Genre: Supernatural

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Book Review: The Collector of Dying Breaths

March 4, 2014 Book Review, reviews 4

Book Review: The Collector of Dying BreathsThe Collector of Dying Breaths by M. J. Rose
Published by Simon and Schuster on April 2014
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Supernatural, Thriller
Pages: 384
AmazonBarnes & Noble
Goodreads

From the internationally bestselling author, a lush and imaginative novel that crisscrosses time as passion and obsessions collide Florence, Italy—1533: An orphan named René le Florentin is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer.   Traveling with the young duchessina from Italy to France, René brings with him a cache of secret documents from the monastery where he was trained: recipes for exotic fra­grances and potent medicines—and a formula for an alchemic process said to have the poten­tial to reanimate the dead.  In France, René becomes not only the greatest perfumer in the country, but also the most dangerous, creating deadly poisons for his Queen to use against her rivals.  But while mixing herbs and essences under the light of flickering candles, René doesn’t begin to imag­ine the tragic and personal consequences for which his lethal potions will be responsible.

Paris, France—The Present: A renowned mythologist, Jac L’Etoile—trying to recover from personal heartache by throw­ing herself into her work—learns of the sixteenth-century perfumer who may have been working on an elixir that would unlock the secret to immortality.  She becomes obsessed with René le Florentin’s work—particularly when she discovers the dying breaths he had collected during his lifetime.  Jac’s efforts put her in the path of her estranged lover, Griffin North, a linguist who has already begun translating René le Flo­rentin’s mysterious formula. Together they confront an eccentric heiress in possession of a world-class art collection, a woman who has her own dark purpose for the elixir . . . for which she believes the ends will justify her deadly means.

This mesmerizing gothic tale zigzags from the violent days of Catherine de Medici’s court to twenty-first-century France.  Fiery and lush, set against deep, wild forests and dimly lit cha­teaus, The Collector of Dying Breaths illuminates the true path to immortality: the legacies we leave behind.

The third novel featuring mythologist and perfumer, Jacinda {Jac} L’Etoile, reveals the depth of Rose’s talent.  In The Book of Lost Fragrances we were introduced to Jac and her unique ability to see past lives; to actually experience the past life – stepping into a time warp and feeling the emotions, smelling the scents of the time period, and reliving the tragedies over and over.  In Seduction Jac stepped back into Victor Hugo’s time while in the present Jac was in a frantic hunt for her brother and closest family member. {and only immediate family member}.

“Every man had two souls,” he said.  And he was watching mine wage a battle with each other.  “You are strong Rene.  Tragedy has tempered you.  Your determination can be either your salvation or your ruin.  Go after what you want, but not ruthlessly.  Explore the ramifications.  Pay attention to cause and effect.  Weight your actions against your desires.  It’s critical you understand.” (p. 34)

The Collector of Dying Breaths is a deeply sensual novel – almost like City of Dark Magic but more philosophical about love and passion.  The writing is flawless, the characters grow exponentially, the bad guy is really, really flawed and Jac especially seems to finally come to terms with her gift/curse.  The passages about Rene le Florentine and Catherine de Medici are fascinating – learning how perfumery was seen as alchemy and sometimes even dark magic in that era was like watching an exceptional documentary on the Medici’s.

It is not imperative to read all three books in order but why would you not want to – watching as an author grows and expands, becoming better and better with each consecutive book ~ and that’s saying a lot as I’ve read every one of M.J. Rose’s novels!  The Jac L’Etoile series has shown great depth to Rose’s writing, becoming more literary and less paperback novelish {does that even make sense?}

All this I do for you.  To see you again.  To be with you again.  Please God, it will work.  Because without you I am lost to the world. (p.153)

If you are looking for exceptional literary suspense with a bit of fascinating history intwined then please rush out to pick up this series – M.J. Rose does not disappoint at all with the three novels and by the third you will be blown away by her ability to draw you in {and I do mean draw you in – I finished the last half of the book while sitting for FOUR hours at the DMV and almost missed my turn because I was reading and so lost inside The Collector of Dying Breaths!}

And is this cover not the BEST?!?  It’s so evocative, lush, dangerous . . .just like the book!  Read it and tell me what you think!

the collector of dying breaths book tour

 

Many many thanks to Amy and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for including me in another great historical fiction read!

 

 

m.j. roseAbout the Author

M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of fourteen novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – Authorbuzz.com. The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype. She is also the co-founder of Peroozal.com and BookTrib.com.

