Giveaways


COMING SOON...

April 30, 2012

Spring Fling Giveaway (US)


Welcome to your 79th hop!

Spring Fling Giveaway hop is hosted by

For our hop we are giving away a mass paperback copy of Sandra Hill's novel
This is open to US residents only.
Make sure you comply with the MANDATORY requirements;
Follow us via GFC publicly
otherwise your entry will be DISQUALIFIED.

Winner will be announced on May 8 and will be notified via email.
Winner has 48 hours to reply otherwise another name will be drawn.

If you can't see the rafflecopter form, click the READ MORE link on the left side of this post.

Thank you, goodluck and happy hopping!

Indulge a Little More...

I enjoyed The Marriage Bargain, Weekend Agreement, and Holiday Affair so much that I had to go back and grab more books from Entangled Publishing's Indulgence series. These contemparary romance books are great reads in between all the heavy and actioned packed paranormal romance and urban fantasy book that I usually have my nose buried in. With all the Indulgence ebooks being under 250 pages long and priced at $2.99, who wouldn't want to indulge  in some great romance reads?


Always a Bridesmaid
by Cindi Meyer
Length: 227 pages
Release Date: April 2012

Love can be a volcano…

After two failed relationships and six stints as a bridesmaid, Stephanie Ludlow is convinced she’s man-poison. So when her hormones point due south to her sexy new landlord, she throws up every guard in her arsenal to protect herself from heartbreak. Problem is, her cache is sadly lacking.

When Mike Brubaker’s wife left him, he focused all his energy on raising his nine-year-old son and providing a stable home. Relationships are a complication he can’t afford–until Stephanie walks into his life. She’s intelligent, irresistible, and driven, and he can’t take his mind off her, no matter how hard he tries.

Will interfering friends, an over-protective dad, and past mistakes keep them apart, or will they fight for the happiness that each deserves?

Purchase Always a Bridesmaid from the following retailers
Tempting the Best Man
by J. Lynn
Length: 179 pages
Release Date: April 2012

Madison Daniels has worshipped her brother’s best friend since they were kids. Everyone thinks she and Chase Gamble would make the perfect couple, but there are two major flaws in their logic: 1) Chase has sworn off relationships of any kind, and 2) after blurring the line between friends and lovers for one night four years ago, they can’t stop bickering.

Forced together for her brother’s wedding getaway, Chase and Madison decide to call a truce for the happy couple. Except all bets are off when they’re forced to shack up in a tacky 70’s honeymoon suite and survive a multitude of “accidents” as the family tries to prove their “spark” can be used for more than fighting. That is, if they don’t strangle each other first....

Purchase Tempting the Best Man from the following retailers
Rules of Negotiation
by Inara Scott
Length: 205 pages
Release Date: February 2012

She made all the rules…After juggling the demands of her career and the stress of caring for her ailing mother, high-powered corporate attorney Tori Anderson doesn’t have time for relationships—but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to feel like a woman. When Brit Bencher, NYC’s most eligible bachelor, offers a no-strings attached fling, it sounds like exactly what she needs. But what will she do when Brit decides he won’t take “one night stand” for an answer?

…until he started breaking them.Brit Bencher will do anything to take care of his family, even seduce Tori Anderson in the hopes of getting her to reveal confidential information about one of her clients. But for the first time in his life, he finds he’s falling for a woman. When Tori uncovers his lies, will he lose his chance with her forever?


Purchase Rules of Negotiation from the following retailers

Girl Crush Mondays: Kimbra

Kimbra Johnson

This New Zealand native is likened to Florence + the Machines and Bjork. 
My music lingo is limited so I don't know how to exactly label her sound but I am liking her songs.
 I love the beats, lyrics and even her videos, it's fun and upbeat but not clubby. 
Just some feel good stuff to laze around with on any given day. 

You might have heard her collaboration with Gotye in the airwaves,
Somebody That I Used to Know,
which is Cimmaron's current favorite song.
But before that single, she already has an album under her belt release in New Zealand and Australia and she's also a youtube star. 


