January 31, 2012

Writer Wrangler: Stephanie Nelson

Stephanie Nelson
author of Gwen Sparks Series

Is there a definite date for Coveted's release?
As of right now, no. I am working on a short story told from Dorian's point of view that will be releasing soon in the anthology, Cupid painted Blind. We're hoping to have it published no later than March. My next release will be the first book in my new Anna Avery Series, Taming the Wolf. Coveted will be released this summer sometime. To stay updated on my releases i recommend following along on my author's page on Facebook.
What are your plans for the series? 
I don't have a set amount of books for this series. I actually like longer series, so i'm hoping that Gwen and the gang will allow me to keep telling their stories. I can say that the whole Brew fiasco will be wrapped up in Coveted and the fourth book will be a whole new adventure!
What does your husband think of your books? 
Does he give you input or suggestions for storylines? My husband only reads my books after i publish and have them in paperback. He loved Craved and is still working on Deceived. He brags about his wife, the author. LOL
I read somewhere that the idea for Gwen Sparks started after you put up Halloween decorations, so how did the idea for your new series, Anna Avery, came about? 
Can you tell us more about this werewolf series aside from what is on the previews and synopsis?Anna's story just popped into my head. I was writing Deceived and Anna stepped into the forefront of my thoughts and i knew i had to write about her. The first book, Taming the Wolf is about Anna coming to terms with being transformed into something she thought was only a fairy tale. Her whole personality changes as she tries to tame the wolf within her. In this book the werewolves are very primal and animalistic. She's drawn to the alpha and she doesn't understand why. But there is also another man who wants her as his mate. While she tries to ignore her feelings for the alpha, she can't. To top it off, dead bodies are showing up all over and Anna is the last one to have seen them alive. The pack assumes Anna is responsible because she has a difficult time reigning in her inner beast and Anna's not so sure anymore either. She'll have to work to find out the truth of the murders and her attraction towards the alpha.
What are you currently reading right now? 
I'm reading two different books. The first one was recommended by one of my readers, Dark Lover by J.R. Ward. The second on is Awaken by Sarah Ross. I don't have a lot of time to read so I only read a couple chapters before i set them down and get back to work. (Ooooh... we guarantee you'll be falling for one of those Brothers soon!)
What's your guilty pleasure? 
Mocha Frappachino from Starbucks.
With the success of Gwen Sparks, do you still have time for your photography? 
What subjects are fond of taking? I don't. I sold my Nikon SLR camera a couple years ago and have regretted it ever since. I plan to buy another one sometime. I like shooting nature and I took pictures of family members.

Thank you Stephanie for guesting with us and we wish you success with Gwen and Anna's story. Looking forward to Dorian's short as well.

You can find and follow Stephanie on her
Twitter @StephNel1
and her website 
where she's giving away FREE and signed copies of her Gwen Sparks series.

Gush and Gripe 1

sign up for this meme here
 Hurrah! Downton Abbey's second season is here! After two years season two is finally here and it's just bigger and better than the first one. Super happy that they got a Golden Globe for Best TV mini-series. On top of that, it's the Year of the Dragon and if you're into that cosmic stuff you'd know that this year promises prosperity. I always want to get excited about the good stuff and stay in denial about the not so good ones.

Now I'm griping about Grimm and Supernatural, TV Series that used to get me very excited when Fridays are a bore. Grimm is like this shifter series as opposed to the dark/modern fairy tale I thought it would be. Every week is just a parade of one type of Were or another. And whatever happened to the Police Chief and his involvement in exterminating the Grimms? They need to follow up on that.

As for Supernatural, this Leviathan arc is not really picking up. The writers are in a sticky situation because how can you top Sam's return from Hell? Castiel is gone and Bobby died... again. I guess this is what series creator Eric Kripke meant when he wanted to put the show to rest after Season 6, he knows it's hard to turn that around, instead passed on the torch to Sera Gamble. I miss the days when they were just occupied with Wendigos, ghosts and witches or just bring back Trickster/Gabriel!

Lastly, how hard is it to follow SIMPLE instructions people?! Seriously!

<3 Braine
Caption this!

Does any one else watch White Collar? Over the last few weekends, I've been catching up on Season 3 and I just have to say I love Matt Bomer. Now I feel like I'm cheating on David Gandy but I just can't help myself from gushing about Matt. From his beautiful blue eyes, gorgeous head of hair, strong jaw line, killer smile and equally killer sexy body; there is no denying he's quite a looker. Not only is he easy on the eyes but I also love his work on White Collar, where he plays a criminal-catching con artist working for the FBI.

What I'm really looking forward to is Matt's role in the upcoming film, Magic Mike, where he'll play a stripper along with Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer and Joe Manganiello. Now ladies, this movie will be a beefcake party. I might have to take some heart medication before I watch this movie. I'm already getting hot flashes just imagining this film. 

But aside from his stripper role on Magic Mike, Matt will be making a guest appearance on Glee. Eeeep! He will be playing the part of Blaine's older brother on an upcoming episode. When I first heard the news a few days ago, I think I literally leaped for joy. Seriously, the guy is not only hot but he's got a lovely voice. He's just pure epic-ness. 

And before any one goes and starts schooling me, yes, I know he's an openly gay man but that doesn't mean I can't admire his hotness.

Now Awards season is well on it's way and there have been some really great films released in the past year but I was really hoping the final installment of the Harry Potter series, HP and the Deathly Hallows would have received some recognition. Now I don't have to go into the awesomeness that is Harry Potter cause I'm sure most of you already know but  HP is probably the best children's book and movie series of all time. Deathly Hallows was just of great epic proportions. On top of that, Alan Rickman should have been recognized for his role as Severus Snape. Do you recall that part when Dumbledore asks Snape, "Lily. After all this time?" and Snape replies with "Always"; hen we see Snape clutching the body of Lily? OMG! I nearly lost all my marbles at that part. Rickman was hands down spectacular. If the Oscars were up to me, I would have given Alan that Golden Statue as soon as I finished watching the movie.

