September 30, 2012

Gush and Gripe #9

Gushing about Revenge and Guacamole
I know its random but these are two of my guilty pleasures this month.

First off, I gorged on ABC's Revenge for two straight days last week. I had one of those days where anxiety and boredom was getting the best of me (PMS) and in an attempt to settle my frayed nerves I stumbled upon Revenge and I was hooked after the first episode. This is show is primetime soap and I love the intrigue, careful plotting and vow of cold blooded vengeance Amanda Clark/Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) is thrusting upon the upscale Hampton society who conspired against her father for a crime he didn't commit which led to his demise and subsequent infamy. I have a girl crush on Emily VanCamp since Everwood and Brothers & Sisters so I'm more than happy to see her on the small screen once again.

Guacamole salad. I've been gorging myself on this for over a week now and I can't get enough of it! I don't know how many calories there are per serving but since its mainly fruits and veggies, I consider it healthy LOL. This is originally Ina Garten's original recipe but I changed it a little bit, here's my modified recipe in case you're curious:

  • 4 avocados
  • 1 mango
  • 2 medium tomatoes (seeds removed)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn kernel
  • 2 tbsp red onion (optional)
  • juice of a small lemon
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • salt & pepper to taste
You can add/remove some of the ingredients, mix it all together and let it chill in the refrigerator, eat and enjoy.

Griping about Giveaway and ARCs
I believe this is an isolated case but just my luck I've been duped twice by the same outfit on two separate occasions. I won't drop names because that's just bad for business but allow me to gripe a little. See I supposedly won two books on two separate giveaways ran by two separate blogs. Like any giveaway winner, I was very excited to have received this news especially since I was looking forward to reading said books. To my surprise my prize never came and I have to do several follow ups to several people and such to no avail. In short I was left high and dry which is very disappointing because we've worked with this host before and I'd like to believe that as far as our services are concerned, Talk Supe has been more than accommodating. I'm not bummed about not getting my prize because my TBR will probably outlive me but what irked me was having me go through the hoops, doing follow ups, being passed on to different people only to receive hollow guarantees in the end. This experience was mortifying and definitely embarrassing.

As for ARCs, I'm sure several of you have requested for one as soon as the galley becomes available in NetGalley and/or Edelweiss only to be told they they've reached their ARC limits. Again, it's not about getting a copy but what I find illogical is why put up a copy for request at all if you've already reached or are close to your limit?

Review: Wellesley Wives by Suzy Duffy

Series: New England Trilogy 1
Format: ARC from publisher
Release Date: September 27, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | The Writer's Coffee Shop
Popsy Power - a Boston society-wife and her best friend, Sandra seem to have it all with billionaire husbands and beautiful daughters. But things change.

From Bollinger to basic-wage, it's a roller coaster for the ladies who lunch. When the daughters land in a heap of trouble too, it's hardly surprising that their mother should worry about the next generation of Wellesley Wives.

Life can't always be fun in the sun, but that's why there's fur!

Sit back, relax and enjoy the wonderful world of the Wellesley Wives.

I love chick lit and WELLESLEY WIVES by Suzy Duffy fit the bill perfectly. What I loved the most about the book is that the main characters aren't young twenty-something women, whining and stressing about "life". Instead we have a fifty year-old Popsy and her forty-something bestfriend Sandra who are living lives most of us only dream about. Until Fate decided to play a trick on them and decided to turn their lives upside down by ripping away their wealth and respective marriages in one afternoon.

Adding to the mayhem are Popsy's two daughters, Rosie and Lily, who are having personal problems of their own. Rosie is being strong armed by her husband to go to a swingers Caribbean getaway and Lily is the mistress of her father's bestfriend and business partner, Jack, who is also Sandra's husband. It's Complicated doesn't even begin to describe the situation and Popsy just found herself in the middle of mayhem.
Sometimes you have to make your own good luck, and something tells me your time is now, so come on. [Emily, Lily's BFF]
As you can see, WELLESLEY WIVES has some crazy entanglements going on and SDuffy untangled the mess in a deliberate manner and next thing you know, you're knee-deep and reacting strongly to the story. I found myself wanting to comfort Popsy and Sandra, I wanted Rosie to kick her husband, Mark, to the curb for being so selfish and I most definitely want to thump Lily's head for her stupidity. It all righted itself in the end and the journey these women took will have you feeling devastated, angry, frustrated, joyful and giddy.

WELLESLEY WIVES is a story about love, loss and the drive to work with what we have and shape our own future. And just like in real life, some of the characters will make you laugh and some will make you want to pull your hair out. These women might be privileged but their hardships and how they responded and dealt with it are experienced by most women from all walks of life. And it is this characteristic that gave the characters resonance and made the story relatable.

Writer Wrangler: Suzy Duffy (Wellesley Wives)

Talk Supe: So there's a Wellesley, MA. How is it similar to the one in the book?
Suzy: The book is based here in the real Wellesley, MA. I used it as the hometown for the story because I live here and know it pretty well at this stage. The story starts in the autumn and Wellesley is just breathtaking in this time of year. It gave me a colourful backdrop upon which to build my story. To be honest, I don’t mention many shops by name because you never know if you’re going to get into trouble or be thanked for that! I reference Cliff Road a few times because it’s such a pretty road. You should see the houses – wow. They’re just the sort of place I could see Popsy living – lucky girl!! The people in my story... they are complete fiction.