Here are some of my faves:

Two Way Street

And this is what I told Cimmaron and Miss Vain I imagine us bloggers with our book boyfriends.

Touche.

April 29, 2012

Our Last IMM

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren and was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. It gives bloggers the chance to appreciate the books they've received, purchased, borrowed, won or traded during the past week and the wonderful opportunity to meet new people. 


Braine: 
Gift
Courtesy of Mr. O'Rourke

Borrowed
IT'S TIME FOR ME TO READ SOME ANITA BLAKE
SO LOOKING FORWARD
TO THIS!

This was a joy to read. Lizzie Nichols reminded me a lot of Becky Bloomwood (Shopahilic, Sophia Kinsella) but instead of shopping well she babbles, a lot! 




Cimmaron:
Bought
Easing slowly back into Supe territory with a dash of YA

______________________

NOTICE:
Because of the recent hoopla about The Story Siren, we here at Talk Supe decided that we will no longer use the IMM meme that she's hosting moving forward. 

Like most of you, we respect other people's voices and uniqueness but more importantly we value and protect the integrity of our opinion, it might be flawed but it is ours. And though at times it's very subjective we own and stand by those ideas 100%. Plagiarism is a deplorable act and we choose not to support or be associated with someone whose values are confused about this matter. 

But to be fair, TSS had something good going with IMM as it added another shade of fun to an already exciting world. We met new people and hit other fun blogs. So in the spirit of this innovative idea, we'll still share our new titles but we'll call our meme something else.

We present to you 
BB&B
Bought, Borrowed and Bagged
(meme to follow)
Inspired by Mac's beloved bookstore owned by Jericho Barrons from KMM's Fever Series


So if you're looking for an alternative to IMM you're more than welcome to participate in this meme. We'll still share our new titles every Sunday and we hope that you'll still come visit us and share your new books, we'd love to see what you bought, borrowed and/or bagged over the week regardless of what you call your meme.

April 27, 2012

Fact or Fiction Whisper Blog Tour: Dylan



I don’t know a guy named Dylan, or anyone else that’s full-blooded Cherokee, but the idea of Dylan was inspired by Tyler, my son. He was born on Dec 15, 2011 and died on December 20, 2011. His heart was enlarged and couldn’t pump properly. I think his heart was too big for this world. Like Dylan’s.

“How would you know I was there?”
His gaze locked on mine and I stilled, barely able to breathe. All trace of laughter disappeared from his expression. His stare was heavy to the point of paralyzing.
“My soul would recognize you and wake me.” His voice was gravelly and low, barely above a whisper, but it filled my ears and raced straight to my heart. I felt a keen familiarity with this moment and with Dylan himself. It was more than déjà vu. It was something inside me recognizing something inside him. 

_________________________________

Check out the other blogs participating in Heather's Whisper Hop


Cambria Hebert, Author of Masquerade - 4/22
A Book Vacation - 4/23 - SIGNED PB giveaway! 
Talking Supe - 4/27

For more info, visit Heather's blog

He hung on for five days, long past what the doctors thought was medically possible, and I think Dylan does the same for Whisper. He’s ready to die if it means rest because living for so long has made him weary. He presses on because he knows Whisper needs him. I sort of felt like Tyler did that for us. He hung on because he knew we needed the extra time.

 
Okay, that’s enough sad. I dwell, you musn’t. Let’s talk Dylan. He’s Native American, which means he has a tan. And he has long(er) hair. I have never written a character with the shaggy hair look. It’s long enough to pull back in a ponytail, just barely though. And this might be weird, since that’s not my type but I really had to specifically picture him to know I’d find him attracted. And this was all before I created him. Because if I didn’t find him attractive, I know ou wouldn’t either. Very important details here: I picture all angles. Angular jaw and sharp shoulders. CUT, baby. Yeah. That sort of body can go with any hair cut it wants.
Speaking of, Dylan cuts his hair himself - #alsosexy and I like that it’s not even all the way across. Kind of rugged and again #sexy 