- Cimmaron

January 30, 2012

Craved a Gwen Sparks Novel

read an excerpt
Witches are dying and their blood harvested for a drink called Brew that vampires are addicted to. With Gwen's werewolf ex, detective Micah Reynolds, leading the investigation, with the help of her vampire boyfriend Aiden, they are set to solve the mystery before Gwen becomes the next victim.

So I was thinking: a Witch caught in the middle of Vampire affairs and with a Werewolf ex as baggage. Nothing new. Certainly read a lot of those already but surely there has to be a reason why this is topping the Amazon charts.


I've read a lot of these formula stories but there's something about Gwen Sparks that just beckons to me. First off, this girl needs a loyalty card from Victoria's Secret or something because for some reason, her underwear just keeps getting torn to pieces. Those sexy scenes are very steamy and removing panties just requires patience Gwen and Aiden doesn't have. Way to live vicariously through your characters SNelson! *clap* *clap*

This was a very entertaining read and though the premise and back stories for some characters and events are a little bit loose, the story remains engaging. I just have a strong reaction to the part where Aiden went MIA at this very hyped ball and Gwen was close to nonchalant about being stood up. Take note, this is a guy who pursued her to no end and even sent her the dress she was supposed to wear. If it were my boyfriend, I'd at least expect to be notified in advance that he can't make it especially if he's sending a stand in. For a woman scorned, Gwen's reaction to that is a tad out of character.

Next, it took Gwen too long to confront Aiden or investigate her boyfriend's absence. When she finally got around to it, Gwen found Aiden high on Brew courtesy of a naked witch in Aiden's house while the sexy vamp was seducing Gwen. I'm a woman and I think I will most certainly throw a hissy fit that will put Katrina to shame if that happened to me regardless if the man in question is Brad Pitt. Not make hot, marathon sex with him!

Gwen is a sexual character but her reactions to some instances are a little off from how I perceived. Maybe it's a rough start but it's not so bad considering that this is SNelson's debut novel.

January 29, 2012

Purge the Fire Concluded

14 reads, that's what I've managed to accomplish in 31 days. 14 measly reads that barely made a dent in my Kindle Fire shelves. For every book I knocked out, I added 3 to replace it.

So let me gush and gripe for a bit here.

I love my Kindle Fire and if you don't have one, get one or a decent reader/tablet or even an Ipad if you can afford it. I never thought I'll be a fan of ereaders but it is very convenient and the world of fiction just got even more exciting in my eyes. I now have access to dozens of free or cheap books that I would otherwise have no interest in checking out if not for my beloved tablet.

Which brings me to Indie reads and authors. I love working with independent authors because they are so accessible and it's so fun to be part of that person's history and success. At least we can say we got to chat with some of them before they became NYT or international best selling authors. Plus they are so candid and honest about their work and inspiration one can't help but develop a relationship with them via twitter or facebook. They still have time to appreciate and acknowledge their fans unlike some of those authors who already made it.

Indie books are a class on their own. Although wading through the list is like finding a gem in a pile of tumble rocks and reading mediocre ones can take its toll. I think the ratio of good, quality indie books versus the crappy ones is 1:5. Which explains why I cheat with the other books I reviewed, call it cleansing the palate. I still have a lot of books to go through and I'm hoping that most of those are gems instead of rocks.

But it is also exhilarating especially when you find a good deal or a really good story. Self publishing in itself is a challenge which makes me, as a reader, appreciate the value of good editors. But it's also in the indie world where you find unique plots and colorful characters due to the freedom the writer has to explore and exhaust their creativity.

Now after this challenging but rewarding experience, I would like to make some suggestions to you, Indie writers, from the viewpoint of a fan and an avid reader:

Sell what you know. It is so obvious when a material is poorly researched. This is one of the most common and frustrating mistakes emerging authors make: writing about a place, for example, that obviously they haven't even been to or made a real connection with. Like writing a story about Ireland but missing out on important details that makes Ireland uniquely Ireland and would instead sell us something that we've read in wikipedia or banking on stereotypes.

Character distinction. It is in reading indie books that I got schooled on what "character dimension" really means. When you're used to reading well edited and bestselling books, that is close to nonexistent. The reason why say J.R. Ward's vampires is such a hit is because they each have their own distinct personality that is evident in their "speech patterns" and reactions that is consistent with the characteristics she created to the point where she can conduct character interviews with them. So distinct that you can find a word to describe each Brother perfectly. Most characters in Indie stories are as flat as Kansas or only the leads are in HD while the rest are gritty and gray.

Let the characters tell their story. The series of events have to be fluid, they can't be in point A and jump to point B without a filler in between. Contriving a series of events to poorly justify the outcome they want is off putting and can be insulting to your more intelligent readers. It's also obvious when a story is too "scripted", take a cue or two from RPG players or imrpov actors, sometimes spontaneity is the script.

Have a core group of critics. Don't pick your cheerleaders, pick your harshest critics or an anonymous focus group. They are the ones who will give you an honest opinion if the story needs some tweaking or just plain sucks.

Reading indie books is such an adventure and I'm officially a follower. It certainly opened my eyes to endless possibilities and stimulated my creativity and imagination as well. I applaud all those aspiring and emerging authors out there, I hope you won't be deterred by your bloodiest reviews but instead find inspiration in them. Like what some people say, it's easier to take apart something than to create out of nothing. We appreciate your hard work and the wonderful world of Vamps, Weres, Sorcery and everything else in between will not be as colorful and rich without the words each of you have contributed.

January 28, 2012

Clockwork Prince an Infernal Devices Novel

read an excerpt
read the deleted scene
My hands are still cold from the adrenaline rush I got reading this book. And here I was, thinking that Will Herondale will be my antidote to Dimitri Belikov, wishful thinking!

