Monthly Archives: July 2010

Review and Book Giveaway Contest of Michelle Zink’s, Guardian of the Gate (Prophecy of the Sisters, Book 2)

Guardian of the Gate (Prophecy of the Sisters, Book 2), by Michelle Zink

Guardian of the Gate (Prophecy of the Sisters, #2) 

“Just be sure you want to bring this to its conclusion,” she says, “Because when you do, when it’s all over for good, one of us will be dead.” (Guardian of the Gate)

Not quite the conversation you would expect from twin sisters! These sisters are in for the battle of their lives!

My love of gothic genre first drew my attention to, Prophecy of the Sisters, Book 1, by Michelle Zink. Add fantasy to the mix, superb writing, fabulous description, and Michelle Zink created a bestselling Young Adult book creating a fan base savoring for more. I was very well pleased as the sequel unfolded! As with Prophecy of the Sisters, Guardian of the Gate, held my attention! I became quite engrossed with the continuing story! The book sprang to life so much so I could vividly picture many of encounters and conflicts!

The year is 1891 and the setting is England complete with castles, manors, and legends.  Guardian of the Gate, Book 2, begins with sixteen-year-old Lia Milthorpe pursuing the missing pages to bring an end to the prophecy which has engulfed her family and others for many years.  Lia and Alice’s parents and brother are now dead, all due to circumstances surrounding the prophecy. This prophecy has turned Lia and her twin sister, Alice, against each other.  Alice has evil plans for the prophecy which puts the sisters at odds. Alice is also in pursuit of the missing pages. Alice is the Guardian and Lia is the Gate of the prophecy. In the past, the Gate has been the enemy but now it is the Guardian!

With the help of her father’s friend, Edmund, Lia’s mission is to secure the lost pages needed to end the prophecy and to find the two remaining lost keys. Their goal is to reach the hidden island of Altus.  Hopefully there they will find answers to the missing pages they so desperately need to find.  Along with her on the journey Lia is also accompanied by Sonia Sorrensen and Luisa Torelli, who are two of the keys to the prophecy and also bear the Jorgumand mark on their wrists. They were all born at midnight on November 1, 1874.

Adventures ensue as the story intensifies on their journey to the island of Altus. The powerful Grigori dominate and keep order in the Otherworlds. The Grigori have driven Alice out because she continues to defy and reject their rules. Lia and her group of travelers are chased and pursued by the Hellhounds, an evil wolf pack. Lia at times isn’t sure whom she should trust at times. One member of her group is sent by the Grigori to protect her. His name is Dimitri Markov. He is handsome, alluring, and Lia is quite attracted to him. He plays an integral part in the story as it progresses.

As the tale continues to develop, Lia learns more secrets about her parents and the part they played in the unfolding tale of the prophecy. Lia discovers the importance of their family lineage as it pertains to the prophecy. Through her Aunt Abigail, Lia realizes where she must go, “Chartres,” to uncover the missing pages. Lia is determined to continue and establish her rightful position with the Sisterhood.  Dimitri is by Lia’s side to help her to reach her goal.  Will she find what she’s looking for to uncover all of her answers to finally bring an end to the prophecy? Will Lia be able to find the last two keys needed?  By the end of the book you will be on pins and needles to find out if Lia is powerful enough to win out in the end. Her sister Alice has the evil forces on her side to combat Lia.  There can only be one sister left standing. Which one will it be? I can’t wait to uncover the answers to these questions in the final book of the trilogy!!!

Read below for the details of my very first book giveaway!

Prophecy of the Sisters (Prophecy of the Sisters, #1) 

Guardian of the Gate (Prophecy of the Sisters, #2)
I am so happy to announce, now is your opportunity to win copies of Michelle Zink’s books, Prophecy of the Sisters AND Guardian of the Gate, here at my blog! The contest runs through August 1st with the winner announced on August 4th in conjunction with the release of Guardian of the Gate. Leave a comment letting me know the name of your favorite heroine from a gothic or fantasy book, along with your email so I can contact the random winner.  If you don’t win a copy, remember you can purchase Guardian of the Gate through Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, or your favorite independent bookstore, like Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville. It would be fantastic to really push to buy Michelle’s book between the dates of  August 4th through the 10th. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if her avid fans were instrumental in helping Guardian of the Gate make the List for Chapter Books?! Share with your friends to do the same!