Dylan – Fiction

April 26, 2012

COVER REVEAL: The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

Listen up Julie Kagawa fans, Harlequin Teen has just revealed the cover for first book of the upcoming Iron Fey spin-off series, The Lost Prince. Meghan's little brother Ethan is no longer the little boy scared of the monsters in his closet.
The Lost Prince
(The Iron Fey Call of the Forgotten)

Set several years after the events of the first Iron Fey novel, The Iron King, The Lost Prince trilogy will star an older Ethan Chase. Although I was hoping Kagawa would have done a spin-off for Meghan's best friend Puck, I think reading about Ethan's adventure will be as epic as his big sisters.

And for even more good news, Harlequin Teen, has decided to combine all the Iron Fey novellas and created an anthology book titled The Iron Legends. 
The anthology will include e-novella's Winter's Passage and Summer's Crossing along with a new novella titled Iron's Prophecy. And as an extra bonus, The Iron Legends will include an expanded guide of the Nevernever and a chapter from The Lost Prince.

When I read about this piece of new last night, I nearly fell off my chair from excitement. I'm not the biggest fan of YA but Kagawa really blew me away with this series and I CAN.NOT.WAIT to read about Ethan and his adventures. I'm hoping that we'll still get glimpses of big sister Meghan, brother-in-law Ash, Puck and a few funny Iron Fey creatures.

April 25, 2012

Review: Jane Goes Batty by Michael Thomas Ford


Series: Jane Fairfax 2
Format: Paperback
Excerpt
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
After two hundred years undead, Jane Austen still has bite. But will her most recent literary success be her last?

Life was a lot easier for Jane when she was just an unknown, undead bookstore owner in a sleepy hamlet in upstate New York. But now the world embraces her as Jane Fairfax, author of the bestselling novelConstance—and she’s having a killer time trying to keep her true identity asthe Jane Austen a secret. Even the ongoing lessons in How to Be a Vampire, taught by her former lover Lord Byron, don’t seem to be helping much. Jane can barely focus on her boyfriend, Walter, while keeping him in the dark about her more sanguine tastes.

To make matters worse, Walter announces that his mother is coming for a visit—and she’s expecting Jane to be Jewish. Add in a demanding new editor, a convention of romance readers in period costume, a Hollywood camera crew following Jane’s every move, and the constant threat of a certain bloodsucking Brontë sister coming back to finish her off, and it’s enough to make even the most well-mannered heroine go batty! 
The cover doesn't say much in fact it looks boring and very old fashioned and the publishers need to change it when the next edition comes out.

Anyway, I love parodies but it can also be tricky because if it's not done right it ends up being tacky (i.e. Disaster Movie). Gladly this series was done right, this was a well thought out comedy and though it has a lot of ridiculous moments it wasn't dumb.  Now I've read a couple of not so good reviews about this but I have to disagree with a couple of them. 

First of all looking at the synopsis one could tell that this should not be taken seriously nor the book is thesis material. Sure the heroine is Jane Austen but the situation Ford puts her in is far from something that requires serious criticism. Some of the premise might seem "typical" but if one takes another look at it, it's more of a challenge to Jane's character than a go signal for her to fall into the stereotype box. 

What got me laughing with JANE GOES BATTY is that Jane Austen, now Jane Fairfax, still a famous  romance novelist but rather than deal with the politics of men monopolizing the print industry, she now has to deal with an annoying book blogger, Beverly Shrop, whose blog entries are suspiciously massive. As per Jane's calculations, Beverly should be reading at least 6 books per day to come up with those reviews, that or she's "borrowing" comments from other reviewers *ehem*. Then Jane has to deal with her future mother-in-law, her new editor who doesn't seem to like her plus a movie deal that's not exactly going her way. 