I started reading Infernal Devices immediately after I finished Mortal Instrument's City of Glass. So after all the excitement of that epic war in Idris and the conclusion of those desultory relationships between Clary and company, Clockwork Angel at that time was a bit anti climactic for me. As far as I'm concerned, it was a bad idea for me to have read CClare's series in succession, I should have a taken a breather in between series. Now let me start eating some of my words shall we?

Clockwork Prince is a book that WShakespeare and CDickens will be proud of. I was on the fence about Jessamine but my heart went out to her when her cards were dealt. You can tell that she was so desperate to escape her destiny she'd take any way out, even consort with the enemy. Which brings the question, will CClare redeem her? Jem's health in contrast with his noble heart will surely give you mixed feelings of sympathy and adoration. And lastly, the tragedy of unrequited love will never ever fail to elicit strong emotions from any reader regardless of age. It's not enough that Will Herondale's past is tragic but it seems that his future will be no different as well. To say that he was a little too late is an understatement. My heart was truly broken after I read Will's letter to his family. So I have another question, what is the cost of Will's happy ending?

At 502 pages and change, this is a book that keeps on giving. Just when you think you can breathe easy and proceed to the resolution, another burst of action happens and your heart is slamming in your chest once again. I take back my previous statement that it echoes Mortal Instruments (let the mockery begin! LOL). In some way it does as far as the love triangles, Will and Tessa's personages reminded me of Jace and Clary and the team dynamics, two Nephilims and a girl. But it ends there. Personally I think I will like Infernal Devices more than Mortal Instruments not only because of its Steampunk flavor but also due to the storyline. The forbidden love part, as CClare calls it, is more to my liking than that of Jace and Clary. Even the tritagonists are scene stealers, Charlotte and Henry are so adorable!
So it's with a heavy heart that I put the book down. A consolation is City of Lost Souls is coming this May and, fingers crossed, Mortal Instruments the movie will be released this year?

January 27, 2012

Gush and Gripe

We would like to invite you, fellow bloggers, to join our event called Gush or Gripe, the perfect spot to just let it all out.

How does it work?

Grab the picture and the button.

Gush & Gripe Talk Supe Original

On the last day of the month we just Gush about things, people and/or stuff that fascinated us. And to balance things out, we can also Gripe about irritating events and what not that dampened our mood.

You can also just Gush if you're having a fantastic month or just Gripe if the past couple of days just puts the toilet to shame.

You can talk about books, movies, events, a song or any other
subject that resonated with you in some way.

No limit to the things you want to talk about.

And lastly, we encourage each and everyone to be "clean" and creative in expressing your superlative emotions.

Now pass it on and we hope you'll join us and we'd love to hear what you'll be Gushing or Griping about. Just sign up below and copy/paste the graphic above.

See you on the 31st for our first Gush and Gripe!

Braine Reviews: The Thirteen Hallows by Michael Scott and Collette Freedman

Series: Stand-alone
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: December 6, 2011
Genre: Fantasy

The Hallows. Ancient artifacts imbued with a primal and deadly power. But are they protectors of this world, or the keys to its destruction?

A gruesome murder in London reveals a sinister plot to uncover a two-thousand-year-old secret.

For decades, the Keepers guarded these Hallows, keeping them safe and hidden and apart from each other. But now the Keepers are being brutally murdered, their prizes stolen, the ancient objects bathed in their blood.

Now, only a few remain.

With her dying breath, one of the Keepers convinces Sarah Miller, a practical stranger, to deliver her Hallow—a broken sword with devastating powers—to her American nephew, Owen.

The duo quickly become suspects in a series of murders as they are chased by both the police and the sadistic Dark Man and his nubile mistress.

As Sarah and Owen search for the surviving Keepers, they unravel the deadly secret the Keepers were charged to protect. The mystery leads Sarah and Owen on a cat-and-mouse chase through England and Wales, and history itself, as they discover that the sword may be the only thing standing between the world… and a horror beyond imagining.

The Thirteen Hallows is the beginning of a spellbinding new saga, a thrilling tale of ancient magic and modern times by a New York Timesbestselling author and an award-winning playwright.

I have always been a fan of Michael Scott and his Nicolas Flamel series and his style of writing captured my imagination and the world that he writes about is so vivid and so real. But most importantly, I love MScott because he LOVES mythology in fact he is considered as a Myth Authority. And the best part is, it's well researched unlike some fantasy books whose myth is only as deep as Wikipedia.

THIRTEEN HALLOWS is a fantasy book that melded Celtic, Anglo Saxon and Christian myth seamlessly. The images are vivid, gory and if you're a delicate reader, you might find it disturbing. Decapitated, disemboweled and decaying bodies, human sacrifices, different sorts of desecration and violent sex. It actually reminded me of the Da Vinci Code with more magic.

THIRTEEN HALLOWS are basically sacred objects that Jesua blessed to lock out the demons from pillaging the Earth. The last transfer of these items to their human guardians happened before WWI and after 70 years, someone is after the Hallows. Their septuagenarian Keepers are dropping like flies, gruesomely murdered for the sacred artifacts. Now it's up to Sarah Miller and Owen Walker to stop the Dark Man from gathering all the Hallows and unlocking the Otherworld to unleash their demon prisoners, ushering them back to Earth.

I utterly love this book. Scott and Freedman employed their screenplay writing skills to make the story as vivid a possible and I felt like I was running away with Sophie in the streets of London, gasping on those heartless murders and torture. The flashbacks and back stories are interspersed with the main plot which added another layer to the novel.

So if you like fantasy laced with mythology, then by all means, go ahead and get THIRTEEN HALLOWS  I promise it'll be one of the most riveting 350 pages you ever got your hands on.

January 26, 2012

Vessel Children of the Sidhe Novella

read an excerpt

And my affair with the Sidhe continues with Vessel, the second novella in J.R. Pearse Nelson's Children of the Sidhe series.

