Saturday, May 6, 2017

Coveting Book Covers: Julia Quinn

Its been a while since I've posted.

On that note, I wanted to do a fun post - so I've decided to introduce coveting book covers posts.

Often times, depending on markets, book covers can differ. Sometimes differences can be quite minor, and in other cases (see below) they can be quite dramatically different.

I'm starting with one of my all time favourite authors - Julia Quinn (who I want to be when I grow up)

One of the most dramatically different book covers in historical romantic fiction is the Julia Quinn series. I absolutely LOVE these books, no matter the book cover, but the UK cover designs surpass the US book covers by leaps and bounds. If/When I get published, I would love to have similar covers - they are classy but capture the fun and whimsy of Julia Quinn's work.

I loved this series so much, that I bought the physical books of all her main series - the Bridgerton Books, Smythe-Smith Books, Bevelstoke series, and Agents of the Crown series (Yes, I am a fan).

So here is a selection from each series: 
Which do you prefer???

UK Cover
US Cover
UK Cover
US Cover
UK Cover
US Cover
UK Cover
US Cover

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Soulless - Gail Carriger

Soulless is the first of four parasol protectorate books which tells the story of Alexandra Tarrabotti, a half Italian spinster who also happens to be a 'preternatural' (aka soulless). A cross between PG Woodehouse and Jane Austen, Gail Carriger has created a wonderful alternative steampunk Victorian society in which werewolves and vampires are a key part of society.

After an attack from a strange vampire, Alexia, a preternatural/soulless (who has the ability to cancel out supernaturals) seeks to investigate what is happening to London's high society. However she isn't the only one as Lord Maccon, Alpha of the London pack and Head of BUR, with the help of his unflappable Beta, Prof. Lyall also seek answers to the unexpected new vampires and missing werewolves. It's hard to put into words, how much I enjoyed this book (and it's sequels). 

Carriger is an extraordinary writer - she has created this wonderful world, with incredible characters, the most wickedly funny dialogue and all with a lovely dash of romance.  

As an aspiring writer, reading (and rereading) this series make me want to weep because I will never write a book this well. One of the main strengths of the book, is the characters. It is a rare (and lovely) thing when a reader becomes so attached to a set of characters - but it would be impossible not to with this book, as each individual character is so complete, it makes you want to cherish them. 

Even presumably 'minor' characters leap off the page and make you pay attention to their story. So, if you enjoy intelligent and funny dialogue, excellent world-building and characters who stay with you long after you close the book - then this is for you. But if you don't believe me - then simply read the below quotes. They show the wit and style that is the trademark of this series.And truly you'd have to be soulless not to at least crack a smile!!
 "A vampire, like a lady, never reveals his true age." 
 "My dearest girl,' said the vampire finally, examining Lord Maccon with an exhausted but appreciative eye, 'such a banquet. Never been one to favor werewolves myself, but he is very well equipped, now, is he not?' Miss Tarabotti gave him an arch look. 'My goodies,' she warned. 'Humans,' chuckled the vampire, 'so possessive'"
 "Miss Tarabotti was not one of life's milk-water misses--in fact, quite the opposite. Many a gentleman had likened his first meeting with her to downing a very strong cognac when one was expecting to imbibe fruit juice--that is to say, startling and apt to leave one with a distinct burning sensation" 
"Please, Lord Maccon, use one of the cups. My delicate sensibilities.” The earl actually snorted. “My dear Miss Tarabotti, if you possessed any such things, you certainly have never shown them to me" 
  "Hello, princess,” said Lord Maccon to the vampire. “Got yourself into quite a pickle this time, didn't you?” Lord Akeldama looked him up and down. “My sweet young naked boy, you are hardly one to talk. Not that I mind, of course" 
 "Mr. Haverbink bowed deeply, muscles rippling all up and down his back, and lumbered from the room. Miss Hisselpenny sighed and fluttered her fan. "Ah, for the countryside, what scenery there abides..., " quoth she. Miss Tarabotti giggled. "Ivy, what a positively wicked thing to say. Bravo.” "
Overall, an exceptional witty and fun read, with wonderful in-depth characters that will stay with you forever. Without further gushing, I give this book (and series) 5/5 !! 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Cleopatra's Daughter - Michelle Moran

Cleopatra's Daughter tells the story of Selene Kleopatra, daughter of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra of Ptolemy, who after the defeat and suicide of her parents, if left to live under the watchful eyes of the ruling family of Ancient Rome. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and am looking forward to reading Moran's other works. It's extremely easy to read, and isn't bogged down with too much historical detail. I found the characters and their stories to be engaging, and I would recommend it to others except for one major caveat.

Moran adds an additional element to the story, she creates a character/plot called the 'Red Eagle' which fights against the establishment for the freedom of slaves. This plot is meant to add an extra feeling of suspense and action to the plot which I feel is completely unnecessary and sort of ruins the atmosphere of the book. Immediately it adds a very 'modern' concept to the ancient world, yes there were those who were against slavery in ancient times but this 'red eagle' hero figure feels very modern. The entire slavery subplot contaminated the storyline for me, as Selene is seen as very anti-slavery, which just has me sort of shaking my head - she was raised with slaves tending to her every need, why would she start to question it now? I know it has to do with the fact that she now is a captive, but she is never a slave or experiences the life of a slave. 

Moran is an excellent writer and I did enjoy the story, I just feel that it would have been much better and realistic for her to concentrate on the dangers for Selene being in Rome such as political intrigue, the senate etc. This was touched on briefly but wasn't explored to its potential. Reading is about suspension of belief but the 'red eagle' plot line pulled me out of this belief. 

I thoroughly enjoyed Moran's writing style and story (except for that aspect) and I LOVE anything to do with Egypt so I'm looking forward to reading her other works Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen. 

 If anyone has any recommendations of egyptian historical fiction, please leave a comment :)