And even if this is set in contemporary America, Jane remains very British complete with tea and reined-in manners. Lord Bryon is a playboy, Jane's bestfriend and mentor, he can also be infuriating and a pot stirrer of sorts. Charlotte Bronte is the villain in this series, she is Byron's ex flame and a loose canon dead set on destroying Jane Austen. 

I'm sure the circumstances are exaggerated but it also happens in real life and to see that played out from an author's stand point was hilarious to me. And who wouldn't want to read a fictional smackdown between Bronte & Austen with Byron as the referee? 



April 24, 2012

Indulgence from Entangled Publishing

Get ready to indulge with Entangled Publishing's Indulgence series!

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of reading the following books and really, really enjoyed them. I discovered this series by accident when I purchased The Marriage Bargain on a whim from Amazon after seeing it on the best selling Kindle book list. After I devoured The Marriage Bargain in about 2 hours, I immediately went back online to purchase Weekend Agreement and Holiday Affair and finished both by Sunday morning. If you're looking for light, easy, romantic reads then I would highly suggest these books. I'll work on having my reviews up for each book but I just wanted to give you a glimpse of what each book was about. The books are less than 250 pages each, so you'll be able to go through them quickly.

Read Chapter 1 Excerpt
The Marriage Bargain
by Jennifer Probst
Length: 216 pages
Release Date: February 2012

A marriage in name only…

To save her family home, impulsive bookstore owner, Alexa Maria McKenzie, casts a love spell. But she never planned on conjuring up her best friend’s older brother—the powerful man who once shattered her heart.

Billionaire Nicholas Ryan doesn’t believe in marriage, but in order to inherit his father’s corporation, he needs a wife and needs one fast. When he discovers his sister’s childhood friend is in dire financial straits, he’s offers Alexa a bold proposition.

A marriage in name only with certain rules: Avoid entanglement. Keep things all business. Do not fall in love. The arrangement is only for a year so the rules shouldn’t be that hard to follow, right?

Purchase The Marriage Bargain from the following retailers

Read Chapter 1 Excerpt

Weekend Agreement
by Barbara Wallace
Length: 194 pages
Release Date: March 2012

Some deals were meant to be broken…

Cynical billionaire Daniel Martinetti works hard; plays harder and has one ironclad rule. Never trust a woman. Bad news for historian Charlotte Doherty who shows up at exactly the wrong time. Like every other woman in Daniel’s life, Charlotte wants something from him–the deed to her family farm. Daniel agrees, but only if he gets something in return: Charlotte’s company for the weekend!

The property is Charlotte’s only link to the mother she never knew. Desperate to keep her history alive, she’ll accept Daniel’s indecent proposal, but not without a few terms of her own. Namely, a propriety clause. No flirting. No kissing. No s

Daniel has no intention of honoring her conditions, but after one weekend with Charlotte leaves him hungering for more, he can’t help wondering if she could be the exception to his unbreakable rule…

Purchase Weekend Agreement from the following retailers

 

Read Chapter 1 Excerpt
 Holiday Affair
by Annie Seaton
Length: 210 pages
Release Date: March 2012

Nothing more than a holiday fling…until he moved in next door!

Staid professor Lissy McIntyre believes that choosing a mate should be based on common sense, not runaway passion. And Lissy would certainly never pick a rolling stone like Nick Richards for long-term love. But a red-hot, tropical romance? Oh, yeah. He’s got a body just made for sinning and his sizzling kisses leave her senseless.

When Nick blows into town, he’s stunned to discover that his no-nonsense new neighbor and co-worker is the same sultry creature he seduced for one night of forbidden island pleasure. He’s unaccustomed to staying in one place for long, but he just can’t seem to keep his hands off the multi-faceted Lissy. Will Nick break loyal Lissy’s heart or will she be the one woman he simply can’t walk away from?

Purchase Holiday Affairfrom the following retailers

April 23, 2012

Review: Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton Review

Series: Gods & Monsters #2
Format: Hardback
Excerpt
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 21, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
After the epic graveyard battle at the end of Darkness Becomes Her, Ari and her friends know what they’re up against: Ari is facing the Medusa curse and is haunted by the image of what she will become. To make matters worse, the heinous goddess Athena has kidnapped young Violet and is threatening to destroy Ari. 