In Tribute, we were left with the aftermath of the battle between the Fomorii and with Ian and Hazel's prodding, they decided to gather the remaining half-human Sidhe and bring them back to the fold. This didn't sit well with the other Tuatha De Danann, a more conservative group are planning on killing the innocent, unloved and ignored the half-humans.

In the middle of this Alise Rodgers, a witch and Hazel's BFF, finds herself having mysterious dreams that will prove to be instrumental in stopping or delaying this impending slaughter. Eddie Drake, a Sidhe Authority agent and Hazel's former flame, found himself bewitched by Alise and together they unfold the rest of the conspiracy that threatens Otherworld.

First off, I adore Alise and her Mom's unconventional relationship, as if being powerful witches is not enough, they have a certain degree of trust and openness that some might find enviable or questionnable. Even Hazel and Alise's friendship is solid. I mean Alise is dating Hazel's ex and in the real world that rarely flies between girlfriends but in Nelson's world, the premise she set made these relationships believable. Usually I nitpick on small nuisances like this but it felt rational that Alise and Drake would fall for each other. I am also a fan of how Alise and Drake fell in love, it was so organic and the way it happened was very natural.

I'll be bold and say that Vessel is better than Tribute, not that the latter was bad but the story is getting richer and more interesting because J.R. Pearse is letting the characters tell the story for us. The love story is exciting and the conflict more intriguing, (Morrigan just got herself involved in the war, yay!)and the underlying threat to the Otherworld and the Children promises something epic in the future. This story is perfect for a novella format and the cliffhangers are done just right for the next arc of the story to take off from. Though the tale shifts from different perspectives, there is an underlying theme that ties it all together just like any other series and the flow of the main story is fluid and doesn't stall.

However being in novella length, I'm sure you'll find limitations that would leave you wanting more developments on some characters or events but in my opinion, it actually works well with this story. It keeps it focused on the highlights instead of the endless fillers we usually read in novel series. My personal comment is I'd like to see more character development on the male leads by adding another layer in their personalities that will make them more distinct and synonymous to a word or adjective (ie Barrons - arrogant; V'lane - sexy; Eric Northman - viking).

Nonetheless, I will most definitely follow these Children, their amorous affairs and their fate behind the veil.

January 24, 2012

Hades a Halo Novel

read an excerpt
Never love that which you cannot keep

- Lucifer to Arakiel (aka Jake Thorn)

Don't deal with the devil if you can't handle it

- Jake to Bethany

I always wanted to read a story about an angel and a devil defying the odds and trying to have a relationship of sorts. And finally I found a book that did that... or a version of it at least.


That is the best way to describe my Hades reading experience.

Bethany was tricked and kidnapped by Jake Thorn and dragged her to hell. Jake or Arakiel is one of the Original Fallen and presides over the third circle of Hell (Gluttony in Dante's Divine Comedy). And Gabriel being one of the most formidable Archangel and Beth's brother can't just go charging in Hell unless he wants to kick start Armageddon. And who wants that?

I DO! Adornettos Angels & Fallen are true to what we grew up with and a war would be epic.

So here's where my frustration started. Angels being goody-goody always follow the rules so of course I'd like to see a throwdown between the mighty Arcs vs. Papa Luce, as they fondly refer to him in Hell. So the Arcs need to find a loophole and with the help of Michael they found it.

Next Jake is just a cunning MoFo who uses and exploits Bethany. It's a given but reading how he almost gets away with it is still irritating.

I can also feel Xavier's frustration rolling off of me. Suffice to say that he's a human caught in the middle of divine business so to speak. What can his humanity do to help improve the situation? Yup, not much.

I have to force myself to put the book down and catch some Z's at 2am with 30 pages left. And it took a LOT of will power to do that.

This series is just extraordinary. I love Adornetto's love triangle, Beth & Xavier period and Jack wants to add a comma somewhere. It's one of the best YA series I've read so far, the tone of emotions are more matured and the motives more rational than its counterparts. Which is probably the reason why I wasn't annoyed. My frustration stems from the near-impossible situations that the protagonists find themselves in.

So the book ends with this weird cliffhanger but I'm thinking that Jake is still trying to manipulate things, I'm pretty sure we haven't heard the last of Mr. Thorn. There's just something very off about the whole thing.

Heaven, the final book in the series and have a tentative release date on August 21, 2012.