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads.

 

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R.I.P. Review + Autographed Copy Giveaway: The Heavens Rise

October 19, 2013 Book Review, reviews 8

R.I.P. Review + Autographed Copy Giveaway: The Heavens RiseThe Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice
Published by Gallery Books, Simon and Schuster on October, 2013
Genres: Fiction, Supernatural
Pages: 336
Source: complimentary review copy
Goodreads
three-stars

{My mother} was the one who had named the property years before I was born. Elysium, a final resting place for the heroic and virtuous.  It was an odd name for an isolated acreage of mud and cypress that was a good ten-minute boat ride from its nearest neighbor.  But my mother had an obsession with Ancient Greece that stemmed from the pagan-themed Mardi Gras parades that ruled our lives each winter.

Nikki Delongpre is popular, beautiful, best friends with Ben Broyard and  in love with Anthem Landry.  The three become inseparable when Anthem moves to the  exclusive private school in New Orleans.  But evil is afoot and has a name.  Fellow classmate, Marshall Ferriot is obsessed with Nikki and manipulates others in order to get her to break up with Anthem and go out with him.  But on the night Marshall believes is his big moment, when Nikki takes him to her family’s compound soon to be opened, he pulls them both into the pool in the darkness.  Unbeknownst to either is the snake-like parasites/creatures in the pool as well.  Choices made next affect all of their lives, including Nikki’s beloved parents.

Christopher Rice has a gift for producing atmospheric settings.  New Orleans lends itself to creepiness and suspense, with its fear-inducing swamps, crumbling, above-ground cemeteries and unique population of creole  french and voodoo.  Given those facts I expected to love The Heavens Rise.  And til about 1/3 of the way into the novel I just knew it was going to be a perfect spooky read for the season.  For me, however, The Heavens Rise did not deliver.

The mystery was there.  The Delongpre’s disappeared on a highway leading to Elysium, the new homestead.  Their vehicle was discovered, but no trace of either Mr./Mrs. Delongpre nor their daughter, Nikki, was uncovered.  Ben and Anthem were destroyed.  Ben lost his best friend of his whole life, and Anthem lost the only girl he ever loved.  With a mystery like that I had to know what happened!

The bad guy was known from the beginning, and he was truly a budding psychopath. There were even strange, snake-like worms that appeared early in the novel giving an element of true creepiness/fear factor show.  The writing is compelling with New Orleans being the most fleshed-out character.  Best friend Ben teams up with a brave, make-waves kind-of-journalist, Marissa Hopewell, soon after Marshall ends up in coma.  Marissa becomes both mentor and moral support to Ben as he struggles to make sense of losing his best friend while at the same time missing his chance to confront Marshall.  Marissa was definitely my favorite character with her no-nonsense, no-holds-barred method of journalism.

So what exactly did not sit well with me?  I thought we were headed one way in the novel and then bam! we swerved completely of course.  I knew there was a paranormal, supernatural element ~ I expected that being the New Orleans setting and front book jacket.  What I didn’t expect was the form the supernatural element took and it felt like almost a cop-out.  Also, the final confrontation felt contrived and the whole horror element did not deliver.  There’s a pivotal scene in the long-term hospital Marshall is placed once it’s determined he will remain in a vegetative state that had me anxiously turning pages. . .but then, the whole momentum of the novel changes and where I thought we were headed, we didn’t.

Christopher Rice is definitely talented as he kept me reading even when I figured out it was not going to be the book I thought.  I would typically stop reading at that point but he is a good writer.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see a sequel for this novel, and I know there are many other bloggers who loved The Heavens Rise.  I wish I could say that I were one of them.  This novel will appeal to readers of Stephanie Meyer, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, or Scott Westerfield.

It is with many thanks to Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster that I am able to offer an autographed copy 0f The Heavens Rise to one of  my lovely readers.  U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

To participate in R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril or to find more spooky reads, please visit Stainless Steel Droppings.

three-stars

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Book Review: Seduction

July 30, 2013 Book Review, reviews 4

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.