Talk Supe: Can you tell us about the real Wellesley Wives from Wellesley, MA?
Suzy: Regarding the real Wellesley Wives, they have a reputation of being exclusive but it’s just not the case. I’m a blow-in from Ireland and they’ve been so welcoming and friendly. They’re all highly normal woman - getting their kids out to school and trying to stay on top of everything. I’ve lived in Geneva, Paris, London, Dublin and women in all these places are basically the same. We worry about our family’s health, our loved ones, the future, the past, the stare of the nation, the planet. Women are wonderful worriers!

Talk Supe: What's the inspiration behind the better-than-average females in Wellesley Wives?
Suzy: It was autumn two years ago, a particularly lovely sunny day when I saw a fantastically glamorous blonde woman in a convertible red Ferrari driving through Wellesley. I’ll be honest, I was envious. She was older than me but her life looked pretty damn good from where I was sitting in my PB&J stained, SUV. I was on a school run at the time and so I had plenty of time to think. My mind began to wander and Wellesley Wives the story began to formulate. What if that image was just the tip of the iceberg? What if her life was actually falling apart and she had no idea (because the gal I was looking at looked pretty darn happy!) That evening I sat down at my computer and wrote the first chapter of Wellesley Wives. Funny thing is I never saw her again. Maybe she was really only test driving the car. Maybe Popsy is real!!!

Talk Supe: Is Popsy based on a real-life character?
Suzy: There are no real people behind Popsy and the other WELLESLEY WIVES. She is a complete figment of my imagination, although I do think there’s a little Popsy in every woman I know. Any woman (even the smartest ones) can be a bit ditzy but we all have great strength too. We don’t know how resilient we are until we’re challenged. I love Popsy, but sadly she’s only real in Wellesley Wives.

Talk Supe: Wellesley Wives touched on several controversial topics like infidelity, financial mismanagement and in-your-face affluence, are you worried about the strong reactions some readers might have about these themes?
Suzy: As a novelist, you’re going to get some people who love your work and some who don’t. That’s a fact of life. Thankfully, most people are nice. Before writing, I was a radio and Television personality. It was the same in that industry. To be honest, I think every job brings its own share of grief, even being a Mom. On reflection, Moms probably get the most hostility. Just because you gave birth to the antagonist doesn’t make it any easier.

Talk Supe: Which character was the most difficult to write?
Suzy: I usually find men harder than women. I guess I have a pretty good idea how women think at this point and how many shapes and sizes we come in, but men? I’ll never quite understand them! 

Talk Supe: What should we expect from book 2, Newton Neighbors?
Suzy: I’m almost finished it now and it’s been great fun. Some parts are very funny. It’s about the crazy lengths a woman can go to in order to have the right address. As if that’s going to make her happy – Ha! As with WELLESLEY WIVES, it touches on a few issues; mid-life-marriage difficulties, today’s deeply materialistic world, the importance of female friendships (I like that one), how we view old people, pressures on young people, ambition, love and pursuit of happiness.

But it’s all done in a light hearted and comedic setting, because you gotta laugh at life – right?

Talk Supe: Are we going to read the same characters in Newton Neighbors?
Suzy: I don’t write sequels any more. I did it once in Ireland and readers told me they were fed up if they accidentally read book 2 before book 1 so now I write every story to stand alone. That said, I really fell in love with Popsy and Sandra so I’m thinking they could do cameos.
Talk Supe: Looking forward to that, I like to know is Popsy hooked up with that Irish dude and if Sandra managed to snag that doctor.

Talk Supe: What are books 2 and 3 about; can you tell us a little bit about their respective plots?
Suzy: NEWTON NEIGHBOURS is almost finished and I have to say I’m very excited to get it out into the world. Of course it has to be edited and rewritten so realistically, it will be next autumn when it goes public. As with WELLESLEY WIVES, there will be a few leading ladies and each one will have her own story. Without giving too much away, the issues in NEWTON NEIGHBORS are; Mid-life-marriage difficulties, materialism, the importance of female friendships (yes, I like that one!) ageism, pressure on the youth of today, ambition, love and the pursuit of happiness – but it’s all done in a light hearted and comedic setting.

I have no idea what book 3 will be about yet!

The Writer's Coffee Shop is giving away TWO PAPERBACK copies of
Wellesley Wives 
1 for US/CA residents
1 International

Follow us via GFC and fill out the rafflecopter form below, 
make sure you enter the right contact information.
Check our standard giveaway policies for more info.
Selected winners have 48 hours to reply to our email otherwise we'll draw another name.

Good Luck!

September 29, 2012

Liked It: Hell on Wheels by Julie Ann Walker

Series: Black Knights 1
Format: ARC (NetGalley)
Excerpt here
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

Black Knights Inc.--Behind the facade of their tricked-out motorcycle shop is an elite special ops team assigned the jobs too hot for anyone else to handle.
Hold On Tight...

