AnnAlysis: Black Moon Draw

green dreamsFrom Goodreads:
A reader gets sucked into the book she’s reading and is trapped, unless she convinces the hero of the story to send her home. Just her luck – the book is unfinished, and its sexy hero is far more alpha male than she’s prepared to handle. 

What Naia doesn’t know: the story – and its hero – have been expecting her for quite some time, even though she has no idea what she’s doing there. 

Naia must learn quickly how to navigate the dangerous, magical world of Black Moon Draw and find a way to woo the unlikely, uncooperative hero of the story, who holds the key to returning her home. 

My Thoughts:
First – let’s be honest. What reader hasn’t been sucked so far into a book that he or she hasn’t wished they were there, in the pages? This happens quite a bit with me. There are some books, and some characters, that I just can’t get enough of. I relate so well with them and their stories that I feel that I could page on the pages with them. So, of course, I immediately connected with Naia in this book. From the get-go. My cousin was here when I started this book and I keep reading snippets to her. We both laughed because we both related with her. That being said, Naia made this book for me. I loved her from the get-go and battled along with her throughout the story, through the very last door she walked through.

The story itself wasn’t as easy for me. The magical world of Black Moon Draw caught me up a few times. All the knights and terminology and settings…. I normally stick with books that, although fiction, could be reality. This was a leap for me, but I was intrigued enough by the summary to test the waters. In the end, the story all came together with me. It just took a while for it to click.

There are so many things I want to gush about here, but cannot because I hate spoilers. I will tell you that this story has a little love, a few battles, some magic, some strange characters, some heartthrob men, and an ending that you won’t want to miss.

I give Black Moon Draw 4 out of 5 bookmarks and now must go dream of this mysterious fictional place with hopes that I too can be sucked into a novel.

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Released: November 9, 2014
Author Website

Q&A with Imogen Robertson

I am welcoming author Imogen Robertson to the blog today. If you missed my review yesterday of her new book, The Paris Winter, scroll down and take a little time to read what it’s about. Imogen is here today for a little Q&A about her book and what went into writing it.

Robertson ParisKA: Where did inspiration come from for this novel?
IR: From my grandmother. She was born in 1892 and travelled independently in Europe before the First World War. She always used to have a few sovereigns sewn into her skirt for emergencies and I’ve used that detail in my book. She also used to sketch and paint watercolors, so the idea of an English woman training to be an artist in Europe took shape from that. Then I saw the pictures of the 1910 floods in Paris and I knew that was where and when I wanted to set my story.

KA: Have you always been interesting in historical books?
IR: I stopped studying history at school at age 14, but I’ve always enjoyed reading history – particularly social history. I also read a lot of classic literature when I was young, Dickens, Austen and Eliot for example and would devour every Georgette Heyer novel I could get my hands on, so I guess that’s a big yes!

KA: I always think I would have a hard time keeping the language in the correct time frame. Do you ever catch current phrases that you have to make historically accurate?
IR: It can be a problem. The best thing to do is to immerse yourself in the writings of the time. Before I started writing Paris Winter I read hundreds of pages of newspapers, letters diaries and memoirs from 1909 and 1910 so I would get the feel and tone right as far as I could. Sometimes what trips you up is a phrase that is accurate, but sounds incredibly modern. You don’t want to make your readers stop to question the phrase, so sometimes I edit those out if I think they will cause problems.

KA: You spent time in Paris researching this novel (best work vacation ever). Other than the obvious reasons of being there and getting the feel for the city, how did this help your story?
IR: I was lucky enough to meet American writer David Downie and his wife Alison Harris, the photographer. They took me on a secret tour of Paris which included all sorts of locations I would never have found my myself and several of them ended up in the novel. You have to time your research visits carefully! I needed to know enough of what might happen in the novel to go to the right places, but also make sure I wasn’t so fixed in my thinking I couldn’t accommodate new inspirations. I think I got it about right this time.

KA: What did you learn about yourself as a writer while working on this?
IR: That I will always hit a point in a novel where I believe it’s all going wrong and will never work! That’s part of the process. Sometimes you have to stand back from your work and be a harsh critic about what is working and what isn’t. When you’ve done that you find you’ve cleared away the words and the story and characters can bloom.

KA: What are you reading now?
IR: The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. She is an astonishing novelist and creates a complete world with very subtle writing. I would love to be as good as her someday.

AnnAlysis: The Paris Winter

the paris winterFrom Goodreads:
Imogen Robertson’s break-out novel – a deep, dark and opulent tale of Belle epoque Paris, and the secrets and dangers hidden beneath its luxurious facade. Maud Heighton came to Lafond’s famous Academie to paint, and to flee the constraints of her small English town. It took all her courage to escape, but Paris eats money. While her fellow students enjoy the dazzling joys of the Belle epoque, Maud slips into poverty. Quietly starving, and dreading another cold Paris winter, Maud takes a job as companion to young, beautiful Sylvie Morel. But Sylvie has a secret: an addiction to opium. As Maud is drawn into the Morels’ world of elegant luxury, their secrets become hers. Before the New Year arrives, a greater deception will plunge her into the darkness that waits beneath this glittering city of light.

