read STOP ME, click the banner:




The BookDepository
 
 




 
 

Giveaway time

The publisher of STOP ME Allison & Busby has kindly offered up 1 copy to a lucky EUROPEAN commenter, and I would like to offer up my review copy for 1 INTERNATIONAL commenter.

So 2 copies of STOP ME for 2 winners, all you have to do is:

1. Be a follower of Ex Libris
2. Leave a comment/question for Richard
3. Please state in your comment  whether you are a European or International entrant! (there will be 2 separate drawing so please do this!)
4. Leave your e-mail so I can contact you in case you win

If you display the Spotlight on Thrillers button on your blog and link back to the schedule post you will get +5 extra entries in the giveaways! (of course leave me the link to your blog so I can see it)

Giveaway ends on June 25

222 Followers Giveaway Update #4

My huge 222 Followers Giveaway as you know was to end today at midnight, but since I'll have an exam tomorrow and won't be able to tally the entries, I'm extending the entry deadline: you have until June 17 midnight to enter!

Here is what you can win in my 222 Followers Giveaway:


Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Dark Hunter series #2 book)


The Struggle by L.J. Smith (The Vampire Diaries #2 book)

Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson series #2 book)

Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels series book #2)


Changeless by Gail Carriger (Parasol Protectorate series book#2)


The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber (The Strangely Beautiful series book #2)


Stolen by Kelley Armstrong (Women of the Otherworld series book #2)


Highlander Unmasked by Monica McCarty (Highlander book #2)


Desire Unchained by Larissa Ione (Demonica series book #2)


International giveaway open until June 17.

You can find the rules and enter HERE.


As usual, after every 25 new  followers I gain I will add a new book (leave me some suggestions which books you would like to see on the prize list), and after every 50 new followers I gain I will add a new winner! (at 300 followers there will be 2 winners, at 350 followers 3 winners, etc.)

Thank you all for spreading the word, keep doing so, so that other books can be added to the list!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Spotlight on Thrillers: Guest post by Melissa on her favourite thriller novels


To kick off the very first "Spotlight on" week I would like to welcome Melissa from Spellbound by Books as my first guest this week.

To those of you who don't know Melissa yet, let me tell you about her in a nutshell:

Melissa is a 25 years old newbie book blogger (she and I started blogging around the same time in February), she is mom to a very cute little boy named Cruzito, she is the mastermind and creative force behind the Once Upon a Time Project, she is my official blog buddy and she has such a beautiful blog that you should definitely go and look around! :-)

Without further presentation I give it up to Melissa.


Hi, I would like to talk to you about how I got to read thrillers and which one are my favourite reads in the genre

My very first thriller/mystery/suspense (Crime Thriller) I ever picked up was Body Double by Tess Gerritsen which was recommended to me by a a lady at the bookstore. I realised towards the end of this book, I had picked up book 4 in the Maura Isles' series, so I went back to the bookstore and bought every book in the series and started reading from the beginning. The first book was The Surgeon. The only thing was I was having trouble reading it at night because it was pretty gruesome and I ended up having nightmares, so I knew these were awesome! I soon bought her other books which included Bloodstream, Harvest, Life Support, Gravity and The Bone Garden, all Medical Thrillers. I moved on from there to Karin Slaughter's Grant County series. Blindsighted, was the first book in that series and it reminded me alot of Tess Gerritsen's Maura Isles' series. I pretty much devoured each of these books hungry for more!

The thing I liked most about these genres, are that they are fast paced and action packed. There's always that sense of urgency while reading, and the pressure is on the main character/s to find out what's going on before the inevitable catches up with them.

Thrillers can, and usually do, have sub-genres that sometimes make it hard to pick one main genre. Most Thrillers have mystery and suspense all throughout the story and vice versa. I think the ones that stand out for me the most are the crime, psychological and horror. Crime usually includes what I've mentioned above. Psychological thrillers include Malice by Rebecca James (which also falls into YA), In The Woods by Tana French, Along Came A Spider by James Patterson, Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. Most of which I've read and recommend! The Horror Thrillers are interesting and probably stand out the most for me. The Face by Dean Koontz, American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis and my favourite by far Afraid by Jack Kilborn.

These are genres to check out and read if you haven't done so already. There will always be one that's suitable for what you all like more often than not.