Ex-Marine Nate "Ghost" Weller is an expert at keeping his cool--and his distance--which makes him one hell of a sniper. It's also how he keeps his feelings for Ali Morgan in check. Sweet, sexy Ali has always revved his engine, but she's his best friend's baby sister...and totally off limits.

Rough Road Ahead

Ali's never seen anything sexier than Nate Weller straddling his custom Harley--or the flash of danger in his eyes when she tells him she's in trouble. First something happened to her brother, and now she's become the target of a nasty international organization. With Nate, her life is in the most capable hands possible--but her heart is another story altogether.

Cover + Excerpt Blitz: Death's Rival by Faith Hunter

Series: Jane Yellowrock 5
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Pre-Order: Amazon | B & N | Book Depository

Jane Yellowrock is a shapeshifting skinwalker you don’t want to cross—especially if you’re one of the undead…

For a vampire killer like Jane, having Leo Pellisier as a boss took some getting used to. But now, someone is out to take his place as Master Vampire of the city of New Orleans, and is not afraid to go through Jane to do it. After an attack that’s tantamount to …a war declaration, Leo knows his rival is both powerful and vicious, but Leo’s not about to run scared. After all, he has Jane.

But then, a plague strikes, one that takes down vampires and makes their masters easy prey. Now, to uncover the identity of the vamp who wants Leo’s territory, and to find the cause of the vamp-plague, Jane will have to go to extremes…and maybe even to war.


Something wet and warm pooled in my palm holding the hilt of the knife. Blood. I was bleeding out. I needed to shift. Fast. I struggled to get the mountain lion tooth out of my pocket, but my fingers didn’t seem to work. I tried to drop into a meditative trance, but the earth spun when I closed my eyes, a sickening lurch. My gorge rose, tasting of blood, and I gagged. The night sky twirled and tightened down, becoming a pinpoint of velvet black sprinkled with white light. I could hear my heartbeat. Thump-thump, thump-thump, fastfastfast. Too fast. I tried again to find the calm in the center of myself, but there was nothing there, no center, no peace. Just the sound of my speeding heart and wet, raspy breath. I was worse off than I thought. Maybe a lot worse. 

I didn’t have the time to shift into my beast to save my life. Beast? I called in my mind. She didn’t answer. No snarky comment. No insult. Nothing. Beast? 

Feet padded in the dark, barely heard. Coming closer. I laughed, the sound little more than a wet, raspy moan. I closed my eyes. Beast pressed her claws into my mind again, the pain sharp and demanding. Forcing me down. I dropped. Deeper. Into the darkness inside my own past, where ancient, tenuous memories swirled in a world of shadow-gray and uncertainty. I heard a distant drum, smelled herbed wood smoke. The night wind coming through the broken window chilled my skin, smelling foreign and hot and dry. Beast forced me deeper, memories firmed, memories that, at all other times, were forgotten, both mine and Beast’s. 

In the memories, I saw a deer with fawn and knew I would not hunt her just now, but only after the fawn was grown. I saw an old woman bending over a fire, her silver hair in braids, her wrinkled face catching light and shadow like the cliffs and valleys of a river gorge. Her eyes were yellow like mine. I saw a kit straying toward the cliff edge and padded over, taking it in my mouth, his entire head in my killing teeth, held gently. I tasted/smelled/felt the kit struggling, heard his mewling cries. Breathed in his scent. Mine. 

My heart rate began to slow. To stutter. The blood pooling in my hand felt chilled. I had held cold blood before. Had placed my hands in it, in the cavity of my father’s chest. And then wiped my fingers across my face in a promise of vengeance. A vengeance I had never taken. The old promise, never fulfilled, scourged me, hatred unfulfilled. A wrong never avenged, never forgiven, I thought. But the concepts of vengeance and forgiveness melted away.

To celebrate this release, Lee of She-Wolf Reads 
is doing a giveaway. You can find it here. 

September 28, 2012

Early Review: Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones

Series: Darklight 1
Format: ARC from NetGalley
Excerpt here
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Ten years ago, Lorelei's parents disappeared without a trace. Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home. For Lorelei, life goes on.

