Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Candace Reviews Starling by Fiona Paul



Starling (The Secrets of the Eternal  Rose #3) by Fiona Paul
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published: March 20th, 2014 by Philomel
Source: Publisher

The dark, seductive conclusion to the thrilling Secrets of the Eternal Rose trilogy!
In the final book in the trilogy, Cass and Luca are back in Venice trying to find the Book of the Eternal Rose to clear Luca's name and keep them both out of prison. But the hunters become the hunted when the Order of the Eternal Rose figures out their plan. Filled with twists and turns, danger and torrid romances, this novel brings the Secrets of the Eternal Rose novels to a thrilling, heart-pounding, sexy conclusion.

Like the description says, this really was a heart-pounding conclusion! Once I started reading I really didn't want to put it down. It has constant action and very little time to sit back and read. I liked this though and it kept me reading when other books have lost my interest because of their slower pace.

This review was first featured at Candace's Book Blog in March 2014.
The streets and canals of Venice in this time period are vibrant and alive. It's easy to imagine the setting itself, but also all the people within it, even those that are just passersby.

Cass has always felt like a strong character to me. While she might be slightly torn in where her heart lies, she knows strongly in her heart what is right and wrong. When she knows people are being killed she knows she will do anything to save them. To bring down this Order even if she has to do it by herself. Her strength shone in Belladonna but it came through very much in this one as well. There was a time or two that I wasn't so sure she knew what she was doing, making some rash decisions, possibly putting trust into the hands of people she maybe shouldn't. But in the end she really came through and I enjoyed her growth in this one.

A large amount of her growth was obvious in the romantic sense. She had to make a decision about who she loves. We may have thought she already decided, but there are things that come into play here that we don't quite know for sure. Fortunately, she does. While I'm not a big fan of a love triangle, this felt like a realistic one. I can't get into it without spoilers, but you have to remember the teenage heart and how easily it is to get swept up into romance. How it all played out left me happy.

I'm sad to see the series end but I'm very happy with this conclusion. I most definitely recommend this series!

Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes, all opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.
 
Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Candace Reviews Belladonna by Fiona Paul

Belladonna (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #2) by Fiona Paul
Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: July 16th, 2013 by Philomel
Source: Gifted by another blogger
In Renaissance Italy, love, lust, intrigue and secret societies converge to stunning results!


In the second in the stunning Secrets of the Eternal Rose series, Cassandra Caravello is trying to forget Falco, the wild artist who ran off with her heart, as she grows closer to her strong, steady fiancé, Luca. But Luca seems to have his own secrets. When he’s arrested by soldiers in the middle of the night, Cass’s life is once again thrown into chaos. She must save Luca, and that means finding the Book of the Eternal Rose—the only evidence that will prove he’s innocent.

So begins her journey to Florence, a city haunted by whispers of vampirism, secret soirees and clandestine meetings of the Order of the Eternal Rose. And home to Falco, who is working for the Order’s eerily stunning leader, the Belladonna herself.

Can Cass trust her heart to lead her to the truth this time?
Nothing is as it seems in this seductive thriller, where the truth may be the deadliest poison of all.
This review was first featured at Candace's Book Blog in June, 2013.
I love, love, love the setting and time period of these books!  But that's not all, I also love the characters and the mystery.  The books tend to suck me in immediately and don't spit me out until the end.  The first book takes place in Venice in it's entirety and this one brought us to Florence for a good chunk of it.  I do love Venice but it was interesting to see a bit more in this one, to have some new scenery and some new characters for awhile.

The book starts out with a bang and Cass is immediately needing to save Luca from certain death.  This lends a sense of urgency to the book as we are with her as she makes the journey to Florence where she's sent on a wild goose chase to try to figure things out.  While in Florence she starts unraveling some mysteries, and discovering some new ones.  She also 'runs into' Falco, her love interest from the first book (not a spoiler).  Cass is extremely determined to save Luca and will do anything.  This leads to some not-so-smart choices but also some extremely brave ones.  At times I was torn about whether I wanted to shake her for this, or wanted to hug her for her bravery.  I did feel that there were a few things she should have figured out and maybe avoided, like she was a bit too trusting of people that she originally knew not to trust.  However, this was a very minor issue for me and one I got over quickly.  I admired Cass for her strength and determination and the lengths she would go to for a man she cared for but wasn't sure whether she loved (at least romantically).