January 23, 2012

Writer Wrangler: J.R. Pearse Nelson

J.R. Pearse Nelson

Why write a novella series instead of full-length novels?
First of all, I want to thank the Talk Supe contributors for inviting me to take part in this interview! The truth is, I’ve written several full-length novels as well, but nothing I’m ready to publish yet. Queen Witch – the first book in a trilogy about a family of witches serving an immortal who does not have their best interests at heart – will be out by the fall, and will be my first published novel. It’s also urban fantasy, with just a hint of romance. One of the exciting opportunities self-publishing provides is the ability to publish different lengths of work, and cross genres. When I wrote Tribute in 2008, I didn’t try to force a particular length. I was surprised that it came out novella length. I actually put it on the shelf for that reason. Although Tribute was the first thing I wrote that I considered publishable quality, I didn’t feel comfortable approaching publishers or agents with a novella as a first-time author. When I finished Tribute, I knew I needed to write a sequel featuring Alise and Drake, supporting characters in Tribute. One scene that I cut from Tribute had these two together, and I loved the firecrackers.
What or who inspired the Sidhe?
Ooh, I didn’t make them up. They’re for real. In Irish mythology, anyway. In pre-Christian times, belief in the Sidhe was part of the daily life and lore of Ireland and Scotland; they’re also seen as descendants of the early agricultural gods, with power to aid or destroy mankind and his efforts. My series explores the conflict that is introduced when an old enemy (the Fomorii, also from Irish lore) threatens the Sidhe, and factions develop among the Sidhe to support or menace the half-humans. In terms of my inspiration for writing about them, I was reading a book on Irish mythology and ran across Aengus, the Irish love god. I thought: What would it be like to be the half-human daughter of a god who can seduce with a single glance? Hazel, the heroine from Tribute, was born.
How many novellas are you planning to write for the series?
There are six books in the series. Right now I’m writing Flight, the third book in the series. I promise at least two Children of the Sidhe books by the end of 2012, and the other two will likely come in 2013.
You're a blogger too, did the blog come before or after Tribute?
I wrote Tribute in 2008, so the blog came much later. I started blogging when I made the firm decision to devote more time to writing, and to self-publish my work. Through blogging, I’ve built a supportive network that helps me stay accountable and on track. That’s one thing that’s lacking when you’re beholden only to yourself for the entire process. No one breathes down your neck about deadlines, and sometimes that sort of pressure can help – for me, at least. When I put my goals and updates about them out there on the Internet, I find it easier to follow through and put writing first. The friends I’ve made through blogging, the writing challenge Round of Words in 80 days, and social networking have made writing even more FUN for me. Gotta love that!
Valentine's is coming up in a couple of weeks, aside from Tribute, what's your favorite romantic series?
It is really hard to choose one favorite series! I love series in general. It’s a sure way to hook me to tell me there’s a second book. I’ll always read it – sometimes even if I didn’t like the first book. But in answer to your question about romance…Johanna Lindsey’s historical romance series were favorites when I was a girl, and probably what led to a fascination with exploring different supporting characters in their own books. More recently, Anne Bishop’s Tir Alainn Trilogy had me engrossed for all three books in a row, and then I mourned the end of the series. That one features the Fae and witches, so of course I had to read it. Karen Marie Moning has also been a recent favorite, specifically her highlanders. Whoa.
As an Indie writer, what are the major challenges that you face? How do you handle your critics?
The major challenge is getting my book seen by readers who would be interested in it. I need to find places where readers gather, and introduce my work. Book bloggers are wonderful resources in this regard, as they’re often readers’ trusted source for the scoop on new books to read. (Thank you again, Talk Supe, for hosting me today, this is exactly what I’m talking about!) As for criticism, I’ve always been able to take writing criticism to heart, while not letting it affect my confidence. That’s probably due to my day job, where I both write and edit articles and reports on a daily basis. I’ve built up a thick skin when it comes to the red pen, or to answering questions and criticisms of my work. When it comes to my fiction, I’ve found criticism I’ve received from readers valuable in improving my craft. This is only the beginning, and I like to hear what readers think about the work I’ve published so far.

J.R. Pearse Nelson is an indie author of fantasy and paranormal romance. Her work is fast-paced, adventurous, and sometimes dark. Her novellas, Tribute and Vessel, are the first two books in the Children of the Sidhe series. While the genre of these novellas is paranormal romance, J.R. doesn't limit her reading or writing to one type of fantasy. She loves it all, from the epics to the dark beasties to the mythological, sociological side. An urban fantasy novel and two more Children of the Sidhe novellas are in the works for 2012.

J.R. is a native Oregonian, living in the beautiful Portland area. She lives with her husband, two small daughters and the family dog. Self-publishing is the realization of J.R.'s life-long dream to write fiction for an audience.

You can connect with J.R. online at her blog, twitter, and Goodreads. Visit 

Thanks again Ms. Nelson for guesting with us and yup, you're right about KMM's Highlanders, it does make us want to wear tartans and kilts. 

Tribute (Children of the Sidhe) review & Giveaway

read an excerpt
Now I don't know what exactly I want to feel or read in Tribute, I was just hoping that it's not very crappy but at the very least, I wish it were entertaining. With the bar set low, let me say that I was disappointed... and EMBARRASSED.

Nelson's Faerie
Because I ended up thoroughly enjoying the book!

The cover (the one I have is on the left) doesn't say much, in fact at first glance it looks to me like a Herbal Essences or Fructis hair shampoo ad. But behind that is a story that I can't let go. Usually novellas are a prequel or a filler story, ending in cliff hangers or a beginning of something epic. Tribute is NOT like your typical novella, it has all the elements that you'd find in a good para-romance novel and as much as I want to dislike the book I find it hard to truly do so. Let me break it down for you.

The Tribute is literally a tribute, it is Ian MacIlroy's family offering to the Fomorii to ensure that their line remains fertile. Unfortunately the key ingredient for the Tribute is already extinct and they need the help of the Irish love God, Aengus, to come up with an alternative else the line of Ian Macilroy dies. Enter Hazel Fintan, one of Aengus' many children, and with her help they set to find a solution.

So being the daughter of a Love God guarantees seduction and a lot of tumbles in the bed. And that did happen but what cracked me up was when Hazel discovered that Ian is the God of the Forest himself and after their first tryst his horns appeared. HORNS! Of course she freaked out and I can just imagine how hysterical she felt and how utterly ridiculous and traumatic that would be.

I wish that J.R. has been more descriptive about the Otherworld, I grew up with various stories about the Fae and how they seduce and kidnap people into marrying them or staying in their kingdom. I loved those stories which explains why I am so fond of stories about the Folk.

Anyway, there's happily ever after but before that war, seduction and betrayal happened first and though there's some sort of closure in their story, the Children of the Sidhe is far from finished. The next novella is already out titled Vessel.

    An average of 4.0 star rating          Released Nov. 25, 2011
      on Amazon & Goodreads

Book Giveaway time!

Thanks to J.R. Pearse Nelson, we're giving away an e-copy of her series.
This is open internationally but before you join,
make sure that the title is available in your country just to be sure.

Just to reiterate, if you fail to meet the mandatory requirements, that automatically disqualifies you. 

January 22, 2012

Downpour a Greywalker Novel

read an excerpt
Harper Blaine just can't get herself out of trouble. Just when you thought she'll have it easy doing pre trial work, she gets herself entangled in a mytical lake, Chinese demons and powerful sorcerers.