High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be. Until the day the school's designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it, standing outside her house in the dark, night after night. Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school. Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity. What does Jared know about her parents? Why does Cameron tell Jared he can't have Lorelei? And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real? Thrilling, sassy, sexy, and inventive, Darynda Jones's first foray into the world of teens will leave readers eager for the next installment.
I've always wanted to read Darynda Jones after all the rave reviews I've read about her Charley Davidson series, I heard her heroines are witty, snarky, funny and feisty. Lorelei Elizabeth McAlister, the teen heroine of her new series, Darklight, is all of the above and more. If Lorelei isn't so enamored over Jared Kovach, I would set her up with Nick Gaultier, just thinking about their asinine banter is enough to get me excited.
We're like the Three Musketeers, searching for truth and justice and the American way.
I enjoyed the story, action and myth of DEATH AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. Lorelei and her friends Glitch and Brooklyn are funny and their chemistry highly entertaining. Even if this is YA, I didn't find it shallow and hard to like Lorelei, she's got a good head on her shoulders and her friends are good people. What I like most about her is her attitude towards everything, losing her parents at such a young age didn't make her surly and used that loss as an excuse to act out. It did the opposite and made Lorelei grateful for her life, friends and a wonderful set of grandparents to care for her.
Brooklyn, do you honestly think the heavens would create a member of the Nephilim to protect a girl whose most realized prophetic vision involved a psychotic cheerleader behind the wheel of a Nissan?
The young lads, Cameron and Jared, connected to Lorelei are likeable enough, obviously there's more to the story than a simple pissing contest over the same girl and I like how layered these two's conflict is. When the underlying story was revealed, I must say I'm both awed and worried about the enormity of the plot. First of all, DEATH AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR takes on the Christian myth about angels, Nephilims and the like and DJones' take on it is something I've never read before. If done right, this is another series bound for epic greatness however that is something I can't personally guarantee at this point.
Your energy is liquid and hot. Even from a distance you burn, you scorch anyone who gets too close. You are wine on my tongue and honey in my veins, and I cannot get enough of you. - Jared
Why? *Spoilers ahead*

As some of you might know, I'm a myth junkie and as an avid reader, I appreciate the literary liberties fiction writers take on classic tales but a balance should be kept and certain things should be kept authentic. For one, how can a Nephilim be at the same level/class as an Archangel? Second, a Prophet of God is beyond special, they are protected by Heaven and if their lives are threatened the might of God is bound to rain on you like hellfire (how do you think Jonah survived being swallowed by that whale?). If you want a demon killed, throw a Prophet in their path and you're guaranteed to defeat them. Obviously this is not the case in DEATH AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR and though this little tweak isn't a deal breaker for me, I'm left unconvinced by book's end.

To reiterate, I appreciate a writer's poetic license and maybe I'll be blown over when the next book comes out but for now I'll keep to my reservations and hopefully I'll eat my words when Death, Doom and Detention comes out next year. Nevertheless, don't take my word for it. I still urge you to get the book and read it because Lorelei and friends are wonderful company and I guarantee that they'll keep you amused and entertained throughout the story.

Quick Review: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

Series: Lotus Wars 1
Format: ARC (NetGalley)
Excerpt here
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.

The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger—a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

If I didn't know any better, I'd say that STORMDANCER by Jay Kristoff was written by a Japanese dude and not by a Dave Grohl look-alike. One can tell he really did his research and spared no detail in creating a bona fide feudal Japan. He didn't bastardize anything and the samurai theme, hierarchy of the classes, terminologies, tradition, culture and other details related to this part of the world in this era were perfect.

  • The myth is authentic to Japanese folklore and I'm happy that he didn't "westernize" the story.
  • Even if STORMDANCER is Steampunk the predominant feel of the tale is fantasy so this is one of those genre crossing books.
  • Yukiko, the sixteen year-old heroine of this book, was an amazing character, her moral dilemmas were effectively written and as a reader I can't help but empathize with her.
  • Buruu, the legendary arashitora, thunder tiger or a griffin, was not just a beast but a character on his own and his connection to Yukiko leapt off the pages and drew me in. Buruu sure had me shedding a lot of tears when he finally met that despicable Shogun.
  • Yukiko and Buruu reminded me of the movie Dragonheart (1996, Sean Connery).
  • The love story is juicy and it's not your usual straight-up cutesy romance. 
  • Yukiko just joined the ranks of Celaena Sardothien and Alix Nico.

Get the book, it's worth every penny and it won't be a waste of shelf space and time.
Sometimes we don't get what we deserve. We play the cards we are dealt instead of whining about what might've been. Therein lies the difference between and adult and a child. 
One day you will see that we must sometimes sacrifice for the sake of something greater. 
Dying is easy. Anyone can throw themselves into the pyre and rest a happy martyr. Enduring the suffering that comes with the sacrifice is the real test.

Visit Jay Kristoff's blog

What about release dates for the next two books in the series?
Book #2 has been handed in to my editors. It should be released early-mid 2013. Third book will probably be nine months or so after that, presuming I don’t lose my tiny mind writing it (50/50 at this point).

Steampunk fantasy? Which is it – a steampunk book, or a fantasy book?
Both. Techinically all Steampunk is fantasy, but STORMDANCER has elements of more traditional… (I hate the term, but I’m going to use it) ”High Fantasy” settings. No magic swords or Dark Lords™ or “It’s so heavy, Sam.” “Cheer up Mr Frodo!” “But I’m so tired, Sam.” “Give us a kiss, Mr Frodo!” shenanigans.

But it does have griffins. Well, A griffin. So calling it straight steampunk would kinda be like lying.

So STORMDANCER is set in feudal Japan?
Wellllllll, sort of. It’s set on a group of islands with a culture extraordinarily similar to Japan during feudal times. The language, culture and societal structures are all drawn from Japanese counterparts. But feudal Japan didn’t have many griffins, given that they’re, you know, mythical beasts and whatnot. The setting is a country is called “Shima” (which is Japanese for “Island”).