Ari, along with the superhot Sebastian, is doing everything she can to learn more about Athena and to get Violet back. But the battle of good and evil is bigger than she realizes, and she’s about to be pulled into a world more horrific than she could ever imagine.
I am absolutely captivated by Gods and Monsters however this is more Athena's book than it is Aristanae's (I love that name!) but since this is a heroine-centric series, some might call this the [dreaded] transition book. In other words, this merely gives a promise of bigger and better things that will happen in the next book and not this one. 

Athena flashed before my eyes, the demented sociopathic goddess of war

I am loving Athena, she is a wonderful villain and she can really get under your skin. She is manipulative and almost invincible so I can feel Ari's frustration in finding out how to bring this Goddess down. But what I love about this book is it gave us very curious tidbits of personal information about Athena, it revealed a little bit of background on how Athena managed to bring down her pantheon and there is a hint of a child. Whose child? I'm guessing Athena's but it's all speculative so KKeaton might throw us a curve ball in book three.

And if that happens, Josephine, if I turn into a monster, I'll be coming for you first, and there isn't a damn thing you can do to stop me

There are some major breakthroughs that also happened in BEAUTIFUL EVIL that made me cheer out loud for Ari much to the amusement of my housemates (they all thought I was reading smut because of my loud gasps and cries of YAY!). Ari is getting major fighting skill, she's learning how to use her weaknesses to her advantage and finally standing up to Josephine and the Novem which is basically a declaration of some sort for Ari that she's a free agent acting for nobody's behalf but herself. Another character that stole the scene was Violet. Oh Violet, you remind me so much of Rue (Hunger Games), such a very brave girl lending her strength to Ari when the latter was almost sure that Athena will finally get what she wants. 

Aside from other revelations and Athena's downfall, I am most looking forward to Artemis. She was mentioned here and I am hoping that she'll make an appearance on book three and help Ari beat her ambitious sister. 

I know this book got mixed reviews but like what I've mentioned countless times I am a Greek Myth junkie so I gave BEAUTIFUL EVIL a certain level of immunity. There some things that I find a little gauche, like Keaton's Pandora's box, but other than that I love this series and her take on Medusa's curse.




Girl Crush Mondays: GCB

The Ladies of GCB

based on the novel 
book synopsis
GCB is my new guilty pleasure, yes it's reminiscent of Desperate Housewives but these ladies are over the top much like my other guilty pleasure, Bravo's The Real Housewives franchise. 
These women are bigger than Texas, republicans and dysfunctional to the hilt!

Ex mean girl and Queen Bee, Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb) is a recently widowed mother of two who, to get a fresh start, moves back to the affluent Dallas neighborhood where she grew up to find herself in the whirling midst of salacious gossip, Botox, and fraud. The new clique is now led by Carlene Cockburn (Kristin Chenoweth) and together with other people whom Amanda have wronged in the past, they want to exact revenge and mess up Amanda's life they way she ruined them back in High School. 

Amanda's return is testing these women's strong Christian values. Turning the other cheekloving the neighbor and thou shalt not speak ill of others are some of those Christian tenets that Carlene and friends find difficult to abide to when Amanda's concerned. Currently she's dating Carlene's brother, Luke Lourd played by the hunky Eric Winter.
The main reason why I watched the pilot was because of Kristin Chenoweth who plays devout but manipulative Christian, Carlene Cockburn. She's a wonderful villain and her over the top character fits her perfectly. The way she hurls Bible verses to justify her motives are hilarious! 
Miriam Shor plays Cricket Caruth-Reilly. A powerful businesswoman caught in a White Marriage. See her husband is gay and their is a marriage of convenience and appearance.
Exemplary housewife and emotional eater Sharon Peacham is played by Jennifer Aspen. She has the most insecurities in the group and Carlene's biggest fan and follower. She's launching her own Diet-Plan Weight Loss program called Losing it with Jesus, her menu is based on the Bible.
Wild card Heather Cruz played by Marison Nichols is probably the most sane character among the clique. She finds herself in a very uncomfortable position because she likes Amanda and her mom but she doesn't want to be shunned by these ladies and lose their business. So she ends up being Switzerland most of the time.
But the scene stealer is Annie Potts who plays Amanda's mom, Gigi Stopper. This matriarch is an overbearing republican who oozes with Southern Belle charm. 
I haven't read the book but looking at the ratings, it seems the TV adaptation is better than the print one. 