I enjoyed this book but I'm sad that KRichardson is slowly weaning us off of Ben and Mara Danziger. I guess Mara primarily never really recovered from the whole Alfred incident in Underground followed by Ben almost dying in Labyrinth, she must have been really traumatized and finally decided to distance herself from Harper. We're reading less and less of them and it made me sad because I really like those characters.

I also worried that aside from the Danziger, I though I'll lose Quinton too! For a minute I thought Quinton is going to break up with Harper, good thing they ended up mated, and as a Quinton fan, I am glad that he really stuck it out with Harper. They are a good match especially now that Q cleaned up. I always have a soft spot for geeks.

As always the action is consistent with the previous Greywalker novels and KRichardson is fond of including other mythologies into the story. I wonder what Seawitch is about? Will it be like Pirates of the Carribean or will it have Viking/Norse myths this time?

Speaking of, the seventh book in the series, Seawitch is scheduled for release later this year and as per KRichardson's blog, she'll be working on an anthology:
starting the next writing project tomorrow or Tuesday–a Steampunk fairytale for an anthology (CLOCKWORK FABLES to be released by Penguin later this year)! So, while 2011 may have been a year of “sucktacular fuckery,” I intend to make 2012 a noisy kick-ass party of a year (cuz it’s a Dragon Year and as we know, dragons know how to par-tay!)
Cimmaron and I are getting some "elbow grease" by dabbling on Steampunk so I'd like to see what this anthology is all about.

A quarter century ago, the Seawitch cruised away from her dock and disappeared with everyone on board. Now, the boat has mysteriously returned to her old berth in Seattle and the insurance company has hired Harper to find out what happened. But Harper is not the only one investigating. Seattle Police Detective Rey Solis is a good cop, albeit one who isn’t comfortable with the creepy cases that always seem to end up
in Harper’s lap. As Solis focuses on the possible murder of a passenger’s wife, Harper’s investigation leads her to a powerful being who may be responsible for the disappearance of the Seawitch’s passengers and crew

January 20, 2012


rafflecopter screenshot on the original post

We have to take down our winner announcement for our Underworld:Awakening contest because there seems to be some level of confusion about the giveaway.

We'd like to maintain that we have been clear about the rules, conditions and the limitations of the contest as stated in the blog post body and the rafflecopter form above.

blog post screenshot of the original post.

We love giving out stuff but at the same time, the contest has to be fair to all parties concerned hence the disclaimers.

With this we will not be held accountable for: (1) bad emails; (2) for people who joined who failed to accomplish the mandatory requirements (Follow our blog via GFC, leave a comment, etc.) and ultimately, (3) if they didn't feel the need to read the entire post and imbibe its content.

We are happy that people joined and loved the movies as much as we did. We also sincerely apologize if there was anything that we failed to communicate effectively and in future giveaways, we will ensure that this will not happen again.

Currently we have one outstanding pass floating.

Thank you and we'll give further updates about the contest.

January 19, 2012

Review: Sterling by Dannika Dark

Series: Mageri 1
Format: Digital
Excerpt here
Release Date: September 5, 2011
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Zoë Merrick lived a less than ordinary life, until late one night, she was brutally attacked and left for dead.

A man named Adam spotted her running down the road covered in blood, and took her under his wing. Zoë didn't just survive that night - she underwent a physical transformation and acquired strange new abilities. Severed from her old life, her frustration grows as she tries to comprehend what's happening to her.

Serendipity leads her to Justus. He's handsome, arrogant, and not entirely human. Zoë learns the truth about what she is, and just how dangerous their world is for a young Mage. The only way she will understand her power is by putting her trust in this man, and accepting the protection he offers.

When her immortal freedom is threatened by the one man who has a right to claim her, Zoë learns the price of freedom...and the value of loyalty.
I had this novel for a while and with my own personal challenge, Purge the Fire, I thought I'd finally take it up. Sterling is a fantasy novel about a woman, Zoe Winter Merrick, who died and resurrected from the dead under mysterious circumstances. And on her second chance in life, she experienced growth spurts, looks altered, and just a powerful current running through her that can't be explained.

Mages are made and they draw their power from the Sun like Superman. They defy certain laws of physics, their politics as dirty as ours and their laws medieval. Now Zoe was forced to become a Mage and after her transformation, she became this femme fatale, there's just something about her that draw men in. Adam is the one who found and nurtured her back to health. When she found out who she is, Justus, another Mage, because he Ghuardian and his friend Simon became Zoe's flirting companion.

I didn't really warm up to Zoe. I felt like she's a tease as far as the men surrounding her are concerned, flirting and seducing. As a Mage, she's powerful, formidable and her instinct to survive is very admirable. I find Justus a coward and Simon naive. Why? I find it preposterous that they didn't try to challenge Samil on behalf of Zoe, now Silver, and let Adam, a mere human, do their work for them. Only Adam tickled my fancy. DDark's villains are deplorable and the Mage Council is something to watch out for.

Now I have these thoughts swirling in my head when I was 85% into the book. Then as I was moving the towards the ending, that's when I had my BAM! moment.

It totally caught me by surprise. It's full of superlative emotions like wrath, vengeance, grief, greed and death. It's a power punch that left me teary which ended up changing the entire story for me. Adam changed my viewpoint on the series.

Twisted is out and we'll see if Adam will be a good Mage as the council predicts... Ooops... spoiler!

January 17, 2012


I've read Unearthly a couple of weeks ago and I fell inlove with the story and the characters. It's an angel book but the protagonists are far from fallen. But their choices and entanglements might push them over the edge and make them fall in more ways than one. 

The next book in the series is out TODAY and we are not part of the little fortunate group that was able to get their hands on Hallowed advance review copies. But this is the book's synopsis

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning. 