Melissa
blog: Spellbound by Books
Twitter: @Meeka21


Thank you Melissa, I'll take some notes and add some of these titles to my TBR list, I'm always up for a good thriller :-)


And you dear readers, tell us how you discovered the thrilling universe of mystery/suspense/thriller/crime novels. What are your favourite books in this genre, what books would you recommend?

Ex Libris presents: Spotlight on Thriller Week June 14-20


Hey Everyone welcome to the first "Spotlight on" week, in which we will talk about thrillers!

This is the schedule of the program, the links will be added as soon as the posts are available.







Saturday June 19: Silent Scream Giveaway


Have fun! :-)

ps. If you display the button on your blog and link back to this post you will get +5 extra entries in the giveaways!

Book Review: Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch

Grade: 5 stars

Novellus perfectus!

Review copy provided by author
Goodreads appetizer: How can a sexy marketing manager join forces with an Alpha Centauri male in Armani to save the planet-using hairspray, a Mont Blanc pen, and rock n' roll?

Easy...

She's Touched by an Alien

Marketing manager Katherine "Kitty" Katt steps into the middle of what appears to be a domestic dispute turned ugly. And it only gets uglier when the man turns into a winged monster, straight out of a grade-Z horror movie, and goes on a killing spree. Though Kitty should probably run away, she springs into action to take the monster down.

In the middle of the chaos a handsome hunk named Jeff Martini appears, sent by the "agency" to perform crowd control. He's Kitty's kind of guy, no matter what planet he's from. And from now on, for Kitty, things are going to be sexy, dangerous, wild, and out of this world.

My thoughts: I have to confess I'm not a sci-fi fan. Not because I don't like the genre, but simply because I have never read any sci-fi novel or watched any sci-fi movie. So when I saw the gorgeous cover of this book at first, I never thought this would be something I would pick up, but then I kept stumbling upon praising reviews of Touched by an Alien and since all the reviews were so unanimous in praising Gini Koch's writing and the novel itself to the skies, I thought I'd give sci-fi a try and see what Touched by an Alien is really about. And I have to say I proudly join the ranks of Gini Koch fans and Alien Lovers! WOW! I was completely blown away by Touched by an Alien! I loved it so much that after I have finished it I wanted to pick it up right away and start re-reading it, that's how fantastic Touched by an Alien is! But let me slow down in my gushing and tell you why you MUST read Touched by an Alien.

Where to start... Hm..

Of course when you read the above blurb you are expecting Kitty to be a somewhat unconventional young woman and you are expecting the novel to be funny, but nothing prepares you to how it will be! Touched by an Alien had me chuckling and then laughing out loud from page 3(!). The dialogues are sharp and incredibly witty, I just started typing that Kitty, Martini and Christopher's one liners and sharp comebacks are hilarious and dead on, but then I started adding to the list Kitty's mom, Mr. White, James and I realized I could go on and on because all the characters are hilarious.

Kitty is an extraordinary heroine: she combats alien monsters with blaring Aerosmith and Tears from Heaven from the stereo, she attacks the biggest monster, Leader of all Evils with hair spray cans and when a huge stinking 12 feet tall scary monster charges towards her, she runs to it at full speed!! Just a few to demonstrate you that Kitty is a unique heroine, one that the characters in the novel can't decide whether she's crazy or incredibly brave and a genius. 

Then let me tell you about the heroes: there are two leading men: Christopher and Jeff Martini (how cool a name is that?). And one of the first things Gini Koch establishes early on is that all A-Cs (the good aliens) are incredibly gorgeous: the men are total hunks, swoonworthy-droolworthy and the women are more-than-model beautiful. So no surprise that both Christopher and Jeff are drop-dead gorgeous men specimen and Gini Koch sure made them unique characters.

Jeff is the charmer: easygoing and funny, constantly smiling and hitting on Kitty from sentence #3, professing his love for her on page 9 and within 30 mins of meeting her he already asks her to marry him and keeps repeating it at regular intervals through the novel. But Jeff's pushiness is endearing and funny, not creepy or bullying at all.

Christopher is the snarky one: he is incredible handsome too, but somehow he and Kitty are like cats and dogs: they are always at each other's throats and it takes Kitty's mom or Christopher's dad to make the children behave.