April 22, 2012

Review: Dragon's Oath and Lenobia's Vow by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Series: House of Night Novellas 1
Format: Hardcover
Excerpt
Release Date: July 12, 2011
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Bryan Dragon Lankford is the middle son on an Earl and was Marked and shipped to the Americas in the 1830's. Dragon is your typical promiscuous and precocious wealthy aristocrat and his good looks has got him into several scuffles with other prominent families. But he met his match in Tower Grove House of Night in St. Louis, Missouri in the Priestess Anastacia. 
So DRAGON'S OATH recounts how Bryan Dragon Lankford became Dragon Lankfor, Master Swordsman, and his and Anastacia's love story. But I have to be honest and say that I didn't fall in love with Dragon and didn't really feel Anastacia's death in Hunted. Although here it get us an in depth count of Dragon's mourning and the bond they shared but it still fell short in my humble opinion. 

I actually feel like Dragon got too sulky and petulant, denying Nyx and the oath he gave Anastacia. I understand grief but the flow of this novella didn't make Dragon's righteous vengeance feel right to me. He just came off like a spoiled child acting out to his Mom. 



Series: House of Night Novellas 2
Format: Hardcover
Excerpt
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
In a small southern town at the turn of the century, young Lenobia is developing into a beautiful young woman with ideas of her own. But when she is Marked as a fledgling vampyre, her world turns upside down, and she is drawn to the musical streets of New Orleans. There, she learns of the city’s dark underbelly, ruled by powerful black magic. As Lenobia experiences her first love – and loss – and discovers a passion for horses to sustain her, she must come face-to-face with Darkness itself. And she may not escape without scars.

LENOBIA'S VOW, thankfully, is a good novella. As HON followers know, Lenobia is the professor for equestrian studies.

Lonobia Whitehall is the bastard child of a French Baron. Together with her mother, they serve her father's house, she works in the stables and her mother is a maid. She's resented by the family not only because she reminds them of her father's transgressions but also of her uncanny resemblance to her sister Cecile.

When her sister, Cecile d'Auvergne died, she assumed her identity and sailed to New Orleans to marry her sister's fiance and start a better, though deceitful, life for herself. But things didn't go well for Lenobia, in her journey she fell in love with Martin, a mulatto, lost a friend, Sister Mary Madeleine, and spurned the advances of an evil Bishop of Evreux, Charles de Beaumont.

Compared to DRAGON'S OATH, LENOBIA'S VOW was a well told romantic tragedy. Lenobia's struggle was emphatic, her fears vivid and her unexpected, though tragic, love for Martin was heart wrenching. I was gripping the book hoping that Martin and Lenobia find happily every after even for a while.

Alas these are just wishful thinking but thankfully Lenobia managed to dodge the pyromaniac Bishop. Though Nyx's mark was a blessing, she still started a new life as a Vampyre mending a broken heart.





Early Review: Masque of Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Series: Masque of Red Death 1
Format: ARC
Excerpt
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Puchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Set in a decaying city surrounded by swamps, a place somewhat like a cross between present-day New Orleans and turn-of-the-last-century Paris, this is an eerie and strangely beautiful novel. 


Welcome to a world where the corpse collectors are the first ones on the streets in the morning, a place where bats and crocodiles are poised to attack, where the wealthy ride steam carriages and design zeppelins, where the terrifying tunnels under the city may or may not offer a way to escape, where the fashionable dust their masks with glitter but bare their arms and legs in order to prove they don't carry The Contagion.