The protagonist in my book is a sixteen year old girl. Does that automatically make it YA? My agent says “no”. My editors say “definitely not, now get the fuck back to work”.

I’d describe STORMDANCER as ”pure crossover”. The protagonist is young, but the themes and language and style are going to resonate with an older reader. They are heavy. In theory, everyone is going to find something in there to like. You will all be bawling your eyes out at some point in the novel, no matter how old you are. I promise.

OH MY GOD. Has anyone told you that you look like Dave Grohl?

Share this review and win any book reviewed of your choice.

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September 26, 2012

Review + Giveaway: Moonlight by Tim O'Rourke

Series: The Moon Trilogy 1
Format: Digital (from Tim)
Excerpt here
Release Date: September 22, 2012
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon
When eighteen-year-old Winter McCall is offered a chance to leave her life of poverty behind on the streets of London, she moves to a remote part of the South West of England. Here she takes up the job as housekeeper to the young and handsome, yet mysterious, Thaddeus Blake.

Warned that he has some curious habits, Winter soon realises that not all is as it firsts appears at the remote mansion where she now lives and works.

Blind to the real danger that she is in, Winter finds herself becoming attracted to Thaddeus, and with nowhere and no one to run to, she slowly succumbs to his strange requests. But none of them are as strange as asking Winter to stand each night in the moonlight.
Finally a werewolf series! It's about time, Tim! And THANK YOU for acknowledging Talk Supe in this book, twice now we owe you for the free advertising space.

I loved MOONLIGHT and it's nothing like any of Tim's heart-pounding and mind boggling series like Kiera Hudson for example. MOONLIGHT is calm, mysterious, creepy and dare I say romantic? A big part of the story tells us how the rich, handsome and enigmatic Thaddeus Blake wooed Winter McCall while casting a shroud of mystery regarding the former's identity throughout the story.

From the get-go we know that Thaddeus has a bigger motive for asking Winter to work for him and as we're eventually let in to their lives, red flags started going up with regards to who Thaddeus really is. He prefers the night, relishes his anonymity, and he's just too mysterious for his own good. Side by side this eccentric lifestyle is a series of deaths done by either a vicious animal or a bunch of cannibals. So for the greater part of the story I was a little suspicious about Thaddeus' goody-goody character. Classic Tim, nothing is what seemed to be and though I was sort of expecting the ultimate outcome, I still love the twist he made to the story
"Come out here and stand in the moonlight," he said.
"Because it will be a full moon tonight," he half-smiled. "And you will look so beautiful in its light."
MOONLIGHT's Lycanthrope myth reminded me of Underworld and just like the movie, it was heartbreaking but not as violent... yet. I loved the blood and guts that Tim never fails to incorporate in his stories. I think I'm starting to develop an appetite for such bloody and graphic violence (scary!), I never thought I'd enjoy cannibalism this much. I'm still reserved as far as Thaddeus is concerned, he's gorgeous but I want to know more about the guy. As for Winter, I can only imagine how shocked she must be, the world as she knows it came to an end which makes book 2 very interesting.

The most special part for me was the character named after Michelle! My lovely friend and my very own Tim O'Rourke inside chick, is a character in this book. I love your flowing blue hair and your healthy appetite for rare and bloody meat girl, talk about T-bone steaks!

Anyway, if you love werewolves and unbridled gore, start reading Tim's books and MOONLIGHT is a good place to start.

Thanks to Tim we are now doing another giveaway.
Up for grabs is a signed paperback & poster of

This is an international contest.
Fill out the rafflecopter form with the correct details.
Winner has 48 hours to reply to our email otherwise we'll pick another winner.
See our giveaway policies for more info.

September 24, 2012

Girl Crush Mondays: Mercedes Thompson

Mercedes Thompson

Daughter of a Blackfeet Indian and a white teenage mother.
She's a Walker or shapeshifter, shifting into a coyote at will.
Married to Adam Hauptman, Alpha of the Tri-Cities werewolf pack.

Mercy doesn't consider herself a classic beauty. She's 5'6, tanned and toned from karate lessons. She's a Volkswagen mechanic by trade and can see and control ghosts, an ability associated to being a Walker.

How can you not love Mercy? She's fiercely independent, stubborn, tough as nails, and conscientious. And even if she keeps company with otherworldly beings more powerful than her, Mercy can stand unflinchingly on her own. Add her hot hubby, Adam Hauptman, into the mix and any reader is guaranteed to fall in love with these two. Their story is one of the most romantic and emotional ones I've ever read and it's no wonder why this series has a loyal following.
"It's only fair to warn you that you sealed your fate tonight. When you knew you were in trouble, you came to me. That makes twice, Mercy, and twice is almost as good as a declaration. You are mine now.... Ben says you might run. If you do, I will find you and bring you back. Every time you run, Mercy. I won't force you, but. .. No more excuses, Mercy. You are mine, and I am keeping you."
Iron Kissed, Adam Hauptman

“Thank you, Adam,” I told him. “Thank you for tearing Tim into small Tim bits. Thank you for forcing me to drink one last cup of fairy bug-juice so I could have use of both of my arms. Thank you for being there, for putting up with me.” By that point I wasn’t laughing anymore. “Thank you for keeping me from being another of Stefan’s sheep—I’ll take pack over that any day. Thank you for making the tough calls, for giving me time.” I stood up and walked to him, leaning against him and pressing my face against his shoulder.
“Thank you for loving me.”
His arms closed around me, pressing flesh painfully hard against
bone. Love hurts like that sometimes.” 