So let me tell you, to choose between the two men is hard not only for Kitty but for the reader too, if the romantic in us could get their way we would definitely want a ménage! ;-) *wink*

What is amazing is that the supporting characters are also well developed and original: Kitty's mom and dad, Christopher's dad, Claudia and Lorraine and the human pilots, oh and don't let me start on James! Fantastic character development!

The story is fast-paced, action packed, there's never a dull moment in Touched by an Alien.

The love/sex scenes are done tastefully while still remaining scorchingly hot!

But let me tell you my absolutely favourite thing in this novel (besides the totally hot and passionate love scenes of course!): it was the humour! The incredibly unique, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes dry and biting, but always laugh out loud humour! You can't believe the things that come out of Kitty's mouth and what she does to combat the monsters! Gini Koch is brilliant because in the midst of a terribly scary scene, when stinking huge jelly-snake looking monsters are about to trample/kill/strangle the characters she simply makes Kitty do or say something, and bam! you are laughing instead of/while biting your nails.

Verdict: I fell in love with this novel. Love Kitty, Martini, Chris and the whole package, love the hilarious interactions, all the passion and humour. I could go on and on and tell you about everything I loved in Touched by an Alien but I guess that would be just as long as the novel itself, so trust me, pick up this book and read it, you'll gain a new favourite series and a brilliant new author to definitely watch! Alien Tango cannot come out soon enough, I want more!

(ps. Sorry, I can imagine that in my enthusiasm I was quite rambling and gushing but you will understand it once you read Touched by an Alien.)

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



The BookDepository






 

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Bloggiesta Update #2 and Wrap-up Post

Today I was able to do a lot of the tasks I have put on my list, the only problem is that 1) of course the ones I still haven't done are the ones I have been keeping putting off.. meet the Procrestinator Queen.. 2) reading through all the great posts and tips, I added at least twice as much to do, so there will still be some improvements to be done at the next Bloggiesta. But overall I'm quite content, I achieved a lot, and if I had the whole day on Saturday I could have done everything. Oh well, next time! :-)
   
Here is what I've achieved (from my initial to-do list):
  • De-cluster my sidebars Done (though I couldn't delete a lot of expired contests as winners have not been announced yet, will do that progressively)
  • Add the blog buttons of those blogs I love to my sidebar Done
  • Re-organize my Google reader, de-subscribe of those blogs which I don't read that often Done (from 283 blogs on my Google Reader now I only have 215)
  • Write up my missing reviews, complete my notes, make a draft version of reviews
  • Sort through my blog related e-mails and write back to those e-mails I put on "Task list" Done
  • Edit my review policy page Done!
  • Update my reading challenge lists Done (wow, this one took me so long, but now I will only have to update the list since I've taken care of all the formatting and compiling, phew!)
  • Prepare the author interviews I have been putting off, never having the time
  • Work on my future "Top Secret Special Event" Done
  • Put out invitations for guest posts Partially done
  • Update my wishlist, add new wishes Done! phew this took me ages!!

And a few additional tasks I decided on doing along the way:

Flashbacks I read:

Aim for Bloggiesta: 12 hours

Worked today: approx. 9:20 hours
Worked yesterday: approx. 5:30 hours

In total: 14:50 hours


Ex Libris proudly presents: "Spotlight on..."

Hey Everyone!

Time to unveil the top secret, big mystery event I have been alluding to lately. I had this idea a few weeks ago and since then I've been busy planning, so let me tell you about it.

I will have a new regular feature here at Ex Libris called "Spotlight on": it will be a week long event twice a month, where during one week I will present one genre through book reviews, author interviews, guest blog posts, recommendations in that genre and lots of giveaways!


The events I have planned so far will be in the following genres: (Other genres may be added further along.)


















I have to give a HUGE THANK YOU to Charlotte from The Book on the Hill who was not only fantastic in creating these awesome buttons for the events, but she was incredibly patient and knew what I wanted sometimes even better than I did!


And tomorrow we will kick off the "Spotlight on" program with our first week, June 14-20 will be Spotlight on Thrillers week! Woohoo! So stay tuned I will post the detailed program tomorrow, just a sneak peak until then to what you can expect to see:

- authors' take on what is the difference between mystery/suspense/thriller if there is any,
- book recommendations and
- book reviews in the genre, and of course
- lots of giveaways!


If you would like to contribute to any of the events by a guest post, recommendation list or any other idea, please contact me at stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com.

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