I had some mixed feelings about the romance in this one.  I loved Falco in the first book though he was a bit TOO mysterious at times, I really loved his character.  In this one I felt like I really wanted more from him but he just wasn't very present and he didn't give much to Cass.  He seemed more like he was into her more physically and that's more where his love for her lay, in her body and not so much just for HER.  Luca on the other hand, while not on the page real often, was definitely a character I loved when he was there.  I wasn't a big Luca fan in the first one but now I'm more mixed up inside.  While I'm not a love triangle fan, this is a love triangle that I think actually works.  It's realistic and I 'get' why Cass likes each of them.  I think her heart belongs to one, and I think I know which one, but I do have mixed feelings about it and get how and why things may or may not work for each of them.

The mystery of it all still has a ways to go.  We uncovered a lot of stuff but this is a complicated thing and there's no rushing it.  It's secret society secrets and takes some digging for things to come together.  I am VERY anxious to see where things go in the next book.  Don't worry about a cliffhanger though, the main issues in this book are resolved (at least enough for now).

This book is pretty dark.  There's lots of death and scary things happening.  It wasn't depressing though and never seemed heavy to me.  I read the book quickly and shed a tear or two before I finished.  I recommend this book to mature YA readers that enjoy historical fiction.


Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from a blogger who hadn't read the series, it was a gift.  All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.

Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Candace Reviews: Venom by Fiona Paul

Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1) Fiona Paul
Hardcover, 432 pages
Expected publication: Oct. 30th, 2012 by Philomel
Source: Publisher
Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.
This review was first featured at Candace's Book Blog in October of 2012.
Venom showed up in my mailbox completely unexpected.  I remember seeing the book around but it wasn't on my wishlist and I'm not even sure I knew what it was about.  So when I saw the beautiful cover I was excited, but once I read the description I was super excited!  Renaissance Venice?!  I mean can you have a more romantic setting?!  I'm not sure I have read a book from that time and place but I knew it would be a fascinating setting.  I immediately started reading (yep, the moment I opened the package!) and was drawn into the gorgeous time period and setting immediately.

Cassandra has been raised by a strict Catholic aunt who is very strict and proper.  This has made Cass feel very alone.  When she finds a murdered girl and meets a new boy the very same night she is thrust into a world of adventure.  It's scary, but she's finally feeling alive.  She starts discovering the underbelly of Venice, the courtesan houses, the artists, and all these people and places she's never been allowed near.  Her and Falco (the guy she meets the night she found the murdered girl) spend nights trying to uncover the mystery and things just keep getting spookier as more girls disappear.

Falco is an artist and he has a light hearted way about him.  He says what he thinks whether it's proper or not and it's not long before Cass is falling for him.  He has a lot of mysteries about him though and this was something that I had figured out long before it was revealed.  I thought the clues were obvious but Cass didn't see them and I think it was just because of the way she was brought up, she never knew anything about this kind of thing.  I didn't mind knowing, but was eager for Cass to know and understand.

I really liked Cass and Falco but I always felt like Falco's personality was held back somehow.  Like his true self didn't shine through as much as it could have.  He still pulled some very romantic moves and kissing in a gondola?  Most romantic setting EVER. So I liked the romance in the book quite a lot.  I also liked that Cass, who was sheltered her whole life, was okay with doing things that she knew was improper.  While she thought it was improper, she did it anyway and didn't hate herself for it too much. 

The main mystery was one I didn't figure out.  I kept guessing but in the end I was completely wrong.  And I thought it was actually clever how the author finished it.  The mystery is semi solved, but there are threads left hanging for the next book.  However it's not a true cliffhanger.  On the other side of things the romance was left open.  Cass is engaged to another man and has to choose between him and Falco.  I believe it's clear who her heart belongs to, but her arranged marriage is what everyone expects of her and this keeps her torn.  As well as the fact that her fiance seems to be a truly good person.   And while the ending didn't feel like the romance left us hanging it wasn't resolved either.  She managed to do it in a way that I felt satisfied but yet I was dying for more.