Now the Kindle edition of Unearthly is still on sale so better get it while it's still at
 $0.99. A steal if you ask me.

January 15, 2012

Once in a Full Moon

read an excerpt
Obviously I cheat on my Kindle Fire and still pick up a couple of old fashioned hard bounds. There's just something magical about the sound of cracking a book open and the feel of flipping crisp pages between your fingers.

This is Schreiber's Werewolf novel and as far as the myth goes, there's nothing different. The usual can be read: uncontrollable change in a full moon, turned into a Were from a bite, Werewolf blood was passed on. Schreiber subscribed to the generic Werewolf myth which is fine and safe.

Of course being a YA novel there is a love triangle involved between a beauteous and popular high school girl, Celeste, and her heartthrob jock boyfriend Nash, and the new mysterious and dark kid, Brandon. Celeste found a convenient excuse to dump Nash who she has been crushing on and dating for quite some time in favor of bad boy Brandon. Again there's nothing special about these three that we haven't read in other YA novels.

I haven't read Schreiber's Vampire Kisses series but I'm assuming that it's better than this one. It's a quick read but I just didn't warm up to any of the characters. Celeste is like your typical popular girl who have the looks, friends and guy but chose to trade it all for Brandon. The newbie with an air of mystery and danger about him, literally since he's a Werewolf.

Brandon and Nash and the rest of their clique fall into stereotypes too. The twist, which happened at the end of the book, is Brandon is on the verge of being discovered as a Werewolf and I'm assuming that Magic of the Moonlight will be about Brandon's transformation. 

I think I'll go check Vampire Kisses, maybe Ellen's fanged friends are more entertaining.

January 14, 2012

Creative Spirit

read an excerpt and get it FREE on Amazon
I see dead people.

We all know that the Indie writing movement is an exciting tenet of publishing especially for aspiring writers and for us readers too. It's a good way to clean the palate from the big budget stories manufactured by those publishing giants. At the same time, finding a good (and cheap) Indie read can also be tedious. It's like finding a needle in a haystack and one can only empathize with those poor book editors going through numerous manuscripts, finding an unpolished jewel amongst a pile of tumble rock.

I found Creative Spirit in Library Thing on one of their member giveaways. And for a change I found myself requesting for a good 'ol fashioned ghost story. Creative Spirit is about a haunted mansion in the middle of the Appalachian which poses as an artist getaway of sorts but in reality it's nothing but a death trap for your soul.

Haunting, possessions and apparitions are occurring on different levels. The ghost of Ephram Korban is everywhere and this stud of a man has control of the place. Even in death and the after-life his mistresses are clamoring for his return, with a promise of eternity with him. And Ephram Korban ALWAYS keeps his promises. No soul can escape (like the Murder House in American Horror Story) and most of these souls' energies are trapped so they can feed Korban. But those poor departed are not enough, he needs the living to help him resurrect in the next blue moon.

The unexpected heroine is Anna, a psychic, paranormal researcher who is dying of stage 4 cancer. An uncanny choice, I know, but the story shifts around the guests of the Manor so it distracted me a bit from trying to figure out how Anna can deliver everyone from this strange fate that seems to be closing on them. If you read the book, I'll leave it to you to share your thoughts about her. As for me, let's just say that I wasn't 100% convinced that someone who's sh**ing blood can save herself let alone vanquish a powerful ghost. If you've been around cancer patients, you'd know what I mean.

As for the images it is disturbing: apparitions on the furnace & mirrors, realistic nightmares, voodoo-like dolls, and of course in several occasions, I found myself thinking if the character is in a dream trance or if s/he is having a real experience. And I have a habit of reading before going to bed so it really didn't help when it's lights off.

So my final thoughts is Anna is not my top heroine but the antagonists and tritagonists more than made up for her. Plus the book is FREE so can't complain much.

January 13, 2012

The Strange Case of Finley Jane by Kady Cross

Get it FREE at Amazon
One day while I was checking updates from blogs I follow, a handful of my fellow bloggers suddenly started posting about Steampunk. I honestly haven't heard about this genre before although after doing some research, I've read, seen and unknowingly followed books, movies and fashion inspired by Steampunk. So I got schooled on the movement and if there's a select few out there who, like me, are unaware of what Steampunk is, here's the genre in a nutshell.

  • Take place in the Victorian era but include advanced machines based on 19th century technology (e.g. The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling);
  • Include the supernatural as well (e.g. The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger);
  • Include the supernatural and forego the technology (e.g. The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers, one of the works that inspired the term ‘steampunk’);
  • Include the advanced machines, but take place later than the Victorian period, thereby assuming that the predomination by electricity and petroleum never happens (e.g. The Peshawar Lancers by S. M. Stirling); or
  • Take place in an another world altogether, but featuring Victorian-like technology (e.g. Mainspring by Jay Lake).
Now after perusing Amazon's library, I came across this little novella by Kady Cross. I am a sucker for novellas because it's short and a good taste test for a genre or author I like to follow. And if she imagines Lily Cross and Emma Watson as her heroines, then I'm all in.
This story is basically how Finely Jane started her career as a companion/bodyguard and how she finally embraced her unique qualities. I love the feel of KCross' world, set in Victorian England, it's reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes and CClare's Infernal Devices. Fancy gadgets, automatons, leather corsets, and evil geniuses manipulating science to serve their own selfish reasons. Very stimulating.

I don't want to jump the gun but I have a weird feeling that I'll be an avid follower of this genre. I get the best of both worlds: historical fiction and the supernatural. Plus the excitement of all those machines and nifty gadgets will do nothing but enhance my reading experience further.

This is Book 1 of the series.

read an excerpt

The Demon of Renaissance Drive

read an excerpt
Another freebie from LibraryThing (man, I love their member and book giveaways!) and after reading this I felt a bit of regret as to why I held off reading this story.