Bone Crossed, Mercy Thompson and Adam Hauptman

Out March 15, 2013

Excerpt: Cassandra by Starlight by Susan Mac Nicol

Format: ARC from the Author
Excerpt here
Release Date: August 13, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

Unconventional though she may be, Cassandra Wallace leads the life of an average Londoner, from blind dates to rush hour traffic. Then, along comes Bennett Saville. Sensitive, charming, erudite, the up-and-coming actor is like the hero of a romantic movie. He counteracts the tragedy that brought them together, and from the tips of his Armani loafers to that scorching hot kiss he seems absolutely perfect. Only, he’s ten years younger and from the upper class, and those emerald eyes beget dangerous secrets. The world is a stage, full of hungry leading ladies, and how long can any fairy tale last before a villain appears? Yet, on Bennett’s arm each new day is an adventure, and a true romance will always find its happy ending.

Chapter 1

The day the sky fell changed Cassie Wallace’s world forever. She woke up that morning with the expectation that this day would be like any other. She also had a slight hangover from the abundance of wine she’d drunk the night before to try and get through a blind date organized by her work colleague, Sarah.

The evening had been a total disaster. Not only had the man been an absolute misogynist, one of the cardinal male sins on Cassie’s unwritten list, he’d also had a habit of leering at her chest every time he spoke as if he thought it might talk back to him.

She’d smiled politely whilst thinking she’d like to take his smarmy public school tie and shove it down his throat. When she’d finally left at around eleven, she hadn’t been able to get away fast enough.

She stood in her bedroom, checking her outfit in the mirror and sighed.

Was it too much to ask to find a decent man just to share things with and have a good time? They all seemed to be absolute idiots and in the old but true cliché, only interested in one thing.

Cassie had been out on a few dates in the past few months but somehow she never made it past the first one. A previous date gone wrong had told her she was too independent and perhaps a little bit ‘emotionally challenged, not affectionate enough’ for him.

She’d shrugged this off but it had hurt her deep down especially as she knew it to be true.

           My bloody expectations aren’t even that high, she thought in exasperation as she fastened her necklace. It’s not as if I’m such a great bloody catch myself! Middle-aged and not really all that exciting. I’ll take what I can get within reason.

Cassie smoothed her skirt down over her hips and picked up her handbag.

When she left the house at six thirty, it was a typical dark English winter morning. Fortyfive minutes later she was sitting in the traffic on the motorway, listening to the news bulletin.

“Bloody idiot,” she mumbled in between bites of a banana that she had hastily grabbed on her way out. “He wouldn’t know a bloody budget if his life depended on it. Silly sod has got no idea how to run a bloody country.”

She crept forward in her Honda Jazz at about two miles an hour, watching the traffic in front which seemed to have ground to a halt for no reason at all.

I really need to try and find something closer to home, she thought, not for the first time. This travelling lark is really starting to piss me off. Four hours a day in traffic is not my idea of time well spent.

Cassie wasn’t sure what other quality pastimes she’d be engaging in if she did have more free time, given her current ‘lack of male’ situation but she supposed she’d find something. Join a book club perhaps, or find more time to get to the gym. She might even start writing that novel she’d always planned on doing.

Her fingers impatiently drummed on the steering wheel in time to a melody on the radio. In response to another bulletin by the newscaster regarding the level of binge drinking in the county, she burst into a further diatribe. “For God’s sake, let the bloody idiots lay where they fall. If they had any brains they wouldn’t let it get that far so they needed an ambulance to take them to A and E. It’s my taxpaying money that’s looking after these morons!”

She glanced at the clock on the display. Seven thirty a.m. She’d be lucky to make it in on time today.

The story of my life, she thought resignedly. Slow death by traffic jam.

The traffic still seemed to show no signs of moving any time soon. She switched off the engine and took out her Kindle. She may as well catch up on her reading whilst she had nothing better to do.

Her concentration span was low as she tried to read. Last night’s ‘date’ kept replaying itself in random snippets of conversation. Cassie could still hear Ron’s supercilious comment about women needing to have a man in their lives to keep them focused on what was important—the man and the provision of all his needs.

She’d almost choked on her wine when she’d heard this and only just stopped herself retorting sarcastically that as a man’s needs were so simple, the only ‘provision’ they really needed was a soft toy shaped like a pair of boobs to play with and talk at. As she had very little money in her purse other than her taxi fare home, she’d stopped herself.

After the hell she’d been through sitting and listening to Ron’s drivel, the least she’d make him do was pay for dinner. Cassie had made a decision after last night. She’d stay home with her own company for the near future, with a bottle of wine and a couple of decent movies. She’d rather drool over a virtual Mark Harmon in NCIS than a real life douche bag like the Ronalds of his world. As for sex—well, that was what vibrators were made for.

