Verified
Jenny Schwartz
Review
3 Stars
Review: A Christmas Cracker by Trisha Ashley
A Christmas Cracker - Trisha Ashley

I love Trisha Ashley's books. "The Urge to Jump" remains one of my all-time favourites. So I really wanted to love "A Christmas Cracker" (even if I didn't like the title - it references the Christmas cracker making business in the novel).

 

It had all the hallmarks of many of her enjoyable books. One of which was "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and you'll see characters from that book in this one, but more or less peripherally.

 

There is the rat of an ex-boyfriend, a glowering potential hero (the chapters from his perspective really failed for me), energetic elderly people, and a pet cat. 

 

I wonder if it was me, but this time, the quirkiness seemed forced, and so, failed to charm.

 

I thoroughly recommend Trisha Ashley's books, but don't start with this one!

It's the last day of 2015 here in Australia. I think I'm ready for 2016. I know it will contain a lot of writing  :)  You should see my publishing schedule for the first half of the year! Ambitious puts it mildly.

 

I hope you have a lovely and safe New Year's Eve and that you dance into 2016 with joy and energy to achieve all your dreams.

 

 

happy new year graphic

Ready for 2016?
The Road Not Taken and Other Poems: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) - Robert Frost, David Orr, David Orr

Thanks to Broken Tunes' inspiration, I'd planned to buy a book of W H Auden's poetry and read it through 2016. Well, I went into the bookstore and they had no Auden but a book of Robert Frost's poetry. So Robert Frost and a reflective mood it is!

 

I think that'll be my only reading and reviewing commitment for 2016, but hopefully I will manage to read more and more widely than this year.

 

 

 

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas banner

 

Merry Christmas! It's Christmas Eve morning in Australia. Nice and warm already with a beautiful day forecast.

 

Whatever you celebrate this time of year -- or if you choose not to celebrate but simply to let the year quietly come to a close -- I hope you have a peaceful, joyous time over the next few days.

 

 

Review
5 Stars
Review: Magic Stars by Ilona Andrew
Magic Stars  - Ilona Andrews

Great spin-off from Ilona Andrews' successful urban fantasy series, Kate Daniels. This is true to that world, and really true to Derek and Julie's characters.

 

It's short, but it packs a punch.

 

 

Newspapers

This year I've struggled to read as many books as I'd like. There's been a lot of re-reading of old favourites, which are simply easier to relax with when I'm tired. But through it all, I've continued to read The Guardian Weekly every weekend. This collation of articles from the week gives me the illusion I'm staying in touch with world events (and new book, movie, theatre, etc releases). I could read the articles free online, but I like that they've been chosen to go together and that in a small way I support journalism. I also like the sheer physicality of newspapers.

 

It's weird, since I'm such a fan of ebooks, that I love actual newspapers, but I do! There's something satisfying in turning the page, in marking it with fingers buttery from toast, in rattling it with annoyance at something printed inside.

 

This weekend I also treated myself to a copy of the Australian Financial Review - it's always interesting to check how the right-leaning people running the country are thinking - no wonder I never have to read horror novels :) 

 

Happy weekend!

It's Out! It's Free! (this weekend) DJINN JUSTICE
Djinn Justice (The Collegium Book 2) - Jenny Schwartz

It's Friday evening. Amazon has just flicked the switch to make my new paranormal romance FREE for the weekend. I'm excited and tired. It's been a long day! I hope you enjoy Djinn Justice.

 

Amazon US  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0182EVXO2 

Amazon UK  http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0182EVXO2 

Amazon Australia http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0182EVXO2 

 

Djinn Justice teaser

From the cold of Siberia to the Mountains of the Moon, Fay and Steve are involved in an epic battle against evil enslaving people’s souls. If a person’s dream essence is stolen, so is their future.

Fay Olwen is still adjusting to life as one of a couple. She never expected to have a sexy leopard-were cuddling her at midnight in his huge bed in his gorgeous villa on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. But here she is, in love and in luck—finally! There’s not a demon in sight.

Pity she can’t say the same about the invading djinn.

As romantic plans are scuttled, Fay discovers she has a lot to learn about her new lover. Steve Jekyll isn’t simply the lethal mercenary she thought him. He’s also heir to the Suzerainty, the ancient order that delivers justice for all weres.

Steve hoped he’d have more time to reveal the many aspects of his complicated life to Fay; not least, his family. But with a rogue mage teaming up with a power-mad jackal-were to enslave innocent people, Steve hasn’t got time for tact. His family are just going to have to deal with the fact that his chosen mate isn’t a were. She is, in fact, their total and feared opposite: a mage.

Let the adventure begin!


*** “Djinn Justice” is for fans of paranormal romance who like their adventures filled with humor and heart. It can easily be read as a stand-alone novel, although the novella “Demon Hunter” tells the story of how Fay and Steve got together.

Holiday reading
A Christmas Cracker - Trisha Ashley

Reading Trisha Ashley's latest book has become a bit of a Christmas tradition with me, so I've picked up "A Christmas Cracker" but am saving it to read over the holidays.

 

 

Review
5 Stars
Review: Feel the Burn by GA Aiken
Feel the Burn (Dragonkin Book 8) - G.A. Aiken

First up, let's be honest, I didn't feel the passion between Gaius and Kachka, the hero and heroine -- but that didn't matter!

