Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Passion Play: "Scripted in Love's Scars" by Michelle Rodriguez

Michelle Rodriguez brings something new to the Phantom canon. I adored her Opera Ghost Unraveled and her short stories are breathtakingly romantic. Now, she has released another full length Phantom novel, Scripted in Love's Scars,  and needless to say, she doesn't disappoint!
The story begins when Christine is being inducted into the Paris Opera House ballet corps. A rite of passage is to shove the aspiring ballerinas, one at a time, into the first cellar of the Opera House and hold the door closed for several minutes to see if she would survive an encounter with the Opera Ghost. He was more myth to them than reality, and when confronted by the ghost himself, most of the girls would shriek and panic and then, later, add their tale to the Opera Ghost legend.
Christine is pushed through the door into the blackness of the cellar. She doesn't have long to wait before the Ghost makes an appearance. But something is different about this girl, Erik finds. She stares back at him, and for moments they are locked in each other's gaze, Erik captivated, yet feeling oddly exposed, even though he wore his mask. Then she is gone, as Meg pulls her back into the light.
But not gone for good, as this is where Erik realizes their destinies would become intertwined, as he thinks, and not long after, materializes before her in the closed up Opera House, as Christine tries to rehearse her ballet moves, alone on the stage. At first he is a voice from the darkened theatre, giving her suggestions on how to improve on her ballet training... but, when he finds her heart is not in the dance, but in music... he comes closer, becomes her Angel of Music... and well, so much more!
So, we do have our Erik and Christine passion play brought about with a fresh interpretation, but we also have a drama to contend with, about which I will say no more, because there were moments that were so tense and suspenseful and...well, I really wondered what was going to happen, and on more than one occasion I had to shout "Oh NO!!!" at my copy of this wonderfully addictive story! This was one of those books you don't want to end it is so good and it's one I highly recommended for Phantom Phans or anyone who enjoys a good, compelling and genuinely romantic story!

Another unique aspect to Ms. Rodriguez's books is the very talented cover artist, photographer and designer she works with, Jessica Elizabeth. I've come to look forward to her vision of each book as she captures the spirit of Erik and Christine on each cover so perfectly!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Back to the Future: "The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster" by Scott Wilbanks

Sometimes a book comes along that is so appealing it entices you from the first line and sweeps you along to the end while making you believe totally in its reality along the way . The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster, by Scott Wilbanks, is such a book. It is completely charming, filled with endearing characters and even dastardly villains. It has time travel, not old hat time travel, but something new. A red door that is purchased on a whim.
The day after its installation in Annie Aster's Purple Victorian she opens it to go out to her back garden and finds... not her usual plants and whatnot... but a wheat field. And across the wheat field sits a cabin. And in a brass mailbox attached to her garden gate Annie finds a letter. From the occupant of the cabin. For this occupant, an irascible, widowed, retired schoolmarm, had noticed that there was a strange house sitting in her back 40. And she is not happy about it, she lets Annie know. The letter is dated 1895.
Annabelle Aster is a modern young woman living in 1995 San Francisco. She leans toward a vintage Victorian style of dress, and being very beautiful, pulls this look off quite naturally. She is an orphan, having been raised by two university professors and a marvelous Godmother. She has, since their passing, been living alone in the house she inherited. Her one great friend is a handsome young man named Christian who is a kindred spirit with a pronounced stutter.
It is with Christian she shares her discovery. And the fact that she has replied to the letter. This correspondence across place and time is the key to what will follow and what will be discovered, uncovered and... well, there are other surprises in store. We will also meet some other beguiling personages from the present and from the past, including Cap'n. A street urchin that would make even the Artful Dodger and Fagin proud.
This book is such a complete delight you'll find yourself wanting to go back in time, too... or, at least, back to the beginning of this story to relive the mystery, fun and romance all over again! Very highly recommended!
And, OK, this title is not coming out until August but I just had to help get the word out! Thank you to NetGalley for making this wonderful book available for reviewing!