It was nearly ten minutes later before the car in front of her re-started its engine and she followed suit and sped up to about twenty miles an hour as the queue took flight. She settled in as it got back up to the more respectable speed of fifty miles an hour.

As she drove she glanced idly up at the foot bridges to see the people strolling with dogs, on bicycles and footing it on their way to work.

At the bridge just ahead she saw a solitary figure leaning over looking down at the motorway below. She slowed down a little. Ever since those incidents a few weeks ago when someone had thrown a concrete bucket off the bridge at a passing car, she tended to be wary of people standing watching the traffic.

The figure didn’t appear to have anything in its hands but then she had only caught a glimpse of it before turning her eyes back to the road. She increased her speed as the traffic flowed easier.

There was no warning, just a sudden deafening bang of metal as the windscreen of her car collapsed inwards. Cassie screamed in terror as glass flew towards her like wafer thin slivers from a frozen icicle. Her hands left the steering wheel in panic, her foot pressing down on the accelerator.

The Honda Jazz went out of control, spinning around like a dirt dervish. Debris from the windscreen flew like lethal missiles around the interior of the car. Cassie cried out in pain as she was subject to a vicious assault by anything lying loose in her vehicle. She tried to cover her face in an instinctive reflex but her left arm seemed unresponsive. The pain horrifying. She whimpered as she glanced down and saw the bone shard sticking out.

In her pain and terror she didn’t notice that the car had stopped spinning. Everything went quiet. Cassie lay slumped in the driver seat, dazed and unresponsive as the shock set in She could hear the sounds of people shouting and heard someone asking her if she was all right.

She vaguely registered the sound of screeching metal as someone tried to pull the driver door open. It was as if everything was being done underwater. The sounds were muted and her brain was sluggish.

The older man looking in at her from the road was speaking but she couldn’t hear what he was saying. Cassie looked at him blankly. She couldn’t see clearly, as if a can of fine red spray-paint had been aimed at her and the nozzle depressed, coating her eyes. She tried to move her body but the pain in her right leg was excruciating.

She watched dully as the man outside starting pulling away metal struts and twisted the door to get inside to her. She could hear his voice vaguely now, a rough London Cockney accent as he spoke reassuringly whilst trying to free her.

“All right, darling? Just stay calm and I’ll try and get to you. The ambulance is on its way. They’ve told me not to move you so I just want to try get in and keep you company till they arrive. You look as if you could do with a bit of company. Just stay with me now. Don’t go anywhere.”

He smiled at her, trying to keep her reassured. With a final tug at the door, he made enough of a space to squeeze in slightly and he took her right hand, avoiding the bad condition of her left arm with its broken bone. Her hand was freezing and he rubbed it gently.

“There we go. That should feel better. You just stay calm now and we’ll have you back to your old man in no time.” He continued holding her hand, talking to her as she slipped in and out of consciousness.

In one of her lucid periods she raised an unsteady hand to her face to wipe her eyes. The fog cleared a little and she was able to focus, then desperately wished she hadn’t. Lying in front of her, across the bonnet, was a face, pulped and looking as if dark sticky jam had been smeared all over it.

She could see the eyes open, looking at her and she could see the mouth forming words before she screamed and screamed and eventually the fog of blackness claimed her and the face could be seen no more.

Doctor Ian Spencer frowned as he read the patient chart in his hand. He glanced at the patient, an old man in his seventies, matted grey hair curling around his face like tendrils of an octopus, framing a bucolic face of cherry red, his bulbous nose caked with fresh snot.

“Up to your old tricks again, Terry?” the ER doctor asked resignedly. “I thought perhaps last time we had reached an understanding of sorts?”

The old man chuckled hoarsely.

“The drink beckoned again, Doctor, I’ve told you before, cider waits for no man.” He coughed, his body wracked with spasms. The doctor motioned with a hand to the waiting nurse who offered Terry a glass of water. He drank it greedily and lay back in the hospital bed.

Ian Spencer made a notation in his patient’s chart.

“You realise this time, Terry, you’ve really outdone yourself? You had what we call a minor varicose bleed which basically means your insides leaked with blood because they couldn’t do what they were supposed to do. I managed to stabilise you and you’ve been in intensive care for two days. Given the state of your liver you were very lucky not to have it worse. As it is, you’ll need to be here a few more days before I can release you.”

“I’m very grateful to you, Doctor.” Terry leered at the nurse who moved out of the way of his groping left hand. “I can always count on you to put me right.”

“Not always, Terry, not always.” Ian passed the chart to the nurse and continued on his way.

He’d just completed his surgical rounds and was walking down the hospital corridor when he heard an ambulance arrive and saw the frenetic activity bursting through the double doors. He heard the ambulance staff calling out their incoming triage procedures to the attending doctor and watched as a trolley with a woman covered in blood was wheeled into the waiting operating theatre.

One of the staff nurses, Judy, a good friend, hurried past him.

“I don’t believe this one,” she muttered to him. “Some poor woman minding her own business on the motorway and somebody falls on top of her car. We were lucky no one else was hurt as well when she spun around or we’d be running out of space this morning.”