- Virginia Duncan
VP & Publisher



A night of merriment, mayhem and Debauchery.

This is how I'd probably describe my reading experience with Bethany Griffin's MASQUE OF RED DEATH, an extended version of Edgar Allan Poe's short story. Her wonderful liberal updates resulted to a sweeping adventure and interesting characters that I'm sure a lot of us will definitely follow. 

One of my favorite period movies, Sophia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. 
Debauchery District's masked citizens reminded me of the movie's Masquerade Ball 
which is also the backdrop of Poe's classic short.
This Dystopian Steampunk is indeed more French than English with it's opulent fashion, let-them-eat-cake attitude, Prince Prospero's tyrannical ways and blatant disregard for his citizens and their needs felt very Marie Antoinette to me. I can't help but be seduced by Debauchery District; the fashion, social life and the extreme ways the privileged do to fool themselves that everything is fine and dandy in their wonderful town. Constant clubbing in Debauchery and Morgue, shooting themselves with Oblivion to a dead stupor to make them forget their personal tragedies. And although debauchery is defined as living in excess, the citizens are more scared and obviously in denial of their current state of affairs than living a decadent life. Side by side this wasteful lifestyle is the constant threat of the airborne disease the contagion/Weeping Sickness which is a cross between The Consumption and the Black Plague, the under privileged and their unmasked faces, the throbbing hunger and pains of poverty, dead bodies carted and dumped, Death is a permanent resident in this town. With this combination we are very much aware that a rebellion of epic proportions a la The Storming of Bastille is waiting to happen.

They want to change their lives. The poverty, their desperation, the state in which they are forced to live. Desperation and apathy are all we have left --

The character developments are appealing to me despite the fact that the center of the story are a bunch of teenagers who have different motives with the commonality of wanting change. Their oppressed and drugged up District is forcing their hands to do something about their current situation and fight Prince Prospero's artificial power. I find Elliot and his maniacal tendencies enigmatic, he's a freedom fighter which gives him a sense of volatility and an air of danger which makes the love triangle part even more interesting. William is another tragic hero in the making and his connection to Araby Worth is shaking up the unobtrusive life he's made for himself and his two younger siblings. April is Elliot's sister and Araby's bestfriend, her carefree attitude is merely a front to hide a traumatic past thanks to Prince Prospero.

Maybe it doesn't matter. She's made herself so artificial; it's okay to wear next to nothing because we aren't real people any longer.

And then we have Araby Worth, BGriffin's naive, loyal to a fault heroine, the one who will tip the Prince's power scale in the end. However I must admit I did not feel Araby's character very endearing, see she's a druggie with Mommy issues and a little boy crazy, which I tolerated because BGriffin is presenting us her shallowness so she can contrast Araby's growth later on in the series. But what ticked me was when she went home to an empty house after being poisoned and threatened by Prince Prosepero and instead of panicking and finding out what happened to her parents, she went up and risked her life to see William in the shady part of the District. At this point in the story, Araby was already part of Elliot's planned rebellion and Prince Prospero cannot be more crystal with his nefarious intentions towards Araby Worth's parents. I felt that Araby's apathy towards her parent's disappearance off putting.

No one can save the world. Not when it doesn't want to be saved.

In any case I absolutely love, Love, LOVE this brilliantly written allegory! BGriffin's charming metaphors were successful in making me stop and think of the story's parallelism to historical events and present day matters. And even if I am not a big Araby fan now I know that I will be later on, her character is going through some interesting things that is the perfect catalyst for a metamorphosis that I want to witness. The risk BGriffin took and basing her novel to a well loved story worked to her advantage because MASQUE OF RED DEATH will appeal to a spread of readers with varying tastes from the classical junkies to lovers of fantasy fiction.

So the city is in ruins and the prince is holding a party?

Now with the Red Plague ravaging Debauchery, book two can't come soon enough.