Annabelle is a succubus who's been popping babies for more than 6,000 years. Throughout the years, the number of succubus in Hell dwindled and the Kings of the empire are scrambling for future heirs. Anabelle is Lilith's daughter so that makes her a princess in a way. But she wants to escape Hell, after all, the arid smell of brimstone and the cries of agonized souls is getting old. Out of whim, she decided to snatch a soul and struck a deal with King Belial so she can live in obscurity on Earth. At least that's what she hoped for.

Annabelle is sarcastic and can kick ass. I like Reuter's version of Hell and how demons generally go after lost and guilty souls and are not interested on the good, selfless ones. If you take out the attempt on making things light and humorous, Reuter's version of Hell is something Dante would be proud of. Souls fed to the fire, breaking your spirit literally for eternity, punishment with no end.

I like Annabelle's transition too from something that's borne out of evil evolving into a version of something good. She does this out of love and she wasn't even aware of her transition. The book cover doesn't say much but the storyline has a lot of potential and much can be improved. I don't know if Annabelle's story will continue but in case Reuter decides to create a sequel, then I wouldn't hesitate picking it up.

January 12, 2012

Courting Demons

read an excerpt
I got this for FREE when LibraryThing had a giveaway. I was procrastinating starting the book because I had it before I got a tablet and staring at the computer screen to read an ebook is quite challenging aside from the headaches I get at the end of the day.

So finally I got around to Kerri Nelson's story and I'm happy to say that this is a light read and the plot line is really ridiculous. The story s interesting: a woman who turned to magic to punish her cheating husband and accidentally turning him into a rat. Then she found herself playing civil judge to demon matters.

It's funny on some parts (husband turned rat) but the humor didn't translate entirely on the story. But I liked how the villain, the vampromancer Camden, got some page time and an inside scoop on his nefarious plotting put more weight on the twist of the story.

The rest of the characters are borderline absurd as well as the demons in Paisley's court. A dragon seeking fire insurance compensation, Werecats and Weredogs fighting over a top post to name a few.

This is a feel good book where justice was served and the guilty parties punished. I'm not sure if there's a sequel on the work but this was a fun read that helped pass the time.

January 10, 2012

Witches 101: A Witches of East End Primer

FREE on Amazon
read an excerpt
As you all know I've fallen in love with Melissa's other series,
Blue Bloods and on the novella Bloody Valentine, I met Freya Beauchamp as she tried to help Oliver Hazard-Perry get over Schuyler Van Alen.

I am a fan of Melissa de la Cruz's writing so when Amazon released this primer, I grabbed myself a copy to see if her witches would be as captivating as her vampires.

Set in the Hamptons, Joanna Beauchamp and her daughters Freya and Ingrid are trying to be as low-key as possible, trying to pass off as normal instead of the powerful witches that they are. But that proved to be difficult when they found themselves right smack in the middle of the Hamptons high society when Freya got engaged to philanthropist and most eligble bachelor, Bran Gardiner.

This primer is a good preview of the novel itself especially if you are not quite decided on whether or not you'd like to start de la Cruz's adult series. The characters are interesting and living for centuries, their back stories promises intrigue, fantastic witchcraft and other adventures.

According to Melissa, she decided to finally write the series for her Blue Bloods fans that are now adults. She also added that this series was inspired by the Salem Witch trials, Norse mythology and Blue Blood character/s will make an appearance on the books too.  

January 9, 2012

Curse of the Egyptian Goddess

read an excerpt
We have all heard tales about cursed Egyptian artifacts found and looted from those majestic pyramids in Giza and other dig sites scattered in the country. It's in one of those sites that the Curse started for Emma Patrix and Calvin Konrad when they happened to find the twin necklaces of Bast and Apep created by the Goddess Seshat.

I like novellas, it's what I pick up when I need to take a break from those full length novels or sometimes I look for ones written by authors I want to try reading just to know if their writing style is appealing to me. This novella plus its allusion to Egyptian myth piqued my interest. We all know that the Ancient Egyptians are one of the most mystical and superstitious people that walked this Earth so I was really curious on what the Curse was all about.

Unfortunately I didn't really like this story, there are a lot of plot holes and inconsistencies that I felt wasn't in context with the world Lisa Rayns created. Here are some of the things I'd like to highlight:
  • I didn't feel invested on Emma and Calvin's relationship. Though Rayns provided a backstory, there were some key elements missing that would convince me that theirs is a good and believable love match.
  • The police can't just arrest and hold you in custody without enough evidence. And they certainly won't chalk up deaths, homicide/murder to the Supernatural.
  • Needs more research on what happens on those Egyptian dig sites.
  • The attacks by Apep of Emma and Calvin's metamorphosis from human to Bast was anti climactic.
What I do like about the story is Emma and Calvin's resilience and their drive to lift the curse. In Emma's case, I can't imagine losing your entire bloodline in a span of two weeks! That's brutal. As for Calvin, I admire his heart and loyalty towards Emma. Although he resented her for abandoning him, he still managed to help and forgive her. His eagerness to make up for lost time and to fulfill his desire to build a life with Emma is admirable.

Alone Giveaway Winner

And the winner is

Thank you for joining and I hope you'll enjoy the novel as much as I did.

It's not a requirement but in behalf of Marissa, we'd like to request that you review Alone either on your blog (if you have one) or in all or any of these sites:

This site is also giving away 100 copies of Alone

And here's another update from Marissa
 [Book 3] Captured is almost done. I plan to have the completed first draft done by the end of this month and then hopefully the book will be out in March. I am also planning a spin-off YA novel (which may or may not be a series) entitled Enchanted, which is more magic than vamps and features one of the characters from books 2 and 3.

I've got plenty of stand alone novels coming out this year as well. One (a horror called The Dark Road) will be out within the next week or so. I've also go two dark fantasy novels, 'Underlife' and 'The Followers' which are also fully written and just waiting on full edits to be done!