“What about the man who fell?”

“He’s dead, poor bugger.” Judy’s voice was terse as she hurried off.

It was some hours later in passing Ian saw his colleague, fellow trauma surgeon Phil Moodley, come out of the operating theatre where the woman had been wheeled.

“Phil!” Ian hurried to catch up with him. “Wait up.”

Phil turned and proffered a tired smile when he saw Ian.

“Ian, how are things? I’m just on my way to catch a few minutes doze. It’s been a long day.”

“How did things go in there?” Ian motioned to the OR. “I heard she was hit by a man falling on her car.”

“Yes, it was very bad. The poor woman has a ruptured spleen, a hairline skull fracture, a broken femur and radius, and a wealth of lacerations and internal bruising.” He frowned.

“She also has a small foreign body embedded in her left temple. It’s in an awkward place and fairly deep. I’ve recommended not removing it at this time. I’m not sure it would be prudent. It doesn’t appear itself to be life threatening. She’ll be in intensive care for some time. I need to keep an eye on her for any possible embolism. She’ll probably need some physical therapy afterwards if there are no complications.”

He squinted at Ian with tired eyes. “You seem interested in this one, Ian? Did you know anyone involved?”

Ian shook his head. “I was involved in a similar situation some years ago when I was at Lakeview Hospital and that one—that one I did know. The person that fell though, not the victim.”

Phil nodded his head.

“This woman was very lucky, the young man was not. He was dead at the scene. His relatives are on their way.”

Ian nodded. “Thanks, Phil. You’d best get off and get that sleep, you look all out of it.”

Phil patted Ian’s arm and wandered down towards the staff room. Ian wouldn’t tell Phil the real reason for his interest. It was too personal and no one in the hospital knew anything about his reason for leaving Lakeview three years ago and joining Tilhurst Hospital on the outskirts of Essex.

In 2009, his wife Sandra had jumped off a foot bridge straight into the path of a passing mini-van. To this day he had no idea why. The mini-van driver, a young man called Freddy Clifford, who had just become a father, had died in the incident with Sandy. The feelings of guilt for both Sandy’s and the man’s death (he should’ve known what was going on in his own marriage for God’s sake!) had never left him.

He’d left Lakeview and started again where no one knew his history and no one could feel sympathy for him. He felt he didn’t deserve it. He was sure a psychiatrist would have some insight to offer on his reaction but he had never engaged with one, preferring as he did to manage it himself.

Ian made his way over to the nurses’ station outside intensive care. He saw Nurse Angie, a bubbly young woman with bleached blonde hair and a Carry On set of breasts, sitting behind the desk. She smiled as she saw him approach.

There were more than a couple of nurses who’d tried to form a relationship with him but none of them had been successful so far.

“Doctor. What can I do for you?”

“The woman that Dr. Patel has just operated on—can you tell me a little bit about her?

How’s she doing?”

Angie consulted her notes.

“Let me see. Hmm, she’s in a private ICU room, so she must have great insurance. Room 310. Cassie Wallace, forty-seven years old, divorced. Her sister is coming in to see her. She’s on her way from Kent.”

She looked at Ian enquiringly. “Has Dr. Patel asked you to keep an eye on her?”

Ian shook his head. “No, just curious about how she’s doing. It just seems so tragic, minding your own business then POW! You find yourself in this situation. Thanks for the info, Angie.”

Ian made his way towards Room 310. He couldn’t say why he was so interested in this woman, only that he felt he had to find out more about her.

He clothed himself up with a mask and gloves and nodded at the ICU nurses as he walked through the main ward to the private ones at the back. The hum of machines and the absolute quiet in the ward was strangely restful. Ian reached Room 310, opened the door and slipped in.

Cassie Wallace lay on her back, surrounded by soft light from the equipment. The constant beep of the life support machines and monitoring equipment comforted Ian. This unit was dedicated to keeping people alive with the best care the hospital could provide. Cassie Wallace was in good hands.

Cassie had her left arm in a splint, her fingers cold and pale like soft, limp white gloves. Her right leg with its broken femur rested on the bed covers. Ian guessed she had pins and rods inside keeping it together.

Her face was battered and bruised from the accident. He could see the rise and fall of her chest as she breathed. Her pale strawberry blonde hair was spread across the pillow like soft gold straw, with a large bald patch on the left side where Dr Patel had shaved her skull.

Even through the cuts and bruises, Ian could see she was a very attractive woman. Not just pretty or beautiful, but with a look of her own that even under current circumstances made her look younger than her forty-seven years. She reminded him very much of a curvier Michelle Pfeiffer. A noise at the door made him turn. Judy stood there, looking surprised to see him.

“Ian? What are you doing in here?” she whispered.

“I was just checking up on her. I know I’m not her doctor but I really wanted to see how she was doing.”

“It’s all right, Ian.” Judy patted him on the arm. “She can do with all the help she can get. I need to check her vital signs now. Do you want to stick around?”

“No Judes, I’ll let you get on with your job. Thanks.” Ian left the nurse with her patient and made his way back towards the main reception