After reading this book I'm eager to read more about the Renaissance period.  The styles were fascinating and I'm looking forward to doing some googling to learn more about them.  I also loved the setting of Venice and look forward to more books set in this gorgeous and romantic city!

I definitely recommend this book!  It's a hefty book at over 400 pages, but it took me just over a day to read because I found it difficult to put down.  Even though the beginning was slower paced it was still fascinating and the second half when things really started happening I was dying for more so nearly read straight through.  I highly suggest you pick this one up!

Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes, all opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.

About the reviewer:
Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.

About the Author:
Fiona Paul is a new resident to the PNW and her bio will be along shortly!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

PNW Author Releases

Check out the amazing books by these PNW Authors releasing in 2014!

Lilith St. Crow - Mar 6 - Wayfarer
Fiona Paul - March 20 - Starling


Deb Caletti - April 1 - The Last Forever
Laini Taylor - Apr 8 - Dreams of Gods & Monsters
Kimberly Derting - April 29 - The Taken
Kevin Emerson - April 29 - Exile


Paula Stokes - May 20 - The Art of Lainey
Lisa Schroeder - Caitlin's Lucky Charm - May
Lisa Schroeder - Mia's Golden Bird - May


Teri Brown - June 10 - Born of Deception
Karen Finneyfrock - June 12 - Starbird Murphy and the World Outside
April Henry - June 17th - The Body in the Woods'
Shelby Bach - June 24 - Of Sorcery and Snow (MG)


Lisa Schroeder - The Bridge from Me to You - July 29


April Tucholke - Aug 14 - Between the Spark and the Burn
Kevin Emerson - Aug 26 - The Far Dawn
Jennifer Longo - Aug 26 - Six Feet Over


Kendare Blake - Sept 1 - Mortal Gods
Heidi Schulz - Sept 16 - Hook's Revenge
Kiki Hamilton - Sept 23 - The Faerie Queen
Lish McBride - Sept 23 - Firebug


Mary Elizabeth Summer - Oct 14 - Trust Me, I'm Lying
Cat Winters - Oct 14 - The Cure for Dreaming

Miriam Forster - Nov 4 - Empire of Shadows
Heather Vogel Frederick - Nov 4 - Absolutely Truly: A Pumpkin Falls Mystery (MG?)
Chelsea Pitcher - Nov 8 - The Last Changeling

Let me know if I'm missing anything!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Excited for a new read? Check this out!


Today we are excited to have Craig MacLachlan here sharing news!!

Hi. I'm Craig MacLachlan and I have some exciting news to share with everyone. My debut Young Adult novel, Summer's Shadow, released March 10th and is available for purchase online. If you are interested and decide to purchase a copy, I truly appreciate the support! This is just the start of things as I have a lot of promotion to do online and out in the community!


Here is what Summer's Shadow is about and where to purchase it:



When seventeen-year-old Sierra Winters watches her physical body sink to its death, she realizes a shining silver cord connects her two halves together, but it breaks off from her bellybutton, sinks with her body, and then everything changes when a mysterious boy named Valeck saves her life. 
Sierra soon discovers she has stumbled upon a mysterious realm known as The Void, which is filled with mystery, intrigue, danger and love. But upon returning to The Void, she is met by a sinister man known as Maven Kodiak who can manipulate his surroundings into a sickening Rot. Maven wants the power of her silver cord all for himself so he can enter the physical world and conquer it. 
And he will do anything to take Sierra's cord, even if it means her death.
On the run from Maven, Sierra struggles to understand her abilities and powers which yield some surprising results. As she and Valeck fall in love, Sierra discovers he is keeping a vital secret from her.Can Sierra be happy sharing her life between both realms, or will she be forced to choose one over the other forever? 
But nothing in Sierra’s life will matter if she doesn't find a way to stop the maniac hunting for her.

Purchase Summer's Shadow at Amazon or Barnes & Noble


Thanks for stopping by Craig! We look forward to reading Summer's Shadow!