Book Review: SeductionSeduction by M.J. Rose
Published by Atria on May, 2013
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Mystery, Supernatural
Pages: 384
Source: complimentary review copy
Amazon
Goodreads

 

Seduction takes us into the heart of Victor Hugo during his self-imposed exile on the Isle of Jersey.  Hugo conducts numerous seances in order to connect with his deceased 19-year-old daughter.  Fast forward to modern-day Isle of Jersey and we find Jacinda L’Etoile, mythologist,  arriving to dispel rumors of Celtic hauntings.  We first met L’Etoile in The Book of Lost Fragrances where Jacinda discovers that reincarnation and scents have a strange, eerie effect upon her.  “We all share a consciousness. We breathe in each other’s air.  Sometimes two souls can see each other’s shadows even when the sun isn’t out.”

In Seduction, Rose creates three alternate story lines ~ Hugo and his search for his daughter in the other world; L’Etoile and her assistance to an old friend by researching letters from Victor Hugo found in his family library; and an ancient Celtic family and the traumatic choices made in a time long, long ago are all connected in the who, what and why of the Shadow of the Sepulcher.

The cover – WOW! Seductive, Gorgeous, Melancholic.

The beginning of the novel had me entranced.  While on her way to the Isle of Jersey L’Etoile meets a stranger on the ferry who analyzes and sums up her character in a few sentences and begins the mysterious happenings I’ve come to expect with Rose:

The not so obvious part is that you have all the hallmarks of a seeker.  I’ve known a few in my time.  I’ve even been flattered to have been called one.  You chase special knowledge.  You find threads of connections and then share them with people who need them.  I can read it in the way you’ve been looking out past the boat’s railing, how you looked at me, the questions you ask, but more importantly, the ones you don’t.

Carl Jung’s philosophy plays an important role in Seduction by adding an element of reality to what could have easily been fantasy: “Jung didn’t believe in accidents.  He proposed that resonance happens because we are functioning on more than our conscious level.  I’d like you to think about the idea that there is a force we don’t see but it ties matter, energy and consciousness together.”  M.J. Rose has the unique ability to take a subject like reincarnation and have the reader ponder the implications long after the novel is over.

I am a huge fan of M.J. Rose, having read every one of her novels.  She’s a wonderfully gifted storyteller, grabbing the reader from the first line and not letting go until the final page is read.  With that said, I have to admit that I had difficulty connecting with Jac L’Etoile in Seduction.  It was almost like she was a “nervous ninny” and not the strong female character I recall from The Book of Lost Fragrances.  Admittedly, there were some pretty strange happenings that would freak out any normal person, but, L’Etoile seems to have lost her sense of self and strength of character.

Not to give any spoilers but the conclusion felt rushed and not typical of Rose’s complicated, involved endings.  Have you read Seduction?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the novel.   Seduction is No. 5 in the Reincarnation series but can be read as a stand alone novel….there are some references to the happenings in The Book of Lost Fragrances; however, Seduction can still be easily understood.  And just because this one did not resonate with me does not mean I’ve lost my love of M.J. Rose.  She’s still and will always be in my top 5!  So this one I recommend with slight reservation.

Please share your thoughts! Reincarnation – yes/no?  Fan of Carl Jung?
Fan of Rose? Read either The Book of Lost Fragrances or Seduction? Thoughts?
 
Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher and Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for the complimentary review copy.

 

 

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Reincarnation & Books Made Into Television Series

February 18, 2010 Book Review, reviews 0

reincarnationist

Some days it can be quite interesting to just “surf the net”…..like having one of those moments when you discover the new television series “Past Life” on FOXTV http://www.fox.com/pastlife/ which is based on M.J. Rose’s book The Reincarnationist.  I read The Reincarnationist back in 2007 when it was first released and had no idea it had been slated for t.v.  Discovering the new television series, I had to watch the episodes to see how closely to the book the show would follow.

In the show, Dr. Kate McGinn pairs with a former police officer, Price Whatley who was fired after poor job performance, ie – drinking too much & not showing up for work.  In the book photojournalist, Josh Ryder, enlists the help of The Phoenix Society to discover why he keeps having visions from 391 A.D. after surviving a terrorist attack.  The book moves quickly, thrusting you into the life of Julius and Josh Ryder in the first few pages….going from modern-day terrorism to early AD religious cleansing.  In “Past Life” different stories of regressions come to light in each episode; however, the Talmadge Center for Behavioral Health is center to each episode.

I cannot say I am in love with the show “Past Life” as there have only been 2 episodes shown so far, the next one to air 2/18.  I can say it definitely raises questions around the water cooler I’m sure, for anyone who has seen it.  So, have you seen “Past Life” & if so what did you think? Read The Reincarnationist? Believe in reincarnation?

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