My Thoughts:
If I hear anything Paris, I will normally snatch a book up in a heartbeat. That is was set in the past had me a little iffy, but I gave in and am glad I did.

This book was a roller coaster for not only the characters, but also myself. Poor Maude, literally poor, seems to hit the motherload – getting a job with room and board. All she has to do is spend time with another young woman, who has ailing health. She can still get to her art classes. And she even has friends now. All is well…. until it’s not anymore. And when it’s bad, it’s very bad and Maude is left with less than she started with. At least originally she had her reputation, although there wasn’t much to know about her.

So that’s why Maude was on a roller coaster. The coaster I was on had to do with the plot. At first, it was hard for me to get into the book, then I couldn’t put it down, then it started to fall flat for me again, then it picked up and ended strong. The book had several strong points, including the characters, many parts of the story line, several little love stories, and a major crime. The part of the book that was slow for me, there was nothing wrong with it. You have to have it to tell the story, but I knew there was something more coming and I wanted to it to get there faster.

I loved how Robertson wrote this story. What always makes me nervous about historical books is the writing. Many times, it’s over my head and I don’t understand the dialect. That was not the case in this one and I felt like I really was able to jump back in time and be part of the story.

I also enjoyed how Robertson portrayed the female characters and their struggles in the early 1900s, and did so with strong female characters who were well beyond their time.

I always like little touches that authors add to their stories that make them different. Robertson did this very well. She described the settings with notes from a collection of art. I skimmed through many of these, but plan to go back and read them more thoroughly now that I have the book finished. This is just a habit of mine. I like to focus on the story, then go back and read the extras and get a better idea of how they fit into the story.

I give The Paris Winter 4 out of 5 bookmarks.

Come back tomorrow for a Q&A to learn more about Roberston and what she learned in writing this book.

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Release: 11/18/2014
Author Website

AnnAlysis: Because She Loves Me

because she love smeFrom Goodreads:
When Andrew Sumner meets beautiful, edgy Charlie, he is certain his run of bad luck has finally come to an end.

But as the two of them embark on an intense affair, Andrew wonders if his grasp on reality is slipping. Items go missing in his apartment. Somebody appears to be following him. And as misfortune and tragedy strike his friends and loved ones, Andrew is forced to confront the frightening truth.

Is Charlie really the girl of his dreams or the woman of his nightmares?

My Thoughts:
I normally don’t go for books with male leads (sorry guys…. I normally have a hard time getting into your heads and really getting your characters), but this one struck me as quite intriguing.

This book starts off like a normal love story. Boy meets girl. Boy instantly is infatuated. Girl plays the game. Girl comes around. They fall head over heels for each other. Then it gets crazy. And by crazy, I mean this would make a fantastic suspenseful movie. Weird things happen to Andrew, his BFF, his to-be boss, the list goes on.

This is a very intense novel. I think at one time or another we’ve all had, or have had a friend with, a bit of a crazy relationship. Likely not this crazy. At parts it seems a little far fetched, that someone would go through such lengths, but you never know what people will do in the name of love.

What a great book. I didn’t want to put it down, but things like work and sleep get in the way of reading time :) There are so many twists and turns and surprising revelations that have you guessing through the whole book.

I give Because She Loves Me 5 out of 5 bookmarks. And I REALLY hope someone reads this one day and decides to make a movie out of it. Who doesn’t like a thriller the exploits crazy relationships that makes you feel great about your own, but also makes you a little paranoid at the same time?

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Released: September 2014
Author Website

Fall Reading List

Oh fall! How I have a love/hate relationship with you. I love all things pumpkin. I hate that this means winter is around the corner. But I get a lot more reading done in the fall and winter because I leave the house a lot less. I don’t feel as bad sitting around the house in the winter as I do in the summer. The weather is just a bit less desirable.

My fall reading list is already packed to the gills. I am very ambitious, a little too ambitious I think. I’m already a smidge behind. Oops. But there are so many good books that have come my way recently, I can’t turn them down. Here’s what I’m hoping to crack open this fall.

The Revealed by Jessica Hickam
The Competition by Marcia Clark
The Goddess of Small Victories by Yannick Grannec
Still Yours by Amy Patrick
Black Moon Draw by Lizzy Ford
Home to Chicory Lane by Deborah Raney
Since You’ve Been Gone by Mary Jennifer Payne
The Paris Winter by Imogen Roberston
The Secret Place by Tana French
You Had Me and Bonjour by Jennifer Bonnet
Thieving Forest by Martha Conway
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
A  Matter of Grave Concern by Brenda Novak
At Home with Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott

Annnnnd that just gets me through November….. :) Better get to reading, eh? What’s on your fall reading list?