I must say I’m now anxiously awaiting Book 3 of Prophecy of the Sisters!

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“Two Sad Little Girls Had Once Waited and Waited for Someone to Take Care of Them.” A Review of Randy Susan Meyers’ Debut Novel: The Murderers’ Daughters

The Murderer's Daughters 
The Murderers’ Daughters, by Randy Susan Meyers

“The July our family fell apart, my sister was five going on six, and I was turning ten, which in my mother’s eyes made me about fifty.” (The Murderer’s Daughters, Meyers)

Randy Susan Meyers’ debut novel delves into the lives of the dysfunctional Zachariah family after a family tragedy rips them apart. Joey and Celeste’s relationship is volatile which culminates in a moment of rage by Joey as he stabs and kills his wife Celeste and tries to do the same to his youngest daughter Merry. How two young children cope with the death of their mother at the hands of their father is at the core of this sad book. The story tells how Merry and Lulu come to grips with this catastrophe and as they enter various stages in their lives the reader sees how each was truly affected psychologically.

After the death of their mother, the girls’ lives begin a merry-go-round residing with various family members. They eventually end at the Duffy-Parkman Home for Girls. Merry and Lulu learn to survive while living there. Lulu makes sure she looks after Merry since she feels it’s her responsibility as the eldest sibling. Lulu is guilt ridden because she didn’t heed her mother’s warning: “After Daddy moved out, Mama instituted inexplicable new rules. Don’t open the door for your father…” (The Murderer’s Daughters, Meyers)  Interestingly enough, Merry is drawn to her father who is now in prison. Lulu is at odds with her sister because she can’t fathom Merry’s need to see her father.  Not only did Lulu’s mother die on that July day, but in Lulu’s eyes, so did her father. He is dead to her. She turns her back on him and vows never to let him into her life again. Much discussion could be generated with book clubs because of Merry and Lulu’s feelings for their father. Were they both justified in what they felt for him? I found myself going back and forth playing devil’s advocate as they each state their case. Merry and Lulu were entrapped by the nightmarish memories of their childhood.

The story takes Merry and Lulu finally into adulthood where they both have careers. I don’t want to give too much away because that is what draws you into the book. You find yourself wanting to read about what happens to these two little girls. I kept wondering how they could wake up each day and face their surroundings. I was hoping there would be a silver lining for them. The beauty of this book is you will want to as well! Randy Susan Meyers draws from her experience with working with domestic violence victims. Merry and Lulu’s character analysis is excellently developed. The book is told from Merry and Lulu’s points of view as they grow from children into adulthood. They are forever scarred by their father’s fatal horrific act he can never take back. The alternating chapters between Merry and Lulu gives wonderful insight to what each sister felt, dreamed of, and how they coped with the tragedy in their lives. Lulu dreamed of the ideal family and how everything would be handled – no yelling; family conflicts handled with soft voices. Lulu escapes through reading books she checks out weekly from the public library. Lulu felt responsible for what happened – their mother’s death and their childhoods cut short. “We were here because I’d let my father into our house. Merry had her scar because I’d opened the door.” (The Murderer’s Daughters, Meyers) Lulu and Merry each had different ways of handling their relationships with men. It was quite interesting as to the career paths and choices both of the sisters took.  When I read how they spent the day with each other celebrating the anniversary of their mother’s death watching “…the saddest movie with the most tragic actress…” it was quite compelling.

I’m the mother of three beautiful daughters and I love them with all of my heart.  As they were growing up I tried my best to love and protect them.  I find myself still doing this even though they are adults. No one ever wants to see their children in harm’s way. The following quote from the book brought tears to my eyes because I thought of my own girls. If I could still shield them against life’s adversities I would but realistically I know it’s impossible.  They’ve grown their own wings so to speak. “Children bring us closer to God, but sometimes so close we get burned.  All my hardest moments, where I truly believed I might die from fright, were around my children.” (The Murderer’s Daughter’s, Meyers)

Thank you Randy for writing this beautiful touching story!

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