 

This is a book for fans of the series. You'll be lost if you don't know and adore the various characters. So many old friends walk on and off stage, all with their own concerns. All -- and this is a huge strength of the series -- very much their distinct selves.

 

I loved "Feel The Burn", but it has the feel of a book setting the stage for a big clash. Now I'm even more eager for the next book. 

 

Who else thinks Brannie deserves a romance?

New Release: SKY GARDEN
Sky Garden - Jenny Schwartz

My romantic suspense novel, SKY GARDEN, is live on Amazon. I've made it as cheap as possible -- 99c. I hope you enjoy it. I'm aiming to prove Kindle Scout's editors wrong (they sent me the rejection email for it this morning). So if you have a dollar to spare, or if you're a Kindle Unlimited subscriber and can borrow it free, please pick up SKY GARDEN. And if you could reshare this post, that would be great.

 

Help an author out :) 

 

On the rooftops of London, you can be anyone.

A year ago, Lanie Briers escaped a serial killer. She grew up in a theatre family and her act was mediumship, but not anymore. Life, now, is a hidden retreat above a quirky Bloomsbury museum, where she waits and watches.


Nick Tawes is an unexpected intrusion. He’s a landscape architect filming a television series on roof gardens, and he intends to build one in Lanie’s aerial territory. He has his own demons, old family troubles, that lure Lanie out of her refuge and into living again.


But as summer progresses and the sky garden grows, Lanie’s enemy is closing in—because some secrets must go to the grave.

Books that haunt you - random post
The Mind Readers - Margery Allingham

I love Margery Allingham's style. Yes, some of her books have racism and sexism that reflects the era and British attitudes of their time, that is yuck. But her style is amazing. She's one of the authors I'd like to emulate. Her mystery novels are so much more than puzzles.

 

"The Mind Readers" is one of her later books, published in 1965, and although I'm too lazy to get the book out and accurately quote her forward to it, she mentions there that the story within may not be fiction by the time the book is published. To me, as I read the entire forward, that meant she was talking with people who fervently believed in ESP and so forth.

 

So "The Mind Reader" was the book that came to my mind when I read that Jennifer Lawrence wants to direct a movie on mental warfare in the 1960s.

Review
5 Stars
Review: Storm in a Teacup by Emmie Mears
Storm in a Teacup (Ayala Storme Book 1) - Emmie Mears

Unique world building with demons and those who fight them. Great central character and an excellent psychological journey for her from isolation. This is something different and well worth reading.

 

I finished "Storm in a Teacup" and immediately picked up "Any Port in a Storm". Also great. So now I'm looking forward to "Taken By Storm", out in a few days.

Review
3 Stars
Review: Veiled Magic by Deborah Blake
Veiled Magic - Deborah Blake

I just couldn't connect with this book. I read the first novel in Deborah Blake's Baba Yaga series and found it fresh and original. This feels a bit more standard fare for paranormal romance. Then again, maybe it's because I'm not a fan of love triangles???

 

The central idea of the book is truly intriguing - I liked the idea of the magic painting. 

 

Lots of good stuff, so don't trust my review. 

Review
5 Stars
Review: Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop
Vision in Silver - Anne Bishop

I really like how this series is developing. There are consequences for actions, and Anne Bishop keeps them tightly logical to the different world she's created. Nice balance between threats and possibilities of change in this book. 

 

Meg and Simon's relationship is evolving, but although it's well-handled, it's not the engine of the book. The evolution of the world they're in is. 

 

I don't want to share spoilers, so I'll just say...I'm enthralled.

Review
5 Stars
Review: Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop
Murder of Crows  - Anne Bishop

I loved "Written in Red" so much that I broke my own rule about not spending over $10 on an ebook. "Murder of Crows" is quite violent, vividly so, but consistent with the world introduced in "Written in Red" so the violence didn't feel gratuitous. It was, however, probably as violent as I care to read.

 

[Shelly Laurenston's paranormal books hold more violence, but handled in a more cartoonish way, so I've learned to disregard it]

 

The world of The Others expands in this book, and the story is less centred on Meg and Simon. I dithered a bit on whether I liked how Simon was portrayed in this second book, but I think his behaviour is consistent. Hmm, still dithering. I think he dithers a bit too. Not sure I like heroes dithering, but he is struggling with issues that develop in the subsequent book, "Vision in Silver".

 

Solid read, but definitely don't start the series with this book. Read in order! These books are complete in themselves, but plot-wise, the series arc is important.

 

 

Review
5 Stars
Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop
Written in Red - Anne Bishop

I'm ashamed to say I can't remember which BookLiker introduced me to this series of The Others by Anne Bishop, but I'm so glad they did.

 

I loved "Written in Red". It has a unique world, and a unique take on the whole shifter and vampire thing. It's original and compelling, and the revelation of more and more strangeness is compelling. The characters are consistent and coherent in their differences. Stands up really well to re-reading.

 

I did struggle a bit with the heroine's self-harm issues. She "has to" cut herself to speak prophecy. But it is well handled and I think the blurb and discussions of the book provide trigger warnings by what they say.